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Troops find rebels' underwater hideout

May 8 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan troops have discovered a metal structure believed to be an underwater home for the Tamil Tiger rebels in the northeastern part of the country. 'This 360-foot-long and 25-foot-wide structure, apparently compartmentalised into three sections, has been made of strong iron, and set on iron rails, like a railway carriage. In addition, a huge 300-foot-long underwater canal that leads to the high seas is connected to the metal structure,' more..

Sri Lanka gambling on monsoon onset to avoid power cuts

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka has not yet discussed power cuts, a senior government minister said as hydro storage at the country's state run power utility ran towards a critical level which may trigger compulsory load shedding. Hydro storage at the CEB fell to 330 GigaWatt-hours this week, or enough to generate 330 million units of energy. The 'critical' water level before power cuts kick in is 300GWh, more..

Sri Lanka army 'maintains advance'

May 8 (BBC) Sri Lanka's army says it is continuing to make advances into Tamil Tiger territory, with the president saying the war is "rapidly" nearing an end. Mahinda Rajapkasa said that Sri Lanka was on "the threshold of a new era of lasting peace". Troops were advancing in the designated no-fire zone in the north-east amid stiff rebel resistance, the defence ministry website said. The pro-rebel TamilNet has urged the US to find a "political balance". more..

'LTTE using India just like Taliban, Al-Qaeda use Pakistan'

May 8 (PTI) With Sri Lankan troops "hammering them", the LTTE, which has "logistical and training infrastructure" in India, is using the country just like the Taliban and Al Qaeda use Pakistan, a leading US think tank has claimed. "Support in Tamil Nadu means that the Tigers can -- and do -- exploit the international border to their advantage. The Tigers use India in much the same way that the Taliban and Al Qaeda use Pakistan," more..

'TNA not concerned about the LTTE'

May 8 (DM) The TNA told Parliament yesterday that it was not concerned about the LTTE, but insisted the government to find a political solution to the national question. TNA MP N. Sri Kantha said that his party was concerned only about the civilians, but that the government had branded them LTTE supporters. “But it is this very same government’s politicians and officials who went to Kilinochchi during the 2005 Presidential elections and solicited the LTTE’s support, addressing their leaders ‘Machang’. more..

Tigers, Tamil Diaspora and the Tamil civilian plight

May 8 (DBJ) In 1989, this writer attended a conference organised by the pro-Tiger publication Tamil Voice International in London. Among the participants were politicians,journalists and bureaucrats from India such as P. Upendra, S. Unnikrishnan, Aladi Aruna, N.V.N. Somu, K. Veeramani, A.P. Venkateswaran and Samantha Datta Ray. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran sent a felicitatory message to the conference. more..

Siriwardene and two others dropped from World Cup squad

May 9 (CI) Selectors have dropped the country's top three top run-getters in the Women's World Cup in Australia from the 14-member squad for next month's World Twenty20. The players dropped are team captain Shashikala Siriwardene, opening batsman Dedunu Silva and all-rounder Suwini de Alwis. Siriwardene topped the run-scoring list with 72 runs (at 18.00), and was followed by Dedunu with 68 runs (at 17.00) and Suwini 65 runs (at 16.25). more..

Christian restraint as a few Sinhalese and Tamil communalists call the shots

May 9 (CT) Babu Thomas’s piece (“Columnist accuses Christians for Sri Lanka war”, 5 May, 2009) touches on the currents of aggressive self-aggrandizing communalism in Sri Lanka now spreading to India. This paper examines communalism in the Sri Lankan context where, whether Tamil or Sinhalese, Christians are increasingly under attack, and Hindus from India are joining in the fray. more..

IOM clinics to provide primary health care for displaced

May 9 (IOM) IOM engineers have completed the first of ten primary health care centres at the rapidly expanding Menik Farm displacement camp in Vavuniya, the government-controlled district southwest of Mullaitivu, where fighting between the government and LTTE Tamil Tigers continues. With some 125,000 IDPs already in the camp and a further 25,000 currently sheltering in schools and public buildings in Vavuniya town expected to be transferred there, more..

UN violating Charter obligation to promote, encourage human rights - Prof. Boyle

May 9 (TN) Dithering in the halls of the human rights apex body, the United Nations, culminating in the recent uncharacteristic pronouncement that the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is "too-busy" to visit Sri Lanka, has prompted a legal scholar to point out that "where an individual such as the U.N. Secretary General has an obligation to act to prevent criminal activity and either refuses or fails to do so, more..

Indian girls perform creditably at Colombo soccer festival

May 9 (IANS) Largely unnoticed and unsung, 22 Indian girls, forming two teams, returned from Colombo after a creditable show in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) south central under-14 festival there from May 1 to 5. Being a festival to encourage the game among girls at the grassroot level, there are no points to be gained from victories. Only cards - green, yellow and red - are awarded. The A and B teams of each country play 30-minute matches. more..

M.I.A calls for Oprah Winfrey's help

May 9 (NME) M.I.A has called upon Oprah Winfrey's help to raise awareness of the bombing of civilian camps in the singer's birth country of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka government admitted last week that its air force have bombed a safe haven set up for refugees escaping from the bloody conflict between the army and Tamil Tigers. Posting on her Myspace, 31-year-old M.I.A said she met Oprah at Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People bash in New York and said she got on well. more..

Grim picture emerges from Tamil camps

May 9 (TS) Tamil refugees have been sexually assaulted by soldiers and dead bodies ignored at a Sri Lankan displaced persons camp that lacks food and water, camp aid workers told Britain's Channel 4. Sri Lanka's consul general in Toronto, Bandula Jayasekara, rejected the assault allegations as LTTE propaganda and British television sensationalism. Though the United Nations and several aid groups say thousands of Tamil refugees at government-controlled camps are malnourished, more..

Tamil Tigers vow to fight on

May 9 (BBC) The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka have vowed to fight on despite losing almost all the territory they controlled until recently. LTTE political wing leader, B Nadesan, told BBC Sandeshaya that the rebels would not admit defeat "until the people are with us". He again denied accusations by the UN, human rights organisations and the government that the LTTE does not allow civilians trapped in the battle zone to leave the conflict. more..

'Only democratic solution to Sri Lankan problem'

May 9 (IANS) Civilians in Sri Lanka need to be protected and any solution to the island nation's problem will have to come through the democratic way, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said. 'The civilians in Sri Lanka haven't harmed anybody and they need to be protected. If there has to be a solution to the Sri Lankan problem then it has to come through democratic means,' Gandhi said more..

Sri Lanka military re-demarcates no fire zone

May 9 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan military announced Friday the re-demarcation of the northeastern no fire zone. Military officials said the previously defined safe zone for civilians has now been redemarated to match current realities, and the new area is 2km x 1.5 kms. The military announced in mid February that an NFZ for civilians in the Mullaithivu district's Puttumatalan coastal strip. The original area of extent was 12 sq kms. more..

China and India compete which each other in Propping up Rogue States

May 9 (TC) This is pretty interesting in a way, but certainly, disgusting to see how the two emerging politico-economic powers in Asia, one, the largest country in the world governed by the largest Communist Party in the world and the other, the largest modern democracy in the world with a giant electoral process, compete silently in trying to increase their regional influence and power by assisting and supporting "rogue" States, while also improving trade between them selves. more..

Church, activists want aid-agency access to war-affected areas

May 9 (UCAN)Church and civil groups have urged the government to allow aid agencies immediate access to areas badly affected by the long-running civil war in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council, said the government is still restricting the activities of international aid agencies and limiting their access to such areas, as it attempts to "weed out" Tamil rebels from welfare camps. more..

Nuns assist war-displaced elderly people

May 9 (UCAN) The body of an elderly person is placed on a vehicle at the Missionaries of Charity-run center to be taken for cremation. However, no relatives are present to mourn as many have been separated from one other as a result of the civil war. "Severe injuries, organ failure, severe trauma and emotional problems as a result of being displaced have resulted in a number of deaths, and are a real challenge for us," says Sister Liz Jose, more..

Sri Lanka: The talk is all tea

May 9 (CSM) To drive into the cool, tea-growing hills of Sri Lanka is to escape the grueling war against Tamil separatists that has come to define this Indian Ocean island. The 26-year conflict is mostly a background buzz for the Tamils who labor in the British-built tea estates. In fact, their main struggle, when they’re not agitating for higher wages, has been for citizenship, a right denied to millions after independence in 1948. It took decades to resolve. more..

Urgent international scrutiny needed in Sri Lanka, say UN rights experts

May 9 (UN) A group of independent United Nations experts today called on the Human Rights Council to urgently set up an international inquiry to address the “critical” situation in Sri Lanka amid fighting between the army and Tamil rebels. “There is an urgent need to establish an international commission of inquiry to document the events of recent months and to monitor ongoing developments,” more..

Sri Lankan Humanitarian Crisis

Wesak message from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

May 9 (AT) While Buddhists are getting ready to celebrate Wesak (Vesak) festival all over the world, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent a very rare Wesak message to Buddhists in Britain saying that everyone could learn from the Buddhist philosophy and should reflect on the contribution the religion has made to society. According to Downing Street information, the Prime Minister issued the message for Buddhists in Britain as they getting ready to celebrate Wesak, more..

Sri Lanka Tourism rebrands in Brussels

May 9 (AT) The Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels, on behalf of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, together with SriLankan Airlines launched the new brand of Sri Lanka Tourism, Sri Lanka – Small Miracle in the Belgian market last week. The objective of re-branding was to create a core idea that can change the traveller's perception of the country, encapsulating its diversity, authenticity, compactness and its geographical location identifying Sri Lanka from its competitors. more..

Of humanitarians and bullies

May 9 (AT) Sri Lanka is a sovereign territory that is now being fundamentally battered by two major forces in their bid to save the LTTE leadership. One the UK, USA, EU, India led western strategic alliance within and outside the UN system. The other is the local NGO and INGO groups working hand in glove with the above forces. One of their main gripes is about INGOs, NGOs and the media not being given full access to the few square kilometres in which Prabhakaran and his remaining cadres are trapped. more..

After deprivation, Sri Lanka's displaced nurture hopes of going home

May 9 (AN) In the last week, some sort of order seems to be coming to the camps here in northeastern Sri Lanka. The task is momentous as the numbers of displaced people are continuously increasing. The camps are expanding, but despite all the preparations, the sheer volume means the early weeks have been chaotic. It seems those who've been displaced to Trincomalee will also end up coming to Vavuniya. more..

It’s now New Safety Zone: Colombo

May 9 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government on Friday renamed the remaining area under occupation by the LTTE inside the No-Fire Zone (NFZ) as New Safety Zone (NSZ). The Defence Ministry said here the Army now is in full control of more than two-third of the existing Puthumathlan “Safety Zone” and declared that the re-christened NSZ is confined to south of Karayamullivaikkal including Vellamullivaikkal — two km in length and 1.5 km in width — along the Mullathivu sea coast. more..

'CPI has not yet talked about separate Eelam'

May 9 (Hindu) CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan on Friday said his party had not yet talked about a separate Eelam. The party conference had only advocated the right to self-determination in areas where the Tamils were in a majority. However, he warned that the feelings of the people in support of a separate Tamil Eelam would be consolidated if Sri Lanka continued its “genocidal attack” on the Tamils. more..

Repeated shelling of hospitals evidence of war crimes

May 9 (HRW) The Sri Lankan armed forces have repeatedly struck hospitals in the northern Vanni region in indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks, Human Rights Watch said today. Commanders responsible for ordering or conducting such attacks may be prosecuted for war crimes. Patients, medical staff, aid workers, and other witnesses have provided Human Rights Watch with information about at least 30 attacks on more..

The Worlds are convinced by Lord Buddha

May 9 (LG) Question: However, we also know that the Supreme Buddha has spoken of these places. How does the Doctrine clarify these? Imagined thoughts are defined as mentally created images of things that may not exist. (A person who has imagined thoughts may unwittingly equate them with real things.) There are Buddhists today who place Nibbana in the category of imagined thoughts instead of the category of knowledge according toreality. more..

North and East celebrated Vesak after 30 years

May 9 (AT) After 30 years, Buddhists in the Jaffna peninsula and in Batticaloa celebrated Vesak on Friday, commemorating the birth of Buddha, his attaining Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana. "With the dawn of peace into the North, this seems a significant development towards the government's effort to unite the country", a Batticaloa resident said. more..

Unions strike landmark deal to protect migrant workers

May 9 (IPS) Trade unions from Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait came together with their Sri Lankan counterparts here to strike an unprecedented agreement on the welfare of migrant workers. The Colombo agreement is seen as breaking the tight grip on migrant workers of recruitment agencies here and in recruiting countries. It grants all internationally recognised labour rights to Sri Lankan workers, with unions in receiving countries ensuring implementation. more..

President prepares for “economic war” on workers

May 9 (wsws) In his May Day speech last week, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse sent a blunt message to working people that in the name of “building the nation” they must shoulder the burden of the country’s economic crisis. Rajapakse organised the May Day meeting at his official residence, inviting trade union bureaucrats of his SLFP and several other partners of the ruling coalition. The SLFP had pasted posters around Colombo with the slogan: “We should work and build the country.” more..

'Post-conflict is post-Sri Lankan'

May 9 (TN) The Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim is half a century late in calling for a federal solution to the Tamil national question in the island of Sri Lanka, said TamilNet’s political commentator in Colombo. “By naming the solution in his mind, whether Erik Solhiem is resigning from his role of peace facilitation and assumes another profile”, asked the commentator. “A federal agenda upheld at this juncture is a mockery of the spirit of federalism. more..


May 9 (LG) Stephen Suntharaj, age 39, has been working for Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) since March 2008 as program officer. He formerly worked for Child Protection Authority, Jaffna branch. Stephen had taken up many cases of child abuse in Jaffna as a result was threatened by different groups and ultimately had to flee Jaffna. In the 1st week of March Stephen was taken by armed men in uniform, just few yards away from CHRD office (No. 06 Aloe Avenue Kolpity – Colombo 03). more..

Pre-school education to be upgraded in NCP

May 9 (GDI) A comprehensive program has been initiated to upgrade and expand the pre-school education in the North Central Province (NCP). The venture has been designed on par with the provincial educational motto "There is no future without education. The program would continue for five years. Steps are afoot to pay an allowance of Rs. 1,000 to every trained pre-school head teachers from June 2009. more..

Russia pledges support for Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism measures

May 9 (LG) The Government of the Russian Federation strongly supports the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the island. This pledge was made by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov to his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rohitha Bogollagama during a telephone discussion between them last Wednesday. more..

Measures to protect wild elephants

May 9 (GDI) Department of Wildlife Conservation has taken steps to implement project to protect wild elephants. Rs. 300 million has been allocated by the government for the implementation of the project to protect wild elephants. The increased intrusion of wild elephant herds into the agriculturally developed areas in Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Districts required immediate attention to prevent such destruction of cultivated land. more..

First batch of Trauma Counselling Trainers to North

May 9 (GDI) The Government dispatched the first batch of trauma counselling trainers to the North to train teachers in the region in counselling children who suffered the effects of the war, Education Ministry revealed. A census of school going children among the displaced people will also be conducted to enable authorities to provide facilities to admit them to temporary schools for those children to restart education at the appropriate school grade level. more..

Lumbini Viharaya re-opened after 19 years

May 9 (GDI) The Lumbini Viharaya at Kilinochchi was opened yesterday to coincide with Vesak Poya after 19 years. Religious observances were conducted at the temple yesterday with the participation of military officers and soldiers. The temple is located on the A 9 road. The military also placed a Buddha statue at the temple which had been destroyed during the period when Kilinochchi was under LTTE control. more..

Colombo mosque mayhem kills one & injures nine

May 9 (PSM) One person was killed and nine injured when an armed gang opened fire at crowds who were coming after Friday prayers from the Maligawatte Jumma Mosque, Colombo, police said. They said according to initial investigations it appeared to be linked to rivalry among underworld gangs in the area. Community leaders and Muslim Theolgians have condemned this attack and denounced the culture of using mosques for gang rivalry. more..

Indecision about 400 files due to inactive PSC

May 9 (CT) The inactive state of the Public Services Commission has resulted in indecision regarding 400 important files of the public service. These files relate to appointments, transfers, retirements and suspensions of top public officials, secretary of the commission Lakshmi Gunawardena said. The PSC’s tenure ended on April 08, but no new members have been appointed as yet. She said decisions made by the cabinet regarding the public service in the absence of the independent commission were against the law. more..

Govt. eyes privately-run EPFs - Ravaya

May 9 (CT) Faced with a severe shortage of cash, even to meet daily expenditures of the state, the government has ordered privately-run Employees Provident Funds (EPF) to invest in the state sector. The order has come in gazette extraordinary no: 1599/13 of 28 April 2008 issued by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, 'Ravaya' says. It makes compulsory that half of EPF, pension and dividend monies in both the state and private sectors is invested in either more..

Peace & Justice for Sri Lankan: Part 3

Peace & Justice for Sri Lankan: Part 2

Peace & Justice for Sri Lankan: Part 1

No Lankans affected by fire in South Indian oil mill

May 9 (AD) Deputy High Commissioner in India for Sri Lanka P.M Amza confirmed that no Sri Lankans were affected by yesterday’s major fire at an oil mill in Chennai. According to the Deputy High Commissioner several Sri Lankan refugees are employed at this oil-press, but were not in the premises when the fire occurred. “Soon after the fire was reported we have collected the facts on Sri Lankans, but there were no reports that any of them were affected,” more..

Northern development: NGOs pledge to cooperate

May 9 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a meeting with the NGO fraternity at Temple Trees on Thursday, prevailed upon them that they were welcome to play a supplementary role to that of the Government when it comes to relief and rehabilitation efforts in the north. During discussions, the President noted that the Government was prepared to support these organizations if they were prepared to work within the set framework by the authorities. more..

Fuel distribution centre opened in Paranthan

May 9 (MoD) A filling station was opened yesterday (07 May) at the Paranthan Junction to facilitate fuel distribution in the Wanni and the North. The centre was opened after renovating it on the instructions given by the Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka. It was opened under the patronage of Director of Planning and Transport Brigadier Ashoka Padeniya and 58 Division Commander Brigadier Shavendra Silva. more..

SLAF airlifts Tamil civilians injured in LTTE firing

May 9 (MoD) Sri Lanka Air Force has airlifted Tamil civilians received severe injuries in LTTE indiscriminate firing to the Anuradhapura base hospital last evening, 8 May. Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking to said 12 Tamil civilians airlifted from Alampil to Anuradhapura base hospital for immediate medical attention. more..