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Pregnant elephant electrocuted to death

Apr 20 (DM) Wild life officials are on the trail of two Civil Defence personnel in connection with the death of a pregnant elephant in Mahakachchakodiya in Vavuniya. The officials have sought assistance of the police to apprehend the two absconding home guards who have allegedly caused the death of the elephant by electrocuting it. The elephant collapsed in a paddy field a few days ago after being electrocuted and informed the wild life officials about it. more..

Karunanidhi trying to exploit crisis, says furious Lanka

Apr 20 (PTI) A day after DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi stated that he viewed LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran as a 'friend', Sri Lanka on Monday said that the Tamil Nadu chief minister was trying to exploit the issue for electoral gains. "Mr Karunanidhi is a Chanakya. He knows what to say and when -- not that he is not aware of Prabhakaran's attitude," Minister for Social Service and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda said. more..

Tamil demonstrators block streets

Apr 20 (BBC) Tamils staging an ongoing demonstration in central London have broken through police lines and are blocking roads around Parliament. The Metropolitan Police said about 3,500 people had gathered in Parliament Square as MPs returned after Easter. Two weeks ago demonstrators began rallying over the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers separatist group. more..

Govt ponders presidential election first

Apr 20 (ANN) With the army now poised to finish off what is left of the Tigers’ conventional fighting capability, the ruling UPFA government is likely to call for a presidential election later this year. SLFP strategists are of the opinion that an early presidential poll ahead of parliamentary polls would be advantageous to the coalition. According to the election map, the parliamentary elections should have preceded the presidential election. more..

UAV footage of civilians fleeing LTTE areas

'Thousands flee' Sri Lanka combat

Apr 20 (BBC) At least 25,000 civilians have fled a Tamil Tiger-held area in northern Sri Lanka, the military says. People escaped after troops broke through a fortification which had been blocking their advance into the Tigers' last stronghold, the army said. Aerial video showed thousands of people filing out of the combat zone. Tens of thousands remain in the area, which has seen heavy fighting for months. more..

Sri Lanka gives rebels 24 hours to surrender

Apr 20 (AP) Sri Lanka gave the Tamil Tiger rebels 24 hours to surrender or face a final military assault, after the military rescued 35,000 civilians from the last swath of rebel territory, officials said. The government issued the ultimatum, giving the Tamil Tiger rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and his fighters 24 hours starting Monday at noon to surrender before the military launches a final assault aimed at crushing the insurgents and more..

'35,000 civilians escape, LTTE complete defeat imminent'

Apr 20 (IL) More than 35,000 civilians fled the last area under the control of Sri Lanka’s cornered LTTE today, President Mahinda Rajapakse said, adding that the rebels' "complete defeat" was imminent. Showing aerial video from a military spy plane over the tiny area where the Tigers are staging a last stand, President said 35,000 non-combatants had crossed the lines into government-held territory since early this morning (20). more..

'Civilian exodus spells defeat for Tigers'

Apr 20 (AFP) Tens of thousands of civilians on Monday escaped from the area still held by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, signalling that the rebels' "complete defeat" was imminent, President Mahinda Rajapakse said. Showing AFP aerial video from a military spy plane over the tiny area where the Tigers are staging a last stand, Rajapakse said 35,000 non-combatants had crossed the lines into government-held territory within a five-hour period. more..

Rupee hits new low on IMF loan delay

Apr 21 (Reuters) Rupee hit a new life low on Monday, falling around 1 percent on importer dollar demand amid a delay in an expected $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. A quicker-than-expected end of the Indian Ocean island nation's 25-year civil war drove shares on the Colombo Stock Exchangeto its highest level since mid-February. The rupee closed at a new life low of 117.20/30 a dollar, more..

Ceylinco Healthcare plans nursing school

Apr 21 (LBO) Ceylinco Healthcare Services said it is in "exploratory talks" to set up an international nursing school with the Valley Hospital and Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA. The firm, a unit of Ceylinco Life insurance company, said it was considering a joint venture affiliation with the two American institutions to offer internationally-recognised diploma and degree qualifications in nursing in Colombo. more..

'Seylan gets foreign interest'

Apr 21 (LBO) A number of prospective buyers interested in Sri Lanka's Seylan Bank have tied up with foreign partners to bid for a 33 percent stake in the bank, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The Central Bank said six parties have responded to a call for expressions of interest for a one-third stake in Seylan Bank which will be injected into the bank through fresh shares to boost its capital. "Several of them have come with foreign financial institutions as partners," more..

'Sri Lanka to chair regional forum at Washington meet'

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka will chair a meeting of South Asian central bank chiefs on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings later this week, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Called the 'spring meetings' of the two institutions, the Washington meet allows central bank and treasury chiefs from around the world to gather together to discuss the current status and future trends of the world. more..

Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone

Apr 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Monday opened up its aerial surveillance centre to journalists for the first time, offering a glimpse of real-time footage from a battlefield usually off-limits to independent observers. A handful of reporters were brought inside the Battle Management Centre at air force headquarters in Colombo, from where controllers monitor video from Israeli-made unmanned drones and a Beechcraft reconnaissance airplane. more..

The end has come

Apr 21 (LG) The Great Leader, the Sole Voice, the proposed head of the new state of Tamil Eelam has not been seen for the last eighteen months. There have been reports that he was washed off with the tsunami waters five years ago and also that he has been left dying in some forlorn bunker somewhere in the north or even in the Wilpattu Sanctuary. Other reports say he has a multitude of terminal diseases from necrophilia to high blown diabetes and it is only a much taller dummy with startling face resemblance is standing for him and even he has fled. more..

Why is Sonia silent on Karunanidhi’s LTTE remark: Jayalalitha

Apr 21 (IANS) AIADMK boss J. Jayalalitha Monday attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her silence on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s open support for the outlawed Tamil Tigers, which was behind the assassination of her husband in 1991. The former Tamil Nadu chief minister asked how Sonia Gandhi could remain silent on the matter - as widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, as Congress party president and as United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chief. more..

Sri Lanka external trade shrinks

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's external trade contracted sharply in February 2009 with the trade gap narrowing 75.5 percent, imports plunging 37.3 percent, exports falling 18.4 percent and remittances also easing 3.8 percent, the Central Bank said. Exports fell to 524.3 million US dollars from 642.6 million US dollars, with tea falling 33.4 percent to 72.3 million, suffering from a burst commodity bubble. Exports of coconuts had increased in February 2009. more..

Sri Lanka calls for world pressure on Tamil Tigers

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top defence official has called on the international community and the United Nations to put pressure on Tamil Tiger rebels to lay down arms and surrender, our sister website reported. Defence ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the Tamil Tigers should be told to give up at least at this stage as they are surrounded on a small strip of land on the north-east coast by security forces. more..

Embassy safe house inmates celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Kuwait

Apr 21 (AT) On the occasion of the Sinhala & Tamil New Year, the Sri Lanka Embassy on 14th April organized a day-long celebration at the Embassy premises providing fun, happiness and solace to over 300 inmates in the Embassy Safe House. The celebrations began with the hoisting of the national flag followed by the singing of national anthem. A two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect for the fallen heroes who scarified their lives for the motherland. more..

A Tribute to H.L. de Silva

Apr 21 (AT) Sri Lanka’s legal luminary and constitutional expert H.L. de Silva has been an erudite and lively contributor to the development of thoughts, arguments, proposals, interpretations, insights and analyses to his country’s never ending debate on devolution of political and administrative power to the periphery arising out of ethnic Tamil political party demands since 1948 Independence and the manifestation of those sentiments through a violent uprising engineered and administered by the LTTE or Tamil Tigers. more..

Norway eats "American Pie"

Apr 21 (AT) It is all over, the floodgates have finally opened, more than 100,000 civilians already have crossed over to the safety and security of Sri Lanka government. The Tamil Diaspora agitated worldwide. Emotions are high. Words like ‘genocide’ are thrown around carelessly as per the dictates of crass politicking. Fed for years on an opiate called Eelam, and having secured considerable benefits courtesy Eelamist propaganda including citizenship in Western capitals and more..

The UN has failed – has it not?

Apr 21 (AT) If it is true that the US would block the 1.9 billion dollar IMF loan for Sri Lanka unless the world’s most ruthless killer Prabakaran is released to the West as reported in the Island of April 20th 2009, then would that not mean that the UN as a body that represents world governance has failed? If it is agreed by any nation that he UN in its present form has failed then what sense would it make for poor nations to remain in that system without more..

India silent on Lanka ultimatum

Apr 21 (AA) India maintained a deafening silence over Sri Lanka’s 24-hour ultimatum to LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and his Tamil Tiger fighters to surrender by Tuesday noon or face death. Colombo’s ultimatum ca-me barely 72 hours after New Delhi appealed the Sri Lankan government to de-clare an extended pause in hostilities to prevent further casualties and enable trapp-ed civilians to leave the no-fire zone for secure locations. more..

Sri Lanka: Speaking out for peace

Apr 21 (Cafod) Tens of thousands of people are believed to be trapped in the so-called "safe zone", surrounded by intense fighting and are being bombed and shelled every day. The health of the people is also a concern with very little food and water available. The majority are suffering severe trauma and psychological problems from the constant danger and upheaval. Most people are spending all day and night in home-made bunkers to escape the shelling. more..

Ban welcomes civilians’ escape from conflict zone

Apr 21 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the escape of tens of thousands of civilians from the conflict zone in north-eastern Sri Lanka, where they had been trapped in fighting between Government troops and rebel separatist Tamil forces. However, Mr. Ban remains deeply concerned about the fate of the civilians who remain in the conflict zone and the potential for large-scale casualties, more..

UNICEF fears for of thousands of children trapped in Sri Lanka’s conflict

Apr 21 (UNICEF) As 35,000 people today fled Sri Lanka’s conflict zone, UNICEF said it held grave fears for those children who remain trapped in escalating fighting. With tens of thousands of children still caught amid growing hostilities between the LTTE and troops of the Government of Sri Lanka, UNICEF warned of dreadful consequences for children. “If fighting continues and if the LTTE refuses to allow people to leave the conflict zone, then we face the intolerable inevitability of seeing many more children killed,” more..

Canada calls for Sri Lanka's warring parties to resume humanitarian pause

Apr 21 (Xinhua) Canada has called for the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume a humanitarian pause to allow the free movement of civilians trapped in the tiny no fire zone (NFZ) in northern Sri Lanka, the Canadian High Commission in Colombo said Monday in a press release. "Canada calls for a resumption of the humanitarian pause. Both sides must allow the safe and voluntary movement of civilians from combat zones and ensure full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to those in need," more..

Supporting returnees in Mannar District

Apr 21 (MAG) “God, I hope my house is not destroyed, I hope my machines are still there, I hope my church is intact.” These were some of the prayers whispered by Mr Soosai Marathin from the back of the vehicle as he accompanied MAG’s Community Liaison team to his village, Marathanmadhu, in the Mannar District. Sixty-year-old Mr Marathin, the head of a small church and owner of a rice mill, had to flee Marathanmadhu with his family in September 2007 after more..

'Karunanidhi stand on ties with Sri Lanka bid to get votes'

Apr 21 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunandihi’s call for snapping of diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka if ceasefire is not announced in the island nation is only an attempt to get votes, said AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said on Monday. Addressing an election meeting here, she said it was only a pretence; as if he was putting pressure on the Centre on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. “Why did he not say it all these days,” she wondered. more..

Reuters Photo

Apr 21 (Reuters) This photograph shows what the army says are thousands of people fleeing an area held controlled by the Tamil Tiger separatists in North. Sri Lanka on Monday gave the Tamil Tigers 24 hours to surrender or die after troops breached a huge earthen defense and unleashed an exodus of tens of thousands of civilians held there by the rebels, more..

Tigers attack fleeing civilians

Apr 21 (Hindu) Hours after Monday’s exodus of civilians from the No Fire Zone (NFZ) occupied by the LTTE, the Sri Lankan military said the Tigers were firing indiscriminately at citizens seeking to reach government-controlled territory. The Defence Ministry said here the Tiger cadre initially fired at civilians on the causeway using heavy machine guns. “When they stepped into the lagoon to avoid LTTE machine gunfire, three LTTE cadres ran on to them and exploded themselves.” more..

'Petition seeking release of Nalini not maintainable'

Apr 21 (Hindu) A prayer seeking the release of seven persons imprisoned in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case cannot be made at this juncture, as the Supreme Court by a detailed judgment found them guilty and confirmed the conviction, the Tamil Nadu Government has said. In its counter to a petition, which prayed for the release of Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas, Jeyakumar, Ravi and Arivu, the government said the petition was not maintainable. more..

Noose tightens around Tamil Tigers

Apr 21 (Time) Sri Lankan military authorities predicted a swift end to the country's 25-year civil war after tens of thousands of civilians who had been trapped in a narrow combat zone in the country's north for over two months escaped the iron grip of the LTTE on April 20. But more fighting is in store before that end can be reached. It will take weeks, if not longer, to capture or kill the over 500 hardcore Tigers — including leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is holed up deep inside the zone — ready to fight to the death. more..

Sri Lanka's army helps thousands flee battle zone

Apr 21 (AP) The army breached one of the last Tamil Tiger rebel fortifications Monday and freed thousands of trapped civilians, some fleeing through the neck-high water of a lagoon while bleeding or carrying wounded relatives. The government warned the rebels they had 24 hours to surrender or face a final assault to end a crumbling 25-year insurgency that sought to create a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils on this South Asian island. more..

'Thousands flee' Sri Lanka combat

No Shame Norway & failure of LTTE’s bid for Tamil Eelam & its relocation

Apr 21 (AT) In attempting to understand the conflict in Sri Lanka it is of great relevance that we ascertain the exact status quo given to the LTTE. At times-freedom fighters & at times terrorist leaves little hope to categorize exactly where we ought to place the LTTE especially so when despite a ban by 33 nations LTTE offices remain openly operational in these very countries. more..

Endgame in Sri Lanka?

Apr 21 (NYT) As Sri Lanka’s government continues to deny international reporters access to the small area of the country where they have cornered the Tamil Tiger rebels, we are piecing together what is happening there, according to government and rebel sources. As my colleague Mark McDonald reported earlier on Monday in The Times, the Sri Lankan government said that its troops had broken through defensive earthworks used by Tamil separatist fighters, more..

Sri Lanka goes wooing for the peace dividend

Apr 21 (NST) Malaysians involved in about 30 per cent of investments in Sri Lanka can expect a big jump in returns with the island state's civil war coming to a close. The success of the army's efforts to wipe out the LTTE over the last few months has already brought much cheer to Malaysian investors. Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Palitha T.B. Kohona said with the army expected to wipe out the LTTE anytime now, more..

Editorial: Last hours of Tiger prowess

Apr 21 (AN) For years the Tamil Tigers have been seen as one of the most efficient and ruthless terrorist organizations in the world. They masterminded the suicide attack, killing over a thousand people with it over the past 15 years, among them Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and a number of top Sri Lankan ministers and officials. Gandhi’s assassin was the first recorded female suicide bomber. But the Tigers’ days, indeed their hours, are now numbered. more..

Victims of an underreported War

Apr 21 (Scoop) When a war goes underreported, the agony of its civilian victims goes almost unrecognized. The plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka provides a poignant illustration, which the civilized world can no longer ignore. There are obvious reasons, of course, why the Sri Lankan conflict is not the same as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to international observers. The 25-year-old conflict has been too much with us, and it has come to be regarded as an internal disturbance, more..

Tamils put away Tiger flags and promise larger protest

Apr 21 (570N) A significantly thicker ring of security will greet what's expected to be a burgeoning Tamil demonstration Tuesday on Parliament Hill. Police could be seen on the roof of Parliament's centre block Monday preparing for the protest and additional barricades were put in place along the street that separates the Hill from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office. more..

'Both personal and political for me, so won’t comment on LTTE'

Apr 21 (IE) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today sought to keep away from the row over Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s remarks about LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, maintaining it was “both a personal and political matter” for her. Priyanka said that she did not share brother Rahul Gandhi’s views that the family was still to get justice for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. more..

French arrest 200 protesters in Paris Tamil demonstration on Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (Telegraph) Hundreds of demonstrators blocked an intersection in central Paris, throwing bottles at passing buses as they demanded that Sri Lanka end its military assault on Tamil-held areas. "French people, react", "Sarkozy, help us" chanted an estimated 500 demonstrators as they gathered near the Gare du Nord train station for the protest, which had not been declared to the authorities. more..

Day of reckoning in Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (FP) The Sri Lankan government has issued a deadline of noon tomorrow for the Tamil Tigers to surrender. With the embattled rebels unlikely to put down their guns before then, only forceful and immediate international action to halt the fighting can prevent the possible deaths of tens of thousands of civilians trapped between the warring parties. More than 100,000 men, women and children are trapped in a space roughly the size of Central Park, more..

Protect civilians in ‘Final’ attack

Apr 21 (HRW) An expected major attack following the Sri Lankan government's "final warning" to the LTTE underscores the need for heightened measures to minimize civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today. The continuing laws of war violations by both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE indicate the need for a United Nations commission of inquiry to investigate war crimes by both sides, Human Rights Watch said. more..

Brown pressure on Tamils

Apr 21 (BT) The Prime Minister has put pressure on his Sri Lankan counterpart in a bid to bring about a ceasefire in the country, an MP said today. Gordon Brown phoned prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and "pressed him extremely hard on the issue", according to Keith Vaz. The Labour MP said: "The Prime Minister has given us more face time on this issue than I have ever had face time from the Prime Minister on any issue." more..

Lanka offensive puts India in a bind

Apr 21 (TOI) The 24-hour deadline announced by Sri Lanka for LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and his aides to surrender has further added to the woes of New Delhi, already red-faced with DMK leader M Karunanidhi's remark that he did not look upon the prime accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination as a terrorist. The Sri Lanka army announced a major and "final" offensive to flush out LTTE terrorists holed up in an area measuring no more than 20 sq km in the north-eastern part of the country. more..

'Some people misinterpret ethnic crisis'

Apr 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Prime Minister has accused some people with ulterior motives of misinterpreting the ethnic crisis in the country, saying the government has the ability to differentiate between LTTE's terrorism and the rights of the Tamil civilians. "I and others are against terrorism. But this does not mean that we are against Tamils. The welfare of Tamils and the terrorism are two different issues. Government has the capability of looking separately at these two issues,” said Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. more..

Tiger rebels face surrender deadline

Apr 21 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels had just hours left to surrender by a government deadline Tuesday, as tens of thousands of civilians fled the sliver of jungle the guerrillas still control in northeast Sri Lanka. With international concern growing over the fate of civilians caught up in the conflict, the rebels could be facing a last push by troops seeking to end their 37-year armed campaign for a Tamil homeland. more..

After Kilinochchi, is Rajapaksa awaiting Kalinga?

Apr 21 (IANS) Even the pictures could not have fully captured the immense joy President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have felt when he victoriously toured Kilinochchi, the once quaint Sri Lankan town the Tamil Tigers had made the hub of a de facto state they thought no one could vanquish. But dreams do sometimes turn into disasters. That happened in January when Kilinochchi fell to the Sri Lankan military, as dramatically as the Tigers took control of it a grim and bloody decade earlier. more..