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Chat with Col. Karuna without Politics

Nov 2 (LG) Why do you prefer to be called Murali over Karuna Amman? I prefer to be called Murali. I have no interest for the name Karuna Amman, which was given to me by the LTTE organisation. But still so many people call me Karuna Amman. May be people are well familiar with that name...I think so. I think it will take some time for them to be familiar with the name Muralitharan. more..

Basil prances in Bogol’s shoes

Nov 2 (LG) When you go to see, some Indian politicians are not much different from the fickle, inconsistent, vacillating, self-serving bundle you get here. Are they? After dedicating a couple of weeks to gasping about the pitiful Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka’s Wanni region, Muthuvel Karunanidhi packed up his larynx and slithered away in a quest for more lucrative political issues. more..

No military solution to Sri Lanka problem: Karat

Nov 2 (Hindu) While urging the Indian government to impress upon Colombo “to pursue a political solution of the Tamil question so that full autonomy for the Tamil speaking area is provided within a united Sri Lanka,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Saturday said his party would not support the LTTE in any manner. “We make a distinction between the LTTE, whose record we know very well and who have not been playing any positive role in getting a solution, and more..

Reality Checks

Nov 2 (AT) Last week reality asserted itself. The outcome of Basil Rajapakse’s Indian visit indicated that Sri Lanka can neither ignore nor resist India or antagonise Tamilnadu, beyond a point. The Sea Tiger attack on two Lankan cargo ships and the Air Tiger raids on the Army Head Quarters in Mannar and the Kelanitissa Power station in Colombo (and the continued Tiger resistance in Killinochchi) demonstrated that though the Tigers are weak, relatively, they are by no means a spent force. more..

Sri Lanka needs a shift in foreign policy

Nov 2 (AT) We are not in 12th century England, and we wouldn’t have wished Thomas Beckett dead. Neither do we want the backlash that resulted from Beckett’s execution. We are in the 21st century, but we are faced with the reality of meddlesome politics of Tamil Nadu that is impinging on our sovereignty. We do not wish any misfortune to befall Tamil Nadu, but we do need safeguards to protect us from any Indian intervention precipitated because of Tamil Nadu politics. more..

Polishing shoe in Palayankottai for Tamil Relief fund

Nov 2 (TW) As support and aid donations by Tamil Nadu politicians and movie stars continue towards assisting Tamils in Sri Lanka, citizens of every walk of life are also rendering solidarity in the Southern Indian State, accrding to media reports. While well-known to the little-known artists of the Tamil film world attended a fast on Nov 1 and some making donation ranging from Rs. 110.00 to Rs. 10 Lakhs at the event, a young Tamil polished shoes at more..

All quiet on the Tamil front

Nov 2 (DNA) The flare-up between the DMK and the Congress on the LTTE issue died as suddenly as it erupted. One day we saw DMK chief M Karunanidhi threatening to pull out from the UPA and ordering a mass resignation by Tamil MPs. Less than a week later, he purred like a tame cat and declared that the crisis was over. Just like that. Curiously, the ground situation in Sri Lanka, which caused the flare-up in the first place, hadn’t changed. more..

Centre not taking any steps to solve Lankan crisis: PMK

Nov 2 (PTI) PMK, a constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre, on Saturday came down heavily on the Manmohan Singh government by charging it with not taking any steps to solve the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss told reporters here that even after an all party meeting on October 14 had passed resolutions urging the Centre to take action for the protection of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Government failed to do anything on the matter. more..

'Protests against Sri Lanka on the wane'

Nov 2 (IANS) Even as the Tamil film industry drummed up support for the ethnic minority in Sri Lanka Saturday, PMK chief S. Ramadoss, one of the staunch supporters of the Tamil minority in the island nation, said the tempo of protests against Colombo was on the wane. 'The tempo of Tamil Nadu's anger is on the wane. Though huge funds are being collected as relief for the suffering Tamils of Sri Lanka, they have little bearing as the killings are going on unabated (in Sri Lanka),' more..

The New "Ram" Sethu

Nov 2 (TC) N. Ram, Editor-in-chief of The Hindu, Chennai’s inimitable English daily, has emerged as the most influential eminent person on either side of the Palk Straits. Earlier in October, his paper condemned the chauvinistic eruptions in Tamil Nadu in support of the LTTE. Mr. Ram himself got on the phone with the Sri Lankan President to find out first hand what was going on in “India’s utmost isle.” more..

India applies the R2P to Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (LG) Just two weeks ago the Rajapakse faithful and quite a lot of Sri Lankans had hitched up their sarongs above the decent knee level and were going into tirades against Tamil Nadu politicians and the New Delhi wallahs - bureaucrats and politicians included - over what was perceived as gross Indian interference in Sri Lankan domestic affairs. Government leaders kept mum but their propagandists including the so-called 'independent media' hit hysterical high notes against our neighbouring big brother. more..

Empowering Tamil Nadu within empowered India

Nov 2 (LG) When Tamil Nadu politicians pick up the case of their suffering Tamil brethren, only twenty miles away, all sorts of cynicisms are spouted out from all corners. It may be because of the chaotic and disunited manner, without a political framework, they seem to let loose the genuine sympathy and anger of the ordinary Tamils in the state. May be also because some do not want the politicians reasserting their legitimate power over an issue more..

The other side of Kilinochchi battle

Nov 2 (LNP) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake announced on August 18 `We are very close to Kilinochchi. Which is not far from our sight,` Wickremanayake assured for Singalees. But heavy battles are continuing until now (58 days), this indicated that the Kilinochchi will not be an easy task. The battle is continuing from Vannerikkulam to Akkarayan where positions held by the Army s 58 and the 57 Division converged. Both Divisions are suffering heavy casualties. more..

Pre-budget forex rules stun trade

Nov 2 (SAMN) Less than a week before the Budget, a large number of import curbs by the Central Bank on Friday - including a 100%margin (deposit) on a range of popular consumer items - to save on dwindling foreign exchange reserves have stunned businesses and could lead to a slowdown in traditional Christmas sales. The CB, in five circulars to commercial banks said imports of 44 - considered non-essential - items would henceforth be allowed only if a minimum 100% deposit of the value of the LC (Letters of Credit) is deposited with the bank. more..

Army looks at another Vanni front

Nov 2 (SAMN) The opening of another front on the Vanni battlefield would speed up the LTTE’s final collapse, Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said Saturday, adding that Task Force III was ready to join several other fighting formations soon to step up operations on the Vanni front. With the LTTE retreating both east and west of the A9 road, the deployment of Task Force III would facilitate the overall strategy, the commander said. more..

Islandwide power cuts after LTTE attack

Nov 2 (SAMN) The CEB has decided to execute island wide power cuts from today until further notice due to difficulty in meeting the country's electricity requirement as production has slowed down following the Tamil Tiger air attack on Kelanithissa power station. The air strike has rendered inactive the GT 7 turbine system that was generating 115MW of power to the national grid, along with another power generation system which was adding 165MW to the national system. more..

Shocking 40,000 drug addicts in SL

Nov 2 (SAMN) There are over 40,000 drug addicts in Sri Lanka according to statistics revealed by the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, a former president of the Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association, Kumar Nadesan said. He said a largely contributory factor to youngsters getting involved in drug related activities was due to poverty in their families. He was speaking at the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program meeting, held in Colombo on Friday. more..

CMU presents proposals for Budget 2009

Nov 2 (LD) In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers’ Union has forwarded its proposals for Budget 2009. The letter, signed by CMU General SecretaryBala Tampo, says, “In the circumstances, our Union considers that it is imperative for your Government to alleviate the sufferings of the working people and their dependents, by substantially reducing their living costs through the grant of the State subsidies that our Union has requested.” more..

Government's war of 'attrition'

Nov 2 (SL) In an obscure page on the Defence Ministry website, the Ministry explains its 'strategy' for defeating the LTTE, tightly defining it as a war of attrition. Specifically, the Ministry says their "strategy in achieving the mission is to defeat terrorists through attrition warfare." They were also kind enough to define attrition warfare. "It is to reduce the effectiveness of a force by causing losses to personnel and materiel. more..

'Military solution' assumes slower pace as India accelerates the pressure

Nov 2 (SL) While the government faced with a crippling economic crisis succumbed last week to Tamil Nadu pressure on a solution to the ethnic conflict amidst growing dissension within the southern Indian state, the LTTE upped the stakes by launching twin air strikes that sent the Rajapakse administration's overall political cum military strategy into a tailspin. more..

Terrorism will not have a zero finish

Nov 2 (SL) Director General, Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), Lakshman Hulugalle says that one cannot give a guarantee on the casualty figures or the number of people fighting against the security forces or an exact dateto end thewar like the one being fought at present. "What can be said is that we are coming to an end of capturing area wise. Definitely, within a short period of time, we will be able to capture Kilinochchi. more..

Sufficient buffer stocks in the Wanni - Govt.

Nov 2 (SL) The limelight shifted from shuttle diplomacy across the Palk Straits at the beginning of last week to the persisting threat of Tiger air capacity by mid-week. And the reporting on the displaced in the Wanni dropped off the radar. In reality the latest humanitarian reports by the UN said that the IDP count may be over 300,000. The IASC said that there were 162,000 IDPs (including 7,000 displaced from Vadamarachchi east) in Mulaithivu and an additional 148,000 in Kilinochchi by October third week. more..

Indian gunners shot at LTTE aircraft

Nov 2 (LB) Indian gunners in the Indian embassy compound fired relentlessly at the aircraft that were turning back and were en route to Killinochchi after dropping bombs on the Kelanitissa power station in Colombo last Tuesday. The gunners fired repeatedly shaking some of the adjacent buildings such as Galle Face to its foundations. A guest in one of the Galle Face hotel rooms crept under a bed and said he never heard such gunfire in his life, and that he felt he should “dive for cover." more..

Vasu to sue on a record 41 privatisations

Nov 2 (LB) Hot on the heels of the Supreme Court judgment on Lanka Marine Services Ltd, former Peoples Alliance National List Parliamentarian turned- Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara will shortly file action in the Supreme Court against 41 state enterprises which were divested to the private sector. On top of the list will be the Queen Elizabeth Quay divestiture on South Asian Gateway Terminals (Pvt) Ltd , more..

Railway dept ignores 3000 workforce, hires Indian workers

Nov 2 (LB) The Railway Department is planning to hire 1000 foreign workers to the Department despite the Department already being overstaffed. The All Island Railway Workers' Union charged that railway authorities were taking steps to allow a number of foreign companies to bring down some 1000 workers from India to carry out maintenance work on railway tracks in the country. This was despite the fact that the Department of Railways already has a workforce of 3000 personnel for those duties. more..

India and the Basil gambit - will it work?

Nov 2 (LB) Karunanidhi petered out last week - - like the proverbial mountain which laboured and brought forth a mouse. He threatened to quit and let all hell break loose if India doesn’t ask Sri Lanka to stop the war, but at the end of the week the Indian government made a joint statement against Sri Lanka, a country which Karunanidhi said “India should not touch with a bargepole." more..

NPC gets tough with rogue police officers

Nov 2 (SO) The National Police Commission (NPC) will take a tougher stance against police officers who have violated the fundamental rights of people in the recent past. The National Police Commission has decided to summon a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) from the Western Province to testify at an inquiry whether he had taken disciplinary action against a police inspector who was allegedly involved in a bribery case recently. more..

Training program for MPs' staff

Nov 2 (SO) The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is conducting a training program to enhance the knowledge of the personal staff of Member of Parliamentarians representing the Southern Province. This program will focus in training the staff of the parliamentarians in using effective computer applications, building stronger links between the public and government departments, introducing effective and more..

Another botched attack on Minister Devananda's life

Nov 2 (SO) The proverb that a cat that has nine lives is commonly used to describe a situation where someone had withstood and survived life threatening situations most of the time and emerged victorious and unscathed against all odds. The proverb aptly fits the Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, who is also the Secretary General of the EPDP. He had withstood several assassination attempts by the LTTE in the past. more..

COPE will not be an adversary - Chairman

Nov 2 (SO) The Sunday Observer spoke to the Power and Energy Minister W. D. John Seneviratne on the new developments in the area of power and energy as well as his outlook as the newly-appointed Chairman of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises). Q: The Indo-Sri Lanka Grid Interconnection Project is expected to be secured by the year 2011. Do you think that there is a possibility that Sri Lanka can obtain cheap nuclear power from India through this initiative? more..

Govt. considers action against Tiger proxies

Nov 2 (NS) With any chance of arriving at a peaceful settlement to the ethnic problem with the LTTE virtually non-existent and, it is becoming imperative to confront the enemy on all fronts, government is exploring avenues to crack down on those maintaining close links with the Tigers and doing their bidding here and abroad, top government sources said yesterday. They said that, the government was particularly looking into TNA Parliamentarians actively lobbying on behalf of the Tigers in Tamil Nadu, and more..

Kelanitissa attack on video

Nov 2 (NS) A video recording showing the LTTE’s light aircraft Zline-143 as it attacked the Kelanitissa Power Plant on Tuesday night and made its getaway afterwards has been forwarded to the Defence Ministry by Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda. The 21-minute video shows the enemy aircraft making a hasty exit amidst anti-aircraft fire illuminating the sky. Having entered Colombo through the Kelani estuary from the Uswetekeiyyawa region, it fled in the same direction. more..

'India will not lift ban on LTTE'

Nov 2 (NS) Seshadri Chari, a seasoned journalist and currently executive committee member of India’s opposition party, Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) led by Shri Lal Krishna Advani, is a strong advocator of peace. He is strongly of the view that no group or organisation that claims to represent the genuine interests of a particular community should resort to arms struggle. more..

Colombo city ultimate loser in CMC’s antics

Nov 2 (NS) Chief Minister Reginald Cooray’s decision to suspend the Council last Wednesday, and the appointment of Special Commissioner H. Sumanapala to oversee matters of the Council, has resulted in the need to re-hash some contemporary history – a tragic-comedy of errors that has passed off as a democratically elected local authority. Perhaps never in the history of this republic has there been an election as farcical as the one that was held to elect the new Council that would govern the Municipality of Colombo City. more..

A lakh a month for daughter’s house!

Nov 2 (Island) Dismissing the JVP’s criticism of 40 ministers, non-cabinet ministers and deputy ministers receiving Rs 100,000 a month as house rent, Higher Education Minister Professor Wiswa Waranapala said that it was certainly more economical than providing official bungalows. U. E. Perera, Co-ordinating Secretary (Media) to the Higher Education Minister, who is among the beneficiaries of the scheme implemented in April last year, more..

Wimal group MP gripes about cops in letter to IGP

Nov 2 (Island) Weerakumara Dissanayake, MP, who is at the centre of a recent incident at Dankotuwa which caused the death of an associate, Ajith Peris, by police firing, has alleged that it could have been an attempt on his life. In a letter to IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne, the former JVP MP who switched allegiance to Wimal Weerawansa accused the police of a cover up. He asked whether a section of officers at Dankotuwa police had conspired to assassinate him. more..

Indecent hurry recalling Khemadasa’s car

Nov 2 (Island) JVP MP Sunil Handunetti yesterday expressed shock and anger at a move to remove maestro Premasiri Khemedasa’s car immediately after his death. Although the JVP did not dispute the government’s right to take back the vehicle as it had been provided to him at the taxpayers’ expense along with a Rs 10,000 allowance, he said the Janakala Kendraya had displayed indecent hurry in calling for the return of the vehicle. more..

A Long War and New Repressions

Nov 2 (Island) Vellupillai Pirapaharan is not prone to making public pronouncements; when he does so, it is sensible to pay attention. In a recent email interview with the Indian magazine ‘Nakkeeran’ the Tiger leader dismissed President Rajapakse’s intention of taking Killinochchi as a ‘day dream’ and indicated that the LTTE would never settle for anything less than Eelam. These two statements not only demonstrate the fanaticism and the maximalism of the Tiger; more..

Crisis with India defused, but for how long?

Nov 2 (ST) Sri Lanka's giant neighbour, India blinked this time. If it raved and ranted over the ongoing separatist war and the resultant humanitarian issues in the past weeks, just seven days ago, India seemed to relent. There was the threat of members of major Tamil Nadu political parties resigning their seats in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (the Indian Parliament) last Wednesday. This was if the central government did not put pressure to stop the war in Sri Lanka, more..

They came, they bombed and they went away

Nov 2 (ST) Intercepts of coded radio communications between two Tiger guerrilla bases in the north last week baffled Colombo's intelligence community. There were references to "black birds" and "black air" in the conversation in Tamil. It suggested plans were afoot to attack an unknown target. Initial deciphering prompted them to suspect that artillery attacks were planned on targets in the Jaffna peninsula. Protectively, military authorities were alerted. more..

Indian aid an “open cheque” for Lanka

Nov 2 (ST) India has given an “open cheque” to Sri Lanka as part of its contribution towards the relief programme for the displaced people caught up in the fighting in the Wanni, a senior official said yesterday. Essential Services Commissioner D. B. Divaratne said New Delhi had asked for a list of items required to boost the aid effort and the initial shipment would cost India about Sri Lankan Rs. 100 million. more..

Radio stations are also to be regulated

Nov 2 (ST) Regulations governing radio stations will be gazetted under the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Act within the next two weeks following the new regulations gazetted to monitor private television broadcasting stations in the country. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the regulations pertaining to radio stations had been submitted to the Attorney General’s Department for scrutiny and would be gazetted thereafter. more..

India discusses with Sri Lanka modalities to send relief supply

Nov 2 (IANS) Sri Lanka and India have set the ball rolling to implement the agreement arrived at in New Delhi to supply food and other essentials to the war-affected people in the island's north, diplomatic sources here said. Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, who was in New Delhi last week and held talks with Indian leaders as the special envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, convened a meeting here Friday to discuss the relief supply situation in the northern Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. more..

Sri Lanka war flares with air and sea battles

Nov 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's air force on Sunday bombed a Tamil Tiger training base in the Indian Ocean nation's northern jungles, a day after a fierce sea battle killed 18 insurgents, the military said. The air raid struck a LTTE camp near Iranamadu, site of recent battles that are part of the military's intensified offensive to retake rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka. The military, which had restricted information on casualty numbers over the last two weeks, declined to give any figures for the air raid. more..

An Open Letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Nov 3 (DO) Dear President Rajapaksa, I am not too sure how I should start my letter. Should I say Congratulations? After all, your army has just captured the fishing port of Nachchikuda and is closer than ever to the LTTE heartland in Killinochchi? Or should I say ‘have courage and stay the course’? This is because a few days ago the Tamil Eelam Air Force carried out its seventh air strike in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka Offers Palestinians Under-graduate Scholarships

Nov 3 (PCM) Arrangements will be made to offer scholarships to needy under-graduates of Palestine who would like to undergo training in medicine, engineering and nursing in Sri Lanka, Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala said, according to the Sri Lankan Daily News on Saturday. Warnapala was speaking after a meeting with Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Sri Lanka, Dr. Anwar Al-Agha at the Higher Education Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka health ministry lists products in melamine scare

Nov 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's health ministry has released a list products whose import and sale were banned because of fears of contamination by the harmful chemical melamine. The ministry of health care and nutrition officials said they are advising consumers not to consume food items which have tested positive for melamine internationality. These food products have been tested by authorities in New Zealand, Singapore, Belgium, Indonesia, Germany, Malaysia, more..

Devolve power to minorities, Delhi advises Colombo

Nov 3 (IANS) India has told Sri Lanka to devolve powers in matters such as agriculture and education to the local authorities in its east if it is serious about power sharing to end the country's ethnic conflict. At the same time, New Delhi has conveyed to Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's adviser and brother, that a military win over the LTTE was near impossible. Basil Rajapaksa was in India last week in the wake of mass protests in Tamil Nadu denouncing more..

‘Impose economic sanctions on Lanka’

Nov 3 (EB) Categorically charging the Indian Government with abetting the Sri Lankan Government in eliminating the Tamils there, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said, on Saturday, that the island nation would heed to the request for a ceasefire if India imposed economic sanctions on that country. The Indian Government had extended crores of rupees as interest-free loans to Lanka. more..

Peace activists call to 'devolve power'

Nov 3 (BBC) Left wing political leaders joined hands with religious leaders to call on the government to devolve power to the regions in order to end the bloodshed in Sri Lanka. Organisers say that hundreds of people took part in the protest march in Kirulapana, Colombo in the weekend. Addressing the rally, organised by World Solidarity Forum (WSF), the political and religious leaders condemned the war and the oppression of Tamil people in Sri lanka. more..