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An after thought by an inside outsider

May 29 (GV) After a war is won, there is always the after thought. Leaders from conflict parties, either dead or living, will be portrayed either as martyrs, heroes, traitors, terrorists….the list is endless. Which ever side one takes on the debate of romanticising the vanquished or demonising him, it is always interesting to see what the other party has to say. Have been observing the way in which people reacted in the post-war (can we say that yet?) context. more..

Victory has a thousand fathers II

May 29 (LNP) Foreign allies of the LTTE have shifted their anti-Sri Lanka operations to a different front. At the time of writing, a human rights battle was being fought in Geneva between the western governments and Sri Lanka backed by her true friends in the international community. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, who has shut her eyes tight to the Swat Valley, the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Afghanistan, is demanding that an international probe be more..

What the independent Western media will not investigate

May 29 (PISL) The special session on Sri Lanka has come and gone, though interested parties such as the Dutch Foreign Minister seem determined to continue on an adversarial path. Nothing can be done however about those with political agendas, and though it is depressing to see such agendas asserted with self-righteous sanctimoniousness, the world does not really take seriously such posturings on the part of politicians. more..

Holding Out For a Hero

May 29 (GV) Well it’s not exactly a hero. What we are really holding out for is a statesman - but that wouldn’t have made a catchy title. Yet it is a statesman that is needed in Sri Lanka at this juncture in its history. Having finally made it over the daunting hurdle of terrorism, which had us mired in a mud heap for so many decades, Sri Lanka is now emerging, scarred but optimistic, out of the wasteland of war. more..

Iran to help build rural electrification scheme

May 29 (DN) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a memorandum submitted by Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne to launch a comprehensive rural electrification scheme with financial assistance from the Government of Iran. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Iran has provided US$ 95.5 million for the promotion of rural electrification in Sri Lanka and this project would boost the rural community. more..

'Children, females among surrendered rebels'

May 29 (Xinhua) At least 400 children and 1,200 females are among the near 10,000 Tamil Tiger rebels surrendered to the government recently, the Sri Lankan military said Friday. Defense Officials who did not want to be named said the surrendered rebels are now being housed in different rehabilitation centers around the country. The former members of the LTTE were among around 270,000 civilians displaced by the battles between the government troops and the LTTE in the north. more..

The Man from Koggala

May 29 (DN) Seventy-five years ago an intelligent child could not grow up in Koggala without acquiring a certain curiosity about life and nature. On one side the village was bounded by the sea; a vast expanse of water stretching as far as the Bay of Bengal. A child would watch the huge waves hit the coral reef which formed a natural breakwater a few hundred yards from the shore. From the coral reef the sea ran in little foamy wavelets towards the sandy beach. more..

Dengue defies Health Ministry

May 29 (Island) Discussions held on the current dengue virus situation at the Health Ministry revealed that a natural transformation had occurred causing it to withstand all efforts to rid the country of the dengue menace. Deputy Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said the Health Ministry had been hitherto treating the ‘Type 1,’ dengue virus. The virus had acclimatized itself not only to be active in the rainy season but also during dry spells. more..

Devolving police powers to the provinces has not been discussed yet – Yapa

May 29 (Island) The question of devolving police powers to the provinces in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, has not been discussed yet, the government said yesterday. Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, when asked at the Cabinet press briefing in Colombo, if the government was agreeable to fully implement the 13th Amendment, including police powers, said "We have not discussed that aspect as yet. It will take some time." more..

Poisoning now the leading killer in Lanka

May 29 (Island) Poisoning from pesticides, drug medicaments, biological substances and snake bites, are now the eight causes of death in Sri Lanka. In 2005 18,174 people died of poisoning, in 2006 19,381 died of poisoning and in 2007 23,675 people have died of poisoning. The increase in the mortality rate due to poisoning can be attributed to self-administration of medicaments, exposure to toxic chemicals in the household, more..

Sri Lanka to engage opposing nations

May 29 (DM) The government has decided to engage with the countries which voted against the resolution on “Assistance to Sri Lanka in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,” at the special session on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. A foreign ministry official last night said that the engagement would take place at diplomatic level in Sri Lanka and through the missions in the respective countries. more..

'Prabha only a product of Tamil issue'

May 29 (DM) The Tamil Nadu government says that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was only a “product” of the struggle for Tamils and his death would have no effect on the moves to ensure the final solution concerning the Tamils in Sri Lanka is addressed. Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi Rajathi Karunanindhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanindhi and a member of the DMK which is an ally of the ruling Congress party, told Daily Mirror in a telephone interview yesterday that more..

Regional disparities cause for Sri Lanka’s bloody insurrections

May 29 (ANN) The root of Sri Lanka’s two bloodiest insurgencies, one led by the JVP and the other more prolonged and deadlier led by the LTTE, had much to do with regional disparities than language, race or religious differences. The Business for Peace Alliance (BPA) is a consortium of regional business chambers which united to form linkages with each other and the country’s capital Colombo, which is in the Western Province contributing more than 50 percent to the country’s GDP. more..

'The LTTE caused the UNP the most damage'

May 29 (DM) “The LTTE caused the greatest damage to the UNP by going to the extent of killing President Premadasa, prominent political leaders and even disrupting elections,” said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special declaration to a media gathering at the opposition leader’s Cambridge Terrace office. The attempt by the LTTE to assassinate Chandrika Kumaratunga during the election campaign and more..

Tigers' notorious arms dealer arrested

May 29 (ANN) The local agent of the LTTE’s notorious international arms dealer Kumaran Pathmanadan, aka KP, was arrested by Army intelligence Thursday at a welfare camp in Vavuniya. Army sources said that the man Identified as Urumaran, was well educated and KP’s direct contact in the supply of weapons to the LTTE. Initial investigations had revealed that he was fluent in English and some other European languages. He had travelled abroad on nineteen occasions. more..

Sri Lankan envoy calls pro-Tamil protesters ‘jokers’

May 29 (TS) Tamil Nesan reported that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr D.D. Ranasinghe, had described Malaysian Indians who participated in Sunday’s protest rally as “jokers”. The rally in Batu Caves, which was organised by the World Tamil Relief and non-governmental orga­ni­sations, had condemned Colombo and voiced its unhappiness with the deaths of Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Aid groups slowly reaching Sri Lanka’s war refugees

May 29 (NYT) Eleven days after the Sri Lankan government declared victory over Tamil rebels in the country’s north, aid organizations are beginning to get freer access to the 265,000 civilians displaced by the fighting, according to aid officials in the region, but not quickly enough to meet the vast needs. Sri Lankan officials have eased restrictions on vehicle traffic in the camps, allowing workers from organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, more..

Inflation accelerates to 3.3-pct in May

May 29 (LBO) Consumer price inflation in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo accelerated to 3.3 percent in the 12-months to May from 2.9 percent in April, with prices jumping 2.0 percent during the month, the government's statistics office said. Sri Lanka's central bank had kept tight monetary policy till late last year and brought down the island's inflation to the same levels as the rest of the world by the first quarter of 2009. more..

'Over 20,000 Tamils killed' in Sri Lankan onslaught

May 29 (AFP) More than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final onslaught by the Sri Lankan government on separatist rebels this month, which ended Asia's longest civil war, a British newspaper said Friday. The figure was three times the official casualty figure, the Times said. Fighting ended when Sri Lankan troops crushed Tamil Tiger rebels accused of holding tens of thousands of civilians as human shields, said the Times. more..

Still no full access to war victims: UN

May 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka is still refusing to provide aid workers with full access to hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil civilians despite an appeal by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, the UN said Friday. Ban had sought complete freedom for international aid agencies to help civilians uprooted from their homes by a major government offensive against the now defeated Tamil Tigers. "We still don't have access beyond the north of Omanthai, to see if those horrible stories we heard were fact or fiction," more..

Tamils issue: Rajapaksa for 'homegrown political solution'

May 29 (PTI) Fresh from his victory against the LTTE, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said his government will devise a "homegrown" political solution to resolve the decades-old ethnic problem in the country. He invited Indian industrialists to come and contribute to the development of Sri Lanka especially since the security atmosphere will see a radical transformation now. more..

Building a bright future in Batticaloa

May 30 (IFRC) Proud homeowners stand outside their brightly colored houses in Thetativu, Batticaloa District. The rows of bright blue, orange, green and pink houses stand out in sharp contrast to the stark, almost barren landscape, yet they mark a return to normalcy for families whose homes, livelihoods and financial capital were destroyed in the tsunami. Economic development has accompanied the construction of the community. more..

Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed

May 30 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders is extremely worried by statements by Sri Lankan officials, including army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, that journalists who visited areas formerly controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels will be prosecuted. At the same time, access to refugee camps and Tamil areas in general is still severely regulated, preventing the press from obtaining information about the fate of the Tamil population. more..

SLFP Badulla organizer post for WJM's son as wedding present

May 30 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has attended the wedding of Udith Lokubandara, son of speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara, and given him the position of SLFP Badulla district organizer, as his wedding present. Mr. Rajapaksa and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe were the witnesses of the wedding. Previously, Udith Lokubandara was offered the UNP organizer position for Haputale electorate. more..

Govt. to import ‘Samba’rice to prevent artificial scarcity

May 30 (GDI) President directed Trade and Consumer Minister Bandula Gunawardene a short while ago to immediately import Samba rice to prevent an artificial scarcity of the commodity by unscrupulous traders in the rice market. Authoritative sources pointed out that certain errant traders were manipulating measures to create an artificial scarcity of Samba rice in the market to jack up prices in a mannner that would affect consumers. more..

FM urges Malaysia to consider banning LTTE

May 30 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama requested the Government of Malaysia to consider proscribing the LTTE, a terrorist organization already banned in over 30 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, India and many of the EU nations. The Foreign Minister is currently in Singapore to attend the 8th Shangri La Dialogue, a high profile global conference, primarily focusing on security and security-related aspects, and more..

Rajapaksa visiting New Delhi next week

May 30 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to visit New Delhi next week India hopes to carry forward the dialogue on rehabilitation of Tamils displaced in the war between the Lankan army and LTTE, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said on Friday. "We are expecting the Sri Lankan President to visit Delhi next week to carry the dialogue forward", he told reporters here. more..

Prabhakaran: Powerful symbol of Tamil armed struggle

May 30 (DBS) The evolution and growth of the armed struggle for the goal of Tamil Eelam saw many Tamil militant groups emerge across the politico-military horizon. There was a time when nearly 34 outfits-big and small-existed. Among all these, the single organization that kept the Tamil armed struggle alive was none other than the LTTE led by its charismatic leader Thiruvengadam Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Sri Lanka cancel Oxford visit over security fears

May 30 (CI) Less than three months after their team bus came under terrorist gunfire in Lahore, members of the Sri Lankan cricket team have withdrawn from a scheduled visit to Oxford due to security concerns. Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and team manager Brendon Kuruppu informed the Oxford Union debating society on Friday they feared a backlash after a front-page story in The Times in which it was claimed that 20,000 Tamil civilians had been killed in more..

Sri Lanka rejects deaths report

May 30 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has strongly denied allegations that more than 20,000 civilians were killed during its recent onslaught against Tamil rebels. The figures published in The Times newspaper in the UK - quoting official documents and witness accounts - is far higher than previously thought. A senior official from Sri Lanka's Centre for National Security told the BBC the accusations were totally false. more..

Fate of the lonely destitute elders in the IDP camps

May 30 (LG) A lot of elderly persons from the IDP camps had been handed over to the people who under-took to take charge of them. There are many still languishing in the camps alone, with no capacity to identify themselves. In this situation I do not hesitate to say that they are gradually dying. A good number of their children and other relations who are doing well and living in far off places and in foreign countries are living in agony, more..

Not being Tamil in Sri Lanka

May 30 (DNA) Okay, we had clearly asked the wrong question. Perhaps it was a tad stupid of us after what we had just seen. But none the less the question was out there. We had asked the chap if he was a Tamil and that was that. We had just been to the Kandy Kathirgamar temple. We had expected to see a stately statue of Karthikeya. We saw a calendar style reproduction. Yes. You don't get to see the actual deity. We asked the priest why the idol was hidden. more..

Sri Lanka’s Challenge: Winning the Peace

May 30 (ME) The military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers / LTTE) on 18 May 2009 has brought the twenty-six-year-old Sri Lankan conflict to an end. The immediate legacy is a huge humanitarian problem in parts of the north involving the care and resettlement of displaced people, their reintegration into local communities, and the provision of resources for them to begin to reconstruct their lives. more..

Sri Lanka: A children’s horror story

May 30 (Care) I thought it was an innocent question: what’s your favourite story? But for a group of children who have lived a real-life horror story, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the answer. “Our favourite story is about children who were running, and hiding, and passing by dead bodies. Then the children ran more. Then they stayed in a tent. Then there was no more tent. Then the children lived in the ground. The end.” more..

'Govt employees in IDP camps to be treated with respect'

May 30 (LG) Public servants of all levels were treated by the LTTE, only as errand boys in areas under their control and were not given due respect. I have brought this to your notice earlier too in my letter of 5th May. It should be remembered that they all helped the Government’s Civil Administration to continue, bearing all the insults and disrespect shown to them by the LTTE. more..

Tamils diaspora advocating another Eelam war amounts to a crime against Tamils

May 30 (AT) The war waged by the LTTE has ended abruptly. This war was futile. Due to this war about twenty million people, Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and others in Sri Lanka could not connect with each other or treat each other with mutual respect, goodwill and kindness. In fact, LTTE created a fear factor and LTTE is to be partially blamed for this situation. The development of the Tamil militancy destroyed the leadership of the political wisdom of the Tamils, more..

Poland and Sri Lanka agree to expand bilateral relations

May 30 (LG) With the defeat of terrorism, the time is opportune to enhance relations between Sri Lanka and Poland observed Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama when Prof. Piotr Klodkowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland paid a courtesy call on the Minister last Tuesday following his presentation of credentials to H.E. the President earlier in the day. The Minister pointed out that Poland must reflect on the present Sri Lankan agenda which more..

UN must publicise civilian casualty figures

May 30 (AI) The United Nations must immediately publicise its estimate of the number of civilians killed by the two sides in the final weeks of fighting in Sri Lanka, Amnesty International said. An investigation published by The Times newspaper today, drawing on confidential UN sources, stated that more than 20,000 civilians were killed in the last few weeks of the conflict, and suggested that most of them were killed as a result of shelling by the Sri Lankan government. more..

Oval to host Pakistan and India in fundraiser for Sri Lanka attack victims

May 30 (Guardian) Pakistan and India will play in a Twenty20 fundraiser for victims of the attacks on the Sri Lanka cricket team, the International Cricket Council said today. The rivals will play the match at The Oval on 3 June in a warm-up for the World Twenty20 that starts on 5 June. "The (ICC) Board wanted to do something to assist the families of the victims of the terror attacks on the Sri Lanka team and match officials in March, more..

In Sri Lanka: On the Streets of Colombo

May 30 (HP) The euphoria remains on the balmy streets of Colombo. One week ago the Tamil Tigers were at last defeated -- on the beaches of the north -- after 26 years of terrorism. Their human hostages have escaped. The Sri Lankan flag flies now from virtually every tuk-tuk (three-wheeled taxi) and every building. Children grin broadly as they come home from school, and on this Friday afternoon, the small Muslim community heads for the city's mosques. more..

Sri Lanka’s sacrifice of life may sow seeds of a new conflict

May 30 (Times) Pakistan’s military commanders must be eyeing Sri Lanka with envy as they struggle to defeat the Taleban in the northwestern region of Swat. Perhaps Nato officers in Afghanistan are too. Sri Lanka is far smaller, with very different terrain, and its 26-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers was based on ethnicity rather than interpretations of Islam. There are enough parallels to pose the question: could Sri Lanka’s strategy and tactics be used against insurgencies elsewhere? more..

D.E.W Gunasekera comments on Rebuild

UN rights commissioner bypasses own council in seeking Sri Lankan probe

May 30 (NP) The United Nations human rights chief took the extraordinary step Thursday of seeking to override a decision on Sri Lanka by the world body’s top rights assembly. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, pressed for an independent probe into abuses during the country’s war with Tamil separatists after a majority of the 47-member Human Rights Council rebuffed her appeal for that body to launch one. more..

UN, partners step up efforts to help uprooted in Sri Lanka

May 30 (UN) The United Nations, along with dozens of partner agencies, are working to improve basic conditions in camps housing people who fled the recently-ended conflict in northern Sri Lanka, it was announced today. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that since the arrival of the last of the IDPs at the camps, relief workers have been working to ease pressure on overcrowded sites, construct more latrines and improve water supply to meet international standards. more..

UN downplayed civilian death toll, media say

May 30 (F24) The United Nations deliberately downplayed the number of civilians killed during the Sri Lankan government offensive against the Tamil Tigers, according to a report in a leading French daily. The report, which was published Thursday in the newspaper Le Monde, quotes several unnamed UN sources alleging that high-ranking UN officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, chose to keep silent about the high civilian death toll more..

'LTTE fall will alter drug trade in India'

May 30 (TOI) The defeat of the LTTE and the death of its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran will change the dynamics of drug trade in the subcontinent like never before, say experts. Mumbai was a key link in this supply chain as LTTE's conduits often used the city to bring in drugs from Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, and the Rajasthan and Punjab border. The consignments were then transported to coastal towns in Tamil Nadu more..

How the West added LTTE to ravage Sri Lanka for three decades

May 30 (AT) The end came fast. By Saturday the last of the remaining 50,000 hostages were rescued. And by Monday it was all over. After having rescued 250,000 hostages earlier it was thought releasing the last lot held as a human shield by the terrorists could not be accomplished without much bloodshed. The whole world was watching with baited breath. Clinton, Brown, UN’s Pillay and the European Union as well as the INGOs waited to see a ‘blood bath’ and a ‘human catastrophe’. more..

Sri Lanka highlights growing web of China influence

May 30 (TS) An ally of Beijing has fought a bitterly controversial conflict to a final victory, while shrugging off international protests along the way. India, the other Asian giant, is only 80 kilometers from Sri Lanka across the Palk Straits, yet it has been shown to have far less influence on its neighbor than China. Through a combination of strategic investments in seaports and pipelines, along with financial and military support for more..

An interview with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

May 30 (AT) Apparently there is great relief as the guns have been silenced indicating the end of the ethnic war, but there is also concern, anxiety and confusion for the future, because true peace is still far off ': these are the first impressions of Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. He is always attentive to what happens in his country of origin, more..

World may never know Sri Lanka death toll - UN

May 30 (Reuters) The world will probably never find out how many innocent civilians died during the bloody final phase of Sri Lanka's war against Tamil Tigers rebels, the U.N. humanitarian chief said on Friday. The United Nations believes that anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 people died in what was one of Asia's longest modern wars, erupting in earnest in 1983 when Tamil Tiger rebels began to fight for a separate state for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils. more..