Saturday, May 23, 2009

UN chief sobered by visit to Sri Lankan refugees

MANIK FARM, Sri Lanka – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon flew over the scorched and deserted landscape of Sri Lanka's last battlefield Saturday, and urged the government to let more aid reach displaced Tamils complaining of hunger and separation from their families.

The secretary-general said his tour of a hastily erected displacement camp housing more than 200,000 people "was a very sobering visit, very sad, very moving." Full text

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Sri Lanka health ministry probes war zone doctors

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka's health ministry is investigating three doctors detained by the military on accusations they gave false information about war zone casualties to the media, an official said Saturday.

The doctors said they treated hundreds of badly wounded civilians in understaffed, makeshift hospitals in the north during the military's final offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels. The physicians were among the few sources of information on those wounded and killed in the fighting, since most journalists were banned from the area. Full text Share on Facebook

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What the Tigers Taught Al-Qaeda

By Mia Bloom
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Also gone are Prabhakaran's son and heir apparent, Charles Anthony, and as many as 300 cadres. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations on the planet, has been essentially wiped out. Full text Share on Facebook

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Sri Lanka says Prabakaran is cremated; Website claims he's alive

Colombo (PTI): LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakaran's body has been cremated by Sri Lankan security forces, Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka has said amid claims by the rebels that their chief is alive.

Fonseka said the identification of 54-year-old Prabakaran's body came on Tuesday morning after heavy confrontations in the northeastern Mullaittivu district the previous day. Full text Share on Facebook

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Probe US, UK troops before charging us with war crimes: Sri Lanka

Colombo (PTI): Amid calls for war crimes probe against its military for its conduct during the campaign to eliminate the LTTE, Sri Lanka on Saturday said US and British troops will have to be hauled before tribunals first if any charges are brought against its armed forces.

The remarks came a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused unnamed foreign elements of trying to stop the military offensive "by threatening to haul us before war crimes tribunals" and declared that he was even ready "to go to the gallows" for defeating the Tamil rebels. Full text Share on Facebook

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UN chief witnesses Sri Lanka refugee despair

CHEDDIKULAM, Sri Lanka (AFP) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came face-to-face Saturday with the despair of Sri Lanka's war-hit civilians as he toured the nation's biggest refugee complex, home to 200,000 displaced by fighting.

Just days after Colombo declared victory over Tamil Tiger, he toured the sprawling Menik Farm camp, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Colombo, which was jammed with civilians who had fled the war zone. Full text Share on Facebook

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Sri Lanka's new chapter

(BBC)The authorities in the capital of Sri Lanka have declared the rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, dead and the war over. Chris Morris reflects on the life of Prabhakaran and considers whether there can now be reconciliation.

I was somewhat sceptical when the letter dropped onto my doormat in Colombo. Full text

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Sri Lanka's victory may offer lessons

The tactics the government used to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels could help other nations grappling with insurgencies.

By Mark Magnier
May 23, 2009
Los Angeles Times Reporting from New Delhi -- Sri Lanka's victory this week after a 25-year battle against the Tamil Tiger rebels represents a rare success story for governments fighting insurgencies.

Even as leaders in Colombo, the capital, declared a national holiday and citizens danced in the streets, military planners and analysts around the world began scrutinizing the war for lessons on how to fight Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups. Full text Share on Facebook
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Tamil Tigers still living in denial

(EB)COLOMBO: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) re-asserted on Friday that their supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, reportedly shot dead by government troops in north east Sri Lanka on May 18, was alive, and that he would establish contact with the global Tamil community at an appropriate time.The pro-Tiger website Tamilnet quoted Arivazhakan, identified as Head of the International Secretariat of the Intelligence Wing of the LTTE, saying that stories about Prabhakaran’s death were rumours engineered by the Sri Lankan government and its military establishment. Full text Share on Facebook
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Remarks by UN Official Nambiar in Colombo

Vijay Nambiar’s remarks at the Press conference held on May 22nd 2009, at the Colombo Hilton

(TC)Over the past months, the situation in Sri Lanka has been a matter of grave concern to the United Nations.

As the threat of large scale civilian casualties has increased, the Secretary General had been in touch with the Sri Lankan President and various member states, urging action to prevent a possible humanitarian crisis. Full text

TNA wants India to get SL security forces withdrawn from North & East

(LT)Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and the National Security Advisor N.K. Narayanan have assured a TNA delegation of R. Sampanthan, Suresh Premachnadran and Mavai Senathirajah that they would do everything possible to get SL government to withdraw SL security forces from the North and the East. The TNA delegation has also asked the Indian duo to get High Security Zones removed from the area. Full text Share on Facebook

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Army calls for more recruits

(LT)Recruitment to fill vacancies that have occurred in the regular and volunteer forces of S.L. Army will take place in all Army camps until 31st of July. Persons who are between the age of 18 and 24 with a height of not less than 5 feet 04 inches and who have passed Grade 8 could apply for the regular forces while those who have passed Grade 5 could apply for the volunteer forces. The minimum wages for those selected would be not less than R.27,000 and they would be provided with free health and transport facilities. They would also get opportunities of training abroad and joining peace keeping duties. Full text

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IDPs: Govt. already acting on agreed areas of priority - President to Ban Ki-moon

(defence.lk)The Government is already giving the highest priority to the issues raised by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with regard to the massive influx of Internally Displaced Persons held hostage by the LTTE, and matters that have arisen following the defeat of LTTE terrorism, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at their meeting at President's House, in Kandy today (May 23).

The Secretary General, who met the President after a visit to IDP relief villages in Vavuniya earlier today, said progress must come in three critical areas such as immediate humanitarian relief, followed by reintegration and reconstruction, leading to a sustainable and equitable political solution in Sri Lanka. Full text Share on Facebook

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President conferred with the highest national honour

(defence.lk)His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has been conferred with the title Vishawakeerthi Sri Threesinhaladishwara.

The prelates of Malwathu and Asgiri chapters awarded the title to the president at the national ceremony to mark the reunification of the country and honour and invoke blessings on the President and war heroes for liberating the country and nation from terrorism held at the historic Magul Maduwa of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy today (May 23). Full text

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How a cyanide capsule delayed Prabhakaran's meeting with Rajiv Gandhi

By Prabhu Chawla

(May 23, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) It was June 1985 and there was an interesting visitor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's 7 Race Course Road residence—Velupillai Prabhakaran, the young chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Tigers were then the largest and best organised of the pro-Eelam groups fighting for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka. Full text
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US Senator Leahy – Pro-LTTE lobby in US work together To block IMF loan to Sri Lanka

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 23 May (Asiantribune.com):United States Senator Patrick Leahy and the U.S.-based pro-Tamil Tiger lobby Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) are strange bedfellows: both are on the same page and forward similar arguments to prevent Sri Lanka, which this week put the last nail on the LTTE coffin internally eradicating terrorism from her soil after 25 years, obtaining the $1.9 billion standby loan from the IMF which U.S. has 16.77% stakes.

The TAG says that "on information and belief, no loan has ever been approved by the IMF over the opposition of the United States." Full text

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Tamil Tigers to blame for fire: Sri Lankan official

By BRETT CLARKSON, SUN MEDIA
(torontosun)BRAMPTON – A suspicious overnight fire that gutted a Sri Lankan restaurant is evidence that the Tamil Tigers are "on the rampage in Toronto," charged Sri Lanka's consul general, who said the Sinhalese eatery had been previously targeted and harassed by Tiger flag-waving motorists.

Consul General Bandula Jayasekara arrived at the Lanka Gardens restaurant at 220 Wexford Rd. to survey the damage caused to the restaurant, which sometimes caters Sri Lankan consular events in Toronto. Full text

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Sri Lanka seeks to deflect U.N. rights scrutiny

* Sri Lanka and its allies seek to quash Western censure

* Colombo text states principle of non-interference

* U.N. Human Rights Council special session to open Tuesday

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, May 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has marshalled its allies to try to quash Western censure of alleged human rights abuses committed during its final phase of war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, diplomats said on Friday. Full text

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Canada must protect Sri Lankan Canadians

(defence.lk)The Government of Canada and provincial police forces must take immediate steps to protect peaceful Canadians of Sri Lankan origin.

Early this morning a 'Sinhalese' Sri Lankan restaurant in Brampton was firebombed by suspected Tamil Tiger supporters. Last week the Sri Lankan Buddhist Temple in Scarborough was set on fire, again by the same extremists, causing $40,000 in damage. Full text

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Pakistan felicitates Sri Lanka on 'great victory over terrorism'

(defence.lk)Pakistan has felicitated the Government of Sri Lanka on the achievement of the "great victory over terrorism", a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

It also said: This congratulatory message was conveyed to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hussein A. Bhaila by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan who telephoned the latter yesterday(20 May 2009). Speaking further, the Pakistan State Minister stated that Pakistan has always been a steadfast friend of Sri Lanka and strongly supported the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and re-affirmed his Government's continued cooperation with Sri Lanka in countering terrorism. He requested the Deputy Minister to convey his good wishes and felicitations to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama. Full text

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Correspondents: taking tea with the Tamil Tigers

(TOL)When the chief political officer of a leading terrorist organisation summons you to his office and says, Godfather-style, “You have caused me a lot of problems today; what are we going to do with you?” it seems fair to say that things are not going entirely to plan.

They had not been going terribly well from the moment my photographer and I crossed the border into Tamil Tiger territory. And now Daya Master, the Tigers’ spokesman, wanted an explanation. Full text

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Sri Lanka: Moving beyond conflict

Bhaskar Balakrishnan

The military victory over the LTTE needs to be converted into political reconciliation and consolidation of national unity and solidarity. Political and economic initiatives will heal the wounds of war, says BHASKAR BALAKRISHNAN.


The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers, the Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, and adviser Basil Rajapaksa deserve credit for a determined campaign to eliminate the terrorist LTTE. Full text

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After Military Win, Sri Lanka to Rescue Economy


Sri Lankan street hawker sells snacks in Colombo, 21 May 2009
Sri Lankan street hawker sells snacks in Colombo, 21 May 2009

(VOA)Sri Lanka's military victory over a 26-year long insurgency has come at a high cost to the nation's economy. With the war over, many Sri Lankans are now turning their attention to rebuilding the country's battered economy.

A high-end fashion store in the heart of Colombo once thrived on the thousands of foreign tourists who came here every year. Now, the only foreigners browsing the clothing racks are usually aid workers, diplomats or journalists. Full text
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UN Envoy Nambiar says process of national reconciliation must be all inclusive

(May 22, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Vijay Nambiar, the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General said today the process of national reconciliation must be all inclusive so that it can fully address the legitimate aspirations of Tamils and other minorities. “It is important the victory becomes a victory for all Sri Lankans,” Mr. Nambiar told the media in Colombo.

He said the profound pain particularly in Tamil communities affected by the conflict and among so many who lost loved ones to violence must be recognised. Full text

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Resettle the Displaced ASAP

By Thomas Johnpulle

(May 23, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The recent phase of war displaced around 350,000 people. They are languishing in government camps under trying conditions. They have done their share of sacrifices for national liberation. Looking after them is a very costly affair. It may cost around Rs 35 million a day! A month would cost over a billion rupees (US$ 8 million) and three months bill exceeds 3 billion rupees (US$ 27 million). This is a colossal amount of money with no return for the economy.. It can be better utilised in rebuilding the North and resettling them. The sooner it happens the better as each passing day costs the country millions. Full text

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"The EU's role in securing Sri Lanka's peace"

By Alain Délétroz and Andrew Stroehlein

(May 23, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)
Reports from Sri Lanka signal the end of the decades-long civil war, but the EU and the rest of the international community should be asking tough questions of the supposed victor.

With the Sri Lankan government declaring victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) at the weekend and with the Tigers admitting defeat, one of the longest-running wars in the world seems to be near an end. No one should shed a tear for the collapse of the LTTE or the apparent demise of its leader, Prabakharan. They invented modern suicide bombing and have long been terrorising the very ethnic Tamils they claimed to be defending. Full text
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Diplomat and Senator discuss end of conflict with LTTE, beginning of peace in Sri Lanka

(May 23, Washington, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States met recently with the second-highest ranking member of the U.S. Senate to discuss the resolution of the conflict against the Tamil Tigers and aid for Sri Lanka’s future.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya accompanied three Sri Lankans from Illinois to the meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is also the Senate majority whip. Full text
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Role of British diplomats in Tamil leaders' failed surrender bid

• British say involvement was indirect at most
• Two were killed despite cautious negotiations


By Gethin Chamberlain in Colombo and Simon Tisdall
Courtesy: The Guardian(London)

(May 23, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) British diplomats were involved in last- minute attempts to secure the surrender of two of the Tamil Tigers' most senior political figures as the war in Sri Lanka reached its climax, one of the UN's top officials revealed. Full text
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Sri Lanka: A9 highway in the North opens next week

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 22 May, (Asiantribune.com): The A9 highway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the hill country capital Kandy, in Sri Lanka is likely to be opened to the general public by next week, a Ministry of Highways and Road Development spokesman said. Full text

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Chandrika congratulate Mahinda on the recent military victories over the LTTE

Colombo, 23 May, (Asiantribune.com): Chandrika Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka has congratulated Mahinda Rajapaksa her successor, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on the recent military victories over the LTTE and its forces of terrorism.

In a letter to Sri Lanka President, she wrote, "I join the Nation in paying homage to the courage and dedication of the men and women of our Armed Forces and to their Commanders." Full text

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Now protect and nurture the freedom we won by making great sacrifices

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 23 May, (Asiantribune.com): "We must now protect and nurture the freedom that we have won by sweeping terrorism out of the face of our country after the last thirty years. The battles that our soldiers, sailors and airmen won in this prolonged conflict with terrorism of the LTTE was won at great sacrifice. We must never forget that thousands of lives of our brave soldiers were lost in regaining this freedom". Full text

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Sri Lanka’s lesson to the world

(TI)This tiny island nation has attracted world attention for a feat that no other nation has achieved. Not even countries with bigger armies, larger coffers and a higher say in world affairs. But who, out there is applauding us and our military ? A small number of true friends. How come ? What would it have been if someone had caught Bin Laden or vanquished the Taliban, or the Al Quaeda ? Oh then the world would have celebrated. Full text
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The killer pets of the West

LTTE terrorists masquerading as refugees in the developed world have laid bare their true faces. Their reaction to the decimation of the LTTE has been to attack anti-terror Sri Lankan expatriates. Their violence has left several people severely injured. In Australia, LTTE activists have even carried out acid attacks on some Sri Lankans. Worse, the perpetrators have not yet been made to pay for their crime in that five star democracy! In Britain, terrorists have descended on Sri Lankan, Indian and Chinese missions in London, some restaurants and temples with impunity. LTTE members are also on the warpath in Canada and several other countries. Full text

Sri Lanka: A victory that vexes our western friends

by Kalana Senaratne

(TI)In this undated handout photo released by the Sri Lanka army, Wednesday, May 20, 2009, confiscated weapons from Tamil Tiger rebels lay down on the ground in Mullattivu, Sri Lanka. Aid groups and the U.N. appealed to be allowed to survey the aftermath of the final battle of Sri Lanka’s civil war and pushed for unfettered access to some 280,000 Tamils displaced from the former combat zone. (AP) Full text

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Concerned Tamil citizens and the ‘Karuna paradigm’

by C. Wijeyawickrema

"Tell our king to save all our people from the LTTE"
A distraught Tamil mother in an IDP camp

Prisoners of pride and prejudice

(TI)The statement issued recently by GCTCSL (group of concerned Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka) (The Island, 5/18/2009) is as unreasonable as the letter written to the president previously by a group of eminent citizens (A ‘concerned’ group of Sri Lankans and the Kamatha test, The Island, 3/7/2009). These Colombo-living groups of people are so out of touch with reality. They still live in the shadow of the separatist sub-paradigm which thrived under the larger Colombo paradigm (milk to Colombo, fodder to villages, kolambata kiri apita kakiri -Youth Commission Report, March, 1990, p. xvii). which in turn helped to sustain the separatist sub-paradigm. Full text

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Miraculous escape from Tigers

(DN)The Sri Lankans may be jubilant in their victory over the LTTE.

However, some of them do not have any emotions despite having had encounters with the LTTE. For instance, the memories of being a hostage of the LTTE still haunts Simon Souza, a boat operator from Njarakkal in the Vypeen island who escaped from the clutches of the Tigers. Souza was in the custody of the LTTE for around three months after the boat which he was operating was abducted by the tigers in March 2007. Full text

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A tale of two lions

Beant Singh and Mahinda Rajapaksa:

While one lion laid down his life but helped wipe out terrorism from Punjab, another is the key man in putting an end to the LTTE terror in the island nation of Sri Lanka. Both did a yeoman's service to the peace-loving citizens of their countries.

(DN)This is a tale of two lions. The first lion was the lion of Punjab, Beant Singh, the late Chief Minister of Punjab. It was he who ensured that all the terrorists were wiped out that we could live a life of peace in Punjab. The second lion is Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has dealt a death blow to the Tigers and finished them off so that the people of Sri Lanka could live in peace. He is a lion because only a lion could have given a death blow to the Tigers. Full text

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Symbolism of the national flag

(DN)As Sri Lankan civilians have been asked to raise the national flag to mark the end of a long and brutal war, it is a good occasion to pause and reflect on the symbolism of the various elements of the flag.

At the centre, we have the sword. The lion on the current flag represents the Sinhalese ethnicity governed by Buddhist good conduct: religious observance, wisdom and meditation (symbolised in the lion's curly mane); purity of words (symbolised in the beard) intelligence (symbolised in the upturned nose), and the noble eightfold path (symbolised in the tail). Full text

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International media and LTTE propaganda war

(DN)During the Sri Lankan war, the LTTE malicious propaganda machinery worked round the clock to convince the world that the civilians held as hostage were staying willingly and certain sections of the international media sympathetic to them colluded and gave wide publicity to the LTTE stand. They were supported by countries and international organisations backing the terrorists. So in addition to the real war fought by the forces there was also a heavy handed propaganda war by the LTTE to demoralise the Government, the Forces and the People. Full text

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Healing the wounds in Sri Lanka


Lakshman Kadirgamar


Neelan
Tiruchelvam

(DN)Sri Lanka’s Government was right to finish off the Tamil rebels, despite the risk to and ultimate loss of civilian life. Decisively ending the civil war, which lasted 26 years and killed more than 70,000, will save more lives than were lost in the final assault. Full text

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A tribute to our valiant heroes

(DN)This is for all of you - men and women - who wear the military uniforms of this nation. You are our heroes. Whether you’re a manning a War Tank, piloting a military aircraft, stopping suspect boats on the high seas or cooking for two hundred in a Mess Hall, you are our heroes.

And all of you stood your ground! On the rough high seas when surrounded with enemy suicide boats, in the trenches, in the blood-soaked sands, in the lethally booby-trapped marshes and in the steamy jungles, you stood your ground. You said to them, “It’s enough! To get to our people you’ll have to go over us. And you’re not going over us. “And you succeeded. You did not allow them to go over you. Full text

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Nation's tribute to Forces

The people of Sri Lanka have paid tribute to the valiant men and women of the Armed Forces, Police and the Civil Security Force for eradicating the scourge of terrorism from our Motherland. The State held a formal ceremony yesterday in Kotte to express the Nation's gratitude to these brave sons and daughters of Mother Lanka. Full text