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Tamil terror charges dropped

Mar 6 (TA) Australia's counter-terrorism laws have suffered another blow, with the dropping of terror charges against three Melbourne men accused of being members of the Tamil Tigers and providing funds to the Sri Lankan group. Commonwealth prosecutors yesterday told the Victorian Supreme Court they would not be proceeding with nine terrorism charges from the criminal code against Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 61, Sivarajah Yathavan, 38, and Arumugam Rajeevan, 48. more..

Truth and the Tigers

Mar 6 (NP) No prolonged violent civil war ends quietly; and the LTTE are squalling like, well, a cat on the losing end of a desperate fight. Throughout the countries that shelter the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, the Tigers' activists are desperately trying to win some reprieve for the last LTTE guerrilla force trapped in Sri Lanka. The problem is that the Tamil Tigers began as a terrorist group; and the two main traits of terrorists are deception and atrocity. more..

LTTE says will not surrender; Lankan PM rules out ceasefire

Mar 6 (ZN) As Sri Lankan forces step up attacks to take control of a key Tamil Tigers' stronghold, the government has ruled out any ceasefire and asked the LTTE to lay down arms and surrender. Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake informed the Parliament yesterday that the government has no intention to go for a ceasefire with the LTTE. "Every time when the LTTE faced a severe set back, they spoke about a ceasefire. more..

'Anonymous call led police to change route of SL team's bus '

Mar 6 (ZN) A last minute call by an unidentified person led the city police to change the route of the bus taking the Sri Lankan cricket team to Gaddafi stadium here, a media report said on Wednesday. An unknown caller asked police escorting the Sri Lankan team to use the Gulberg route leading to the stadium instead of travelling along Ferozpur road as had been decided earlier, he News daily quoted Interior Ministry sources as saying. more..

Sri Lanka offers new safe exit for trapped civilians

Mar 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka Thursday offered a new safe passage for thousands of civilians trapped in the island's war zone as a local Red Cross employee was killed while helping non-combatants leave the area. Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the government had declared safe exits for civilians out of the shrinking territory still under rebel control in the north-east of the island. more..

Sri Lanka distances itself from Indian link claims

Mar 6 (PTI) Distancing itself from speculative media reports about Indian elements being linked to the terror attack on its cricket team in Lahore, Sri Lanka has said it had scored successes in its counter-terrorism campaign due to India's support. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who visited Pakistan on Wednesday to discuss the progress in the probe into the audacious gun and grenade attack, brushed aside several questions on alleged Indian links more..

Perpetrating civilian starvation is violation of all norms of war: LTTE

Mar 6 (TN) "The brutalities committed by Colombo's armed forces on civilians have no precedence in any conventional war," said LTTE's Puthukkudiyiuruppu area political head C. Ilamparithy on Wednesday describing that the offensive by the Sri Lankan government denying food and medicine to civilians whom it claims as its citizens as an "abnormal violation of all norms of war." more..

No democracy in Sri Lanka – TNA parliamentarian

Mar 6 (TN) “Abductions and other humanitarian violations in Colombo, the North and the East are escalating at an alarming rate which indicates that Sri Lanka is not a democratic country,” TNA member for Batticaloa district, Ms. K. Thangkeswari said speaking on the motion to extend the state of emergency for another month in Sri Lanka parliament, Wednesday. more..

Trading danger for captivity

Mar 6 (Economist) IT IS a staple of television reports on war or famine: a windblown correspondent stands in front of a bedraggled refugee camp. Misery and despair are etched on pinched faces. “And these”, he solemnly intones, “are the lucky ones.” For some 36,000 recent arrivals from war zone to camps in the north-east, the cliché holds true. They tell harrowing tales of escape from rebel-held territory, dodging artillery shells and bullets, before being evacuated to government-run camps. more..

'If we all stop playing we've been defeated'

Mar 6 (SMH) Muttiah Muralitharan has vowed to keep playing international cricket after the terrorist attack on his team in Pakistan. "If we all stop playing, then we've been defeated," he told the Herald. "Cricket must go on." Muralitharan, who turns 37 next month, said the attack had not altered his plans to keep playing until the 2011 cricket World Cup, to be staged on the Indian subcontinent. more..

Sri Lankan civilians starving under heavy shelling

Mar 6 (AP) Thousands of Sri Lankans crammed into a squalid coastal strip along with retreating Tamil rebels face relentless shelling that has killed dozens of civilians in the past two days and left many scrounging for food to survive, witnesses said Thursday. Concern is growing for the trapped civilians as the Sri Lankan army seeks to deal a knockout blow to the Tamil Tiger rebels to end the island's 25-year civil war. more..

'Complete takeover of north soon'

Mar 6 (Hindu) An International Committee of the Red Cross worker died on Thursday from a shrapnel injury in the war-torn north even as informed sources in the government indicated the military was hopeful of taking total control of the north in the next few days. With the LTTE now believed to be confined to 45 sq. km., these sources are of the view that the military should be able to gain control of the area in the next four to five days. more..

'International community now aware of LTTE’s atrocities'

Mar 6 (AT) The international community was now aware of the LTTE’s recruitment of child soldiers and other atrocities and they have expressed grave concern, Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the weekly Cabinet news conference. He said that both the UNICEF and the European Union have expressed grave concern not only about the recruitment of child soldiers, but also about the LTTE not allowing civilians to cross over to the liberated areas. more..

What exactly did Mr. Holms convey to the security council?

Mar 6 (AT) Mr. Holms had direct access to Tamil civilians who have braved the LTTE bullets and crossed over to the army controlled areas. He had all the interpreters he needed and he talked to many displaced persons. They all would have told them how the LTTE kept them by force but he was deliberately not positive when he said "And there is strong evidence that the LTTE are preventing them from leaving." more..

Ban deplores rising civilian death toll from ongoing fighting

Mar 6 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly deplored the mounting civilian death toll in areas of fighting between Sri Lankan Government forces and Tamil rebels, and called for an immediate halt to the fighting. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that conditions for people confined in the war zone in the northern Vanni region deteriorated last month. more..

Bloggers' react to Lahore attacks

Mar 6 (BBC) The Pakistani blogosphere is buzzing with comments on the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore. In general there is a sense of shock and great sorrow for the dead policemen and a driver, and the injured cricketers. While there is much speculation over who is to blame, many are appalled that cricket has been targeted. On the site Ahsan says the attackers have struck at the cultural heart of Pakistan: more..

How US 'war on terror' emboldened Sri Lanka's

Mar 6 (CSM) In 1992, Lt. Col. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa retired from the Army after two decades in uniform. A year later, he moved to Los Angeles and began working in IT. In 2001, he heard President Bush declare that "you're either with us or against us" in the global war on terror. Mr. Rajapaksa didn't need convincing. The decorated officer – today Sri Lanka's defense secretary – . more..

Two lawyers file action before the Supreme Court

Mar 6 (AHRC) A fundamental rights petition has been filed by two lawyers against the Inspector General of Police and 12 other police officers. This petition will be argued before the Supreme Court today (5th March) by a group of senior lawyers lead by Mr. Faiz Musthapha. The Petitioners are H.T. Amitha Ariyaratne and H.R.D.G. Mendis, a husband and wife who are both Attorneys-at-Law. more..

Distortion of New Delhi speech: Chandrika’s office clarifies

Mar 6 (AT) The former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike has said that the present Government has done well to take important land areas from the LTTE. She added that her Government fought a difficult war against the LTTE, at a time when they had almost total control of the Northern Province. Her Government took back about 70% of the land area under LTTE control. Care was taken to minimize civilian deaths. more..

Lankan press criticizes demonisation of Pakistan

Mar 6 (Dawn) Sri Lankan papers have slammed the tendency in some quarters to use the 3/3 terrorist outrage against Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, to demonise Pakistan and make it an international outcaste. ‘One should condemn the many TV spotlights attempting to demonise Pakistan. Sri Lanka too was at one time a victim of this ostracisation by countries, which affected our economy and damaged its good name,’ more..

Worsening Sri Lanka violence shakes British Tamils

Mar 6 (AP) They have fled a quarter-century of horrifying civil war in Sri Lanka for safe haven abroad, but the more than 250,000 Tamils living in Britain have not managed to put the conflict behind them. Thousands plan to gather Saturday for the funeral of a young man who burned himself to death to dramatize the situation in Sri Lanka, where starving Tamil civilians have been caught between advancing government troops and the once-feared Tamil Tigers, more..

Thilan feeling lucky after being sidelined for two months

Mar 6 (SMH) AT THE start of this week, Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera was scoring his second double century in as many Tests. Today, he lies in a Sri Lankan hospital recovering from surgery to remove a bullet that lodged perilously close to a bone in his leg. Samaraweera's injury was the worst of the Sri Lankan cricketers who were fired upon as they headed for Gaddafi Stadium more..

Sri Lankan journalist's year of detention for reporting on the war

Mar 6 (AI) Saturday marks the first anniversary of the detention of Sri Lankan journalist and human rights activist, Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam. He was arrested for writing about the impact on civilians of the war in Sri Lanka. At least 14 media workers have been unlawfully killed in Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2006. Others have been arbitrarily detained, tortured and allegedly disappeared while in the custody of security forces. more..

Overseas Realty apartment sales slow

Mar 6 (LBO) Overseas Realty Ltd. (ORCL) said it is finding it difficult to sell apartments in a new high-rise condominium complex being built in Colombo due to the economic crisis. But ORCL chairman S P Tao, head of Singapore's Shing Kwan group, said he is confident of the long term potential of the project, known as the Havelock City project. "The global financial crisis has had a direct impact on the progress of sales of condominium units in the Havelock City project," more..

Ambassadors of cricket-playing nations condemn the attack

Mar 6 (SLE) In response to Tuesday’s attack in Pakistan of the Sri Lankan cricket team that resulted in the death of up to six policemen and a driver along with several injuries to team members, the Ambassadors to the United States for India, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and West Indies, issued the following joint statement: more..

Desmond Tutu pleads for UN intervention in Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (TC) Sir, We call upon the UK Government to press for an urgent Security Council resolution on the situation in northern Sri Lanka, with the view to dispatching a fact-finding mission there under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, in furtherance of the Security Council’s primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security. more..

Sri Lankan conflict due to 'repressive' govts: Canada

Mar 6 (AFP) The 37-year conflict raging in Sri Lanka was borne out of "repressive" governments in Colombo, Canadian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said Thursday. "I am sure all Canadians share the government's revulsion at the continuing humanitarian catastrophe in Sri Lanka, a civil conflict born of a succession of repressive Sri Lankan governments, which in turn spawned the terrorist organization known as the Tamil Tigers," more..

The LTTE: The final stand and the "Human Shield" tactic

Mar 6 (LG) The several thousand Tamil civilians being placed in jeopardy by the LTTE as the end game draws near shows the LTTE's callous disregard for its loyal supporting cast of civilians/low level cadres drawn into the separatist Eelam cause. International Human Rights (HR) groups, Media and Diplomats are the most vocal as they pressure Sri Lanka for a Ceasefire, and not quite loudly enough, for the LTTE to lay down arms. more..

'Possible attacks on Sri Lankan cricketers were discussed on Jan 23'

Mar 6 (LeN) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the senior officials of police and Army in Lahore had discussed about a possible attack on Sri Lankan cricketers at a meeting on January 23. He questions how such attack took place despite alert on it. He revealed these facts at a media briefing held in the official residence of the Opposition Leader this afternoon (05). more..

Acid test for international actors

Mar 6 (TN) It is clear that the Colombo government is waging a direct war on unarmed civilians with the intention of intimidation and subjugation of them. The hard truth is that for chauvinistic Colombo war with Eezham Tamil civilians is more important than its war with the Tigers. The war with the LTTE is only a part of the agenda aimed at making the Tamils orphans first. more..

Doctors warn severe shortage of medicines in Vanni

Mar 6 (TN) The Government and its armed forces have systematically blocked medical supplies, causing several patients to die at the hospital and inflicted slow death of patients dependent on medications. The makeshift-hospital at Puthumaaththa'lan is struggling to cope with the situation. Dr. Saththiyamoorthy said medicines for four months have not arrived in Vanni. more..

Govt. has given approval for special British envoy

Mar 6 (LT) It has been revealed that the decision taken to send a special envoy from the British Parliament to mediate in the national question in Sri Lanka was taken with the knowledge of government of Sri Lanka. The appointment made in February was opposed by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on 13th February. Several ministers of the government too vehemently criticized the British decision stating it more..

Minister cheats from soldiers’ raincoat contract

Mar 6 (LT) Minister of Textile Development Mahinda Rathnathilaka and his Media Secretary Sampath Katapearachchi have pilfered hundreds of thousand s of rupees from a contract to supply rain coats to soldiers of Security Forces say reports. The fraud has been carried out by the two individuals by privately handling an order of a contract received by ‘Salusala.’ more..

'Minister’s wife’s action denies Rs.170 million to govt'

Mar 6 (LT) Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera states the government has lost Rs.176.8 million due to the move of a wife of a minister. Answering a question raised by JVP Member Premasiri Manage in Parliament yesterday Minister Felix Perera said the relevant minister’s wife has instructed her fleet of boats not to unload fish at the fisheries harbour in Mutwal but to unload the catch only at Galle Harbour. more..

Exposition of Tooth Relic after a lapse of six years

Mar 6 (GDI) To invoking blessings on the country for peace and prosperity, a special public exposition of the Sacred Tooth Relic begins at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy at 1 p.m. today. (March 6). The special exposition organised after a lapse of six years on the instructions of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Prelates will continue from 1 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. daily till March 16, more..

'We’ll build people’s power to defeat electricity bill'

Mar 6 (LT) The people’s power needed to defeat the electricity bill that was passed in Parliament by Rajapakse government as a step towards privatization of CEB would be built says JVP Parliamentarian K.D. Lal Kanthe. Mr. Lal Kanthe said when the same bill was presented by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1996 trade unions in the country stopped it by launching a 72 hour strike. more..

Train service to be extended to Thandikulam

Mar 6 (GDI) The Northern line train, which currently operates up to Vavuniya, would be extended to Thandikulam before March 15, the Department of Railways said. A trial run was successfully conducted from Vavuniya to Thandikulam yesterday while another train with crew and equipment arrived at Thandikulam from Dematagoda to attend to repairs to the stretch of track which had not been maintained by more..

Bumper paddy harvest in the East

Mar 6 (PISL) Thousands of acres of paddy land in the Eastern Province were left fallow during the long years of conflict. The prevailing insecurity made it difficult for farmers to access their fields, while many people left the region altogether. Further, the LTTE compelled farmers in areas under its control to pay into its coffers after each harvest, which affected the profitability of their enterprises. more..

British parliamentarian suffering from an overdose of imagination

Mar 6 (PISL) Andrew Dismore, Labour Member of Parliament for an obscure suburb in Northwest London, sounds as though he has been sniffing something. In an article described rather hopefully as ‘comment’ on the Guardian website today, he does a very good job of repeating LTTE propaganda, while completely failing to note what are accepted by the United Nations and other international agencies as the essential facts of the Sri Lankan conflict. more..

BBC distortions and lies

Mar 6 (PISL) The airwaves were spinning on Wednesday March 3rd with the claim that the ICRC had said that there was an impending humanitarian catastrophe in north-eastern Sri Lanka. It was highlighted on BBC World and, apart from having to answer vaious Sri Lankan media outfits who called me about this well before dawn, I even had to face an interview on World Radio Switzerland, with what seemed yet another gung-ho Britisher. more..

President worships the sacred Tooth Relic inaugurating the special exposition

Mar 6 (GDI) A special exposition of the sacred Tooth Relic has been opened at the Historic Dalada Maligawa today, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa worshipped the sacred Tooth Relic inaugurating the rare religious ritual taken place after a six-year lapse from the last exposition. The sacred event has been blessed by Mahanayakas from both Malwathu and Asgiria religious chapters, and the exposition will be open to the public till 16 March. more..

Victory is close at hand and civilians leave for peace

Mar 6 (GDI) For some 36,000 recent arrivals from Sri Lanka’s war zone to camps in the north-east, harrowing tales of escape from rebel-held territory are plentiful. Many relate tales of dodging artillery shells and bullets, before being evacuated to government-run camps. And, armed forces are still struggling to evacuate these innocent civilians trapped in a thin coastal strip. more..

ICT indispensible in both public and private sectors'

Mar 6 (GDI) As the future of the public administration will lie in the proficiency of public servants on ICT, qualified personnel in Information Communication Technology (ICT) will be added to the combined services in the public sector as a separate service shortly, said Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama. more..

Expectant mothers get the best care in Sri Lanka – World Bank

Mar 6 (GDI) Sri Lankan women get the best prenatal care in South Asia among other countries since Sri Lanka uses its resources more efficiently and equitably, a World Bank report revealed. The fact is clearly emphasized in a World Bank report titled “Sparing Lives: Better Reproductive Health for Poor Women in South Asia,” released yesterday in South Asia. The report reveals that Sri Lanka outpaces Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in more..

Govt to set up 1,000-bed field hospital for IDPs

Mar 6 (GDI) The Government is making arrangements set up a 1,000-bed field hospital for internally displaced persons fleeing Mullaitivu, Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He pointed out that more and more civilians were found to be fleeing from Mullaitivu and the hospitals were inadequate. The Government will immediately take over the Pulmudai, Chettikulam and Padaviya provincial hospitals to house the sick IDPs, the Health Ministry said. more..

Situation Report (Mar 6) by SLA

Mar 6 (SLA) 58 DIVISION troops after they established positions in PUTHUKUDDIIRIPPU junction continued their advance further towards the eastern boundary of the town and expanded their defences by Thursday (5) afternoon. Valiant troops in the 582 Brigade meanwhile directed heavy fire on terrorists and overpowered the enemy fire using armour and artillery. A HANDFUL of terrorists, wild over continuing exit of civilians more..

Over 20 child trafficking cases last year - NCPA

Mar 6 (DN) Over 20 incidents of child trafficking were reported last year and over 32 persons were arrested in this connection, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairman Jagath Wellawatta said. Most child trafficking incidents were reported from Trincomalee and nearby areas. A committee has been appointed to tackle this issue which comprises officials from the Foreign Employment Bureau, he said. more..

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka Part 02

Year 5 Scholarship examination: 616 scored zero

Mar 6 (Island) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha informed parliament that 616 students who sat for the Grade Five Scholarship examination held last year had scored zero (00) marks. The percentage of those who scored zero (00) was 2 percent, he said. The minister was replying a question raised by JVP Mp Y. M. Navaratne Banda for oral answers. The total number of students who sat for the examination was 275,151. more..

New Companies Act increases registrations

Mar 6 (DN) The introduction of the new Companies Act to the Department, Registrar of Companies last year has simplified the procedure of company registrations and has also led to an increase in the number of registrations. Last year, with the new Companies Act (Companies Act of Seven 2007)being implemented at the Department, Registrar of Companies, there were 7,802 registered and active companies. more..