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UNP to help Northern IDPs

May 3 (SO) The UNP launched a program to collect dry rations, milk foods, ready made garments and medicine to be distributed to over 180,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North. UNP, General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake told the Sunday Observer that some UNP members visited the camps few weeks ago to look into the welfare of IDPs and decided to start this humanitarian program on the directive of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

LTTE’s bargaining power insignificant now – Norway

May 3 (NS) In a major shift in its policy towards Sri Lanka, Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tore Hattrem said the bargaining power of one of the world’s most ruthless terror outfits – the LTTE had become irrelevant in the wake of its imminent elimination and expressed his government’s backing for finding a permanent solution for Sri Lanka’s conflict. Hattrem also said the LTTE’s bargaining power was not relevant in the present context, more..

Dengue Breeding Act in Parliament

May 3 (NS) With the increase of reported dengue cases and deaths, the government has decided to present a new Dengue Breeding Act in Parliament on May 5, empowering the Health Ministry to take action against people whose negligence facilitates the breeding of the dengue mosquito. A highly placed source in the Ministry said that the penalty for those guilty of such negligence, will be a fine up to Rs.25,000, or will be liable to legal action. more..

UNP poll-axed by UPFA

May 3 (NS) In predictable form, the Western Provincial Council (WPC) election resulted in a resounding victory for the ruling party. The UPFA laid claim to 68 seats in the WPC, having won more than 1.5 million of total votes polled. The UNP, having won 688,253 votes, were able to gain only 30 seats. The JVP, with its total of 56,384 votes, got one seat each from the Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara Districts. With 49,388 votes, the SLMC obtained two seats in the Council. more..

Banks sweetened CPC officials, sent minister too for ‘training’

May 3 (Island) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption has begun an investigation into the oil hedging deals by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on the basis of information supplied to it by the Central Bank on the direction of the Monetary Board, Justice Ameer Ismail, Chairman of the Commission, confirmed. A thorough investigation by examiners of the Department of Bank Supervision of the Central Bank has surfaced evidence that more..

'Central Bank opened the door for Golden Key to swindle the public'

May 3 (Island) The CID has asked the International Police (INTERPOL) to ascertain whether Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala has entered the United Kingdom following information that she may not be in Singapore, as believed earlier. "We have sought the assistance of the British INTERPOL to track her as there is reason to believe that she could have arrived in London", Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Sarath Jayamanne said last week. more..

Negombo to offer spanking good times to foreign visitors

May 3 (Island) On arrival, a visitor would be whisked to the beach. No fuss. No long wait. No customs hassle. No niggling this or that. Just the joy and spacious expanse and warm waters of the Indian ocean. That would be the immediate promise of, spanking’ good times a visitor would get, nearly so, on arrival. Negombo is that close. Negombo is the precursor to the character and essence of a holiday in Sri Lanka. more..

Triumphs and Pitfalls

May 3 (Island) Sri Lanka is winning the war against the Tigers and losing battles on every other front. The state of the economy causes grave fears about the country’s capacity to escape a devastating debt trap without seeking recourse in bankruptcy, a la Argentina. The politico-psychological gap between the majority and the minorities has widened to critical levels, as demonstrated yet again by the voting patterns at the Western Provincial Council election. more..

For better or worse, Tamils in Lanka back LTTE

May 3 (EB) “I told those LTTE boys that one day I would tell the world what they were doing,” Manjula (name changed) a distraught Tamil woman in her 50s told The New Indian Express. Having escaped from the No-Fire Zone last Thursday, she witnessed the LTTE’s capture of some 600 teenagers who were hiding in a Vailagnarmadam church last month. “People had gathered there to hide from the army shelling, and also from the Tigers who were trying to recruit youngsters. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil issue- A recap

May 3 (MN) Sri Lankan Tamil people are a Tamil-speaking ethnic group native to Sri Lanka. Some studies indicate that they have been living in Sri Lanka since 2nd century BC. There are also other Tamil-speaking minorities in Sri Lanka – the migrant Tamils from India. These are also referred to as Plantation Tamils, ie Tamil people who were taken from India by the colonial British government to work in the plantations of Sri Lanka. more..

‘World’ pressure grows; Lanka won't bow

May 3 (ST) The news of the change of plans for an important diplomatic encounter between Colombo and New Delhi arrived only night before. Two emissaries of Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh would fly to Colombo on an Indian Air Force jet the next (Friday) morning. They were National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. Basil Rajapaksa, MP, was to travel earlier to New Delhi as special envoy of the Sri Lankan President. more..

A momentous meeting gives reel life to extraordinary monk

May 3 (ST) Their paths were not meant to cross until 20 days before his passing away, although many were the times she attempted to contact him. The one and only meeting that did take place “at the right time” in a bare and humble cave up in the hills of Getambe in 2006, lasted from dawn to dusk, though he was very feeble and frail having had no solids for three weeks and no water for 10 days because “he had a problem with his throat and lungs and found it difficult to swallow”. more..

Trapping the elusive Tiger and freeing the people

May 3 (ST) As government troops close in on the four to six kilometre stretch of land held by Tiger guerrillas in a narrow coastal strip of the Mullaitivu District the focus is now on the remaining LTTE leadership and rescuing the civilians still trapped there. Both the Army and the Navy this week announced that land and sea blockades have been set up to pre-empt Tiger guerrillas escaping. The military believes that the elusive LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran still remains in the area. more..

Another botched ransom bid

May 3 (ST) An eight-year-old girl student who went missing from her school in Batticaloa from last Tuesday was found killed with her body dumped in an abandoned well, police said yesterday. Unconfirmed reports said Satheeskumar Thinuska, a student from the local Koddaimunai Junior Viththiyaalyam had been shot and her body later dumped in the well situated close to her home. The girl was a victim in a suspected ransom bid by unidentified persons, and more..

LTTE asks UK, France to continue pushing for ceasefire

May 3 (PTI) LTTE on Sunday appealed to Britain and France to continue with their initiatives for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka's northern war zone, four days after Colombo turned down a truce plea by the two European nations. In a letter to Britain Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, LTTE political head B Nadesan said the Tamil Tigers were ready to "engage in the process to bring about a ceasefire and enter into negotiations for an enduring resolution to the conflict." more..

Army rules out presence of LTTE jet in no-fire zone

May 3 (PTI) Closing in on the cornered Tamil Tigers in their ever-shrinking territory in the northern part of island, Sri Lankan forces on Sunday ruled out presence of any LTTE aircraft in the area. The suspicion of presence of LTTE aircraft in the five sq km no-fire zone arose after troops recovered a bomb used by rebels' aircraft from Kokkavil area in Mullaittivu on Saturday. "We have found an LTTE light aircraft bomb in Kokkavil area which has already been liberated and the question of the Tiger rebels having any plane in the no-fire-zone does not arise," more..

Foreign Secretary David Miliband set to hire luxury private jet for overseas trips

May 3 (MO) Foreign Secretary David Miliband is set to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money by hiring a luxury private jet for overseas trips. The minister is said to have ordered aides to find him a luxury Gulfstream or Learjet plane to be on standby instead of taking scheduled flights. This means that flying him to the US and back could now cost £250,000. A contract for the hire of a charter aircraft went out in February and will last for two years, it is understood. more..

Rebels urge renewed push for truce

May 3 (AP) LTTE rebels have asked Britain and France to continue pushing for a cease-fire in the island's civil war after the two European nations' foreign ministers failed to secure a halt in the fighting to allow civilians to evacuate. The Tamil Tiger rebels' political head, Balasingham Nadesan, wrote Saturday to British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, saying the insurgents are ready to "engage in the process to bring about a cease-fire and enter into negotiations for more..

Lanka govt may offer amnesty to LTTE cadres

May 3 (PTI) With the Tiger rebels on their last legs, the Sri Lankan government is mulling a general amnesty to the surrendering LTTE cadres as well as to those who are in detention in the country. "Regulations are being worked out in consultation with the Attorney General and they would cover anyone who agrees to lay down weapons and surrender before the security forces," minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. more..

Sri Lanka hits out at West over ceasefire calls

May 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Sunday severely criticised Western nations for calling for a ceasefire that would end its military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels before a complete victory has been secured. The rebels asked Britain and France to broker a truce, but the government has vowed to fight on until the guerrillas, who have been campaigning for an independent Tamil homeland for 37 years, have been crushed. more..

Sri Lanka accused of 'brutal' media suppression

May 4 (AP) The Sri Lankan military's success in its fight against separatist rebels has been accompanied by a "brutal campaign" against dissenting media, an international press group said Friday. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders branded Sri Lanka as the "least respectful of media freedom" among countries with democratically elected governments. The army and groups among the majority ethnic Sinhalese have harassed the private media, more..

Sri Lankan Tamils and India’s ‘Responsibility to Protect’

May 4 (TC) ADMK supremo, J. Jayalalithaa has set the cat amongst the pigeons when she declared the other day: “If a government that listens to me is formed at the Centre, I will take action for the dispatch of the Indian army to the island nation and create a separate Tamil Eelam.” This demand had been raised earlier by her alliance partners - Dr. Ramadass of PMK and Vaiko of MDMK. Prof. K.Anbazhagan, the intellectual face of DMK, responded: “Tamils are being destroyed in Sri Lanka. more..

War is violation of "Mahinda Chintanaya" and mandate from the People

May 4 (TC) The issue of a legitimate government was on the cards when two high profile Ministers from the UK and France were here in Colombo for just one day, trying to persuade the Rajapaksa government to consider a pause in its military operations in the Wanni so that Tamil civilians caught in the conflict could leave for safety and receive aid. The reason why such appeals are made to this government over and over again is because it is considered a legitimate government in power. more..

Sri Lanka ready to take off and to reach its full economic potential

May 4 (AT) "Sri Lanka is ready to rebrand itself and to talk off at this time to reach its full economic potential, when the challenge of terrorism was ending and Sri Lankans are seeing light at the end of the tunnel" said Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha. Noting that despite adversity, in recent years, Sri Lanka sustained economic growth at around 6%, and continued to draw steady flows of foreign investment and tourists, he said Sri Lanka was better prepared to shift gears in its race towards prosperity. more..

The Economic Key to Sri Lankan Peace

May 4 (WSJ) The Sri Lankan government is close to completing an emphatic military victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse, must follow up his military victory with a just settlement for the Tamil minority. If not, terrorism will go underground and ethnic conflict will continue to fester. But just as importantly, Sri Lanka's economy needs radical change. Peace and development go together. Sri Lanka's economy has fallen far below its potential. more..

Wanni Operation 3rd May

Opinion: Sri Lankan crisis

May 4 (Hindu) The editorial “Sri Lanka: what needs to be done” (May 2) has rightly underscored the need for effective humanitarian pressure on the LTTE to release the civilians it is holding hostage in the do-or-die battle with the Sri Lankan security forces. The emaciated outfit is clearly unable to withstand the fierce onslaught. It is still not too late for the LTTE to lay down arms and pave the way for a negotiated settlement. - P.K. Varadarajan, Chennai more..

'India did not seek ceasefire'

May 4 (EB) Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that Indian National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had not asked Colombo to order a ceasefire or stop the military operations against the LTTE. He has also ruled out third-party mediation to bring about an understanding with the LTTE even for a limited ceasefire to enable the trapped civilians to come out of the war zone. more..

Tamil asylum seekers allowed to stay after threatening to commit suicide if deported

May 4 (MO) Two Tamil asylum seekers have won the right to stay in Britain after they threatened to commit suicide if they are deported to their home country. Three senior Appeal Court judges took pity on the brother and sister and ruled that sending them back to Sri Lanka to kill themselves would breach their human rights. Home Office ministers are furious at the ruling which they fear will become a precedent, more..

Pro-govt Tamil parties pressurised to accept President’s party symbol

May 4 (LG) Highly euphoric President is planning to call the municipal and the northern provincial council elections soon after dislodging the LTTE from the remaining pocket of fighting area in the Vanni. The elections are planned to be held in the heavy presence of the military in the area. The President’s party officials are said to have started the process to pressurise the anti-LTTE Tamil parties aligned with the government to more..

LTTE has another aircraft, Daya Master reveals

May 4 (LeN) Daya Master who surrendered the Army recently said that LTTE has one more aircraft and it has been dismantled and hidden. Daya Master has verified that LTTE Air Wing underwent pilot training from Singapore and Malaysia. He told that LTTE had no foreign pilots. LTTE opened fire at a crowd attempting to flee from the LTTE-held area to state-administered areas and killed 200 persons at Suthanthipuram, he said. more..

4 LTTE who terrorized Yala killed

May 4 (CT) A group of four LTTE cadres that had terrorized Yala and Buttala areas of Moneragala have been killed, the police Special Task Force says. Among them were the group leader Ilavendran alias 'Paramanathan Master (Snr.).' The others have been identified as Thaiavendran, Vedanayagam and Satyapavan, said the STF. The encounter had taken place in the jungles of Udumbikulam in Kanjikudichchiaru, Ampara. more..

Des Browne makes first visit to Sri Lanka since dispute with leaders

May 4 (Times) Des Browne, the former Defence Secretary, arrives in Sri Lanka today on his first visit since its government rejected his appointment as special representative to the Indian Ocean island in February. Sri Lanka has refused to allow Mr Browne to visit in his new role to press international calls for a ceasefire with the Tamil Tiger rebels and for aid agencies to be given access to more..

UNESCO honours murdered Sri Lankan journalist

May 4 (DPA) A murdered Sri Lankan journalist was Sunday posthumously awarded the 2009 UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize during a ceremony held in the Qatari capital. The ceremony honouring Lasantha Wickrematunge was attended by Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned, wife of the Qatari emir, and UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura at the conclusion of a two-day conference held to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day. more..

Sri Lanka’s propaganda war hits crescendo

May 4 (FT) The road that bridges the lagoon separating the mainland from a coastal strip housing the last stronghold of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger insurgents looks like a rubbish tip. Clothes and aid packets lie everywhere, discarded by the more than 100,000 refugees who fled through here from rebel-held territory during fierce fighting two weeks ago. “It’s two-three kilometres in this direction,” says Major General Jagath Dias, more..

In honour of slain editor, they keep writing

May 4 (IPS) At the end of the long editorial room of ‘The Sunday Leader’ hangs a large sketch of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the late editor of the newspaper, who was assassinated on Jan. 7. He was shot in his car, just five minutes from his office. It is a familiar pose of Wickrematunge’s, leaning back in his chair, smiling; yet his raised fingers make it clear that he is making a point, like he always did. more..

The other war in Sri Lanka — in the silence of a newsroom

May 4 (IE) The silence of the newsroom is broken only by the tapping of the computer keyboards. Large posters of a man with a gloomy face decorate the walls. Sunday Leader has more than journalists. It has a martyr. Its editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was assassinated on January 8, the ultimate punishment for independent journalism, which he had predicted in an editorial published posthumously. more..

Who Lost Paradise?

May 4 (KT) Lesson of the week: it is perfectly possible to simultaneously fool the United Nations, P. Chidambaram, much of the media and M. Karunanidhi with the same ploy, and within the same 24 hours. The outbreak of self-congratulation in Delhi when Colombo announced that it would cease using heavy artillery and air power against the trapped LTTE was not really self-delusion, because the mandarins of Delhi are not foolish. more..

Sri Lanka donates more corneas to needy Malaysians

May 4 (TS) For the third year, the Sri Lankan government has donated three corneas to help needy Malaysians see again, thanks to the Buddhist Maha Vihara. The corneas, from the Sri Lanka Eye Bank, were handed to the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital recently. The hospital will decide on the recipients soon. The programme was the initiative of The Most Venerable K. Sri Dham­maratana, the Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia, in memory of the late Venerable Dr K. Sri Dham­mananda. more..

JVP to North for relief operations

May 4 (LT) The media section of the JVP has announced that the JVP is making arrangements to carry out relief work for the displaced persons in the North. The process would be carried out in three stages the media unit of the JVP states. The first stage would be distribution of dry rations to the IDPs. District centers have been established to collect food stuff and those willing to contribute have been asked to make their contributions at these centers. more..

'Milco modernization is to get commissions'

May 4 (LT) The management of Milco Sri Lanka stating that the institution should be modernized has given a contract of US$40 million to Demsey Contractors, a Danish company which has its interests in Harry Jayawardene’s Ambewela farm. According to trade unions US$10 million has been already gone to the hands of a third party. The trade unions state that ‘Miloco’ should be modernized but point out that it would not cost so much money. more..

Daya Master to Parliament?

May 4 (LT) According to reliable sources Daya Master who fled the tiger terrorist organization recently and surrendered to SL forces would be appointed to the Parliament. Daya Master, who was the propaganda chief of the tiger terrorist organization and George, who was the interpreter for Thamilselvan and at various international conferences the tiger organization had in the past fled the terrorist held areas and surrendered to the Army. more..

The deluded Diaspora and the "Eelam Virus"

May 4 (LG) I have cringed with pain and clutched my head in anguish, watching my grand children’s friends in Scarborough, Ontario, going out, with their friends, to join protest marches in the streets of Toronto. These young people are given the Tiger flag which is an insult to the best traditions of Hindu society or the Christian values taught by the prince of peace. These young people shout slogans and talk of the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Joke, deceit or truce?

May 4 (LG) When the LTTE declared a unilateral ceasefire one more time, that too after it had lost much of the human-shield after the earlier military and territorial losses, Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhayya Rajapaksa described it as a ‘joke’. A day later when the Sri Lankan Government announced a ‘cessation of hostilities’ and promised not to use heavy weapons and air power – one more time -- it became the LTTE’s turn to claim that Colombo was deceiving the international community. more..

Triumph and tragedy in Sri Lanka

May 4 (LG) The news and the images coming out of Sri Lanka are horrendous: 1,00,000 Tamil civilians trapped on a tiny beach, where cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are making their last stand. The LTTE is using the civilians as a human shield (according to the Sri Lankan Government); the Army has shelled hospitals and killed non-combatants (according to human-rights groups). more..

What next in Sri Lanka after LTTE defeat?

May 4 (LG) Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE has reached its conclusion. The security forces may still take a few days in the last stage of moping up the war zone. The area is heavily mined, a large number of civilians are still suspected to be trapped in it, and there are last-ditch attempts by the remaining Tigers to kill as many Sri Lankan soldiers as they can. The question of LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s fate still remains unanswered. more..

The Sri Lankan Tamil tragedy

May 4 (LG) The happenings in Sri Lanka is a cause for anger in every right thinking human being. The Eelam Tamils are being subjected to genocide and the worst atrocities imaginable by the Singhalese dominated racist Sri Lanka government. It is disappointing to see the international community looking on without taking action. Worse, it is shocking that the Congress Indian government is giving military and financial help to the Sri Lankan government to carry out this extermination of the Tamil Hindu minority. more..

Jabberwocky Hillary Clinton hallucinatory about Tiger terror

May 4 (LG) Secretary Hillary Clinton behaves like the clumsy, often slapstick-like and temperamental Jabberwocky, a character by the same name in Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem. Her statements on Sri Lanka came soaring like a detonated LTTE suicide bomb. The LTTE supremo Prabhakaran must be laughing very much like how Somali pirates pooh-poohed American gansta rappers. She is hallucinatory to the nth degree, more..

Is the International Community really concerned about civilians caught in the war?

May 4 (AT) The LTTE has trapped thousands of civilians in the no fire zone in the small pocket of land in the North East of Sri Lanka. This land mass is reportedly only about 3 square kilometers. The international community estimates the number of civilians there to be more than 50,000. It is assumed they are not counting the LTTE cadres there, although one is entitled to wonder how they are doing this unless more..

Sundays without English newspapers?

May 4 (GV) Not too long ago, my Sunday mornings used to be so enriched by the Sunday newspapers. They informed me, intrigued me, tickled me with laughter and occasionally even exasperated me. I spent the better part of my Sundays going through their diverse and stimulating news, features and opinions. How I miss those Sundays – and the Sunday reading that I can no longer find in our Sunday newspapers! more..