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UN efforts focusing on plight of civilians in post-conflict Sri Lanka

May 19 (UN) The United Nations is closely watching the situation in Sri Lanka, where the Government has declared an end to its military operation against Tamil separatists, while focusing on assisting the hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced by the conflict, a top United Nations official said today. “The situation is volatile so the facts are not as clear as one might hope,” more..

Jaffna University students suspend educational activities

May 19 (TN) Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU) said that it is suspending all educational activities for a week from Tuesday as the students are undergoing severe mental stress and grief on account of the carnage of innocent Tamil civilians in Vanni, in a statement to the media Tuesday. Outstation students are unable to know the fate of their parents, relatives and others who had been caught in the war in Vanni and this affects them so badly that they are unable to follow lectures, JUSU said. more..

Aid agencies scramble to help displaced in Sri Lanka

May 19 (CNN) Humanitarian aid agencies scrambled Monday to offer help to the tens of thousands of people in need after Tamil separatists declared an end to their quarter-century struggle in Sri Lanka. The United Nations said Monday that over the past few days some 65,000 people had fled what had been the fighting zone in northeast Sri Lanka, bringing to 265,000 the number of internally displaced people, which it refers to as IDPs. more..

Tigers extinct, now what lies ahead for Tamils in Lanka?

May 19 (TOI) The demise of the LTTE and the end of Velupillai Prabhakaran marks an apocalyptic moment in the Tamil minority's quest for equality and dignity in File photo of Prabhakaran and his kids at an undisclosed location. Depending on whether the Sinhala majority reacts to its military victory with magnanimity or triumphalism, Tamils may grow hopeful of a political solution to the decades-old ethnic conflict or feel physically vulnerable and politically marginalised. more..

Vaiko keeps LTTE chief 'alive', for his own ends

May 19 (ET) The most aggressive supporter of the Sri Lankan Tamils’ cause of a separate state and the LTTE — Vaiko of MDMK — has issued a statement saying that the rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is not dead. “The same tirade was carried out in 1993-94, when television channels couldn’t publicise things so fast. But, before the news became widespread, the man was known to be alive,” a party spokesperson said. more..

Sri Lanka defeats LTTE, time to win over Tamils

May 19 (ET) A few years ago nobody would have predicted that the civil war in Sri Lanka would end so dramatically and that LTTE chief V Prabhakaran would meet his end at the hands of the Lankan military in the area he had lorded over for decades. But a number of miscalculations and factors over the years ultimately led to the demise of the LTTE and Prabhakaran, who by the end lost touch not only with the ground reality in Sri Lanka but also the international mood which after 9/11 was unforgiving of terrorism and terror acts. more..

'Sri Lankan war zone doctors detained'

May 19 (AP) Three Sri Lankan doctors who treated hundreds of badly wounded civilians in understaffed, makeshift hospitals in the country's war zone were detained on accusations they gave false information about the casualties to the media, a health official said Monday. With journalists and nearly all aid workers barred from the war zone, Thurairaja Varatharajah, Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi and V. Shanmugarajah became some of the few sources of information more..

Sri Lanka declares victory over Tamil Tigers

May 19 (AFP) President Mahinda Rajapakse is to deliver a victory speech to parliament following the bloody defeat of the Tamil Tigers and their decades-old war for an independent ethnic homeland. Government commandos on Monday stormed into the last tiny patch of jungle held by the guerrillas, killing Tamil Tiger founder and leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his two deputies as they tried to flee the onslaught. more..

Prabhakaran talked of peace. But the man I met was doomed to die in action

May 19 (Independent) He was the most reclusive guerrilla leader of modern times, cocooning himself in the dense jungle of the Vanni in northern Sri Lanka surrounded by bodyguards and his closest comrades, never photographed, never betrayed, never spotted. It was ten years since he had given his last interview, and the only western journalist to try to reach him since then, Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times, failed in the attempt and lost an eye in the process. more..

Now Tamilnet seeks to propagate terror in University and High School campuses

May 19 (LG) The vicious LTTE US False News Constructor the Tamilnet in a never will die of mischievous monkey business and fraudulent high jinks having done immense damage to the minds of Tamil Diaspora young people in North American Universities and High School children has begun to focus its evil intentions on the undergraduates of the University of Jaffna. It seems to seek a new brand of terrorists just like the Tigers did with tuition centre children in the 1970s. more..

The Prabhakaran I knew

May 19 (LG) Some 25 years ago, as I sat in my newsroom chatting with Anton Balasingham, who all knew was the political guru of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the conversation turned to the Tiger chief’s recent wedding. It had taken place at a Murugan temple in Tiruporur, just 30 km south of Chennai. The bride Mathivadani had been forcibly ferried across the Palk Strait along with her campus mates by the LTTE to break their fast-to-death protest in Jaffna against the government. more..

Protect India from the debris of LTTE defeat

May 19 (LG) In the last days of the Sri Lankan Army closing in on the Tamil Tigers' final remnants in the island nation, an unprecedented attack by a pro-LTTE mob on an Indian Army convoy took place on the Indian mainland near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Was this the first warning sign of Sri Lanka's Eelam war spreading by proxy to India? Sri Lanka's decades-long ethnic war between Sinhalas and Tamils was fought with all the savage ferocity characteristic of such conflicts: more..

Prabhakaran – The Tiger who stuck to his words

May 19 (LG) The death of Velupillai Prabhakaran the enigmatic leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a fire fight with Sri Lankan forces on Monday probably marks the end of the legend of Tamil Tigers he had scripted and directed. Without a Prabhakaran to lead, motivate and discipline them it would be near impossible to build another Tamil Tiger organisation in the near future. more..

Sri Lanka – The final path to peace

May 19 (LG) There may be euphoria in some quarters, relief in some others and disbelief elsewhere but the news of the actual and physical elimination of the leader of the LTTE Velupillai Prabhakaran and of his elite core in the final thrust by the Sri Lankan Army is the foreseen outcome of the determined and relentless military campaign launched by the Sri Lankan government since April 2006. more..

Neither side has any reason to celebrate

May 19 (TC) Today is a momentous day. I should be celebrating, like most Sri Lankans. I grew up as a Muslim in Colombo in fear of the deafening blasts of the Tamil Tiger suicide bombings. The Tigers ethnically cleansed 60,000 Muslims from their territory. Their campaign was horrific. But when I travelled to Tiger-controlled areas, I realised that civilians there confronted another even more powerful enemy. more..

Memories of War, Dreams of Peace

May 19 (TC) The long and bloody Sri Lankan war is over, and not a moment too soon. I really want to believe it. The alternative is too depressing to consider. Of course, there is no independent verification – it has been a war without witnesses for the past many months, with no journalists or humanitarian workers allowed access. We know that history is written by victors, not losers. I am willing to take a leap of faith if that’s what we need to usher in the long-elusive peace. more..

Prabhakaran is dead - join debates on what next for Sri Lanka

May 19 (GV) Maybe what bothers you is that the war is over while terrorism and the Tamil aspirations for their own land is not over. What lies ahead in the next few months is important as I believe it will shape the future of our country for ever. As for the celebrations, I felt as a Sri Lankan a rush of relief that terrorists don’t hold the sovereignty of our country hostage anymore. more..

How the West was sidelined (for the moment)

May 19 (PISL) A couple of years back, in Geneva, the British ambassador tried to have a resolution critical of Sri Lanka passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The previous year such a resolution had been proposed, and after negotiation, as I understood, it was kept on the table, so that it could be taken up if agreed. In 2007 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka decided that he would not accept a resolution. more..

The tragedy of Barack Obama

May 19 (PISL) The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was welcomed all over the world. Even in Sri Lanka, though obviously the Bush approach to terrorism had helped us, and though John McCain was more likely to be tough on terror, an idealistic young President with no hang ups about race or ideology seemed by far the better bet for the world. more..

Peace hopes grip Sri Lankans

May 19 (BBC) The national flags are out. They are decking the streets, sold in clusters on street corners, fluttering from the auto rickshaws, waved by men in a pick-up truck. On the streets of Colombo there is jubilation and smiling faces as the firecrackers are lit. "I'm very very happy. After 30 years we've won… victory, I suppose!" says a young woman in Pettah, an old market area near the city centre, almost in surprise. more..

Lessons of war from Tigers' defeat

May 19 (BBC) The defeat of the Tamil Tigers might encourage other governments to put more emphasis on fighting insurgents by military means. This would go against the modern theory of counter insurgency, which tries to win over populations as the key to long-term peace. The modern theory has been enshrined in the US manual of counter insurgency. This was written by General David Petraeus, the man who led the surge in Iraq and brought a greater degree of stability. more..

Winning the peace in Sri Lanka

May 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict has almost ended after nearly three decades with the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers but the victorious government may still need to tackle other fronts, including finding a political solution to the long-standing Tamil issue. Apart from the Tamil minority, the international community will be keenly observing the next moves of the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which doggedly pursued its military objectives despite criticism from various quarters. more..

LTTE may be defeated, but India must be careful

May 19 (Rediff) According to reports from the Sri Lankan Army, it has completed the liberation of all the territory under the control of the LTTE and decimated its entire leadership including its chief V Prabakaran, his intelligence chief Pottu Amman, Soosai, the chief of the Sea Tigers, and others. No leader based in the Northern Province appears to have succeeded in escaping. It is likely that at least some of its trained cadres remain to be accounted for. more..

Prabhakaran: The Life and Death of a Tiger

May 19 (Time) Velupillai Prabhakaran, 54, the leader of the LTTE who was declared killed by the Sri Lankan government on May 18, had decades to think about how his end would come. It could have come from the cyanide capsule that he — like many Tiger fighters — wore around his neck, a pledge to commit suicide in case of capture by the Sri Lankan Army. He had been fighting a war for an independent homeland, or eelam, for the island's Tamil minority since 1983, more..

'Prabhakaran left behind a fragmented society'

May 19 (Rediff) Varadaraja Perumal, former chief minister of Sri Lanka's North-Eastern Province and leader of the EPRLF, said the death of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran [Images], who led a ruthless movement for a Tamil Eelam (homeland) in Sri Lanka, has left the rebel outfit with no political future. In a conversation with K S Manjunath, he said it is now time for democratic Tamil leaders to come to the fore. more..

Rajapaksa skips mention of Prabhakaran

May 19 (BL) The Sri Lankan President, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, told his nation on Tuesday that the war on terror was over but surprisingly made no mention of his government's assertion that LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran was dead, a claim refuted by the terror outf it. Addressing Parliament a day after the Army claimed to have wiped out the entire LTTE leadership including Prabhakaran, Mr Rajapaksa skipped any reference to the LTTE supremo. more..

Prabhakaran's final hours

May 19 (LNP) Only 3 LTTE leaders, other than Prabhakaran and his wife, knew of his whereabouts. Other than his son Charles Anthony, the only other LTTE leaders who knew where he was was Poddu Ammaan, the Intelligence Chief and the head of the LTTE`s Medical Unit, Reagan. The latter was taken in and detained for days until Military Intelligence got hold of him. Until then Regan had pretended he did not know Prabhakaran`s whereabouts. more..

A monster laid to rest

May 19 (LNP) So, in the end the hoity-toity Big Tiger died a fraidy cat. Having killed thousands of people and driven a similar number of his own brainwashed cadres to suicide in vain, Prabhakaran the self-deified warlord together with a group of his trusted lieutenants including his son died a violent death at the hands of the army, while fleeing the battlefront in an ambulance leaving his followers to their fate. more..

Restoring northern life is the main challenge - UNP

May 19 (CT) The UNP says the main challenge before the country now is restoring the lives of the people of the north who have been freed from around three decades of LTTE hold. UNP acting leader Karu Jayasuriya says in a statement issued today (May 19) that a farsighted vision and commitment by all others are needed to ensure a good life for these people. more..

UNP sends name to fill MP position

May 19 (CT) The UNP has asked the elections chief to appoint Rohana Bandaranayake to the parliamentary seat that fell vacant following the death of party MP for Matale Alick Aluvihare. The request has come in a letter written by UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake to elections commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake. According to results of the last general election, Nandimitra Ekanayake is next in line to fill the vacancy as he has polled the highest number of preferential votes after the elected MPs. more..

Tomorrow Public and Special Bank holiday

May 19 (GDI) Tomorrow (20) has been officially declared a public and special bank holiday,by the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Dr.Sarath Amunugama. The holiday marks the liberation of the whole island from the grip of terrorism, a news release from the ministry stated.

Memories of War, Dreams of Peace

May 19 (GV) The long and bloody Sri Lankan war is over, and not a moment too soon. I really want to believe it. The alternative is too depressing to consider. Of course, there is no independent verification – it has been a war without witnesses for the past many months, with no journalists or humanitarian workers allowed access. We know that history is written by victors, not losers. more..

As civil war ends in Sri Lanka, new divisions arise in New York

May 19 (NYT) With the end of more than 25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka this week, the Sri Lankan diaspora on Staten Island that was able to enjoy the taste of home together without ethnic conflict is suddenly faced with divisions within their immigrant community. For years, whether they were of Sinhalese origin, like the owner of the Lak Bojun restaurant on Victory Boulevard, or part of the Tamil minority, like a doctor who has long relished the curries there, more..

Sri Lanka Post – LTTE

May 19 (AT) The outcome of the recent elections in Tamil Nadu has been the defeat of the most faithful of the LTTE touts in India. These financial orphans of the LTTE have been thoroughly exposed because Tamilians do not care for the LTTE, contrary to media projections. The common joke today is that ‘Puligal’ (Tigers) have been reduced to ‘Eligal’ (Rats) because they (the LTTE) have had to hide in holes in the ground to try save themselves. more..

The dead body of LTTE leader Prabhakaran shown on TV

May 19 (AT) The dead body of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran been identified by the Army today, said General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Army. His dead body was shown this afternoon on National TV – Rupavahini. The dead body was with wide open eyes, but the head was covered with a towel, perhaps due to the head injury in the shooting by the Army. There was a deep wound on his forehead. The rest of the bulky body was intact. more..

Gen. Fonseka to become joint chief of armed forces?

May 19 (CT) The appointment of Army commander General Sarath Fonseka as joint chief of armed forces with full powers is under consideration by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after he successfully led the war against the LTTE, a senior official of the Presidential Secretariat told 'Colombo, Sri Lanka Today.' Gen. Fonseka will be given the responsibility of establishing the military's power as well law and order in the north and east. more..

Wife of Army officer accused of aiding LTTE arrested

May 19 (CT) The wife of a Lieutenant Colonel of the Army who was recently arrested on the charge of maintaining links with the LTTE and aiding the outfit was arrested yesterday at her home in Polhengoda. She is said to be a teacher of an international school in Colombo. Initial investigations have revealed the arrested Army officer had taken a Black Tiger to the BMICH during President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to 'Deyata Kirula' exhibition held at the venue. more..

'Prabhakaran cannot expect a better end to his life'

May 19 (GDI) To the LTTE, world’s number one terror group, peace has been an anathema. And, for many civilians living in the North, advocating peace has been a brave attempt rather than wise to do so. “The LTTE perpetrated these heinous acts of carnage spanning well over three decades against peace loving citizens,” Defense Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Now its lesser challenges for Sri Lanka

May 19 (GDI) SL government has completed its initial phase of a marathon run towards eternal peace by comprehensively defeating separatist LTTE terrorists. And, now, the government is out to face the lesser challenges such as humanitarian concerns restricted only to IDP welfare centers and smothering ethnic tensions. “The government has won the war, and they must address its root cause, perceived discriminations against many in the Tamil community,” TULF leader V. Anandasangari said. more..

Health Minister enters into history in Geneva

May 19 (GDI) Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva was elected by consensus as the president of the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA) yesterday (18) at the plenary of the WHA. Minister enters into the history in the World Health Organization as he is also the Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization while being elected as the President of the WHA. more..

Dengue reaching epidemic proportions in Colombo

May 19 (Island) The number of dengue cases rose by three hundred as the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Colombo Municipal Council and the Public Service Nurses’ Union launched house to house inspections over the weekend. The numbers which was around 4,600 had reached 4,900- fast reaching epidemic stage. A spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday the three institutions which had united to battle dengue in the city would continue the programme. more..

Asgiri Mahanayaka pays tribute President Rajapaksa

May 19 (Island) Most Venerable Mahanayaka of Asgiriya Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero attributed the victory over the 30-year-old LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s commitment and right direction and guidance at the right time to the security forces. He said that LTTE terrorism grew so forcefully and strongly because the previous heads of State failed to take the right decision at the right time. more..

Butchers slaughtered

May 19 (Island) The Sri Lanka Army in the early hours of yesterday thwarted an attempt by LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, his son Charles Anthony and several other senior cadres to escape in two vehicles, including a seized army ambulance, killing them all. The army had fired at the speeding vehicles. Among the dead were LTTE Intelligence Wing leader Pottu Amman, Sea Tiger leader Soosai, S. Pulidevan, head of the so called Peace Secretariat, Nadesan, political wing leader and Ramesh. more..

‘It’s time to re-build the Motherland’

May 19 (DN) Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Hussain Bhaila said the defeat of the LTTE terrorism was a forgone conclusion but it was a matter of time before the LTTE was completely defeated by the Armed Forces. We should salute the commanders and and the members of the Armed Forces for their valiant efforts and sacrifices made to defeat the ruthless group of terrorists and for their great humanitarian civilian rescue operation that more..

Our primary concern safety of civilians - Ambassador

May 19 (DN) It is undeniable that the LTTE effectively folded shortly after President Barack Obama told the world that the terrorists were holding innocent Tamil civilians as hostages. He was one of the few world leaders to note that fact so forcefully. For the Sri Lankan leadership, that has always been the crux of this conflict. I have repeated many times that our primary concern was for the safety of those civilians, more..

Triumph over terrorism

May 19 (DN) It was the moment that Sri Lankans were waiting for 30 long years – the end of the ruthless terrorism of the LTTE. Valiant Security Forces have reported to the President that their mission to defeat terrorism was over. The architect of this magnificent triumph over terrorism is none other than President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who announced on Saturday that the Forces have finally defeated the LTTE militarily. more..

Sri Lanka regulator calls fresh bids for Seylan

May 19 (LBO) Central bank said it was giving a second chance for five qualified investors to buy a 33 percent stake in Seylan Bank because bids it received were not fully compliant with the conditions set by the regulator. The central bank's governing body, the monetary board, said it would revise the conditions for the sale. "Accordingly, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has decided to invite fresh proposals once again from all five more..

'Sri Lanka to review overnight forex trading limits'

May 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka will "review" overnight forex trading positions of commercial banks which were slashed during the height of a balance of payments crisis last year, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. The overnight trading positions of commercial banks were slashed twice late last year as the monetary authority tried to prevent 'speculative' trading as the rupee came under severe pressure due to an ill-fated peg defence exercise. more..

Sri Lanka leader calls for investment to revive war-battered economy

May 19 (LBO) President Mahinda Rajapakse called for private sector investment and the return of the island's diaspora to revive the economy of the country which he said had finally been freed of terrorism with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. "The main obstacle to private sector investment, which had been terrorism, has now been removed and a climate created for investment," more..

Full text of the President's Speech

May 19 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today declared the country has been completely freed from the clutches of separatist terrorism and from now on it is only the laws enacted by this sovereign Parliament that will be in force in every inch of Sri Lanka. The President said this in his address made at the ceremonial opening of the fourth session of Parliament. Here is the full text of the speech: more..