Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sri Lanka: North and East celebrated Vesak after 30 years

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 08 May, (Asiantribune.com): After 30 years, Buddhists in the Jaffna peninsula and in Batticaloa celebrated Vesak on Friday, commemorating the birth of Buddha, his attaining Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana.

"With the dawn of peace into the North, this seems a significant development towards the government's effort to unite the country", a Batticaloa resident said. Full text

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Underwater Tamil hideout discovered

Looks like another terror ship is trying to enter Sri Lankan waters

(independent)The Sri Lankan military says it has found a large metal structure that may have been intended to be used as an underwater home or hiding-place by the leadership of the Tamil rebels.

Officials said the 360ft long and 25ft wide structure, apparently split into three sections, had been found on iron rails. In the seabed near by, a 300ft long canal had been dug, up to 30ft deep. Work was still being done on the structure by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the town of Irattavaikkal when encroaching government troops forced them to leave. Full text

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Russia pledges support for Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism measures

(May 09, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Government of the Russian Federation strongly supports the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the island. This pledge was made by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov to his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rohitha Bogollagama during a telephone discussion between them last Wednesday (6th May 2009). Full text
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Pregnant women among IDPs a top priority of the Sri Lanka Government

Colombo, 09 May, (Asiantribune.com): At least 3,000 pregnant women have fled the fighting in Northern Sri Lanka in recent days and some 350 will give birth in the next month, according to estimates by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The Ministry of Health has dispatched another 100 doctors to the rehabilitation camps in the North to cope with the situation, a Ministry spokes man said. Full text

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China will give US $ 1 million in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 09 May, (Asiantribune.com): China will give US $ 1 million in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka to help the civilian Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the conflict, China’s Foreign Ministry has announced.

This announcement comes in the wake of an attack on the Chinese Embassy in London a few days ago, by LTTE hooligans and thugs as a protest for Chinese support to the Sri Lankan Government. Full text

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SLAF airlifts Tamil civilians injured in LTTE fire

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka Air Force has airlifted Tamil civilians received severe injuries in LTTE indiscriminate firing to the Anuradhapura base hospital last evening, 8 May.

Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking to defence.lk said 12 Tamil civilians airlifted from Alampil to Anuradhapura base hospital for immediate medical attention.

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Navy destroys 02 Sea Tiger boats, captures 02; 14 Sea Tigers killed - off Mullaittivu seas

(defence.lk)Continuing it's heavy onslaught on LTTE's desperate attempts to attack the well fortified Naval cordon in the seas off Vellemullivaikkal today (9th May 2009) around 0300 hrs SLN destroyed 01 LTTE sea tiger suicide boat and 01 LTTE attack craft and captured another LTTE suicide boat with an attack craft, killing 14 sea tiger carders on board. Full text
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"Our troops the best in the world" - Secretary Defence

(defence.lk)Secretary Defence Mr: Gotabaya Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka possessed the world's best professional armed forces. The Security Forces took action to rein in terrorist activities which impacted the country for nearly 3 decades.

In an interview on Sri Lanka Rupavani Corporation on 7th May, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, pointed out that the troops excelled in discipline, civil relations and humanitarian laws. Full text

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Prabhakaran's fate decided after Lok Sabha Polls

(DW)We have been receiving highly credible information regards the slow pace of the current military offensive, which has nothing to do with a Cease-fire forced on Sri Lanka by the West or a rethinking of the military option.

DefenceWire can confirm, not a forceful threat, but a humble request by the Indians has been made to temporarily postpone the very last phase of the offensive against the Tiger leadership, trapped north of Vattuvaan. The temporary 'banning' of the use of heavy weapons was a symbolic gesture of this 'understanding' between the Sri Lankans and the Indians. Full text
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No fire zone area reduced : military

(May 08, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The no fire zone in the Mullaitivu coastal area has been redemarcated to an area of 2 X 1.5 km, the military spokesman said.

The official announcement on the reduction of the no fire zone by the army follows; Full text
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amil Secessionists' attack on Army Convoy - Beginning of Anarchy

By B R Haran

(May 09, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a shocking incident on the evening of Saturday, 2 May, several hundred hooligans belonging to the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) attacked an Army convoy on the Nilambur Bypass Road near Coimbatore. Around 300 army personnel were returning from Hyderabad after completing a three-month training camp, to their headquarters at Madukkarai in Coimbatore via Salem. Full text
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Indices touch new high for 2009

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

(AT)Acuity – the stock brokering arm of HNB and DFCC indicated that Market opened on a positive note this week and remained bullish with the indices touching a new high for 2009 on improved activity. Investors continued to pick undervalued blue chip counters, pushing indices to the highest close since November 2008.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed the week at 1896.0 points improved by a notable 57.6 points or 3.1% compared to the last week, while the Milanka Price Index (MPI) was up by 98.3 points or 5.0% to close at 2061.4 points. Full text

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Earth has not anything to show more unfair

"Earth has not anything to show more fair," wrote Wordsworth of the breathtaking view of the mist clad London from the Westminster Bridge way back in 1802. But today the earth has nothing to show more dreadful and unfair than what is unfolding at the British Parliamentary Square, where terrorism is being advocated openly.

On Wednesday, LTTE activists launched a mob attack on the Chinese Embassy in London in full view of the British police. Only three of the perpetrators were arrested and others went scot free. Last month, LTTE mobs attacked the Indian and Sri Lankan High Commissions with stones and only a handful of attackers were nabbed. Terror backers also 'beheaded' the Nehru statue near the Indian High Commission recently and as usual got away with it. Full text

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Internationalisation of the final phase

by Neville Ladduwahetty

(TI)Saving the civilians trapped by the LTTE is a humanitarian achievement of tremendous significance. It also would result in significant military gains because it is the equivalent to 'draining the pond', thereby making it that much easier for the security forces to overpower the LTTE. Saving the civilians therefore gives the Sri Lankan Government strategic and tactical advantages as far as the LTTE is concerned. Some in the International Community seem to not want the Sri Lankan Government to realize these advantages. Full text

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US Think Tank warns: Don’t write off Tamil Tigers, they will spill a lot more blood

by S Venkat Narayan
Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 8: A reputed American Think Tank has cautioned Sri Lanka against underestimating the ability of the beleaguered Tamil Tigers to play havoc even after their seemingly imminent defeat.

In a report released on Thursday, Stratfor, the US think tank, warns that a cornered LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his cohorts can be equally deadly in future too. Full text

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Army captures last LTTE earth bund, restricts safety zone LTTE left with 3.5 sq. km

(TI)The army has demarcated a new Safety Zone (NSZ) for civilians trapped in the existing No Fire Zone captured by the LTTE. The new NSZ is located south of Karayamullivaikkal including Vellamullivaikkal and encompasses approximately three square kilometres (2 km X1.5 km). Full text

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The change to double standards in Washington

(DN)There is so much to be watching and observing as a journalist within Sri Lanka that it is not often that I refer to developments abroad unless it directly impinges on the Sri Lankan situation.

Most observers notice what is a near desperation among the ‘International Community’ which incidentally excludes more than three-fourths of the world’s population, and of the international media in their comments on the situation in Sri Lanka, with the Government resolutely refusing to give in to pressures brought at the behest of the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate populations in various European and ‘Western countries’ who are wrongly labelled, even by our own diplomats who should know better as the Tamil Diaspora; and for the geo-political interests of some of these nations that still think this is the age of imperialism. Full text

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Ground realities

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the Colombo based diplomats on Thursday called upon them to understand the ground realities in Sri Lanka with respect to the conflict in the North.

What are these realities?

Firstly, that the LTTE which fought for a separate state is now confined to a mere 4.5 sq kms of land in a narrow coastal strip and are surrounded by the Sri Lankan Army. Full text

First batch of trauma counselling trainers to North

(DN)The Education Ministry had sent the first batch of trauma counselling trainers to the North to train teachers in the region in counselling children who had suffered the effects of the war, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said.

A census of school going children among the displaced people will also be conducted so that the authorities could provide facilities to admit them to temporary schools to revert such children to education at the appropriate school grade level, he said. Full text

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Polls results prove masses had better grasp of ground realities - Prelate

(DM)The results of the Western Provincial Council elections has proved that the masses had a better grasp of present ground realities than some politicians and political parties, Maha Nayake of the Malwatte Chapter Siyam Nikaye, Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said. Full text

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US may have killed up to 50 in Afghanistan

Women and children among victims:

(DN)US-led strikes in Afghanistan may have left as many as 50 people killed, CNN television reported after the US military called claims of a death toll of 100 “exaggerated.”

US military and Afghan Defence and Interior Ministry teams returned from the area in the western province of Farah early yesterday and were still going through their findings, Colonel Greg Julian told AFP earlier in Afghanistan. Full text

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UNP HIT BY ITS OWN ‘HEAVY WEAPONS’

(DM)The United National Party always messes up things when it comes to the war against the LTTE. It was the party leaders who ridiculed the recapture of the Thoppigala, the last LTTE stronghold in the Eastern province in 2007 by calling the area a useless jungle. Again it was the same party leaders who said that government was heading towards Medawachchiya instead of Kilinochchi, while the LTTE bastions in the Wanni were falling like dominos. Full text

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Ground realities

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the Colombo based diplomats on Thursday called upon them to understand the ground realities in Sri Lanka with respect to the conflict in the North.

What are these realities?

Firstly, that the LTTE which fought for a separate state is now confined to a mere 4.5 sq kms of land in a narrow coastal strip and are surrounded by the Sri Lankan Army. Full text

British MPs deliver petition on Lanka to parliament

(DM)British MP Paul Burstow has delivered a petition from the Sutton Tamil community calling on the Government to increase its efforts to secure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

The member for Sutton and Cheam also questioned Foreign Secretary David Miliband about what legal action could be taken against perpetrators of war crimes. Full text

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Canadian City looks to Feds for Tamil tab

(DM)Canadian City councillors will be looking to the federal government to cover expenses for non -policing costs related to the Tamil protests.

Last month, thousands of protestors descended on the capital for 15 days demanding Canadian intervention into the deteriorating conditions in Sri Lanka. Full text

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Deserters serving prison terms freed

By Ajithlal Shantha Udhaya

(DM)Forty seven Army deserters serving jail terms at the Kuruwita Prisons have been freed under a general pardon yesterday.

Kuruwita Prisons Superintendent -Rohan Jayasuriya said the freed group had served more than six months before they received the release on account of Vesak – the Holiest event for Buddhists. Full text

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Canada concerned over Govt. attitude on ceasefire

(DM)OTTAWA — Canada has expressed concern over the Sri Lankan government’s absolute refusal on Thursday to declare a ceasefire in its civil war with Tamil rebels so that humanitarian aid could be sent to civilians trapped in the fighting and allow them to flee.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said. “We have called for a ceasefire for months now. We want these people to receive basic needs and medical attention.” Full text

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CEASEFIRE WILL ONLY LEAD TO MORE TERRORISM- SL ENVOY

(DM)WASHINGTON – The Sri Lankan Ambassador in the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya told a gathering of the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. think tank, that a ceasefire with the cornered Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka will only lead to more terrorism.

Speaking in a programme entitled “Sri Lanka: Beyond Terrorism,” Ambassador Wickramasuriya outlined the government’s ambitious plans for reconstruction and reconciliation in northern Sri Lanka, where government forces have trapped the last remnants of the Tamil Tiger force. Full text

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Manipur terrorists learning from LTTE

(DN)The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), listed as a terrorist group at Manipur in India, told reporters yesterday it had learned lessons from the LTTE experience in Sri Lanka, the Telegraph news agency reported.

“Military strength is not enough for achieving our goal. So we will go all out to internationalize our struggle. We are also mobilizing support from people in India,” the group’s vice-president Manoharmayum Ngouba said at the Revolutionary Peoples Front (RPF) training command headquarters. The RPF is the political wing of the People’s Liberation Army and is situated along the Manipur-Myanmar border. Full text

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LTTE SUSPECTS USE CELL PHONES IN JAIL

By Upali Ananda

(DM)The Prisons Chief has been asked by the Anuradhapura Court to hold an immediate investigation to ascertain how LTTE suspects being held at the Anuradahapura prison used mobile phones to contact local and foreign groups.

Chief Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatta gave these instructions when the North Central Province Crime Division in a report to court said terrorist suspects being held in the Anuradhapura prison had contacted local and foreign groups and that according to the information with the police the mobile phones had been provided by two women. Full text

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EU TROIKA HERE NEXT WEEK

(DM)An EU Troika will visit Sri Lanka next week for talks with the government on the situation in the country resulting from the military operations in the north aimed at rescuing civilians trapped in the remaining LTTE controlled area, officials said.

The delegation will be here on Tuesday and Wednesday and will include a representative from the Swedish government which will take over the Presidency of the European Union in September. Full text

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Congress leaders head for TN to calm Karunanidhi

(DM)Congress leaders are heading for Tamil Nadu to calm down Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi over the issue of a separate Eelam for Tamil people.

“As a next step, Sri Lankan Tamils should get Eelam. I assumed responsibilities of making all efforts to ensure that Eelam is created,” Karunanidhi said. Full text

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Congress leaders head for TN to calm Karunanidhi

(DM)Congress leaders are heading for Tamil Nadu to calm down Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi over the issue of a separate Eelam for Tamil people.

“As a next step, Sri Lankan Tamils should get Eelam. I assumed responsibilities of making all efforts to ensure that Eelam is created,” Karunanidhi said. Full text

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Troops break more rebel defences: Ministry

(DM)Sri Lankan soldiers have overrun another Tamil Tiger defence line standing between government troops and the small strip of territory still held by the ethnic rebels, the defence ministry said yesterday.

In heavy fighting late Thursday, troops captured a mud embankment built by the LTTE to slow down the government's offensive. Full text

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Fund-raising a snag, say NGOs

By Kelum Bandara

(DM)NGO representatives have reportedly told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they had a problem in raising funds on their own now since most donors were making their contributions through the UN agencies as emergency relief.

The President had a meeting with the NGO representatives on Thursday to discuss their problems and action that needs to be taken to resolve them. Full text

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NGO Secretariat under PM

(DM)The NGO Secretariat which functioned under the Social Services Ministry has now been brought under the purview of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake.

A Social Services Ministry official told the Daily Mirror yesterday that a gazette notification had been issued in this regard in March. Full text

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TAMIL REFUGEE CAMP HORROR STORIES 'WRONG' : BRITISH MP

(DM)Horror stories in Britain about conditions in Sri Lanka camps housing hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees are wrong, a British MP said on Thursday night.

Gordon Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the Commons overseas development committee, said there may be shortages but refugees he spoke to were happy to have escaped the fighting in the north of the island state. Full text

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It’s now New Safety Zone: Colombo

B. Muralidhar Reddy
Government sends essential items for Tamil civilians
— Photo: Special arrangement

A gesture: High Commission officials distributing relief materials supplied by India to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Menik Farm Village in Vavuniya on Friday.

(TH)COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Friday renamed the remaining area under occupation by the LTTE inside the No-Fire Zone (NFZ) as New Safety Zone (NSZ). Full text

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Of humanitarians and bullies

By Dimuth Gunawardena

"If you let a bully come in your front yard, he'll be on your porch the next day and the day after that he'll rape your wife in your own bed." -Lyndon B. Johnson-

(AT)Sri Lanka is a sovereign territory that is now being fundamentally battered by two major forces in their bid to save the LTTE leadership. One the UK, USA, EU, India led western strategic alliance within and outside the UN system. The other is the local NGO and INGO groups working hand in glove with the above forces. Full text

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Sri Lanka military re-demarcates no fire zone

COLOMBO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan military announced Friday the re-demarcation of the northeastern no fire zone.

Military officials said the previously defined safe zone for civilians has now been redemarated to match current realities, and the new area is 2km x 1.5 kms. Full text

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Tamil Tigers vow to fight on

B Nadesan
Mr. Nadesan says LTTE still maintains contacts with outside Sri Lanka
(BBC)The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka have vowed to fight on despite losing almost all the territory they controlled until recently.

LTTE political wing leader, B Nadesan, told BBC Sandeshaya that the rebels would not admit defeat "until the people are with us".

He again denied accusations by the UN, human rights organisations and the government that the LTTE does not allow civilians trapped in the battle zone to leave the conflict. Full text

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MIA appeals for Oprah's help

She asks her to draw attention to Sri Lanka bombings

(NME)MIA has appealed for Oprah Winfrey’s help in drawing attention to the bombing of civilian camps in her native Sri Lanka.

In a post on her Myspace page, the singer reveals she met the TV superstar on Tuesday (May 5) at an event honouring Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the year: Full text

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US Government-Funded IOM Clinics to Provide Primary Health Care for Sri Lanka's Displaced

Sri Lanka - IOM engineers have completed the first of ten primary health care centres at the rapidly expanding Menik Farm displacement camp in Vavuniya, the government-controlled district southwest of Mullaitivu, where fighting between the government and LTTE Tamil Tigers continues. With some 125,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) already in the camp and a further 25,000 currently sheltering in schools and public buildings in Vavuniya town expected to be transferred there, government health services in the 1,000-acre camp are stretched to the limit. Full text
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LTTE using India just like Taliban, Al-Qaeda use Pak: Stratfor

(TET)WASHINGTON: With Sri Lankan troops "hammering them", the LTTE, which has "logistical and training infrastructure" in India, is using the country just like the Taliban and Al Qaeda use Pakistan, a leading US think tank has claimed.

"Support in Tamil Nadu means that the Tigers can -- and do -- exploit the international border to their advantage. The Tigers use India in much the same way that the Taliban and Al Qaeda use Pakistan," Stratfor in its latest report titled - 'The Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Cornered Tiger Is Still Deadly', said. Full text
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Sri Lanka army 'maintains advance'


Sri Lankan soldiers in the north-east
The Sri Lanka army is facing 'stiff resistance' from the rebels

(BBC)Sri Lanka's army says it is continuing to make advances into Tamil Tiger territory, with the president saying the war is "rapidly" nearing an end.

Mahinda Rajapkasa said that Sri Lanka was on "the threshold of a new era of lasting peace".

Troops were advancing in the designated no-fire zone in the north-east amid stiff rebel resistance, the defence ministry website said. Full text

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Sri Lanka’s Fight Against the Tamil Tigers

(NYT)I take strong exception to your April 30 editorial criticizing my government’s conduct in its 26-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers.

The Tamil Tigers are a terrorist organization no different from Al Qaeda, the Taliban or Hamas. They have killed thousands of Sri Lankans. Full text
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Australia boosts Sri Lankan aid by $10m

(SMH)Australia will provide a further $10 million in humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Friday the money would be distributed through United Nations agencies. Full text

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador notes president Rajapaksa's electoral popularity and the end of terrorism

Ambassador says President Mahinda Rajapaksa is fulfilling the Wishes of The People as a Democratically Elected Leader

(infolanka)WASHINGTON: Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya told a May 6 gathering of the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. think tank, that a ceasefire with the cornered Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka will only lead to more terrorism. Full text

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Doublespeak of the West

(By Gomin Dayasri)

(defence.lk)Doublespeak is a double barrel name for Western Foreign Policy. Lets examine the varying stands shown to the LTTE and the Talibans-Sri Lankan and Pakistan civilians by the West.

Hillary Clinton says (in a bout of doublespeak?) she "deeply regrets Afghan casualties" in the Afghanistan theatre of war due to overhead bombing by US fighter planes. Full text

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58 Div captures Karayamulliavaikkal earth bund; 35 LTTE bodies found

(defence.lk)Infantrymen of 58 Division have gained total control over the entire earth bund built by the LTTE terrorists in Karayamulliavaikkal by this afternoon (8 May) following hours-long fighting, latest military report received from the battlefront said.

According to the defence.lk correspondent in the battlefront, troops of 6 Gemunu Watch (6 GW), 7 Sinha Regiment (7 SR) and 9 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (9 VIR) have tactically advanced beyond the earth bund after capturing entire bund. Consolidating operations now underway to further strength the defence line, military sources said. Full text

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Fuel distribution centre opened in Paranthan

(defence.lk)A fuel distribution centre was opened yesterday (07 May) at the Paranthan Junction to facilitate fuel distribution in the Wanni and the North.

The centre was opened after renovating it on the instructions given by the Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka. It was opened under the patronage of Director of Planning and Transport Brigadier Ashoka Padeniya and 58 Division Commander Brigadier Shavendra Silva. The filling station was under LTTE control for many years and LTTE terrorists had completely destroyed it before fleeing due to the effective offensive launched by the armed forces to capture the Paranthan junction. It was reconstructed in collective effort made of the employers of the Petroleum Corporation and Army personnel. Full text

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"New Safety Zone" Restricted to 2.5 sq km - Army

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka Army, now in full control of more than two thirds of the existing Puthumattalan "New Safety Zone", friday (8) afternoon officially announced the re-demarcation of the "New Safety Zone", restricting to the strip, south of Karayamullivaikkal including Vellamullivaikkal with an area of some 2 km in length and 1.5 km in width, the Army Headquarters declared. This has been modified to match with the present situation and after considering the concentration of civilians in the area. Full text

War Heroes' Commemoration Month launched

(defence.lk)The first Ranaviru (War Hero) Flag has been pinned onto the President launching the War Heroes Commemoration Month at an event held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, 7 May.

The first flag was pinned onto the President by 10-year-old Gimhan Madushanka, the son of war hero Balage Kumara, who sacrificed his life on behalf of the country. Balage Kumara is a war hero who exploded a LTTE truck laden with explosives in Chenkalai on 27th March 2007. Full text

Navy conducts Medical Clinics for Freed Tamil Civilians

(defence.lk)Under the direction of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, a series of medical clinics has been initiated for the benefit of the Tamil civilians who have begun to arrive in the liberated areas seeking safe refuge having broken themselves free from the LTTE clutches. The humanitarian initiative, which has received wide acclaim due to its immense popularity amongst the beneficiaries, is being implemented on the instructions of Director General Health Services (DGHS) Surgeon Rear Admiral NELW Jayasekara. Full text

58 Div gains more control over LTTE earth bund - Karayamulliavaikkal

(defence.lk)Troops of 58 and 53 Divisions continued their advances further into No Fire Zone amidst stiff resistance as LTTE terrorists made their maximum effort to hold the earth bund built to obstruct the security forces' advance.

Troops of 4 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (4 VIR), 17 Gemunu Watch (17 GW), 6 Gajaba Regiment (6 GR) serving under Air Mobile Brigade of 53 Division heavily confronted with LTTE terrorists while advancing along the northern bank of the Nanthikandal lagoon. Full text

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More LTTE military hardware found - Uruthirapuram

Troops of 21 Sri Lanka National Guard (21 SLNG) serving under 662 Brigade of Task Force 6 (TF-6) uncovered a cache of military hardware left behind by the LTTE terrorists while conducting a clearing operation in general area Uruthirapuram yesterday, 7 May, military report received from the battlefront said.

Following military items are among the recoveries. Full text

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Navy rescues 32 Tamil Civilians fleeing from LTTE Clutches

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka Navy rescued 32 Tamil civilians, who had been fleeing from the LTTE clutches, in the North-eastern seas on two occasions on the 06th and 7th of May 2009 respectively.

The first group consisting of 07 persons (04 adult males, 02 adult females and 01 child) was found fleeing in an FGD fitted with a 15 HP OBM around 1430 hrs on the 06th. The second group which consisted of 25 persons (09 adult males, 10 adult female and 06 children) were rescued around 1730 hrs on the 07th from an overcrowded FGD fitted with a 15 HP OBM. All were escorted safely to Pulmudai and were provided with food, refreshments and medical assistance. Full text

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Friday, May 8, 2009

China voices concern over growing US influence

(dawn)ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Lou Zhaohui on Thursday said his country was ‘concerned over the increasing US influence’ in the region. He said the number of foreign forces was ‘too high’ in the region.

Talking to reporters during a visit to the Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Chinese envoy said the ‘outside influence’ was growing in the region. Full text

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China flexes naval muscle in Indian Ocean

By Premvir Das

(May 08, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Chinese Navy celebrated its 60th Anniversary by hosting an International Fleet Review at Qingdao. More than 40 warships participated in this ceremony, including those from India and other foreign navies, at which the Chinese displayed the best of their naval power, the submarines and an amphibious assault ship attracting the most attention. Full text
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“We peacefully commemorate Vesak because of your dedication,”- Army Commander

(May 08, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, in his message on account of Vesak (Thrice Blessed Day) commemoration pays tribute to his troops who have selflessly dedicated themselves to inherit a better future for a great Nation.

Here is the full text of his message;

“On this sacred Vesak Full Moon day (8th May) when Thrice Blessed Day is commemorated by all Sri Lankan Buddhists, let me extend my best wishes too to all officers, other ranks, civil staff and their families by wishing them a very happy Vesak, filled with peace, spiritual emancipation and loving kindness as taught in Buddhism. Full text
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INGOs and NGOs meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa on improving conditions of IDPs

Hilary Rajakarunanayake- Sri Lanka Editor, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 08 May, (Asiantribune.com): President Mahinda Rajapaksa summoned a meeting this evening of all International NGOs and other NGOs in the country to discuss ways and means of settling the various pressing problems faced by the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North.

Several suggestions were exhaustively discussed with a view to ameliorating the condition of the IDPs. Among those present at this meeting were Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa, Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Defence Secretary Ghotabhaya Rajapaksa, and Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen. Full text

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Treat Tamil IDPs with kindness and benevolence says Sri Lanka President

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor Sri Lanka , Asian Tribune

Colombo, 08 May, (Asiantribune.com): "The way to tread the path of the Thathagatha is to treat the hundreds of thousands of our citizens pushed by terrorism into welfare centres as the internally displaced, with kindness and benevolence, President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated in his Vesak message this morning.

"LTTE terrorism has succeeded in pushing hundreds of thousands of our citizens into welfare centres as the internally displaced. The way to tread the path of the Thathagatha in this instance is to treat them with kindness, offering all help possible, to be generous and benevolent. Full text

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Boarding the Sri Lanka Bashing Bandwagon – London Telegraph Doing a Very High Jump

London, 08 May, (Asiantribune.com): The anger of Jeremy Page, the South Asian correspondent of The Times is understandable: his application for the journalistic visa was rejected; when he tried to make the entry as a bogus tourist incognito, was caught at the Katunayake airport and then deported from Sri Lanka.

Since then Jeremy Page has been doing the obvious; he spread venom in his writing against Sri Lanka in The Times. One of his fans found his obsession with the war against Tamil Tigers funny, by expressing, “Jeremy goes nuts after his visa denial.” Full text

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Worst butchers as good family men

There are lessons that we could draw even from monsters. One is how to lead a good family life. The world has seen many a butcher who would snuff out any number of lives unflinchingly but play the role of a dutiful husband and father at home.

We had JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera's death-dealing oprichniki wreaking havoc on the country in the late 1980s. Thousands of fathers were put to a violent death, many of them in front of their children. And children were used in terrorist activities, mainly as couriers, and many of them perished at the hands of the bloodthirsty vigilantes. But, while the country was going through hell, Wijeweera led a near normal life holding his brood to his bosom in cooler climes.

The British bullies

(TI)It is indeed quite unbelievable that the British House of Commons has met no less than five times in recent weeks to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka. I wonder as to whether they ever had a special session to express their humanitarian concerns when Israel almost bombed the Gaza almost off the map, or at the torture and the indiscriminate killings in Afghanistan by their own troops. They have adopted Resolutions and gone to town to condemn our government without a word of condemnation of the terrorist LTTE which is holding innocent civilians hostage and as a human shield. Time without number they have called for a ceasefire. A ceasefire for what? Would Prabhakaran release the civilians he is holding as a human shield? Full text

Soldiers deployed in jungles most affected by malaria - Nimal

(TI)Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said that of the 678 Malaria cases reported during the last year, 500 were soldiers deployed in jungle areas.

Speaking during the debate on the regulations under the Prevention of the Mosquito Breeding Act in Parliament, he said that Sri Lanka had experienced a slight increase of Malaria after 1968. Full text

‘MPs using leave for anti - national campaigns abroad’

(TI)The Government yesterday (6), called upon Parliament to consider seriously whether it should grant leave permission for MPs to go around the world organising campaigns to divide the country.

Chief Government Whip, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, made this point in the House when TNA MP Solomon Cyril sought for three months leave for his party member M. K. Sivajilingam. Full text

A murderous terrorist leader - It's obvious he wanted the best things in life for his own children whilst hanging a cyanide capsule on other children

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Fed up, Indian diplomats want Tamil protesters moved

(TI)(IANS)Tuesday 5th May, 2009 - Indian diplomats have had it with Tamil protests. Regular raucous protests by thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils outside the Indian High Commission in London are becoming a nuisance and preventing the smooth functioning of the mission, Indian diplomats have complained.

"Under the Vienna Convention, the host country is supposed to ensure that we can function properly - and this is not happening," a senior Indian diplomat, who did not want to be identified, told IANS after the latest demonstration Tuesday. Full text

Critical days ahead as 58 Div captures the last earth bund:

Final battle enters decisive phase

(DN)As troops are stepping towards the last terrain of the LTTE inside the No Fire Zone (NFZ) in the narrow strip of land in the immediate North of Mullaitivu town from two fronts, the Tiger outfit is seemingly engaged in delaying tactics expecting a last minute bid by any international player to rescue them from the final crackdown by the troops.

Therefore, the circumstances have pushed the Security Forces to engage in one of the toughest battles during the past few days and to continue the same until they capture Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran dead or alive. Full text

Suffering of civilians cornered by HRW

(DN)The Anglo American Corporation Human Rights Watch (HRW) is now engaged in a campaign, along with its patrons, to denigrate Sri Lanka in the eyes of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This follows its campaign throughout 2009 to dissuade civilians from leaving the LTTE controlled territory to refuge with the Sri Lankan Government. Full text

How the West lost Sri Lanka

How the Western countries have treated Sri Lanka in recent years is an object lesson in how not to manage foreign relations. Their actions based on false premises and pandering to pressure groups have resulted in working against their own long term interest.

(DN)Ever since gaining independence in 1948, this island state in the Indian Ocean has been playing an active role in international affairs well beyond its size. It has been a committed member of the United Nations contributing to its activities including peace keeping, a senior member of the Commonwealth, and an active player in the non-aligned movement, SAARC and many others. Full text

Six hundred war hero houses complete

(DN)Chief Government Whip Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday the construction work on 600 houses for the war heroes have already been completed under the project implemented to construct 50,000 houses for war heroes at Ipalogama in the Anuradhapura district.

This project commenced on May 15, 2007 had initially planned to construct 50,000 houses to overcome the shelter problem of war heroes. Full text

Essential items to civilians: ICRC not cooperating

(DN)Essential Services Commissioner General S.B. Divaratne said yesterday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not expressed willingness to send food items to civilians trapped in the No Fire Zone by sea.

The Government had been sending more than 3,000 MT of food items a month to the No Fire Zone before the mass exodus to the cleared area began. Full text

Premier's Secretary issued notice

(DN)Colombo High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundara on Wednesday issued notice on the Secretary to the Prime Minister to appear before the Court on May 15 to make a statement in connection with the Ceasefire Agreement entered into between Ranil Wickremesinghe and the LTTE of which the original copy was kept at the Prime Minister's Office. Full text

Lanka and world one on defeating terrorism

(DN)World's opinion over the eradication of terrorism has not changed, said Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing, the Minister said that Sri Lanka remains committed to eradicate terrorism. The Minister said the international community has never opposed the Government's battle against terrorism. Full text

Plan to assassinate Minister Devananda

(DN)Police yesterday traced a plan to assassinate Social Services and Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda.

According to Police, Rs. 20 million received from the LTTE has been given to the suspected contractor to assassinate Minister Devananda. A married couple residing in the first floor of the Pettah Fish Market was used by the LTTE to carry out the plan. Full text

President tells International Community: Understand ground realities

Local Govt elections in Jaffna, Vavuniya soon

Pressurize LTTE to lay down arms and surrender

(DN)The urgent need of the hour is the sensitivity and understanding of the international community on ground realities, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the Diplomatic Community in Colombo on current developments in Sri Lanka at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. Full text

Hillary says sorry for 100 Afghan deaths

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said the U.S. "deeply, deeply" regretted the loss of innocent lives in Afghanistan. International Red Cross confirmed that over 100 Afghan civilians have been killed in the US air strikes in Afghanistan on Tuesday. Daily mirror

LTTE using suicide bombers: Sri Lanka military

(DM)Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are using suicide bombers to hold back government forces who are close to overrunning the last patch of rebel-held territory, the military said Thursday.

The Tigers have deployed hundreds of suicide bombers to devastating effect in the past 20 years, claiming several high-profile victims, including the then president Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. Full text

Government was compelled to take military action- President

(DM)President Mahinda Rajapaksa told diplomats in Colombo today that his Government was compelled to take military action against the LTTE only as a last resort after all attempts to engage them in meaningful negotiations failed. Full text

India must intervene effectively in Lanka: Advani

(DM)Paramakudi (TN), May 07: Indian Government must intervene effectively in Sri Lanka to end the sufferings of Tamil civilians in the island nation, senior BJP leader LK Advani on Thursday said.

This view was conveyed by him to Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon when the latter called on him to discuss the situation in neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka and Nepal, Advani said addressing an election meeting in support of party candidate S Tirunavukarasar here. Full text

Crucial days for Prabha and LTTE

Troops discover half constructed massive tunnel-like iron frame

(DM)The security forces have finalized the details to either capture LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran alive or destroy him and his cadres. However due to heavy resistance by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the extreme weather conditions the forward advance of the troops had been delayed. But the security forces are determined that in the course of the next few days they will succeed in capturing the remaining land area and completely crushing the LTTE. Full text

Small chopper, aircraft still with Tigers

(DM)In a shocking discovery, several surrendered LTTE top level cadres had revealed that the LTTE is still in possession of a two-man Chopper and another fixed-wing air craft hidden inside the ‘safe zone’.

Though there were earlier reports that the LTTE still had a fixed-wing aircraft, the military totally denied those reports. But the latest intelligence reports revealed this after interrogating several of the escaped LTTE cadres who had come with the civilians. They had reported seeing both these flying machines. Full text

Defence Secretary says Wanni operations prevented an Eelam state:

(DM)Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said had not the security forces commenced the Wanni humanitarian operations against the LTTE the Tigers would have already set up an Eelam state.

The LTTE was militarily strong and ruling a territory when President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005. Full text

No retrial in UK Tamil Tigers case

(DM)A man accused of aiding the outlawed Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers group will not face a retrial, says the Crown Prosecution Service.

Jegatheeswaran Muraleetharan, or Muralee, 46, of Newtown, Powys denied receiving electronic items for use in terrorism at Kingston Crown Court. Full text

China briefed on final stage of rescue operation

(DM)Sri Lanka on Wednesday briefed China about the final phase of the humanitarian rescue operation in Mullaitivu.

The army headquarters said that the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Ms. Yang Xiuping paid a courtesy call on Army Commander Sarath Fonseka at the Army Headquarters. Full text

Australian Bishop appeals to Rudd over Lanka’sTamils

(DM)Canberra-Goulburn. Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power has appealed to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to intervene on behalf of the civilian Tamil population in Sri Lanka.

Bishop Power gathered with supporters of the Tamil people in the foyer of Parliament House yesterday to deliver a letter for Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. Full text

Prabhakaran has Malayali roots, say kin in Kerala

(DM)POONTHALATHAZHAM (KOLLAM): A lady in Kerala has claimed that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is spearheading the fight for a separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, is her first cousin and that he has Malayali roots.

Sitting in her distinctly lower middle class residence about 20 km from Kollam, 77-year-old Janaki Amma reminisces her childhood when she had the occasion to see her maternal uncle Velupillai, who she says is the father of Prabhakaran. Full text

sri Lanka's displaced numbers over 192,000: UN

The United Nations humanitarian wing said today that over 192,000 people have fled the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, where clashes continue between Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Although the number of registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) has increased, it is not due to new arrivals, and there are still no reports of more people in transit for days, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted. Full text

Prof.Ganganath abduction fiasco a conspiracy?

(DM)The Presidential Commission on Abductions, Disappearances, Unsolved murders and Unidentified bodies yesterday revealed that the whole fiasco behind the abduction of Prof.Ganganath Dissanayake may have been created by some elements to remove him from politics.

Issuing a statement on the abduction, the Commission said, according to the latest investigations, it is said that all the efforts in trying to find out what exactly happened have not brought in any impressive results. “Although a lot of concentration had been towards the alleged white van, the inadequacy of evidence has prevented in the apprehension, so far,” it said. Full text

All six suspects remanded

By Upali Ananda

(DM)All six suspects arrested and detained by police on suspicion of planning, aiding and abetting the assassination of Major General Janaka Perera were produced before the Anuradhapura Magistrate Courts and were remanded till May 18 by Anuradhapura Chief Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatta.

The six suspects are Abdul Hameed Umar Haththab, Thavurgani Gemin, Sultan Mohideen, Andul Ali, Jenul Abdeen Musadique, Mohammed Hanifa Uvais and Sutan Mohammed Jaleel. They are residents of Rambewa, Neriyakulama in Vavuniya and Asirikgama in Anuradhapura. The six suspects that were arrested on several occasions by the police team conducting investigations into the incident and had been detained on court order. Full text

TID ordered to hand over productions before court

By T. Farook Thajudeen.

(DM)Colombo Chief Magistrate yesterday (7) ordered the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) to hand over the productions taken from the Ceylon Business Equipment Company (CBN) on alleged LTTE involvement to its chairman, Tiran Alles before the court on May 13.

At the outset of yesterday’s inquiry Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi observed that the Attorney General is not instituting action against the Directors of CBN namely Tiran Alles, Dushyantha Basnayake and Sampath Serasinghe and made this order. Full text

Federal system the best solution- Solheim

By Olindhi Jayasundere

(DM)The government yesterday said that any opinion from the international community was welcome but no foreign country could expect those ideas to be integrated into the final solution to the ethnic problem as only Sri Lanka knows what is best for the country.

Reacting to a comment made by Norwegian Minister and former peace envoy Erik Solheim Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the Daily Mirror “We cannot blindly accept what others tell us,” Full text

Freedom to civilians and hell to terrorism: Anura Yapa

By Sandun A Jayasekera

(DM)The situation in Sri Lanka is unique in conflict resolution as other countries have attempted resolving disputes with terrorist groups through dialogue but Sri Lanka for the first time in history has been successful to bring about permanent peace by anniilating the LTTE, the most ruthless terrorist outfit, Government spokesman Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said.

Addressing the weekly cabinet press briefing yesterday at the Information Ministry, Minister Yapa said the concern of other countries fighting terrorism was to repulse or minimize the impact of terror acts to protect civilians. Full text

350 women in IDP camps give birth next month

(defence.lk)Out of the approximately 3,000 pregnant women who fled the fighting in northern Sri Lanka in recent days some 350 will give birth next month, according to estimates by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. With health services increasingly challenged by the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs), UNFPA is stepping up its support for the health and safety of women and girls affected by the conflict, particularly those who are pregnant. Typically, around 15 per cent of women giving birth will develop complications that require blood transfusions or emergency surgical care. Pregnancy-related disabilities and death often rise in conflict situations when reproductive health services are disrupted. Full text