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Foreign journalists indulging in malicious reporting: Army

May 5 (ZN) The Sri Lankan army on Monday attacked foreign journalists covering the civil war in the country, saying they were indulging in "malicious" reporting based on false information provided by the LTTE rebels. "Few of them (foreign journalist) are, however, engaged in a malicious move to report inaccurate details based on false information furnished by the LTTE," a senior military official was quoted as saying by the state-run SLBC. more..

Sri Lanka rejects Canadian call for a truce

May 5 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama has rejected a call by Canada to enter a truce in the current battle with the Tamil Tigers. The Canadian Minister of International Development Beverley J Oda had called on Bogollagama here Monday during her one-day visit to the island. Bogollagama told the Canadian minister that more than 200,000 civilians had escaped from the clutches of the LTTE into the government areas in recent days. more..

Endgame and tragedy in Sri Lanka

May 5 (Rediff) The news and the images coming out of Sri Lanka are horrendous: 100,000 Tamil civilians trapped on a tiny beach, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are fighting, trapped and ignoring an ultimatum to surrender. The LTTE is using the civilians as shields (according to the Sri Lankan government); and government troops have shelled hospitals and killed thousands of non-combatants this year (according to The Economist quoting human rights groups). more..

Over 3000MT food 'delivered'

May 5 (BBC) The World Food Programme (WFP) officials in Sri Lanka say that there has been no let down in their food distribution to the people trapped in the battle zone. Aseb Asrat the deputy country director of the WFP in Sri Lanka however says that the quantity of food sent for the people in the “no fire zone” is not sufficient since they are forced to take only small quantities of food through fishing boats from mid sea to the coastal areas in the Mullaitheevu district. more..

LTTE asks Ravi Shankar to facilitate ceasefire

May 5 (IANS) Tamil Tiger guerrillas Monday urged Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to facilitate a ceasefire in the island nation. The appeal was made in a telephonic conversation between Ravi Shankar and B. Nadesan, chief of the political wing of the LTTE. Nadesan said thousands of people "are suffering due to an acute shortage of food and medical facilities" in the narrow strip of land still held by the LTTE. more..

UK MPs meet Sri Lankan leadership

May 5 (BBC) A cross-party delegation of British MPs has held meetings with politicians and civil society figures on the first day of a two-day visit to Sri Lanka. The visit is intended to focus on the emerging humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. Among the MPs are former defence minister Des Browne, whose appointment as special envoy to Sri Lanka was rejected in February by Colombo. The MPs insist they are friends of Sri Lanka on a fact-finding visit. more..

Buddhist Mobs Attack Churches in Sri Lanka

May 5 (CT) Buddhist mobs have attacked several churches in Sri Lanka, threatening to kill a pastor and ransacking a 150-year-old Methodist church building in the capital. Four Buddhist extremists approached the home of pastor Pradeep Kumara, calling for him to come out and threatening to kill him. The pastor said his wife, at home alone with their two children, phoned him immediately but by the time he returned the men had left. more..

Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the U.S. briefs current situation to U.S.legislators

May 5 (IL) Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, continued a series of meetings with members of Congress last week to update them on the facts of the conflict against the LTTE and most importantly to discuss U.S. support for post-conflict development. Ambassador Wickramasuriya had discussions with more than 20 members from the House of Representatives and from the U.S. Senate, some of whom had been previously critical of the conflict. more..

Lankan embassy to celebrate Vesak Day

May 5 (TP) The embassy of Sri Lanka in association with the Sri Lankan community is organising Vesak Day Celebration at the embassy premises from May 7 to 9. Among the activities during the days is “Sil” programme which will be held on Friday from 6am to 5.30pm. “Bakthi Gee” and a Vesak Drama will be performed by the Sri Lankan children. A colourful Vesak pandol will also be erected at the embassy premises by Sri Lankan working in Ramco Hunsal. more..

Haque helps Bangladesh U-19 draw level

May 5 (CI) A stellar effort from the bowlers, coupled with a breezy fifty from wicketkeeper Anamul Haque helped Bangladesh Under-19 draw level in the youth ODI series against Sri Lanka Under-19 at the Shamsul Huda Stadium. Sri Lanka were off on the wrong foot after Dinesh Chandimal chose to bat first, with the captain himself falling in the first over. A 50-run stand between Udara Jayasundera and Banuka Rajapaksha propped up Sri Lanka before Bangladesh captain Mahmudul Hasan helped himself to two quick wickets. more..

Sri Lanka issue sets off political one-upmanship in Tamil Nadu

May 5 (Hindu) In the absence of any clear wave in the Lok Sabha poll slated for May 13 in Tamil Nadu, it has become a no-holds-barred battle for the two major rival camps. As a corollary to this clueless campaign, the game of one-upmanship on the Sri Lanka Tamils’ issue has reached its peak with political parties, particularly the ruling DMK and the main Opposition AIADMK, vying with one another to prove that they do not lag in espousing the cause of the Eelam Tamils. more..

Media conflict worsens as war turns

Non-violent action needed to crush criminal gangs

May 5 (AHRC) The parents in Batticaloa decided to stop sending their children to school for a week as a mark of protest over the kidnapping and killing of an eight year-old girl Satheeskumar Thinuska. Earlier six-year-old Varsha Jude Regi was also abducted and killed after a demand for ransom. According to a Daily Mirror report the decision to boycott the schools was taken following a meeting in Batticaloa town among parents, teachers and several civil society organisations. more..

Key junction captured: Army

May 5 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Monday said troops in the North had breached yet another heavily-fortified earthwall-cum- bund built by the LTTE in the No-Fire Zone (NFZ) and confined the Tigers to an area of five square kilometres within it. There were no reports of fresh arrivals of civilians from the NFZ. The government estimates that 20,000 civilians are being held as human shield by the LTTE inside the NFZ. more..

Sri Lanka's other Tamils

May 5 (LG) If the LTTE face imminent defeat on the battlefield as Sri Lankan government forces tighten the net around their last remaining stronghold, what of the grievances that spawned their uprising? The LTTE was founded in 1976 by its charismatic leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and launched a full-scale rebellion in 1983. It was initially just one among several Tamil militant groups that took up arms in response to perceived post-colonial disenfranchisement and more..

Sri Lankan govt gave special protection to M.I.A.’s father against LTTE!

May 5 (LG) When rap singer M.I.A. (Mathangi Arulpragasam), appointed herself grand marshal of LTTE propaganda and used her Grammy nominee status on PBS’ Tavis Smiley show on January 28 to accuse the Sri Lankan government of ‘genocide,’ many, including top Sri Lankan officials, attributed it to ignorance of Sri Lankan politics. After all, she was not even born in Sri Lanka, had spent only a few years there, and is a British citizen. more..

Saving private Prabha

May 5 (LG) It was a little over three years ago that Velupillai Prabhakaran, Sungod, President and Prime Minister of Eelam, thumped his chest and said in his 2005 Heroes Day speech: "Our administrative structure is formidable, consisting of our controlled territories with huge civilian populations, protected by a powerful military force". Today whatever is left of his military force is protected by an ever dwindling civilian population of about 15,000 persons. more..

Neighbourhood in turmoil

May 5 (IE) One of the recurring dilemmas statesmen face is to decide what is urgent and what is important. From Kabul to Colombo, Karachi to Kathmandu, a stable India is surrounded with unprecedented diplomatic chaos. This too at a time when India is in the midst of the largest electoral exercise in history. Around the 20th of May, a new government will be sworn in New Delhi. Its first foreign policy priority must be to concentrate on our neighbours. more..

Northern humanitarian operation 4th May

Tamils' double-loss: Losing the war in Sri Lanka, losing influence in Ottawa

May 5 (NP) Tamil-Canadians I’ve spoken with in recent weeks are enduring a double blow. On the other side of the world, their family members and old friends are suffering amidst the Sri Lankan army’s methodical fight to the finish against the Tamil Tigers. Here in Canada, meanwhile, they've been abandoned by once-friendly politicians — and Tamil activists seem to have no idea why. It’s nothing personal, I tell them. more..

Sri Lanka's predictable crisis

May 5 (NP) In the face of massive rallies by Tamil Canadians in Ottawa and Toronto in the last few weeks, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has issued a number of broad statements about the escalating conflict in Sri Lanka. While expressing "grave concerns" about the mounting toll on civilians in the northeast corner of the country, the Minister has vacillated between calling for a ceasefire and a "humanitarian pause" in the ground offensive led by the Sri Lankan army. more..

Top UN official: Civilian's needs "only thing" to guide humanitarian aid efforts

May 5 (Xinhua) UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said here on Monday that civilian's needs are the only thing which guided the world body's efforts in dealing with a humanitarian crisis. "The basic principles we operate on are the classic humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality, and humanity," said Holmes, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. more..

Rewiring our Sri Lanka strategy

May 5 (Mint) If the fate of hapless Tamil civilians is the world’s principal consideration with regard to the war in Sri Lanka, then it stands to reason that that war itself must come to an end as soon as possible. It is unrealistic to expect Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government to stop the military offensive at a time when the Sri Lankan army is close to a complete victory in the conflict against the LTTE. And whether or not Tamil-Sinhala relations improve after this, the elimination of the uncompromising LTTE leadership cannot be a bad thing. more..

Jayalalitha reiterates vow to create Tamil Eelam

May 5 (IANS) AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha Monday reiterated her promise to create an independent state for Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka 'the same way as (late prime minister) Indira Gandhi liberated Bangladesh'. The former Tamil Nadu chief minister said: 'If a (party or alliance) that heeds our demands comes to power at the centre, I assure you that I shall take steps to create a Tamil Eelam in the same way as Indira Gandhi liberated Bangladesh.' more..

Prabhakaran hiding in no fire zone: Army

May 5 (PTI) As the government mulls a general amnesty to the surrendering Tamil Tigers, the Lankan army expressed confidence that it would get Velupillai Prabhakaran, saying the LTTE supremo was hiding in the 'No-Fire-Zone' (NFZ) along with his top commanders. Prabhakaran and other top LTTE leaders are hiding in the 'No-Fire-Zone', the army said, adding it had killed 55 rebels in intense clashes as the military pushed deeper into remaining rebel-held territory. more..

UK MPs meet Sri Lankans fleeing war

$20M in Tiger weapons seized

May 5 (NP) For a decade, Kilinochchi was a rebel capital, the hub of a vast swath of northern Sri Lanka that was controlled by the Tamil Tigers guerrillas. In January, the town fell to government troops and now a small Sri Lankan flag flies in the town centre amid idle transit buses, flattened buildings and shuttered shops. "They never expected us to reach Kilinochchi and capture it," said Lieutenant-General Jagath Dais, commander of the Sri Lankan Army's 57 Division. more..

Sri Lankan songstress

May 5 (Star) TEN-year-old Erandi Banneyake may not be famous in Brimbank just yet but in Sri Lanka, she’s already a household name. Although too young to do most things, the Keilor Lodge resident has recently recorded her first original single, which received rave reviews in her native country and is being played on major radio stations. Despite her newfound fame overseas, the Grade 5 student remains virtually unknown Down Under, living the life of a typical pre-teen girl. more..

Politics debased in Tamil Nadu

May 5 (AT) If the British are alleged to have a taste for understatement, the Tamils are frequently accorded the quality of being a bit partial towards melodrama. But even the most dramatic imagination could not have foreseen how two parallel events - which rightfully should have unfolded independently, according to their internal logic - got so completely dovetailed, like two threads going into one weave. more..

'Drop food now if the concern is humanitarian': Vanni civilians

May 5 (TN) “If the Colombo government is starving us, the world should know who is keeping us hostages. If the world’s concern is ‘purely humanitarian’ it should act this very minute to give us our means to keep the body and soul together”, is the voice of the civilian victims of Colombo’s starvation weapon, reported hospital sources in Vanni. Even the meagre food stock of the hospital staff depleted they said. more..

A river for Jaffna – the Arumugam Plan

May 5 (TC) Eng. S Arumugam published A River for Jaffna in 1954 which became known as the Arumugam plan. His son Eng. Thiru Arumugam provided a synopsis of the plan for a Pugwash workshop on “Learning from ancient hydraulic civilizations to combat climate change”, Colombo, Nov. 2007, as follows: Jaffna Peninsula with an area of about 400 sq. miles, is relatively flat and has no rivers. It is dependent for recharge of the water table in more..

'Bughoff Foundation funded LTTE foreign visits to buy arms'

May 5 (LT) Teams of LTTE cadres to shop for weapons sent to eight countries were funded by Burghoff Foundation reveals ‘Selvi’, the leader of the cultural wing of the LTTE. Selvi, her husband and family fled from the LTTE held area in ‘no-war-zone’ and surrendered to security forces yesterday. She had further said teams of LTTE cadres were sent abroad under the guise of attending workshops on devolution and each team that went abroad to purchase arms consisted of two hard core members of the LTTE. more..

Lasantha and his contribution to Journalism

May 5 (TC) I consider it a privilege to speak a few words on the theme, “Lasantha Wikrematunga and contributions he made to journalism in Sri Lanka ” at the announcement of UNESCO press freedom award with which the slain editor was honoured just yesterday. It is exactly 125 days today since his assassination on. 8th January 2009. Lasantha Wickrematunge was on his way to the Sunday Leader office, more..

Pettah pavement hawkers agitate – Manipulation by defeated candidate of UPFA

May 5 (LT) The owners of shops opposite Central Bus Stand at Pettah in Colombo that were demolished by the Urban Development Authority on the 3rd have commenced a protest campaign against the act of the UDA. The shop owners point out that their structures were demolished without any prior notice and while discussions were being held to find another location for them to continue with their businesses. more..

Schools threatened with Dengue opened – attendance only 20%

May 5 (LT) The schools in Tangalle that were closed last week due to an outbreak of dengue fewer were opened yesterday. However the attendance in the schools was down to 20% say reports. In spite of the assurance of health sections that the threat of dengue has subsided parents are reluctant to send their children to school add these reports. The lowest attendance has been recorded at Tangalle Primary School and Model Primary School. more..

Hector Bethmage to be produced in court

May 5 (LT) Nawagamuwa Police was ordered yesterday by the Additional District Judge of Kaduwela to arrest former minister of Western PC Hector Bethmage, who is accused of attempting to murder a person by shooting, and produce him in court on the 6th. Mr. Hector Bethmage, during the campaign for PC election, had got into an argument with a group of people on his way after attending a funeral, shot one Dinesh Pradeep and caused injuries to him. more..

Arrack for national development

May 5 (LT) The prices of all arracks produced by Distilleries Lanka Ltd. have been increased by Rs.20 to Rs.30 from the 1st of this month. The prices had to be increased due to the increase in nation building tax from 1% to 3% state Distilleries Lanka Ltd. A bottle of ‘Extra Special’ arrack has been increased from Rs. 545 to Rs.565, Old arrack from Rs.675 to 700, VSOA from Rs.740 to 765 and a bottle of ‘Lanka Arrack’ from Rs.845 to 875. more..

International intervention in Sri Lanka

May 5 (FPRI) The dominant international perspective on the Sri Lankan separatist conflict sees it as a primordial ethnic struggle between the Sinhala majority as oppressor and Tamil minority as victim. Even those governments such as India, the United States, Canada, the UK and the EU that have banned the LTTE as a terrorist organization still subscribe to this limited interpretation of the Sri Lankan conflict. This is clearly evident in the interpretation of the current military confrontation between more..

Condemn with detest statement by Range Bandara – Jayalath Jayawardene

May 5 (LT) The statement made by Puttalam District UNP Parliamentarian Palithe Range Bandara that heavy guns and aerial attacks should be used in the confrontations carried out by SL Security Forces is condemned with detest states UNP Parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardene. Dr. Jayawardene says his party is not a communalist, fundamentalist or extremist party and he regrets that a member of his party had made such a statement. more..

Rosy is leader of opposition in WPC

May 5 (LT) Ms. Rosy Senanayake is to be appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in the Western PC making her the first woman leader of opposition in a provincial council in Sri Lanka. Ms. Senanayake is the senior UNP organizer for Colombo West and polled 80,884 preferential votes at the WPC election heading the UNP list. Mr. U. George Perera, the UNP organizer for Mahara will be appointed as the chief whip of the opposition of the WPC. more..

Muslim NGOs muster volunteers to help Vanni IDPs

May 5 (PSM) Muslims continue to collect and send assistance to Vanni IDPs from all over the country. Muslim NGOs, religious organizations, Mosque Federations and Welfare socities and Sports clubs are actively involved in this humanitarion works. All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulama (ACJU) has sent lorry loads of provisions arranged from well wishers. Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL), United Muslim Umma and All Ceylon Jamaethe Islami and several other Muslim NGOs are in the field working for the IDPs. more..

Appeal to resettle all communities together in Musali

May 5 (PSM) Several civil society organizations have jointly appealed to the government to promote amity and co-existence by ensuring that all communities originating from Musali DS division are resettled together whilst welcoming the government's resettlement initiative in Mannar district that commenced last week. Musali was the only Muslim majority DS division in the whole Northern province when the Muslims were expelled by the LTTE in 1990. more..

Vavuniya barbers offer free service to civilians

May 5 (GDI) “A nice hair-cut or a clean shave makes a man comfortable and easy not only in his body, but also in mind. When I see the tired disheveled faces of these innocent civilians, I feel that we also can make a fair contribution by being at their service,” a young but much concerned barber said to Information Department rowing correspondent in Vavuniya. more..

Arms should be chosen by military - UNP MP

May 5 (CT) UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara has clarified his statement on the use of heavy weapons by the Army as published in our website. 'These are the several issues I highlighted during the press briefing on May 03 2009,' he said. 'It is the military that should decide the arms to be used in a war, not Temple Trees. Therefore, on what basis did Temple Trees issue a press release assuring that heavy arms will not be used? Was it due to international pressure?' he asked. more..

'Dear motherland became the first choice for WPC voters'

May 5 (GDI) “WPC voters considered our beloved motherland as their first choice, and, hence the overwhelming victory bequeathed to us,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Please consider yourselves as people’s representatives elected behalf of our motherland and be more cautious and responsible in rendering your services to the general public,” the President stressed. more..

'All UNP organizers told to contest PC polls'

May 5 (CT) The UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe has insisted that party electoral organizers who are not provincial councilors should contest the forthcoming elections in the Southern and Uva Provinces. The decision was taken at a recent meeting at the party headquarters with councilors of the two provinces. It has also been decided to give nominations to educated, intelligent and honest youth, reports say. more..

Bribery commission begins hedging probe

May 5 (CT) The Bribery Commission today (May 04) began its deliberations into the hedging deal of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Accordingly, former chairman Asantha de Mel and several other officials of the CPC will come under the microscope of the commission, sources said. A detailed report of the losses incurred to the state due to the deal will also be prepared. Retired judge Amir Ismail heads the special commission investigating the deal. more..

Mr Miliband Prevaricates

May 5 (PISL) Though the British have a reputation for perfidy, there is also about them a sense of fair play, which makes them difficult to dislike. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the BBC where, though the Sinhala Service tends to criticise the Government at any opportunity, the English programmes are better balanced, i.e. they are harsh about and to everyone. This was apparent in the interview conducted with Foreign Secretary David Miliband, when he visited one of the camps in Vavuniya. more..

A game of wits and guts

May 5 (DW) As the Avenues of Approach led by the 53, 58 and TF-8 troops make the treacherous journey north to south along Valairmadam and Vellamullaivaikkaal, the 59 Division, which is the closest Division to the LTTE Leader Prabhakaran's final hideout, seems to be gearing for a surprise. The recent temporary transfer of Brigadier Prasanna Silva, undoubtedly the best soldier among all the military commanders on the ground, more..

Reforming the Constitutional Council

May 5 (GV) Our Constitutional Council (CC) is the product of an extremely rare moment in our post-independence political history at which legislators of all hues arrived at a consensus. Unfortunately its efficacy has been retarded by undue haste and amateurish handling in creating it, as shown by its shaky existence. While the CC has suffered the lack of labour and concentration of a Cesarean birth, its proposed reform is struggling to be born for a long time in a select committee of Parliament. more..