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Water levels down, but no need to worry – CEB

Apr 23 (Island) Water levels in the hydropower catchment areas have gone down drastically this week. By noon yesterday it was only 23.5 per cent full, a senior Ceylon Electricity Board(CEB) official said. He said that though there were scattered showers reported from some parts of the country this week, none of the major reservoirs including Laxapana got rain. He said that less than 25 per cent water capacity in the reservoirs is always a warning sign. more..

Heavy rains in City yesterday

Apr 23 (DM) The Meteorology Department said the convergence of winds blowing from the Northern and Southern hemispheres and a minor depression caused heavy rains in Colombo and its outskirts yesterday. A Department spokesman said the rain has been confined to Colombo and its outskirts with the City received a rainfall in excess of 100 mm. yesterday. Rainfall in Colombo Fort has been recorded as 160 mm, more..

Colombo- Central, the centre of violent drama

Apr 23 (DM) The manner in which certain UPFA candidates from Colombo-Central intimidate rivals is sure to leave a stigma in the campaign record of the UPFA and make a possible victory in the Western Province, a mockery. What the UPFA fails to understand is that any attempt to use force to bag the UNP bastion is going to be counter-productive since it is likely to drive away the floating voters who would by now have decided to vote for the government for its military achievements. more..

Foreign affairs expert discusses...

UNFPA provides assists displaced persons in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (UNFPA) Women and girls uprooted by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka need assistance to maintain their health and dignity, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, said today. The Fund is collaborating with district health authorities to provide personal hygiene supplies to displaced people in Vavuniya district. In response to the large recent influx of displaced people – including thousands who escaped the combat zone this week more..

Sri Lankan female medical student illness stirs agitation

Apr 23 (Nation) An agitation was created when Sri Lankan female medical student of Fatmia Jinnah Medical College (FJMC) brought to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital with brain hemorrhagic attack was declared unable for operation due to her critical condition. The medical students got annoyed after a hospital senior doctor refused to perform surgery saying that she had suffered brain death and it would be useless to operate in this condition. more..

Sri Lankan superstar Ranidu set to make waves in the UK!

Apr 23 (AN) Ranidu is the undisputed icon of Sinhalese R’n’B and hip hop who has captured the imagination of the Sri Lankan masses with his breathtaking voice and enigmatic compositions. He has single-handedly taken the genre of Sri Lankan R’n’B to new and never before seen heights in the international arena. With the massive release of the club banger Fake Friendz (Athamita Kasi), Ranidu is keen to introduce his unique vibe to Britain’s South Asian music community. more..

What now for Sri Lanka's displaced?

Apr 23 (BBC) As Sri Lanka's army corners Tamil Tiger rebels in a tiny sliver of land, the next test for the government lies in how it deals with the mass exodus of humanity from the war zone. The army says more than 80,000 people have fled the area in the past two days - a figure that already exceeds the government's earlier estimates of the number of civilians trapped. Estimates of the numbers left inside vary from 30,000 to 120,000 people - but more..

Central bank urges lending rate cut

Apr 23 (LBO) Central bank says steeply falling risk free benchmark rates should push country wide rates down, as commercial bank lending rates remain stubbornly sticky. On Wednesday auction yields of 3-month bills fell 71 basis points and 12-month yields fell 100 basis points following a 175 basis point cut in the key central bank signal rate. The so-called 'penal' reverse repo rate that sets the ceiling on overnight rates had been cut from 19.0 percent to 16.0 percent in 2009. more..

Sri Lanka flag for new German ships

Apr 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's ship registry, which governments have long promoted with little success, will get six brand new vessels belonging to a group with German interests with close links to the island, starting this year. Two of the ships, multi-purpose vessels being built by a Dutch yard, are owned by Mercantile Shipping Company, which for years was the island's biggest ship owner. more..

'Lanka govt 'more at fault' than LTTE'

Apr 23 (TOI) Union home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said both LTTE and Sri Lanka were not paying heed to India's request to end hostilities but felt Colombo was "more at fault" as it thought military solution could end the strife. Stating that the Sri Lankan Tamils issue was a humanitarian one and there was need to protect the lives of the people, he said India had asked the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to stop the hostilities. more..

Tamil protesters pack it in after weeks on Hill

Apr 23 (OS) A Canadian Tamil spokesman was on the verge of tears, expressing disappointment at the lack of response from elected officials to the weeks-long protest on Parliament Hill. "We are at a loss as to what to do," Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Popalapillai said yesterday. "(But) the struggle has to go on. The grieving will not stop." Tamil Canadians ended their protest Tuesday with a massive gathering of community members from more..

Analysis: Sri Lanka's war aftermath

Apr 23 (AJ) Al Jazeera has spoken to analysts about the current state of the Sri Lankan conflict and its future. The separatist LTTE has been pushed into a tiny coastal area in the northeast by the military, with tens of thousands of civilians being forced to migrate from the conflict zone. A military victory after 26 years of war appears imminent, but support for the Tamil movement may remain. more..

Eyewitness: 'I thought, I won't survive'

Apr 23 (BBC) Almost 100,000 civilians have fled the war zone in northern Sri Lanka. Journalists are generally not given access to fleeing civilians. But Swaminathan Natarajan of the BBC's Tamil service managed to speak to Vinoo, a young mother who made this difficult journey and is now in a government-controlled camp in Vavuniya. "We were staying near Puttumatalan hospital. On the night of the 20th there was heavy shelling. I thought, I won't survive. more..

UK discusses Sri Lanka situation with India

Apr 23 (PTI) Voicing concern over the plight of the trapped civilians in Sri Lanka's conflict zone, Britain has favoured "a fully inclusive" political process for lasting peace in that country as it discussed the situation in the island nation with India. British Foreign secretary David Miliband discussed the situation in Sri Lanka with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, among other international leaders on Wednesday. more..

Indian envoy to Sri Lanka meets Pranab, Menon

Apr 23 (PTI) As it watches closely the developments in Sri Lanka, the government was on Thursday briefed on the situation in the island nation by High Commissioner Alok Prasad who has been called here for consultations. Mr. Prasad met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon here and apprised him about the latest developments in Sri Lanka's north where about 10,000 civilians are trapped in the conflict, more..

Sri Lanka war politics shuts down Tamil Nadu

Apr 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil Tigers buffeted Indian politics on Thursday after DMK, which is sympathetic to the rebels, shut down Tamil Nadu a key electoral swing state in the middle of general election. The 12-hour strike called by the DMK is seen as an attempt to garner votes by being sympathetic to the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. Indian politicians face pressure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils, more..

'Don’t vote for thugs and racketeers'

Apr 23 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka exhorted voters in the Western Province to refrain from voting for political thugs, racketeers and those who enter politics to forward their own interests, on Saturday. Mr. Dissanayaka said it would not be difficult to choose three good candidates to mark three preferential votes in the list of candidates of any political party. more..

Tigers resisting despite surrender call

Apr 23 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels encircled in a tiny strip of land by Sri Lankan troops are still putting up stiff resistance despite calls for their surrender, the military said Thursday. The army said the guerrillas controlled a mere 10-12 square kilometres of territory on the northeast coast, where thousands of civilians are still trapped by the fighting. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the island's military spokesman, said the Tigers were using artillery and tanks. more..

Sri Lanka seeks international aid to care for displaced

Apr 23 (AP) Sri Lanka pleaded for international help Thursday in what it called an "emergency humanitarian situation," after a medical relief warned that civilian casualties are rising rapidly in the country's war zone despite the exodus of more than 100,000 in recent days. Red Cross spokeswomen Sarasi Wijeratne said Wednesday about 1,000 badly wounded people were in desperate need of treatment or to be evacuated to better hospitals outside the conflict zone. more..

Troops encircle last 8 sq km in war zone

Apr 23 (PTI) Sensing an imminent collapse of the LTTE, Sri Lankan forces on Thursday encircled the last 8 sq km patch of area in northern war zone where they suspect Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran and his top aides are holed up and put naval warships on full alert to foil any escape bid by the rebels. A naval blockade was put around northern Mullaittivu close to the areas where LTTE cadres still had access to the sea as the troops knew the "general area" where Prabhakaran could be hiding. more..

Rohana goes atop as Shiva Ram stutters

Apr 24 (MR) Anura Rohana fired a round of seven-under 65 to shoot to the top of the Surya Nepal Masters on second day as overnight leader Shiva Ram Shrestha slipped to seventh position after disastrous three-over 75 on Thursday. Sri Lankan amateur Mithun Perera ,22, continued his impressive run playing two-under 70 and remaining tied at the top of the leaderboard with Rohana at six-under 138. more..

From frying pan to fire

Apr 24 (DNA) The anger is palpable. They are tired and defeated, but what is hurting them the most is the step-motherly treatment being meted out in India. Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at the Goomdipoondi camp, about 45 km away from Chennai on Nellore Road, feel violated. "Why are we being targeted for being Sri Lankan Tamils? We fled our country as we could not withstand the torture of the Lankan army. But here in India, we are being treated like untouchables by the local people," a refugee said, more..

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar asks Sri Lankan govt to take care of civilians

Apr 24 (PTI) Worried over the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zones of Sri Lanka, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has appealed to the government of the island nation to take care of the civilians trapped in the war zone. During a three-day visit to the country from April 20-22, the founder of the the Art of Living met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and requested him to resolve the humanitarian crisis. more..

Colombo rejects UN civilian plea

Apr 24 (BBC) Sri Lanka has rejected an appeal by the UN to allow aid agencies into the war zone in the north-east to help civilians affected by heavy fighting. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the BBC that such a move "would not be sensible at the moment". Mr Rajapaksa's rejection came after a senior UN official urged Tamil rebels to lay down their arms so trapped people in the war zone can be helped. more..

LTTE and People III : Nationalism and Living Religion

Apr 24 (GV) The emergence of the LTTE was an outgrowth from Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism in its turn was an outgrowth from SL Tamil communitarianism in the centuries prior to 1949/50, the moment when an explicit theory of nationality was presented in a sustained manner. Note, however, that Tamil nationalism in the period 1949 to the 1970s was a “sectional nationalism” nestling within “Ceylonese nationalism” more..

Prabhakaran will kill himself: IPKF officials

Apr 24 (LG) With the Sri Lankan army steadily moving into the ‘No Fire Zone’ where LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran is believed to be holed up with the remnants of his shattered force, key officials of the IPKF in Sri Lanka say it is unlikely the Tiger supremo will be captured alive. "If I know anything about Prabhakaran, it is that he will never be captured alive. He will prefer to use the cyanide capsule he wears around his neck," more..

Rs.1 million worth essential goods from BOI

Apr 24 (GDI) Rs.1 million worth essential goods was sent to Vauniya this morning. This was donated by employees of Board of Investment of Sri Lanka. It consist an x-ray machine, dry foods, and medicines, cloths, household items, bicycles and many other essential items. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said while addressing the gathering that the government appreciates the effort taken by the BOI employees and invites all citizens of Sri Lanka to join hands to help the refugees in North.

India sends 40,000 assortment of packets as aid to Lanka

Apr 24 (PTI) India has dispatched nearly 40,000 assortment of packets as aid for tens of thousands of trapped Tamil civilians escaping from the northern war zone in Sri Lanka. India has already sent food, medical supplies and even set up a hospital for the Tamil refugees displaced by the war. "The packets coming from India will contain more of kitchenware and utensils this time," official sources said more..

MPs to debate Sri Lankan conflict

Apr 24 (BBC) MPs will debate the conflict in Sri Lanka next week as protests by British Tamils continue in central London. Commons Leader Harriet Harman announced the discussions, requested by the Lib Dems, would be held on Wednesday. The British Tamils Forum welcomed the move, saying it would give the public a perspective on just how many MPs were concerned about their constituents. It wants the UK to end the war in the former British colony between Tamil Tiger separatists and the government. more..

Tamil refugees flee to India to escape fighting in Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (Guardian) Desperate Tamil civilians are trying to flee to India in small boats to escape intensifying fighting between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tigers. As Sri Lanka called yesterday for international help in dealing with tens of thousands fleeing fighting, the Guardian has learned that boat-loads of refugees have arrived in Tamil Nadu – and others have attempted the trip – to avoid internment in government-run camps. more..

Sri Lanka struggles to cope with war zone refugees

Apr 24 (Reuters) Authorities are struggling to cope with more than 100,000 people who have fled Sri Lanka's war zone, aid agencies said on Thursday, while fighting blocked the Red Cross from evacuating wounded people and delivering aid. The military said a four-day exodus was beginning to slow, with some 103,000 people having come to army-held areas since troops cleared an earthen barrier it said the LTTE had built to stop them escaping. more..

India asks Sri Lanka to 'pause' hostilities

Apr 24 (PTI) Concerned over the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, India on Thursday asked Colombo to "pause" hostilities till all civilians come out of the conflict zone as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviewed the situation in the Island nation for the second time in as many days. India, which underlined that there can be no military solution to the ethnic problem, also started reaching out to the US, Britain and other important countries over the situation in Sri Lanka. more..

UN to send team to Sri Lankan "no-fire zone"

Apr 24 (Reuters) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Thursday he was concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and was sending a humanitarian team to a "no-fire zone" where civilians are trapped. He urged all sides to respect a U.N. Security Council appeal on Wednesday which also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation and the plight of civilians. more..

Siblings battle immigration rules to stay in Ann Arbor for life-saving medical treatment

Apr 24 (ML) For more than three years, Sadeepa Munasinghe and her brother Chalan have overcome obstacle after obstacle in a battle to save her life from a rare debilitating disease that brought them to Ann Arbor for treatment. But now their debts are piling up, immigration deadlines are drawing near and their hope is dimming as they face the reality that one or both of them could be forced to return to their native Sri Lanka where Sadeepa could die from lack of proper treatment. more..

National programme for sharing and caring with IDPs

Apr 24 (GDI) The national programme to be launched island wide to facilitate fleeing civilians from the terror-grips with the essential items and Government and Private media institutions were informed and instructed to corporate with this effort with immediate effect by the Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa at the special Conference held with the Government and Private media heads at the Ministry of Media today (23). more..

M K Narayanan, Shivshankar Menon to visit Colombo tomorrow

Apr 24 (PTI) Unhappy over continued killings of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka and worried about its fallout in Tamil Nadu, Union Government on Thursday decided to rush National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon to Colombo on Friday to press for immediate end to "all hostilities". The announcement to send Mr. Narayanan and Mr. Menon was made by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee after a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, second in as many days, more..

Cathedral youths help feed slum dwellers

Apr 24 (UCAN) The midday bell has just tolled at St Lucia's Cathedral in Colombo as Ajith Nishanthan, a neatly turned out 13-year-old boy in baseball cap and carrying a large bag, emerges on to the streets. "Who do you think you are?" some of his friends taunt him. "Mother Teresa?" Nishanthan just smiles and carries on with his mission, an important one in this city where decades of war, corruption, unemployment and now raging inflation have turned more..

Tamil Nadu strike on Sri Lankan issue passes off peacefully

Apr 24 (PTI) The dawn-to-dusk general strike called by the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue on Thursday threw normal life out of gear, but passed off peacefully. Police said no untoward incident was reported during the strike. State transport corporation buses stayed off the roads, but autorickshaws plied as usual while train services, including suburban, also operated normally. more..

Dark victory

Apr 24 (Economist) A dark herd creeps across a grassy plain, wades a shallow lagoon and clambers to safety. Filmed from the air on April 20th, this was a scene Sri Lanka’s government had been dreaming of: the start of a mass breakout from the Tamil Tigers’ last sanctuary by, it claims, over 100,000 refugees—perhaps two-thirds of those being held hostage there. Having inspired the exodus, by breaching a sandy embankment around this “refuge”, more..

To the bitter end

Apr 24 (Economist) Cornered, and on the brink of an historic defeat, the LTTE are as cruel and brutal as ever. As The Economist went to press, tens of thousands of civilians, human shields for Tiger fighters, had fled the last patch of Sri Lanka under LTTE control, a tiny beach-side hellhole grotesquely misnamed a “no-fire zone”. But the Tigers’ downfall will not resolve the ethnic conflict that has underpinned their 26-year war. more..

Sri Lankans flee war zone with horrific injuries

Apr 24 (Reuters) Thousands of people fleeing Sri Lanka's war zone are arriving at hospitals with horrific injuries and severe trauma, doctors said on Thursday. Some are dying in buses on their way to hospital, according to doctors working round the clock to treat wounds from shelling and gunfire. Many patients are also deeply traumatised after seeing loved-ones killed in front of them. "About three-quarters of the injured coming in now have suffered from blast injuries, more..

Mass exodus leads to massive humanitarian need

Apr 24 (IRIN) International and Sri Lankan relief agencies and government authorities are scrambling all available resources, and sending out appeals for more assistance, after over 100,000 Sri Lankan civilians fled combat areas in the north in the past few days. The UN in Colombo said teams were working around the clock to clothe, feed and shelter crowds of weary and hungry people. “I saw infants with dysentery, malnourished children and women, untended wounds, and people dressed in the ragged clothing they’ve been wearing for months,” more..

Australia braced for Sri Lanka boat influx: govt

Apr 24 (Reuters) Australia is bracing for a refugee influx from Sri Lanka as the conflict there enters its final stages, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said after a boat carrying 32 asylum seekers was intercepted off Australia. Smith, a strong critic of the Sri Lankan government's latest offensive to crush Tamil Tiger rebels, said there was a significant risk that civilians fleeing the war would head for Australia as the long-running conflict drew nearer to an end. more..

Opinion: LTTE and terror

Apr 24 (Hindu) The way the Tamil hostages have been fleeing to safety from the LTTE-controlled no-war zone since the Sri Lankan security forces broke the three sq km earthen wall built by the Tigers speaks volumes about the lives they have lived all these years. The international community should provide all assistance to Sri Lanka in rehabilitating the displaced Tamils and ushering in normality. - S. Pushpavanam, Tiruchi more..

The mirage of Eelam

Apr 24 (Hindu) With more than a 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils breaking free and escaping the intense fighting in northern Sri Lanka between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army, the myth that the island’s Tamils regard the LTTE as their sole protector and Eelam as their only hope is shattered. It is becoming increasingly evident, as the catastrophic dimensions of the human tragedy unfold, that the thousands of suffering civilians trapped in more..

Sachin is God, Mumbai is my city: Malinga

Apr 24 (TOI) Mahela Jayawardene once said that the toughest time he ever had with Lasith Malinga was while convincing the fast bowler why tattoos wouldn’t suit him. Blog: Who is fakeiplplayer? That was in 2005, when Malinga was just a year old in international cricket. The bowler with a sling-arm action, known for his athleticism, was the new face. Over the last two years, he’s copped criticism for being erratic, more..

Man immolates self over Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Apr 24 (PTI) An AIADMK activist on Thursday set himself ablaze in protest against alleged failure of both the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments to find a solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Mani (43), a worker in a dyeing factory in Tirupur, doused himself with kerosene on the Kulathupalayam Main road and set himself ablaze, police said. He was immediately rushed by the public to the Tirupur government hospital, where he is being treated for 90 per cent burns. more..

Art of War

Apr 24 (LG) War or Peace is essentially a political decision. While the former is like a blade that cuts both ways, it could make or break the political future of the decision maker, as any subsequent failure in persecuting war will definitely spell disaster for him/her as well as his country. The latter, meanwhile, is always the safer route though it might jeopardize a country’s pride and sovereignty in the end. more..

The ethics and politics of war zone writing

Apr 24 (GV) On 24 April 2005 Dharmaratnam Sivaram, (‘Taraki’) editorial board member of the website Tamilnet, was found shot dead from gunshot wounds to the head several hours after four unidentified persons had abducted him from a restaurant opposite a Police station on Colombo’s Galle Road. His murder, which followed weeks of threats, is as yet “unsolved.” Four years after his death, it is instructive to revisit his politics and draw lessons from a life lived amidst violence. more..