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'Sri Lanka working on alternatives to IMF money'

May 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is working on a back-up plan with other countries to boost foreign reserves in addition to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. "All of us must have a plan A, plan B, plan C and plan D if possible and we are working on those," said Cabraal, told the the 27th LBO-LBR CEO Forum this week. more..

Cricket to build bridges between North and South

May 14 (PISL) As part of its continuing efforts to build a sustainable peace, the Government with the coordination of the Peace Secretariat has initiated a number of innovative programmes to build ‘Peace Through Sports’. The goal is to promote integration and unity under the banner of education and sport, recognizing that sport is a basis for connectivity between the youth of the North and South. more..

Tigers destroy own vehicles, assets

May 14 (DN) The LTTE cadres unable to withstand the military thrust on them in the last few kilometres in the North of Mullaitivu have started blasting and destroying their own vehicles and other assets as the final battle to rescue the remaining civilians entered into its most crucial stage, with the 58 and 53 Divisions entering into the newly formed safe zone and 59 Division advanced into the area from the south. more..

Relief for IDPs from Lankan diaspora in USA

May 14 (DN) The first consignment of relief goods to the IDPs in Vanni from the Sri Lankan diaspora in USA was handed over to the Disaster Relief Services Minister Ameer Ali at his Ministry in Colombo on Tuesday. As a totally independent voluntary project the relief program for the IDPs also opened a website and their main coordinating centre was located in Sri Lanka. more..

Health sector not hit by recession

May 14 (DN) The health sector is one of the few areas which has not been affected by the recession in Sri Lanka, Chairman, Asiri Surgical Hospital Ashok Pathirage told the launch of their latest Rs. 500 million project, Asiri Heart Centre yesterday. He said that the Asiri Hospital realized the need for a patient - centered cardiovascular care unit through their longstanding experience and with the launch of this unit they can offer a full fledged service under one roof. more..

UNP MP hits out at JHU, NFF statements

May 14 (DM) UNP charged that those who carried out a malicious and false propaganda campaign during the 2004 general election that the UNP was attempting to sell Sigiriya and Sinharaja are now planning to sell gold statues of Buddha and women’s jewellery to support the Government. UNP MP Akila Kariyawasam told a news briefing yesterday that even the colonial rulers had not suggested to sell Buddha statues at temples or sell valuables of women to fatten the State coffers. more..

Relief Villages: Another Sri Lankan lesson

May 14 (MoD) Sri Lanka has already taught number of golden lessons to the world. These lessons, she learnt through enormous hardships, would certainly help nations like her who are being plagued with terrorism to end their sufferings. She has shown to the world, how to defeat a terrorist outfit that takes cover from a human shield. She unveiled how terrorist outfits like LTTE are engineer human sufferings to mislead the very same organizations that are supposed to work against human rights violations. more..

Gang led by retd. DIG’s son held over bank robbery

May 14 (Island) The CCD yesterday arrested a four-member armed gang responsible for the Rs 13 million robbery at the Union Bank, Wellawatte recently. The gang leader is the son of a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police who had earned the respect of the public and the Department, the CCD said. By yesterday noon police had recovered four million rupees. Among those arrested is an officer of a Union Bank branch close to Colombo who is the mastermind behind the operation, more..

Acreage available for paddy cultivation down by 30 per cent

May 14 (Island) The government will be compelled to import rice to meet a sharp shortfall due to the reduction of the acreage available for cultivation during the Yala season by the Mahaweli Authority due to drought. Official sources said that about 35 per cent of land cultivated in the previous season could not be used this time. Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena told a public gathering in Polonnaruwa that the farmers would have to face this situation. more..

Doc obstructed by politico’s bro – GMOA

May 14 (Island) The Government Medical Officers Association has complained to the Maharagama Police that one of its senior members, Dr. Mrs P. N. D. Perera, who was involved in a routine inspection in the dengue prevention programme, by visiting houses, was obstructed by a resident of Maharagama later identified as the brother of a recently elected member of the Western Provincial Council. more..

Final military push

May 14 (DM) The final military push continued yesterday with the Army saying it is involved in a two-pronged offensive to rescue the remaining civilians in the ‘Safe Zone’ even as the LTTE continued to claim that civilians were being killed as a result of the operations. The Army said that troops of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (11 SLLI) serving under 58 Division and infantrymen of 5 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (5 VIR) and 6 Gajaba Regiment (6 GR) serving under 53 Division confronted the LTTE during the operations. more..

Doctrine of public trust will uphold rights says CJ

May 14 (DM) The powers reposed in the Government by the people are exercised by the three organs, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary based in the principles of the trust, since the fundamental rights form part of the sovereignty of the people in terms of the Constitution, said the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva making the inaugural Commemorative oration to felicitate the 125 Anniversary of the Office of the Attorney General more..

President warmly received at the Queen Alia International Airport- Jordan

May 14 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was received by the Minister of Industry and Trade of Jordan, Amer Hadidi at the Royal Pavilion of Queen Alia International Airport now, our Correspondent from Amman said. President Rajapkasa was accorded a Guard of Honour by the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces on his arrival at the airport. more..

LTTE counter-attack crushed, army on threshold of final victory

May 14 (ANN) The army Tuesday night thwarted what would have been one of the last LTTE counter attacks on troops now positioned south of the no firing zone. In an attempt to drive out the 59 Division troops who had crossed the Waduvakkal Bridge to reach the southern edge of the no firing zone earlier on the day, the LTTE had launched a two-pronged assault, a senior army official told The Island. more..

Killers surrender to UK cops after hiding with Tamil Tigers

May 14 (ELA) Two killers who fled abroad five years ago after murdering a man in his home in East London have been jailed for life today—after being tracked down in ‘Tamil Tiger’ territory in Sri Lanka. They finally faced the music at the Old Bailey after being traced to a village occupied by the Tamil rebels in a joint operation between Scotland Yard and Sri Lankan police. They were arrested at Heathrow Airport after being flown back to Britain. more..

Passion can't be denied

May 14 (CN) Wave after wave kept arriving yesterday, thousands of Tamil Canadians spilling forth from cars, buses and subways to converge on Queen's Park in yet another protest to demand government action against the brutal Sri Lankan offensive killing their relatives back home. Slam the inconvenience; decry their methods. But you can only stand in awe of their passion and ability to mobilize for a cause they so deeply believe in. more..

Tamils earn goodwill - then lose it

May 14 (G&M) Yesterday afternoon, Tamil protesters were handing out cards reading "Sorry for the trouble, understand our struggle." By evening, the streets of downtown Toronto were clogged, streetcars backed up, and unimpressed onlookers said any goodwill earned during the day was likely quashed by the protest march passing before them. "They're certainly not making many friends when they disrupt the downtown core," said Marie Johnston, who spent 20 minutes waiting for more..

Govt condemns statements made by Ranil in Belgium and London

May 14 (AT) "The Sri Lanka Government vehemently condemns the statements made by Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe in Belgium and London regarding Sri Lanka. It is nothing short of political treachery". This was stated by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. "The Sri Lanka Government is conducting military operations against the LTTE terrorists in such a manner that they do not inflict any harm on innocent civilians held hostage by the LTTE. more..

Sri Lankan migrants intercepted off Indonesia

May 14 (AFP) Fifty-five Sri Lankan migrants were intercepted Thursday off the coast of western Indonesia as they tried to reach Australia to look for work, police said. Fishermen found the migrants, men aged from 25 to 30, aboard a damaged wooden boat two kilometres (just over a mile) from the coast of Aceh province, Sumatra island, police said. "They were actually trying to reach Australia to find jobs," more..

'US working very closely with India on Sri Lanka'

May 14 (PTI) A top US official on Wednesday said the Obama Administration has kept India fully informed and is working very closely with New Delhi on the current Sri Lankan crisis. "We have been working very closely with India," the Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher, told a group of South Asian journalists at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department. more..

Reassured Python leaves behind 20 eggs

May 14 (PTI) In a rare instance, a huge python that laid more than 20 eggs left the spot feeling reassured about their safety after the wildlife officials arrived to protect the rare species in Galle in southern Sri Lanka. According to experts, pythons usually don’t leave their eggs till they are hatched for fear of being eaten away by animals or reptiles. But the python sneaked away after it found the wildlife officials taking a good care of the eggs, an official said here. more..

Family album of the Tamil who invented suicide bombings

May 14 (Independent) His whole adult life he has been in hiding, directing Asia's longest modern war, but as the shells continued to rain down on the strip of land his rebels hold, another, sweeter side of the life of the Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was put on view by the Sri Lankan government. The album of plundered family snaps shows him enjoying the sort of lifestyle his thousands of devoted cadres could only dream of: more..

Sri Lanka's war grinds on despite U.S., U.N. calls

May 14 (Reuters) Fighting in Sri Lanka's war showed no signs of abating on Thursday despite strong words from Barack Obama and the U.N. Security Council, with both sides refusing to budge in the waning days of a 25-year conflict. The Security Council and Obama on Wednesday urged the LTTE to surrender and free tens of thousands of civilians they are holding, and the military to stop shelling people and refrain from using heavy weapons. more..

President appoints Task Force

May 14 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa by virtue of powers vested in him by Article 33 (f) of the Constitution of the Democratic, Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, has appointed a 19- member Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province. It is mandated to prepare strategic plans, programs and projects to resettle internally displaced persons, rehabilitate and develop economic and social infrastructure of the Northern Province. more..

Sri Lanka, rebels praise Obama call for war to end

May 14 (AP) The Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government on Thursday welcomed Barack Obama's appeal for an end to the civil war here, but both sides ignored the U.S. president's strong criticism of their conduct and appeared prepared to push ahead with the fight. With the death toll from the fighting mounting, Obama demanded the rebels lay down their arms and release the thousands of civilians they have been accused of holding more..

Tamil Tigers using phosphorus to halt final attack: military

May 14 (AFP) The Sri Lankan military on Thursday accused Tamil Tigers of using phosphorus bombs as part of their last-ditch attempt to face off against a massive onslaught by government troops. A military statement said the once-powerful rebel force, now surrounded in a four square kilometre (1.5 square mile) patch of jungle on the northeast coast, had deployed the bombs as landmines across their defence lines. more..

Sri Lanka rejects ceasefire pleas

May 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka rejected international calls to halt its final offensive against Tamil rebels on Thursday, hours after the United Nations Security Council called for civilian lives to be spared. Human rights groups and foreign governments, including the United States, have become increasingly vocal in their calls for a ceasefire to allow trapped non-combatants to escape, but Colombo remained unmoved. more..

UN calls for faster screening process, greater access

May 14 (IRIN) The UN is calling on the Sri Lankan government to expedite the screening of thousands of IDPs now staying at dozens of government camps in the north. Almost 200,000 Tamil civilians have fled the fighting between government forces and the LTTE, who have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland for more than two decades. More than half have crossed into government-controlled areas since 20 April. more..

At least 2,000 break out of war zone

May 14 (AP) At least 2,000 ethnic Tamil civilians braved rebel fire and waded across a lagoon Thursday to break out of Sri Lanka's war zone, the military said, as the government pressed ahead with its battle to destroy the separatists. The Red Cross said the tiny strip of coastal land controlled by the rebels was wracked by fighting, despite appeals from President Barack Obama and the U.N. for the two sides to end the civil war and more..

Thousands cross lagoon to flee fighting

May 14 (Reuters) Thousands of Sri Lankans under fire waded across a lagoon to escape the island's war zone, where the military has surrounded Tamil Tiger rebels for the final battle in a quarter-century conflict. The military said aerial surveillance footage confirmed the exodus of around 5,000 people from a tiny, sandy coastal strip, where the United States and others say the LTTE are holding thousands by force. more..

Doctors flee only hospital in war zone

May 14 (AP) Doctors and aides abandoned the only hospital in Sri Lanka's war zone amid unrelenting shell attacks, a health official said Thursday, as thousands of civilians braved rebel gunfire and fled across the front lines, according to the military. The medical staff was huddling in a nearby bunker because of the nonstop shelling, and could hear the cries of hundreds of patients unable to leave the hospital begging for food and water, more..

Latest situation of the Wanni Operation

Catholics, Buddhists unite to serve devotees during Vesak

May 15 (UCAN) Religious harmony prevailed in a farming village in central Sri Lanka as Catholics and Buddhists joined hands to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak (Vesakh). Devotees of both faiths offered meals and refreshments at a dansala (alms-giving center) in Hammalawa village on May 9, as thousands of Buddhists flocked to temples and thronged village streets decorated with lights, lanterns and religious flags. more..

Fear Psychosis, State of our Nation, Terrorism and Sri Lanka, our Motherland

May 15 (GV) Double standards as it may seem Lasantha’s murder was a rude awakening for many, including me. Why I call it a double standard is that many lives were previously lost and I chose to ignore it under the justification of national pride and war for the sake of our country’s sovereignty. Well at least I confess to be guilty as I did. However, as I have always said, I am loyal to my country, I am a nationalist, a patriot, but I refuse to be a blind one. more..

Eyes Wide Shut: Media illiteracy and propaganda in Sri Lanka

May 15 (GV) Mano Ganesan was recently featured on Rupavahini, the State and pro-government TV broadcaster, in a manner that suggested he unequivocally supported the LTTE and terrorism.This was noticed and taken up bloggers such as Voice in Colombo who challenged this site to answer a number of questions regarding our perceived bias towards Mano Ganesan and by extension the LTTE. more..

The West’s bogus concern for human rights

May 15 (GV) President Obama, in a statement made on the 13th of May, has requested the government of Sri Lanka to “stop the indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives, including in several hospitals.” But with regard to the U.S. air strikes that regularly kill hundreds of civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which includes women and children, President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, ruled out ending air and more..

Saying ‘No’ to mum and finding our post colonial identity

May 15 (GV) Baron Naseby is a British Conservative Party politician. He has visited Sri Lanka many times, including most recently with the British all-party delegation. Watch him in this clip explaining to a partly hostile diaspora audience his position against international intervention in Sri Lanka. He has got it right. The focus of the international attention at this juncture should be weighted towards getting the Tamil Tigers to release civilian hostages, more..

Call for inquiry into 'Vesak day Army attack'

May 15 (CT) Four political parties have urged the government to conduct an impartial inquiry into the allegation that the Army had carried out an attack on the 'no fire zone' on Vesak full moon poya day, a day of non-violence. The statement by the four parties have been signed by Karu Jayasuriya, deputy leader of the UNP, Mangala Samaraweera, leader of SLFP Mahajana Wing, Rauff Hakeem, leader of SLMC and Mano Ganeshan, leader of DPF. more..

'Tamil Eelam issue not a vote-getter'

May 15 (LG) I don’t think the Sri Lankan Tamil issue will influence the voter in Tamil Nadu in any way. The people here have concern for the Sri Lankan Tamils and are keen that they live in peace and dignity but that does not mean that they will vote on that issue, though some leaders have struck high decibels. J. Jayalalithaa is now demanding separate Eelam for the Tamils in Sri Lanka and more..

UNP divided on Ranil's meet with Solhiem

May 15 (GDI) As Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met Norway's former peace broker on the Sri Lanka crisis Erik Solhiem in Norway during his current Europe tour today, dissenting voices emerged within the rank and file of the UNP in Colombo,UNP sources disclosed. A section of UNPers, identified as patriots who love the nation and silently support President Mahinda Rajapaksa's fearless move to crush LTTE terrorism, more..

Cabinet decisions at a glance

May 15 (GDI) Cabinet approved a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Highways & Road Development Mahinda Rajapaksa to abandon the land acquisition and construction of the road section from Colombo-Horana Road to Ratmalana on Colombo-Galle Road, to release all the lands being acquired under land acquisition procedure from the road section from Colombo-Horana Road to Ratmalana on Colombo-Galle Road, to make suitable arrangements to divest such lands to the parties concerned, more..

Sri Lanka warned on 'war crimes'

May 15 (BBC) The UK has told Sri Lanka it may face a potential war crimes probe over deaths of civilians in the island's conflict, a Foreign Office minister has said. In a Commons debate, Bill Rammell said a UN estimate of 6,500 casualties since January was "shocking and appalling". He said Britain backed an early inquiry into shelling by government forces fighting Tamil Tiger separatist rebels. more..

The last stand of Sri Lanka's Tamils – in Canada?

May 15 (CSM) The front pages of Canadian newspapers have been dedicated this week to images of Tamil protesters staking positions on Toronto thoroughfares and bringing city traffic to a halt. But Uthaya Vaithiya wishes the Canadian public could see different images: the photographs in her album. It's a family album only in the sense that it documents what her family was but can be never again. more..

Sangaree on the plight of Tamil civilians in the no-fire zone

May 15 (AT) In an open letter to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the TULF President V. Anandasangaree, has lamented over the worsening humanitarian crisis in the no-fire zone located in the Mullaitivu district. In his letter, he pointed out that he was shocked and deeply grieved at the happenings in Mullivaikal, where LTTE is holding to ransom more than one hundred thousand people. more..

Q+A: Sri Lanka's propaganda war

May 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels are again trading blame over reported attacks on civilians, which diplomats say sparked the U.N. Security Council and U.S. President Barack Obama to speak out. Here are questions and answers about why it is so hard to separate fact from propaganda in Asia's longest modern war: CAN JOURNALISTS OR AID AGENCIES GET INTO THE WAR ZONE? more..

Why don't we care about Sri Lanka?

May 15 (Telegraph) Do we have favourites when it comes to civilian casualties? Do we care about some peoples’ suffering more than others? The contrasting levels of public concern and protest over the killing of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Gaza since the beginning of this year make the answer an emphatic ‘yes.’ When Israeli forces killed women and children in their assault on Gaza in January, there were was a public outcry in Britain, more..

Thank you, Washington Times

May 15 (WT) Congratulations on your bold editorial "Tigers at bay" (April 26). The civilized world applauds your valiant effort at presenting the perspective of a sovereign nation battling a group of terrorists for more than a quarter-century. You hit the nail on the head when describing the Tamil Tigers as "one of the world's most violent terrorist outfits." On Jan. 10, 2008, the FBI said that "the Tamil Tigers are among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world." more..

Eelam: It’s a voters’ issue, will get numbers

May 15 (LG) This time around, the DMK-Congress combine is finding it difficult to chart its victory using the favourite trademark of commitment to social justice and secularism. Tamil national and Periyarist groups, which rallied behind the DMK-Congress and hailed the Central government’s decision to implement reservation for OBC students in elite educational institutes like the IITs and IIMs, seek shelter in selective amnesia. more..

Can they be friends again?

May 15 (LG) Tamils around the world closely watch to see who will win the Lok Sabha (lower house) elections, in which an estimated 714 million people voted costing nearly $250 million. The elections took place in five phases over a month, which started April 16 and ended on May 13. The largest democracy in the world will send 543 politicians to a five-year term. The last elections were held in 2004. The term of the 14th Lok Sabha expires on June 1, 2009. more..

This is war against terrorism fought with surgical precision

May 15 (LG) Ex Sri Lankan Police Constable, Ex Constable General of the LTTE and now the LTTE political chief Balasingam Nadesan seems having problems understanding English. In a statement he emailed to the Associated Press, he praised President Barak Obama “for passionately talking about the plight of Tamil civilians and calling for urgent actions to alleviate the mounting humanitarian crisis.” more..