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Defence Secy on war against LTTE

India jittery over Sri Lanka exodus

Apr 27 (TOI) With the Lankan army noose tightening around Vellupillai Prabhakaran and the revelation by the LTTE chief's close associates that Tamil civilians gather around a truck to receive food at a camp for the displaced in Manic Farm in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka. The Centre has asked all the southern coastal states — particularly Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and the Coast Guard to remain vigilant in view of intelligence inputs suggesting that more..

CEB in trouble due to politicians: minister

Apr 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run power utility is in financial trouble because politicians have made wrong decisions, a government minister said as the utility was issued a license by a newly set up regulator. "The Ceylon Electricity Board is in trouble because decision that should have been made by engineers have been made by politicians," plan implementation minister P Dayaratne, himself a former energy minister said. more..

Have NGOs failed in peacebuilding?

Apr 27 (GV) I recently interviewed Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council. Jehan is also a columnist for the Daily Mirror and the Lanka Monthly Digest in Colombo. He holds a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard Law School and a BA in economics from Harvard College. Based on his significant experience as a civil society activist, I asked Jehan whether NGOs in particular had fostered any appreciable difference in the quality of governance in Sri Lanka. more..

Blame game over Lanka crisis

Apr 27 (TOI) On a day the Sri Lankan conflict widened the divide between Tamil Nadu and the rest of India, the Jayalalitha-combine described the LTTE as a "liberating movement", raising fears that the "self-determination" bogey could find other forums as well. Equating LTTE chief V Prabhakaran with Netaji Subhash Bose, S Ramadoss of PMK said, "Prabhakaran, who is fighting for the liberation of 50 million Sri Lankan Tamils, is not a terrorist." more..

Even we do not get to visit Tamil areas: Lankan MP

Apr 27 (TS) Lankan MP Mr R Sampanthan who led a delegation of Tamil National Alliance MPs recently to New Delhi to brief the Indian government about the predicament of Lankan Tamils told The Statesman that even the MPs themselves are not allowed to go to areas which they have come to represent through elections. “We are indeed discriminated against. We are not allowed to visit the Tamil areas or the camps. more..

Rebels lash out at India

Apr 27 (TS) Mr P Nadesan, head of the LTTE’s political wing, has lashed out at the Indian government for failing to play a constructive role in the ongoing conflict. In an e-mail interview to The Statesman, he expressed his sadness at the Indian government’s continuing “military aid” and “diplomatic support” to the Sri Lankan government for carrying out a virtual genocide against the Tamils. more..

Lanka issue: Karunanidhi begins indefinite fast

Apr 27 (TOI) Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi launched an indefinite fast on Monday morning demanding immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka. He went to the memorial of C N Annadurai, his mentor, and paid floral tribute to the late leader before going on fast. “This is my sacrifice for the Tamil cause,” the chief minister said. “Let be another victim of Rajapakse’s (Lanka president) genocide.” more..

Sri Lankan youth wear love for the soldier on their teesZube

Apr 27 (EB) If the war in Sri Lanka has caused anger in Tamil Nadu with many parties protesting against it, support for it is being expressed in a new form in Colombo: Many youth are wearing t-shirts with the slogan ‘I Love My Sri Lankan Soldier’ printed on it. Sold at a leading clothing and household store in Colombo, the t-shirts are in two colours — white and dark blue — and are hung cosily next to others depicting elephants, dolphins and other sea creatures, symbols generally associated with the country. more..

JVP reduced to 3 from 23 in WPC

Apr 27 (PSM) The worst affected political party by yesterday’s Western Provincial Council elections is JVP. It has lost 20 seats and returned only 3 seats. In the 2004 elections in this province the JVP contested with the UPFA and returned 23 seats. This time the JVP contested alone. According to the final results the UPFA has got 68 out of 104 seats. The main opposition has managed to get 30 seats, the SLMC 2 seats and the DUA 1 seat. more..

Western PC verdict: Sinhala “wave” for govt though minorities voting against

Apr 27 (TC) The much awaited Western Provincial Council Elections were over 24 hours ago and the results have just rolled in for the constituencies in all 03 districts, sans individual preference vote counts that may take another 24 hours (today, Sunday 26 April) or even more. On the face value of the results, the Rajapaksa regime that contested as the UPFA has swept the sheet clean with 64.7% of the votes polled and 68 seats out of the total 104 in the Western Provincial Council. more..

A clear message to int'l community - President

Apr 27 (GDI) This Western Province mandate has sent a decisive message to the international community. It has categorically declared that no power has any right or moral justification to bail out brutal terrorism at a time when the last lines in its final chapter are being writ, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a statement on the results of the Western Provincial Council election. more..

Rs. 2 million as emergency relief from China

Apr 27 (GDI) Chinese Government has donated Rs. 2 million to the Government of Sri Lanka as emergency relief assistance to civilians who had fed the LTTE, Foreign Ministry sources said. In a letter to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama Chinese Ambassador Yang Xiuping stated, "Impressed by your briefing on April 23, 2009 about the emergency humanitarian situation caused by the unexpected influx of large numbers of people to the cleared areas in short period of time, more..

Secretary Defence visits the Ipoalogama housing scheme

Apr 27 (GDI) The Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Public security Law and Order Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited the Ipalogama Housing scheme in Anuradhapura built for the soldiers and urged those in charge of the construction to finish the project rapidly yesterday (26). The ‘ Api Venuwen Api’ fund is financing the constructions of this housing scheme, defence ministry sources said. more..

Mental health care program for IDPs

Apr 27 (GDI) The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition will launch a large scale mental healthcare program covering people who were rescued and those who escaped LTTE clutches. According to Ministry sources, all the people who had been kept as hostages by the LTTE are suffering from severe mental agony after witnessing how the LTTE brutally murdered their own family members, especially children, women and elders and more..

Sri Lanka continues air strikes violating own announcement - LTTE

Apr 27 (TN) Two Sri Lanka Air Force fighter bombers continued to bomb civilian targets in Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal after the announcement by the Sri Lankan forces that it would not deploy heavy weapons or carry out air attacks as pressure mounted from the International Community. LTTE's Director of Peace Seceratariat, S. Puleedevan, told that SLAF bombers were attacking civilian targets at Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal at 12:50 p.m. and more..

'Media illusionists' twist government statement: 'No Ceasefire offered'

Apr 27 (MoD) Sri Lankan security forces will continue with the humanitarian operations to rescue the remaining 15,000 -20,000 people held hostage by LTTE while avoiding the use of heavy caliber weaponary as a strict measure coinciding with its 'Zero civilian casualty policy (ZCC)', a defence official stated refuting some immediate media jargons made misinterpreting the government declaration as a 'cession of hostilities' cum 'ceasefire'. more..

Navy thwarts LTTE offensive, destroys LTTE boat

Apr 27 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy's Fast Attack Craft and elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS) thwarted an LTTE attack on ground troops in the seas off Mullaittivu today. Naval troops intercepting two LTTE boats around 0430 hours directed Naval gun fire completely destroying one LTTE boat and inflicting heavy damages on the other. The intercepted LTTE boats had been on a mission to mount attacks on the advancing ground troops operating in the front lines when more..

Security forces end use of heavy weapons

Apr 27 (CT) The security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy weapons and combat aircraft in the northern battlefront. The government said in a statement that it has decided that combat operations have reached their conclusion. "Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy caliber guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian causalities," it said. more..

Minister de Silva ridicules voters

Apr 27 (CT) Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva has ridiculed voters who voted against the UPFA at polls for Western Province. Results of the election indicate that 70 per cent of its population eats rice while the rest eats grass, he said. The minister was speaking at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for an accident ward at Karapitiya Hospital yesterday (April 26). more..

Correcting misconceptions

Apr 27 (PISL) Minister Douglas Devananda, who led the Sri Lankan delegation to the World Conference Against Racism last week, spoke to the Peace Secretariat about his trip. These are excerpts: It was a useful opportunity to explain the actual situation in Sri Lanka. At this critical juncture, we were able to make the international community understand what is really happening here. more..

Prasanna Ranatunga, next WPC CM ?

Apr 27 (CT) There is a strong possibility of UPFA Gampaha district leader, Prasanna Ranatunga being appointed as chief minister of the Western Province, a senior government minister told 'Colombo Today'. President Mahinda Rajapasksa is expected to take a final decision on the top position soon, after discussions with party seniors. Mr. Ranatunga obtained the most number of preferential votes at the recently concluded Western Provincial Council polls. more..

Towards a national land policy

Apr 27 (DN) Land Development Minister Jeewan Kumaranatunga in an interview with the Daily News expressed his views on the current political situation and the measures taken by his Ministry to settle the land problems of the people. Q: Has the Land Ministry focused its attention to formulate a National Land Policy? A: The Ministry has already formulated a National land Policy. In order to implement this policy, the National Land Commission should be established. more..

UN, Sri Lanka to harness international support

Apr 27 (DN) Sri Lanka and the United Nations are set to interact closely in generating international support for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts during the post-conflict phase. Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe following talks with visiting UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief Sir John Holmes yesterday said the two parties had discussed ways of generating international aid for the cause. more..

CBL, UNDP to boost honey production

Apr 27 (DN) UNDP has promised to render assistance on an equal equity basis on a long time project of three years with Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) envisage the increase of honey production by 100 percent. The project will be set afloat on the April 28 at Keppetipola where over 150 bee keepers will be given Bee boxes, Smokers and protective gear. While each ten member farmer group will be provided with a Centrifugal Honey extractor, more..

'Victory at WPC overwhelming endorsement of war against terror'

Apr 27 (Island) General Secretary of the UPFA, Minister Susil Premajayanth yesterday said that the people of the Western Province, by granting a resounding victory for the ruling coalition had clearly endorsed the Government’s battle to eradicate terrorism and progress in keeping with the "Mahinda Chinthanaya". The people had placed their faith in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership beginning with more..

'Govt. exploited battlefield victories for political gain'

Apr 27 (Island) The General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake, MP, said that the government manipulated battlefield victories to win the WPC as it did at the previous PC elections. There was no reason for them to crow about a resounding victory when they had made use of bloody war to deceive the voters. He attributed the low voter turnout to threats and intimidation of voters by goons working for ruling party candidates. more..

President Rajapaksa beams from ear to ear again

Apr 27 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has scored another mammoth victory by bagging the most important of all the provincial councils, the WPC with ease. It had all the trappings of a cakewalk. The UPFA won 68 out of 102 seats––the UNP 30, the JVP 03, the SLMC 02 and the Democratic Unity Alliance 01. Its victory was a foregone conclusion but that it would secure such a huge majority of 32 seats was not something many expected, more..

Millennium City, latest casualty in GK scandal

Apr 27 (DM) In response to what residents of the Millennium City a venture of Ceylinco Group call cheating, Government has ordered the company to restore all facilities free of charge before April 30. The residents of the Millennium City Aturugriya told the Daily Mirror that Deputy Minister Housing and Construction Geethanjana Gunawardene had ordered the company to restore free street lighting, maintenance and the 24 hour security free of charge before April 30. more..

PAFFREL: People have grown weary of constant barrage of elections

Apr 27 (DM) A leading election monitoring group in Sri Lanka said yesterday the Western Provincial Council election held on Saturday could not be considered a totally free and fair poll. People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) deputy executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi said that the election was marred by pre election violence where party supporters were killed or threatened and party propaganda offices attacked. more..

UPFA up, up and away

Apr 27 (DM) Voters in the Western Province on Saturday gave the UPFA a resounding victory and with it endorsed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s economic policies and the war against terrorism in an election marred by violence, intimidation and allegations of some voters being deprived of voting. In the final count the UPFA secured 68 seats including two bonus seats out of a total of 104 seats in the Western Provincial Council while the main opposition UNP was way behind with a mere 30 seats. more..

Silence over Sri Lanka

Apr 27 (Guardian) In Sri Lanka a bloody conflict is reaching its bloody conclusion. Some 30 years ago, the Tamil population that inhabits the north and east of the island began an insurrection against the government, establishing for this purpose an organisation known as the LTTE. The ultimate aim of the Tamil Tigers was to establish an independent Tamil state, thus partitioning the island. more..

Chidambaram welcomes Sri Lanka's move to end combat operations

Apr 27 (PTI) Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday welcomed the Sri Lankan government's decision to stop combat operations in the island's north, saying it offered "solace" to India. "It means cessation of hostilities.It means to the government of India that the Sri Lankan government has put an end to the ongoing offensive," Mr. Chidambaram said. more..

Jonathan Kay on the Tamil Tigers

Apr 27 (NP) The moral evolution of the Liberal Party of Canada from the days of Jean Chretien to its current manifestation under Michael Ignatieff can be charted in many ways. A decade ago, Liberal ranks were full of America-bashers and noisy cultural nationalists. The party supported anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, and adopted the fashionable, amoral posture of "honest broker" in international relations. more..

UNICEF sends 50 metric tonnes of emergency aid to Lanka

Apr 27 (PTI) Nearly 50 metric tonnes of emergency relief materials, which would be distributed among tens of thousands of Tamil civilians fleeing the war zone in northern Sri Lanka, arrived here on Monday. The airlifted relief supplies, which landed here on Monday will be immediately sent to the conflict zone. The relief material includes nutritional supplies, water treatment units for safe water, oral rehydration salts and medical assistance. more..

Jayalalithaa rejects Congress criticism of her demand for Tamil Eelam

Apr 27 (PTI) AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa on Monday rejected Congress' criticism of her support to the Tamil Eelam cause, saying her statement had not violated any Indian law and so cannot be dubbed as "anti-national". "I am not calling for any separate nation to be carved out of Indian territory. I am a patriot to the core. I have stated that a separate Tamil Ealam should be carved out in Sri Lanka. How can that be an anti-national act in India?" she said in a statement here. more..

SLC assures New Zealand maximum security

Apr 27 (CI) Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket, does not believe New Zealand need to resort to "Haliburton" measures to ensure the security of their cricket team on the forthcoming tour of the island. Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, told the Sunday Star-Times that the terror attacks in Lahore could result in national boards hiring security firms, much like government contractors in war-torn Iraq, to ensure the safety of their teams on future tours. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket to contract 76 players

Apr 27 (CI) The Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to increase its number of contracted players to 76. The national players missing out from last year are batsmen Michael Vandort, Chamara Kapugedera and Chamara Silva and spinner Malinga Bandara. Spin sensation Ajantha Mendis, promising allrounder Angelo Mathews, fast bowler Thilan Thushara and batsmen Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura have been offered contracts in the national squad. more..

Confident of LTTE rout, Sri Lanka draws tourism plans

Apr 27 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government plans to turn the country's war-torn northeastern region, which boasts of some of the island's most scenic beaches, into a tourist attraction as the decades-old conflict with the Tamil Tigers seems to be nearing its end. "The battle between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE is nearing its end, paving way for long awaited peace and development in these areas. more..

Karunanidhi ends fast after Sri Lanka says operations have concluded

Apr 27 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President Karunanidhi on Monday went on a sudden fast early this morning demanding ceasefire in Sri Lanka and called it off after six hours once the island government announced that combat operations have concluded. "The fast has come to an end in view of the fact that the Sri Lankan government has announced an end to the war," Mr. Karunanidhi said more..

Sri Lanka to stop airstrikes, shelling of rebels

Apr 27 (AP) Under intense international pressure to prevent further civilian deaths, the Sri Lankan government said Monday it would immediately stop airstrikes and artillery attacks in its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels. The effect of the decision was not immediately clear. The military says it stopped using such weapons weeks ago, while a rebel official said government airstrikes continued even after the decision was announced. more..

Parish hosts Buddhist, Hindu new year celebrations

Apr 28 (UCAN) A Catholic parish recently organized a celebration of the Hindu and Buddhist new year to foster religious harmony among villagers. “It is unusual that Hindu-Buddhist celebrations are organized on the premises of a church,” said Venerable Akurana Gunerathne Thero, after lighting an oil lamp during the event held at the Sacred Heart Church in Hettipola, a largely Buddhist village in Kurunegala diocese. more..

Media bytes on Sri Lanka

Apr 28 (LG) My responses as a military analyst to questions from the media on some of the current developments in Sri Lanka are given below: 1. Do you think that the LTTE leader V Prabhakaran will be captured by the Sri Lankan army which says they are within the last six square kilometres of LTTE held territory? Capturing Prabhakaran would not be an easy task. I do not believe he would stay at the front and fight till the last bullet and die. more..

Pulicats become pussycats and see how they all run!

Apr 28 (LG) I have my bicycle now. I intend cycling often along this great highway which used to be known as A9 Kandy Road until the now going, going almost-gone pulicats – kotiyapussa - made it the Kappang Highway with their vicious illegal tax; that was soon after the Norwegian brokered ceasefire which itself was a conspiracy. This illicit highway cash cow extortion brought about untold miseries to the very people for whom the pulicats wanted to be the sole voice. more..

Govt hasn’t the capacity to realize that its election victory -UNP

Apr 28 (LG) Lakshman Kiriella UNP M.P. thanked the voters and supporters who supported the UNP at the 25th Apr. WPC elections. Addressing a media briefing at the UNP media unit today, he said the Government hasn’t the capacity to realize that its election victory was founded only on the votes of 39 % of the registered voters. In other words over 61 % are with the Opposition. more..

'Some countries who oppose talks with Taliban,propose talks with Tigers!'

Apr 28 (LG) The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva, in collaboration with the Geneva Press Club - Club suisse de la presse, organised a press conference on the topic of the ‘Current Situation in Sri Lanka’, on 24 April 2009 at ‘la pastorale,’ Geneva. Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, were the two main speakers at this press meeting. more..

Safety of trapped Tamils a top priority, UK told

Apr 28 (LG) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama outlined to David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the UK when they spoke today (27/4/2009) that the foremost priority of the Sri Lanka Government is to ensure the safety of civilians entrapped in the North, and combat operations had reached its conclusion. The telephone call was initiated by Foreign Secretary Miliband. more..

Are these westerners concerned for the loss of innocent lives or their loss of business?

Apr 28 (LG) Almost all statements released, one after the other, by western politicians, diplomats, spokespersons etc throughout the world at this 11th hour indicates nothing other than their sinister motive of giving a fresh life line to the LTTE leader Prabhakaran and dragging Sri Lanka back into an on-going war against terrorism. It is not surprising at all to understand the so-called ‘grave concerns’ of these people led by British who are the main culprits of the ‘conflict’. more..

Q+A - The last days of Sri Lanka's long war?

Apr 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka on Monday promised to stop using heavy weapons in its fight to finish off the Tamil Tiger rebels, responding to mounting international calls to protect tens of thousands of civilians in the war zone. Here are questions and answers about what happens next on the Indian Ocean island: WHAT HAPPENS NOW ON THE BATTLEFIELD? This is all but certain to be the last conventional battle in a war that has raged off and on since 1983. more..

Sri Lanka Ceylinco Finance to sell assets

Apr 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Ceylinco Finance said it has decided to sell some of its assets to raise funds to improve its liquidity position. "The company made a decision to divest certain selected businesses and assets including property in Colombo, and land and buildings in suburban areas," the company said in a stock exchange filing. "The decision was made mainly to improve the liquidity position of the company." more..