Saturday, May 2, 2009

House of Commons debate on Sri Lanka

Following is the full text of the House of Commons debate on Sri Lanka

(May 02, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): We now move on to a debate on Sri Lanka, and I must advise the House— [Interruption.] Order. We have more serious business to deal with. Will those who are leaving please do so not en masse, but quietly, and let us get on with the next business. I advise the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister. Full text

Sri Lanka chairs NAM Ministerial Meeting in Havana

(May 02, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka was bestowed the honour of presiding over the NAM Ministerial Meeting that concluded last Thursday(30th April) in Havana.Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,Hussein A. Bhaila, who led the Sri Lankan delegation to the meeting was invited by the host, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba to chair a session on the final day of the meeting.Earlier,Sri Lanka had been endorsed as a Vice-Chair of the NAM Ministerial Meeting by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in New York in March 2009. Full text

Troops on Search Operations Find Terrorists’ Useable RCL

(news.lk)MULLAITIVU: 57 DIVISION troops continuing to conduct extensive searches further deep into newly-liberated KUPPIKULAM, PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU areas for the first time uncovered a useable 106 mm Recoilless Rifle (RCL) that had been kept meticulously intact inside a lonely house for eventual use by evicted Tiger terrorists.

The RCL, kept hidden in the entire sitting room of a large house, believed to have been vehemently frequented by terrorists after driving away the inmates, was the first-ever serviceable weapon of that kind, found by valiant troops who are now conducting extensive search and clear operations in those areas under the command of Major General Jagath Dias, General Officer Commanding, 57 Division. Full text

Rejecting Bildt, one way winds and concerns over conflict regulation

(GV)The most recent controversy in Sri Lanka’s foreign relations popped up with news reports on Sri Lanka’s apparent ‘rejection’ of entry clearance to Swedish Foreign Minister the Hon. Carl Bildt. Minister Bildt, a senior Swedish politician and former Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994, was supposed to visit Sri Lanka on Wednesday 29 April 2009, accompanied by his French and British counterparts, Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband. Full text

Awaited "end" of LTTE brings "new" tourists to Sri Lanka

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

(TC)The tourism industry is suddenly doing much better than expected. All hopes were that with the end of the war against terror and the defeat of the LTTE, tourism would bounce back in Sri Lanka. The inquiries from the travel trade abroad were increasing and many expected that the industry would be in good shape by the coming Kandy Esala Perahera. Full text

Sri Lanka IMF loan would not be delayed on politics: central bank

May 2, 2009 (LBO) - Technical levels discussions for Sri Lanka's International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan have now been finalized and with the UN Security Council also not standing in the way, there would be no further delays, a senior central banker said.

Media reports indicated the United States, which has substantial say in IMF decision-making, could delay a 1.9 billion US dollar IMF balance of payments support loan to Sri Lanka. Full text

Sri Lankans critical of envoys

By David Chater in Colombo

(aljazeera)A rash of new posters has recently appeared around Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, criticising Western diplomats.

The caption below the photographs of Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, David Miliband, the British foreign secretary and Erik Solheim, the Norwegian minister of international development, says "Wanted for aiding and abetting terrorism". Full text

SLanka's top Tamil ally urges surrender of Tigers

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka's top Tamil political force appealed Saturday for a way for cornered Tiger rebels to surrender to a third party and save tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone.

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), a pro-government party, urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to name an international agency to which the Tamil Tiger guerrillas could hand over their weapons in exchange for an amnesty. Full text

'LTTE killing people from arms bought from diaspora money'

(TH)Colombo (PTI) Promising to rehabilitate soon the 1.85 lakh civilians who fled the LTTE-held areas, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the Tamil diaspora should realise that the rebels were killing innocent people by weapons purchased from the money collected from them.

"What is going on in the North is a struggle to consolidate the right to life of the working and innocent people of this country," Mr. Rajapaksa said at a meeting organised in connection with the 'May Day' on Friday. Full text

Slain former LTTE leader's family seeks refuge with Govt.

(TH)Colombo (PTI) The family of LTTE's former deputy leader Mahathaya, who was executed at the command of Velupillai Prabhakaran, has left the rebel-held areas in Sri Lanka's north and sought refuge with the Government.

Mahathaya's wife and three children fled the rebel-held areas in Wanni region and reached the Government-controlled areas on Friday, the Island newspaper reported. Full text

Sri Lanka rejects evidence of civilian bombings

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka's defence ministry on Saturday rejected satellite imagery issued by the United Nations in support of allegations that security forces shelled a civilian area.

The defence ministry said the allegations based on UN aerial images posted on the UNOSAT website and used on several foreign television channels had "no scientific validity" unless there was verification on the ground. Full text

Let us salute the great nations that genuinely helped us fight terrorism

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka is about to conclude her war against terror. The ordeal that about 19 million people have been living with for more than quarter of a century is about to be over. It would never be too early to express our gratitude to all the great nations who genuinely helped us to come this far in this historic battle. Because, the value of a sincere friend would never be so felt, as when one is beset by a group of hypocrites.

On April 30 it was reported that the UN Security Council has no interest in punishing Sri Lanka, by withholding funds that she needs at this moment. Before that decision was taken, some countries that portray themselves as the global guardians of human rights, had made several shameless attempts to recommend punitive action against this poor third world country, struggling to rid itself of terrorism. Full text

Navy bids adieu to 12 valiant SBS braves

(DW)The progress of the 53, 58 and TF-8 troops have been hit by seasonal extremities in Vellamullaivaikkaal. Marching from north of Mullaitivu to south of Mullaitivu is a particularly difficult choice for the infantry.

Experienced officers know that the Mullaitivu coast is particularly harsh during the months of May, June and July when the winds raise dust storms and the sun beats down on you whenever there's a break from the heavy downpour. Full text

Military vs political means

By A.G. Noorani
(dawn)The fate of the LTTE in Sri Lanka and of its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran provides a lesson on the limits of diplomacy when faced with an impossible adversary in an insurgent situation.

From 1983 till as late as 1996, if not later, he had every opportunity for achieving genuine autonomy within a united Sri Lanka. He would assure critics that he was, indeed, prepared for such an accord provided the autonomy was substantial enough. The concession would, however, be so qualified as to reveal that independence of the Tamil areas (Eelam) was what he was really after. Full text

Why is the world trying to save the Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka?

High Jacked by the 'Gamma Terrorist', has the whole world deceived..!

(squidoo)Currently listed as the world's deadliest terrorist organisation by the FBI, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) devised the use of suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices known as IEDs, and since 1983 have killed over 40,000 civilians using terror as their main weapon. Yet, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, British Foreign Minister David Millerband along with the UN and world humanitarian organisations want to save these brutal killers, without offering their support to the Sri Lankan Army to finish off this 30 year menace. Full text

Tamil protest tiny price for freedom


(thestar)An officer pinches the bridge of his nose, rubs his temples. Gets to hurtin' the head, these raucous street-level demonstrations, bullhorns blaring in the ears, and there's been five days of it, already.

It was the noise that local law enforcement addressed first, Wednesday night into yesterday morning, disabling the generator and sound system that had so resoundingly amplified a protest by Toronto-area Tamils along a stretch of elegant University Ave. Full text

Tamil protesters moved off street



Staff Reporters

(thestar)It only took police a few minutes to clear the street. Dozens of officers moved in, and the Tamil protesters, outnumbered for the first time in several days, gave up their position on University Ave.

"So many Tamil people are dying," said Lexie Thambinayagam, 19, yesterday after police moved a group of fewer than a hundred people to the sidewalk. Full text

Defeat of Tamil Tigers

(CC)As the LTTE suffers one military setback after another, a small and ever-shrinking strip of land is all that remains of the territory held by the rebels, who at a time held whole swathes of northern Sri Lanka, running their own police force, schools and courts. With the Sri Lankan Army putting the Tamil Tigers on the run, President Rajapaksa's only line of reception to the LTTE is to surrender or perish. Emboldened by the unprecedented military victories that it has received against the Tigers this time around, the Sri Lankan establishment is not ready to accept anything less than the complete surrender of the remaining LTTE cadres. Full text

Swiss grant emergency aid for Sri Lanka

Switzerland is to provide SFr1.4 million ($1.23 million) in emergency aid for the victims of the civil war in the north of Sri Lanka.

(swissinfo)The foreign ministry has also renewed its appeal to the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebel group to respect international humanitarian law.

An extra SFr1 million will be added to the SFr6.5 million already budgeted this year for civilian aid. The funds are to be split between the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme. Full text

UN images show Sri Lanka damage

(BBC)UN satellite pictures obtained by the BBC appear to show shelling damage in a government-designated safe zone for civilians in north-eastern Sri Lanka.

The images show many crater marks in an area where tens of thousands of civilians have been trapped owing to fighting between the army and rebels. Full text- pls listen to the embeded audio clip as well.

Sri Lankan govt. promises to hold elections in North

(TH)Colombo (PTI): The Sri Lankan Government has promised to hold elections in the embattled Northern Province once LTTE "terrorism" is completely "eradicated".

"We will hold an election for the Northern Province after LTTE terrorism is completely eradicated," Senior Presidential Adviser Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday. Full text

Sri Lankan forces poised for final assault on LTTE

(TH)Colombo (PTI): A pre-dawn breakout bid through the high seas by beleaguered Tamil Tigers was today foiled by Sri Lankan navy, who sank their three boats killing 23 sea Tigers as the army appeared poised for a final assault.

The Lankan warships which have blockaded the small coastline off Mullaittivu, still held by the Tigers noticed an attempt by three LTTE boats to take to sea and sank them after challenging them, a naval spokesman said. Full text

Sri Lanka: UN sends emergency team as residents return to former battle zone

(UN)1 May 2009 – While thousands continue to flee the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, others have started to return to their homes in former battle areas, and the United Nations refugee agency said today it is sending teams to aid their transition.

Some 400 people returned yesterday to a village in the Mannar district, which was for a long time the front line between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Full text

Singapore: S'pore contributes US$30,000 in aid of Sri Lanka

(isria)Singapore is deeply concerned over the serious humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka.

The United Nations (UN), its related agencies and the international media have reported on mounting civilian casualties and the humanitarian emergency conditions in the conflict zone as well as in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

In view of the urgent humanitarian situation and in response to the humanitarian action plan mounted by the UN, the Singapore Government will contribute US,000 to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is one of the aid agencies involved in the humanitarian relief efforts in Sri Lanka. This contribution will go towards meeting critical needs such as the provision of safe water, sanitation facilities and basic hygiene items to thousands of civilians displaced by the conflict. Full text

Sri Lanka: what needs to be done

(TH)There is a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka’s North, involving tens of thousands of Tamil civilians uprooted from their homes or held hostage in an embattled sliver of coastal land that barely comprises seven square km. There is an existential crisis for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which once upon a time was one of the world’s most resourceful and deadly separatist politico-military organisations. Much of the current political rhetoric in Tamil Nadu i n the secessionist cause of ‘Tamil Eelam’ can be dismissed as hot air generated by competitive election campaigning gone over the top. India’s foreign policy has consistently ruled out any truck with the ‘Eelam’ cause. Instead, it advocates a political solution based on devolution of power along federal lines to the Sri Lankan Tamils in their areas of historical habitation. The idea of a separate Tamil state in the northeast of the island was always a pipe dream. But today the project seems as alive as an Egyptian mummy. Full text

Kids recruited by LTTE surrender, reveal horror stories

(IBN)Kilinochi: Even as the Sri Lankan army claims that the LTTE is counting its days, thousands of children in the island who were recruited by the terror outfit have surrendered. Forcefully recruited by the rebels, the children and survivors recount horrific tales of the LTTE's brutalities.

One of the child soldiers who surrendered, Sasi Kanakariga Pillai says, "We used to go to school, but were always in hiding. If the LTTE found out that we were at home they would catch us. They would give some training and deploy us as LTTE fighters." Full text

Ruthless, dedicated Tamil leader faces final assault

Velupillai Prabhakaran has always said he will die fighting for a Tamil homeland, and if he cannot or will not fight, then comrades have orders to shoot him, douse his body with gasoline and set it aligh.

STEPHANIE NOLEN AND TONY REINHART

Globe and Mail Update

(TGM)NEW DELHI and TORONTO — He called it, with no trace of irony, thatkodai, the Tamil word for "the gift of life." Velupillai Prabhakaran has asked it of so many of his followers in the last 30 years, the hundreds of Tamils who carried out suicide missions on his orders. Full texts

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Chinese billions in Sri Lanka fund battle against Tamil Tigers

(TOL)On the southern coast of Sri Lanka, ten miles from one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, a vast construction site is engulfing the once sleepy fishing town of Hambantota.

This poor community of 21,000 people is about as far as one can get on the island from the fighting between the army and the Tamil Tiger rebels on the northeastern coast. The sudden spurt of construction helps, however, to explain why the army is poised to defeat the Tigers and why Western governments are so powerless to negotiate a ceasefire to help civilians trapped on the front line. Full text

Kelly McParland: The Tamils' tin ear

(NP)Canadians are such saps for a sob story we take pride in the fact, viewing it as part of our national heritage.

There's a reason Canada is flooded with "refugee" claims from countries like Mexico or the Czech Republic, and that our waiting list of immigration applications is nine years long. We don't ask a lot of questions, we trust everyone to keep their promises, and we hate saying no, in case we hurt anyone's feelings. Full text

India to send de-mining teams to Sri Lanka

(TOI)NEW DELHI: Apart from the considerable humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, India will soon send de-mining teams to the island nation to facilitate early return of civillians, mostly Tamilians, to their homes in the northern part of the country.

The Sri Lankan government on Friday completed de-mining work in several parts of Mannar to facilitate resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region. Indian authorities said that they want to expedite the process by sending teams from India. Full text

The Trauma of the Thamil Diaspora: Quitting the "De Facto Eelam" (DFE) to hide in the "No-Flee-Zone" (NFZ)

by Gam Vaesiya, Ontario, Canada

The retreat from "de facto myth" to "remorseless reality"

The Thamil Diapora which has nourished and nurtured the Tiger Movement for
years has come to a moment of almost delusional denial. Even six or seven
months ago, the diaspora Pundits and some "defense experts" claimed that
Killinochchci (Giranikke), the erst-while capital capital of the so-called "De facto
Eelam" (DFE), would prove to be the "Stalingrad" of the Sri Lankan Army.
Instead, events moved even faster than the organizing capabilities of the
usually agile Damila Diaspora activists. Full text

Colonialism, Human Rights, and Scoundrels

By Hassina Leelarathna

(May 02, Washington, Sri Lanka Guardian) The European Union is baring its white imperialist fangs after being outmaneuvered by Sri Lanka in its bid to strongarm Colombo into a ceasefire. The real purpose of adding the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt to the ride taken by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and British Foreign Minister David Milliband to Colombo is quite clearly stated in Bildt’s blog writings: Full text

Time to win the peace

By Ajay Lele

(May 02, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) There are chances that the LTTE could bounce back, with or without Prabhakaran in another form, if the Sinhalas and President Rajapakse don’t show magnanimity in their hour of victory

In recent times, Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that military victory over an insurgency prone State, or even a non-State, means nothing as a peace enforcing measure. So, whether or not the Sri Lankan Army's victory over the LTTE could bring peace to the island nation depends entirely on how President Mahinda Rajapakse's government wins the peace in the months ahead. Full text

Three decades of incessant conflict

By Anjali Sharma

(May 02, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In 2006, LTTE could have never imagined that the fighting which started as a mere skirmish with the Sri Lankan Army over its attempt to block water supplies to the Sinhalese farmers in eastern Sri Lanka would eventually turned out to be their Waterloo. Over the past two-and-a-half years, the violence that accompanied the civil war witnessed death and destruction at an unprecedented level throughout the country. Millions became refugees and thousands perished in the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalas and Tamils of Sri Lanka, which began in the early 1980s. Full text

Sri Lanka - China's Israel in Indian Ocean

- In the international relations context, Chinese hegemony is spreading in the world as one reads this article. China will need an Israel type ally in South Asia and Sri Lanka is a perfect candidate!

By Udara Soysa

(May 02, Atlanta, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Western powers are making major mistakes in its dealings with Sri Lanka while China is making the best usage of it. In Sri Lanka, China had found a vital ally. Sri Lanka will become an important point in the future East- West power struggles. The major mistake that the Western world committed was to allow the vicious Tamil Diaspora to infiltrate into the Western societies. Furthermore, many Western European politicians fell for the innumerable wealth of Tamil Diaspora thus endangering the proper interests of these respective countries. Full text

Sri Lanka: UN Sends Emergency Team As Residents Return To Former Battle Zone

New York, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com): While thousands continue to flee the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, others have started to return to their homes in former battle areas, and the United Nations refugee agency said today it is sending teams to aid their transition.

Some 400 people returned yesterday to a village in the Mannar district, which was for a long time the front line between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Out of some 3,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have registered to return to 15 villages in Mannar over the coming weeks, as part of the first Government-organized return operation in the embattled northern part of the island nation for many years. Full text

Sangaree's desperate plea to save the remaining IDPs

Colombo, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com): In a fervent appeal to save the Internally Displaced Persons trapped in Vanni and held hostages by the LTTE, V. Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front has suggested that an International Agency, acceptable to the Government, be selected to visit Vanni and persuade the LTTE to allow the innocent people to go out freely, with an offer of a general amnesty to those who surrender with arms.

In an open letter to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, TULF leader has cautioned that if such an arrangement is not made to bring out the civilians safely, the whole thing will end up in a national disaster detrimental to the good name of the country. Full text

Sri Lanka: Terrorism retarded development, brought human misery also challenged peace and stability

Colombo, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com): The Tamil people abroad, who carry out demonstrations in front of Sri Lankan embassies, and attack the High Commissions of India, say nothing about lakhs of Tamil people who have come seeking freedom.

The Tamil civilians fleeing for freedom are being attacked by the weapons bought from the money of these very Tamils living abroad. Full text

A Poll on Prabhakaran: Is his end nears?

Colombo / Stockholm/ New Delhi, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com): As yet another week ends with no word about the whereabouts of Velupillai Prabhakaran, it is natural for the media to speculate and the gossip mills to go into overdrive on what has happened to him, who has carved out a Robinhood image for himself down the past 30-odd years.

A conjecture that has many takers on either side of the Palk Straits is that Prabhakaran is, indeed, dead but his close faithful are maintaining the myth of his invincibility. Full text

Flashback to a psycho's killings

Among the civilians who fled the LTTE-held no fire zone yesterday were the slain deputy leader of the LTTE Mahattaya's widow and children. Their escape reminds us of the brutal execution of Mahattaya (nom de guerre of Gopalasamy Mahendraraja), which sheds light on Prabhakaran's fratricidal killings to ward off threats and challenges to his leadership. Full text

International Nosey-parkers in a Twist!

(TI)The editorial In The Island of 29th April 2009 aptly titled ‘Cometh a pair of weretigers bearing oxygen cylinders’ hit the nail on the head!

Suddenly the whole world seems to have descended on Sri Lanka, asking the democratically elected government of Sri Lanka to stop the war against the LTTE , when they should rightfully be demanding the LTTE to free the Tamil civilians they are holding hostage. After all, Eelam was to be a safe heaven for these very same people whom the LTTE kill while attempting to flee from their so-called liberators of Sinhala chauvinism. Full text

Dry zone colonisation and myth of demographic displacement of Tamils

Continued from yesterday

(TI)It is clear the process of depopulation of the Sinhalese in sparsly populated Dry Zone had started even before the advent of the British and continued well into the early years of the 20th century. This was followed by the simultaneous infiltration of Tamils and Muslims from their populous pockets located along the eastern coast and also from Jaffna in the case of the former. Full text

Dying tigers bring new tourism

(TI)The tourism industry is suddenly doing much better than expected. All hopes were that with the end of the war against terror and the defeat of the LTTE, tourism would bounce back in Sri Lanka. The inquiries from the travel trade abroad were increasing and many expected that the industry would be in good shape by the coming Kandy Esala Perahera.

But all of these projections suddenly appear to have been too much on the conservative side, to judge from what is happening today. If the LTTE and its terror drove the tourists away from the country, the news of the imminent defeat of the LTTE has given a wholly unexpected boost to the industry. Visitors are pouring here literally in their hundreds, and if not checked it may be a surge that will almost match the Tamil civilians escaping to freedom from the LTTE. Full text

Rescue of people comes before political solutions War is nearing end, let’s build the economy – President

(TI)President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the war was coming to an end and urged the working class to join forces to build the economy. He said the members of the armed forces and the police had done their duty by the nation and now it was the responsibility of workers to help the country achieve economic prosperity.

The President was addressing a large gathering of trade union leaders, workers, ministers and otherUPFA politicians at Temple Trees to mark the International Workers’ Day. Full text

India lacks sound counter terrorism measures: US

(TI)Washington, May 01, 2009: India is incapable of adequately responding to the threat of terrorism because of poor coordination between regional authorities and an inefficient legal system, the US State Department said in a report released on Thursday.

The State Department’s annual report on global terrorism for 2008 said that India was among the world’s top targets despite a strong government commitment to fighting terrorism. Full text

Civilians dying in war is a sad reality – Col Hariharan

(TI)Retired Indian Military intelligence officer Colonel R Hariharan who is also a writer on insurgency and terrorism says that civilians getting killed in between two warring parties was a sad reality of war.

"It is in the nature of war that civilians in the vicinity of fighters would get killed. Both sides are fighting to save themselves and kill the other so they don’t bother about civilians getting killed in between. This is the sad reality of war," said Col Hariharan, who had served in Sri Lanka as the head of intelligence for the Indian Peace Keeping Force between 1987 and 1990, during an interview with web based news organization rediff.com. Full text

Sri Lanka says counter-terrorism must top NAM agenda

(TI)Addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana on Thursday Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of "Foreign Affairs, Hussein A. Bhaila, urged greater international cooperation in combating terrorism. Praising the Sri Lankan security forces for their successful humanitarian operations, which helped rescue more than 150,000 civilians from the clutches of terrorists in the last ten days, the Deputy Minister stressed that the impressive advances made by the Government of Sri Lankan in the North under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa heralded the end of the road for terrorism and violence in the country. Full text

Let Sri Lanka have IMF loan – UN Security Council

(TI)Amidst speculation that the US government was determined to block an IMF loan facility worth US$ 1.9 to Sri Lanka by way of punitive action against the Sri Lankan government's refusal to declare a ceasefire at a time when its armed forces were poised to deal a decapitating blow to the LTTE proscribed in the US as a terrorist organisation, the UN Security Council yesterday unanimously held that there was no reason why the Sri Lanka government should be punished by withholding that loan. Full text

Mahathaya’s wife and children surrender

(TI)The widow and three children of Mahathaya, a one-time deputy leader of the LTTE reached the government-held areas yesterday.

Mahathaya (real name was Gopalasmy Mahendrarajah) was imprisoned by the LTTE chief Prabhakaran and later executed as he was accused of having links to the Regional Analysis Wing (RAW) of India. This charge was never proved. Full text

Army Chief inspects IDP facilities


Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka

(DN)Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, accompanied by several other high ranking Army officers toured the Vanni on Thursday, in a bid to obtain first hand information on the progress made by troops, engaged in the final phase of their rescue mission to save trapped civilians in the ‘safe zone’ & facilities made available to the rescued ones.

According to the Army, the Commander had personally gone through detailed reports, presented by his field commanders on the ground realities and the methodical, but steady progress in the final rescue operation. Full text

An act of cyber terrorism

(DN)Restored The Army website was restored after a few hours after it was hacked.

Web hackers made inroads into the official website of the Sri Lanka Army, www.army.lk, in the wee hours of yesterday, prompting officials to put a temporary halt to the hosting of the site in the Internet. While claiming that they would bounce back shortly, the Army Media Unit blamed the LTTE and their proxies for the illegal hacking. Full text

Jonathan Kay on Tigers, and Michael Ignatieff’s: Moral rehabilitation of the Liberal Party

(DN)The moral evolution of the Liberal Party of Canada from the days of Jean Chretien to its current manifestation under Michael Ignatieff can be charted in many ways. A decade ago, Liberal ranks were full of America-bashers and noisy cultural nationalists.

The party supported anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, and adopted the fashionable, amoral posture of ‘honest broker’ in international relations. Jean Chretien himself flippantly defended slush-fund politics in Quebec, and disdained his successor’s efforts to investigate the most disgraceful abuses. The party’s bosses had one goal - to win votes, principles be damned. Full text

Retiring the LTTE: Ending the Conflict in Sri Lanka

(DN)For more than three decades, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been endeavouring to weaken the democratically elected government in Sri Lanka. They have primarily used adroit terror and propaganda campaigns interspersed with political negotiation. During the history of its campaign, the LTTE has not displayed any keen, sincere interest in settling the conflict through political negotiations.

The apparent reason behind this could be their firm belief in carving an independent State for the Tamils in Sri Lanka through military means. It used the negotiation table mostly to buy time, regroup, and rearm. Full text

Dealing with terror firmly but decently

(DN)The Peace Secretariat believes it is important to share with the world the manner in which the Sri Lankan Government dealt with the problem of terrorism.

This may be particularly useful to countries that think that they know, or perhaps know that they think, that the entire world is very disappointed that in their efforts to deal with what they see as terrorism they have caused such untold suffering. Such countries should realize that there is a way to limit suffering, and should also be encouraged to set an example of best practice. Full text

Listen to Sri Lanka’s mandate for change

On My Watch - Luden Rajakarunanayake:

(DN)An important aspect of democracy is recognition of a mandate by the people. If there had been any doubts regarding the mandate this Government has from the people for the key policies it is carrying, there was enough reason given last Saturday to erase such doubts.

The voters of the Western Province not only endorsed what the polls in five other provinces had shown, but also added convincingly to the strength of that mandate. Full text

Partisan politics on Lanka

(DN)Tamil Nadu parties are treading treacherous ground in an electoral competition to shore up the LTTE in the name of humanitarian principles. The minor parties set the pace in a desperate bid to whip up Dravida chauvinism to garner votes.

The ruling DMK next clambered on the band wagon to prevent the AIADMK from stealing a march over it, saying one thing one day and reinterpreting it the next morning to mean the opposite. The Centre allowed itself to be dragged into the charade for reasons of small electoral gain for which the country may once again have to pay a heavy price. Full text

Abusing international conventions

(DN)Humanitarian laws, part of International Law are mainly based on 'humanity'. It has branched into the law of The Hague - Law of War - Geneva Law - and Humanitarian law. These Conventions lay down guidelines on the conduct of nations during wars and peace on individual and collective human rights.

Tragedies and catastrophes are frequent occurrences in less economically developed regions due to imbalance of resources and power struggles of regional and global super powers. These are rampant in the African region and then in Asia, the main reason for escalation being the direct and indirect intervention of superpowers and regional powers for political and economic supremacy. Full text

Tale of two brothers

The episode surrounding the escape of young brothers Sajeevan (13) and Sujeeva (11) from the clutches of the LTTE in the No Fire Zone should provide food for thought to those haranguing Sri Lanka about her human rights. It should also open the eyes of the Tamil Nadu politicians shedding copious tears for the Tamil civilians as to who the real inquisitors of their brethren across the Palk Straits are. Full text

Japan donates US$ 4m for Northern IDPs

(DM)The Government of Japan has decided to provide grant aid totalling US $ 4 million (approximately Rs.480 million) to meet the immediate needs of the Internally Displaced Persons in the north.

The aid would be channelled through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF), International Organization for Migration(IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), a press release from the Japanese embassy said. Full text

AIADMK spreading rumours on Tamils for political gain: Congress

(DN)All India Congress Committee general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday charged the AIADMK-led opposition in Tamil Nadu with 'spreading rumours' about the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils for 'purely petty political reasons'.

Addressing reporters after a meeting with DMK strongman and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Azad said: 'The AIADMK and its allies PMK and MDMK are spreading false rumours about the continuing loss of lives of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka for purely petty political reasons ahead of the polls." Full text

Troops advance further south: Another earth bund captured

Two huge explosions in NFZ:

(DM)The advance of the troops towards the remaining areas under the control of the LTTE is set to be expedited with the 58 Division troops capturing another earth bund yesterday paving the way for the 53 Division advancing along the A-35 road to join with the 58 Division and advance further southwards in the No Fire Zone, military officials told the Daily News yesterday. Full text

Providing facilities to civilian influx : Govt has full potential

(DM)Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP yesterday said the Government has full potential to meet the requirement of the civilians who fled from the clutches of terrorists. He said the Government provides more than sixty litres of water per person which is much above the international standard.

He was at a discussion with the ministers and senior officials after an inspection of Menikfarm Zone II where 50,708 civilians who fled from the clutches of the LTTE terrorists have been given temporary accommodation. Full text

No foreign powers could dictate to us

‘Our working people are intelligent and patriotic’:

(DN)No foreign powers could dictate to us or impose conditions on how to develop our economy, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a May Day commemoration meeting held at Temple Trees, Colombo yesterday with the participation of constituent parties of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) under the theme ‘Let us work and build the country’. Full text

Government summons UN envoy over "leaked" images

The Sri Lankan government today summoned the UN envoy in Colombo Neil Buhne to seek an explanation over a report containing UN satellite images “leaked” to the media showing what was claimed to be damage caused by air strikes in the safe zone. Full text

Lanka war CD impact worries Congress

(DM)CHENNAI: Scenes of explosions, gory deaths, wailing women and long lines of refugees herded like cattle, against the background of a grippingly narrated poem form the contents of a CD that is making the Congress party uncomfortable.

“Ini enna seyya pogirom” (What are we going to do now?) is the title of a CD published by the Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (PDK). The CD, in wide circulation now, appeals to voters to vote against the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Full text

BRITISH MPS DUPLICITOUS STANCE ON LTTE TERROR

By Tina Edward- Gunawardhana

(DM)The British Government’s duplicitous stance on its war against terror was laid bare in the British Parliament yesterday. In a debate initiated by Ed Davy a Liberal Democrat MP the full spectrum of anti Sri Lankan vitriol was laid bare.

Preceding the debate on Sri Lanka, during Prime Minister’s question time on Wednesday April 29, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the Westminster Parliament during a speech mentioned that the British counter terrorism strategy was to tackle terrorism around the globe, he stressed that the greatest international priority is in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He went on to say that they are the crucible for global terrorism the breeding ground for international terrorists and the source of a chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain. Full text

PLAYING POLITICS WITH REFUGEES

(DM)What has happened to “Vanangaman” the ship that was meant to carry “relief material” early this month for the civilians trapped in Puthumatalan in the Mullaitivu district?

The ship said to be bearing the insignia of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and reportedly carrying 2,400 tons of cargo set sail on March 31 to Mullaitivu from the British port of Southampton. But British authorities ordered the ship’s captain to turn back and return to Britain. Full text

US DOUBLE STANDARDS ON INDIA, LANKA

(DM)The United States State Department’s annual reports on terrorism in India and Sri Lanka go to say, though not in so many words, that Sri Lanka is doing too much to counter terrorism while India is doing too little.

Strongly criticizing the Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the LTTE, the report says that Sri Lankan troops have killed more than 7,000 people in its operation and maintains that troops have resorted to an “any means necessary” tactics to fight the war against the LTTE. One wonders how the US arrived at this figure. Full text

No way for Prabha to escape from Lanka

(DM)Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, Friday (IANS) LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran could not have escaped from Sri Lanka, an Indian Coast Guard official said here yesterday.

“There is no way that Mr. Prabhakaran or his aides could have escaped from Sri Lanka in a submarine or otherwise because the attempt would have been clearly spotted on our land-based and offshore radars,” Coast Guard Commanding Officer S. Janarthanam told reporters at this minor port town on the southeast coast lying 600 km south of state capital Chennai. Full text

Tamil student ends fast after Miliband's assurance

(DM)London, Friday (PTI) A Tamil student, who was on a three-week hunger strike in Parliament Square, has called off his protest after Foreign Secretary David Miliband wrote to him explaining the "strenuous efforts" being made by Britain to secure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

Parameswaram Subramaniam, 28, went on a fast on April 6 to draw attention to the plight of the Tamil civilians caught in the fighting between government troops and the LTTE.A Foreign Office spokeswoman said she could not comment on the specific contents of the letter as they were private, but added that it explained the "strenuous efforts" Britain had been undertaking to push for a ceasefire and ease the suffering among the civilians. Full text

DEFENCE SEC. SAYS MILIBAND VISIT A WASTE OF TIME

(DM)Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday launched an angry verbal attack on Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband accusing him of basing his views on LTTE propaganda and said Mr. Miliband’s recent visit to the country was a waste of time.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the president's brother blasted what appeared to be the coordinated pressure being put on the Rajapaksa-government by the international community and said this week's visit of Mr. Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, was a "waste of time". Full text

FM contacts his Aussie counterpart

(DM)The Foreign Ministry in a statement said Minister Rohitha Bogollagama speaking to his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith by telephone noted the constant dialogue and engagement between the two countries was an encouragement to Sri Lankas efforts to combat terrorism. The Minister thanked the Australian Government for pledging Aus. $. 4.5 million in humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of civilians displaced in the north.

He welcomed the consistent stand taken by the Australian government against the establishment of an independent Tamil State, the statement said. Full text

Five-member UK parliamentary delegation arriving

(DM)A five-member UK parliamentary delegation is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday on special invitation from the government, diplomatic sources said.

The sources said the delegation would be here to asses the on-going humanitarian situation. During their two-day stay here, the delegation is expected to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and several government and opposition parliamentarians. Full text

TAMIL DIASPORA FINANCED AND NURTURED LTTE: PRESIDENT

By Sandun A Jayasekera

(DM)President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged the Tamil citizens to tell the Tamil diaspora who financed the LTTE over the years, that the terrorist outfit had killed and maimed their own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers when they attempted to flee the ‘No Fire Zone’ (NFZ) with guns and battle tanks bought with the funds provided by Tamil Diaspora.

Addressing the UPFA May Day rally titled “Let’s Work to build a Better Country’ at Temple Trees last afternoon, President Rajapaksa said the international community and the Tamil diaspora never talk about the civilians who have fled the clutches of the LTTE. Nobody talks about the sufferings of innocent Tamils trapped in the NFZ. Full text

Norway pledges US $ 10m for displaced in North

By Kelum Bandara

(DM)The Norwegian government has decided to pledge US $ 10 million for the assistance of the people displaced in the Northern Province. The funds will be disbursed through the ICRC, the UN agencies and other local and international NGOs to provide relief to the IDPs.

A Norwegian High Commission spokesman told Daily Mirror yesterday that his country had also delivered some of these funds to the ICRC to meet the present demands, and the rest would be made available very soon. Full text

BRAVE SECURITY FORCES HAVE UNITED ALL PEOPLE : SAJITH

By Yohan Perera

(DM)UNP MP Sajith Premadasa yesterday said the brave security forces have united all people from Pamankada to Alimankada, Medawachiya to Kilinochchi and Dondra Point to Point Pedro by crushing the LTTE and the UNP as a whole is happy about this fact without any grudge or jealousy.

Mr. Premadasa made this point at a ceremony held to mark the 16th death anniversary of his father, late President Premadasa in Hulftsdorp yesterday. Full text

US report gives details of LTTE funding

(DM)The United States said yesterday in its 2008 country report on terrorism that the LTTE was financed by contributions from the Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia,.

The annual report released yesterday by the US State Department said the LTTE financed itself by imposing local "taxes" on businesses operating in the areas of Sri Lanka under its control, and reportedly by extortion in government-controlled areas. Full text

Fierce sea battles off Mullaitivu

(DM)At least 23 Sea Tigers were killed and three Sea Tiger boats destroyed in a fierce sea battle off the coast of Mullaitivu, the Navy said yesterday.

A navy spokesman said the navy’s elite Special Boat Squadron, Fast Attack Craft and Rapid Action Boat squadron were involved in the confrontation with the Tiger craft. Full text

SECURITY COUNCIL AGREES: PUNISHING SIR LANKA NOT THE SOLUTION

(DM)UNITED NATIONS, Reuters - The United Nations Security Council members have agreed there was no point in punishing Sri Lanka by withholding a US$1.9 billion International Monetary Fund loan or by other steps.

“I have not heard anyone suggesting that Sri Lanka should be punished,” Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller who holds the presidency of the 15-nation Security Council, told reporters after an informal session on Sri Lanka. Full text

BOMBSHELL PICTURES GOVT. PROTESTS TO UN

By Sunil Jayasiri

(DM)The government yesterday summoned United Nations Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne to seek an explanation after a sensitive UN document containing satellite images of Sri Lanka’s safe zone was ‘leaked’ to the media. Full text

UNOSAT Data on Sri Lanka: Interpretation not substantiated with out ground verifications - Says Remote Sensing expert

(defence.lk)The image analysis (circulated and provided to Al-Jazeera TV) was done with WorldView-1 & QuickBird satellite imagery (by UNOSAT) which are acquired from 450 - 500 Km from the earth. Most of the analysis was done probably based on object oriented classification algorithm which interprets an image based on size, shape, colour and other attributes of ground features and the rest of the analysis was purely based on visual interpretations by a group who are totally alien to ground situation in CSZ. Therefore, it is not possible to provide conclusive interpretation based on these analyses without a detailed ground assessment being carried out. Conclusions drawn from the interpretations of these images have no scientific validity. Full text

Children recruited by LTTE surrender, reveal horror stories

(defence.lk)Thousands of children recruited by the LTTE have surrendered. Forcefully recruited by the terrorists, the children and survivors recount horrific tales of the LTTE's brutalities.

One of the child soldiers who surrendered, Sasi Kanakariga Pillai says; "We used to go to school, but were always in hiding. If the LTTE found out that we were at home they would catch us. They would give some training and deploy us as LTTE fighters." LTTE forcefully recruited thousands of children like Sasi to bolster its strength. Full text

Special Japanese Envoy meets with Secretary Defenc

(defence.lk)Mr. Yashushi Akashi, special Envoy of Japan, met with Secretary Defence Mr. Gatabaya Rajapakse at his official residence yesterday, 1 May.

A discussion was held between secretary defence and Japanese envoy on relief measures taken for the IDPs who have been rescued from LTTE hostage recently. Full text

Japan donates US$ 4m for Northern IDPs

(defence.lk)The Government of Japan has decided to provide grant aid totalling US $ 4 million (approximately Rs.480 million) to meet the immediate needs of the Internally Displaced Persons in the north.

The aid would be channelled through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF), International Organization for Migration(IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), a press release from the Japanese embassy said. Full text

Address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the May Day celebrations held at Temple Trees

Ven. Members of the Maha Sangha and all clergy,

President and Secretary of the May Day Committee,

Hon. Ministers,

Hon. Members of Parliament,

Members of the Trade Union Federation,

My dear Working People,

(defence.lk)I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to all of you who have gathered at Temple Trees to celebrate International Workers Day.

Today the working people and trade union leaders are very familiar with Temple Trees. The working people are more used to Temple Trees today than Cabinet Ministers, as the Cabinet meets only once a week, while on some occasions the workers meet me here more often. Full text