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Sinhala-Tamil divide has queered the pitch

Apr 17 (ET) India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) established diplomatic relations in 1948 and in the last 60 years, Delhi has had a significant degree of relevance for Colombo. The immutable combination of geography and history on the one hand and the existential asymmetry of the two nations on the other contributed to this ‘relevance’ of the other. Perhaps the most important phase in the bilateral relationship was the unobtrusive politico-military aid that India provided to Sri Lanka in 1971 to quell a communist uprising. more..

Canadian foreign minister refuses to meet Tamil protesters

Apr 17 (OS) Tamil-Canadian protesters took down their flags once again yesterday, hoping to facilitate a meeting with the federal government. But Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's office dashed their hopes by refusing to meet. Protesters have been on the sidewalks along Wellington St. in front of Parliament Hill around the clock since April 7 and vow to stay until the government helps achieve a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan forces not to scale down operations against LTTE: Prez

Apr 17 (PTI) Sri Lankan security forces are close to capturing the entire LTTE-held territory in the island's north and will not take a step back in their journey to root out terrorism from the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said. "Every inch of the country belongs to all its citizens... You are close to fulfilling the responsibility of giving over this land to all citizens from all communities including Sinhala, Muslim and Tamils," more..

Pranab asks Lanka to mitigate Tamils’ plight, rules out mediation

Apr 17 (PTI) Deeply concerned over the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, India on Friday appealed to the Rajapaksa government to respond to the Tamil civilian problem in the war zone but ruled out any mediation on the issue. "India is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. Continuing conflicts have been taking a heavy toll among Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire," more..

Tamil rebels say UN tacitly backing Sri Lanka govt

Apr 17 (AFP) Tamil Tigers believe the United Nations and foreign governments are tacitly supporting a military offensive that risks the lives of civilians, a pro-rebel website said Friday. said accusing Tiger rebels of holding civilians hostage in the conflict zone was a signal that the international community supported Colombo's preparations for a final assault against the remaining guerrillas in the long-running ethnic war. more..

LTTE is no excuse for killing Vanni civilians

Apr 17 (UTHR) A young mother is injured and her three month old baby killed by shell fragments as she breastfeeds the child in the government declared no fire zone. Parents hide their children in roughly dug bunkers to escape LTTE press gangs who comb the no-fire zone for conscripts. A woman loses her husband to sniper fire and the toddler he was carrying too drowns when they attempt to wade across a lagoon to escape the no-fire zone. more..

Sympathy for Tamils, but not Tigers

Apr 17 (NP) The ongoing Parliament Hill protests and hunger strikes by Tamil Canadians are meant to stir our lawmakers into action against Sri Lanka, whose government is waging a successful military campaign against the LTTE. If anything, however, the protests have had the opposite effect: Just as radical Canadian Muslims attract disgust when they raise the flags of Hezbollah or Hamas, so too do Tamils who fly the flag the of the LTTE, a terrorist insurgency that once controlled much of Sri Lanka. more..

Emergency response stepped up in Sri Lanka, new displacement at 63,000

Apr 18 (UNHCR) UNHCR has stepped up its emergency response in Sri Lanka's north, where displacement numbers are growing as a result of heavy fighting between the military and the LTTE. So far, more than 63,000 people have fled the conflict zone in the north-eastern coastal pocket and are being accommodated at several transit and internal displacement sites in the districts of Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar. more..

Sri Lankan pastor receives death threats

Apr 18 (RI) A Christian pastor in Sri Lanka has received death threats and demands to halt worship services. According to Release International, the threats came from Buddhists and Hindus opposed to Christianity. Leading Christian human rights organisations worldwide have launched a global campaign to pray for Sri Lanka, where there is civil war and instability. Churches have been attacked and religious tensions are rising. more..

Sri Lankan refugees arrive at Tamil Nadu coastal town

Apr 18 (IANS) Three Sri Lankan refugees from strife-torn northern areas of the island nation arrived in the coastal Tamil Nadu town of Rameshwaram by a fishing boat after reportedly paying Rs.25,000 for the cross over, police said Friday. 'The refugees had paid upto Rs.50,000 in Sri Lankan currency (Rs.25,000) to reach the Indian territorial waters,'. The refugees were dropped at a sand dune off Dhanushkodi by a Sri Lankan boat more..

UNP challenges default taxes bill

Apr 18 (CT) The UNP has taken the Default Taxes (Special Provisions) Bill to court, alleging that certain of its clauses contravene the Constitution. UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake has filed the case in the Supreme Court on behalf of the party. The petitioner seeks the SC to order a two-thirds parliamentary majority and a referendum if the clauses in question are to be adopted. more..

Sri Lanka needs multiethnic united front

Apr 18 (UPI) This week six prisoners were shot and killed at the Kalutara prison south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, allegedly for attempting to escape. It was not long ago that three persons were killed inside the Negambo prison north of the capital, allegedly due to a dispute between two parties. Last month four people were shot dead by the police at Urubokka, Matara, which the police reported was due to a shoot-out between the police and some persons. more..

IOM Helps Displaced Fleeing Conflict

Apr 18 (IOM) IOM is providing shelter, water and sanitation facilities, and logistical support to thousands of families fleeing hostilities between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in the North and East of the country. "IOM is working closely with the government and other agencies to meet the needs of people newly displaced by the fighting. We are using all our available resources and urgently need more funding to help these people, many of whom have lost everything," more..

Applications for Grade I admissions for 2010 next month

Apr 18 (LT) Applications for Grade I for the year 2010 will be entertained from the end of next month and a circular including conditions for such admissions is being prepared now states Secretary to the Ministry of Education Nimal Bandara. He said special concessions would be given to children who live with their parents.

Deficit in Consolidated Fund, reason for tax increase

Apr 18 (CT) State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has justified the decision to raise the nation building tax, as there is a 'deficit in the Consolidated Fund.' At a meeting of the state finance committee today, he explained as to why the tax will be increased to three per cent from May 01st. The nation building tax presently stands at one pc. The relevant proposal will be moved in Parliament on April 21, he said. more..

Sri Lanka needs to come on UN radar, says rights group

Apr 18 (IANS) Sri Lanka needs to be put on the radar of the UN Security Council to end the grave sufferings of Tamil civilians trapped in the war zone, a leading rights body said Friday. 'Given the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, an international body such as the UN Security Council needs to augment its attention and engage with a sense of urgency,' the UTHR said in an exhaustive report. more..

Arrest MP Wijenayake - court

Apr 18 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has ordered the police to arrest a parliamentarian suspected of shooting dead a rival party supporter. The Attanagalla magistrate ordered police to arrest Piyasiri Wijenayake and all others suspected of murdering a supporter of JVP on 05 April. Counsel Sunil Watagala told BBC Sandeshaya that the court was told by the witnesses that Nandana Balage was shot dead by the National Freedom Front (NFF) parliamentarian. more..

Guilty verdict for UK Tamil head

Apr 18 (BBC) The founder of the British Tamil Association has been convicted of two terrorism charges. But the jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on three other charges against Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, of south London. He was found guilty of supplying bomb-making equipment for the Tamil Tigers and receiving documents for the purpose of terrorism. The Tamil Tigers became a banned organisation in the UK in 2000. more..

Mexico refuses to give legitimacy to the LTTE

Apr 18 (TC) Ambassador Claude Heller, the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations has accused Sri Lanka of inaccuracies in its statements emanating from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo. The statement was issued by Colombo, after a meeting between Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, the Mexican Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. more..

Tamil hunger strike ends

Apr 18 (ABC) Five Australian Tamil men have ended their six-day hunger strike after Federal Government officials said they will try to help their cause. The Australian Tamil community has been calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to push for a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels. Earlier this evening a sixth hunger striker collapsed outside the Foreign Affairs Department and has been taken to the Canberra Hospital in a serious condition suffering exhaustion. more..

WITNESS: barred from reporting Tamil Tiger conflict

Apr 18 (Times) The Sri Lankan immigration officer’s eyes narrowed as soon as she swiped my passport at Colombo’s international airport last week. “Come this way,” she said, leading me into a side room, where a colleague typed my details into a computer. A message flashed up on his screen: “DO NOT ALLOW TO ENTER THE COUNTRY”. With that, my passport was confiscated, I was escorted to an airport detention room, locked up for the night, and deported the next day. more..

Children in Sri Lanka

Apr 18 (UNICEF) Sri Lanka’s three-decade-long internal conflict has intensified since the Sri Lankan Government ended a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE in January 2008. The northern part of Sri Lanka, known as the Vanni, is now facing a humanitarian emergency due to the escalation of the conflict. The LTTE has been restricted to a 'no fire zone', declared by the Government. This is a 14sq km strip of coastline, home to an estimated 150,000 people, of which around one third are children. more..

Government pick-pocketing people’s wallets in its struggle for survival – UNP

Apr 18 (LG) Addressing a media briefing at the UNP media unit yesterday, UNP M.P. Ravi Karunanayake said, the Govt. is riding on the backs of the famished nation only for it to be in power and win foul elections. He said , the Govt. ‘s preoccupation now after driving itself and the country into the worst economic precipice is searching for hidden and crafty ways of burdening the people with taxes, tariff hikes and levies over and above those already imposed. more..

Eelam politics – empty rhetoric and perceived threats - II

Apr 18 (LG) The DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance organized a massive rally on Thursday 9 April, which culminated in a function where DPA leaders including Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi spoke in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani warned opposition leaders against politicizing the issue and said the people were well aware of their double-speak merely to garner votes. more..

Citizen Journalism in Sri Lanka

Intention of Sri Lankan state is extermination of Tamils - TNA

Apr 18 (TN) "The Sri Lankan State's actions establish beyond a shadow of doubt, that the real intention of the Sri Lankan State is the progressive extermination of the Tamil people," said the statement published by the TNA in India on Friday. "The fact that the Sri Lankan State and its Armed forces despite the widest possible international outcry that the safety of Tamil civilians is paramount, have not been deterred even to the slightest degree, more..

The hypocrisy of the west and the absence of a Lankan elite

Apr 18 (LG) We Sri Lankans have no excuse whatsoever. We have been forewarned. A piece by PC Vinoj Kumar in the latest issue of Tehelka magazine says that "while the Sri Lankan army claims to be close to wiping out the LTTE, Prabhakaran may already have an able successor in his son". The article goes onto say that "The techno savvy Anthony is widely tipped to succeed Prabhakaran’s mantle" (sic). And again: "It is expected that Anthony will take over the leadership from his father". more..

Snap ties with Colombo if ceasefire is not implemented: Karunanidhi

Apr 18 (Hindu) In identical telegrams to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, he said: “We welcome with gratitude the appeal made by the External Affairs Minister for ceasefire in Sri Lanka. If the appeal for ceasefire is not honoured and implemented by the Sri Lankan government, we request the Government of India to snap all diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.” more..

UN, Sri Lankan officials discuss trapped civilians

Apr 18 (AP) A top U.N. official met with Sri Lankan leaders Friday to discuss efforts to free tens of thousands of people trapped by the raging civil war amid reports that 4,500 civilians have been killed in fighting over the past three months. The government has cornered the Tamil Tiger rebels in a tiny sliver of land along the northeastern coast and vowed to crush the group after more than a quarter-century of fighting on the Indian Ocean island nation. more..

The Worldwide LTTE Propaganda Organization

Apr 18 (AT) The international community is slowly beginning to realize the extent to which the LTTE has been able to influence world opinion through its propaganda about the conflict in Sri Lanka. The facts are even more shocking than what they appear to be on the surface. In fact, even today, most analysts are unable to determine whether the propaganda organization has a single director or several. more..

Why 48 hours not enough?

Apr 18 (AT) Our army commander does not know where exactly Prabakaran is but those who want to rescue him know where exactly he will be at a stated time.Let me explain to our government why 48 hours are not sufficient. It is because that time is too short to arrange a warship carrying several fully armed helicopters to approach close enough to Sri Lanka for the helicopters to zero in from any direction to the exact location where Prabakaran is so that they could pluck him up and fly away. more..

UNP asks for Parliamentary Select Committee to probe dubious finance companies

Apr 18 (AT) The main Opposition United National Party has requested the Secretary General of Parliament to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee which will be empowered to probe the affairs of dubious finance companies which have been engaged in mass scale fraud of depositors’ funds. This request has been made on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Finance this morning. more..

46-yr-old sets himself ablaze on Lanka issue

Apr 18 (TOI) A 46-year-old man from Karur, working as a painter in the city, immolated himself at the busy 100-feet road near Vadapalani around 8.30 pm on Friday. A Sivanandam, who suffered 70% burns is in a critical state in the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. Police said Sivanandam, who was living away from his family and alone in a room near Pondy Bazaar, is a member of the Tamilar Desiya Iyakkam, the Tamil nationalist forum led by P Nedumaran. more..

'Failure to understand the conflict by UN and the West has created a humanitarian Crisis'

Apr 18 (AT) "Sri Lanka has become a living laboratory on how to and how not to fight terrorism. Governments from around the world have started to study the Sri Lankan case. Western and other military, law enforcement security and intelligence services are today consulting the Sri Lankan government on how they reduced the LTTE power from a formidable to a mediocre organization. more..

Prabhakaran rebuked for not surrendering and holding Tamil civilians as human shield

Apr 18 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa rebukes Prabhakaran for not surrendering with his remaining armed cadres and for his failure to release the innocent Tamil civilians held by him as human shield. President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Asian Tribune Friday evening that he gave the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his few remaining leaders 48 hours of respite to surrender to the military along with their cadres and also release the civilians held hostage more..

Young leaders and professionals from Sri Lanka conclude 3-week visit to U.S.

Apr 18 (AT) A group of 18 young entrepreneurs and professionals from Sri Lanka concluded a three-week working tour of the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. recently with a reception at the Sri Lankan embassy here. The group, selected from among young leaders and business people throughout Sri Lanka, visited U.S. government departments and institutions and spent four days at the University of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville, Va. more..

Immediate humanitarian truce needed in Sri Lanka to help trapped civilians

Apr 18 (AI) An official two-day ceasefire in Sri Lanka which ended on Wednesday has not helped to end the suffering of around 100,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone. According to media reports, John Holmes, the United Nations (UN) under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said that the 48-hour break in hostilities to allow aid in and civilians out was "inadequate". more..

Link aid to political transformation of Sri Lanka’s North and East, ICG tells donors

Apr 18 (AT) The International Crisis Group in its latest report on Sri Lanka says the twin humanitarian crises facing the country require urgent and coordinated international action. It disputes the government claim that the Eastern Province is a model of democratisation and post-conflict reconstruction and asks the donors to force Colombo to take tangible steps for the democratic political transformation in both the North and the East. more..

Sri Lanka rejects UN truce appeal

Apr 18 (BBC) Sri Lanka has rejected a fresh appeal by the UN to give civilians more time to leave a safe zone in the north-east, the defence secretary says. Only a few hundred civilians used the two-day unilateral government truce with Tamil Tiger rebels to escape. Between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians are still thought to be trapped in the zone - about 20 sq km (8 sq miles) of coastal area in Mullaitivu district. more..

LTTE militants sneak into Ramanathapuram

Apr 18 (PTI) Three LTTE militants reportedly sneaked into the Ramanathapuram coast along with three Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who arrived here around midnight last night, police said. The militants had accompanied Viswanathan, a Tamil refugee who arrived from Mannar district. Police said Viswanathan told them that three persons Antony (29) Benedic (30),and Shiva (32)-- had pushed him into the sea near the first sand dune at Dhanushkodi. more..

East. Provincial Council likely to reject Local Authorties Election Bill

Apr 18 (PSM) The proposed Local Authority Election Bill is unlikely to be approved by the Eastern Provincial Council as it is, the EPC sources said. When the bill was taken for debate yesterday at the EPC, the opposition insisited for a voting before the closure of business whereas the ruling UPFA moved amendments. Since this created a heated arguments, the chairman of the EPC postponed the debate for Monday 20th. more..

A section of Prabakaran's family album

Apr 18 (LeN) Security forces have taken into custody a photo album of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran's family and the state media published it yeterday (17). There are photos of Prabakara's son Charles Anthony and daughter Dwaraha from tender ages and photos of Prabakaran and his wife Madiwadini. The birth certificates and educational certificates belonged to Charles Anthony and Dwaraka were also released. more..

Instead of "Sinhala" and "Tamil" when will we celebrate "Our Sri lankan" New Year?

Apr 18 (TC) The holidays are over and the Kavun Kokis smell is postponed for another year. We inherit again the usual "drudgery reality" of day to day life. The domestics who went home to bust their earnings in fun and frolic have now returned, broke as the Ten Commandments. No more need for the madam to organise "take away" pseudo Chinese and the man who drove the Honda Civic is relieved, more..

The Tamil diaspora: solidarities and realities

Apr 18 (TC) The Sri Lankan Tamil community may not be the largest of the diaspora communities represented in London or other such greatly diverse cities around the world, but the numbers and conviction they have mobilised in recent days to highlight the plight of their brethren at home have been exceptional. The demonstrations by Tamils in the centres of London, Toronto and other cities have been spectacular, defiant and spirited displays of grief and anger: more..

The idea of constituted democracy - Part II

Apr 18 (LG) A Constituted Democracy (CD) has two main components. One component is its policy, or the party political process, which has three policy tracts within one party. There shall be only one party in a nation, but within that one party there shall be three independent ideological organisations of Right, Left and Centre. In a practical sense, these constructs will be structured like three separate and independent parties, but more..

'Prabakaran exposed and threw away Oslo Federal agreement'

Apr 18 (LeN) While LTTE leader Prabakaran has lost almost everything he and his community built up within 32 years due to lack political sense, his ex-deputy Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman is stepping up in the ladder of politics becoming a minister of the government. One cannot deny that Karuna Amman is the best example in Sri Lanka for political sense. more..

Hard-working IDPs need more help

Apr 18 (LG) The situation in Wanni is not at all what one would like it to be. In fact it is appalling and atrocious because there is a war on against the most ruthless and brutal terrorist force in the world, the LTTE. This has been further aggravated by the LTTE terrorists holding as hostage thousands of civilians as their last hope of forcing the Government of Sri Lanka to agree to cessation of hostilities. more.. – speaks German

Apr 18 (LG) The official website of the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order of Sri Lanka,, has launched its German News letter, today. Visitors to the site can now read reports of the on going humanitarian missions in German and also the latest reports about the country and the war on terror. “German News Letter" was launched on an initiative made by the Secretary of Defence, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

The President reiterates those who supported Prabakarn have to commit political suicide

Apr 18 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapakse reiterates that what is now left for the tiger terrorists , who had pushed the country into the brink of collapse during the past three decades, is to commit suicide by either swallowing cyanide or jumping into the lagoon. He further said that politicians who had acted as relatives of Prabhakaran, by betraying the country will also have to commit political suicide. more..

Mahapola Scholarships award on 24th

Apr 18 (GDI) The Mahapola Scholarships for the year 2007/2008 will be awarded on 24th under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. At the ceremony 950 recipients would be awarded scholarships initially and 11,000 scholarships have been granted for the year of 2007/2008. Every scholarship recipient will receive Rs.2, 550.00 for a Merit Scholarships or Rs.2,500.00 for an Ordinary Scholarships. more..