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'Spin docs create casualty figures to mislead UN'

May 11 (MoD) The LTTE now on the verge of collapse on the Mullaittivu front has accused the army of killing over 2,000 civilians in an artillery barrage over the weekend. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa denied the accusation. In a brief interview with The Island, he pointed out that the LTTE had timed the latest propaganda lie for an informal session of the UN Security Council scheduled for today. more..

Malaysian lawyer denies links with LTTE

May 11 (TS) Hindraf’s legal adviser M. Manoharan denied that he is linked to the Tamil Tigers. “Ours is a people’s struggle, we are not terrorists and neither are the movement’s main members P. Uthayakumar, P. Waythamoorthy, S. Ganabathi Rao and K. Vasathakumar,” he said. Manoharan added that his detention over allegations that he was linked to the LTTE was absurd. more..

Australia could aid Sri Lanka civilians

May 11 (AAP) Australia may announce further assistance to help civilians caught up in fighting in Sri Lanka. Last week, Australia announced $10 million in aid but since then the United Nations has condemned the killing of more than 100 children at the weekend. During a Labor caucus meeting on Monday, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the situation in Sri Lanka was a serious humanitarian crisis. more..

Sri Lanka's Tamils watch in silence

May 11 (AT) Thousands of Tamils in European capitals and elsewhere continue to press the United Nations and Western governments to stop the war in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government dismisses these protests as efforts to provide a lifeline to the LTTE, which is now on the brink of certain defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces. But the diaspora Tamils say they are protesting to save their kith and kin who are either suffering in a five square kilometer theatre of war more..

Tamil protest surprisesToronto

May 11 (G&M) In a dramatic demonstration that caught Toronto police by surprise, several thousand flag-waving Tamil protesters swarmed onto one of Canada's busiest highways on Sunday, shutting it down in both directions for several hours and stranding thousands of unsuspecting drivers. After marching through several major downtown streets to protest reports that at least 378 civilians had been killed in Sri Lanka's war zone, an estimated 3,000 demonstrators, more..

UN condemns Sri Lankan 'bloodbath'

May 11 (AP) The United Nations condemned a "bloodbath" in Sri Lanka's northern war zone Monday after two days of shelling that a government doctor said killed at least 430 ethnic Tamil civilians — and likely as many as 1,000. With the civilian death toll skyrocketing in the civil war, a coalition of international human rights groups called for the U.N. Security Council to urgently hold talks on the conflict. more..

Sri Lanka's civilian death toll climbs

May 11 (NP) Both sides in Sri Lanka's civil war accused each other of killing civilians this weekend, as a hospital reported that hundreds had died during an artillery barrage. A hospital official said at least 378 had died and 1,122 were wounded in fighting that began on Saturday and continued yesterday. The Tamil Tigers rebels blamed the Sri Lankan armed forces. But the army dismissed the allegations and accused the rebels of firing mortars at civilians more..

Buddhist feast of Vesak in Sri Lanka, as the war wages on

May 12 (AN) Sri Lanka has come to a stand still to celebrate Vesak, the principal Buddhist Holiday, but the war wages on inflicting a growing number of victims. On May 8th and 9th, liquor stores, gaming halls and butchers remained closed to observe fasting as required by the feast of Buddha Gôtama’s birth, the enlightenment and passing away. As wanted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Vesak is being celebrated under the patronage of the state and has become a national holiday. more..

The plight of the Tamils

May 12 (NT) After months of peaceful protests, including hunger strikes on Parliament Hill, protestors took their call for peace talks back home onto the Gardiner yesterday after news of the deaths of 400 civilians in continued fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist LTTE. Women and children were at the front of the protest line. It was a desperate act by a community desperate for someone, anyone among the ranks of the government, to take notice. more..

Embassy of Sri Lanka strongly condemns attack against International Buddhist Centre in Paris

May 12 (leN) The Embassy of Sri Lanka vehemently condemns the cowardly attack on the International Buddhist Centre at Le Bourget in Paris by an unidentified group on Sunday the 10th May 2009. This dastardly act took place within hours after the Vesak, the most sacred festival of Buddhists the world over was celebrated at the Buddhist Centre. more..

Shanthi Lekha is no more

May 12 (LT) Shanthi Lekha, the oldest and renowned actress of Sri Lankan cinema passed away in France today (11th) morning. Rita Irene Queen was her real name and she was born at Kalutara on 1st July, 1929. She was educated at Holy Family Convent, Kalutara. Her nom de plume was coined from her husband’s name, Shanthi Viraj, whom she met while attending school and later married. more..

Boozers somersault on ‘Mahinda Chinthana’

May 12 (LT) The ‘Mathata Thitha’ (stop to alcoholism) which was a concept in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ which was presented by President Mahinda Rajapakse to come to power has stopped at a concept only. All governments that ruled the country before closed bars and wine shops for a week during the Wesak season. However, this year the bars and wine stores were closed only for two days on behalf of Wesak full moon poya day. more..

Piyasiri suffering from unidentified sickness admitted to paying ward

May 12 (LT) NFF MP Piyasiri Wijenayake who was remanded regarding the murder of JVP member Nandana Balage has been admitted to paying ward of the Colombo National Hospital since last Saturday. National Hospital a spokesman said the ailment NFF MP Piyasiri was suffering from has not been identified. Meanwhile, UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardene who was remanded for abducting a child too was warded in National Hospital ailing from a similar unidentified sickness. more..

Sri Lanka impacts India elections

May 12 (BBC) The continuing Sri Lankan crisis has become an election issue in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. There is frustration among some Tamils at the way the Indian government in Delhi has responded to the situation and the killing of so many civilians. Tamil Nadu goes to the polls in the final round of the Indian general elections on Wednesday. Chris Morris reports from Rameshwaram. more..

'Pay' Golden Key depositors

May 12 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ordered the Central Bank to sell all properties belonging to directors of a troubled financial institution to pay its depositors. A three-bench panel chaired by the Chief Justice made the order after considering a petition filed by the depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company (GKCCC). GKCCC chairman Lalith Kotelawala and its directors are accused of misusing around 26 billion rupees of depositors' money. more..

Sri Lanka apparel exports holding up

May 12 (LBO) Sri Lankan apparel exports are slowing as demand slumps with recession but a weaker rupee and continuing duty free access to Europe enable exporters to remain competitive, a senior official said. Rohan Masakorala, secretary general of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry body, said the industry would have been in much worse shape if not for a weaker rupee, lower inflation and duty free concessions. more..

LTTE spokesman killed, Army advances to last Tiger pockets

May 12 (PTI) A leading Tamil Tiger leader Rasiah Ilanthriyan was believed to have been killed as Sri Lankan troops continued their march into the rapidly shrinking areas held by the rebels. The offensive is bringing Army troops almost to a face to face confrontation with the Tiger top brass. But, the pace of advance appears to have been slowed down by heavy mining and fear of large scale civilian casualties. more..

'Ranil’s foreign tours are aimed at benefiting country'

May 12 (LG) UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella addressing a media briefing stated that the Opposition leader’s foreign tours are purposeful unlike the junkets of the Ministers undertaken at state expense only to return without any benefit to the country. The Government accuses the Opposition leader as touring foreign countries to tarnish the Govt.’s image when the Govt. itself must take the responsibility for this. more..

Prophesied gains in reducing maternal deaths in Sri Lanka

May 12 (HA) Interview with Linda Doull, Director of Health and Policy, MERLIN, London. 1.What’s the importance of International Day of the Midwife? Linda Doull: The International day of the Midwife is important to raise two concerns. One the important role of midwife play in supporting women during pregnancy and child birth. And, that becomes most significant, when we realize hundred and thousand of women die during child birth. more..

Lanka Tamils’ issue dominates TN campaign

May 12 (BL) Curtains came down on Monday on the no-holds-barred campaign for the May 13 Lok Sabha poll in Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Though it appeared to be a lacklustre campaign, in the absence of a clear political wave, there is no gainsaying the election was fiercely fought. Top leaders including the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the United Progressive Alliance chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, more..

Speaker criticises Tamil protests

May 12 (BBC) Commons Speaker Michael Martin has accused hundreds of Tamil protesters of "hijacking" Parliament Square. Demonstrators have gathered in the square since the beginning of April, causing disruption to traffic. Mr Martin said the protests were preventing others from "exercising their democratic duty to demonstrate". Following complaints from several MPs about the disruption, he said he would hold a meeting in the Commons for those involved in a bid to resolve the issue. more..

Britain "appalled" by civilian deaths in Sri Lanka

May 12 (Reuters) Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday he was appalled by reports that hundreds of Sri Lankan civilians were killed during the weekend in what the United Nations has described as a "bloodbath." Miliband raised doubts about whether Colombo could be trusted at the moment to use a $1.9 billion loan from the IMF appropriately. "I am appalled by reports that came out of Sri Lanka over the weekend of mass civilian casualties," more..

Ayuvedic drugs corporation completes 40 years

May 12 (GDI) Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation commemorates it’s 40th year today (May 11). Chairman of the Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation, Mr. Somaweera Chandrasiri said steps have been taken to conduct several islandwide programs, commencing from today with the introduction of a new Komarika shampoo. While conducting 40th year commemorating programs, from May 13 ayurvedic drugs will be distributed through the Co-op cities islandwide, more..

Caritas provides artificial limbs for war disabled

May 12 (UCAN) Little Vathani celebrated her eighth birthday a few months ago in Visvamadhu, a village in war-torn northern Sri Lanka. The next morning, her village was attacked by aerial bombardment and artillery. The terrified girl was running through the paddy fields when she was hit by a shell, which blew her leg away. Her mother, Arunthathi Selvathurai, 52, recalled the horrifying sight of Vathani, crying in fear and pain, the remains of her leg lying beside her in the mud. more..

Is the LTTE really finished?

Sri Lanka's 50,000 hostages

May 12 (Guardian) The police have the building surrounded. Inside, a dangerous gunman holds five hostages. The authorities have to decide how to free the innocent safely when those lives are at the mercy of a desperate and violent criminal. Multiply by about 10,000, and you have the situation in north-east Sri Lanka today. For months, the Sri Lankan army has been tightening the noose around the remaining forces of the separatist LTTE, pushing them into an ever smaller space. more..

Tamil doctors help NZ plan for war zone

May 12 (NZH) An organisation representing Tamil doctors in New Zealand says it plans to work with international aid agencies to smuggle aid and personnel into Sri Lanka to help the sick and injured among the 50,000 civilians said to be trapped in the conflict zone. "This is a desperate attempt, but it could be the only way to get medical help to the victims," said Dr Nagalingam Rasalingam, president of the New Zealand Tamil Medical Association. more..

University Avenue remains shut, but Tamil protesters are elsewhere

May 12 (NP) A small contingent of Tamils continued their protest today at Queen's Park and outside the Sri Lankan consulate at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue, and police have shut University Avenue again even though no protesters have gathered there. After last night's blockade, where about 5,000 Tamil protesters faced off with police on the Gardiner Expressway, the small groups of Tamils continued demonstrating more..

Mayor calls Gardiner occupation "unacceptable"

May 12 (NP) Mayor David Miller expressed sympathy today with Tamil protesters who occupied the Gardiner Expressway yesterday to lament to the civilian death toll in Sri Lanka, but condemned their dangerous and disruptive tactics as “wrong.” “The protest last night ending up the Gardiner Expressway was unacceptable,” he said. “The protesters were endangering themselves, they were endangering the public and they were endangering the Toronto Police.” more..

Tamils turn opinion against themselves

May 12 (NP) I think that whatever good will Canada's Tamils may have generated has been completely drowned out by their selfish attempt to coerce the people of Canada through blockades and blackmail into taking up their foreign cause. Despite the fact that many governments around the world, including our own, have tried to convince the Sinhalese government to a ceasefire, the fact is that we have exhausted all available options as a foreign nation that has no legal authority inside of Sri Lanka. more..

Premier, mayor warn Tamils

May 12 (Star) Despite warnings from the premier and mayor, organizers of last night's massive protest on the Gardiner Expressway say they are not ruling out the possibility of another drastic traffic-stopping demonstration in the coming days. "I can't predict what is going to happen but from what I can see, the community has been reasonable," said Senthan Nada, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the War in Sri Lanka. more..

Is the LTTE really finished?

Tamil Tiger flags at protest give impression terrorist group part of demo: Tories

May 12 (CBC) The Conservative government says Tamil-Canadian protests, including one that shut down a Toronto highway on the weekend, are giving people the idea that a terrorist group is part of the demonstrations. Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda says she noticed red flags being flown at the protests baring the symbol of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan guerilla group that has been engaged in a prolonged civil war more..

Outrage grows over Tamil deaths

May 12 (BBC) The UK has expressed outrage over the reported heavy loss of life among civilians in Sri Lanka's Tamil war zone at the weekend. The UN had described the situation in northern Sri Lanka, where civilians are trapped inside a government-designated "safe area", as a "bloodbath". Sri Lanka has objected to the remark and claims that Tamils are misleading the international community with a propaganda campaign. more..

Colombo rejects U.N. claim

May 12 (Hindu) A senior U.N. official said here on Monday reports of large-scale killings in the war zone in Sri Lanka appear to show that fears of bloodbath had become a reality. The military is advancing to take out the remaining cadre and leaders of the LTTE holed up inside the New Safety Zone (NFZ) with an estimated 20,000 civilians held as hostage. “We’ve been consistently warning against a bloodbath, and the large-scale killing of civilians including more than 100 children this weekend appears to show that the bloodbath has become a reality,” more..

Sri Lankan troops poised for big breakthrough

May 12 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military is hopeful of neutralising the military capabilities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam inside the new safety zone (NSZ) in the next 48 hours and paving the way for the release of civilians being held hostage, even as the United Nations characterised the heavy casualties inside the zone in the last two days as a ‘blood bath’ in which over 100 children are believed to have died. more..

Tamil protesters block Toronto highway

Summer winds augur ill for the Sri Lankan Tamil

May 12 (LG) It is only a matter of time before the last redoubt of the LTTE will fall. Armed resistance in the conventional sense of positional warfare will soon come to an end. But for all the triumphalism of the Sri Lankan army, it would instructive to remember that since the fall of Killinochchi in October 2008, a small band of 2000-plus LTTE cadres held out against three divisions of the Sri Lankan army for over eight months. more..

Why Pottu Amman must be captured alive

May 12 (LG) His real name is Shanmugalingam Shivashankar, but the world knows him by his nom de guerre 'Pottu Amman'. Loosely translated from Tamil, it means 'uncle of the tilak fame', a reference to an incident decades ago when he swooned after slashing his arm to apply a tilak on the head of a Sri Lankan Tamil leader. The shadowy, ruthless intelligence chief of the LTTE and the virtual number two in the organisation after Prabhakaran, Amman is also the head of the notorious Black Tiger suicide commandos. more..

Child soldiers in the Wanni; child protesters in Toronto

May 12 (LG) There are quite a few things beyond comprehension. Repeatedly children and infants are being used by the pro-LTTE demonstrators in Toronto and Ottawa and even to stand in the centre of major heartways of the city and making a nuisance of themselves. They have been demonstrating not for anything else but to prevent the wiping out of the terror menace in Sri Lanka aware this is inevitable. more..

She taught maths till 91 years of age

May 12 (AT) A teacher who taught mathematics till her 91st year passed away recently. She was Mrs. Gnanie Nalliah, formerly of Chundikuli Girls’ College, Jaffna, where she taught continuously for 26 years. She retired in 1975 and moved to Colombo where she taught maths to students sitting for the GCE O Level examination. Born on February 4, 1918 to Thunnalai, a quiet village in Jaffna. Gnanie had her early education in the village school before she joined Vembadi Girls’ High School, Jaffna as a boarder. more..

Be like Indian opposition post-26/11, Lankan leaders told

May 12 (PTI) Charging former premier Ranil Wickramasinghe with pressurising Sri Lankan government on the LTTE issue, a senior minister on Monday said his conduct is unlike the way the opposition in India extended its support to the Centre during the Mumbai terror attacks. Sri Lankan Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said freedom and democracy of the Tamil people in the country can be fully ensured only after "completely defeating" the LTTE. more..

Indian coastal security to be revamped in light of LTTE infiltration threat

May 12 (PTI) Charging former premier Ranil Wickramasinghe with pressurising Sri Lankan government on the LTTE issue, a senior minister on Monday said his conduct is unlike the way the opposition in India extended its support to the Centre during the Mumbai terror attacks. Sri Lankan Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said freedom and democracy of the Tamil people in the country can be fully ensured only after "completely defeating" the LTTE. more..

David Miliband on Sri Lanka

UN Security Council refuses to discuss killing in Lanka

May 12 (DPA) Top diplomats from Britain and France were rebuffed Monday when some UN Security Council members refused their request to discuss the fighting in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 400 people during the past weekend. The council members that opposed taking up the issue were not named publicly. Foreign Ministers David Miliband of Britain and Bernard Kouchner of France were also joined by Austria's Michael Spindelegger, more..

No Russia, no China at UNSC meeting on Lanka

May 12 (LG) The United Nations Security Council informal session on Sri Lanka turned out to be a virtual non-event with Russia and China not attending, reports said. An Inner City Press report said: In the face of the weekend's bloodbath on the beach in Sri Lanka, the UN Security Council had its more throw-away meeting yet on the topic, not even an informal Council session, without members such as China and Russia, the Council's president this month. more..

Sathara Varam Deiyyo - The Guardian deities and the International Community

May 12 (LG) When the chattering classes in Colombo talk approvingly of the "International community" (IC), they mean the Europeans, Americans, and their close allies like Canada and Japan. Although the United Nations may have over 200 nations, it is this small but super-IC that we hear about. Sri Lanka has been repeatedly visited by highly placed emissaries of this super-IC. They come to "intervene with the government", and "make it do the right thing". more..

Empowering English teachers of North and East

May 12 (GDI) Year 2009 has been declared the ‘Year of Information Communication Technology’ underlining the themes in the respective chapters of Mahinda Chinthana proposals, and, consequently, another English teacher training programme has been launched today (11) aimed at empowering English teachers serving in the North and East,a Ministry of Education press release revealed. more..

Ban Ki-moon condemns LTTE’s 'reckless disrespect' for civilian life

May 12 (GDI) “The LTTE’s reckless disrespect for the lives of tens of thousands of trapped civilians in the northern parts of Sri Lanka is simply disgusting, and, at least by now, the LTTE must let them cross over to a safer area,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement through a UN spokesman today (12). UN Secretary General said that he was appalled at the killing of civilians and deeply concerned by the continued use of heavy weapons in this situation. more..

China donates US$ 1 million as emergency relief assistance for IDPs

May 12 (GDI) A cheque amount of US$ one million was handed over to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Ms. Yang Xiuping at the Foreign Ministry yesterday as emergency relief assistance for IDPs. Minister Bogollagama recalled China’s consistent support and assistance in Sri Lanka’s fight against terrorism and its principled stand on upholding Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. more..