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Police take softly, softly approach to London Sri Lanka demonstrations

Apr 22 (Guardian) It's a fortnight since I turned up for work at the Commons and found a noisy demonstration blocking Westminster Bridge, complete with flags and drums, plus policemen. I asked who it was. The Tamils, someone explained. They're still there, albeit about 50 today compared with several hundred when I left the office and inspected the demo before going home last night. more..

China backs Sri Lankan fight against LTTE

Apr 22 (TOI) China on Tuesday came out in support of the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to wipe out the LTTE and apprehend its leader V. Prabakaran. It also backed the decision of the Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda, to induct Maoist forces in the country’s army. “Both Nepal and Sri Lanka are friendly to China. We support the efforts of their governments to safeguard national integrity while ensuring security and political stability,” more..

'LTTE is a terrorist outfit'

Apr 22 (PTI) Amid a flip-flop by DMK chief M Karunanidhi over the status of LTTE, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government of India considers the outfit based in Sri Lanka as a "terrorist organisation" and its leader V Prabhakaran remains a "proclaimed offender". "Our position has been explained by the spokesperson of the Congress party in the last few days that LTTE is a terrorist organisation and that Prabhakaran is a proclaimed offender. more..

Sri Lanka coach: Attacks may prompt retirements

Apr 22 (AP) Sri Lanka's coach thinks some cricketers could shorten their international careers rather than tour potential trouble spots in the wake of the terror attacks on his team in Pakistan last month. Trevor Bayliss was on the Sri Lanka team bus when it was ambushed by a dozen or more heavily armed gunmen en route to the stadium on March 3 for the second test against Pakistan in Lahore. more..

Sri Lanka must now listen to its friends

Apr 22 (Guardian) It is an uncomfortable thought that growing international pressure on Sri Lanka's government to halt its military offensive against the Tamil Tigers may have actually precipitated this week's lethal, all-out push to end the war once and for all. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was under fire from all sides – the UN, the Red Cross, India, key western aid donors. He needed to finish it, fast. He seems to be doing so. more..

We congratulate Security Forces for their exceptional victories – JVP

Apr 22 (LT) The JVP states it congratulates the exceptional victories achieved by the Security Forces in the ongoing war in the North against tiger terrorists. An announcement issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP states the release of civilians detained by the tiger terrorists is another magnificent victory of the heroic Security Forces. Full text of the announcement: more..

Tax increases, Mahinda's New Year present - Ranil

Apr 22 (CT) The belated New Year present from President Mahinda Rajapaksa this time has been the tripling of the nation building tax and the escalation of commodity prices, said opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Mr. Wickremesinghe said that when he had asked a government minister about the raises in taxes, he had replied that otherwise, the Rajapaksa regime won't have funds even to pay its ministers by May. more..

Pause in military action unnecessary, Sri Lanka tells Britain

Apr 22 (PTI) Maintaining that a pause in the military operation against LTTE is "unnecessary", Sri Lanka has assured Britain that the political process to resolve the ethnic problem in the island nation will be commenced "once terrorism has been eliminated". During a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday, Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the massive exodus of Tamil civilians from the LTTE-held areas has led to a "completely new situation" in the embattled north. more..

Congress wants govt. to tell Sri Lanka to end hostilities

Apr 22 (PTI) With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi asking the Centre to issue an ultimatum to Colombo to declare an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the Congress on Tuesday said the party wanted the Indian government to appeal to Sri Lanka for "cessation of hostilities" on the island nation. "My party calls upon the Indian government to appeal to Sri Lanka for cessation of hostilities," party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here. more..

Tough search for Sri Lanka truths

Apr 22 (BBC) Reporting from Sri Lanka at the moment is extremely difficult. There is no independent access to the northern war zone, or to the thousands of Tamil civilians who have crossed over to government-controlled territory. The only regular sources of information are the government on one side, and websites sympathetic to the LTTE on the other. There is a propaganda war alongside the conflict on the ground, and confirming details of what is going on is all but impossible. more..

The 'human' costs of the 'humanitarian' rescue operation

Apr 22 (DBJ) Thousands of Entrapped Tamil civilians fled from areas controlled by the LTTE on April 20th in the aftermath of a military operation by the Army that was successful in breaching tiger defences in the Karaithuraipatru AGA division in Northern Mullaitheevu district. According to official sources, besieged Tamil civilians were able to escape LTTE clutches and move towards Army positions after the security forces broke through the “bund cum Trench” defence constructed by the Tigers in the Puthumaathalan-Ambalavanpokkanai area. more..

Threat for Sri Lanka civilians

Mass Tamil exodus from rebel area

Apr 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka says 63,000 Tamil civilians have escaped from the last remaining area of territory held by Tamil Tiger rebels in the past two days. The army said it had made further inroads into the small area in the north, searching for the rebel leader. It said some civilians fled by sea and were met by the navy. They were being transferred to government-run camps. The rebels alleged the army had killed about 1,000 civilians in the latest fighting. There is no confirmation. more..

MSF treating hundreds of wounded arriving from Sri Lankan war zone

Apr 22 (MSF) Over the last 36 hours Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgeons alongside Ministry of Health staff, have been working around the clock to treat more than 400 war wounded patients that have arrived in Vavuniya hospital, in the government controlled area in northern Sri Lanka. That is almost double the number of patients that were previously being admitted in the space of a week. The injuries are mostly caused by shrapnel and landmines. more..

Another TamilNet lie exposed

Apr 22 (LG) The TamilNet, LTTE’s news constructor made a serious faux pas in its daily report of lies; call it a howler. Wriggling daily like a miserable worm it has been trying to tell its readers that it is the Armed Forces that are engaged in capturing the civilians held hostage by the Tigers and marching towards the LTTE FDLs as their shields. This is what the director of LTTE Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan told TamilNet today Tuesday. more..

The vicious spiral triggered by the Govt. is putting the country on the road to perdition – UNP

Apr 22 (LG) UNP M.P. Dayasiri Jayasekera addressing a news conference, said that the Government has created a vicious spiral by borrowing from all and sundry in its desperation at prohibitive rates of interests, not for the development of the country or to ease the people’s cost of living problems and burdens ,but to repay existing colossal debts it has driven itself into owing to its fiscal mismanagement. more..

Canada must pressurize the Tiger lobby to demand civilians be released

Apr 22 (LG) The time is right for Canada to put pressure and threaten action against the Tamil Tiger lobby and its front organizations active in Canada, stated a press release from the Consulate-General of Sri Lanka in Toronto. It further said: “Canada should put pressure on the Tamil Tiger lobby to demand the LTTE to release immediately the balance, suffering and innocent civilians held hostage by the Tamil Tigers. more..

Today only the Tamil Diaspora struggles for Tamil Eelam

Apr 22 (LG) In a strange twist of events, the Tamil Diaspora has come to the forefront of the Tamil Elam struggle. A section of the Tamil Diaspora, to be precise. In fact it is the only group that carries on the Tamil Eelam struggle now as the LTTE and Tamils in Sri Lanka have given it up. This is side-splitting! These sections of the Tamil Diaspora have no intention of living in or fighting for ‘Tamil Eelam’, yet more..

The work of United Nations: Part 2

The work of United Nations: Part 1

Sri Lanka's war may finally be over – but no one is celebrating

Apr 22 (Telegraph) After 25 years of conflict and at least 70,000 dead, it's hard to believe the Sri Lankan war might finally be in its final days. Not least because the claim has been made so often before, and always wrongly. It has been a perpetual tragedy, seemingly beyond diplomacy and politics – and more recently, in the time of Islamic militancy, beyond the care of the rest of the world. more..

Civilian casualties rising in Sri Lanka conflict

Apr 22 (AI) More than 4,500 civilians are believed to have died in the fighting according to UN estimates in north eastern region in Sri Lanka. There were hundreds of civilian casualties reported on Monday alone. Immediate action must be taken by all parties concerned to prevent further mass killings of civilian/non-combatants. An estimated 100,000 civilians remain trapped in the conflict zone between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan army in the north of the country. more..

Western Hypocrisy and LTTE Terrorism

Apr 22 (AT) It is difficult to generalize, but at least in the case of Sri Lanka it is clear that Western hypocrisy has strengthened terrorism. The most recent example is the way that they have behaved on the issue of rescuing Tamil civilians from the ‘no fire zone.’ It has in fact been an arduous task for the Sri Lankan government to circumvent the Western pressure and finally act decisively without allowing the LTTE to regroup and more..

Govt. firm against Special Envoy – President tells Brown

Apr 22 (GDI) The request by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a pause in military action was deemed as unnecessary by President Mahinda Rajapaksa considering the unexpected exodus of 35,000 civilians to the cleared areas from the No Fire Zone (NFZ). This was said by President Rajapaksa during a telephone conversation initiated by the British Prime Minister, yesterday – April 20. more..

Two Sri Lankas struggle to tell their tales

Apr 22 (NYT) As the world waits to find out what exactly is happening in the battle between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil separatists now trapped on a narrow strip of land in the country’s northeast, supporters of both sides in the 25-year conflict continue to fight a global propaganda war on many fronts. International reporters are still barred by Sri Lanka’s government from the war zone, so The Times, like the BBC and other news organizations, is forced to rely on the conflicting statements of more..

Jayalalithaa lashes out at Karunanidhi on Sri Lankan issue

Apr 22 (PTI) Coming down heavily on Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sri Lankan Tamils issue, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said if he failed to prevail on the Centre to bring an immediate ceasefire in the island nation, "history will not forgive him". "At this juncture, Karunanidhi should act as a Chief Minister and put pressure on the Centre at least to save the remaining Tamils living in Sri Lanka. If he fails to do so, how will history forgive him?", more..

Tourist arrivals down 10.5 pct in March

Apr 22 (LBO) Tourist arrivals to Sri Lankan fell 10.5 percent to 34,065 for the month of March 2009, with key Western European and South Asian markets weakening. The number of tourists from the all-important western European market, the lifeblood of beach resorts, fell by 5.2 percent to 14,665 in March from the same month a year ago. Tourist arrivals from Germany, dropped 23.5 percent to 2,700, Dutch arrivals fell 25.5 percent to 972, while Italian arrivals slid 31.3 percent to 480. more..

Sri Lanka rubber regains bounce

Apr 22 (LBO) Sri Lankan rubber prices have bounced back as demand picks up and tapping slows down during the off-season, industry officials said. Exports of raw rubber have increased but domestic manufacturing industries are still operating under capacity. Rubber production in January and February 2009 was up 0.9 percent to an estimated 25.4 million kilos from a year ago but officials said it was too early to forecast annual output. more..

Media: If you are not covering Sri Lanka right now, why not?

Apr 22 (AN) "A mass slaughter of civilians will take place Tuesday at noon. And everyone knows it." These are the words my colleague used to describe what is happening in Sri Lanka today in his new article for Foreign Policy's online magazine. It is not an exaggeration: what's happening in Sri Lanka is a massacre in progress. There are over 100,000 civilians trapped in a tiny area, squeezed between the Sri Lankan government forces, more..

Red Cross: Sri Lankans in 'catastrophic' situation

Apr 22 (AP) Tens of thousands of civilians trapped in Sri Lanka's northern war zone face a "catastrophic" situation, the Red Cross said Tuesday, amid fears a final assault against the Tamil Tiger rebels would lead to a dramatic rise in casualties. The U.N. and others have called for a negotiated truce to allow civilians to leave the rebel-held coastal strip — and the government says more than 52,000 had escaped since Monday. more..

US releases satellite photos of Sri Lankan war

Apr 22 (AP) The State Department released satellite imagery Tuesday of tens of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians squeezed into the last small strip of land controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. The State Department said that a recent image shows about 25,000 tents packed into a coastal strip about 8 square miles large. Based on the number of tents, they estimate that about 125,000 people were in the conflict zone before about 60,000 civilians escaped over the last two days. more..

Will Indian agencies help Prabhakaran flee?

Apr 22 (DNA) The Sri Lankan army's assault on the last remaining LTTE bastion in Mullaittivu, about to begin any time, could not have come at a worse time for the Congress-led government. The Congress party is facing a tough national election where every seat counts and Tamil Nadu, where LTTE chief Prabhakaran is a hero and the fate of Tamil civilians an emotive issue, is to vote soon. It is perhaps this compulsion that prompted chief minister M Karunanidhi to speak of his admiration for Prabhakaran. more..

Fighting traps civilians in no-fire zone

The trends that need watching

Apr 22 (BL) A few significant trends that may affect the future of Sri Lanka and the Indian subcontinent have surfaced during the past fortnight. Among them I consider the development in the Eastern Provincial Council as the most important. The council was about to reject the amending bill to the Local Authorities Elections Act when the government intervened and postponed the debate to May 12. more..

Express exodus

Apr 22 (BL) As more than 20 000 civilians continued to flood into troop controlled areas yesterday bringing the total amount to 62 602 during the past two days, the government assured that all provisions were being made to assist them. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha assured that the government expected a large exodus of civilians, which has reached around 131 000 since January with the latest arrivals and had prepared accordingly. more..

Improved stimulus deal for exporters

Apr 22 (BL) The government has agreed in principle to improve the stimulus package for the export sector, which is reeling from the impact of the global recession as well as local constraints. At a top level meeting yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat, government officials and export sector representatives reached a consensus with regard to the way forward for an improved version of the stimulus package, first announced a few months ago. more..

Prabhakaran and his Tigers last gasp

Apr 22 (BL) The funeral arrangements are ready. Only the final rites remain. And the Sri Lankan security forces are poised to carry that out too, to the LTTE and its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. On Monday after the expiry of the deadline for the LTTE to surrender, by the President, the final countdown is in progress. GOC 53 Division, Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunarathna, Task Force VIII Commander Col. G.V. Ravipriya and Officers from the Special Forces and Commandos planned on Monday to attack the LTTE’s current strongest point at Vellamullivakkal, more..

Party secretaries leave protesting the IGP's 'baila' story

Apr 22 (LeN) Political party secretaries and representatives that were summoned by the Election Commissioner today (21) to discuss the ways to prevent violence in the Western Provincial Council election left early protesting the conduct of the Inspector General of Police at the discussion. The heated situation erupted as the party secretaries were explaining the situation in the Central Colombo electorate in which a UPFA candidate is disrupting the campaigns of the other candidates more..

End indiscriminate fire in Sri Lanka no-fire zone: US

Apr 22 (AFP) The United States on Tuesday urged both Sri Lanka government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop "indiscriminate fire" in a zone sheltering thousands of civilians. The State Department also said the US ambassador in Colombo, Bob Blake, is urging Sri Lankan officials to seek a diplomatic solution that allows civilians to leave the "no-fire zone" set up by the Sri Lankan government. more..

Bitter end for Sri Lanka's rebels?

Apr 22 (BBC) The end of Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war has been much predicted in recent months - not least by the government - but it seems the conflict may now finally be drawing to a close. The rebels are cornered in a small stretch of territory in the north-east of the country. There are two conflicting theories - which observers agree are equally plausible - as to how the last battle will finish. more..

Tamil protest jams Canadian capital

Apr 22 (AFP) Up to 30,000 Tamil protestors stepped up pressure on the Canadian government on Tuesday, clogging the capital for a 15th day in a row to demand it try to broker a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Screaming "no more genocide," beating drums heard throughout downtown, waving fists in the air and placards begging for the prime minister's ear, they packed onto the parliamentary lawn with umbrellas drawn in a drizzle. more..

LTTE cornered but still covers behind civilians

Apr 22 (DW) Following yesterday's daring operation where elite SLA units plunged into the NFZ, the government is now in charge of over 130,000 Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE. By the time this report is written, some 50,000 civilians have escaped in less than a 48-hour period. The Army had previously rescued 70,000 civilians since January 2009. The best estimate is that another 25,000-30,000 civilians are being held hostage by the LTTE, more..

Fears of bloodbath as Sri Lankan forces push into Tamil Tiger enclave

Apr 22 (Times) The Red Cross warned of a humanitarian catastrophe yesterday as the Sri Lankan Army prepared for a final assault on the last pocket of rebel-held territory where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped. The army said that it had evacuated tens of thousands of civilians and advanced into a 6.5 square-mile no-fire zone where the last 200 Tamil Tiger fighters are. more..

NZ concerned for trapped civilians

Apr 22 (Scoop) Foreign Minister Murray McCully today appealed to Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers to heed international calls to end the perilous situation faced by civilians caught in fighting in northern Sri Lanka. This follows the Sri Lanka government’s warning to the Tamil Tigers to surrender immediately or face a final military assault. “New Zealand continues to call on both sides to stop fighting, and to look for a long-term, peaceful solution to this conflict,” more..

A long match! Freedom from the Tyranny

Apr 22 (LG) Watching the exodus of Tamils on the 20th of April 2009 from the so-called no-fire zone to the military controlled area was very moving. They were crossing Nanthik Kadal, a lagoon between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military. It is more like the episode where Moses led his people from Egypt to the promised land of Israel. The red Sea opened a path for the exodus to cross but in the Nanthik Kadal the exodus have to swim in water sometimes up to their neck, more..

Trapped civilians vital for Prabhakaran’s survival, Dr. Michael Roberts

Apr 22 (LG) In the midst of army’s heroic effort to rescue thousands fleeing LTTE gun fire, Dr. Michael Roberts has defended Prabhakaran’s human shield strategy. He believes that “LTTE would not allow the civilians a choice, especially since the latter also provided a labor pool, a source of foodstuffs from the supplies sent by the government of Sri Lanka via the ICRC and a political bargaining chip (a stack of chips really). more..

Contradicting figures raise fears of disappearances

Apr 22 (TN) While the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) claimed Monday that 30,000 civilians had reached territory under its control from the so-called safety zone, civil officials in Vavuniyaa and in Jaffna reported Tuesday that only 8,500 have arrived in the districts. However, SLA officers in Jaffna gave contradicting figures ranging between 5,000 and 12,000 in the custody of the army in Vanni, waiting to be evacuated. more..

'Rs. 77 billion will utilize for road development this year'

Apr 22 (GDI) “As far as the completed roads are concerned, it has given a considerable impetus to promote the conveyance of goods to and fro and to facilitate commuters with increased public transport on new routes.” Minister of Highways T.B. Ekanayake said. The Highways and Road Development Ministry will accelerate the growth of the road rehabilitation and construction utilizing Rs. 77 billion during this year. Minister said. more..

“Victims of War” exposes in Geneva

Apr 22 (GDI) Minister Rizad Badurdeen inaugurated a photographic exhibition “Victims of War” in Geneva yesterday. The exhibition would enhance worldwide awareness of the brutalities, political assassinations, cruelties imposed on civilians and disregard for human rights by the LTTE through the past three decades, as well as the successes so far of the humanitarian operations to free the country from terrorism, will open in Geneva this week. more..

Basil to visit India shortly

Apr 22 (GDI) Senior Presidential Advisor, Basil Rajapaksa will visit India soon as a special envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for discussions with Indian top officials, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said that the Indian government had not changed its policy regarding the terrorist problem in Sri Lanka and though the TNA members had visited India and tried their best to influence India. more..