Friday, June 5, 2009

A Letter not to be missed

Patriots(Sinhalese,Tamil,Muslim) Tamil Diaspora, Ealamists, this was an E mail I received. I have posted it here without editing. This is a must read.

This was one of the best and most thought provoking pieces, written on the aftermath of the recent tragic events. It brings in an element of sober introspection and analysis, that was sorely lacking among the spate of wild accusations and hysteria that was sweeping the nation. I think it needs to be blogged!


Of special interest was the fact that we knew a Mohan Sahayam a long time ago, and to see his name in this mail brought back many pleasant memories. I doubt, however, whether he will remember us. Mohan Sahayam's father was the Vice Principal of Trinity College.

Mohan Sahayam was a handsome bloke and a crack rugby player for Trinity,CR&FC and Sri Lanka. He was stand off and was quite a hero for many of us.

I think Mohan has brought in an element of rationality and a sense of equipoise to the current situation! What he proposes is the only logical way forward
.

As Gandhi once said, an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.


And we have to hope that the common sense that Mohan speaks of can help to make people see reason. It's also courageous of him to state what may be considered as unpopular by many, in the immediate scenario of the post-LTTE hurrah! He has not shied away from stating his views and I salute him for that! Lets all stand together with him and help to heal the grievious wounds of the last three decades.

The Letter


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Hi Friends,

I write this with a lot of sadness, relief and hope, from what has
happened in the past few months. As a Tamil, (and proud to be one) I
deeply feel that together, we can build the burnt bridges and pave a
path to peace, happiness, equality and prosperity for us and for the
future generations to come.

We cannot forget what happened for the past three decades, however we
need to put aside our emotions, despair and remember those lives,
which were lost in bloody war in the name of “equality”! We (Tamils)
have to now reconcile and win the trust of the nation. For decades, we
have been secretive, unpredictable and uncompromising. Sure enough, we
were discriminated in the past, deprived of our equal rights and
treated unfairly. Now we have to give the nation a chance to prove
that, it is not the case.

We have to let go of the past and not react to our feelings in an
irrational and selfish way. We talk about the 1953 era, of the riots
and how the Tamils were discriminated and treated badly. In 1953, the
whole world was a different place and had a different attitude.

In America blacks could not go in to a restaurant or a supermarket or
attend a white school, the aborigines in Australia did not have any
rights. Now America has a black president, and the Aborigines have
equal rights. We Tamils now have to give it a chance for change to
happen in our motherland. We are hanging on to views and ideologies,
which formed thirty years ago, which are not appropriate anymore. I
think that, in the past 20 years we have created a doubt in the minds
of the Sinhalese and the nation, making them wonder weather every
other Tamil is a Tamil Tiger or not?

Prior, to 1988, before I left to Australia, I remember after a rugby
game at Longden Place and a few (in my context) drinks at the club,
going home in the early hours of the morning, my only fear was whether
I will be stopped and breathalysed and charged for DUI. In the later
years in my many trips to SL, the fear was whether I would be subject
to harassment because of my Tamil name. Why do you think it is so? Is
it not because of the war, the suicide bombings? All of this distrust
of Tamils started after the war began. So, did we not create this for
ourselves?

This is not only happening to the Tamils, in fact if you
send money to the US or visit the US bearing an Arabic name, you are
scrutinised vigorously, which began after “9/11”! The Arabic world
calls it “discrimination”!

In 1983, the news of the death of 13 soldiers sparked an organised
riot, and over 2000 Tamils lost their lives and over 100,000 Tamils
were displaced. The nation soon realised that it should not have let
it happen, and the wider community shared the same sentiment. In 1996
a raid on a Military camp in Mullaitivu by the Tigers, 1,500 soldiers
were killed, yet there was no repeat of 1983, or for that matter since
1983, several thousands of soldiers have lost their lives and we did not
see a repeat of 1983.

We talk about “Genocide”, which is a very powerful and compelling
word. No doubt, that many women and children have lost their lives,
but one has to remember in every war, innocent people lose their
lives. There is blame on both the armed forces and the Tigers. Lets
not be the judge of that, let the appropriate organisations
investigate and report the findings.

The Tamil Diaspora and number of organisations are having protest
marches and their websites are relentlessly publishing calls for the
IC to intervene about the mistreatment and harassment of the
civilians. However much we are angry and anxious, we must have
patientce and let the government, UN and the other aid organisation to
embark on the huge task ahead of them to relocate, resettle and
reconcile the civilian casualties.

We have been having protest marches for decades around the world. Has
one head of state or a member of a parliament taken a flight and gone
to Sri Lanka and discussed the problem with the authorities? I do not
think so. The IC will mention our plea in their speeches, or talk
about it when the next election comes around.

Does the IC know the differences between Jayasinghe and Jayasingham?
It is up to us reconcile and rebuild friendships. What has happened
in the past has happened, we cannot turn back the clock. The truth of
what happened in the battle zones will only surface, if the victims
have no fear in revealing the truth. From this point, onwards it is up
to us to make sure that this is possible. We should regain the trust
and the sympathy of the greater community.

We Tamils started this war, this was never an option. For thirty years,
we have fought a bloody war with no results. Are we going to continue
this for another thirty years? No. We, have lost too much, the nation
has lost too much. It is time to take a step back and think sensibly
putting aside our emotions and pride.

The Tamil Diaspora and community leaders, spokespersons and
organisations are calling for the Tamil community to “re-group and
realise our leaders dream”, after three decades of war, is it not the
time now to wake up from that dream? They say now that the Tigers are
defeated that we will be systematically eradicated, as there is no one
to protect us. We should stop speculating of what the future holds for
the Tamils in Sri Lanka and need to get these myths out of our heads
and win the trust of the nation. We should responsibly publish and
circulate articles and news items, or even refrain from doing so until
the displaced civilians are settled. Now we need to concentrate and
work closely with those who are in SL to help the refugees.

In the past, few days there are reports that, during the celebrations
following the governments victory over the Tigers, that many Tamil
business were forced to give money towards the celebrations, and this
news is from “Reliable Sources”. This may be true - may not be true,
however when we hear such news we need to think rationally and
responsibly before we spread it around, Sometimes, in times of
sadness, desperation and anxiety the truth is often exaggerated and
taken out of context. We all remember, back in SL at a big match we
generally have a “hat collection” to pay for our celebrations. This
has been a culture.

Every Christmas, New-year, Vesak or during Vel
Festival, the garbage collectors, the posties etc go house-to-house
collecting money for celebrations. It is not an unusual thing to
happen. The people who have not experienced this should not be alarmed
and portrait such incidents as “ discrimination and harassment”.

I ask those who receive this mail, to support me in achieving a united
and equal Sri Lanka for all who were born there. One day I wish to
return to the country of my birth, and live as an equal citizen in
peace and harmony.

How can you help?

Tamils should reach out to the Sinhalese and speak
about the grievance you have, and ask them to help you achieve
security and equality. My Sinhalese friends should reach out to a
Tamil and unconditionally trust them and help them achieve security
and equality.

We, Tamils have to realise that this is the only nation that Sinhalese
is spoken and we should respect that, win their trust and respect in
return.

Cheers,

Mohan.
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Btw Mohan Sahayam presently lives in Sydney, NSW Australia..
- and in the words of the great John Lennon - shall we all now chant
"Give Peace a Chance"..
'cos that's all he's sayin'...
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thank you to all who visited "Defence Column"

Finally Sri Lanka has emerged victorious by defeating the brutal terror outfit the LTTE. Defence Column was started with the intention of providing information regarding Sri Lanka and it's effort to defeat the LTTE, in one portal. Now that the war is over, 90% of the threats on our Mother Land is decimated. Although the threat of Ealamist forces are still there, they will never be allowed to raise their heads against Sri Lanka again, as long as all of us Sri Lankans stick together and focus on one common goal, which should be The development of Sri Lanka. We have lived through hell, but now we see a bright future for our country. Being focused on the common goal and being aware of the threats around us will not leave room for any separatist force to ever set foot in Sri Lanka. And also we should rally around the strong leadership we have in Sri Lanka and strengthen them further to ensure no repetition of the dark past occur again.

My dear friends, time has come to call it a day to "Defence Column". I would have loved to continue providing links to all the new developments happening in Sri Lanka, but demands of life are such that I had to take a decision rather reluctantly.

My sincere thanks to every one who visited "Defence Column" I hope "Defence Column" was help full to you, and I was really encouraged by the very positive feed back I got from all of you out there.

I wish to convey my special thanks to "Defence Wire"(www.defencewire.blogspot.com) and "Defence Net" (www.defencenet.blogspot.com). They really helped in popularizing "Defence Column" through their comments pages. And also let me not forget all the fellow patriots in the blogger community who encouraged me. Sam, Ananda, Tropical storm, Sujeewa, Moshe, Kevin, Ali and all the fellow bloggers, Thank you, I enjoyed your company and encouragements.

I will always be contactable through "defencecolumn@hotmail.com" and through my face book profile.

I wish all of you PEACE, long life, and happiness.

May we all be able to witness Mother Lanka growing from strength to strength over the coming years.

JAYAWEWA SRI LANKA!


Defence Column.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sri Lanka team targeted by protests over government's Tamil policies

• Lord's protesters call for Sri Lanka to abandon World Twenty20
• England accused of hypocrisy in light of ban on Zimbabwe

A demonstration against the Sri Lanka cricket team outside Lord's

Protestors against the Sri Lankan government's policies demonstrate outside Lord's during the cricket team's World Twenty20 warm-up game against South Africa. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters

(guardian)Not for the first time, Lord's has become the scene of a political protest. Sri Lankan protesters have been picketing the ground, calling for the country's cricket team to return home and for other nations to boycott matches against the side. Full text

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TMVP to be dissolved; Pillaiyan and the group to join SLFP

(Lanka-e-News, June 03, 2009, 9.45 AM) Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers (TMVP) sources say that the party will be dissolved and all members will join Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) after Eastern Province Chief Minister and party leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan returns from the foreign tour.

Batticaloa Mayor and TMVP member Sivageetha Prabakaran said that the party members wished to join SLFP like Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman. She said that her party would appreciate the President Mahinda Rajapakse’s initiative to unite Sri Lanka irrespective of religions, races and casts under one national flag. Full text

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More Weapons & explosive recovered from North & East

(Lanka-e-News, June 3, 2009, 8.45 PM) Seventy-seven T-56 weapons, eight magazines, five hundred rounds of T-56 ammunition, eleven hand grenades, two belt orders, five claymore mines weighing about 5 kg each, one claymore mine weighing about 12 kg, 250 m wire, one remote control, twenty-four day-night Bino, one parcel of C-4 explosive weighing about 12 kg, one claymore mine weighing about 2.5 kg, one paddle gun, one 12.7 weapon, one Thermo Baric weapon, three Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers, one M-16 weapon, three Multi Propose Machine Guns (MPMG), four 40 mm grenade launchers, one FNC weapon, two MPMG tri-ports, six claymore mines of different sizes, two MPMG ammunition boxes, forty-two hand grenades, three 81mm mortars, one thousand MPMG rounds and two pouches were the latest to recover from Asikulam, Visuamadu, Putumattalan, Vellamullivaikkal and Mullaittivu areas during Tuesday (2) as the troops further intensified their search and clear operations. Full text
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Paris Tigers try to hoodwink diaspora

Paris.

(TLN)Top LTTE fund collectors in France try to persuade Tamil diaspora to disbelieve KP’s acknowledgement that Prabhakara had died. While the top diaspora members fight over the future strategy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Tamil professionals and commercial establishments in Europe have expressed disgust over ‘utterly selfish motives’ of the LTTE’s Department of Diaspora Affairs (DDA). They were referring to the DDA’s statement that the ‘LTTE leadership is safe and it will re-emerge when the right time comes.’ Full text
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UN Secretary General Rejects UN As Source Of Sri Lanka Causality Reports

United Nations, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com): UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday reiterated his strong concerns over "unacceptably high" civilian casualties in the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and Tamil rebels, while rejecting in the strongest terms any figure attributed to the United Nations.

Briefing the General Assembly on his recent visit to Sri Lanka and other travels, Mr. Ban said media reports alleging that some 20,000 civilians may have been killed during the last phase of the conflict "do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal." Full text

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Sri Lanka President appeals to the nation to join him to build the nation

Sri Lanka President hoisting the national flag

Sri Lanka President hoisting the national flag

Colombo, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com): I am the proudest Head of State in the world for being able to hand over a unitary country to the future generation sans fear and mistrust. There is an unique value in the sacrifices made by our heroic troops. Those great sacrifices have not been in vain. You have lost your feet in enabling a nation to rise on its feet. You have lost your hands, eyes, flesh and blood in providing a pleasant and prosperous land to this world. Our responsibility is to honour those great sacrifices by joining to build a great nation" President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the Victory Day Parade to pay the nation's tribute to the Security Forces following the defeat of terrorism at Galle Face Green, Colombo today (03).

The Tri -Service Commanders ceremonially conveyed the conclusion of the war against terrorists to the Commander-in-Chief,President Mahinda Rajapaksa contained in a scroll(Sannasa). Full text

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SRI LANKA Catholics raise money for refugees

COLOMBO (UCAN) -- Parishioners of Colombo cathedral have been busy fundraising for war refugees by selling hot foods, home-made pickles and household items at an evening family fiesta here.

Cries of "pancakes," "kokis," "kevum," "pot curries" and "country rice" resounded along the line of 15 stalls in St Lucia's cathedral as part of a Marian feast and procession on May 31, attended by about 5,000 people. Full text
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Economics of War (and also peace)

June 3, 2009 (LBO) - Wars have always been fought with one objective. That is to take forced possession of economically valuable assets belonging to the enemy. The list may vary from time to time, but a typical set of such coveted assets goes on as follows: land including right to water; young women including children; treasure; and able-bodied men as slaves.

Since it is ‘forced possession’, wars do not come within the ambit of standard economic theory which is based on ‘voluntary exchange’. It should rather be studied in a new branch of economics known as ‘economics of violence’. Full text
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Sri Lankan minister seeks Japanese aid

TOKYO (AFP) — Sri Lanka's trade minister on Wednesday sought Japan's help for its recovery from ethnic conflict, while reiterating his government's rejection of any probe into alleged human rights violations.

Colombo has faced allegations that thousands of civilians perished in the final battle last month against Tamil Tiger separatists, as the island starts its recovery from three decades of fighting. Full text

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Sri Lanka offered investment by Canadian business council

June 03, 2009 (LBO) - Two bilateral business councils promoting trade and investment between Sri Lanka and Canada have offered their support to revive the island's economy with the end of the ethnic war.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which represents the Sri Lanka-Canada business councils, said they had written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa offering support especially in infrastructure. Full text
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Sri Lanka seeks 'new era' in foreign relations

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka's president called for a "new era" in foreign relations as the island staged a military parade to mark its victory over separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

President Mahinda Rajapakse, whose government has been threatened with a possible war crimes probe over the manner of its military success last month, said it was time to launch a fresh diplomatic strategy. Full text

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Sri Lanka president calls for outreach to Tamils

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka's president urged the military on Wednesday to win over the Tamil people and to ensure they live without "fear or suspicion" in the wake of the army's victory over Tamil separatist rebels.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed a military parade and victory ceremony that commemorated the government's defeat of the Tamil Tiger separatists last month after more than a quarter-century of conflict. Full text

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Sri Lanka should drop popular politics to boost economy: President

June 3, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka should cut the budget deficit, drop popular politics and ideologies in meeting the challenge of developing the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

"Reducing the budget deficit, investment promotion and economic development is possible after defeating terrorism," President Rajapaksa said in a nationally televised speech at a ceremony in Colombo. Full text
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No more Referendums in Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka President turned down the proposal

By Our Colombo Correspondent

Colombo, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa fresh from a historic victory over terrorism has turned down a proposal by a section of his cabinet to hold a referendum to extend the life of Parliament and to marry the second Presidential Election due in 2011 to that referendum as the people were now in favour of Rajapaksa following the victory over LTTE terrorism, highly placed authoritative sources disclosed today.

Sources said that the President has told the proposers that he would not follow any undemocratic methods to extend the life of his government nor wished to hold Referendums instead of democratic elections."I know the people love the country and me and I don't fear to face elections', the President has stressed. Full text

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Nearly 30,000 children under 18 in welfare villages

(DN)There are nearly 30,000 children under the age of 18 staying in welfare villages and transit centres. Around 850 have lost one or both parents.

The Probation and Child Care Services Department and Provincial Departments hold the responsibility of caring for those children, Probation and Child Care Services Commissioner D.M.S. Abeygunawardana told the Daily News yesterday. Abeygunawardana said these children are staying in welfare villages and transit camps with their relatives. Full text

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UPDATE:Sri Lanka Trade Min:IMF Emergency Loan Approval Close

(WSJ)TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Sri Lankan international trade minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris said Wednesday that the government expects the International Monetary Fund to soon approve its application for an emergency loan. Full text
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Vavuniya district, Sri Lanka: Treating the wounded and medical emergencies remains a priority

(MSF)"The current restrictions on access to the camps is limiting and slowing are ability to respond to the medical needs of the internally displaced persons,” said Severine Ramon, MSF coordinator in the MSF field hospital.

Over the last few weeks, while tens of thousands of people have emerged from the Vanni, the former conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, MSF teams have been working alongside Sri Lankan Ministry of Health staff providing surgical and medical care to people who were caught up in the fighting. The situation remains extremely worrying inside the hospitals and among the 269,000 displaced people in Vavuniya District. Full text
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Conspiracy by EU exposed - 'Divaina'

(CT)'Divaina' says there had been a conspiracy by Britain and other countries of the European Union to rescue LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran through a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on May 14. Full text
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Villagers back in Konarpannai after 19 years

(news.lk)After an interval of 19 years, residents of Konarpannai in Mannar returned home yesterday (02). In 1990, LTTE separatists ordered them to leave their ancestral homes within 24 hours, and they fled. “Konarpannai village population numbers 155 persons from 55 households. And, dry rations are given for a period of two weeks, which gives them time to get back on their own feet,” Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry told www.news.lk. Full text
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Tamils and Buddhists perform at Queensbury Eco-Cultural festival

(HT)BUDDHIST and Tamil children will perform on the same stage at a Queensbury festival this weekend.

Organisers of the Queensbury Eco-Cultural Festival have brought together children from the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Temple and the Tamil Cultural Arts Centre, based in Kingsbury High School, to perform on the same stage. Full text

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Sri Lanka on guard for separatist revival - minister

* Minister says Sri Lanka keeping close eye for foment

* Says guarding against separatism key to aid initiatives

By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA, June 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka is keeping a close eye for signs of separatism among the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by its civil war, a senior government official said on Tuesday. Full text
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Aid workers forced to leave Sri Lanka under strict new visa rules

(TOL)Sri Lanka is hampering international relief efforts by forcing dozens of British and other foreign aid workers to leave the country because it considers them sympathetic to the defeated Tamil Tigers, The Times has learnt.

Aid organisations say that the policy is costing them tens of thousands of pounds of donors’ money as they struggle to help 280,000 Tamil civilians in internment camps. Full text

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Victory Day Celebrations in Pictures

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka celebrated her victory over terrorism with a grand Victory Day parade at the Galle Face Green today (June 3). Armed Forces ceremonially paraded before His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The event was organized by the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry as the national celebration to salute the armed forces for historic victory over terrorism that ended with the defeat of the LTTE after three decades. Full text

"I am the proudest Head of State in the world"- Says President in his Victory Day speech

(defence.lk)His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces today (June 3) hailed the valiant forces who wiped out terrorism from the country, saying that they have made him the proudest head of the state in the World. Addressing the nation at the Victory Day celebrations held at the Galle Face Green, the President also stated that he has fulfilled his promise for the future generation by not leaving them with the burden of war. Full text

Sri Lanka confident of finding home-grown solution - Human Rights Minister

(defence.lk)The government of Sri Lanka have already in the process of finding a home-grown political solution for the ethnic issue while addressing more immediate problems at hand, said Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights. Also , he said that international community has no reason to doubt Sri Lanka's capability in finding such solution as she has already overcome a challenge that the world was unable to achieve. He made this comments on Tuesday (June 2) addressing the 11th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva. Full text

Operation Yal Express Derailed – October 1993

(LRRP)The Sri Lankan Army’s grandiosely codenamed ‘Operation Yal Devi ‘ (after yesteryears express train to Jaffna) was stopped in its tracks by determined resistance by the Liberation Tigers after four days of heavy fighting in late September/early October.

The Sri Lankan offensive was launched at the crack of dawn on 28 September and was accompanied by indiscriminate bombing of civilian population centres in the Jaffna peninsula. (see back page: report on Eelam Tamil protest before the office of the European Parliament in London.) Full text

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This Army Commander not suitable at least for Salvation Army, says Mangala

How the speaker in the picture got is pants down

Sarath Fonseka should be punished for breach of discipline

(Lanka-e-News, November 28, 2008, 9.30 AM) Defense Watch spokesman, Sri Lanka Freedom Party - People’s Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera says that Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is not suitable at least to command Salvation Army.

He mad these remarks at a press briefing held yesterday morning (27) in Colombo by Defense Watch. Full text
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UN scaling up efforts to facilitate return home of displaced Sri Lankans

(UN)2 June 2009 – The United Nations refugee agency and its partners are working to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people who were uprooted by clashes between Sri Lankan Government forces and Tamil rebels are able to return to their homes.

Last month, the Government declared that its military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was over, ending more than two decades of fighting. Full text

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Sri Lanka says Army's caution prolonged war

(TH)Geneva (AP): Sri Lanka's human rights minister claimed on Tuesday his country's Army took over two months longer to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels because it avoided using heavy weapons and aerial bombardments.

The Army suffered heavy casualties in the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war because it was constrained to use light weapons, Mahinda Samarasinghe told the U.N. Human Rights Council. Full text

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Assistance For Lanka Power Plan

(irandaily)The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a plan submitted by Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne to launch rural electrification with financial assistance from Iran.
Addressing the weekly press briefing, Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Iran has provided $95.5 million for the promotion of rural electrification in Sri Lanka and this project would boost the rural community, Moj News Agency wrote. Full text
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Colonial mindset

By Anuradha Dutt

‘Liberal’ West weeps over LTTE’s decimation

(June 03, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) Some in the British Government seem to believe that the sun has not set over the empire. How does one otherwise view British Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s officious attempt to meddle in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, an erstwhile colony? Possibly in the same way that his lapse on Kashmir was condemned by Indian foreign office sources after he proclaimed that the Kashmir ‘issue’ needed to be resolved in order to curb Islamist terrorism. Full text
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Charges of War Crimes against United States go unprobed

Former President George W. Bush  and Vice President Dick Cheney
Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 02 June (Asisantribune.com): Retired US Army Major General Antonio Taguba, who led a military investigation in 2004 into detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq in the preface to a 2008 report on abuse of detainees in US custody in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq wrote: "Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors... After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account." Full text

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: Chapter Closed

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam : Chapter Closed

(AT)"This was a humanitarian mission, a mission where our soldiers went forth with gun in one hand and the Human Rights Declaration in the other, carrying hostages on their shoulders and with the unbounded love for children in their hearts. They were armed with compassion, kindness, equanimity and the ability to rejoice in the happiness of others."

A road laced with landmines and flanked by suicide bombers Full text

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A History Lesson for the "Western Powers"

By Stephen Long - Los Angeles, CA

(AT)History is a funny animal. Like a pet dog it can be loved, rubbed, groomed, fed, made to obey, ignored, forgotten, punished, or locked up – depending on the owner’s proclivities and prevailing mood. As long as the animal is fed, it is usually cooperative. In a rare moment, however, it can bite back if provoked or mistreated. I think this might be just one of those moments when the dog takes a nip out of his owner’s hide. Let me explain. Full text

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New Sri Lanka Ambassador Present Credentials to the King of Norway

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador E. Rodney M. Perera  presented his credentials to  King of Norway Harald V at  the Royal Palace in Oslo
Oslo, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com): Career Diplomat E. Rodney M. Perera, the new Sri Lanka Ambassador to Norway, presented his credentials to King Harald V, at the Royal Palace in Oslo. At the simple ceremony, the new Sri Lankan Ambassador explained to the Norwegian Head of State the aim of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government to the timely and effective action of the security forces to launch the largest hostage rescue mission in history, to free civilians held captive by the separatist terror group. Full text
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Now It’s A Time For Reconciliation - Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith


Fr.Sangeewa Mendis reporting from Rome

Rome, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com): "The brutal war which suffocated our country for the last three decades is over and now is the opportunity to be reconciled and to be united under a one flag. Let us learn from the past mistakes and mishaps. We have to take the extremists in both sides to the middle path if we are really and truly interested in building a new Sri Lanka. There will be terrible and unprecedented repercussions if we do not make use of this golden opportunity to join hands". These were the sentiments expressed by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith during his homily at vespers service conducted on the occasion of the Madhu feast at Santa Maria Dei Pellegrini church in Rome Full text
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The Times Report Of The Numbers Killed Raise New Questions

By Don Wijewardana

(AT)The LTTE gave the world not only the suicide vest but also the art of perpetuating a lie until it becomes accepted as the truth. Now the "Times" has taken it to new heights.

On 29 May the Times reported that evidence gathered by it has revealed that at least 20,000 Tamils were killed mostly by army shelling on the beach as the army closed in on the Tigers. The paper blamed the UN for underestimating the death toll. The interesting thing is the way they arrived at that figure and how they were able to make sure the army was responsible for most of the deaths. Full text

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INGOs, NGOs and the Government continuously feed the IDPs

Dr.  Harsha Kumara Navaratne

Dr. Harsha Kumara Navaratne

Colombo, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com):Sunil C.Perera in Colombo

Despite allegations on food scarcity among the Internally Displaced Peoples in the north, the Government of Sri Lanka is working together with local and international NGOs to provide cooked food for the IDPs.

A number of local NGOs, like Sewalanka Foundation and Sarvodaya, and international NGOs, like ZOA, Forut, Norwegian Refugee Council, DRC, and others are feeding the IDPs daily. Full text

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O! Tempora! O! Mores! (Cicero). –Oh! the times! Oh! the morals!

by HERMES

(TI)If Cicero had been living today, he would, without doubt have berated the journalistic morals of the UK newspaper "The Times",using the above maxim to show to what low depths even an erstwhile prestigious broadsheet like the Times has sunk by their blatant distortion of news of what goes on in the North of Sri Lanka. Full text

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Big Lies from the Big Boys Setting the Stage

Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretary General
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

(TI)Last week the Times of London announced that 20,000 civilians had died altogether in the course of this year because of the operations in the North. This claim was not surprising since, as I had just pointed out, the British were determined to crucufy us and had already begun to inflate the figure. Six thousand had gone to seven and then to eight, in rapid succession, so more was inevitable, though the speed of the escalation was remarkable, even for the Brits. Predictably enough the new figure began to reverberate round the Western World, with reference not to the Times but to its presumed sources. Full text

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Group rights vs individual rights in the context of devolution

by Neville Ladduwahetty

(TI)According to the Washington Post of May 24, 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had warned that if the grievances of Sri Lanka’sTamil population were not addressed "history could repeat itself". In an editorial of May 19, the Post stated: "If he (President Rajapakse) is to ensure that Sri Lanka leaves behind the violence that has plagued it for so long, he will have to sponsor a political process that is fully inclusive and democratic and that guarantees the rights of Tamils under a peaceful rule of law". Full text

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Had we ignored civilian factor, war would have ended soon – Mahinda

(TI)Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, and head of the Sri Lanka’s delegation to the 11th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which commenced in Geneva on Tuesday (02), said that the Government was grateful to the countries which supported Sri Lanka’s resolution at a Special Session of the Council held last week. "We were humbled by the expression of support for the Resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and 17 other countries last Wednesday. Those member states who supported Sri Lanka’s position, delivered a resounding message on behalf of the international community in recognising the primacy of the principles embodied in Articles 1 and 2 of the United Nations Charter and in requesting the larger world community to assist Sri Lanka in its efforts to’ recover from decades of conflict. Those who co-sponsored and supported the Sri Lankan Resolution also demonstrated a resolve to assist countries such as Sri Lanka." Full text
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A stamp in honour of defence top brass

by Ifham Nizam

On a request by Labour Minister Mervyn Silva, the Philatelic Bureau of Department of Posts will shortly issue a First Day Cover honouring President Mahinda Rajapaksa for taking the bold decision to defeat the LTTE and eradicate terrorism in Sri Lanka.

The First Day Cover also portrays Defence Secretary Gotahabaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonatileke, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera and Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickremaratne. Full text

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NGOs funding Minister behind separatism move - NPM

by Ifham Nizma

(TI)The National Patriotic Movement yesterday said that following the demise of the LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, some Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have started directing their funds to a Cabinet Minister.

PNM Chairman Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday, accused a particular Minister who crossed over to the Government ranks of being behind the NGO funding and promoting separatism. He was earlier elected on the UNP ticket from a Southern Provincial electorate at the last general elections. Full text

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Mahinda won’t follow Mandela or Mugabe – Yapa

by Shamindra Ferdinando

(TI)Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday challenged the UNP to canvass for the urgently needed USD 1.9 billion loan facility if it genuinely appreciated the armed forces’ triumph over the LTTE.

Addressing the press at the Information Department, the minister urged the UNP to throw its weight behind the SLFP-led coalition. Recalling an earlier UNP bid to block a USD 500 million loan from the HSBC, he asked the UNP to back Sri Lanka’s call for USD 1.9 billion facility from the IMF. Full text

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Govt. promises 13th A sans merged N&E

by Shamindra Ferdinando

*Yapa says politicos, businessmen and journalists face terrorism charges

(TI)The government yesterday said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent pledge to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution wouldn’t mean a re-merger of the Eastern Province with the North as envisaged under the July 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

Responding to our queries at the weekly press briefing at the Information Department, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said though the government was committed to the implementation of the 13th Amendment there would have to be two separate Provincial Councils. Full text

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When seeking the rainbows

(DN)The post victory euphoria over LTTE terror will soon fade. As our President stated more than once, the realities of national reconciliation and rebuilding will take priority over all else. His vision of building a Sri Lankan nation where there are no minorities, but only Sri Lankans will be on the front-burner.

A long and hard road is ahead of us all. There is never a doubt that the political process must bring about a lasting solution as early as possible, to end the uncertainty of what that solution will be. Full text

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Time to rebuild our friendship

(DN)I write this with a lot of sadness, relief and hope, from what has happened in the past few months. As a Tamil, (and proud to be one) I deeply feel that together, we can build the burnt bridges and pave a path to peace, happiness, equality and prosperity for us and for the future generations to come.

We cannot forget what happened for the past three decades, however we need to put aside our emotions, despair and remember those lives, which were lost in bloody war in the name of ‘equality’. Full text

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Winning the war, a triumph of all people

(DN)I take pleasure in addressing this august body for the second time in successive weeks, particularly at a point when my country ‘Sri Lanka’ is going through a process of renewal and hope for the first time in decades. Exactly 3 months ago, during the high-level segment of the 10th Session of this Council I said: Full text

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A significant feat

Sri Lanka has now recorded one of the lowest levels of unemployment in its post-independence history. The country’s unemployment ratio which stood at 8.3 percent in 2008 had come down to 5.2 percent.

This is a very significant achievement, given that even some of the richest countries (and multinational companies) have been forced to retrench workers as a result of the current global economic meltdown. Full text

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Eighty fish landing centres to be developed

(DN)The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry has officially launched a project spending over Canadian $ 4.9 million to develop 80 fish landing centres located in 15 coastal districts including the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

The project is being executed by the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry and implemented jointly by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in association with the Ceylon Fishery Harbour Corporation (CFHC). Full text

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Special identity card for IDPs

(DN)A special identity card will be issued to the IDPs in the welfare villages in Vavuniya from tomorrow and already sixty percent of the data needed to issue identity cards has been processed Resettlement and Disaster Relief Service Ministry Secretary U.L.M.Haldeen said.

The identity cards for all IDPs over 10 years will be issued under the supervision of the Senior DIG Mahinda Balasuriya and the process is expected to be completed within three to four weeks. Full text

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More families resettled

(DN)Another group of families were resettled in Konarpannai area in Mannar yesterday. They were chased out of their villages by the LTTE in 1990 giving them 24 hours to quit.

There are 55 families including 155 persons and they were given dry rations for two weeks Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry officials told the Daily News yesterday. Full text

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Plans afoot to rehabilitate northern tanks

(DN)The Irrigation Department is in the process of drafting a masterplan to rehabilitate two partly abandoned major irrigation tanks in the Northern Province spending Rs. 635 million on the instructions of Ports, Aviation and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

The Government is moving ahead expeditiously to resettle the displaced families in their original places of living. Since the majority of the community displaced in the North are farmers producing paddy and agriculture-based products, the Government has planned to rehabilitate the identified irrigation tanks to cater to water needs of those farmers in the North, the sources said.Full text

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Let Lanka tackle its issues - China

(DN)China firmly believes that the Sri Lankan Government and its people should be allowed to tackle its internal affairs and the international community can make concrete efforts to improve the humanitarian condition of the country, Assistant Foreign Minister of China Hu Zhengyue said. However, China will continue to support Sri Lanka in bringing in stability, peace and development,he said.


The Chinese Assistant Minister was addressing the press delegates of South Asian countries at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of China, Beijing, yesterday.

“We do not interfere in the internal matters of Sri Lanka as peaceful coexistence, sovereignty and territorial intergrity are key ideas in the China’s foreign policy on South Asia. However, China will stand by the Sri Lankan Government in its future endevours in creating peace,” the Assistant Minister who is also the in-charge of the South Asian Foreign Affairs said. Full text

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Media Minister tells international community : Support - Yes Interference - No

(DN)The Government welcomes international support to carry out development activities and humanitarian mission to rebuild Sri Lanka. But it does not welcome unnecessary interferences in our internal affairs, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said.


The countries which voted against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council were compelled to do so as a result of false propaganda launched by the LTTE and diaspora supporting the LTTE, the Minister said yesterday.

Addressing the weekly press-briefing, the Minister said the Government through Sri Lankan Embassies in these countries will launch international propaganda campaigns to reveal the country’s real situation and the humanitarian mission carried out by the Armed Forces. Full text

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Education of IDP children: Task Force spends Rs. 137m

A special unit -Nenasa Sathkaraya has been set up to promote education of these children under several stages

(DN)In a bid revive the education of over 60,000 children of displaced families in the North, the Education Ministry yesterday started the Nenasa Sathkaraya program under which a consignment of school textbooks, additional reading material, uniforms, stationery, desks and chairs for teachers and children worth over Rs. 137 million were dispatched to Vavuniya in 20 lorries. Full text

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UN official criticizes rights body over Sri Lanka

(DM)A senior United Nations official criticized the Human Rights Council Tuesday, saying the decision not to send a team to investigate war crimes allegations in Sri Lanka was worrying. "What happened at the Human Rights Council last week is more than troubling," said Marie Heuze, the spokeswoman for the UN
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REBUILDING RELATIONS AFTER VICTORIES

(DM)The human rights heartland of Geneva was the scene of the Sri Lankan government’s latest victory. The government staved off a determined effort by certain Western countries to launch a formal investigation into violations of human rights and possible war crimes in the last phase of Sri Lanka’s war. At the UN’s Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka was able to draw upon the support interest of the majority of country’s in the human rights forum to defeat the call for a human rights probe by a margin of 29 to 12, with 6 abstentions. Those countries that voted for Sri Lanka included the leaders from the continents of Asia, Africa and South America, the tri-continental world. Full text
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India continues to stand firmly Sri Lanka’s friend

(DM)The formation of two new international alliances, one supportive and the other opposing the motion presented against Sri Lanka, was witnessed last week when it was taken up for discussion at the UN Human Rights Commission. Countries like India, Russia, China and Pakistan formed an alliance in support of Sri Lanka while the Western nations together formed an alliance that opposed the country.

Key among the two alliances was the one formed by India, Russia, China and Pakistan. Full text

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To the victor the toils in Lanka

(DM)With the military decimation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a painful chapter in contemporary Indian and Sri Lankan history has come to an end. But the cost in civilian suffering has been enormous, as the UN has pointed out. At least 20,000 civilians have died and 300,000 displaced. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has wisely chosen to be magnanimous in victory and has already spoken of his protection for the island nation’s minority Tamils. Full text
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Soles injured: IDPs need slippers

By Yohan Perera

(DM)Slippers has become an essential item in the IDP camps in the North as many adults and children have injured their soles by walking barefoot officials of Caritas Sri Lanka the social service arm of the Catholic Bishops conferences said yesterday.

A spokesman from Caritas told Daily Mirror that this was found out when a group of officials from the organizations visited the IDP camps in Vavuniya recently. Full text

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Sri Lanka 'to send' Ms. Gnanakumar back to Britain

(DM)A British woman who is being held in one of the displacement camps in northern Sri Lanka has been traced and may soon be released, officials say.

Damilvany Gnanakumar, 26, was working at one of the temporary hospitals inside Sri Lanka's war zone.

A local official told the BBC that efforts were underway to send Ms. Gnanakumar back to Britain. Full text

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suspects with LTTE links arrested

By T. Farook Thajudeen.

(DM)Colombo Central Special Crime Investigation Bureau arrested and produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court several suspects over links with the LTTE movement.

The division arrested suspects Janaki Thavarasha, Kulandai Thavarasha, Sandanam Shanthi, Dikwella Vidhana Kankanamalage Chamila Priyantha, Hewa Liyanage Saman Ananda Weerasinghe, Mahamarakkalage Wipulasiri Ravi Tharanga, Weerasekera Badugama, Belin Priyantha Wijesekera, and Wanniarachchige Dayawansa sequel to information received by them. Full text

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