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Man cleared in Tamil Tigers trial

Apr 7 (BBC) A man accused of aiding the Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka has been cleared. Murugesu Jegatheeswaran, 34, of south London, had denied receiving electronic items for use in terrorism. The forklift driver said he had no knowledge of components sent to his former workplace. He was found not guilty at Kingston Crown Court. Jurors are still considering the cases of three other defendants charged with offences relating to the Tamil Tigers. They deny all the charges against them. more..

An untold story: Vavuniya where hospitals lack all facilities

Apr 7 (LG) Last week, that is during the week that ended before the end of the month of March, had a special visitor to Vavuniya. It was after a painful deliberation this person had with the defense authorities, personally. Unfortunately, the President could not decide on his own. The consent to the tour was compromised with the Secretary of Defense, finally agreeing. The tour was facilitated by the SL Air force, from Colombo to Vavuniya. more..

Veteran journalist Newton Gunarathna takes oaths as Myanmar ambassador

Apr 7 (GDI) Veteran journalist Newton Gunarathna took oaths as the Ambassador to the Union of Myanmar last week. And, the new ambassador presented his Credentials to H.E. Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State peace and Development Council of Myanmar on April 01, 2009. He took oaths on April 01, 2009 at Bayintnaung Yeiktha in Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital city of the Union of Myanmar. more..

My leader is still deeply committed to the freedom struggle -Nadesan

Apr 7 (LG) Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran is still deeply committed to the freedom struggle, his key aide B Nadesan has been quoted as saying. He said the LTTE is agreeable to a solution on the basis of Tamil proposals presented at the 1985 peace talks in Bhutanese capital Thimphu. In an interview to Indian Tamil daily Janasakthi, Nadesan said the Tiger chief is tackling the crisis with self-confdence and greater resolve. more..

'Our victories against terrorism made us confident at economic fronts'

Apr 7 (GDI) “The mythical belief that the LTTE is unconquerable is no more. Many past leaders were suspicious of our own strengths in defeating terrorism and they thought a war would be never ending. However, the present government believed in its potential and comprehensively defeated the cruel LTTE. Our heroic soldiers crushed every form of LTTE resistance in the battlefield. And, now, in a peaceful environment without any traces of terrorism, we are making fresh plans to build up the national economy,” more..

Lasantha Wickrematunge awarded UNESCO press freedom prize

Apr 7 (DPA) The murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge has been named recipient of the 2009 UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize, the United Nations' educational and cultural organization said Monday. "Jury members were moved to an almost unanimous choice by a man who was clearly conscious of the dangers he faced but nevertheless chose to speak out, even beyond his grave," more..

Kingston Tamil School cancels event for fellow Sri Lankans

Apr 7 (YLG) Kingston Tamil School cancelled its 23rd anniversary cultural event recently, in support of family members caught up in conflict-stricken Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s government is fighting a civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels and as many as 3,000 civilians have been killed and 7,000 more injured in the past two months, according to the UN. Committee member K Ilankovan said: “We didn’t think it was appropriate in the current climate. We contacted the parents and they all agreed.” more..

The last straw

Apr 7 (LG) Inching close to the capture of Puthukudiyiruppu, the last military hold of the banned terrorist organisation the LTTE, it remains to be seen whether the arrest of the outfit’s head Prabhakaran dead or live in a ‘matter of time’ would be a reality. Reports from the island government have said that if not for the Tamil civilians safety taken into consideration, the defence forces could wipe out the LTTE from the face of earth within half-an-hour. more..

A snake without a head

Apr 7 (LG) The dear departed Thamilselvan alias Zoo-Pah used to be terrified with dreams of a snake that was moving around his luxury Kilinochchi dig. What was unique about this snake was that it had no head. At first he thought it was one of the snakes he had killed while he practiced to become a pistol gangster in his teen years. His ambition that time was to be Number Two to his dream hero Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

'Let dogs bark. Comrades, let’s march forward'

Apr 7 (LT) Just as those traitors who fled to the enemy in 1971, today too there are traitors who have deserted and vituperate the party said the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarsinghe adding that “as in 1971 we could tell them ‘Let dogs bark but comrades, let’s march forward.’ Speaking at the 38th April Heroes Day Commemoration held at the Open air theatre of the Viharamahadevi Park yesterday (5th) more..

'Prabhakaran might be hiding in Mullaitivu'

Apr 7 (IANS) Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran may be still be hiding in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said Monday. Fonseka's comments came a day after the Sri Lankan Army claimed to have dealt a major military blow to the rebels by killing over 500 guerrillas of the LTTE. The army chief made his remarks while briefing US Ambassador for Sri Lanka Robert O'Blake on the situation more..

CAFOD’s Sri Lankan partners offer to step forward as negotiators for peace

Apr 7 (Ekklesia) CAFOD partners in Sri Lanka have offered to step in as negotiators between fighting forces in an attempt to avert an escalating humanitarian tragedy in the north east of the country. Tens of thousands of people are believed to be trapped in the so called ‘safe zone’, surrounded by intense fighting and are being bombed and shelled every day. The health of the people is also a concern with very little food and water available. more..

Tamil support out in the open

Apr 7 (TS) The human chain formed by tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils in downtown Toronto last month was a massive public demonstration of something that has been occurring in community halls for a while. Once clandestine, there is now open support for the Tamil Tigers, the army fighting the Sri Lankan government, which was declared a terrorist group by Ottawa in 2006. "The children learn songs, beautiful songs, based on struggle," said Anton Philip Sinnarasa, more..

UNP vote base and crisis in democracy

Apr 7 (AT) The grand old party (UNP) of Sri Lanka appears to be facing the threat of extinction following the footsteps of Labor Party of late A.E.Goonasinghe, LSSP and CP to name a few. As some say bluntly UNP is committing suicide. This situation might please the anti UNP elements but it does not augur well for the practice of democracy in Sri Lanka. Disintegration plague that infected the top rung of the party has now eaten up the whole fabric from top to bottom. more..

Birds of Paradise

London demo slams Sri Lanka rights abuses

Apr 7 (AFP) Around 1,000 protesters staged a rally outside parliament in London on Monday against alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, police said. Carrying banners reading "Stop Sri Lanka's Genocide of Tamils" and "Rwandan Genocide Repeats in Sri Lanka", protesters waved flags of the Tamil Tigers, facing a threatened final assault by government forces. A police spokeswoman estimated the turnout at around 1,000, adding that there had been no arrests. more..

Sri Lanka loses Dutch aid

Apr 7 (BBC) The Netherlands has decided to end development aid to Sri Lanka due to the security situation in the island. Development minister Bert Koenders told the BBC that the Netherlands has been providing annual aid equivalent to 30-40 million Euros to Sri Lanka since 1970s. "We think it is very difficult to work in Sri Lanka because of the violence. So, we will end our partner-country relationship with Sri Lanka," he said. more..

Escalated conflict takes toll on children, civilians

Apr 7 (IPS) The escalation since December of the conflict in Sri Lanka's north between government forces and the Tamil Tigers is taking a heavy toll on children and civilians, many of whom are still trying to escape the combat zones. At least 12,000 schoolchildren are now remaining among over 57,000 IDPs who have fled the fighting and reached the safety of government areas, according to local education officials in Vavuniya. more..

Sri Lanka Closes in on Leader of the Tamil Tigers

Apr 7 (Time) For more than 30 years, Velupillai Prabhakaran has been Sri Lanka's most wanted. And the authorities now believe that that they have cornered the elusive commander of one of the world's deadliest and most resilient insurgencies. Sri Lankan military officials said Sunday that more than 500 cadres of the LTTE had been killed in fighting over the weekend, and that the Tamil separatist fighters are now confined to a more..

Tamil war demo sparks river alert

Apr 7 (AP) Lifeboats have been scrambled after thousands of Tamil protesters calling for international action to enforce a ceasefire in Sri Lanka threatened to throw themselves into the River Thames. Four RNLI lifeboats were on standby along with police, fire and the harbour master's vessels, amid concern the demonstrators would attempt to jump en-masse into the river. Around 3,000 people gathered outside the Houses of Parliament, near Westminster Bridge. more..

Tourism for SAARC People-to-People contact

Apr 7 (GDI) There is enormous potential for tourism in the SAARC region. The centuries old civilization, rich and unique cultural diversity, exquisite cuisine, extremely diverse and vast array of geography, splendid archaeological monuments, historic sites of religious significance and above all very hospitable people of South Asia, make the region a very attractive place for intra-regional as well as international tourism, more..

President to visit Libya tomorrow

Apr 7 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to visit Libya tomorrow and this is the first visit President Rajapaksa will be undertaking to Libya during his tenure as President. “This visit and discussions with the Libyan President and government will indeed strengthen the ties between the two countries,” government sources said. This official visit was scheduled after an invitation was extended to him by the Libyan government last year.

World Telecommunication Forum commenced

Apr 7 (GDI) The World Telecommunication Forum commenced shortly at the Hilton Colombo with industry leaders and policy makers from Sri Lanka and the Asian and African regions convening. The delegates will discuss the development and standardization of Next Generation Networks, within a context of sharing experiences on the architecture, design, development and deployment of the technology across the region. more..

National programme to uplift the local agricultural sector in New Year

Apr 7 (GDI) Two million varieties of plants will be planted under ‘Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu,’ a concept uplifting local agricultural sector. Six million corporative movement members will take part in the process and this project carried the theme Grow Today to Reap Tomorrow, Minister of Trade, Cooperative and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardhana said more..

Resettlement for IDPs to Begin from Mannar before April

Apr 7 (GDI) Resettlement of persons in the north will commence before the end of this month or beginning of May with the first phase taking place in the Mannar district and Ministry has appointed welfare officers to look into the needs of the IDPs under the advice of the President and also provided them with communication facilities, a spokesperson to the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services said more..

International law on the" No firing zone"

Apr 7 (LG) The dedicated Tamil Diaspora with its travelling companions in the international NGO networks are synchronising a campaign to attract foreign intervention and commit Sri Lanka's military to foreign tribunals in a desperate bid to save the LTTE leadership from annihilation. That is their contribution from across the seas, in truth, to further aggravate the sad plight of the civilians trapped in the No Firing Zone (NFZ). more..

A Editorial on the fallen cream of Tiger military leaders

Apr 7 (LG) The Editorial paid an honourable tribute to the fallen LTTE Commanders Theepan, Gadafi, Vidusha, Nagesh, Durga and Gobith that befits the role and nature of an Armed Force of a civilized state. It said that these fallen commanders “were different from the politicians who would instigate communal hatred to grab power or tell the most abominable lies against their own country just to get some media attention, and other rewards. more..

Understanding the Thirteenth Amendment - II

Apr 7 (LG) In matters pertaining to the repeal of, or amendment to the Provincial Council List under the Ninth Schedule, Art 154 G-3 insists that all the Provincial Council needed to vote in the matter. The alternative would be for Parliament to vote on the same by two-thirds majority (Art 82). Under Article 154 G 5-a, Parliament should consult the Provincial Councils for amending the Concurrent List. more..

'Govt. strangling the Public servants deceitfully'

Apr 7 (LG) UNP Chairman and M.P. Gamini Jayawickrema Perera said, at a time when the workers are suffering most and struggling to eke out a living due to the ruthless burdens heaped on them and the people, the Govt. instead of searching for solutions to give them relief is trying to further deepen their woes with new regulations through Gazette notification depriving them even of their basic rights and privileges they are enjoying now. more..

'Lanka conflict not a poll issue'

Apr 7 (EB) The political parties in the state cannot project Lanka problem as an issue in the Lok Sabha elections as the UPA Government has done a lot to help the island Tamils, both diplomatically and otherwise, asserted Congress MP B S Gnanadesikan here on Monday. He was speaking at a training programme organised for the booth committee members by the North Chennai District Congress Committee under the aegis of its president R Mano. more..

Is Nadesan’s claim a joke or a breath of last gasp?

Apr 7 (LG) Former Sri Lankan police constable, then the Constable-General of the LTTE, B Nadesan, a close Prabhakaran relative from the Valvettiturai smuggler community and married to a Sinhala woman from Matara, who has been operating as the Political Commissar of this brutal and inhuman terrorist machine says that his leader is deeply committed to the freedom struggle. Nadesan’s children speak no Tamil; only their mother tongue, Sinhalese. more..

Ominous signs of the sinister future that awaits the Tamils

Apr 7 (LG) The immediate and the long term future of the Tamil nation are far more sinister than what meet the eye. The government controlled internment camps in Vavuniya are a reminder of the refugee camps set for Tamil people affected by the state sponsored pogroms in the past, only for these pogroms to be repeated and they becoming refugees again. The internment camps although are nowhere near the refugee camps but more..

LTTE claims responsibilty for killing SP Jamaldeen

Apr 7 (PSM) LTTE has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Director of the Kalladi Police Training School - Superintendent of Police H.L.Jamaldeen. He was gunned down at point blank range on Sunday 4th at his hometown, Maruthamunai in Kalmunai Police division. A pro LTTE Tamil website "puthinam" has stated in its yesterday's news that the LTTE has already claimed responsibility for the killing. more..

Last rights for Nandana tomorrow

Apr 7 (LT) The remains of Mr. Nandana Balage, who was shot dead last morning lies in state at the District Office of the JVP on Kirindiwela Road at Yakkala. A large number of people have thronged to pay their last respects to the member of the JVP who was assassinated by thugs of the government. His remains will be removed to Kandy, his birthplace, tomorrow (8th) and last rights will be conducted at Mahiyawa Cemetery on Thursday (9th). more..

Agitation at Maggona against attack on UNP supporters

Apr 7 (LT) A group of UNP members and supports led by UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake held a protest demonstration at Maggona against the assault on a group of UNP members who were decorating the venue for an election meeting on the 5th by a group of UPFA thugs. The protestors carried placards stating “Put on lead UPFA thug dogs for a peaceful election,” “Thugs govern while police sleep.” more..

No photographs of politicians casting their votes

Apr 7 (LT) Taking photographs or video recording of politicians casting their votes at the Western PC election has been totally banned. This ban has been imposed by the Commissioner of Elections. Commissioner of Elections has stated that this ban should be imposed without considering the position of the politicians and if media people need to photograph or video record politicians they could do so outside the polling stations. more..

'Govt. launches violence against JVP'

Apr 7 (LT) The government is directly involved in launching violence against the JVP. Up to now thugs of the UPFA have demolished more than 20 offices of the JVP. Complaints have been lodged with the police. However, no measures have been taken. The police cannot be blamed. The investigations into those crimes have not been carried out due to pressure from the government to the police personnel said JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake. more..

Falsehoods and Illogicalities

Apr 7 (PISL) Language, Truth and Logic was the title of a seminal work by the philosopher A J Ayer, who in effect popularized empiricism in the English speaking world. Empiricism, to put it simply, is the school of thought which requires concrete evidence for the positions people take up. Sadly, terrorism now seems to have effectively destroyed reliance on evidence, insofar as the pronouncements of people on the Sri Lankan situation go. more..

The rise and fall of Prabhakaran

Apr 7 (LNP) Prabhakaran's thirty-four-year-old killing spree has taken him nowhere. He began dreaming of Eelam in the early 1970s and cut his teeth on violence in 1975 by murdering the Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah in cold blood. But, today like Ozymandias' empire, nothing remains of Prabhakaran's 'separate state'. His Eelam project has manifestly come a cropper. Worse, he is shamelessly hiding behind innocent men, women and children and driving his cadres to suicide so that he could live another day or two. more..

Former Minister E.L.B. Hurulle dead

Apr 7 (DN) Former Minister and veteran politician E.L.B. Hurulle passed away yesterday. He was 90 at the time of his death. He first entered Parliament in 1956 by contesting from the Horowpathana electorate of Anuradhapura district. He was undefeated and a Member of Parliament from 1956 to 1970. He also functioned as the Transport Minister in the then Dudley Senanayake Government from 1965 to 1970. more..

Behind the IMF bail-out and the state of the Sri Lankan economy

Apr 7 (GV) An interview with eminent economist Harsha de Silva on the context leading up to and the fall out of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail-out package and the general state of the Sri Lankan economy. Harsha de Silva is a development economist by training and has over the last fifteen years worked across the emerging Asia region on development finance, public policy, reform and investment in energy and water, more..

Security Tighten island wide for New Year festivals

Apr 7 (GDI) All Police OICs island wide have been instructed to provide security during the forthcoming festive season, Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said. “Festival function organizers are required to obtain prior permission from the area police as many VIPs including politicians were expected to take part” he said. If an organization is conducting an event, the organizers have to first inform the area police station and more..

Govt to fix prices on certain items

Apr 7 (DN) Trade Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardena denying media reports, said yesterday that the imposition of new tax regime on essential commodities has made no impact on the prices. The Minster said the Government imposed a single tax to avoid essential commodities imported by wholesalers being double taxed and this measure has not increased the prices of essential food items in the market. more..

Artists tread the streets

Apr 7 (DN) Veedi Basina Siththaru (Artists treading the streets) is an exhibition of Oil Paintings and Batik Creations of Sri Lankan young artists organised and sponsored by the Mohan Lal Grero Foundation. The exhibition will be held at Nugegoda Junction on April 18 and 19 from 8.00 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. The Mohan Lal Grero Foundation had organised four art Exhibitions so far and this is the first street exhibition organized by them. more..

Tamil diaspora urge Prabha to release civilians

Apr 7 (Island) One of the members of "Tamil Diaspora for Dialogue" Mrs Rajeswari Balasubramaniam yesterday appealed to LTTE leader Prabhakaran for the release of innocent civilians trapped in the "No Fire Zone". She was one of the 21 intellectuals who arrived in Sri Lanka last week. Mrs Balasubramaniam is a Writer by profession and Human Rights campaigner who lives in the UK. The other members of the team comprising Lawyers, writers, Doctors, Professors, Academics from more..

JVP to continue struggle for Rs 500 daily wage

Apr 7 (Island) With the much controversial two year Collective wage Agreement of 900,000 Plantation workers expiring last week the JVP yesterday pledged to take up the struggle and not rest until their demand for a salary of Rs 500 per day for the poor Plantation workers was met, Party sources said yesterday. When contacted the Deputy Chairman of Parliamentary Committees and President of All Ceylon Estate Workers Union Ramalingham Chandrasekeran said that more..

'One battle may be over, but do not rule out a second'

Apr 7 (Island) Western Peoples Front leader Mano Ganeshan, yesterday warned that unless the government resolves Tamil grievances, there could be another uprising at a news conference. "One battle may be over, but another cannot be ruled out, if the Tamil people are made to feel alienated and deprived of their rights," he said. "A sensible government will use the present opportunity to redress Tamil grievances. more..

Asian champion allegedly runs amok

Apr 7 (DM) Revealing another phase in the involvement of well-known athletes in a massive human smuggling racket, an Asian medal winner and two others including a presidential security division officer were indicted at the Colombo High Court for extortion yesterday. The Attorney General indicted Kumara Wimalawansa, a member of the Asian Championship 4x400 winning relay team in 2000, 2001 and 2002 on charges of extorting Rs.600,000. more..

UNP vows to scrap Executive Presidency

Apr 7 (DM) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday vowed to abolish the executive presidential system under a government led by his party in the future. Addressing a UNP rally in Kirulapone, Mr. Wickermesinghe claimed though this system was introduced by the late President J.R. Jayewardene to bring prosperity to the people, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was using it to undermine democracy. more..

Making the Tamil people a part of the solution

Apr 7 (DM) The Tamil people in Sri Lanka are today disempowered and silenced as never before. A war is being fought, but it is not for their hearts and minds. More than 60,000 of them are presently in government welfare camps in the north having broken free of the LTTE and fled. Another large number, said to be a similar number or two times as many are trapped in a 20 square kilometer zone that the government has designated as a safety zone, but which is still under LTTE control. more..