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How the world knew Arugam Bay

May 15 (DN) Majority of the world, especially the West got to know about Arugam Bay, only after the 2004 tsunami. There was a moving episode on America's most-popular talk show, the Oprah Winfrey Show where a tsunami survivor Nate Berkus was interviewed. The Chicago-based interior designer Nate Berkus related his story on television about his vacation going awry. He was relaxing at a beach cottage in Arugam Bay with his partner photographer Fernando Bengoechea, when the deadly tsunami struck. more..

Rice in less rain

May 15 (DN) With the beginning of Yala season from March, many a green stretches of rice fields spreads into far away distance along the Ambepussa-Trincomalee A- road near Kurunegala, indeed a pleasing sight to passers by. But only a keen observer could see the reality in the saturated fields, where green rice plants are yearning for water, their much loved life-blood, and the April rains. Just as rice plants the farmers too are worried about the non-appearance of the inter-monsoonal rain after the Sinhala Hindu New Year as expected. more..

Norwegian Embassy scraps National Day bash

May 15 (Island) The Norwegian Embassy will not hold its annual garden party on May 17 to coincide with the country’s national day, sources told The Island. Although some of the regular invitees had been told that the cancellation was due to the recent protests outside the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo following the attack on the Sri Lankan mission in Oslo, well informed sources said that the imminent battlefield defeat of LTTE would have promoted the former peace facilitator to cancel the event. more..

'Epicentre of people’s struggle in the near future'

May 15 (Island) "This country will soon close down the party offices of both major parties, SLFP and UNP and then there would be only one party head office – the JVP’s," JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said at the opening of the JVP’s new party head office in Battaramulla. The new five-storey party head office was built with the commitment, dedication and sacrifices of party members and the assistance of people who believed in the JVP’s cause, he said. more..

Doctors withdraw from inspecting home gardens

May 15 (Island) The GMOA has decided to temporarily withdraw from carrying out area inspections to detect mosquito breeding places till Health Secretary, Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage explains the relevant Act and its legal implications to them in detail. MOH officers islandwide withdrew from house to house inspections following the threats made on the Maharagama MOH officer who requested permission to inspect the premises of a resident in the Maharagama area. more..

Moulana sees light for white elephants

May 15 (DM) Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana said yesterday provincial councils would no longer be white elephants when some parliamentary powers are devolved to the provinces. “Provincial Councils have been described as white elephants for a long time but that situation will change soon as provincial councillors get some powers of parliament,” Mr. Moulana said at the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected members of the Western Provincial Council. more..

Israel – the latest carrot to discuss Lanka

May 15 (DM) It’s amazing or rather preposterous the extent to which Britain, France and the United States stretch themselves to get the UN Security Council to put Sri Lanka on the agenda. On Wednesday when pro-Lanka members of the Security Council – permanent members Russia and China and elected members Vietnam and Libya - rejected a move to put Sri Lanka council agenda arguing that the conflict is an internal matter of Sri Lanka, the US and its allies had resorted to the most unbelievable. more..

Magistrate critical over inefficiency of police OIC

May 15 (DM) A Colombo Magistrate during the post-mortem inquiry into the death of an infant who died after drinking water from a jewellery shop at Borella was critical on the behaviour of the Crime OIC of the Borella Police and said that the Police should not attempt to save suspects but to investigate into the complaints and to produce the culprits before the court. more..

Sri Lanka needs IMF loan: Strauss-Kahn

May 15 (LBO) IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Sri Lanka needs the help of the multilateral lending agency and talks were still underway on the IMF loan. He told a news conference Friday that Sri Lanka, which has asked for a 1.9 billion dollar IMF loan, was a "special situation". Strauss-Kahn was reported as saying that the IMF was still having talks with Sri Lanka but that he did not know when an agreement would be reached. more..

Tamil protests mean anyone can now stop the traffic, for any reason, at any time

May 15 (NP) Let it be known that a new pro-capitalist organization plans to take to the streets of Toronto to protest the threat of Obamaism to Canada’s market economy. To get our message across, Canadians Harnessed Against Obama Socialism (CHAOS) will soon stage a mass rally at King and Bay. CHAOS will seize control of the crossroads of Canadian capitalism until Stephen Harper agrees to tell Barack Obama to more..

Wanni Operation 15th May

How to handle the Tigers

May 15 (NP) 'I wake up, and hear that the village from where my family came has been eliminated. Family and friends are dead or displaced. The world is merely watching, allowing the slaughter of civilians. We are not all terrorists." These are the thoughts of a Tamil here in Toronto. He is not a member -- or even a supporter -- of the LTTE. But he will not speak against them, even off the record. It wouldn't be smart, he says. more..

Alarm sounded as the threat of dengue fever rises

May 15 (AN) Sri Lanka’s health authorities have sounded the alarm against a possible dengue epidemic. The Health Ministry declared a national red alert as the number of dengue-related deaths almost triple over last year. Dr. Hasitha Tissera, a Government Epidemiology Unit specialist, reported that the number of deaths this year from dengue had risen to 63 against 27 deaths last year. more..

Signs of giving up: Destroy assets, Tiger leaders order

May 15 (ANN) Amidst mounting international pressure to call an immediate halt to Sri Lanka’s successful war against the LTTE, now in its last phase, the army yesterday advanced further into the LTTE-held territory to trigger a fresh exodus of civilians. Civilians had crossed the Nanthikandal lagoon to reach the area held by the 59 Division now operating north of Mullaitivu as the 58 and 53 Divisions engaged the LTTE in the no fire zone. more..

Manoranjan’s interview to Canadian Radio on last week end protests

May 15 (IL) The pro-LTTE protesters in Toronto blocked a busy expressway going through downtown Toronto last Sunday, putting thousand of lives at risk, especialy those of young children. The Canadian public got outraged by this criminal activity, and are begining to call officials to put an end to illegal protests.Even the Toronto Police admitted that they were caught off-guard by the sudden move by the protestors to block the Gardiner Expressway. more..

'T.O. Tamil protesters abusing our laws'

May 15 (CN) The obstruction of a major Toronto highway by Tamil protesters was an abuse of the country's rights and freedoms, Ontario Conservative Leader Bob Runciman says. "The blockade of the Gardiner was without doubt counterproductive," Runciman said during a statement to the Ontario legislature yesterday. "Ontarians are generous and understanding people and undoubtedly concerned over the loss of innocent life, be it in Darfur, the Congo or Sri Lanka. more..

Combat rages in Sri Lanka, more civilians flee

May 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops advanced on the Tamil Tigers on Friday and more civilians fled the shrinking war zone, signalling a military finish to Asia's longest modern war despite strong diplomatic pressure for a negotiated end. The fighting came despite U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's urging that a $1.9 billion IMF loan to Sri Lanka be delayed until "there is a resolution of the conflict". more..

Sri Lanka to buy military helicopters from Russia

May 15 (RIA) Sri Lanka has ordered a number of military transport helicopters and other weaponry from Russia, the country's defense secretary said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. "I have managed to reach an agreement with Russia on a loan to purchase military equipment, primarily helicopters for the air force, and other weaponry," Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said, more..

Sri Lankan military fights to surround rebels

May 15 (AP) Sri Lankan forces battled Friday to take complete control of the country's coastline and surround the reeling Tamil Tigers in a final push to destroy the rebel group and end the country's civil war, the military said. As the fighting raged, hundreds of desperate war refugees escaped the war zone and a top U.N. official headed here on an urgent mission to safeguard the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped amid the heavy shelling. more..

Sri Lanka vows to beat Tamil rebels within 48 hours

May 15 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government vowed Friday to capture all Tamil Tiger-held territory within 48 hours, despite international calls for a truce and accounts of a "humanitarian catastrophe." The signal that the final push against the beleaguered separatist guerrillas was in full swing came as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff was rushing to the island in a fresh effort to stop the carnage. more..

Tamils hunt for news of relatives

May 15 (BBC) Many Sri Lankan Tamils around the world say they are unable to find out information about their loved ones in the war-torn north-east, reports Swaminathan Natarajan of the BBC Tamil service. Thomas Cruz says he is undergoing treatment for depression and that his health has been badly affected by what is happening in north-eastern Sri Lanka. For more than six months all the telephone lines to the rebel-controlled areas, except the official lines connecting government offices and hospitals, have been cut off. more..

When the camera lies for terror

May 15 (MoD) In the past few days the international media has been full of alleged pictorial evidence, mainly through video footage, of what they claim to be scenes of the "massive humanitarian crisis" said to be occurring in the north of Sri Lanka, where the LTTE is holding thousands of Tamil civilians hostage. Viewers have been shown harrowing details of alleged bombings of hospitals and of many persons killed and injured, in what are said to be indiscriminate shelling by government forces, in the No Fire Zone. more..

Muslim Aid to IDPs in Vanni

Navy captures Soosai's family members

May 15 (PTI) Family members of LTTE's naval wing chief Soosai, including his wife, were on Friday captured by the Sri Lankan Navy as they tried to flee the island in a boat and huge sums of money were recovered from them. Soosai, the chief of 'Sea Tigers', is a close confidant of Velupillai Prabhakaran and said to be the senior most leader in the military wing after the LTTE supremo. "Soosai's wife, son and daugther and his brother's wife and daughter were captured by the Navy while they tried to flee the island from the Mullaitivu coast," more..

Military says rebels 'giving up' fight

May 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are "slowly giving up" their fight against advancing government troops, the island's military said Friday as it appeared poised to capture the last tiny strip of rebel territory. A military spokesman told AFP around 10,000 civilians had managed to flee to government areas, and that there was now "hardly anybody left" in the rebel zone on the northeast coast. "They are slowly giving up. They are blowing up whatever arms and ammunition they have," more..

Pressure grows for Sri Lanka human rights inquiry

May 16 (Reuters) United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay supports growing calls for an inquiry in Sri Lanka's war zone that remains closed to most outsiders and aid, her spokesman said on Friday. Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights agreed with the European Union and activist groups that international scrutiny was needed of the conflict that has pushed the Indian Ocean island into a humanitarian crisis. more..

Sri Lanka IMF war row shows geopolitics matters

May 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's apparent difficulty securing a $1.9 billion IMF loan -- with its conduct in its civil war becoming a key sticking point -- is a rare glimpse into how geopolitical importance can influence multilateral aid. While fellow troubled emerging economies Ukraine and Pakistan have also had their disputes with the International Monetary Fund, many investors feel they are simply too geopolitically crucial to be allowed to default. more..

UN expert voices concern over civilians’ safety

May 16 (UN) The United Nations advocate for displaced persons today expressed his concern over civilians caught up in clashes between Government forces and rebels in northern Sri Lanka, as well as for the ongoing confinement of uprooted people in camps. At least 50,000 people are still trapped in the conflict zone – a tiny space of just several square kilometres on the northern coastline – and they are “exposed to great danger and without access to sufficient humanitarian access,” more..

IMF loan 'in progress'

May 16 (BBC) The Central Bank says the 1.9 billion US Dollar loan sought by the IMF is progressing without hindrance. Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal told BBC Sandeshaya that the technical stage of the loan is already completed and the IMF directors are soon expected to approve the loan. “There are indications that it is happening very soon,” he said. IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was reported in media saying that Sri Lanka needs the help and talks were still underway on the loan. more..

Northern humanitarian operation 15th May

China arms may have secured Sri Lanka rout of Tigers

May 16 (Times) With Sri Lanka’s military claiming to be on the verge of at last crushing the Tamil Tigers, many are asking if that victory has come thanks only to a life-saving injection of Chinese weaponry. That raises concerns not only in the West but also in neighbouring Asian states about China as a possible malevolent force spreading its arms to friendly, usually developing-world, states clandestinely. more..

Sri Lankan refugees in Aceh claim to be Tamil Tiger rebels

May 16 (JG) The 55 Sri Lankans stranded in Aceh waters on Thursday have claimed to be members of the Tamil Tiger separatist group fleeing the fierce fighting in their country to seek political asylum in Australia. A resident of Alue Bilie village in Darul Makmur subdistrict, Nagan Raya district, where the Sri Lankan refugees are sheltering, told the Jakarta Globe by telephone on Friday that some of the refugees had claimed that they were rebel combatants. more..

High incidence of combat wounds among evacuees

May 16 (IRIN) Relief workers in Sri Lanka report hundreds of war wounds among people fleeing the last pocket of the long-running conflict. "There are people with shrapnel injuries, others with limbs that need to be amputated," Sarasi Wijeratne, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told IRIN. Many of their wounds were either infected because bandages had not been changed or they had not been treated properly with antibiotics, she said. more..

Japan sends aid to Sri Lanka

May 16 (IJT) Hundreds of tents are among the humanitarian assistance being delivered to Sri Lanka by the Japanese government, it has emerged. The move has come in response to an appeal from the United Nations Agencies and the Sri Lankan government, which called for help to be provided for those displaced by fighting between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels. In addition to tents, 1,000 mosquito nets, 30,000 jerry cans, 10,000 sleeping mats and several million rupees will be sent more..

A race against time in Sri Lanka's camps

May 16 (CARE) I didn't notice anything different about her, at first; 10-year-old Priyana is a beautiful, perfect little girl, and her face lit up as she smiled at me. Then she moved her hands. Thick bands of scar tissue circle her tiny wrists; her right hand is bent at an impossible 90-degree angle from her forearm. When she wrapped her arms around her mother's waist in a hug, her hands hung limply. more..

10,000 escape from LTTE-held area: Army

May 16 (Hindu) At least 10,000 civilians trapped in and around the New Safety Zone (NSZ) under the occupation of the LTTE walked to freedom on Friday as the military after opening an escape route pushed the Tigers to an enclave of approximately 1.5 sq km along the Mullaithivu coast. What began as a trickle on Wednesday night turned into a flood as civilians rushed into the government-controlled territory. more..

It’s a no-holds-barred battle in Sri Lanka

May 16 (Hindu) It is a continuous buzz of explosions in and around the New-Safety Zone (NSZ) as the military and the Tigers engage in a no-holds-barred battle. The former is engaged in the combat in its declared pursuit to rescue the civilians and the latter to save the top brass of the LTTE at any cost. The civilians caught in the crossfire are undoubtedly the worst hit. more..

Careless talk warning issued in Sri Lanka

May 16 (Guardian) International staff working in Sri Lanka have been warned to avoid careless talk amid concern that the government in Colombo is going to extraordinary lengths to suppress dissent. Staff received a notice from the European Union this week telling them to be careful when discussing the country's conflict because the government had set up a hotline for the public to call if they heard people criticising the government or the security forces. more..

Wanni Operation 15 th May

MTNL drops plan to acquire Sri Lankan telco Suntel

May 16 (BS) Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has pulled out from acquiring a majority stake in Sri Lankan telecom major Suntel, citing legal issues and high liabilities. The Indian company was looking at acquiring a 50 per cent stake and had quoted around $180 million (Rs 900 crore) for doing so. “We have decided not to go ahead with our plans to acquire Suntel, as there are a lot of issues. more..

Military conflict vs. propaganda war?

May 16 (IPS) The government, which has come under heavy fire for the massive humanitarian crisis in the country's war zone, is winning the 25-year-old military conflict but is on the verge of losing the propaganda war overseas. "It is a very stressful time here," says Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the U.N. Treaty Section. Although the military has scored unbelievable gains, he said, the last ditch effort by the rebel group, the LTTE, is painful. more..

Airdrop food for Tamils in Sri Lanka: Jayalalithaa

May 16 (Hindu) AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Friday urged the Centre to arrange for airdropping food in camps occupied by Tamils in Sri Lanka. “The Indian Army, without any hesitation, should drop cooked food, vegetables, fruits and water sachets. Otherwise Tamils, with whom we have a close relationship, will die in thousands,” she said in a statement here. more..

Tamils should consider course correction

may 16 (DBS) Toronto is home to the largest concentration of Sri Lankan Tamils (250,000 plus) outside that Island. Thousands of Tamil Canadians, mainly youths, have participated in rallies, processions, vigils, picketing, street demonstrations, sit-ins, fasts, slogan- shouting and the blocking of traffic at peak hours. Primarily, it is an effort to draw attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. More than 50,000 Tamil civilians are entrapped on a coastal strip in the North. more..

Final push for Sri Lankan Army

India should take steps for political solution in Sri Lanka, asks Karunanidhi

May 16 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday said ensuring peace in Sri Lanka should be India's priority and asked the Centre to initiate immediate steps to bring about a political solution to end the ethnic strife there. In an early morning appeal to the Centre, he said that after his April 27 fast, Sri Lankan Government, due to the efforts of the Indian Government, announced the "stoppage of hostilities". more..

Trade partners considering economic pressure

may 16 (IPS) The United States, joined by the UK, France and other EU states, are stepping up economic pressure on Sri Lanka to stop killing of civilians during ongoing battles with Tamil guerrillas in the North. The countries are planning on using a proposed IMF bailout package and trade concessions as bargaining tools. "I think the international community is putting economic pressure on the government as nothing else has worked [in relation to international appeals to stop fighting and avoid civilian casualties]," more..

EU against Sri Lankan 'final assault' on Tamil rebels

may 16 (AFP) EU foreign ministers will urge the Sri Lankan government to hold back from a "final assault" against Tamil Tiger rebels, according to a draft text which expressed new concern at the civilian death toll. "The EU calls on the government of Sri Lanka to refrain from a final assault which will result in further loss of life and to take, without delay, all necessary steps to facilitate the evacuation of the civilians trapped in the conflict zone," more..

Tamil protest clashes briefly with police

May 16 (NP) Tamil protesters briefly clashed with police during a demonstration on University Avenue Friday evening, after a barricade between them and a chain of officers collapsed under pressure. The evening-long Tamil demonstration erupted when protesters broke down a police barrier in an effort to take over University Ave., near Toronto’s U.S. Consulate. A chain of armed police officers were able to keep the crowd from spilling onto the roadway and replaced the barrier. more..

UN on Sri Lanka

'Civilian suffering cannot be justified'

May 16 (PTI) Expressing deep concern at the escalating humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, the Commonwealth on Friday asked all sides to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law and urgently ensure safety of civilians trapped in the violent conflict. Kamalesh Sharma, the Commonwealth Secretary General, said the LTTE must immediately stop the deplorable use of civilians as human shields and the Sri Lankan Government should maintain its stated commitment not to more..