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'This is the end of blood-thirsty brute Prabhakaran'

Apr 22 (GDI) “Time is already up for the blood-thirsty brute Prabhakaran, and the shaken terrorist lives in borrowed times now. The LTTE is holed up inside a scanty stretch of land on the shores of the East, and innocent masses are free. However, had certain leaders not been so careless to provide the terrorists with weapons in the past, a large number of soldiers would still be living in dear motherland rather than sacrificing their lives in the battlefield,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. more..

We’ll leave Vavuniya if no security is given – Doctors in Vavuniya Hospital say

Apr 22 (LT) Doctors serving in Vavuniya Hospital have informed the Ministry of Health that they would leave the hospital and come back to Colombo if adequate security is not provided for them. Gynecologist Meera Mohideen of Vavuniya Hospital was murdered by an unidentified group on the 20th. The doctors say a responsible official from the Ministry of Health should hold an impartial inquiry into the incident and more..

I can’t be ‘comedy star’ by entering into a debate – President

Apr 22 (LT) He is more concerned regarding food, water, sanitary facilities and other essentials to those civilians who come seeking freedom than getting involved in unnecessary debates says President Mahinda Rajapakse. The government media states that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, Secretary General of the UNP Tissa Attanayake and MP Ravi Karunanayake had been waiting for hours in Renuka Hotel for the arrival of the President for a debate they had challenged the President to accept. more..

Hundreds dead as Sri Lankan army launches final assault

Apr 22 (wsws) The Sri Lankan military has launched an offensive to capture the remaining small patch of land held by the separatist LTTE in the country’s north. Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian disaster as the fighting engulfs an estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in the government-proclaimed “no-fire” zone. The government has rejected appeals by the UN, major powers and international organisations for a halt to the fighting, more..

'Rupee will bounce back as it was in 2007'

Apr 22 (GDI) “Current global economic downturn has many adverse effects even on economies of developing countries and the Central Bank has been thrashing out strategies to counter such financially unhealthy developments in advance. We are close to finalizing the loan agreement with the IMF that will help to overcome adversities in future,” CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said more..

Rs. 01 b went to destroy 2 LTTE craft - govt.

Apr 22 (CT) It cost the government Rs. One billion to bring down the two LTTE light craft that tried to attack Colombo in February, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (April 20), he said that though the public watched the activation of the air defence system with the interest of watching a fireworks display, it took the security forces a lot of effort to destroy the enemy craft. more..

2 children die of dengue at Matara Hospital

Apr 22 (CT) Two children have died of dengue fever at the intensive care unit of Matara General Hospital in the past two days, hospital sources say. They are a five-year-old boy Rashmika Vidushan of Beliatta and Dinusha Wijeweera, a girl aged 11 years resident in Tangalle. Following their deaths, health authorities have warned of an outbreak of dengue in Tangalle and Uyanwatte areas. more..

'South, Uva polls together possible'

Apr 22 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says he is prepared to hold polls for Southern and Uva provincial councils together, noting that provincial polls had been held individually so far in view of the security situation. This would be a possibility, with the imminent defeat of terrorism within a few days and the nation brought together eventually, he said. Mr. Rajapaksa was speaking to representatives of women's organizations in the province at Temple Trees. more..

Prabhakaran's Golden Key and investors

Apr 22 (LNP) Nothing has exposed the LTTE and its backers more than the army`s successful rescue mission on Monday. Prabhakaran, the self-styled messiah, had no qualms about unleashing unbridled terror against the very people he once promised to liberate. While his supporters were engaged in aggressive protests overseas to mislead the world into belief that the Sri Lanka military was committing genocide, Prabhakaran let loose his brainwashed suicide cadres on fleeing civilians by way of punishment. more..

Over 122,000 Wanni civilians seek refuge in Government

Apr 22 (MoD) The 58 Division troops backed by the Commando and Special Forces troops yesterday continued their humanitarian operation to rescue the civilians trapped inside the Safe Zone after reaching the Eastern beachfront dividing the Safe Zone into two enabling more civilians to arrive into the military controlled areas as huge influx of civilians continued till yesterday evening. more..

Daya Master and George seek refuge with Army

Apr 22 (MoD) Two top LTTE leaders, Velayuthan Thayanithi alias Daya Master and George have sought refuge with Sri Lanka Army. According to defence sources, the two LTTE leaders along with their family members arrived at the army defence line at Puthumathalan area this morning (Apr 22) and surrendered themselves to the Army officials. Daya Master, a former private English tutor later joined the terrorists outfit is known to be one of the most senior member of the LTTE. more..

Norway slams 'Unacceptable' civilian casualties

Apr 22 (AFP) The Norwegian government, the former peace broker in Sri Lanka's conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebel group, has called on both sides to do more to prevent "unacceptable" civilian casualties. "It is unacceptable that hundreds of civilians have been killed or wounded in the latest stages of the fighting in Sri Lanka. This could have been avoided," Minister Development Erik Solheim in said more..

Tribute to Dr. Tissa Abeysekera: Nation has lost a man of unparalleled talent

Apr 22 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a condolence message on the passing away of film personality Tissa Abeysekera said he was deeply grieved by his death. Tissa Abeysekera, one of the foremost personalities in Sri Lankan Cinema and the Arts, was a master of almost every aspect of Cinema from the writing of screenplays to acting and directing. In addition, he was an outstanding figure in the field of tele-drama and more..

Athauda challenges Ranil

Apr 22 (DN) Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne yesterday challenged Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for an open debate. Reacting angrily to the Opposition Leader’s remark that the President did not accept his challenge for an open debate on the ceasefire agreement, the Minister said, “I am asking the Opposition Leader to come for a debate with me, not with the President”. The Minister said Wickremesinghe is a failed and an unsuccessful leader. more..

Eastern farmers go for potatoes, pineapples

Apr 22 (DN) For the first time in the Eastern Province farmers have started to grow potatoes and pineapple in addition to paddy cultivation, animal husbandry and minor infrastructure projects. This is with community participation under the guidance and assistance from Jaica technical cooperation project for agricultural and rural development for rehabilitation and reconstruction, its officer in charge of Institutional Development Nanakubo told Daily News yesterday. more..

NCPA vows to wipe out child domestic labour

Apr 22 (Island) Expressing grave concern over the employment of children under 18 years of age as domestics, the National Child Protection Authority yesterday vowed to eradicate this menace. Perturbed by media reports in this regard, Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Jagath Wellawatta said they would soon remedy this situation by wiping out child domestic labour in Sri Lanka completely. more..

Prabha is getting it back: UNP

Apr 22 (DM) The UNP yesterday attributed the present fate of LTTE leader Prabhakaran to retribution since he killed a number of UNP leaders in addition to engineering the defeat of its leader at the 2005 Presidential Election. UNP Chairman Gamini Jayawickrama Perera told Parliament that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was denied of the presidency as the LTTE ordered the boycott of elections in areas held by it at that time. more..

Hakeem wants proposed amendments withdrawn

Apr 22 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem demanded that the government withdraws the proposed amendments to the Local Authorities Election Laws. He said that the Bill in its present form would never be passed since it would not receive a two-third majority in Parliament. "The government has issued an ultimatum to the LTTE. Similarly, the SLMC would like to issue an ultimatum to the government to withdraw the Local Authorities Elections Amendment Bill," more..

Birth control injection stopped after Rubella tragedy

Apr 22 (Island) The tri-monthly Depo-Provera contraceptive injection has been halted by many medical officers island wide following the death of a Grade 8 Matara schoolgirl last month who was administered the rubella injection. Though this was not on the orders of higher authorities, public health staff and other medical officers have taken this decision on their own following speculation and subsequent fears that the administration of this vaccine, too, could lead to dangerous consequences. more..

Poll Blunders

Apr 22 (DM) Complaints were pouring into the Elections Secretariat and media institutions on missing names of voters in the electoral register, multiple issuance of polling cards and incorrect NIC numbers while a relatively violent and hotly contested PC polls campaign is reaching climax. The elections propaganda campaign of Saturday’s Western Provincial Council election ends at midnight today. more..

Shock treatment

Apr 22 (DM) More than 1000 voters residing in the Slave Island, Wekanda and Hunupitiya areas expressed deep shock and displeasure over the non-receipt of polling cards for Saturday’s Western Provincial Council elections. Adding to the increasing number of election related irregularities reported in the Western Provincial Council in recent days, those who had not received polling cards so far were reported to be either supporters of the UNP or the SLMC. more..

Tigers collapse

Apr 22 (ANN) Had the Tigers succeeded in assassinating Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka in late April 2006 and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seven months later, the enemy would have had the upper hand in the Eelam war IV. The government’s war effort would have suffered an irreparable setback. Therefore, Monday’s hostage rescue mission carried out by the army wouldn’t have materialised. more..

Editorial: Who then is a terrorist?

Apr 22 (Hindu) As the end game, involving the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians, is being played out on a tiny sliver of coastal land in Sri Lanka’s North, Tamil Nadu’s electoral politics is witnessing some strange contortionist feats and crossovers by the leaders of key political parties. Each of the two main alliances, one led by the DMK, the other by the AIADMKA, hosts within it contradictory political positions on the separatist quest for ‘Tamil Eelam.’ more..

Civilians in danger amid Sri Lanka battle

Sri Lankan reserves further down

Apr 22 (ANN) The country’s foreign reserves dropped further to US$1.3 billion in February this year, enough to finance imports for about 1.3 months. However the Central Bank expects the actual number of months to be much higher in view of low oil import bills. The trade deficit for February 2009 contracted by 75.5 year-on-year to record $78 million, the lowest in four years. In February last year, the trade deficit stood at $317 million. more..

Rajapaksa, LTTE not heeding to our call: U.S.

Apr 22 (PTI) Terming the situation in Sri Lanka as "difficult", the United States on Wednesday expressed its disappointment over neither Sri Lankan government nor the LTTE paying heed to their call or that of international community with regard to the ongoing conflict in the northern parts of the country. "The problem is the parties (Sri Lankan Government and LTTE) are not heeding the call from not just the U.S., but from the broader international community," more..

Indian politicians divided on Lanka issue

Apr 22 (HT) As Sri Lankan army has reached towards the end of the 25 years civil war, politicians in India are divided on the issue. The attack on the Tamil Tigers in the neghbouring country has become an election issue, especially in Tamil Nadu. Focusing on the Tamil voters, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi hailed LTTE chief Prabhakran as Porus and demanded that he should be treated with dignity when caught. more..

Sri Lanka: Masses flee, many still in danger

Apr 22 (Time) Twice the size of Central Park. That was the answer UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes gave in early April when asked how large the area was where over 100,000 civilians were trapped with bloody battles raging around them in northern Sri Lanka. This week, that small area was reduced by a quarter when government forces gained control of a 3 km stretch of the 12 km coastal sliver that had once been a stronghold of the LTTE. more..

No sympathy for terrorists in Sri Lanka: Pranab

Apr 22 (PTI) India on Wednesday made it clear that it has no sympathy for the terrorists in Sri Lanka but was concerned only over the plight of thousands of civilians who are fleeing the conflilct zone. "Over 58,600 civilians have come out of the conflict zone till this morning," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a meet-the-press programme here. more..

Canadian Tamils put pressure on feds

Apr 22 (OS) A sea of thousands of Tamil supporters waving black flags surged onto Parliament Hill yesterday demanding an end to the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka that has claimed thousands of lives. Although the RCMP estimated the crowd at 33,000 people at its peak, media reports pegged the number in the 12,000 range. Voices raised in unison, the protesters chanted their demands for the government to stop the violence in their native land and more..

'Expect more boats carrying Sri Lankans'

Apr 22 (AAP) There's a "significant risk" more boatloads of displaced Sri Lankans will arrive on Australia's shores in the coming months, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says. The seventh boatload of asylum seekers to reach Australia this year was intercepted off the West Australian coast on Wednesday. It was carrying 32 Sri Lankan men. "There is clearly very grave potential for displaced people coming from Sri Lanka," more..

Take UN into confidence on evacuation, India tells Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (IANS) India Wednesday urged Sri Lanka to extend all facilities to the United Nations and countries seeking to help in the evacuation of civilians from the war zone in the island nation. Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee also urged Sri Lanka to ensure that relief material India has sent to the country is distributed through the International Committee of the Red Cross. more..

LTTE functionaries surrender; Rajapaksa to send emissary

Apr 22 (PTI) Sections of top Tamil Tiger leadership on Wednesday began to surrender before rapidly advancing Sri Lankan forces, signalling an imminent collapse of the LTTE after a two-decade long relentless battle. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is dispatching a special emissary to India to discuss the relief and rehabilitation measures for the people. more..

France seeks to launch Sri Lanka relief operation with UK

Apr 22 (AFP) France Wednesday proposed carrying out a joint relief operation with the U.K. to help civilians in Sri Lanka who have fled fighting between government forces and Tiger rebels. "We will try to launch an operation," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, adding he would discuss the plan with his U.K. counterpart David Miliband. Kouchner said French and U.K. boats could be dispatched to help the tens of thousands of civilians who more..

At risk in Sri Lanka's war

Apr 22 (WP) At this moment, at least 60,000 civilians trapped in a tiny strip of land along the northern coast of Sri Lanka are being deployed as human shields by the insurgent force known as the Tamil Tigers -- while artillery shells fired by the Sri Lankan army land indiscriminately among rebels and noncombatants alike. The United Nations asserts that at least 4,500 civilians have been killed since January as the government has sought to decisively end a bloody rebellion that has lasted for a quarter-century. more..

Sri Lankan war in endgame, 95,000 escape rebel zone

Apr 22 (Reuters) Thousands more civilians surged out of Sri Lanka's war zone on Wednesday, while soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels fought the apparent endgame of Asia's longest-running war despite calls to protect those still trapped. In the third day since troops blasted through a massive earthen wall built by the LTTE and unleashed the exodus, the military said at least 95,000 people had been registered for onward transit to refugee camps. more..

More civilians flee as army advances

Apr 22 (AP) Thousands more civilians fled Sri Lanka's war zone Wednesday as troops pushed deeper into the Tamil Tiger rebels' sliver of remaining territory and the government vowed again that the end to the 25-year-old conflict was near. The U.N. and humanitarian groups called for an immediate stop to the fighting, so more civilians could escape. Over the past three days more than 80,000 have fled after forces broke through a key rebel embankment protecting their territory. more..

Two key Tamil Tigers 'surrender'

Apr 22 (BBC) Two senior Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have surrendered to the military, the army's website says. It says that the rebels' media co-ordinator, Daya Master, gave himself up along with a top interpreter, named George, who worked for senior rebels. Correspondents say that if the reports are true it will be a major setback for the rebel leadership. It has insisted that rebels should commit suicide by swallowing cyanide capsules rather than be captured. more..

Q+A: Civilians at the end of Sri Lanka's war

Apr 23 (Reuters) Thousands more civilians surged out of Sri Lanka's war zone on Wednesday, escaping Tamil Tiger rebels battling a military assault aimed at freeing those still trapped inside and ending Asia's longest-running war. Here are some questions and answers about their situation: HOW MANY ARE TRAPPED? That is the subject of great debate and confusion, but the International Committee of Red Cross on Tuesday said at least 50,000 were still inside. more..

For Indian Tamils genocide is underway in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (AN) “A genocide is underway in Sri Lanka,” this according to Fr A. Santhanam, a Tamil priest from India. Speaking to AsiaNews, the Jesuit clergyman said that “hundreds of thousands of innocent Tamils are being massacred by the army. We are profoundly anguished by the inhuman suffering inflicted upon our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka.” In India the war in northern Sri Lanka is seen as genocide. more..

Sri Lanka cuts interest rate to help economy

Apr 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank sharply lowered one of its main interest rates to a near four-year low on Wednesday to stimulate faltering economic growth by boosting commercial lending. Sri Lanka's 2009 growth is expected to fall to an eight-year low of 2.5 percent due to the central bank's past tight monetary policy adapted to curb record inflation and the financial crisis. more..

As Lanka closes in on Tigers, boat with refugees lands in TN

Apr 23 (IE) As Sri Lankan troops advanced on the last redoubt of the Tamil Tigers and the exodus of people trapped in a coastal strip crossed 62,000, a boatload of starving Tamil refugees landed on the Tamil Nadu coast this morning. Refugees claimed that over 80 boats carrying civilians were headed for the Indian mainland but officials said intelligence inputs pointed to only four boats making the journey. more..

What next, after a Colombo victory?

Apr 23 (ANN) So, it looks like Sri Lanka's quarter century of convulsions may finally be drawing to a close. Velupillai Prabhakaran, the charismatic fighter who organised a motley band of Tamil youth into the world's most dreaded guerilla army, is vanquished. It is a matter of time before his body is discovered by the advancing Sri Lankan army. If the troops of 58 Division do discover his body, it will perhaps be with a cyanide capsule in his mouth or a bullet wound to the temple. more..

Legitimacy of the Tamil course and illegitimacy of LTTE

Apr 23 (LG) If cynics have their way everything uttered on any issue during the elections in India are worthy as a line drawn on water. Yes it is true, politicians make promises with no intention of keeping them, and most of the times serious intention also get wiped out in the vastness of the Indian polity. Yet sadly, the cynicism stems from those who are rightly proud of their democracy while deeply unhappy about its process. more..

Maestro’s Salute to the Ace

Apr 23 (C360) When the Ambanis consulted Sachin on team selection, the first name that cropped up in Sachin’s mind was Jayasuriya. With one and half year into a dream partnership, Sachin has seen much of this cricket genius from close quarters. Now that both of them are parts of one team, Sachin had the rare privilege of observing the batsman both as opponent and the colleague, and more..

LTTE and Tamil People II : Interflows

Apr 23 (GV) During the halcyon years of the LTTE, besides Mâvîrar Nâl on 27 November, the Tigers conducted nine other mâvîrar or tiyaki ceremonies every year. These were, on the one hand, subjectively meaningful engagements and, on the other, political propaganda. I have argued that the mâvîrar rites — within the context of past grievances and memories, as well as the sufferings of war more..

Indian women on fast on Lankan issue taken into custody

Apr 23 (PTI) Five women who were on an indefinite fast for over a week protesting the alleged 'killing of Tamils' in Sri Lanka and demanding an immediate ceasefire were arrested on Wednesday and admitted to hospital. According to police, the five women — Thangamani, Chitra, Lokanayaki, Jeyamani and Sumathy — were admitted to the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH), after their health deteriorated. more..

Indian parties divided on general strike on Lankan Tamils issue

Apr 23 (PTI) The general strike called by ruling DMK on Thursday on the Lankan Tamils issue has evoked a mixed response with its allies including Congress backing it but AIADMK and its partners refusing to take part, slamming it as a "farce". Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, under mounting pressure ahead of the Lok Sabha polls for not doing enough on the Lankan issue, last night gave the strike call to protest the 'killings of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka' and to demand immediate steps for a ceasefire. more..

Sri Lanka says collapse imminent as LTTE functionaries surrender

Apr 23 (PTI) Two top Tamil Tiger functionaries on Wednesday surrendered before the rapidly advancing Sri Lankan forces, signalling an imminent collapse of the LTTE as troops closed in on Vellamullivakkal, the possible hiding place of rebel supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran. Velayutham Dayanidhi, better known as Daya Master, a former media coordinator of the rebels and George, a close aide of slain LTTE political wing head S.P. Thamilchelvan gave themselves up to the army at Putumathalan in the No-Fire Zone where more..

Persecuted Sri Lankan paper wins British award

Apr 23 (IANS) An anti-government Sri Lankan newspaper, whose editor was shot dead in January by unknown gunmen, has been named for a prestigious freedom of expression award in London. The Sunday Leader was given the top Guardian Journalism Award as part of the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards Tuesday. 'The Sunday Leader and its journalists have been subject to continual threats and brutal harassment since more..