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Taking tea with the Tamil Tigers

May 23 (Times) When the chief political officer of a leading terrorist organisation summons you to his office and says, Godfather-style, “You have caused me a lot of problems today; what are we going to do with you?” it seems fair to say that things are not going entirely to plan. They had not been going terribly well from the moment my photographer and I crossed the border into Tamil Tiger territory. more..

“Winning the War on Terrorism – The New Dawn”

May 23 (LG) I would like to speak on the theme that is on everyone’s lips. Sri Lanka is one of those rare cases where terrorism has been comprehensively defeated substantially, by our own efforts despite all the advice, reservations and fears, publicly expressed, to the contrary. Once many, including senior officials in our own country, believed that the LTTE could not be defeated by the Government Security Forces. more..

Resettle the Displaced ASAP

May 23 (LG) The recent phase of war displaced around 350,000 people. They are languishing in government camps under trying conditions. They have done their share of sacrifices for national liberation. Looking after them is a very costly affair. It may cost around Rs 35 million a day! A month would cost over a billion rupees (US$ 8 million) and three months bill exceeds 3 billion rupees (US$ 27 million). more..

"The EU's role in securing Sri Lanka's peace"

May 23 (LG) Reports from Sri Lanka signal the end of the decades-long civil war, but the EU and the rest of the international community should be asking tough questions of the supposed victor. With the Sri Lankan government declaring victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) at the weekend and with the Tigers admitting defeat, one of the longest-running wars in the world seems to be near an end. more..

Diplomat and Senator discuss end of conflict with LTTE

May 23 (LG) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States met recently with the second-highest ranking member of the U.S. Senate to discuss the resolution of the conflict against the Tamil Tigers and aid for Sri Lanka’s future. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya accompanied three Sri Lankans from Illinois to the meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is also the Senate majority whip. more..

Sri Lanka: A victory that vexes our western friends

May 23 (LG) If defeating the LTTE is a miracle, Sri Lanka, today, is the small miracle of the Indian Ocean. It has achieved a resounding victory; unprecedented in history, unparalleled in the world. Sri Lanka shines and shines almost alone, as a state that has comprehensively defeated a terror outfit which was dubbed "the most brutal terrorist organization in the world," by the FBI. We have defeated the LTTE, we have won; ‘we’, as in Sri Lankans, Sri Lanka. more..

The hidden side of victory

May 23 (LG) In Colombo and other parts of Sinhalese areas, the Sri Lankan government is celebrating the victory of the killing, wounding, and damaging the properties of tens of thousands of Tamils in their homeland. The Tamils in Eelam and elsewhere must intensify their diplomatic actions in their adopted countries. But they should use intellectual actions, which is the need of the hour and only to serve the LTTE occupying Sri Lankan armed forces. more..

Army calls for more recruits

May 23 (LT) Recruitment to fill vacancies that have occurred in the regular and volunteer forces of S.L. Army will take place in all Army camps until 31st of July. Persons who are between the age of 18 and 24 with a height of not less than 5 feet 04 inches and who have passed Grade 8 could apply for the regular forces while those who have passed Grade 5 could apply for the volunteer forces. more..

Role of British diplomats in Tamil leaders' failed surrender bid

May 23 (LG) British diplomats were involved in last- minute attempts to secure the surrender of two of the Tamil Tigers' most senior political figures as the war in Sri Lanka reached its climax, one of the UN's top officials revealed. The plan backfired spectacularly when the two men were shot dead as they tried to give themselves up to the Sri Lankan army. Balasingham Nadesan, the LTTE's political leader, and more..

6 killed in bus-lorry mishap at Tangalle

May 23 (LT) Six people were killed and 15 others injured in an accident that occurred at Manpulliya area in Tangalle this morning say reports. The injured have been removed to Matara, Tangalle and Karapitiya hospitals for treatment. The accident had occurred when a private bus travelling from Colombo to Katharagama had crashed into a parked lorry says police media spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera. more..

Tamils question killing of separatist leader

UNP MP Jayasekera hospitalized for felicitating President

May 23 (LT) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera has been injured and admitted to Hettipola District Hospital when a group of people attacked him for putting up a banner saluting the war heroes and the President for saving the country from terrorism. Mr. Jayasekera has taken measures to exhibit a banner with the heading “We salute the national leaders, the President, Defense Secretary, Commander of three services, the IGP and more..

TNA wants India to get SL security forces withdrawn from North & East

May 23 (LT) Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and the National Security Advisor N.K. Narayanan have assured a TNA delegation of R. Sampanthan, Suresh Premachnadran and Mavai Senathirajah that they would do everything possible to get SL government to withdraw SL security forces from the North and the East. The TNA delegation has also asked the Indian duo to get High Security Zones removed from the area. more..

US Senator Leahy – Pro-LTTE lobby in US work together To block IMF loan

May 23 (AT) United States Senator Patrick Leahy and the U.S.-based pro-Tamil Tiger lobby Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) are strange bedfellows: both are on the same page and forward similar arguments to prevent Sri Lanka, which this week put the last nail on the LTTE coffin internally eradicating terrorism from her soil after 25 years, obtaining the $1.9 billion standby loan from the IMF which U.S. has 16.77% stakes. more..

Human deluge: Honours war heroes

May 23 (DN) They came in their tens, dozens, scores and hundreds totaling over two hundred thousand people from all walks of life, with the Lion flags aflutter, a riot of colour and joy in the very air while they marched from the Campbell Park Colombo to the Parliament grounds, Kotte but among them, the heartrending sight of the war heroes who had lost limbs joining the marching crowd with their crutches reminiscent of more..

Nambiar lauds successful mass evacuation

May 23 (DN) UN Secretary General's special aide and Under Secretary General Vijay Nambiar said it has to be recognized that the evacuation of such a large number of civilians in the conflict zone as a considerable achievement on the part of the Government refuting allegations that the UN failed to prevent a bloodbath in Sri Lanka's conflict. Addressing reporters in Colombo after a week long stay in Sri Lanka which included a visit to the Menik Farm IDP camp and more..

Govt ready for challenge

May 23 (DN) Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera said that the victory over LTTE terrorism has brought about a new challenge to the Government to develop the fisheries sector in the newly liberated areas of Northern and Eastern coastal segments. He added that the country marine fisheries industry was adversely affected for three decades due to terrorist activities which obstructed the fishing activities in two third of the coastal belt. more..

Address by President at the ceremony to pay tribute to the Heroes of War

May 23 (GDI) This is the first War Heroes commemoration rally being held in the country that has obtained complete freedom after 30 years. I address you today a country that is completely free, in a unitary state, under a single national standard. Many years ago many of you too, did not think it would be possible to defeat the LTTE militarily. more..

Ruggerites remanded over killing

May 23 (Island) Last year’s Kingswood College rugby captain Gayan Sandaruwan Ratnage, his brother Ruchira Sandaruwan Ratnage and their father were remanded by the Kandy Magistrate until the June 1, 2009 for the alleged murder of a three wheel driver on Wednesday night. The Ratnage brothers and their father Dharmasiri Ratnage have been remanded for their alleged involvement in the killing of the 31-year-old over a personal dispute. more..

The killer pets of the West

May 23 (Island) LTTE terrorists masquerading as refugees in the developed world have laid bare their true faces. Their reaction to the decimation of the LTTE has been to attack anti-terror Sri Lankan expatriates. Their violence has left several people severely injured. In Australia, LTTE activists have even carried out acid attacks on some Sri Lankans. Worse, the perpetrators have not yet been made to pay for their crime in that five star democracy! more..

Dengue combat training for 20 consultants in every district

May 23 (Island) The dengue death toll from the beginning of the year rose to seventy and the number of dengue cases rose to 5,100. Sensing the grave situation that had hitherto been under control, the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Epidemiology Unit and the Dengue Control Programme has decided to conduct serious and intensive training for twenty consultants from every district in the country beginning Tuesday (26) in a bid to arrest the alarming trend. more..

President conferred with highest national title

May 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, conferred with the highest national award-"Wishwa Keerthi Sri ThreeSinhaladeeshwara" at the Magul Maluwa in the historic Dalada Maligawa, Kandy today by the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters solemnly pledged to protect the nation that he united with his life, and to ensure that it will never be divided again. An emotionally moved President said the blessings of the Maha Sangha was the greatest strenght in the effort to unite the more..

Remarks by UN Official Nambiar in Colombo

May 23 (TC) Over the past months, the situation in Sri Lanka has been a matter of grave concern to the United Nations. As the threat of large scale civilian casualties has increased, the Secretary General had been in touch with the Sri Lankan President and various member states, urging action to prevent a possible humanitarian crisis. For this reason, I came back to Sri Lanka about a week ago after my previous visit last month. more..

Tamil Tigers still living in denial

May 23 (EB) The LTTE re-asserted on Friday that their supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, reportedly shot dead by government troops in north east Sri Lanka on May 18, was alive, and that he would establish contact with the global Tamil community at an appropriate time. The pro-Tiger website Tamilnet quoted Arivazhakan, saying that stories about Prabhakaran’s death were rumours engineered by the Sri Lankan government and its military establishment. more..

Sri Lanka's victory may offer lessons

May 23 (LAT) Sri Lanka's victory this week after a 25-year battle against the Tamil Tiger rebels represents a rare success story for governments fighting insurgencies. Even as leaders in Colombo, the capital, declared a national holiday and citizens danced in the streets, military planners and analysts around the world began scrutinizing the war for lessons on how to fight Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups. more..

Sri Lanka's new chapter

May 23 (BBC) The authorities in the capital of Sri Lanka have declared the rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, dead and the war over. Chris Morris reflects on the life of Prabhakaran and considers whether there can now be reconciliation. I was somewhat sceptical when the letter dropped onto my doormat in Colombo. A summons to the fourth floor of CID headquarters. more..

Sri Lanka: The biggest threat to the US?

May 23 (DM) The Times of UK is on record saying that the US military satellites had secretly monitored Sri Lanka’s war zone in the last leg of the war for evidence of war crimes. On Thursday the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying that Sri Lanka should let international monitors inspect the battle zone. If Sri Lanka has committed war crimes, well, then it deserves punishment. more..

TNA team to meet Indian leaders

May 23 (DM) A TNA delegation led by parliamentary group leader R. Sampathan will leave for New Delhi shortly for talks with the new Indian government on a devolution package aimed at resolving Sri Lanka’s national question, TNA sources said yesterday. They said the decision to hold talks with the Indian government was arrived at when a group of TNA MPs met Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and the National Security Advisor N.K. Narayanan on Thursday. more..

'Traitors' in the opposition are at work: Champika

May 23 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that moves are underway by certain elements in the opposition to betray the country once again, this time over the death of Prabhakaran. “Certain individuals in the opposition who are heart broken over the death of Prabhakaran are trying to create the impression that the troops did the wrong thing by killing Prabhakaran since there were reports to the effect that he was willing to surrender” more..

UN chief witnesses Sri Lanka refugee despair

May 23 (AFP) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came face-to-face Saturday with the despair of Sri Lanka's war-hit civilians as he toured the nation's biggest refugee complex, home to 200,000 displaced by fighting. Just days after Colombo declared victory over Tamil Tiger, he toured the sprawling Menik Farm camp, which was jammed with civilians who had fled the war zone. more..

Probe US, UK troops before charging us with war crimes: Sri Lanka

May 23 (PTI) Amid calls for war crimes probe against its military for its conduct during the campaign to eliminate the LTTE, Sri Lanka on Saturday said US and British troops will have to be hauled before tribunals first if any charges are brought against its armed forces. The remarks came a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused unnamed foreign elements of trying to stop the military offensive more..

Sri Lanka says Prabakaran is cremated; Website claims he's alive

May 23 (PTI) LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakaran's body has been cremated by Sri Lankan security forces, Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka has said amid claims by the rebels that their chief is alive. Fonseka said the identification of 54-year-old Prabakaran's body came on Tuesday morning after heavy confrontations in the northeastern Mullaittivu district the previous day. "We cremated the body in the same area and threw the ashes into the (Indian) ocean," more..

What the Tigers taught Al-Qaeda

May 23 (WP) It took a pitched two-hour gun battle with Sri Lankan special forces. Then a rocket launched into his armor-plated ambulance. But last Monday, death finally came to Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Tamil Tigers separatist group. Also gone are Prabhakaran's son and heir apparent, Charles Anthony, and as many as 300 cadres. The LTTE, one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations on the planet, has been essentially wiped out. more..

Sri Lanka health ministry probes war zone doctors

May 23 (AP) Sri Lanka's health ministry is investigating three doctors detained by the military on accusations they gave false information about war zone casualties to the media, an official said Saturday. The doctors said they treated hundreds of badly wounded civilians in understaffed, makeshift hospitals in the north during the military's final offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Last days of Prabhakaran

May 23 (DBS) Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai Prabhakaran is no more! The body of the 54 year old supreme leader of the LTTE was found on Tuesday May 19th near the Mullaitheevu lagoon known as “Nanthikkadal” (sea of conches). He had gunshot wounds in the head and forehead. Thus ended the life of the man who was once described by the LTTE’s political strategist, Anton Stanislaus Balasingham, as more..

UN chief visits Sri Lankan war refugees

May 23 (AP) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited a displacement camp packed with Tamil civilians and flew over the former battlefield Saturday as he appealed to Sri Lanka's triumphant government to "heal the wounds" after three decades of civil war. The secretary-general was the first major international figure to visit since President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday, more..

A place where kids can be kids

May 24 (TS) Sitting in his classroom, Sachin Jayasinha leaned back in his seat, draped an arm around his classmate Lasanth Nadraja's shoulder, and launched into a scalding critique of his best friend's shortcomings on the cricket pitch. Jayasinha didn't get far with his analysis before both boys burst into laughter. The two 14-year-olds love a good practical joke, spend rainy weekend afternoons playing video games and extend their friendly competition to their report cards, more..

War-ravaged Tamil population faces grim future in displacement camps

May 24 (G&M) The last time Sathasivam Kanagaratnam's family and friends heard from him, they were told that the middle-aged man was fleeing the war zone of Sri Lanka's north, in the final days of the civil war last weekend, and would join them in Colombo shortly. The next day, as he travelled south, he disappeared into the country's network of camps. Over the next eight days, he was moved through parts of a remote archipelago of 41 facilities that includes more..

Sharing power with provinces the key to peace

May 24 (TS) While the war in Sri Lanka has drawn to a brutal, bloody close, the overarching challenge that remains to be addressed by all stakeholders on the island is how to transform a post-war situation into a post-conflict one. The grave human rights and humanitarian situation, as well as the mounting debt incurred to fight the war, suggest this will not be easy. The Sri Lankan government will have to respond constructively to international criticism on more..

Can Tamils see a future on the other side of Adam's Bridge?

May 24 (G&M) This tiny, beautiful and mysteriously violent island is separated from the looming bulk of the Indian subcontinent by a strip of stones and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, an almost-walkable link covered by less than two metres of water at high tide. They could turn it into a real bridge to connect India and Sri Lanka if the two countries ever wanted it. At opposite ends of Adam's Bridge this week, two major historic events occurred. more..

War-ravaged Tamil population faces grim future in displacement camps

May 24 (G&M) The last time Sathasivam Kanagaratnam's family and friends heard from him, they were told that the middle-aged man was fleeing the war zone of Sri Lanka's north, in the final days of the civil war last weekend, and would join them in Colombo shortly. The next day, as he travelled south, he disappeared into the country's network of camps. Over the next eight days, he was moved through parts of a remote archipelago of 41 facilities that more..

Sri Lankan eatery in Canada targeted

May 24 (TS) An early-morning fire at a Sinhalese restaurant in Brampton yesterday was set by Tamil sympathizers, Sri Lanka's consul-general in Toronto believes, while investigators say the blaze is "suspicious." Standing with an RCMP bodyguard outside the scorched Lanka Gardens restaurant on Wexford Rd., in the Kennedy Rd.-Bovaird Dr. area, Bandula Jayasekara urged Canadian politicians to take a strong stand against violence more..

Let the healing begin in Sri Lanka

May 24 (G&M) The cessation of the fighting in Sri Lanka marks the welcome end of a prolonged and brutal war. But it also creates two issues of immediate concern. The first is the critical plight of the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the north and east of the country who have been victimized by the conflict. The international community failed them during the fighting by falling short of its commitments under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. more..

New life begins with Tigers' defeat

May 24 (WT) Before Palestinian suicide bombers were blowing up Israeli women and children in marketplaces, before Iraqi suicide bombers were murdering Iraqi civilians as well as Iraqi and American soldiers, there were the LTTE - the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka - the world's little-known pioneers of the deadly craft of suicide bombing. On Monday, the Tamil Tigers were defeated after three decades of bloody rebellion. more..

Hopes and dreams live on in strip mall

May 24 (NP) He never expected to own a bun shop in a strip mall on Steeles Avenue, the north edge of Toronto. How Pathmakumar Vaithilingam, a communications hardware engineer, ended up at Kestrel Bakery -- via Germany, Denmark and Nortel -- is quite the story; I wept freely when he finished the telling. But the saga does have a happy ending, with cream buns and Ceylon tea. Mr. Vaithilingam is one of eight children of a Tamil merchant in a Sinhalese part of Sri Lanka, more..

Toronto Sinhalese ‘really worried’ after second apparent arson attack

May 24 (NP) A suspicious Brampton fire consumed greater Toronto’s only Sinhalese restaurant early yesterday, which if confirmed as arson would make it the second fiery attack on a Sri Lankan establishment in less than a week. A Buddhist temple in Scarborough went up in flames on Saturday, in what Toronto police have deemed a criminal fire, igniting fear in the Sinhalese community that the Sri Lankan army’s defeat of the rebel LTTE may have made them targets. more..

Commentary: what Sri Lanka's government needs to do now

May 24 (Telegraph) They had no choice but to do so, as - through the use of the gun - the leader of the LTTE systematically eliminated alternative democratic voices. But Prabakaran was politically naïve even though he was an unrelenting guerrilla leader. Now he is dead, and with him the concept of a separate state for Tamils has been buried. Where does Sri Lanka go from here? What does Prabakaran's death mean for Sri Lanka? more..

Tigers: The rise and fall of Prabhakaran

May 24 (AL) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran's death circa May 19, 2009, in circumstances we will never quite get to know, concludes a morality play. As the curtain comes down and we leave the theater, the spectacle continues to haunt us. We feel a deep unease and can't quite figure out the reason. Something rankles somewhere. And then we realize we have blood on our hands. more..

Huge challenges in Sri Lanka: Ban

May 24 (Hindu) Calling for an end to “old enmities,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a gathering of internally displaced persons at a government welfare village in Vavuniya in the north that he would mobilise U.N. agencies and international non-governmental organisations to help with the resettlement. He was on a 24-hour visit for a firsthand assessment of the post-war situation in Sri Lanka. more..

I would not have done any different…

May 24 (SL) Principles of war are the same. It is how you apply the principles to suit the existing requirement to fight the enemy and make your military plans accordingly. I must admit that Gen. Sarath Fonseka has done extremely well. He has been a good field commander. I have been asked if I would have done differently to Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The question does not arise. Why it was possible to win the war this time as against previous times was that, more..