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All eyes on Kilinochchi as final battle looms

Sep 21 (NS) In making headway against the LTTE and aiming to regain control over the terrorists’ powerbase of Kilinochchi, the Government and the military is treading through a minefield, both literally and metaphorically. While capturing and holding onto territory is a daunting task which the combined Forces are doing with commendable courage, a different kind of battle is emerging on the sidelines: the propaganda war. more..

UNP rebels throw down the gauntlet

Sep 21 (NS) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is struggling to keep an internal party crisis in check, is continuing with his campaign to create a grand opposition alliance, with the first meeting of the alliance partners allegedly scheduled for next week. However, the ‘grand coalition’ is unlikely to make any headway, since Wickremesinghe appears once again to have garnered only the support of the minority parties for the move. more..

Absence of consensus drags

Sep 21 (NS) A conspicuous lacuna, in the search for peace in the country has traditionally been the lack of understanding, between the two major political parties in Sri Lanka, namely the SLFP and the UNP. For instance, these two parties have still not reached a consensus to find a solution to the ethnic crisis. D. E. W. Gunesekara, a seasoned politician, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the 17th Amendment and Minister of Constitutional Affairs, more..

Raj Rajaratnam among 400 richest Americans

Sep 21 (Island) Mr. Raj Rajaratnam, who together with his Galleon Fund is one of the biggest shareholders of John Keells Holdings (JKH), has been ranked No.262 in the Forbes Magazine’s list of 400 Richest Americans. Rajaratnam, a self-made billionaire, has a net worth of US$ 1.8 billion according to the respected Forbes publication. Now 51 years old, he is married with three children, and has substantial investments in some well known companies other than JKH listed on the Colombo bourse. more..

President JRJ and the Export Processing Zone

Sep 21 (Island) I was recalled to Colombo after only an year of duty in the Philippines and wondered why. I did not have to wonder for long for shortly after my arrival back home, some security officers arrived at my home in Ward Place one morning and informed me that President JRJ wanted to see me. I was quite surprised as I did not know the president and wondered how he knew of my existence. more..

Poultry industry facing fresh crisis

Sep 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s poultry industry is heading for a fresh bout of trouble following last week’s refusal by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to sanction a price increase. "This is grossly unfair", complained Dr. D. D. Wanasinghe, Chairman, All Island Poultry Association, referring to CAA’s dismissal of the application by the trade seeking a twenty rupee increase on a kilogram of chicken meat. more..

Ministerial tug-of-war halts reconstruction of children’s park

Sep 21 (Island) An apparent tug-of-war between two Cabinet Ministers has led to the collapse of efforts to give a new look to the dilapidated children’s park at the Maligawatte Flats, residents complained. Early this month, CWC leader and Minister Arumugam Thondaman, on a request made by CWC organizer for Colombo, Miss Rohini Devi visited the Maligawatte Flats to distribute sewing machines and also granted Rs. 600,000 towards the reconstruction of the children’s park. more..

World focus on Wanni civilians

Sep 21 (ST) Scenes never before played out in the more than two and a half decades of separatist war are being enacted in the Wanni, the theatre of bitter battles between the security forces and Tiger guerrillas. On the military front, troops are on the doorstep of one of the Tiger dens or their political stronghold, Kilinochchi. It is now a matter of time before troops regain control of this strategic town. more..

Battle for Kilinochchi reaches crucial phase

Sep 21 (ST) A few hundred metres ahead of Kilinochchi town, behind a cadjan thatched fence, lay a central kitchen, perhaps the largest in the Wanni. Run by the LTTE the food cooked there is served not only to their cadres. Until the Government ban on visits by diplomats, the media and other visiting dignitaries food was also dished out from here. The fare would have matched any five star hotel cuisine in Colombo. Stewards in long sleeve white shirt and black bow tie served them. more..

Crash, bang: Those beyond the law

Sep 21 (ST) Security escorts and an official of the Ministry of Defence travelling in a private coach sped past a checkpoint knocking down barriers last Thursday and later assaulted a Police Sergeant and a soldier who gave chase and apprehended them, Police and civilians told The Sunday Times. The Army-Police checkpoint at Badagamuwa, near Kurunegala located along the road that passes through a grove of jak trees, had been alerted by Police emergency (119) to be vigilant. more..

The tragedy of the Treasury

Sep 21 (ST) The resignation of the Secretary, Ministry of Finance, a.k.a. the Treasury Secretary, this week, is quite historic in the sense that it is the first time since Independence sixty years ago, that a public servant of such rank has quit office following a very serious reprimand on allegation of corruption. The Secretary to the Treasury has been an office that was the plum of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) - the former Ceylon Civil Service (CCS). more..

D.B. Wijetunga passes away

Sep 21 (LD) Former president D.B. Wijetunga has passed away after a prolonged illness. He was 86. Mr. Wijetunga died around 9.30 this morning (Sept. 21st) at Kandy General Hospital, said the hospital’s director. He was born on February 15th, 1922. Mr. Wijetunga was the third executive president of the country, from May 1st 1993 to November 12th 1994. He served as Prime Minister from March 3rd, 1989 to May 7th, 1993.

UN says Sri Lanka offices looted

Sep 21 (AFP) The United Nations said Sunday its offices in the rebel-controlled north of Sri Lanka had been looted after aid workers were evacuated last week. A statement from the UN said that it suspected the LTTE were involved in the theft from buildings it had left on the orders of the Sri Lankan government. The UN did not disclose what was stolen, but local media reported that the suspected rebels took large stocks of fuel and electricity generators. more..

Sri Lanka police force ethnic Tamils to reregister

Sep 21 (AP) Thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians lined up at schools and Hindu temples in Sri Lanka's capital Sunday to comply with a police order requiring all who moved to Colombo from the island's north to reregister with the police. Migrants from the north — which has been wracked by civil war for more than 25 years — have long had to register with police when they move to Colombo. more..

Tamils divided over registration

Sep 22 (BBC) Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka have expressed serious concern over government ordering people from the north to register in centres set up in the capital and the suburbs. Sri Lanka's police have started registering thousands of people, nearly all ethnic Tamils, who have fled the war-torn north for the capital Colombo. All those who arrived in the city in the last five years were ordered to attend special registration centres. more..

Koneshwaram chief priest killed

Sep 22 (BBC) The head priest of the historical Thirukoneswaram kovil has been shot dead in Trincomalee. Journalists in Trincomalee told the BBC that Hindu Priest Sivaguruaja Kurukkal was shot in Vidyalan Road in Trincomalee on Sunday evening. Thirukoneswaram is one of the five Eswarams - temples devoted to Hindu deity Siva. Hindus as well as Buddhists visit the temple situated in a High Security Zone within the Fort Frederick built by the Dutch in the 17th centuy.

White peril vs. 'yellow peril' then and now

Sep 22 (AT) Much has been written on Anagarika Dharmapala's contributions to the Sinhala Buddhist cause. But even on his 144th birth anniversary that fell on Wednesday September 17 little attention was paid to his perception of international politics vis-à-vis Sri Lanka – a view that is valid now as then although the contexts are vastly different. British colonialism was at its height when Dharmapala was trying to rouse the Sinhalas from their deep slumber. more..

Police Registration!

Sep 22 (LG) Police HQ has sent out a directive that all those who have arrived in Colombo from the north during the last 5 years and are staying here temporarily or permanently must register themselves at the nearest police station on 21st September. It is stipulated that all persons who come to register themselves at the police station must be in possession of certain documents such as National Identity Card, passport, Birth certificate, a letter from the Grama Sevaka etc. more..

The right to life and military strategies!

Sep 22 (LG) The Sri Lankan ethnic problem and the resultant civil war have reached a serious situation. It appears that there can be great human tragedy. Being greatly perturbed over the grave crisis of the current human tragedy in Vanni, Co- Chair countries, that are Lanka’s donor countries are scheduled to hold urgent deliberations in the next few days in New York. The war is intensified in Wanni. Around 200, 000 people have been displaced with the ongoing war. more..

Culprits Beware

Sep 22 (LG) A few days back, there was an interesting point highlighted in an article published in the Defence Ministry website, of which the objective was to explain the truth behind the LTTE attack on the SLA Vavuniya operations head quarters and the following media misinterpretations about it. The article also carried a revelation of a small factual error appearing in one of the defence analysis articles written by Mr. Iqbal Athas, one of defence columnists for the Sunday Times. more..

President's gift to Bunupitiye Nagatissa thera

Sep 22 (LG) The Prince Siddhartha was the son of the King Suddhodana a powerful King of the Sakyan Clan. When Prince Siddhartha was born, the King consulted the great sages who said that he is destined to be a Cakkavarti- a world conqueror to set order in the world to make it easy for the Buddhist monks to show the people the path to enlightenment, or if he were to renounce the worldly life he would be the Buddha. more..

JVP opposes Tamil registration

Sep 22 (BBC) The JVP has protested the government's order for the people from the north to register in centres set up in the capital and the suburbs. Sri Lanka's police have started registering thousands of people, nearly all ethnic Tamils, who have fled the war-torn north for the capital Colombo. All those who arrived in the city in the last five years were ordered to attend special registration centres. more..

Elgar helps South Africa level series

Sep 22 (CI) Free State batsman Dean Elgar's unbeaten 86 helped South Africa A clinch a close three-wicket win against Sri Lanka A to level the series in the second one-dayer at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg. After their bowlers had restricted Sri Lanka to 218 for 5, South Africa achieved victory with ten balls to spare. Although the target wasn't of daunting proportions, South Africa weren't comfortably placed for the most part of their chase, more..

'No Indian troops in Sri Lanka'

Sep 22 (Hindu) Lt. Gen. Milan Lalithkumar Naidu, Vice Chief of Indian Army, has said that there are no Indian troops in Sri Lanka to assist its Army in the ongoing war. Speaking to The Hindu at Mandapam near Rameswaram on Saturday, he said there was no truth in the allegation that the Indian Army had sent its troops. When his attention was drawn to the recent attack by the LTTE, in which two Indian technocrats were injured, he said whoever was there in Sri Lanka could have been “civilians.” more..

Unlawful, say ethnic Tamils

Sep 22 (Hindu) Thousands of citizens from five war-torn districts in the north and living in and around Colombo lined up outside schools and places of worship on Sunday following a government directive to reregister with the police. The controversial move has been criticised as “racial profiling” as an overwhelming majority of those being registered are Tamils. Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said the government order would affect more than 1,00,000 people. more..

35 Pakistanis languishing in Sri Lankan jail

Sep 22 (TP) Thirty five Pakistani prisoners, who were awarded life imprisonment for committing different crime and housed in Colombo Jail, Sri Lanka, have been living in a miserable condition for the last fifteen years. It was reveled on Sunday in a report prepared by Reality Human Rights International (RHRI), a human rights organization. According to Sri Lankan court of law, life imprisonment means death sentence as the prisoner would not come out from jail until his/her death, the report added. more..

Sri Lanka condemns hotel blast in Islamabad

Sep 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka Sunday 'unequivocally condemned' the devastating suicide bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and offered support to Pakistan to combat terrorism. Describing the Saturday attack as an 'abominable act of terrorism', the foreign ministry said the 'people and the government of Sri Lanka are extremely saddened' and 'share the grief of the Pakistan nation in this hour of acute pain'. more..

Sri Lankan hospitality sector to concentrate on the Middle East

Sep 22 (EB) As Sri Lanka's tourism industry continues to grow, the country is increasingly targeting tourists from the Middle East. The nation also hopes to make use of the tremendous opportunities arising from the region's hospitality sector to boost its tourism. For instance, plans are afoot to open hospitality training institutes in Sri Lanka. Faiszer Musthapha, Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Tourism, spoke exclusively to Emirates Business about more..

Harrogate school's Sri Lanka links

Sep 22 (WN) HARROGATE Grammar School has been host to two important Sri Lankan visitors this week. Preeatha Nanayakkara, the deputy director of education for Sri Lanka, visited the Grammar School on Monday under the Department for International Development (DFID) Global Schools Partnership programme. Harrogate Grammar is one of nine North Yorkshire schools with a Sri Lankan partner through the programme. more..

DMK chief should `break his silence` on Sri Lankan issue

Sep 22 (ZN) PMK on Sunday asked DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to 'break his silence' on Sri Lankan Tamil issue and take lead in solving the ethnic crisis in the island nation. Replying to a specific question on the suggestion of senior politician P Nedumaran that PMK, MDMK and Left Parties, with some common agenda, particularly on Sri Lanka, could form a third front, Ramadoss told reporters that this could apply to assembly polls, but not for Lok Sabha polls. more..

I am a true Dravidian, says Jayalalitha

Sep 22 (TS) In an attempt to erase her image of a Brahmin with Hindutva leanings, AIADMK chief Ms Jayalalitha has said that she was a true Dravidian, possessing the real characteristics of the race. Quoting a film song from matinee idol and party founder MGR's Mannadhi mannan, which says: “Fear is foolishness and courage is the characteristic of Dravidians”, she said that she alone had the courage to stand up to the Centre and fight for state's rights, more..

Sri Lanka selection row hits 20Twenty

Sep 22 (AFP) A selection dispute has hit the announcement of the Sri Lankan national team for the 20Twenty competition in Canada, officials said on Sunday. Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told AFP he was considering a complaint from batsman Indika de Saram who had complained after not being selected for the team to play in the Canada Cup next month, which will also include the hosts, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. more..

Civil society field mission to Vavuniya

Sep 22 (TC) A group of representatives from civil society organizations visited Vavuniya on September 11 th -12 th with the aim of assessing the human security situation in Vavuniya, and to collect information on the humanitarian situation in the Vanni and the possible influx of IDPs from LTTE-controlled areas to government-controlled areas. The group included representatives from Centre for Policy Alternatives and Women and Media Collective along with other individuals from other civil society organizations. more..

‘LTTE discourages drug smuggling’

Sep 22 (ENS) The LTTE was making all efforts to prevent narcotic drugs from reaching the Tamil-inhabited areas of Sri Lanka, said Thambi Anna, in-charge of the Narcotic Substance Prevention Wing of the LTTE. According to sources, Thambi Anna, who was taken into custody, had told the officers that contrary to the popular theory, LTTE was not encouraging smuggling of drugs. Thambi Anna has been interrogated by officers for details of smuggling operations. more..

Sri Lanka, The Endless Civil War

Sep 22 (BBC) Nestling off the southern tip of India, the tropical island of Sri Lanka has beguiled travellers for centuries with its palm-fringed beaches, diverse landscapes and historical monuments. But for the last 20 years, the country has been torn apart by civil war. It is a conflict that has pitted the majority Buddhist Sinhalese against Tamils who are largely Hindu. In the second part of this series, Robin White travels to the country's capital Colombo, to see how people are coping with the violence. more..

Who dreams of a separate state: the Tamils or the international criminals?

Sep 22 (AT) This has been a topic that has inspired me during the last few years to address several International media as well as our local community that this is sheer fabrication of the conspirators to justify the bloody "struggle” for a separate state for Tamils. If one follows the International media on the so-called ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, you will immediately notice that some wording, structuring of sentences and the sentimentality attributed to the phrases come from one particular source. more..

'When prices of fuel fall in world market Govt. here levies taxes for fuel prices here'

Sep 22 (LT) While the price of crude oil is falling rapidly the government, instead of bringing down the prices, is trying to earn more profits by levying a new fuel tax to cover up its frauds, malpractices and waste says Information secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. He said this at the media meeting held at Hotel Nippon to apprise the media regarding the refusal by the government to bring down the prices of fuel even when prices in the world market has come down. more..

Civilians forced to stand in the way

Sep 22 (DW) A civilian crisis is looming in the Wanni as we speak. The LTTE is trying its best to retain civilians as a human shield as the Army was 4km south of Kilinochchi town periphery by last evening. The Army has reduced the pace of operations towards Kilinochchi Town and has so far withheld artillery attacks into the town area, even at identified LTTE positions for fear of hitting civilian settlements. more..

Jaffna Catholics stage peace rally

Sep 22 (TN) More than two thousand Catholics from different areas of Jaffna peninsula, heeding the call by Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) of the Catholic diocese of Jaffna to mark the International Peace Day, assembled at the respective parish churches Sunday early morning before proceeding in a prayer procession towards Manippaay St.Anthony's church. Residents living closeby walked to the churches while devotees from far away places including Thenmaraadchi and Vadamaraadchi arrived in vehicles, and more..

Former President D.B. Wijetunga's funeral on Thursady

Sep 22 (GDI) The funeral of the former President, D.B. Wijetunga will take place with full state honours on the 25th of this month (Thursday) at the Gatambe Grounds in Kandy. Mr. Wijetunga passsed away yesterday (22) at the age of 92 while receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of the Kandy hospital at the time of this demise. Mr. Wijetunga was Sri Lanka's third Executive President and more..

President arrives in New York to attend the UN Assembly

Sep 22 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in New York yesterday (21) to attend the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The President was recevied at the John F. Kennedy Airport by representatives of United Nations Protocol, Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington Jaliya Wickamasuriya, Permanent Representative for Sri Lanka in the UN, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara and the staff of the New York Mission yesterday. more..

Rs. 17m distributed among 18 local govt bodies for waste management

Sep 22 (GDI) The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranawaka on Thursday handed over Rs. 17 million among officials of 18 selected local government bodies to launch the initial phase of the "Pilisaru" waste management programme at a ceromany held at the Auditorium of Central Environment Authority. The 18 local bodies are expected to manage 65 tonnes of solid waste in their respective localities and more..

National Consultation on IDPs begins tomorrow

Sep 22 (GDI) The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights in association with the Office of the UNHCR in Sri Lanka has organized a National Consultation on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons (those in protracted displacement due to conflict), aimed at the development of a National Policy and development of a Action Plan for such persons who were in a situation of displacement before April 2006. more..

Census of Northern citizens in Western Province successful - Police

Sep 22 (GDI) Registration of the civilians who had changed their place of residence to the Western Province from the Northern Province during the last five years was held yesterday with 36,076 persons of 10,820 registering them selves with the Police. Police Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranjith Gunasekara told that the registration of civilians from the North who had taken up residence in the Western Province over the past 5 years was carried out successfully yesterday (21). more..

President's agenda showing dividends - FM in Washington

Sep 22 (GDI) Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama made a comprehensive briefing to the Sri Lankan Diaspora living in Greater Washington area when he met them on Saturday (20) at the residence of Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya in Washington. His explanation on developments taking place in Sri Lanka under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was widely acclaimed, it is reported. more..

D.B. Wijetunga will be remembered for firm attitude against terrorism - President

Sep 22 (GDI) "D.B. Wijetunga will be best remembered for his firm attitude against terrorism and the need for it to be eliminated, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a message of condolence on the death of the former President. President Rajapaksa also conveyed his deepest sympathies at demise of Mr. Wijetunga to his daughter. He has directed the government to take all action, in consultation with the family of more..

Angered President sacks his Parliamentary Affairs Secretary

Sep 22 (LNP) Presidential Secretary - Parliamentary Affairs Kumarasiri Hettige has been dismissed from the post with immediate effect. Presidential Secretariat sources say that the President suspects Mr. Hettige acted against Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara in the case he was penalized for abetting corruption. President has come to know that Hettige boasted he would send Jayasundara to prison. more..

Political rogues - Sri Lanka

Sep 22 (LNP) Mr. Dallas Alahapperuma said more than a mouthful the other day when he went on record saying that the public see politicians as rogues. The exceptions, sadly, are few and far between. Politics today has become a road to riches and, quite apart from the legitimate and ever-growing perks and privileges that elected officials enjoy, there s a great deal of loot to be picked up. more..

Lokuge to use big stick

Sep 22 (LNP) A ban ban revoked on Sri Lanka`s rebel cricketers for joining the Indian Cricket League (ICL) may again be re-imposed upon them according to Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge. Minister Lokuge said he was left in the dark when the ban was lifted and had all the right in the world to overturn the ruling by the interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket that was installed by him in January this year. more..

Sri Lanka is losing its soul to war

Sep 22 (TMG) Predictably in a conflict which stirs such bitterness, my last post on Sri Lanka and an analysis piece I wrote in Saturday's paper on Sri Lanka's human rights record has generated a slew of emails accusing me of failing to understand the conflict and ‘siding with the terrorists.' I must preface this post, therefore, with the (I hope unnecessary) disclaimer that I hold no candle for the Tamil Tigers or their methods, more..