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Army closes in on Tamil Tigers

India survive Kandamby scare in thriller

Feb 1 (CI) Thilina Kandamby almost masterminded a great escape for Sri Lanka, but just fell short in the face of Ishant Sharma, who kept his nerve and struck three crucial blows in the last 10 overs of a thrilling chase. India's 256 was at least 30 short of what they would have expected after a fiery start, but half-way through Sri Lanka's innings it seemed they had shot over by at least 30. Kandamby had other ideas, though, stringing together a 100-run partnership with Mahela more..

Winning the hearts and minds of the Tamil people in the North

Feb 1 (TC) The war, in its current phase, is nearing its end. There was never any doubt that the security forces, with their superior manpower, superior arms and control over the skies and sea, would in the end prevail over the LTTE in conventional operations. But the question was as to the extent of lives that would be lost, totally or partially, in regaining the territory under the control of the insurgents. more..

Pro-Eelam voices resonate at youth's funeral

Feb 1 (TOI) More than 10,000 activists of political parties and social outfits, including a large number of students and youth, on Saturday bade an emotional farewell to Muthukumar, who had set himself ablaze for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. They chanted slogans hailing LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran and condemned India for its alleged support to Sri Lanka in the ongoing war. Meanwhile, the newly-formed Sri Lankan Tamils' Protection Movement, comprising several political parties, announced a state-wide bandh on February 4 and more..

Amid war, Tamil refugee flow to India drops

Feb 1 (GT) As Sri Lankan troops sweep through rebel strongholds, Tamils seeking to flee the war-hit island to India are finding the boat journey more and more risky, leading to a sharp drop in their arrivals. From 566 men, women and children who sailed to Tamil Nadu in May 2008, the number fell to 155 in December. Until January 28 this year, only 111 Tamils had landed on Tamil Nadu’s shores. more..

DTP operator turns Lanka Tamil icon

Feb 1 (TI) An ordinary DTP operator who used only a Tamil calendar in his room, read obscure Tamil literature and wanted to be a film director has emerged as the symbol of protests in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. K. Muthukumar, who immolated himself in front of a central government office complex on Thursday, has by his one singular act relegated to the background various other protests — fasts, human chains, resignation dramas — staged by politicians, film stars and others demanding a ceasefire by the Lanka military. more..

Reopen immediately the Elite Faculty of Medicine – IUSF

Feb 1 (LT) They condemn the indiscreet decision to close down the Elite Faculty of Medicine and call upon the authorities of University of Peradeniya to open the faculty without destroying students’ lives emphasizes the IUSF. This is stated in a statement issued with the signature of Mr. Udul Premaratne, convener of the IUSF. The statement states, “Nearly 250 students were admitted to Elite Health Science course two and a half years ago without any prior planning. more..

Nagesh: Comedy King of Tamil Cinema

Feb 1 (DBJ) “Naghaichchuvai Mannan” (King of Comedy) Nagesh passed away in Chennai today (Jan 31st 2009). While eating breakfast he got chest pain and was taken to hospital where he breathed his last. Nagesh was 75. He was the undisputed king of comedians in Tamil cinema from the early sixties to mid-seventies of the previous century. After a “lull” the versatile actor re-entered Tamil cinema in a new “avatar” playing character and villain roles. more..

Latvia – Lanka to establish bilateral relationship on a firm foundation

Feb 1 (AT) Latvia being an emerging country in the world arena and a member state of the European Union (EU) is an important link in its foreign policy, which would enhance Sri Lanka’s relations both bilaterally and within Europe, observed Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, during the bilateral talks held in Riga, Latvia with his counterpart Maris Riekstins. Minister Bogollagama is on a two day visit to Latvia, which marks the first such visit at a high political level. more..

The War, the Tigers and the People

Feb 1 (AT) The Second JVP Insurgency ended on the day Rohana Wijeweera (and the entirety of the politbureau, bar one) was killed. Had he remained a free man, the Insurgency would have survived, albeit with less effect and virulence. The Rajapakse administration is expected to announce the end of the war on the Independence Day. But the Eelam War will not be over so long as Vellupillai Pirapaharan is alive; instead it will merely shift to a different mode – from a conventional war to a guerrilla war. more..

The Dam(n) Builders , Fee-masons and Wanni Eyesore

Feb 1 (AT) Tamil Tigers have become an endangered species in their own habitat, a small jungle patch of the northern Sri Lanka. The plight of a cornered Tiger is not a pleasant one; nor is it a sign of defiance. Acts of desperation lays bare every ugly thing that it has at its disposal for the simple game of survival – growling, profuse dribbling and pounding are all too familiar gestures. more..

The damage India & LTTE have caused to Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (AT) If we are confused as to why Sri Lanka was indiscriminately projected as suffering from "disunity", "ethnic rivalries" "genocide" there is only one answer to a proper understanding of the problem – India. "India's covert operation camouflaged a terrorist movement to promote ethnic tensions." To how many occurred the need to wonder how Sri Lanka can be categorized as a nation suffering from an "ethnic" problem when there is enough evidence to prove India's involvement in arming LTTE and more..

Operation Sri Lanka rebuild: View from Delhi

Feb 1 (TOI) Does the unfolding chapter in Sri Lanka's history mean a new beginning in its relationship with India? As the Lankan army makes significant military progress against the LTTE, India has had to switch from disapproval of its tactics and disdain for its strategy to grudging acceptance. India is looking to build a strong, sustainable relationship with Sri Lanka in the hope that it will not only be the best bet for reconstruction and rehabilitation, but the best economic and strategic partner. more..

Tamil refugees shelled as army closes in

Feb 1 (Times) MORE than 250,000 terrified Tamil men, women and children were trapped between rebel Tamil forces and the army in no man’s land in northern Sri Lanka last night as the 25-year civil war appeared to be nearing a violent conclusion. A 48-hour ceasefire was due to end after the government promised to eliminate terrorism once and for all. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, vowed that there would be no let-up in the army’s offensive. more..

'With war's end must come a political solution'

Feb 1 (SL) TULF President V. Anandasangaree claims that government troops are poised for the final victory after which a new breed of Tamil politicians should be allowed to emerge in the north. He condemns the LTTE for committing innocent youth into a bloody war and for other LTTE proxies for maintaining a deafening silence at a time when the civilian population needs all possible support to reach government controlled areas for their safety. more..

Ultimatum to LTTE ends

Feb 1 (Hindu) With the expiry of the 48-hour ultimatum served on the LTTE by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for allowing safe passage of civilians out of the battle zone, the government on Saturday announced that it would continue to adhere to a ‘zero civilian casualty policy’ in its effort to eradicate terrorism. The Tigers ignored the ultimatum on the plea that they were not holding civilians forcibly in the territory under its control and would not facilitate ‘exodus of reluctant civilians’ into the military zone. more..

CEB's shocking tender benders

Feb 1 (SL) A multi million rupee tender for aluminium cables to be supplied to the Ceylon Electricity Board has been recommended to be awarded to Kelani Cables PLC despite the company bid being higher than the lowest offer by a massive Rs. 34 million. Out of five selected bidders Kelani Cables was the fourth highest in price but nevertheless has been recommended the award by both a Technical Evaluation Committee and a Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee. more..

Polls and the politics of war

Feb 1 (SL) Whilst the army moves relentlessly forward capturing territory in the Mullaitivu District, the government is moving in to top gear to ride on the victories on ground to secure the two provincial councils set to elect new administrations on February 14. The South and Uva Provincial Councils are now set to be dissolved while the dissolution of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) has already been gazetted. more..

Rampant misuse of state resources

Feb 1 (SL) Rampant misuse of public property has been reported in the election campaigns of the governing party in the run up to the North Western and Central Provincial Council elections scheduled for February 14. With a couple of weeks left for D-day, complaints on the violation of election laws keep pouring in from many parties, mainly from those representing the opposition. Employees attached to a state institution have even in writing informed the Elections Commissioner of more..

Hedging deal goes to international courts

Feb 1 (LB) Banks which have signed several hedging deals with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have threatened to take legal action before the international courts if the CPC does not pay up the US$ 500 million to abrogate the agreements. LAKBIMAnEWS learns that banks were now discussing the next step that should be taken as the Central Bank had directed the CPC to put on hold the hedging agreement last week, even though the Supreme Court withdrew the interim order against the agreement. more..

Garbage - revenue for underworld

Feb 1 (LB) The ‘Bloemendhal’ garbage dump, where Colombo dumps its garbage has become a rich source of revenue to underworld gangs. According to reliable information these gangs earned between Rs 500,000 to Rs 1 million from this garbage dump on a monthly basis. Half of this money is given to organised underworld gangs through a ‘company’ which supposedly does the administrative work. It is reported that the money comes by way of extortion. more..

Golden Key bribes tax officials

Feb 1 (LB) The CID has uncovered that the Golden Key official had paid Rs.78 million to six senior officials of the Department of Inland Revenue to reduce millions of tax due to the department. An insurance agent at the Kiribathgoda branch of Ceylinco Insurance had been used as a proxy to distribute this money among officials at the Department of Inland Revenue during the period from September 2007 to November 2008, the CID sources said. more..

'Civilans will surge into safe zone'

Feb 1 (LB) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that civilians trapped in LTTE controlled areas amidst intense fighting will soon surge into the safe zone. “We have designated a safe area for them to be in,” he told LAKBIMAnEWS yesterday. “Wait and see what will happen in another five days. As troops move closer, civilians won’t wait there to die. They know exactly what is happening.” more..

This war is a writer's block

Feb 1 (TOI) When a war ends, it is a time for rebuilding, and a time for reflection, both for the victorious and the defeated. A time to take stock of what has been won and lost in terms of economy, life, opportunity, and even culture. The effect of the 25-year war on the population's psyche is obvious; a general aversion towards long-term plans, a breakdown of respect for law and order, and lately, refuge in a newfound nationalism. more..

50,000 in London Tamil protest demanding ceasefire

Feb 1 (AFP) More than 50,000 demonstrators marched through London in a Tamil rally on Saturday demanding an end to the fighting in Sri Lanka. "More than 50,000 were at the demonstration," a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said. "There has been one arrest for possession of an offensive weapon." The spokesman said the protest was largely peaceful and good humoured. The rally began at Atterbury Street, by the Tate Britain gallery and more..

Will the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora demand the hostages be released?

Feb 1 (LG) The fact of the matter is that the LTTE are holding about 400,000 Wanni Tamils hostage as human shield in sheer desperation when, if they had any consideration for the civilian population, they would have by now surrendered to the Sri Lankan Forces. The game is up and there is not going to be any miracle to aid this brutal, bestial force. In 1995 with heavy monsoon rains at its most vicious beating, people from Jaffna were force-marched by the Tigers to Vadamarachchi and beyond and many perished along the route. more..

United We stand, Divided We Fall

Feb 1 (LG) Blood shed, pain, loss and anguish define today. This is what our world is made of at present. What is the spark which started this raging fire? The division among families, religions and nations. ‘Division,” a word made up of only eight letters is the cause of the unspeakable suffering that the people undergo every single second of their life. Sri Lanka is a country which holds the stench of conflict and war. more..

'Stop use of state resources for election campaigns'

Feb 1 (LT) The Network for Election Monitoring of the Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEM-IHR) says that the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is using state power, properties and government officials in its election campaign for the North Western and Central Provincial Council elections. NEM-IHR states this is a violation of the election law and essential preconditions for a free and fair election. more..

School dental therapy affected: Minister

Feb 1 (GDI) The dental health among school children in particular was affected by a dispute between dentists and School Dental Therapists (SDTs) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said. He was delivering the keynote address at a ceremony held to mark the presentation of appointment letters to 100 dentists at the Family Health Bureau yesterday. "There was visible improvement in the oral health care in the country when SDTs were in charge of the oral health of school children about a decade ago. more..

'Military exercise until Mullaitivu is freed'

Feb 1 (SO) Government would not stop the military exercise until the whole of Mullaitivu is liberated. Internal or the external forces cannot compel the Government to stop the war against the LTTE, Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. He said that still some hidden conspiracies were propping up to save the LTTE, but the Government is committed to bring a meaningful freedom and a durable solution to the country’s national problem. more..

Two new postage stamps

Feb 1 (GDI) The Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts will issue two new postage stamps and First Day Cover in the denomination of the Rs.5.00 and Rs.2500 on 02nd February 2009 to commemorate the World Wetland Day. Theses stamps have been designed by Palitha Gunasunghe. The official first day cancellation of these stamps will take place at the Auditorium of Central Environmental Authority, Battatramulla. more..

Army 58 Division Scores string of battlefield victories against LTTE

Feb 1 (MoD) Army 58 Division soldiers yesterday scored a string of victories against the LTTE terrorists in the Visuamadu area with a loaded collection of battlefield trophies. Infantrymen of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (11 SLLI) operating under 582 Brigade captured a well fortified LTTE camp located south of Piramanthalkulam last morning. Troops sweeping down the A-35 road (Paranthan - Mullaittivu) on west-east axis came across the LTTE camp more..

Act responsibly or be chased out, Gota tells BBC & envoys

Feb 1 (LNP) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday warned ambassadors, news agencies and INGOs acting irresponsibly of `dire consequences` if they attempt to give the LTTE terrorists a second breath of life. `They will be chased away (if they try) to give a second wind to the LTTE terrorists at a time the security forces, at heavy cost, are dealing them the final death blow,` he said. more..

‘Deyata Kirula disrupting schools’

Feb 1 (SAMN) The closure of 13 government schools for the Deyata Kirula exhibition has come under severe criticism by parents and officials in the education sector, informed sources sid.The Deyata Kirula exhibition is to be held from February 4 - 10. "Thirteen schools in and around Colombo have been closed for the Deyata Kirula exhibition. Parents and teachers have complained that the closure of these schools would hinder schoolwork, more..

‘Gender no bar to Buddhahood’

Feb 1 (SO) In a special Dhamma discussion with the Sunday Observer, Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso, abbot of the Bodhinyana Monastery, Perth, Australia who is well-known for his ability to explain serious Dhamma topics comprehensively with his usual wit and humour, elaborated on the teachings of the Buddha, focusing on intricate issues and dispelling certain misconceptions. The renowned meditation guru was in Sri Lanka last week enabling more..

Sri Lanka going into orbit

Feb 1 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is to launch its first satellite, a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) type, this year, an official said Saturday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to name the satellite after space prophet Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Director General Priyantha Kariyapperuma said. A second satellite, a geostationary type, would follow the Arthur C. Clarke LEO, he said. more..

Police protection for journos

Feb 1 (SAMN) Police intelligence has launched a special investigation to identify media personnel whose lives are under threat and also journalists who are attempting to leave the country fearing for their lives. An intelligence official said the investigation has been launched to identify media personnel who were really under threat and those who move out to the West claiming that their lives were under threat and were exploiting the situation. more..

Hustings in the hills

Feb 1 (SAMN) The faces of beaming candidates have once again cropped up in the Central Province, with Provincial Council elections on February 14. The government side is confident of crossing the finishing line ahead of others, banking heavily on the string of victories in the north. The Opposition is screaming itself hoarse on state corruption, wastage, increasing cost of living and other hardships forced on the masses. The electorate on the other hand, is forced to look on as the usual circus continues. more..

Situation report (Feb 1) by SLA

Feb 1 (SLA) MULLAITTIVU: THE largest haul of Tiger weaponry ever detected during the WANNI humanitarian operation was recovered by the 583 Brigade troops operating under the 58 Division commanded by Brigadier SHAVENDRA SILVA when they captured a Black Tiger camp complex in the east of VISUAMADU Saturday. This camp complex consists of many compartments such as training, administration and logistics, more..

Refugee children back in school

Feb 1 (SO) Schools will start tomorrow in two makeshift buildings for children of families evacuated from Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, now housed in the transit centre at Nelukulam, the Menik Farm welfare centre in Chettikulam, government sources said. Of the total 930 families comprising 2500 persons housed in these camps, 700 are schoolgoing children whose education was disrupted due to displacement of families. more..

Visual arts, commercialism and electronic media

Feb 1 (SO) Let me thank you first, for the regulations imposed for the protection and benefit of generation of children as a result of your direct intervention. Restricting access for children to pornographic websites, anti-drug campaign under `Mathata Thitha' (full stop to liquor) and banning advertisements on electronic media promoting liquor and cigarette were prominent among them. Undoubtedly these measures would help discipline the future generations. more..

Literati pays tribute to Martin Wickramasinghe

Feb 1 (SO) Thomas Keneally, the famous author of Schindler’s Ark which was subsequently adapted into film by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List, commenting on the festival remarked that it gave the internationally established authors’ direct contact with cold face of literature’, referring that it was rarely they came into contact with Asian literature. He acknowledged the fact that by now the Galle Literary Festival has come of age and established its own unique character. more..

Envoy to Oslo recalled

Feb 1 (NS) Sri Lankan Ambassador to Oslo Esala Weerakoon, has been recalled by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama prior to completing his two-year assignment there, informed Foreign Ministry sources disclosed yesterday. It is learnt that among the complaints levelled against Esala, son of former top civil servant Bradman Weerakoon, was that he was not receptive to organising a photo exhibition in Norway depicting atrocities committed by the LTTE. more..

CID had not served notice on Cecille

Feb 1 (NS) Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Setunga on Friday reprimanded the CID Officers investigating into the Golden Key Credit Card scam for allowing Cecille Kotelawala to leave Sri Lanka. Deputy Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna, who appeared for depositors with Senior State Counsels Dileepa Peiris, Gihan Kulatunga and Damith Totawatta explained to Court that on December 26, 2008 notice was issued to all directors including Cecille Kotelawala informing to appear in Court on January 6, 2009. more..

Media attacks, Indian diplomacy, Ranil’s gimmicks and Peace envoys

Feb 1 (NS) Last Tuesday editors of the Sinhala, Tamil and English newspapers were called for a meeting by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to discuss the most recent attack on an editor. The meeting that commenced at 4.30 in the afternoon at Temple Trees, was attended by Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Keheliya Rambukwela, while IGP Jayantha Wickremeratne, DIG/ CID, Director/ CID and Wijayananda Herat of the Presidential Media Unit were also present. more..

Online VET registration to prevent forgery

Feb 1 (NS) In order to overcome the problem of forgery, where the Vehicle Emissions Test is concerned, the government has come up with a system of solving the problem by introducing an online system of registration whereby the ‘forgery’ issue will not come into play. To counteract the grave problem of air pollution, the government finally introduced the VET (Vehicle Emission Transmission) Test last year for the Western Province after years of delay. more..

Film producer of SL descent Nominated for an Oscar

Feb 1 (Island) Tamara Anghie, a film producer of Lankan descent (her father, Dr. Trevor Anghie who emigrated to Australia with his family several decades ago was an All Ceylon Rugby cap and legendry place kicker) has been nominated for an Oscar for 2009 for her short film, New Boy, which has been nominated for the best live action short film. Anghie now works for Dublin-based Zanzibar Films. more..

Non-diplomats get DPL passports

Feb 1 (Island) On a directive of the powers that be, the Immigration and Emigration Department had issued diplomatic passports to persons outside the Foreign Service. The Sunday Island sought a clarification from authorities after seeing a veteran NGO representative presenting a diplomatic passport at the Bandaranaike International Airport recently. Well informed sources said that diplomatic passports were issued with the approval of the government. more..

Bishops appeal to govt. and LTTE to review their styles of combat

Feb 1 (Island) Expressing deep concern over recent reports of increasing civilian casualties in the Wanni war, a group of five Bishops said in a joint statement last week earnestly appealed to the Government and the LTTE to review their styles of combat that are more likely to endanger trapped civilians. "Recent media reports have indicated that a significant number of civilians, including children, have been killed and much more injured over the past two weeks. more..

Comfort package for finance companies to be announced this week

Feb 1 (Island) The Central Bank will shortly announce details of a `comfort package’ to registered financial institutions that will ensure their liquidity in the event of problems arising from current problems in the financial services sector, Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said yesterday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday met with representatives of registered finance and leasing companies where more..