August 04th 2006


Hansen Coming
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Norwegian Peace Envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka to start immediate talks with the Sri Lanka government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The meetings scheduled earlier than the current escalation of Mavil Aru dispute to discuss about the resconstruction of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) due to the withdrawal of European Union countries will also concentrate mainly on how to end the violence.


Tiger lose 50 in heavy fighting
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
At least 50 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists were killed and 80 others wounded when the terrorist group attacked Kattaparichchan, Selvanagar, Mahindapura, and Muttur army detachments simultaneously, the Sri Lanka Army said.

All four army detachments in Trincomalee were attacked in the morning hours of August 2. Independent reports said the strongly motivated army troops fought vigorously despite LTTE reports citing civilian sources said that Muttur detachment was overrun. Similar reports were also published about the other three army camps. Further reports said they have occupied one kilometer inside Muttur town. The army also reiterated that Thoppur and Gandhinagar were also under their control.


LTTE fires at hospital
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists(LTTE) fired mortar and artillery shells at the maternity and female wards of the Muttur hospital.

The firing of the artillery shells and mortars have injured 16 civilians including an infant in the maternity ward and one civilian at the female ward.


A reply to US embassy in Colombo
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The New York Society for United Sri Lankans in a letter addressed to Mr. Evans Owens of the US Embassy in Colombo said if the laws banning the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the US allow a front organization of the terrorists to teach Tamil students of New York such doctrines as ethnic cleansing as correct the proscribing law must be a real ass and a real hollow one.

The Society in a letter signed by its President Sumith DeSilva queried from Owens why the students in the sports meet were carrying the atrocious Tiger flag of the most vicious Prabhakaran instead of a Lion flag, a dharma charka of India or a Union Jack if the organizers did not represent the terrorists and asked whether US embassies would have tolerated if the flag of Al Queda was carried in front of the march past.


In Sri Lanka, families struggle to escape
They slipped out of the village and into the jungle after dark, whole families abandoning prized fishing boats and what little else they had to escape forced military training at the hands of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Dozens of others haven't across this seaside sliver of eastern Sri Lanka, where aid workers and villagers say the Tigers and a renegade rebel faction are abducting children and young men. The Tigers are also openly training civilians to fight. (Montreal Gazette)


Navy defeats effort to defeat passenger liner
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Navy successfully defeated a major sea attack using suicide boats by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to sink an unarmed passenger liner carrying 854 army personnel.

No harm has been done to the Dora craft that was guarding the passenger liner as reported in the LTTE media, navy sources said.


Battle for waterway threatens to reignite Sri Lankan civil war
The battle between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil separatists for control of a waterway near the country's north-eastern coast threatened to escalate into a full-scale war as jets hit rebel positions and a fierce naval battle saw shells traded in the port of Trincomalee.

In some of the heaviest fighting since the Tamil Tigers surrounded the reservoir that supplies nearby villages with water for drinking and irrigation 12 days ago, the Sri Lankan forces launched an offensive with Israeli-built Kfir jets carrying out bombing sorties and soldiers advancing through minefields into rebel territory. (The Gurdian Intenational)


Consolidating power with the aim of opening and maintaining water supply in the future
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Sri Lanka Army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said that Sri Lankan army troops were consolidating its power around the closed irrigation sluice Mavil Aru in order to reach the closed sluice gates and open water for the aggrieved farmers who have been without water for the last 13 days.

The troops successfully moved forward amidst intense mortar fire of the enemy and lost one soldier in the effort he said.


Sri Lankan warplanes, artillery pound rebels after bus blast
Sri Lankan warplanes and artillery have pounded Tiger rebel positions after one of the bloodiest days in the island's recent history left 67 combatants dead and made a mockery of a ceasefire.

Official said Israeli-built Kfir jets carried out bombing sorties around dawn Tuesday near the Maavilaru irrigation canal in northeastern Trincomalee district which the rebels blocked 10 days ago, sparking bitter fighting. (Turkish Press)


Sweden Pulls Out of Sri Lanka
Sweden decided Tuesday to pull out its 15-strong cease-fire monitoring team from Sri Lanka, joining Finland and Denmark who last week announced similar moves.

Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson told Swedish Radio he saw no other option but for the Swedish observers to leave the island, where fighting between government troops and separatist Tamils has escalated. (Radio Sweden)


Tigers hit Sri lanka's main naval port as battle for canal heats up
Tiger rebels have shelled Sri Lanka's main navy base, killing four sailors and wounding 30, while warplanes bombed guerrilla positions as a bloody battle for a disputed waterway entered a seventh day.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) used 122-millimeter artillery to target the base at Trincomalee as a ferry carrying 854 troops was about to dock there, the military said Tuesday. (Turkish Press)


Tamil rebels target Sri Lankan troop ship, battle for rebel-held wWaterway continues
Sri Lanka's government says Tamil rebels have attacked a troop transport ship in the northeast, while the air force launched a new offensive to free a rebel-held waterway.

Reports from the region and a pro-rebel web site, Tamilnet.com, say at least four sailors were killed when the ship carrying more than 800 troops came under heavy mortar fire Tuesday. (Voice of America)


Sri Lanka vows to take control of rebel-held waterway
Sri Lanka vowed on Tuesday to militarily settle a water supply dispute the Tamil Tiger rebels say has reignited a civil war, hours after one of the deadliest ambushes since a 2002 truce killed 17 people.

Military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said troops, locked in a battle with the Tigers on Monday that killed seven soldiers and at least three guerrillas in the country's east, would seek to consolidate the area, despite rebel warnings of retaliation. (REUTERS)


LTTE kills 15 army soldiers one civilian driver
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam exploded a claymore mine targeting a Sri Lanka Army bus killing 18 soldiers.

The army said in a mid night news announcement that the bus was attacked about 10.45 at night, July 31 on Alla- kantale road close to Serunuwara in the Eastern Province where the terrorist group has stopped water to about 45,000 civilians and the government was attempting to open the closed sluice gates by military power.


Sections of the Sangha criticise JHU for their role at Mavil Aru
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
A section of the Maha Sangha has criticized the attempt of the Jathika Hela Urumaya Buddhist monks to have attempted to take the agitated farmers deprived of water to the closed sluice gates of Mavil Aru endangering their lives.

They said it was wrong on their part to have attempted to lead the angry farmers to an area previously laid down with mine fields by the terrorists who closed the sluice gates.


LTTE fights back to prevent opening of Mavil Aru Canal
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Sri Lankan troops were fighting their way through heavy resistance in their advance to open the closed sluice gates of the Mavil Aru irrigation canal that had been closed by the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), both Sri Lanka government and terrorist sources said.

The Sri Lankan troops advancing clearly with the limited military goal of opening the closed irrigation canal had to kill 35 LTTE terrorists while losing five of their own men, in heavy resistance, Sri Lanka Army sources said.


Mavil Aru irrigation was blocked to protest EU ban against them, LTTE says
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka English daily, Island quoted a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) spokes man as saying that they closed the Mavil Aru irrigation channel depriving 35,000 acres of farmland water to protest against the ban against them as a terrorist group by the Eruopean Union.

The newspaper in their front page lead said the LTTE spokesman told their newspaper, "We closed the Mavil Aru anicut to show our disapproval of the European Union ban" Anicut is a sluice gate of an irrigation channel.


Army reaches to a spot 10 minutes away from blocked irrigation channel
Photo
The Sri Lanka Army’s second in command
Major General Nanda Mallawaarchchi

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Thousands of ground troops with air cover have reached at a spot about ten minutes walk under normal circumstances away from the closed irrigation channel in Mavil Aru by the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella ,July 30, in Colombo.

Rambukwella, the Defence spokesman of Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers said he could not assess how long it would take to go the short distance to the sluice gates of the irrigation channel since the LTTE could have buried land mines, booby traps and other explosive devices like claymore mines on the way to the destination.


SL moves troops, LTTE warns of fierce resistance
Hundreds of troops of the Sri Lankan Army moved on Sunday to capture the Mavil Aaru dam in Trincomalee district from the LTTE, even as the rebel group warned that it would offer "fierce resistance."

The army action, preceded by aerial bombing of the dam area on Saturday, was meant to open the sluice gates of the dam and resume the supply of water to about 15, 000 families, cultivating 30,000 acres of land in that area. (Hindustan Times)


Colonel Banu is till alive, proxy party says
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The man called Colonel Banu , speculated by some as seriously injured or dead by the Sri Lanka Air Force bombing of the Thenham Conference and Military training center off Batticaloa is not dead or injured after all, according to a news broadcast by the Sinhala Service of the BBC, Sandeshaya.

The July 30 broadcast said, at a funeral of seven LTTE cadres at Tharawai and Kandiyadi Colonel Banu who is hated by the Sinhalese as the butcher of Kebithigollewa- the man who planned the double claymore bomb attack on a civilian bus killing 65 passengers mostly of women and children- was present to pay his last respects to seven LTTE cadres who died of an air raid.


Sri Lanka troops advance on Tigers
Sri Lankan troops launched their first deliberate advance on Tamil Tiger rebels since a 2002 ceasefire on Sunday, moving to secure a rebel-held water supply as government jets bombed suspected groups of Tiger fighters.

More than 800 people have been killed so far this year, with the closing of a water channel from an eastern rebel-held area to government-held farms prompting a surge in violence in recent days including air and artillery strikes. (REUTERS)


Thenham Center in Batticaloa destroyed and 50 Tigers killed
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LTTE"s Thenaham conference Hall
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Ministry of Defense web site claimed more than 50 cadres of the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were killed and a similar number injured when the Sri Lanka Air Force Kfir jets bombed a Tamil Tiger military Training Center that has also been used as a conference hall at Thenaham, North West of Batticaloa.

The Defense website said civilians were forced to take military training at the center and many LTTE leaders were present at the center to discuss about the planned event immediately after when the jets bombed the center.


Thousands of troops arrive at Kallar to open the closed canal
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Thousands of Sri Lanka troops arrived at Kallar junction and Sri Lanka Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Nanda Mallawaarachchi was visiting the area instructing last minute preparations while the Sri Lanka Air force jets pounded LTTE camps around Mavil Aru preparing an offensive to open an Irrigation canal that had been closed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

To prepare the ground for the troops to enter the closed sluice gates Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir jets July 29 flew three bombing sorties over the Mavilaru area south of Trincomalee district.


Tamil tigers bury Kathirveli camp air raid victims
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The funeral of seven LTTE cadres who were killed by Sri Lanka Air Force jets at Kathirveli was held at the LTTE cemetery at Alalakulam, reported the Tamil Net, the news website controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The report said LTTE’s Trincomalee commander Vasanthan Trincomale Political head of the LTTE S. Elilan led the funeral procession.


Denmark and Finland intimidated by terrorists is unacceptable
Photo
Head of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat
Dr. Palitha Cohona

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
For a sovereign nation to be intimidated by a recognized terrorist group and withdraw is something which is unacceptable said Dr. Palitha Cohona , head of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat commenting on the withdrawal of Finland and Denmark from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

He was being interviewed by the BBC’s Sinhala service Sandeshaya on the withdrawal of the two European Union members from the monitoring mission. Cohona said he could not comment in detail since the decision of these European Union nations have not been conveyed officially.


Sri Lanka pair break world record
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Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene fell for 374, 26 short of Brian Lara's Test record but did share in a new landmark on an amazing day in Colombo.

Jayawardene set a new partnership record of 624 with Kumar Sangakkara, who hit 35 fours in 287.The skipper continued, but one short of Lara's second highest score of 375 and six behind Matthew Hayden's 380, he was bowled by one that kept a touch low.(BBC)


Sri Lankan air force kills eight Tamil rebels in bombing attack
Sri Lankan rebels say government air force jets have carried out deadly bombing raids against Tamil Tiger positions for a fourth day in a battle over water supplies.

A pro-rebel Web site said the Tamil rebels have reported eight dead and four wounded in the bombing Saturday. (Voice of America)


Summary justice of a Sun God!
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The two little daughters of Mrs. Sundaralingam Pooneshwari were tiny trots. They went for a bath with their mother, as they always loved to go, to Kalapa Ela, a cool stream of water, to have little fun by playing and cool them off in this hot weather in Bharathi Puram in Trincomalee.

Their fun did not last long. Two great warriors of Velupillai Prabhakaran, known as the LTTE’s pistol gang suddenly emerged from the nearby thicket well armed with their great weapons, the loaded pistols. They were wearing face masks too.


Sri Lanka truce dead in all but name: chief monitor
A four-year ceasefire between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tiger rebels is dead in all but name and a low intensity war continues to rage, the head of the Nordic mission that oversees the truce said on Saturday.

Neither the government nor the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are willing to compromise to try to halt violence that has killed more than 800 people this year, and the military is being heavy-handed, said retired Swedish Major General Ulf Henricsson, who heads the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. (REUTERS)


LTTE kill 3 police officers in the East
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists intensified its activities in the troubled Eastern Province and killed three police officers in two separate incidents. Among the victims were two Tamil police officers.

Police Constable Jayarasa Jayabala Rajendran was abducted while he was going to work at Thirukkovil Police station from his home on a bicycle.


Finland, Denmark to withdraw Sri Lanka observers
Finland and Denmark say they will recall their cease-fire monitors from Sri Lanka, sparking fears of increased violence between the Sri Lankan Government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The announcements comes in response to the rebels' demand that monitors from European Union member states Sweden, Denmark and Finland leave the country after the 25-nation bloc added the LTTE to its list of "terrorist" organisations in May. (ABC News)


Tamil Tigers kill 3 more at Kebithigollewa
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Once again the , the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam diverted their attention to Kebithigollewa and killed three home guards returning from work not very far away from the spot they killed 65 innocent civilians recently.

Military sources said B. Thilakertane(37) of Dutuwewa, and G. Sunil Gunawardena (28) and Sarath Kumara Dissanayaka (30) of Kele Puliyankulama were killed by the detonation of a deadly claymore mine when all three were returning home by one motor bicycle after work.


Thousands converge on kallar and LTTE starts firing mortars
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerillas fired mortar shells to Kallar village , Kallar school and Sri Lanka Army camp close to Kallar Junction where about thousand angry farmers have converged to protest against the rebel group closing the sluice gates of an irrigation canal that supply water to about 35,000 acres of farm land.

The restive farmers have come from many villages to protest against the action of the LTTE who are depriving them of water for the eighth consecutive day pushing most of their rice fields to the verge of ruination. Many use the irrigation water for drinking purposes too.


Suicide bomb attack against Tamil Tigers in Eastern Province
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Suicide bomb attack against Tamil Tigers in Eastern Province.

The suspected suicide attack had occurred inside the LTTE controlled territory, Eastern military sources said.


Finland to pull out Sri Lanka observers
Finland said it would recall its ceasefire monitors from Sri Lanka, sparking fears of increased violence between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels on the wartorn island.

The Finnish foreign ministry announced it would withdraw its 10 observers on security grounds before a September 1 deadline set by the rebels for all European Union ceasefire monitors to leave. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka water dispute rages
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers fired mortars at army positions in the island's restive east on Friday, officials said, as the military again warned it would send in ground troops to take control of a rebel-held reservoir.

Mortars fell near an army camp and a school in the district of Trincomalee near the site of the disputed water tank, but no-one was injured, Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. (Scotsman/REUTERS)


Security forces are ready to take all necessary action
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Defense spokesman of the cabinet Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the nation’s security forces will take all necessary steps to supply water to the 15,000 people who have been deprived of water by the closing of an irrigation canal by the liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Interviwed by the BBC Sinhala Service the Minister refused to elaborate the necessary steps.


Air force destroys Tigers second air strip in Mulathivu and kills six
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Air force fighter jets in a second round of an attack bombed the new airstrip the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is alleged to be building in the East of Mullaithivu near the port town of Trincomalee.

The Sri Lanka Army said its fighter craft, July 27, struck selected Tamil Tiger targets in the East of Mullaithivu, in the troubled Eastern Province of the country where the LTTE was constructing another illegal airstrip, in a surprise attack.


LTTE kills 2 and injures 3 in morning attacks in Jaffna
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during morning attacks intended mostly for the security forces by claymore mines and fire attacks in Jaffna killed at least two civilians, injured two civilians and one soldier, the Sri Lanka Army said.

Among those injured during this morning mayhem, July 27, was the Vice Principal of the town’s leading educational institute, the Jaffna Hindu College, Mr. Krishnakumar who was on his way to the school about 7.25 a.m. the sources said.


Norwegian envoy to visit Sri Lanka in attempt to revive peace monitoring
A Norwegian envoy will visit Sri Lanka next week in an attempt to resuscitate peace monitoring efforts after Tamil Tiger rebels demanded the withdrawal of European Union members, an official said on Wednesday.

Jon Hannsen-Bauer will try to persuade Tamil guerrillas to drop demands for the withdrawal of EU officials who are part of a five-nation Nordic truce monitoring mission overseeing a shaky cease-fire between the rebels and the Government, said Erik Ivo Nurnberg, spokesman for the Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka. (The Hindu)


Sri Lanka Air Force Bombs Verugal Aru terrorist Camps
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Immediately after the government promised protesting Eastern farmers that it would intervene in getting water for them that had been closed forcibly by the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the Sri Lanka Air force bombed limited areas targeting Verugal Aru to clear the area for irrigation engineers to reopen the closed sluice gates.

A tension filled atmosphere was created since July 20 when the terrorists of the LTTE forcibly closed the gates of the anicut that takes water from a tributary of Sri Lanka’s biggest river, Mahaveli to about 35,000 acres of rice fields and other seasonal crops.



Rally the Nation to defeat terrorism! – Sri Lankans in USA writes to President
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Representatives from Sri Lankan Patriots of U.S.A hand over the petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksha at the Presidential Palace. The petition was signed by thousands of Sri Lankans living in the USA. Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara also in the picture.
Sri Lankan Patriots, an organization of Sri Lankans in the USA has sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse appealing him to be dedicated for the sovereignty and protection of the Motherland.

The letter calls upon the President to take measures to investigate regarding the local and foreign organizations that directly and indirectly sustain tiger terrorism and to take necessary steps to curb their actions.(LankaTruth)


How Sabaratnam and 150 other TELO fighters were burnt alive by the LTTE
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Selvam Adaikalanathan, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and the current leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) a constituent party of the TNA that has now become subservient to the LTTE Addressed a well attended “Black July” commermorative rally in London’s Hyde Park. In his speech he described how two previous leaders of TELO Kuttimani and Thangathurai were killed in a Welikada Prison riot by his fellow inmates in 1983.

But he miserably failed to mention how the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran with his cousin the late Kittu burned alive TELO’s former leader “Tall” Sri Sabaratnam and 150 TELO fighters who surrendered to them after a fight. Indian newspapers like Times of India very reliably recorded this event describing how Sabaratnam and his fighters were tied to trees , firewood placed around them and burnt to death alive.



SLAF conduct air raids in east
The Sri Lankan Air Force carried out air raids on Tamil Tiger rebel held area in the east.

Planning and Implementation Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the attacks were "intended to help irrigation engineers gain access to the Maavil Aru canal". (BBC Sinhala)


Govt.-JVP discuss forming broad front
The JVP has come forward to form a broad front to confront the present situation the country has come up with as a result of the national question. Already the JVP has begun talks with President Mahnda Rajapakse and the SLFP regarding this

This was revealed at the media meeting held by the JVP today. JVP Leader Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, General Secretary Mr. Tilvin Silva, Information Secretary Mr. Wimal Weerawansa and Members of Political Bureau Messrs Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Lal Kanthe were present at the meeting. (LankaTruth)


International efforts to revive Sri Lanka-rebel talks underway
A flurry of international activity was underway in order to revive Sri Lanka's stalled peace bid with the Tamil Tiger rebels, a government minister said here Wednesday.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Policy Planning and the government's defense spokesman said that the Norwegian special peace envoy was due in the island later this week. (People's Daily)


UNHCR head in Vanni
The UN high commissioner for refugees met the Tamil Tiger leadership to assess the needs of the growing number of internally displaced people.

"We need to ensure human rights of the internally displaced people," the high commissioner said after discussions with LTTE political chief SP Tamilselvan in rebel held Kilinochchi. (BBC Sinhala)


Two terrorists get killed in jaffna
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Two suspected LTTE terrorists missed their target of a deadly grenade and got killed by two alert army soldiers, police reports from Jaffna said.

The unlucky rebels were riding a red colored Bajaj motor bicycle at Urimpipar junction in Jaffna and swooped past the soldiers throwing the deadly grenade.



Civil commotion at irrigation canal closure
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Venerable Seruwila Saranakitti, the Chief Sangha nayaka of the Eastern and Thamnkadu areas said he will not be holding the fast in protest against the LTTE stopping irrigation water to thousands of acres of rice fields and other crops since government has promised to intervene and open up the irrigation sluices at the anicut.

Depriving water to thousands of farmers from July 20 2006 the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam closed the sluice gates.



EPDP local govt member killed by LTTE
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam shot dead another person linked with their main opposition Tamil party the Eelam People’s Democratic Party(EPDP), barely 12 hours before they gunned down the party leaders coordinating secretary.

The Tamil Tigers gunned down an elected member of a local government body in the Jaffna District belonging to the party headed by Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda.



Long wait for thousands still stranded in Lebanon
"One at a time, one at a time," screamed the guards at Sri Lanka's embassy in Beirut, shoving back crowds of people waving passports, desperate to get inside.

There are some 80,000 Sri Lankans working in Lebanon and thousands have descended on the small embassy a 20 minute drive from downtown Beirut, seeking help to flee Israel's bombs. (ABC News/REUTERS)


Sri Lankans to 'stay in Lebanon'
Sri Lanka is advising its citizens trapped in Lebanon by Israel's military assault to stay where they are.

Labour relations minister Athauda Senevirathne said most Sri Lankans in Lebanon wanted to remain, and urged relatives not to press them to leave. (BBC)


Protection of children in war must be strengthened
With over 250,000 boys currently exploited as child soldiers and tens of thousands of girls subject to sexual violence, it was time for the United Nations Security Council to step up its efforts to protect such children by acting against their violators, UN officials told the 15-member body today.

“The initial phase of the monitoring and reporting mechanisms is now over,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for children and armed conflict, said, referring to measures put in place, through a landmark 2005 Council resolution, to report on violations of children’s rights by either Government or rebel forces during conflicts. (Scoop)


Seargent killed and two more injured in a claymore attack
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Staff Sergeant P. K. D. Alwis was killed and two other soldiers were severely injured in a LTTE claymore blast in Vavuniya.

The army said suspected LTTE terrorists waiting in ambush activated the claymore explosion against a moving tractor in which Alwis and two more colleagues were traveling for administrative duties.



Tsunami shows need for complete warning system
Following last week’s tsunami that killed hundreds of people on the south-central coast of the Indonesian island of Java, the head of a United Nations regional development commission called today for more comprehensive coverage from the warning systems now being developed in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the devastating waves it created.

It is expected that the early warning towers and control system planned for the project would be put into operation on 26 December to commemorate the second anniversary of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. (Scoop)


Tamil Tigers cut a head of a home guard and runs away with it
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Waiting terrorists of the LTTE in the dark caught and dragged a home guard attached to a police post, severed his head with a sharp knife and took the head away in Trincomalee said Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe the Sri Lanka Army spokesman.

He said the victim in the ghastly act of the Tamil Tigers was a 27 year old home guard named Nissanka Rajith Bandara who walked away from his police post about 100 yards away for a call of nature at night when he met his killers.



President Rajapaksa seeks Indian help to solve Sri Lankan problem
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that India is the only country that could pursue Velupillai Prabhakaran , the elusive Tamil Tiger leader to sit down at a negotiating table to solve Sri Lanka’s national problem.

But he said it was an extremely difficult task to bring a man hiding in a jungle and not believing in democracy over to a negotiating table .



Sri Lanka seeks help for tens of thousands in Lebanon
Sri Lanka has sought help in evacuating thousands of workers trapped in Lebanon, amid claims by some housemaids their employers tried to stop them leaving by holding on to passports and wages.

Government officials Monday said most of the 80,000 Sri Lankans working in the Middle Eastern country -- mainly as housemaids, truck drivers and child-minders -- had opted to remain behind (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka Muslims want early resumption of peace negotiation
The main political party for the minority Muslim community Sunday called for an early resumption of peace negotiations between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government.

Rauff Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), told reporters that his party was seriously concerned about the stalled nature of the Norwegian backed process aimed at ending the long drawn out separatist armed conflict. (People's Daily)


Devananda's Public relations man assassinated in Colombo
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
A Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist shot and killed the public relations man of Minister Douglas Devananda , EPDP sources said in Colombo.

Tamil Tiger assassin in the early hours of July 24 shot Maha Kanapathi Pillai, the public relations man of Social services and Social Welfare Minister of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government , police sources said.



LTTE closes down irrigation scheme
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have closed the Verugal irrigation anicut depriving thousands of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim farmers water for their crops, reported the Sri Lanka Army.

The Verugal irrigation anicut , in Trincomalee District, in the strife torn Eastern Province in the country takes water from the river called Mavil Aru and supplies water to thousands of farmers in the district , the announcement said.



Despatching of refugees home breaks down in Lebanon
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Sri Lanka’s Lebanon ambassador M.A. Farrok admitted in a BBC’s Sinhala language service interview that the steady dispatch of war refugees to Sri Lanka has broken down after the first batch has been flown home.

He said after sending nearly 300 people home monetary difficulties faced by an international organization in sending them home, prior engagements of Sri Lankan Airline planes for different jobs and difficulty of reaching Southern areas of Lebanon have all contributed to the break down of dispatching refugees to Sri Lanka.



Jayalath Jayawardena grilled for visiting Daya Master
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, a close ally of party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was grilled by other UNP parliamentarians with heated accusations for visiting Daya Master , the Tamil Tiger propaganda man at the Apollo hospital when he made a controversial trip to Colombo to take treatment and obtain a true diagnosis of his heart following a massive stroke.

The widely circulated Sunday weekly “Irida Divaina” reported that the issue was raised by the UNP Members of Parliament Mano Wijeratne and Bandula Gunawardena and asked him why the UNP MP was visiting for hours with a well known terrorist leader of the country. When Jayalath Jayawardena was trying to reply there was a heated exchange of words between the Jayawardena and Wijeratna and Gunawardena. The leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was trying to settle the dispute and kept mysteriously silent about the issue.



LTTE arms surrender a ‘gigantic farce’
HL: North-east merger an ‘illegal by-pass’
President’s Counsel H.L. de Silva on Friday obtained leave from the Supreme Court to proceed with a fundamental rights action relating to the north east merger. In his opening submissions on Friday he said that the LTTE’s surrender of weapons under the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987 was "in reality a gigantic farce.’’

"It was manifest that there was no real or effective surrender of arms except for the token display of some rusty unserviceable weapons in the presence of then Defence Secretary General Sepala Atygalle,’’ he said. (The Sunday Island)


Srilanka refugees return from Lebanon penniless
Photo
Sri Lankan women, who were evacuated from Lebanon arrive at the airport in Colombo July 22
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi)

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The first 217 people arrived at Colombo’s International Airport escaping from Lebanon’s war were handed over five thousand Rupees (50 US Dollars) per adult and two thousand five hundred Rupees per child as pocket money to go home by the International Migrants Organization representatives.

The International Migrant’s Organization which has been coordinating with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beirut and Caritas organization to bring home at least some of the stranded Sri Lankan citizens from Lebanon said they were expecting about 400 more people in the next flight at Katunayaka.



Sri Lankans demonstrate against US
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Sri Lankan Muslim protesters burn mock Israeli and U.S. flags during a protest against the Israeli attacks in Lebanon, in Colombo July 21
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi)

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Hundreds of people shouting anti-American and Israeli slogans protesting against the innocent civilians being killed by the Israel bombing marched from Bambalapitiya mosque to the US Embassy in kollupitiya but was stopped by the police using barricades at the Kollupitiya junction, eye witnesses said.

The protesters organized by the Muslim United Liberation Front started their demonstration after finishing the Friday services at the mosque and began their march but stopped from proceeding at a spot few yards away from the embassy by the police who had erected iron barricades closing the Galled Road reaching Colombo from the south.



Sri Lanka keen to know truth about Mahabodhi tree
The Sri Lankan government is keen to learn the truth about a branch being cut off from a Buddhist holy tree in Bodh Gaya and has sent its ambassador to the Bihar town to taker a close look at the 110-year-old tree, an official said Saturday.

Ambassador to India C.R. Jayasinghe visited Bodh Gaya town, around 100 km from here Friday. He said he would submit a report to his government on what he had seen. (India eNews)


One dead, 3 hurt in roadside blast
A roadside bomb on Saturday killed a Sri Lankan soldier and wounded three others in northern Jaffna, in the latest attack blamed by the military on separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

The victims were on a road-clearing patrol when the bomb exploded. (The Times of India)


North and East demerger to be heard
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The fundamental rights petition filed by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) requesting the de-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces was allowed by the Supreme Court to be heard before a bench of five judges.

The petition submitted by three parliamentarians of the Eastern Province said that the voters of the Eastern Province have been deprived of having a provincial council and they have been prevented from casting their votes at an election.



Mounties call Tamil group 'arm of Tigers'
The Tamil Tigers terrorist organization is "entrenched" in Canada and uses a Toronto-based "front organization" called the World Tamil Movement to raise money for arms, says a summary of an ongoing RCMP probe released .

The 58-page document released by the Ontario court provides the first glimpse of a four-year RCMP investigation, called Project OSALUKI, into the Canadian fundraising efforts of the Sri Lankan terror group the Tamil Tigers. (National Post)


More than 3000 Sri Lankans stranded in Southern Lebanon
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
More than 3000 Sri Lankans are believed to be stranded in Sourthern Lebanon that is taking the main onslaught of Israeli bombing unable to reach their embassy in Beirut as the country’s roads and bridges have been devastated by the war.

Sri Lanka ambassador M. A. Farook in Beirut said only a handful of them were able to contact the embassy by phone and the embassy or organizations like Caritas the local Red Cross or the International Red Cross were not able to send vehicles to the heavily bombed areas to pick up the stranded Sri Lankans.



Tigers reject Swedish call to reconsider kicking out EU monitors
Tamil Tiger rebels have rejected a call from Sweden to reconsider a September 1 deadline for truce monitors from European Union member states to quit, a pro-rebel website said.

The Tamilnet.com website said Tigers told a visiting Swedish envoy that ceasefire monitors from EU member states Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which in May outlawed the Tigers, will have to quit by the deadline set by the rebels. (Turkish Press)


A dose of their own medicine for Tigers
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The LTTE controlled Tamil Net said the recent claymore explosion inside their territory near Mannar was an attack by the Sri Lanka Army’s Deep Penetration Unit.

According to them, the explosion has been targeted at a NGO vehicle and only the officials of the organization got minor injuries. The news items failed to explain why anybody would waste its precious resources and time and taking life threatening risks to target a NGO vehicle and inflict minor injuries!



Ranatunga quits ministry for cricket administration
Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga resigned as junior minister for tourism to devote time to the island nation's cricket administration.

Officials said Ranatunga, 42, sent his letter of resignation to President Mahinda Rajapakse giving up his political office to enter Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the main body governing the sport in the country. (Cricmania)


UN to hold 'beauty contest' to pick new Secretary General
The United Nations Security Council will hold a straw poll next week on the four Asian candidates who are bidding to replace Kofi Annan, in the first decisive step towards picking the UN's next secretary general.

The 15-nation council will hold a secret ballot on the four official candidates on Monday, unless the session is delayed by the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, UN diplomats said. (The Independent)


First batch of Sri Lankans to be flown home sent to Syria
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The first batch of 112 migrant Sri Lankan workers was dispatched in three buses through Syria to be flown home to Colombo, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beirut said.

The buses were supplied through the courtesy of the International Organization of Migrants (IOM) whose help the Sri Lanka government sought in bringing home part of the 80,000 Sri Lankans working legally and illegally in the country ravaged by incessant bombing by the Israeli fighter jets. Already, at least two Sri Lankans have been killed by the Israeli bombing, according to sources in Lebanon.



UN targets Lanka child sex trade
The UN children's Fund (Unicef) says its two-year campaign with the Sri Lankan tourist board against child sex tourism is being intensified.

Unicef officials say that the campaign will now be extended to include TV, radio and newspaper announcements. (BBC)


India to help sri lankans in Lebanon come home
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
India has agreed to help Sri Lanka evacuate the country’s stranded citizens from Lebanon ravaged by Israrael’s relentless bombing.

Indian ships will be docking at the Beirut harbor to evacuate more than thousand Indians who have expressed their desire to leave.



Red Cross and SLMM meet Lance Corporal Karunaratna
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The International Red Cross representatives joined Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission members in visiting Lance Corporal R. M. Karunaratne who was captured when 12 other soldiers were killed at Valkerni by the terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The red cross was not allowed to take their own doctor to examine Karunaratne but the red cross representative Sukumar Rockwood said Karunaratne had only a minor bullet wound on his back.



Second death of a Sri Lankan reported in Lebanon
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
As the second death of a Sri Lankan was reported in the Lebanon bombing by Israeli jets many more among the 80,000 Sri lankans living in that country are feared dead.

A Lebanese news website quoting the local police in the Central town of Nabatiyeh said among the dead was a Sri Lankan in that town.



Two Sri Lankans in custody at N.Y. airport after Canada-bound plane is turned back
Two Sri Lankans carrying suspected false passports were taken into custody and a commuter plane they had tried to board was sent back to Rochester's airport Wednesday morning because one of their bags was aboard, authorities said.

The Toronto-bound Air Canada plane was directed back to Rochester by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and all 11 passengers were removed, said Monroe County sheriff's spokesman John Helfer. (Fox News)


3 army officers killed 11 others injured in claymore attack
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Captain E.R.S.H.P.A. SIRIWARDENE, Lieutenant P.G.S.G. KUMARA and Lance Corporal U.S. THILAKARATHNE died at Palaly military hospital succumbing to injuries in a LTTE claymore bomb attack at Maradana Madam in Jaffna.

The troops returning home on leave were injured in the deadly attack along with nine other soldiers and two police constables, July 19, the Sri Lanka Army said.



One Sri Lankan killed in Lebanon : 80,000 others stranded
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
As the seventh day of the Israeli bombing raids continued devastating Lebanon at least killing one Sri Lankan domestic aid the majority of the 80,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers were stranded in the country since they could not reach their country’s embassy for help or find a way out to a safer haven.

The Lebanese news website Nahrnet said, “In the early hours of Tuesday, a woman, her two daughters and Sri Lankan maid were killed and four others wounded in an air strike on their villa in the coastal city of Tyre.”



European Union Ambassador to visit Sri Lanka Tiger rebels
A special European Union (EU) Ambassador is to visit the Tamil Tiger territory in Sri Lanka's north later this week to have talks on the Tamil Tiger demand to exclude truce monitors representing EU nations from the international truce monitoring mission, the Sri Lankan government said in Colombo Wednesday.

Keheliya Rambukwella, minister of policy planning and the government's defense spokesman, said that Andres Oljelund, a Swedish national and an ambassador at large, had arrived in Colombo on Monday. (People's Daily)


LTTE claymore devices kill innocent Tamil civilians
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
One Tamil civilian died and scores of other civilians were injured when high explosive claymore mines targeting security forces were detonated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the country’s Northern and Eastern provinces, the Sri Lanka Army said.

All devices were exploded July 18 in two incidents full of gory in crowded places in Jaffna and a Trincomalee suburb where in the latter incident all injured were Tamil women taking part in a shramadana work to cleanup their town. In the third incident, the claymore mine was detected by a Tamil civilian and the message was conveyed to the army after which it was diffused. The third claymore although targeting security forces if exploded as designed also would have injured hundreds of students at the Eastern University Hostel where it was picked up by the army Engineers.



UNP is divided admits Tissa
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The United National Party’s Deputy General Secretary admiited in Colombo that the main opposition party in Sri Lanka is divided with factional infighting.

He admitted that a senior leader of the party M. H. Mohamed is having arguments with the leader’s main political ally Milinda Moragoda with whom Ranil Wickremesinghe was touring India, last week.



Ranil's organ attacks G.L, S.B.,and Wijesekera
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The pro-Ranil Wickremesinghe Sunday Leader of Colombo attacked UNP party seniors like Professor G.L. Peiris, Mahinda Wijesekera and S. B. Dissanayka as members who present proposals for party reforms very insincerely, with ulterior motives.

The pro-Wickremesinghe organ said they were not proposals for the betterment of the United National Party but proposals with personal agendas for them to grab power.



Lanka wants to move 80,000 out of danger in Lebanon
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon is handling a gigantic effort of moving nearly 80,000 migrant workers employed in that country to safer places, Sri Lanka foreign Ministry sources said.

The Sri Lanka Embassy was engaged in a massive operation in moving the Sri Lankan migrant workers out of the endangered areas now being bombed for the sixth day by Israeli jets the sources said.



LTTE refuses to return goodwill for Daya Master
LTTE breaks promise and detains Bandujeewa until July 31
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Breaking all promises that as a goodwill gesture for allowing Daya Master to receive treatment in the Apollo hospital in Colombo Sub Inspector Bandujeewa Bopitigoda will be released from their detention the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) further jailed him.

The terrorist group informed his brother who visited him in Kilinochchi that he would be further detained until July 31.



Claymore mines kill 2 and injures 11
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a deadly wave of claymore mine explosions killed two government troops and injured 11 others seriously.

All claymore mines were detonated inside areas in the Northern and Eastern provinces as demarcated as Government of Sri Lanka territory in violation of the ceasefire agreement both sides have vowed to protect.



China tells Mangala Samaraweera it would help Lanka defeat terrorism
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The government of the People’s Republic of China told visiting foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera that it would help Sri Lanka defeat terrorism. The Chinese government told Samaraweera that it was totally against “separatism and extremism” now harming the people of Sri Lanka in reference to the extremist separatist war carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

It further said , the Chinese government was opposed to “ to the three evil forces of Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and discussed measures to increase their consultation and coordination in regional and international anti-terrorism activities.” between the two countries.



Pro-UNP TV stations fight for imported melodramasa
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The pro-UNP television stations went on strike to protest against the government’s new taxation policy of foreign films and soap operas, which are dubbed in Sinhalese and shown on their television channels.

The strike went on at prime time news periods to tell viewers that the government’s new move was wrong, since the stations depend on imported films to maintain their advertising income to maintain their stations.



84 Sri Lankans released from Beirut detention but some run away
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
As Beirut was ravaged by Israeli bombs 84 Sri Lankans detained in a detention center were released to go to safer places for protection.

As they were being transported in two buses 24 detainess under the mistaken belief that they were being taken to other detention places became boisterous and escaped in search of friends a BBC news items said.



SB lashes at UNP position holders
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
S. B. Dissanayaka censored self-seeking individuals in the United National Party whose political future depended on personal favours in the party rather than voter support for their existence.

Dissanayaka, released by President Rajapaksa from jail on a pardon said individuals who feared their positions in the party would be lost if urgently needed reorganization measures were implemented, purposely delayed such measures and created the present sorry plight of the party.



Rebels hand slain soldiers to S.Lanka, keep one captive
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers on Saturday handed over the corpses of 12 soldiers they killed during one of the worst military clashes since a 2002 ceasefire, but said another they captured would be tried in their courts.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) handed the dead from Friday's clash to Red Cross officials, who took them from rebel territory in eastern Sri Lanka across a heavily defended border to government territory. (REUTERS)


Highest recognition for Malik Peiris
Photo

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The distinguished Sri Lankan medical research scientist, Professor Malik Peiris was formally admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Science , July 14, at a ceremony in London, the institute said.

Joseph Srial Malik Peiris, an old boy of St. Anthony’s College Katugastota and a medical graduate of the Peradeniya University and now teaching at the University of Kong Kong became the first Sri Lankan scientist to be honoured with this rare fellowship considered one of the highest in the Commonwealth of Nations.



Jayalath Jayawardena spends hours with Daya Master
Photo
The National Movement Against Terrorism held a demonstration in front of the Apollo Hospital where Daya Master is admitted. They shouted slogans demanding his arrest
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
While the Jathika Hela Urumaya vehemently protested and condemned President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s act of providing facilities and security for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) spokesman Daya Master at a private hospital in Colombo, United National Party strongman Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena reportedly spent hours with the ailing man.

Dr. Jayawardena even at the height of the LTTE- Sri Lanka war had been a volunteer medical specialist to treat the injured guerillas in the war against his own country in the past.



Sri Lanka rebels may postpone April crunch talks
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will view any further attacks by renegades they say are military-backed as an act of war and may postpone crunch talks unless the state disarms them, their chief negotiator has warned.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are due to attend a second round of peace talks with Sri Lankan officials in Geneva in April, and say the island's fragile peace process could grind to a halt if the government fails to honour a pledge to rein in armed groups. (REUTERS)


Seperate East and North says, JVP
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in a case filed in the Supreme Court has requested to declare the gazette notification issued by the government of former President Junius Richard Jayewardene merging the Eastern and Northern Provinces null and void.

The JVP has argued that by merging the two administrative provinces which were administered as two separate administrative areas for hundreds of years the former United National Party government has done grave injustice to the Muslim and Sinhalese people living in those areas.



12 SLA soldiers die in one hour Welikanda battle
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed that 12 Sri Lanka army soldiers were killed and one Lance Corporal captured in one of the biggest confrontations since the military terrorist group signed a ceasefire agreement with the Sri Lanka government.

A Sri Lanka army spokesman admitted thirteen of their men were missing but delayed the confirmation of the deaths until the bodies are handed over through the Red Cross, July 15.



Did a deep penetration unit kill 4 terrorists?
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) charged that Sri Lanka Army troop has penetrated deeply into their territory and killed a Lt. Colonel, two captains and a private of their guerilla army in ambush at night.

The Sri Lanka Army has denied any of their troops had penetrated into the LTTE territory to kill, as alleged.



Rebels say kill 22 soldiers in firefight
Tamil Tiger rebels said on Friday they killed 22 soldiers in a firefight in potentially the worst military clash since a 2002 truce, but the army said the number of fatalities would be far lower.

Kayal Viliyan, a senior rebel in the Tigers' eastern political office in the district of Batticaloa, told Reuters around 60 troops entered Tiger territory in an area the military say is government-held, and were surrounded by about 200 rebels. "We have found 22 bodies, and we are still searching". (REUTERS)


Two Claymore mines in Kandy
The Police recovered two claymore mines in Kandy on Thursday the 13th, July.

The Army bomb disposal squad rushed to the scene and later defused it. (Ministry of Defence)


Suspected rebels kill another rival - police
Police found the corpse of a political rival of the Tamil Tigers dumped in northcentral Sri Lanka on Thursday, officials said, the second such killing in as many days as violence raises civil war fears

The body of R. Skandarajah Dhavan, a leader of minority Tamil party PLOTE -- which fought the state alongside the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before turning to the political mainstream in the late 1980s -- was found in the district of Vavuniya. He had been kidnapped late on Wednesday. (REUTERS)


Sri Lanka awards contract to UAE firm to build oil refinery
Eight months after serving as President, Mahinda Rajapakse is a desperate man. All his recent attempts to seek direct contact with the LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran and the LTTE leadership having failed, Rajapakse’s one hope now is for his latest peace bid to work.

With each passing day recording an average of two killings in the volatile north and east, President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday kick-started deliberations on constitutional reforms but with no guarantee from the Tiger guerillas that they would support him. (L.B.O.)


1000 soldiers to protect Colombo
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Army is going to beef up its volunteer force with one thousand privates exclusively for the security of the city of Colombo, the military announced.

The government under its security plan has decided the protection of the nation’s capital is imperative in the midst of the current terrorist threats.



Rajapakse’s desperate attempts for peace
Eight months after serving as President, Mahinda Rajapakse is a desperate man. All his recent attempts to seek direct contact with the LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran and the LTTE leadership having failed, Rajapakse’s one hope now is for his latest peace bid to work.

With each passing day recording an average of two killings in the volatile north and east, President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday kick-started deliberations on constitutional reforms but with no guarantee from the Tiger guerillas that they would support him. (Dawn)


4 killed and 10 injured in fresh violence in Jaffna
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) killed two policemen and severely injured seven others including a civilian in one of their latest beefed up wave of claymore bomb attacks in and around Jaffna peninsula.

In this latest attack in Nallur, the terrorist group also known as Tamil Tigers killed two police constables, PC 37096 Rohana and PC 29409 Shanmugan, defense ministry sources said.



Daya Master is rushed to Colombo
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
LTTE propagandist and public relations man Daya Master was rushed to a Colombo private hospital with the permission of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Government spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

He said that he was taken to Colombo for medical treatment. The Minister said the family of Daya Master and the LTTE made a request to the president to allow him to take treatment for a heart ailment.



Sri Lanka condemns terrorist attack in Mumbai
President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka vehemently condemn the brutal terrorist attack on the Indian rail network in Mumbai which claimed the lives of innocent commuters yesterday.

This terrorist act was conducted during the rush hour with the intent of causing maximum casualties to the civilian population. The attack claimed the lives of over 174 innocent people and injuring over 485 others. (Media Center for N.S.)


Ranil is in a real political soup
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The impending political crisis in the United National Party (UNP) has brought ominous signs for the future of party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the opposition party insiders said.

Wickremesinghe was hit where it hurts most when the UNP parliamentarians have started defecting one by one to the government at a time he was attempting to cling on to the party leadership despite his many a electoral defeats. Already five of his Members of Parliament have joined government ranks and more are to follow suit.



At least 174 killed in Indian train blasts
A series of seven explosions killed at least 174 people on crowded commuter trains and stations Tuesday evening in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai, police said.

Officials said more than 380 people were injured in the blasts in the city's western suburbs as commuters made their way home. All seven blasts came within an 11-minute span, between 6:24 and 6:35 p.m. (8:54 and 9:05 a.m. ET). (CNN)


LTTE men get invite to talk reforms in constitution
Sri Lanka's president on Tuesday invited Tamil Tiger rebels to participate in reforming the country's constitution - a key demand of the insurgents _ saying it was the only way to achieve the aspirations of ethnic minority Tamils.

President Mahinda Rajapakse extended the invitation during a meeting with a committee appointed by the government to suggest ways to grant more autonomy to Tamil areas, where rebels have pushed for a separate homeland. (Times of India)


Sri Lanka offers cash, devolution to end ethnic bloodshed
Sri Lanka's president has offered 1.25 billion dollars to rebuild embattled regions and asked his advisors to come up with a power-sharing plan to end decades of ethnic bloodshed.

President Mahinda Rajapakse told a 15-member multi-ethnic panel appointed by him last week to come up with a formula that could lead to a new constitution that will grant extensive devolution of power to minority Tamils. (Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE is seeking a Sudan like separation for Sri lanka
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The legal advisor to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the the terrorist outfit’s New York activist VishvanAdan Rudrakumar said said that partial blame for the impasse in Sri Lanka's peace process rests with the international community.

Accusing the international community for imposing limitations the banned terrorist group representative said, “The most damaging aspect of the international community's action was its insistence that a solution should be found within a unified Sri Lanka.”




Army kills 2 LTTE terrorists
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Two Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerillas were killed when they clashed with route clearing Sri Lanka Army troops in Mannar, June 10 the military sources said.

The clash occurred at SURIYAKATTAKADU lake, NANATANN, Mannar around 8.00 a.m when the LTTE terrorists mingled with local fishermen and fired at the troops, the army said.



Tamil Tigers shot at Somawathie monks
Photo

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists fired at Buddhist monks who went to the Mahaveli Ganga with an army and police escort, July 9 about 4.30 p.m., the Sri Lanka Army said.

This is the second time the LTTE terrorists were involved in a shooting incident connected with this ancient Buddhist temple on the scenic edge of the Mahaveli Ganga, close to the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa during the last 20 days.



Sri Lanka to talk constitution change, Tigers out
Sri Lanka said on Monday it was aiming to push through constitutional reform to bring an end to two decades of civil war, but analysts said it would probably not be enough to bring Tamil Tiger rebels to talks.

More than 700 people have died so far this year, some 280 in June alone, raising fears a 2002 ceasefire could collapse, restarting two decades of civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels who want a separate ethnic Tamil homeland in the north and east. (ABC News)


LTTE to harm civilians with claymore mines
Photo
The LTTE claymore mines have been improvised from these US claymore mines mostly used in Vietnam
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The discovery of deadly claymore mines ready to be exploded at places in the North and C-4 plastic explosives and ball bearings in other places confirm the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are continually planning to detonate claymore devices to inflict maximum number of deaths to civilians and the army, security sources said.

The mines, unlike landmines which are hidden underneath the ground and triggered accidentally by the enemy or innocent civilians, are kept above the ground and therefore could be easier to detect military sources said. A claymore mine most recently discovered at Jaffna weighed 20 kilograms and could have inflicted heavy damages to human life, the sources said.



S.Lanka govt still committed to peace -- minister
Sri Lanka's government is still committed to a 2002 peace process with Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels despite an increasingly shaky ceasefire, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said on Monday.

Peace mediator Norway wrote to both sides last week asking for confirmation they were committed to the process after talks in Oslo on the safety of Nordic ceasefire monitors collapsed last week without the two sides ever meeting. (REUTERS)


Attacks to intensify, S.Lanka rebel front warns
A suspected Tamil Tiger front organisation vowed on Saturday to intensify attacks against Sri Lanka's military as mounting violence stokes fears that the island is sliding back into civil war.

The Tamil Resurgence Force, which emerged in December and is one of a clutch of groups the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) say have rallied to their cause, said it would also attack Tamil government allies. (REUTERS)


Many more UNP MP's to leave UNP
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Political circles in Colombo predicted that many more parliamentarians in defiance of their party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe are planning to leave the opposition and join the Mahinda Rajapaksa government.

This was confirmed by Ratnapura District parliamentarian Susantha Punchinilame who said many more Members of Parliament of the UNP were willing to join the government.



Sri Lanka appoints temporary army chief
Sri Lanka has appointed a temporary army chief to fill in for Sarath Fonseka who is in Singapore for medical treatment after surviving a suicide bomb attack in April, the army said.

Fonseka's deputy, Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi, was named the acting army head on Friday, an army spokesman said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Another UNP MP to cross over
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Bandula Gunawardena attacked President Rajapaksa’s government for recruiting United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians and called it back stabbing.

He said while expecting the help of the UNP for the country’s internal strife caused by the separatist activities of the LTTE on one hand the government was back stabbing the party by accepting UNP parliamentarians to the folds of the government. He was being interviewed by the Sinhala service of the BBC, the Sandeshaya.



Lankan diplomat uses shared cultures to promote ties
Sumith Nakandala, former Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Chennai and now Ambassador-designate to Nepal, is an out-of-the-ordinary diplomat.

For this 46 year old career foreign service officer, the aim of diplomacy is not to gain partisan advantage for his country through intrigue, secrecy and glib talk, but to build longstanding bridges across national frontiers using shared interests, shared values and shared cultures as the foundation. (Hindustan Times)


Bipartisan peace bid fails, opposition says
A fresh attempt to hammer out a bipartisan approach to Sri Lanka's drawn out Tamil separatist conflict ended abruptly with the defection of an opposition legislator, officials said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse met with United National Party opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Thursday evening to agree on a common approach to the festering conflict, but the initiative failed, an opposition spokesman said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


S.Lanka extends emergency, opposition abstains
Sri Lanka's parliament extended a year-old state of emergency on Thursday but for the first time the main opposition party abstained, saying the bill was doing nothing to halt a rising tide of killings.

The emergency was first declared last August after a suspected rebel Tamil Tiger assassin shot dead Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. It was then extended for a presidential election and then as violence soared in the north and east. (REUTERS)


Slmm visits refugees who fled from LTTE terror
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission members visited the make shift refugee camps made at the Mankerni Catholic Church and the government school at Mankerni for Tamil refugees who are escaping from LTTE occupied Vakarai area in fear of forced military training and conscription of children as child soldiers., military sources said.

Sri Lanka Army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the Monitoring Mission members met the people at both centers and interviewed the refugees who had left their villages in fear of the LTTE recruiters.



Sri Lanka slaps tax on Hollywood, Bollywood programming
Sri Lanka's government has begun imposing taxes on television stations broadcasting foreign movies, sitcoms and dramas in a bid to boost its own fledgling industry, the finance ministry has said.

An existing media tax will be extended to commercials made abroad for local companies which have been outsourcing some of their promotional work to Indian advertising firms. (Yahoo News/AFP)


UNP MP crosses over lacking confidence in Ranil
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Another United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian joined the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa indicating the increasing disillusionment in the opposition party’s leadership among the parliamentarians.

Ratnapura District Member of Parliament of the UNP, Susantha Punchinilame joined the government and was given the Deputy Minister ship of rural economic development. Punchinilame is the fourth UNP Member of Parliament to join the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, “lacking confidence in the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe.”



Tigers say suicide bombing is indispensable for them
Photo
A jacket containing plastic explosives with two pull cords - one to arm the device, the other to detonate it ( photo by: R Gunaratna )
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE) that has been proscribed as a terrorist group in all major countries in the world today defied the ban by declaring that "Black Tigers are a indispensable arsenal” of them by assuring suicide bombing would continue to be their method of destruction both against civilian and military targets in the time to come.

The assuarance came from S.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) addressing a Black Tigers Day celebrations held June 5, in Kathiraveli in Vaharai division, in the Eastern Province of the island, LTTE sources said.



LTTE gang who plotted to kill Sarath Fonseka arrested
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Police said the Tamil couple and a man that facilitated the suicide bomber who unsuccessfully attempted to kill Sri Lanka’s Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was arrested at Rambukkana in a LTTE safe house and are being currently interrogated by a special team of detectives.

The island nation’s chief of the law enforcement force , the Inspector General of Police, Chandra Fernando said important information regarding the LTTE’s killer machine of suicide bombers are being revealed by them.



No military solution in Sri Lanka: outgoing US ambassador
Sri Lanka's president said on Tuesday he wanted to discuss a solution to the island's ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, but again denied that renegade ex-Tigers were operating in army-held territory.

Lunstead, who is leaving the country after three years, also said in a statement released Wednesday that a solution to Sri Lanka's civil strife would require "radical changes in the way the entire nation is governed". (Yahoo News/AFP)


Iranamadu was bombed as it was a threat to India says Kohona
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
In an exclusive interview with India’s leading news magazine the Frontline the head of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat Dr. Palitha T.B.Kohona revealed one of the recent targets of the government bombing was the illegal airstrip at Iranamadu.

He said the government had to damage it and take it out since it had been built against the international aviation rules and because it was a threat to the regional stability and security of countries like India.



President wants Tigers to discuss demands
Sri Lanka's president said on Tuesday he wanted to discuss a solution to the island's ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, but again denied that renegade ex-Tigers were operating in army-held territory.

Attacks on mainstream Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by ex-rebels known as the Karuna group are seen helping push Sri Lanka toward renewed civil war. More than 700 people have been killed so far this year and suspected Tiger attacks are rising. (Washingtonpost)

Conspirators to steal our oil wealth, says JVP
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Nefarious international powers are working overtime to steal Sri Lanka’s oil deposits making use of the Tamil separatists and the United National Party charged the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa.

Weerawansa who is also the leader of his parliamentary group said in an exclusive interview with the country’s leading Sunday newspaper Divaina Sunday edition that the international powers would try to do it by a de-facto division of the country using a United Nation’s Peace Keeping Force



Three murderers seek pardon from court
Three inmates, who have been serving life terms since 1994 for the premeditated murder of a guard, are seeking a court pardon after obtaining a waiver from the victim's parents.

The three convicts, Ahmad A. and Omar N., from Pakistan, and Edilla M., from Sri Lanka, who have each served about 12 of the 25 years of their terms, approached the Dubai Court of First Instance seeking a pardon. (Gulf News)


More than hundred escape forced military training on them
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Army was compelled to open makeshift refugee centers at a Mankerni Church and the government school to house a steady flow of Tamil families reaching the military outpost for protection and escape from a rebel group who were forcing them to take up military training for the adults as well as children.

People were flowing into Mankerni from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) occupied areas in the Eastern province leaving all their belongings at home , the army quoted them of having said.


Saran, Rajapakse discuss Lanka devolution package
As the Sri Lanka government builds up a political consensus on devolution of power, while simultaneously dealing with the targeted violence by LTTE, foreign secretary Shyam Saran paid a visit to Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse in Colombo on Monday.

The conversation between the two focused on the devolution package that the Sri Lankan government intends to unveil. (The Times of India)


LTTE kills seven and injures 12 to mark the Indian Foreign Secretary's trip
Photo
A Sri Lankan soldier stands near the site of an explosion at any army checkpoint in Trincomalee, ( photo by: Mangalanath De Silva) )
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Suspected rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) killed six people in a bomb blast at the Eastern Port town of Trincomalee to coincide with the Indian Foreign Secretary’s trip to Sri Lanka.

On the same day, LTTE allegedly carried out another claymore mine attack targeting army personnel on a patrol at Wadiri in Point Pedro killing a soldier.


Tigers set Sept 1 deadline for EU monitors to quit
Truce monitors in Sri Lanka from European Union (EU) member states Denmark, Finland and Sweden must leave the country by September 1, a top Tamil Tiger rebel leader told the agency on Monday.

Some 37 out of 57 Scandinavian monitors from the three states cannot be considered neutral, after the EU put the Tigers on its list of banned terrorist groups in May, Tiger political wing leader SP Tamilselvan said. (Hindustan Times)


An extremely low turn out at LTTE Rally in New York
Photo

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The waning popularity of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) among US Tamils was mirrored in the low turn out at the anti-Sri Lanka demonstration held in front of the United Nations building, June 30, eye witnesses said.
Photographs of the demonstration show that it was held with a placard, among others, that demanded a two state solution for Sri Lanka, which preaches separatism like the LTTE.


Parents flee with children while LTTE meets with UNICEF
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
While a United Nations Children’s Fund delegation was pleading with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at their headquarters in Kilinochchi to stop recruitment of children the rebels intensified its conscription of child soldiers in the Eastern province, forcing some families to flee out with their children, military sources said.

Military authorities said, nine families fled from Panichchankerni, in an LTTE occupied area June 28, Wednesday, the very day a three member United Nations Children’s Fund delegation was meeting LTTE leaders requesting them to stop recruiting under age children.


Sri Lanka allows duty free import of rice
The Sri Lankan government has allowed duty free import of 9,337 tons of rice from Pakistan under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which could be utilized till December 2006.

Under the FTA effective from June 12, 2005, Sri Lanka has given duty free access to Pakistan for long grain basmati rice up to 6,000 tons per annum. Pakistani exporters, however, were not able to utilize the full quantity for 2005. (Dawn)


Abdullah City to Be Built in Sri Lanka
Saudi Arabia will build a city named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in a tsunami-affected area of Sri Lanka.

Mohammed Mahmud Al-Ali, Saudi ambassador in Colombo who is currently on a visit to the capital, told Arab News yesterday. “Dubbed King Abdullah Model City, the integrated facility will have 500 houses, a clinic, a mosque, a school. (Arab News)


Second attempt to attack a Naval base foiled
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sea Tigers of the Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were approaching for a suspected attack on the Kankasanturai (KKS) Naval base and a Sea Tiger boat with three sailors in it were sunk , Naval sources said.

The Tiger boat was destroyed by a Sri Lanka Navy Patrol boat at 10.20 p.m. North of Thondamannaru , the same sources said.


Tamil Tigers exchange suicide jackets with Al Qaida
By a Special correspondent
The Daily Breeze, a Los Angeles suburb newspaper letter commenting on the assassination of Lt. General Parami Kulatunga said that the Sri Lankan terrorist group , the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has perfected the art of suicide bomb technology so well , some of the world’s top terrorist groups have copied its bomb technology for exchange of weapons with them.

The letter appearing on June 29 issue of the Daily Breeze published in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, from the city’s airport to the harbor for the last 112 years , said some of the world’s top terrorist groups like Al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade have been allowed to copy the design of the Tamil Tiger suicide jacket for friendly exchange of weapons by the group.


LTTE demand for EU countries to withdraw rejected
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Norway’s peace envoy Jon Hanssen- Bauer rejected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demand that the three European Union representatives Denmark, Sweden and Finland should withdraw from peace keeping duties in the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

The peace envoy, from Norway, that does not belong to the European Union, said the LTTE decision to demand the withdrawal of the three European Union countries is most regretted and the rebel outfit should reconsider its decision.


Youth abductions haunt Sri Lanka as violence rises
Dozens of young men have been rounded up and abducted in eastern Sri Lanka, the United Nations and residents say, probably to train as fighters for rival ethnic Tamil groups.
With violence between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at its highest level since a 2002 truce, the mainstream Tigers are also facing off against a breakaway faction known as the TMVP who analysts say may be army-backed. (REUTERS)


Interim injunction against Daya Sandagiri
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Supreme court today issued an interim injunction preventing former Navy Commander Daya Sandagiri functioning as a Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Defense in Sri Lanka.

The Supreme Court who investigated in to an application filed by an ordinary citizen of the country, Charles Peter, said that two presidential commissions are currently sitting investigating into corruption of the armed forces before which serious charges have been made against the former commander of the Navy.


UNP defends leader's boycot of All Party Conference
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Dr. Rajitha Senarate , a powerful member of Opposition Leader Ranil Wikcramesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) who is close to his leader attacked the Sri Lanka government leadership as “insane” for trying to seek a solution to Sri Lanka’s current war-like situation with the help of parties like Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU).

Defending his leader Wickremesinghe’s decision to stay out of the country to avoid the All Party Conference to which the UNP was supportive when appointed but unofficially “boycotted” by the leader going out of the country to avoid its meetings Senaratne said only people whose mind is not working all right would work with such all party conferences.


Mine blast kills 3
A mine blast killed three civilians in a rebel-controlled village along the same stretch of the Sri Lankan coast where an earlier clash between rebels and the Navy left 17 dead, a pro-rebel report said today.

There was no independent confirmation of the explosion and Sri Lankan military officials could not be immediately reached for comments. (Zee News)


Tigers stand self-condemned: DR Kaarthikeyan
"I am not surprised at the confession of the LTTE. I know from the beginning that was the truth and that was the only truth"
It took 15 long years for one of the world's most dreaded terrorist groups -- the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam -- to come out with the truth on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991.

The LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, told an Indian TV channel that his organisation "deeply regretted" the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and described it as a "monumental historical tragedy". (Hindustan Times)


Now LTTE says they did not own up to Rajiv killing
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Exhibiting the dubious and untrustworthy nature of the Tamil Tigers their spokesman called Daya Master told India’s Hindu newspaper that Balasingham did not own up to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but only regretted the incident.

The LTTE was commenting on their negotiator Antonton Balasingham’s television interview by New Delhi’s private channel NDTV. Daya Master told Hindu, just one day after the television broadcast "The LTTE has not owned responsibility for the killing. Mr. Balasingham has only regretted the incident".


Breakaway ex-rebels vow to keep up attacks
While Sri Lanka's government and Tamil rebels teeter between war and peace, a deadly conflict is raging in the island's east, where renegade guerrillas are locked in a do-or-die battle with former comrades.
Blindfolded bodies are often found dumped by the road, hands tied behind the back, in the eastern "shadow war," which rages alongside naval battles, ambushes and air strikes further north between government forces and mainstream guerrillas. (REUTERS)


Sri Lanka monitors in key talks
International ceasefire monitors in Sri Lanka are due to begin talks in Norway on their future role amid worsening security in the country.

The ceasefire monitors are from Norway - the main peace broker - Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. (BBC)


Hour long Kalpitiya battle kills 15
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Five Sri Lanka Navy fighters and an undetermined number of Sea Tigers in two sea crafts lost their lives when Twenty Sea Tiger crafts with suicide bombers confronted with two low profile inshore patrol crafts of the Sri Lanka Navy near Kalipinya , on the island’s North Western coast, Defense Ministry sources said.

At least twelve Sea Tigers would have perished in two LTTE boats sunk in the battle the same sources said.


Lanka introduces new securiy measures
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
As the LTTE gunmen were engaged in sporadic violence following the assassination of Major General Parami Kulatunga by killing Sri Lanka army soldiers and assassinating Tamil political opponents the government re-introduced pre-ceasefire security arrangements all over the island.

The pre-ceasefire security arrangements were lifted by the Ranil Wickremesinghe government and the Navy was asked to show a Nelsonian eye when the LTTE was openly unloading huge shipments of arms and ammunition into the country when Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister.


Bomb threats trigger panic
Panic gripped Sri Lanka's capital on Wednesday.
The threats came ahead of the funeral of top army general Parami Kulatunga. (The Times of India)


Balasingham trying to drive a wedge says Times
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
India’s influential newspaper The Times of India said Anton Balasingham’s recent confession admitting the LTTE responsibility for the killing of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has less to do with genuine remorse than the compulsion to drive a wedge between India and Sri Lanka

Publishing few excerpts of Balasingham’s interview done in London by the New Delhi based private TV channel NDTV the Times of India quoted India’s ruling Congress Party Secretary Digvijay Singh of having said, “It’s good that after so many years they (LTTE) have admitted to having killed Rajiv Gandhi. For India it was a national tragedy because Rajiv Gandhi was the most popular leader of his time. Now the question is of fixing responsibility for the crime.


Balasingham regrets Rajiv killing and wants India to intervene in Lankan crisis
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
In an exclusive interview with India’s new Delhi based private television channel NDTV Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) negotiator Anton Balasingham said the terrorist outfit now regrets the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Balasingham termed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination as a “monumental tragedy” for which after a prolonged trial an Indian court has convicted the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his spy chief Pottu Amman.


LTTE extends hand of friendship to Karunanidhi
In an effort to mend fences with India in the context of its growing international isolation, the LTTE has not only expressed "deep regret" over the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, but has also extended a "hand of friendship" to the Tamil Nadu Chief.

While the LTTE's chief spokesman Anton Balasingham told NDTV in London on Monday, that India should be "magnanimous", put the past behind, and play an active role in restoring peace in Sri Lanka, the outfit's political commissar, SP Tamilselvan, told the Singapore-based daily Tamil Murasu that it was ready to extend a hand of friendship to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. (Hindustan Times)


Palitha Kohona speaks about the duty of the International community
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Dr. Palitha Kohona , the head of the Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat said, that the international community should make the LTTE understand that terrorism does not pay.

He said the terrorist organization refuses to take the same message from Sri Lanka since they are solely dependent on the funds they collect from some Western countries and the arms they purchase with that money through some Asian countries.


Renegades kill 4 Tamil Tigers: police
Four Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in an attack by a rival faction in Sri Lanka early on Tuesday and a soldier was shot dead overnight, police said, as spiraling violence stoked fears of renewed civil war.

The attack in an area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the restive east came a day after a suspected Tiger suicide bomber assassinated the army deputy chief of staff. (REUTERS)


India 'unreservedly condemns' SL terror attack
India on Monday "unreservedly condemned" a terrorist strike in Sri Lankan capital Colombo in which a senior army officer and two others were killed, saying it was aimed at "undermining" a ceasefire in place between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels.

"This incident is the latest in a series of recent terrorist attacks which are aimed at undermining the ceasefire and vitiate the environment for a political dialogue," external affairs ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. (Hindustan Times)


Stop retaliating against Tigers says Jehan Perera
Photo
Sri Lankan army officers investigate the wreckage of the car in which Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga
( photo by: Gemunu Amarasinghe )
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
NGO head Jehan Perera told the Sri Lanka government not to retaliate against the LTTE for the killing of Major General Parami Kulatunga by a suicide bomber.

Former Eelam Nation columnist and pro LTTE propagandist Jehan Perera was quoted in a Reuters report saying that the government would have a problem to justify these killings by large scale military retaliation.


Disregarding two weeks truce declared by President
Army's Deputy Chief of Staff killed by the LTTE
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
By unleashing one of the suicide bombers in Colombo the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam killed one of the senior commanders of the Sri Lanka Army, Major General Parami Kulatunga, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army.

The Tamil Net, a website controlled by the Tamil Tigers said , that he was killed by a suicide bomber, and the Tamil Tigers are the only group having suicide bombers.


Sri Lanka general killed in suspected suicide attack
Photo
A senior Sri Lankan general and two soldiers were killed on Monday in a huge explosion around 12 miles east of the Sri Lankan capital in a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide attack, police said.

General Paramy Kulathunga was traveling to a military base when motorcyclists approached his convoy."They came in a motorcycle and rammed the vehicle. Who else could it be?" said a military spokesman. "It was a suicide attack." (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Rajapaksa offers 2-week de facto truce with LTTE
The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had this week proposed a two-week de facto ceasefire with the LTTE, to defuse the current tense situation when the formal Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) is in tatters and the country seems to be drifting towards open war.

Reports in the The Nation and The Sunday Leader said that the President had made this proposal to the LTTE on Tuesday, using the good offices of two well-known Tamil media persons, V Saravanapavan and N Vithiatharan. (Hindustan Times)


LTTE: No direct links with Govt.
The Tamil Tiger rebels have ruled out any direct links with the Sri Lanka government.

Head of LTTE Peace Secretariat, S Pulidevan, told BBC Sandeshaya that the organisation has no intention of sidelining the peace facilitators.


While blaming Karuna LTTE intensifies child abductions
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
While the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled website Tamil Net and the proxy group of the LTTE, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) giving prominence to alleged reports of child abductions by the Karuna group, LTTE has intensified its abductions in preparation for war in the month of June, military sources reported.

Karuna group is a breakaway faction of the LTTE, very dominant in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.


Norway's next step key to Sri Lanka's faltering peace
A tense calm has settled over Sri Lanka as the government and Tamil Tiger guerrillas await a decision from peace-broker Norway that could make or break the fragile truce keeping the island from returning to war, analysts say.

Norwegian diplomats who have struggled to bring the two sides together will meet Thursday with other Nordic nations to decide the fate of a truce monitoring mission, known by its acronym SLMM, that is observing the 2002 ceasefire. (Yahoo News/AFP)


2 soldiers killed in ambush
Gunmen ambushed soldiers at an army checkpoint Saturday in Sri Lanka, killing two in an attack that authorities blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels.

The two soldiers were stopping and searching vehicles at a checkpoint outside the northern town of Vavuniya when gunmen opened fire, killing them both, police official H.M. Jayathilake said. (Yahoo News/AP)


Eliminating terrorism will be my priority, says UN top post nominee
Jayantha Dhanapala, the veteran Sri Lankan diplomat and candidate for the United Nations secretary-general’s post, claims that the strength of his candidacy is the country itself and its diplomatic traditions.

“Being a small country with moderate policies in international affairs, we are a founding member, along with Saudi Arabia, of the Non-Aligned Movement which began in 1961. (Arab News)


Pesalai families compensated
The families affected by the recent killings in Pesali, Mannar have been paid Rs.50, 000 each.

Ministers .Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Felix Perera and Rischard Badiudeen visited the area today and met the families of the victims. (BBC Sinhala)


Tigers abduct two, Sri Lanka hardens stand
Toughening its stance against Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka today asked the Nordic truce monitors not to accede to the rebels' "unreasonable" demand to remove members in the peace mission who belong to states of European Union, which had outlawed LTTE as a terror organisation.

"The government of Sri Lanka urges the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to continue to carry out its mandate despite the unreasonable stance of the LTTE," the Peace Secretariat, which coordinates the talks with the Norwegian negotiators said in a statement. (The Hindu)


Tigers extend EU truce monitors' deadline
Tamil Tigers on Saturday extended a deadline for European Union truce monitors to withdraw from the island, while the army accused the rebels of shooting dead two soldiers in the northwest.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have thrown the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission into crisis by insisting that staff from three Scandinavian EU member states are withdrawn after the bloc banned the rebels as a terrorist group. (REUTERS)


“Opening of Minnesota Buddhist Temple is a remarkable event” says President
Photo
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
“ In an era when the Buddhist teaching is most wanted to the world. I treat the inauguration of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara as a remarkable event. I wish the sublime motive of propagating the teaching of the Buddha by the inaugurators of this vihara be a success” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a special message in the event of the opening ceremony of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara in the United States.

The thirty first Buddhist temple managed by Sri Lankan monks in the United States will be declared open , June 24, close to the scenic Mississippi river in the midst of a distinguished gathering of Buddhist monks in the city of Minneapolis .


Sonic booms cause panic in Sri Lanka's capital
Colombo was thrown into panic on Friday after sonic booms caused by jet fighters were mistaken for bomb blasts off the coast, the military and police said.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Prasad Samarasinghe said Israeli-built Kfir jets were on a training mission and may have broken the sound barrier causing people on the ground to hear loud blasts. (Mail & Gardian)


LA Times comment on LTTE violence
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Could somebody explain to the world why innocent Sri Lankan children should be killed to protest the European Union queried Venerable Chao Chu writing in the widely circulated Los Angeles Times.

The President , of the Los Angeles Buddhist Union, a denomination mainly catering to the Chinese community in Rosemead, a Los Angeles suburb writing in the Times in response to the extensive coverage given to the alleged killing by the Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of 64 civilians at Kebthigollewa said “It is said the killings were done to protest the European Union’s ban on them.”


Explosion near Sri Lanka capital
There has been an explosion off the coast near Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, the police say.

Sri Lanka police chief Chandra Fernando told AFP news agency there "are no reports of casualties" in the blast about 15km (nine miles) from Colombo. (BBC)


LTTE getting isolated
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Reflecting the international isolation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam( LTTE) the two major Tamil parties in the Tamil Nadu kept a safe distance from the terrorist group and made statements regarding the Sri Lanka crisis very cautiously.

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (DMK) led by Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi and Opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (AIADMK) led by Jayalalitha were both very cautious in their statements although small parties and rabble rousers allied with both parties like Viko were attempting to make this the central issue in Tamil Nadu politics.


Sri Lanka's top matninee idol goes to jail
Photo
Roger Seneviratne in Veteran film director K.A.W. Perera's latest film "Sumedha"
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Roger Seneviratne one of Sri Lanka’s leading matinee idols was convicted and sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment by Kaduwela magistrate.

A leading star both in the cinema and television dramas Roger was convicted for making grievous hurt to a man who objected the handsome star being the paramour of his wife, the court was told.



Government rejects Tigers' demand
Tamil Tigers on Wednesday insisted that Nordic truce monitors from The Sri Lankan government has rejected a Tamil Tiger demand that ceasefire monitors from European Union (EU) countries be replaced within a month.

It has described the Tiger's proposal as "impractical". (BBC)


LTTE ready to use children as suicide bombers
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
As the political Chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) S. P. Thamilselvam threatened to use their suicide bombers against Sri Lankan targets intelligence sources indicated that the terrorist group have trained many children as suicide bombers.

The sources said this was confirmed by the discovery of unused child size suicide kits in LTTE safe houses in the past and other information.


Tigers say EU truce monitors must quit
Tamil Tigers on Wednesday insisted that Nordic truce monitors from European Union countries must be replaced in light of an EU ban against the rebels, Norwegian envoys said after visiting their stronghold.

That means that Norway must now scramble to find monitors from elsewhere to replace 37 from EU member nations Sweden, Finland and Denmark. That leaves only 20 monitors from Norway and Iceland, which analysts say will leave a dangerous vacuum at a time when attacks and ambushes are soaring. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Vaiko challenges Indian PM over Tiger ban
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The biggest Indian admirer of Velupillai Prabhakaran and his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a banned movement in India, challenged Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and said bans cannot restrict the Tamil thirst for freedom.

Gopalaswamy Vaiko, the maverick General Secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (MDMK) was referring to the ban of the LTTE, who are also known as Tamil Tigers, by the Congress government of Dr. Man Mohan Singh , few weeks ago.


Tigers to use all means, including suicide bombers, if war resumes
The political chief of the Tamil Tiger rebels said Wednesday that his group would use all means necessary - including suicide bombers - if full-scale civil war resumes in this island country.

The comments by S. P. Tamilselvan, made in an exclusive interview to The Associated Press. (canada.com)


Sri Lanka says rebel factions clash; Tigers deny it
Sri Lanka's military said eight Tamil Tigers were killed during an overnight clash with a band of breakaway former comrades, but the rebels denied it on Wednesday and accused the army of shelling their territory.

"There was an incident between the Karuna faction and the LTTE in Trincomalee just after midnight. There was some firing going on from both sides," said a senior military source, asking not to be identified. (REUTERS)


Existence of “de facto State of Tamil Eelam” is a myth
Neither the GoSL nor any other member of the International Community recognizes a “de facto State of Tamil Eelam”. This remains a myth.

The LTTE militarily dominates the Districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu in the Northern Province, as well as pockets of territory elsewhere in the North and the East which are by no means contiguous. This is stated in a press release issued by the Government Peace Secretariat. (LankaTruth)


Protest against Tigers
Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Tamils and Muslims in Batticaloa and Muttur demonstrated against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in great numbers demanding that they immediately stop killing civilians ,June 19.

The Batticaloa demonstration was held amidst another assassination on the same day of another man, yet to be identified , by the Pistol Gang of the LTTE, security sources said. The man with four shots to his head, was found lying at the junction of Loyds Road and Arunagiri Road.


Tigers fire at Somawathie Temple
Photo

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Army reported that the Liberation Tigers gunmen using small arms fired at the ancient Buddhist temple of Somawathie in Polonnaruwa but failed to cause any damage.

An army bulletin said the Tiger terrorists were involved in this sacrilegious act June 19, about 5.50 p.m. firing small arms from three sides of the temple.


Tigers recommit to truce, monitor safety
Tamil Tigers yesterday recommitted to the island's 2002 ceasefire and said they had told mediator Norway that they will ensure the safety of Nordic truce monitors.

But while both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government have now told Norway that they will honour the truce, many fear it is just a matter of time before rash of attacks and clashes reignite a two-decade civil war. (New Zealand Herald)


Delhi to talk to Chennai on Sri Lanka
In a statement on Tuesday, chief minister M Karunanidhi said the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has assured him that a federal government representative will visit state capital Chennai to discuss Tamil Nadu's concerns on the fragile situation in the neighbouring country.

In an emergency meeting on Monday, the ruling DMK government and six of its alliance parties had expressed concern over the death of innocent people in Sri Lanka, leading to an influx of refugees into Tamil Nadu. (BBC Sinhala)


UN support pledged for Lanka peace
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has reiterated the “full support” of the world body for Sri Lanka’s peace process.

Annan has requested Sri Lankan delegation at the inaugural session of the new Human Rights Council in Geneva to convey his message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (BBC Sinhala)


LTTE website says Lanka failed to cause any injuries to civilians
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled website , the Tamil Net claimed the Sri Lanka Air Force bombing in the Wanni area failed to cause any injuries to the civilian population there.

But website failed to mention any casualties to the LTTE military personnel.


Sri Lanka calls for peace talks
Sri Lanka's government has urged Tamil Tiger rebels to resume stalled peace talks to avoid a return to civil war.

The statement came after five days of violence left almost 100 people dead. (BBC)


Massacre due to EU ban says Karuna
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
The breakaway LTTE leader Colonel Karuna Amman alias Vinayagamurthi Muralidaran said in an interview that the vicious attack on civilians at Kebithigollewa was very definitely the handiwork of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Speaking over the Tamil Service of the BBC, The Thamil Osai, Karuna said clear warnings of the terrorist attack came from the group, just before the European Union banned them in which they alarmed of dire consequences of such a proscription.


Cell phone explodes and injures EPDP supporter
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
A young wife of an Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) cadre was seriously wounded in a bank when her cellular phone exploded while she tried to answer the phone, according to Police sources in Jaffna.

Police strongly suspect LTTE involvement in this terrorist act.


Violence continues, 3 dead, 2 missing
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebel attacks killed three policemen and left two soldiers missing on Sunday, the army said, and rebels said they were attacked by government forces as a recent upsurge of violence continued.

If government estimates are correct that 25-30 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were killed in a naval clash on Saturday, more than 100 people have died since Thursday, the worst violence since a 2002 ceasefire halted two decades of war. (ABC News)


Cell phone explodes and injures EPDP supporter
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
A young wife of an Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) cadre was seriously wounded in a bank when her cellular phone exploded while she tried to answer the phone, according to Police sources in Jaffna.

Police strongly suspect LTTE involvement in this terrorist act.


Tigers threaten war on Sri Lanka
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
Indicating escalating violence in Sri Lanka the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) threatened war on the Indian Ocean island republic.

The terrorist group also known as the Tamil Tigers is alleged to have exploded a pair of powerful mines hanging from trees that ripped apart a civilian bus at Kebithigollewa killing 64 people in the deadliest attack so far since a controversial ceasefire agreement was signed four years ago.


Sri Lanka alert after fierce battles
liate for a day of heavy battles on land and sea that left more than 50 people dead.

Already tight security was further strengthened in the face of escalating violence in northern and eastern regions Saturday that saw furious fighting between the rebels and government soldiers. (Yahoo News/AP)


Two suspected LTTE frogmen in custody
Undersea explosions rattle Pamunugama
Two undersea explosions shook the coastal inhabitants of Pamunugama near Ja-ela yesterday, shortly after residents apprehended two suspected LTTE frogmen who had swum ashore during the early hours of the morning.

One of the explosions was so powerful that the windows of some nearby houses were shattered. A resident of the area said parts of the ceiling had also come down. "It was definitely a massive bomb," said Gamini Fernando, who runs a grocery shop in the area. "There would have been big damage had it been used on a target." (The Island)


42 dead as Lankan,LTTE war continues
Security forces and Tamil tigers on Saturday fought land and sea battles in Sri Lanka's northwest leaving at least 42 people dead, further disrupting a ceasefire that was hanging in balance.

Government troops destroyed eight of the 11 boats from which Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels launched attacks in Mannar Island, the sea board along the narrow of strip of water separating the country from India. (The Times of India)


20 dead in clash
Sri Lanka's military said around 20 people were killed in a naval and land battle on the island's northwest coast on Saturday, while three suspected rebel divers were seized on a beach near the capital.

"Eleven LTTE boats were destroyed," a military spokesman said. "We think about 15 LTTE cadres were shot an killed, four navy sailors were also killed and one civilian succumbed to his wounds." (ABC News)


Military says sinks 5 Tiger boats in new violence
Sri Lanka's military said it had sunk five Tamil Tiger rebel attack boats after an attack on a northwest police post on Saturday, while two suspected rebel frogmen were arrested and attempted suicide after landing near the capital.

Sri Lankan government jets hit targets near the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stronghold overnight in retaliation for an attack on a civilian bus earlier this week that killed 64, the worst incident since a 2002 truce halted two decades of war. (REUTERS)


Heavy clashes erupt in north-west
Heavy fighting has broken out between government forces and suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka.

A military spokesman said government planes and naval vessels attacked Tamil positions following a rebel attack on a police post in the north-west. (BBC)


Govt must investigate deadly bus attack
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has called on the Sri Lankan Government to investigate yesterday’s attack on a bus, which reportedly killed 62 civilians and injured more than 40 others, including school-aged children, in a country wracked by a conflict with Tamil separatists.

“This attack is much more than a ceasefire violation, it is a grave breach of the most fundamental tenets of humanity,” she said in a statement. “The Government must urgently investigate this case, so that those responsible not only face justice, but the full censure of the international community.” (Scoop)


Karuna blames Tigers for bus blast
Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan also known as Karuna Amman has denied that they are not a paramilitary organisation.

"We represent the people of the North and the east. We are also a political organisation," Karuna told Ethirajan Anbarasan of BBC Tamil Service. (BBC Sinhala)


Bus attack victims buried in mass graves
Photo
Villagers throw sand over a mass grave at the funeral of 64 victims in Kabithigollewa, June 16, 2006
( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachch )
Fifty-six men, women and children killed in a suspected rebel attack were buried Friday in mass graves - each wrapped in a white sari or sarong, red paper flowers in their open palms.

Some 60 miles to the northeast, air force jets and army artillery pounded Tamil Tiger rebels for a second day. The fighting leaves Sri Lanka's future as uncertain as it's been in the four years since a cease-fire ended the grinding battles that marked two decades of civil war in this island nation. (Las Vegas Sun)


Air Force bombs Tiger heartland for second night
Photo
Villagers carry coffins to a mass grave for the funeral of 64 victims killed by LTTE.
( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachch )
Sri Lanka's air force bombed around the Tamil Tiger rebel headquarters for a second night on Friday as the victims of a civilian bus ambush were buried.

Jets raided areas near the de facto rebel capital Kilinochchi at first light, but attacks then ceased apparently while the funerals of the 64 killed in Thursday's suspected Tiger attack were held. Witnesses said bombing resumed at nightfall. (ABC News)


"Eelam war 4" has started ,UTHR(J) says
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
The Tamil Tigers , without acknowledging the fact to the international community has already started the Eelam War 4 , said the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna).

The human rights group, in a statement issued June 15, but obviously written before the Kebithigollewa civilian massacre where the Tamil terrorist group reportedly killed more than 60 civilians including children women and Buddhist priests by exploding a bus, said security forces and civilians were daily facing casualties , in this newly started war by the Tamil Tigers also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).


Sri Lanka strikes Tamil Tiger HQ
Sri Lanka’s military have dropped bombs near the Tamil Tiger headquarters in response to an attack on a bus that killed at least 64 people.

Several bombs fell south of the town of Kilinochchi, Tamil Tiger officials said. There was no word on casualties from the raids. (Aljazeera)


Sri Lanka retaliates for attack on bus
A powerful land mine ripped through a packed bus in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing at least 64 people in the worst act of violence since a 2002 cease-fire, the army said. Sri Lanka's air force responded by bombing rebel-held areas in the northeast.

The government blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels for blowing up the bus — crowded with commuters and schoolchildren — but the rebels strongly denied responsibility. (Yahoo News/AP)


Mine attack on bus leaves 64 dead
Suspected Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels killed 58 people in a claymore mine attack on a bus carrying civilian passengers, officials said on Thursday, by far the most serious attack since a 2002 ceasefire.

Some 500 people have been killed since early April as talks between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) collapsed and many now fear a slide back into the island's two decade civil war. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


31st Lanka Buddhist temple in US
Walter Jayawardena reporting from Los Angeles
The thirty first Buddhist temple managed by Sri Lankan monks in the United States will be declared open , June 24, close to the scenic Mississippi river in the midst of a distinguished gathering of Buddhist monks in the city of Minneapolis.

The first Sri Lankan managed Buddhist temple in the state of Minnesota will be declared open at the newly acquired property at 3401 North 4th Street Minneapolis, said Venerable Witiyala Seewalie the Chief Abbot and President of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara Inc.


'Norway out': JVP MP
Patriotic National Movement (PNM), has called for removal of Norway as the peace broker for Sri Lanka.

PNM General Secretary Wimal Weerawansa told journalists in Colombo that it is high time that Sri Lanka initiates its own “Roadmap” without foreign involvement. (BBC sinhala)


India deeply worried over Sri Lanka
With Sri Lanka sliding towards war, India is studying various scenarios even as it has its fingers tightly crossed. But there is broad unanimity on one issue: There will be no Indian military intervention.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been engaged in some of the strategy exercises, knowing well that India will be the one country most affected by any outbreak of hostilities in the neighbouring island nation. (Hindustan Times)


Violence continues as Tigers return home
Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed a Home Guard trooper on Wednesday, police said, in another sign of escalating violence following failed talks between the government and the rebels in Norway.

About 500 people have been killed since early April, raising fears that a 2002 cease-fire between the rebels and the government might collapse and return the country to civil war. (Scotsman)


Rebels may postpone April crunch talks
Tamil Tiger rebels will view any further attacks by renegades they say are military-backed as an act of war and may postpone crunch talks unless the state disarms them, their chief negotiator has warned.

B The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are due to attend a second round of peace talks with Sri Lankan officials in Geneva in April, and say the island's fragile peace process could grind to a halt if the government fails to honour a pledge to rein in armed groups. (REUTERS)


2 trains collide, 42 hurt
At least 42 passengers were injured Tuesday when two trains collided in southern Sri Lanka. (Washington Post)


Committed to our role - Norway
Norway remains committed to mediating in Sri Lanka's conflict, says peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer.

Bauer was speaking to the BBC after his government made clear that it planned no fresh initiatives following the collapse of planned peace talks between Sri Lanka's warring parties in Oslo last week. (BBC sinhala)


Lankan oil professionals to be trained in Kingdom
Sri Lanka is to send a team to the Kingdom to get on-the-job training to evaluate the pros cons of a proposed production-sharing contract for the island’s offshore area in oil and gas exploration.

This was the outcome of the talks held between Minister of Transport, Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie and his Saudi counterpart Ali Al-Naimi. (Arab News)


Government says it wants direct talks with rebels
Sri Lanka's government wants direct talks with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, saying the group produced ``childish'' reasons for refusing to take part in last week's meeting scheduled in Oslo.

``The government is firm on its decision to find a solution through negotiations,'' the government said in a statement on the Defense Ministry Web site, citing Palitha Kohona, who led its delegation in Oslo. ``There is no need to have fears of war.'' (Bloomberg)


'No talks' on self-determination
The government of Sri Lanka will not enter into talks with the Tamil Tigers based upon the division of Sri Lanka, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

Speaking from Oslo after the talks with the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store the Foreign Minister said that his government is “always prepared” to talk with the LTTE. (BBC)


New air chief follows in father's flight path
Air Vice Marshal Roshan Goonetileke took command of Sri Lanka's air force, 25 years after his father retired from the post.

Goonetileke, 50, inspected an honour guard before being handed the command at a ceremony in Colombo on Monday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Soldier killed in blast
At least one soldier has been killed and three civilians wounded in a mine explosion in northern Sri Lanka, police say.

The mine attack targeted a group of soldiers on foot patrol near the town of Vavuniya early on Monday, police official Gamini Silva said. (BBC)


Government attacks peace monitors over truce report
Sri Lanka's government, under pressure for allegedly backing a breakaway Tamil rebel faction, accused Scandinavian truce monitors of partiality and said they lacked professionalism.

The government in a four-page statement lambasted the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and also accused its chief, Swedish army Major General Ulf Henricsson, of inciting violence. (Yahoo News/AFP)



Norway blames Tamil Tigers for failure of talks
Norway officially declared talks between Sri Lanka and Tamil Tigers to improve the security of foreign ceasefire observers a failure, blaming the rebels for the breakdown.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan representatives were to hold direct talks for the first time since February at the invitation of the Norwegian government, but the meeting, scheduled to last two days, ended early when the hosts failed to orchestrate a face-to-face encounter. (Hindustan Times)


Norway seeks Lanka commitment
Norwegian mediators have asked both the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to reiterate their commitment to the four-year-old ceasefire.

It follows a breakdown in talks between the two sides in Oslo. (BBC)


LTTE demands monitors leave
Tamil Tiger rebels demanded on Thursday European Union members withdraw from a five-nation Nordic truce monitoring mission, potentially crippling the team observing a shaky ceasefire.

The EU last month listed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a banned terrorist organization after an upsurge in violence on the Indian Ocean island where two decades of civil war has killed about 64,000 people. (REUTERS)


Collapse of talks to protect truce observers
Norwegian officials meeting Sri Lanka government representatives and Tamil Tigers rebels said the talks broke down when they failed to orchestrate a face-to-face encounter between the two sides.

Peacebroker Norway called the two-day talks amid fears for the safety of the 60-member Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), which has already ordered flak jackets and hard hats for its staff. (Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE refuses to start talks
Talks between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers on the troubled island's cease-fire monitors collapsed Thursday after the rebels refused to meet government representatives, Norwegian and Sri Lankan officials said.

Espen Gullikstad, a spokesman for the Norwegian Aid Ministry, said they were unable to find a basis for face-to- face talks. A Sri Lankan government news release said the rebels had refused direct meetings. (Int. Herald Tribune)


Violence kills 19 as Oslo talks get under way
Violence surged in Sri Lanka with at least 19 people reported killed as high-level talks opened in Oslo between Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels, officials said.

Two separate mine blasts killed an army officer and two civilians, defence officials said on Thursday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Oslo talks underway
The latest efforts to re start a dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers is underway in a picturesque lakeside town of Jevnaker, 67 kilometres from Oslo.

Reporters at the location say the talks began between the Tamil Tiger delegation and the Norwegians separately. (BBC Sinhala)


Army, LTTE exchanges fire; 1 dead
An anti-personnel mine triggered by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in northeastern Sri Lanka killed an army officer on Thursday, as the insurgents attacked a military camp in the east, sparking a gunbattle, the military said.

The military suffered no casualties when the rebels opened fire with guns and mortars on the camp at Kiran in the eastern district of Batticaloa, military spokesman Brig Prasad Samarasinghe said. (Hindustan Times)


Bitterness, anger as Sri Lanka remembers war dead
Sri Lankan mother-of-two Chandi Rajamanthree says she would rather see her two young sons starve to death than fight in an ethnic conflict that left their father disabled.

Her husband has made a partial recovery since he was badly injured in one arm and one leg when the feared sea arm of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sank his Israeli-made naval fast attack boat in 2000. (REUTERS)


Government, LTTE hold key meeting
The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels are meeting in Norway to discuss security for truce monitors.

It follows last month's rebel attack against a naval convoy in which the observers were travelling. (BBC)


9 killed in violence
At least nine people were killed and 14 wounded by a land mine Wednesday in an area controlled by Tamil rebels in northeastern Sri Lanka. The guerrillas blamed the military.

The rebels said the victims were civilians and seven of the wounded were in serious condition. The incident took place in Vadamunai village in eastern Batticaloa when a tractor carrying the victims exploded after hitting the mine, the rebels said. (Guardian)


Sri Lanka probing Indian trader's killing
Sri Lanka has launched an investigation into the mysterious murder of a sari trader from Tamil Nadu who was tortured to death in the island's restive east.

The probe got underway after the Indian high commission in Colombo took up the case formally with the Sri Lankan foreign ministry by giving it a "Note Verbale" seeking action, according to diplomatic sources. (The Times of India)


Violence in north and south
At least two policemen and six civilians have been killed in attacks in Sri Lanka.

One Tamil civilian was said to be a former member of a political party which opposes the Tamil Tiger rebels. (BBC Sinhala)


Bomb blasts rock navy base ahead of talks
Sri Lanka has accused Tiger rebels of exploding bombs outside a naval base near the capital, two days ahead of a meeting between the two sides amid moves to salvage a collapsing ceasefire.

Two Claymore mines exploded simultaneously outside the Welisara navy base and hit a civilian bus, navy spokesman P. D. K. Dassanayake said, adding that the driver and conductor were injured. There were no passengers at the time. (Yahoo News/AFP)


India's Sri Lanka policy is my policy: Karunanidhi
'The central government's policy will be the state government's policy,' Karunanidhi told reporters after meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

'This is what I told Sri Lankan minister (Arumugam) Thondaman (in Chennai) and this is what I want to tell you,' he added. (Dailyindia)


Strike in Trincomalee
Many Government and Provincial Council offices in Trincomalee were closed on Monday after a Tamil organisation enforced a three-day strike.

Judicial services were also disrupted as workers did not report to work after Peoples Uprising Front (PUF –Ponyeru Makkal Padei ) distributed leaflets demanding an strike action. (BBC Sinhala)


All parties head for Oslo talks
Sri Lanka's warring parties have sent their respective delegations to Oslo, the capital of peace broker Norway, to discuss the safety of Nordic monitors amid a collapsing ceasefire, officials said.

A five-member delegation of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was brought by military helicopter to the island's only international airport to travel for the meeting, officials said. (Turkish Press)


Indian trader brutally killed, two missing
An Indian sari trader from Tamil Nadu has been tortured to death and two others are missing in Sri Lanka’s east in a horror saga that some are linking to business rivalry and others to the Tamil Tigers or its breakaway faction.

Locally, both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and its rival group led by Karuna have denied any involvement in the murder of Mahalingam Vijaykumar, whose decomposed body with telltale torture marks and a gaping bullet wound on the head was found in Batticaloa’s Valaichenai area last month. (Indianews)


Tamil Tiger in jailbreak
Police in Sri Lanka say eight Tamil Tiger rebels have escaped from a jail in Batticaloa in the east.

Prison staff told police the rebels were taking a morning wash when they pulled out a grenade. (BBC)


EU to ban renegade rebel faction too - diplomat
The European Union is poised to blacklist a group of breakaway rebels locked in a bitter feud with the island's Tamil Tigers, a senior diplomat said on Sunday, similar to a new terror ban against the mainstream group.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were banned by the 25-nation bloc last week amid a rash of violence that many fear could rekindle a two-decade civil war, accuse the military of helping a band of former comrades led by a commander called Karuna. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


India won't play active role in Lankan peace: Minister
India fully supports the peace process in Sri Lanka but will not play an active role because it may "complicate" the situation, Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

Mukherjee said during a question-and-answer session at a high-level security meeting in Singapore that "India is not actively participating in this process" because of ethnic reasons and its proximity to Sri Lanka. (Hindustan Times)


All party committee agreed
All major political parties in southern Sri Lanka have agreed to appoint a committee to suggest long-term solution to the national question.

Apart from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), all other political parties with a parliamentary representation supported the suggestion made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (BBC sinhala)


Government gives security guarantee to LTTE
The Sri Lankan government on Friday gave a security guarantee to Tamil Tiger rebels, allowing them to attend talks in Norway next week aimed at strengthening the monitoring of an increasingly shaky cease-fire.

“As far as Sri Lankan government is concerned, we are taking full responsibility,” when the rebels travel through government-held areas, government minister and spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters. (Khaleej Times)


New Colombo Mayor sworn in
Uvais Mohamed Imthiyaz, 22, has sworn in as the new Mayor of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.

Former Colombo Mayor Sirisena Cooray, a Justice in Peace (JP), has administered oaths. (BBC Sinhala)


LTTTE agrees to talks on monitors' safety
not for peace
Tamil Tigers said on Friday they had accepted an invitation by peace broker Norway for talks in Oslo on June 8-9 regarding the security of Nordic truce monitors, but stressed they would not be peace talks.

Norway made the offer last month after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked navy boats with truce monitors aboard during the worst sea battle with government forces since a 2002 ceasefire. (REUTERS)


Rajapaksa to ask APC to draft devolution package
Following the international donors' call for "dramatic changes" in the Sri Lankan political system to address the legitimate grievances of the Tamil and Muslim minorities, President Mahinda Rajapaka will be asking the All Party Conference (APC) to draft a suitable devolution package to solve the ethnic problem in the country.

This was conveyed to the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard A Boucher, when he called on Rajapaksa here on Thursday. (Hindustan Times)


US pledges military support, warns against war
The United States pledged "tangible military cooperation" with embattled Sri Lanka, but warned the government here against a return to war with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs, Richard Boucher, said they will strengthen military ties with Sri Lanka, but worried that the Indian Ocean island nation was slipping towards full-scale war. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Donors read riot act, but is Sri Lanka listening?
Some of Sri Lanka's main international donors have effectively pulled out of the island's peace process until the government and Tamil Tigers prove they want to avoid war, diplomats say.

The European Union, Japan, Norway and the United States -- who pledged $4.5 billion to foster peace -- issued a stinging statement this week saying the foes had failed to deliver on their responsibilities to halt a surge in killings. (REUTERS)


Tamil Tigers off to Oslo
The Tamil Tigers had confirmed that they will attend the talks scheduled in the Norwegian capitol Oslo. The leader of the political wing of the Tamil Tigers, S. P. Thamilselven revealed their position after a meeting with the Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Wolf Hendrikson.

The talks are scheduled to happen on the 8th and the 9th of June. Thamilselven told the media that the preparations of the talks are already underway. "Members of the Tamil Tiger delegation for Oslo will be announced within the next two days." the LTTE political leader told the media. (BBC Sinhala)


Co-Chairs 'LTTE trumpet'
Sinhala nationalists in Sri Lanka strongly criticised international donors for urging the government to take measures to control armed groups.

Patriotic National Movement (PNM) described the statement issued by Co-Chairs after a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday as an attempt to impose "imperialist policies" on Sri Lanka. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Boucher visits Sri Lanka as U.S. seeks progress on peace talks
Richard Boucher, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, is visiting Sri Lanka to discuss the violence that is threatening to return the South Asian island nation to civil war.

Boucher is scheduled today to hold talks with Sri Lankan government officials and businessmen on the ``current political and economic climate'' in the country, the U.S. embassy in Colombo said in an e-mail statement. (Bloomberg)


Artillery duels rock Northern
Heavy artillery exchanges rocked northern Sri Lanka, a day after the government ruled out military action to resolve a long-running ethnic conflict following a European ban on Tiger rebels.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the military exchanged artillery and mortar bomb attacks along the Muhamalai front line in the Jaffna peninsula, the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said on Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers may move funds through Malaysia, Singapore
Tamil Tiger rebels are believed to be channeling funds through Malaysia and Singapore to buy weapons in the region, Sri Lanka's foreign minister said.

Mangala Samaraweera said in an interview with the New Straits Times on Wednesday that he had informed his Malaysian counterpart Syed Hamid Albar about the issue, and offered to share intelligence with security agencies here. (Yahoo News/AFP)


EU inks rebel ban, urges end to killings
The European Union on Wednesday formalised a ban of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, and urged both the rebels and the island's government to halt a rash of killings that are threatening to plunge the island back into civil war.

The ban by the 25-nation bloc, which was agreed behind closed doors in Brussels on Monday, will freeze the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) funds and assets in member states as well as prohibit the provision of financial services to them. (REUTERS)


Colombo rules out military option
Sri Lanka's Government has firmly ruled out a military option to the country's ethnic problem and declared that it would pursue a political solution based on democracy and human rights.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said the government hopes the ban will provide "a fresh impetus and encouragement to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to think afresh and resume talks". (Gulf News)


Rebels 'shoot dead 12'
The Sri Lankan army has accused Tamil Tiger rebels of shooting dead 12 construction workers in the island's restive eastern province.

An army spokesman told the AFP news agency the rebels kidnapped 14 workers from the majority Sinhala community on Monday, killing all but two of them. (BBC)


LTTE warns EU ban to hurt peace bid
Tamil Tiger rebels warned on Tuesday that a European Union ban that diplomats say will freeze their assets would shake the island's teetering peace process, but said they remained committed to a truce.

The 25-nation bloc listed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a banned terrorist organisation on Monday, a move that came after a sharp escalation of attacks and clashes with Sri Lanka's military. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


EU freezes war chest of Tamil Tigers
The European Union listed Sri Lanka's rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a banned terrorist organisation on Monday amid a sharp escalation in clashes between it and the military, EU diplomats said.

"One of the consequences is the freezing of the group's assets," an envoy said of the decision taken at a regular meeting of EU ministers in Brussels. (IOL)


EU puts LTTE on terror list
The European Union put Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers on its list of terrorist groups, despite a warning from the rebels that the move could force them back to war.

The EU ban, agreed in principle on May 18, was made official at a meeting of ministers from the 25-member bloc to discuss competition issues. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Debate at UCLA is off
Photo
Dr. Karuniyan wtth the Tamil National Alliance , LTTE proxy group delegations in Washington D.C
(by a Special Correspondent in Los Angeles)
The scheduled debate between Dr. Arul Karuniyan and Sri Lankan journalist Walter Jayawardhana has been cancelled on the insistence of the very parties that wanted to bring in Dr. Karuniyan to the UCLA forum following their attempt to bring in Karuniyan,s son as the moderator of the debate failed , student sources reported.

The debate was scheduled to be held at the De Neve Auditorium in the UCLA campus, May 30, Tuesday at 7.30 p.m. The same sources said Jayawardhana , who is also a Sri Lankan Attorney at Law refused to accept Karuniyan,s son as the moderator of the debate two days before a vociferous section of the student body "Vishiwasa" , a South Asian group mainly consisting of students of Indian origin convinced the rest of the group that the event be cancelled.


LTTE mulls talks on truce monitor safety
Tamil Tigers said on Saturday they were considering a new offer by peace broker Norway for crunch talks in Oslo regarding the security of Nordic truce monitors, but stressed they would not be peace talks.

The offer by visiting Norwegian special peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer comes after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked navy boats with truce monitors aboard earlier this month during the worst sea battle since a 2002 ceasefire. (REUTERS)


Ramanan & Weeramani deaths create crisis in Tiger organization
Tiger organization is confronted with a grave crisis with the death of two senior leaders of the organization say reports reaching ‘Lankatruth’ from Vanni.

Murder of Ramanan, former head of intelligence unit in the Eastern Province and deputy leader of the armed unit and the death of Weeramani, former Commander of the Charles Anthony brigade and later a field commander of the armed wing of the tiger organization, who died of an explosion of a bomb he was carrying have left a huge void in the ranks of the LTTE say these sources. (LankaTruth)


Sri Lanka could be heading for war: Norwegian envoy
Sri Lanka could be heading back to all-out war, the top Norwegian envoy to the island warned, saying the peace process is more difficult than he had believed.

Erik Solheim made the comments in New Delhi after his deputy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, met the head of the rebel Tamil Tigers political wing, S. P. Thamilselvan, in the guerrilla-held Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka foes 'agree to talks'
Sri Lankan officials and the Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed, in principle, to hold talks in Norway next month, a Norwegian peace envoy has said.

But the political leader of the Tamil Tigers told the BBC Tamil Service that a final decision had not been taken. (BBC )


Bihar 'no' to Lanka's plea for Buddha relic
Photo
The Lord Buddha's Relic at Patna Museum
The Bihar government has rejected the request of the Sri Lankan government to send the holy relic of Lord Buddha there for a public display in June. The Bihar government feels that the casket containing the ashes of Buddha is too fragile to be sent outside

At present, the rare holy relic of Lord Buddha is on display on the first floor of the Patna Museum. According to scholars, the holy relic was discovered during an extensive excavation carried out by the noted archaeologist, the late A S Altekar, at Vaishali during the mid-50s.(The Times of India)


JVP rejects AG's opinion
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has rejected a ruling by the Attorney General (AG) that the party has no right to nominate a member to the Constitution Council (CC).

JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said that “there is no mention whatsoever” in the 17 amendment to the 1978 constitution that a member of an alliance has no right as an individual party. (BBC Sinhala)


Norwegian envoys meet President
Photo
This handout photo provided by the President's House, President Mahinda Rajapakse, gestures as he speaks with Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim, during their meeting in Colombo, Friday, May 26, 2006 ( photo by: Sadath Silva )
Two Norwegian envoys met Sri Lanka's president on Friday in an effort to jump-start peace talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels and prevent the island nation from sliding back into full-scale civil war.

The talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and envoys Jon Hannsen-Bauer and Erik Solheim took place in the president's office amid tight security.(Hindustan Times)


Security tight in capital amid fears of bomb attacks
Security around key buildings in Sri Lanka's capital was stepped up as Norwegians tried to salvage the moribund peace process between the government and Tamil rebels, officials said Thursday.

Four more policemen were killed by a landmine in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday (MonsterSandcritics)


Stop Madhu attacks - Mannar Bishop
The Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph has expressed his concerns over the killings taking place in the Madhu area.

Bishop Rayappu Joseph has written to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksha that claymore mine attacks have been made from the jungle areas killing civilians. (BBC Sinhala)


Sri Lanka bans "Da Vinci Code"
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Sri Lanka has banned screenings of The Da Vinci Code in theaters and local television channels following an appeal by the country's Catholic Bishops Conference, a state-run daily said on Thursday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the ban on the film on Wednesday, the Daily News reported. (The Times of India )


LTTE kills 4 police in ambush
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed four police in a claymore fragmentation mine ambush in Sri Lanka's restive east on Thursday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks on the military.

The attack comes as Norway's special peace envoy is visiting Sri Lanka to meet the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government amid diplomatic efforts to coax the rebels to resume peace talks they pulled out of indefinitely. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


NGOs start pulling out after LTTE attack
Local and foreign non-governmental organizations are moving out of the eastern region of the country after an LTTE attack on three aid offices in the area. The pullout of NGOs comes as the European Union on Tuesday requested the government for an assurance on the safety of humanitarian groups functioning in the volatile north and east.

The Non Violent Peace Force (NVPF), ZOA (a Dutch agency helping refugees), and Intersos (an Italian relief organization), based in eastern Trincomalee, were attacked simultaneously with grenades on Sunday injuring a Serbian aid worker. (Dawn)


Govt. 'forcing Tamils towards LTTE'
The main Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has accused authorities of doing enough to protect minority Tamil community in the island.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) accused Sri Lanka authorities of forcing Tamil civilians under their control towards Tamil Tigers. (BBC Sinhala)


Mine blast kills three people
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a powerful Claymore mine on Wednesday, killing at least two soldiers and a policeman, a military official said.

The victims were travelling in a vehicle which was blown up in the district of Vavuniya. (Hindustan Times)


Rebels say envoy visit to yield little
Norway's peace envoy flew to Sri Lanka on Wednesday for a fresh round of separate meetings with government officials and the Tamil Tigers, but the rebels played down hopes of breaking a deadlock over stalled peace talks.

The government hopes special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer and Norwegian peace mediator Erik Solheim, due to join him on Friday, can cajole the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) back to talks they pulled out of indefinitely amid an upsurge in violence. (Scotsman)


Stop Karuna dealings 'Orders President'
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered government security forces to stop all dealings with the Karuna faction.

Palitha Kohona chief of the government peace secretariat (SCOPP) said that the president has ordered a halt to any dealings; by way of finance, or arms with the renegade faction of Tamil Tigers. (BBC Sinhala)


Rebels reject pleas for talks
Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday rejected pleas from Buddhist and Catholic priests to hold direct talks with Sri Lanka's president to stop the island nation from sliding back into full-scale civil war.

The refusal came as the government announced the arrival of two top international peace envoys this week for urgent meetings aimed at salvaging the country's tattered cease-fire. (Las Vegas Sun)


Arul Karuniyan meets Walter Jayawardhana for a debate in Los Angeles
(by a Special Correspondent in Los Angeles)
Dr. Arul Karuniyan , a leading Eelam activist and sympathizer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Southern California wll meet Walter Jayawardhana, a senior Sri Lankan journalist for a debate at De Neve Auditorium , May 30 , over a debate on the deteriorating peace in Sri Lanka student sources said.

Student sources said the debate will start at 7.30 p.m. at the spacious De Neve Auditorium , close to the DD parking lot inside the UCLA campus.


U.N. official decries Sri Lanka civilian killings
The United Nation's top human rights official on Tuesday expressed concern over mounting violence in Sri Lanka, including killings of civilians, as the country teeters on the brink of civil war.

Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said staff of humanitarian agencies were also being threatened in the Indian Ocean island country of about 20 million people. (REUTERS)


Peacebroker Norway concerned about violence
Peacebroker Norway is "extremely concerned" about the high level of violence in Sri Lanka, Oslo's ambassador said after meeting a top Tamil guerrilla leader.

"We are extremely concerned and I think it's very important that international and diplomatic attention continues to be on the high levels of violence," ambassador Hans Brattskar said on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Some troops talk to renegades
Some low-ranking Sri Lankan troops may be in contact with armed groups opposed to Tamil Tiger rebels, but there is no evidence of large-scale collusion, the head of the government's peace secretariat said on Tuesday.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have said they will not resume peace talks until the government makes good on a pledge to rein in such groups -- in particular breakaway rebels led by a former Tiger commander called Karuna. (Scotsman)


Narrow strip of land is Sri Lanka's flashpoint
A narrow strip of land in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna is a flashpoint that could ignite a new war in the country, according to senior military commanders.

"Tension is very high, very high," the officer told AFP on Monday. "Anytime, this can accelerate". (Yahoo News/AFP)


UNP: Don't punish voters
The main opposition in Sri Lanka has urged authorities not to interrupt the party taking over the control over Colombo Municipal Council.

United National Party backed independent group has secured victory over CMC winning 23 seats. (BBC Sinhala)


Tamil Tigers warn of major war
The Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday said the Sri Lankan government is pushing the Tamils into a "major war" after a senior rebel leader was killed.

Ramanan, the No 2 Tamil Tiger leader and intelligence chief of eastern Sri Lanka, was killed on Saturday. (iol)


Govt: no conscription
The government in Sri Lanka says it has no plans to bring in new legislations on conscription.

Chief Government Whip Jeyararaj Fernandopullai told BBC Sandeshaya that the cabinet of ministers has never discussed any such plans.(BBC Sinhala)


Fleeing Tamil villagers rescued
A group of Sinhala fishermen have rescued members of three Tamil families in the deep sea off Mannar.

20 men, women and children, all Tamils, were drowning in a boat in deep sea when the Sinhala fishermen came to their rescue.(BBC Sinhala)


Govt. banks on Europe to tame Tigers
Sri Lanka braced for a decision by the European Union this week to ban the Tamil Tigers in a move the rebels say could fuel war, but peace broker Norway prepared to launch a fresh salvage effort.

Sri Lankan government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said an EU-wide ban on the Tigers should not halt the peace process and rejected rebel warnings that the country could slip back to open conflict.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Senior LTTE man killed
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Senior LTTE man Ramanan
A senior figure in the Tamil Tiger rebel movement has been shot dead in eastern Sri Lanka, reports say.

Rebel sources said the man, named Ramanan, was a commander in the district of Batticaloa.(BBC )




Attacks kill 2, injure foreign aid worker
Mine and grenade attacks by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed two soldiers and injured a Serbian aid worker on Sunday, the military said, as sporadic violence stoked fears of a return to civil war. Indian police said.

The military said they believed the Serbian was the first foreign aid worker to be caught in the crossfire of renewed low intensity conflict between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.(REUTERS)


Five refugees drown off India
At least five people drowned and four were missing after a boat carrying Tamil refugees fleeing violence-hit Sri Lanka capsized on Saturday. Indian police said.

The boat was on its way from north-west Sri Lanka to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.(Scotsman)


EU ban will not stop peace process, says top SL official
The Sri Lankan government's commitment to the peace process in the country will continue whether the LTTE is banned by the European Union (EU) or not, according to the Deputy Director General of the government Peace Secretariat, Kethesh Loganathan.

"The peace process will continue," Loganathan told Hindustan Times on Friday, on being asked if the process would be helped or hindered if the EU were to ban the LTTE.(Hindustan Times)


Local polls for two bodies postponed
The authorities in Sri Lanka have postponed elections into two local bodies in the north due to security concerns.

The Elections Commissioner on Friday announced that the elections for Vavuniya Urban Council and Vavuniya South (Sinhala) Pradesheeya Sabha will be held 30 September instead.(BBC Sinhala)


EU ban on LTTE will only lead to war: rebel negotiator
European Union ban on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will only lead to war in the country, the rebels' top negotiator says.

The statement by Anton Balasingham came as Sri Lanka's foreign minister visited Japan where he sought the help of donor nations to nudge the rebels back to negotiations.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Seven people killed in fresh fighting
At least seven people, including five Tamil Tiger rebels, were killed on Friday in fresh fighting in Sri Lanka's troubled regions, military sources said.

Five members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in a confrontation with the breakaway faction led by Colonel Karuna at the Sampur area of Trincomalee, the sources said.(Hindustan Times)


Rehab unruly elephants
Some of Sri Lanka's wildest, most destructive elephants could get reprieves from possible death sentences -- but they will have to spend some time in rehab first.

Elephants that rampage through villages, destroy crops or kill people will be caught, tamed and put to work promoting tourism and helping prevent poaching, a government official said Thursday. (Newsday)


Tamils are escalating violence,says Military
The Tamil Tiger rebels are escalating the level of their attacks, the Sri Lankan military said today, as surging violence that threatens to torpedo a four-year cease-fire left four people dead.

Rebels have employed land mines and combined arms attacks in the last week using mortars, RPGs and small arms fire for the first time since the signing of the 2002 cease-fire, said Military Spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. (Zeenews)


Lankan violence may affect India: Navy chief
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash on Thursday sounded a warning against taking the situation in neighbouring Sri Lanka lightly and said violence there could have an impact on India.

He was speaking at the launch here of a "Maritime Security Programme", a series of studies to examine the emerging maritime security environment in the Indian Ocean, by policy research outfit Observer Research Foundation. (Hindustan Times)


S. Lanka wants talks despite attacks - minister
Despite a recent surge in violence, the government of Sri Lanka remains committed to talks with Tamil rebels, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said on Thursday.

With more than 270 troops and civilians killed since early April, and a clash last week -- including a fierce naval battle and aerial bombing -- described as the worst since a 2002 truce, some analysts are saying the war has resumed in all but name. (Scotsman)


Monitors 'will not go'
International truce monitors in Sri Lanka say they will not pull out even though they say they are now monitoring a war rather than a ceasefire.

The head of mission, Ulf Henricsson, told the BBC the ceasefire was only intact on paper but it was still important to maintain a presence. (BBC)


Mortar bomb attacks in restive region
Heavy mortar bomb attacks were reported from Sri Lanka's restive north-eastern port district of Trincomalee, residents and police said.

Security forces were firing at suspected Tamil rebel positions from which they came under attack overnight, police said as residents said they heard several mortar bomb explosions within a half-hour period. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Foreign bid to pull Sri Lanka from war amid killings
The United States is leading international efforts to halt Sri Lanka's slide back to war, diplomats and officials said as four more died in fresh violence.

A US State Department official left here Tuesday, urging the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume talks suspended in April 2003 and stop violence that has claimed over 200 lives since early April. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers, army exchange fire amid war fears
Tamil Tigers and the military exchanged fire across front lines on Saturday, overshadowing efforts to return to long-delayed peace talks amid fears the country could slip into a renewed civil war.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels fired shots across a northern checkpoint with government territory in the early hours of the morning, drawing small arms fire from government forces, the army said. (REUTERS)


Children pay high price for fighting: UNICEF
At least six children were killed in the latest surge of violence in Sri Lanka's northeast and thousands were made homeless, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF said.

"The ongoing violence underlines the urgency for the parties to the conflict to take immediate action to avoid slipping back into a state of war," UNICEF said in a statement calling for the resumption of peace talks. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Patriarch of Lanka community in California dies
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By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Raja Suma (78) a patriarch of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Southern California who has been hailed as a cultural ambassador of the island nation and a former Printer of Lake House died after a prolonged illness, Monday May 15.

A close friend, Harry Hatharasinghe said, Raja Sumanasekera, as he was known before becoming a naturalized US citizen and changed his name for a shorter one, Suma, died at Country Villa Convalescent Home in Laguna Hills California after he was discharged from Saddleback Memorial Medical Center of the same city where he survived on a life supporting system for more than a week. His daughters permitted hospital to pull off the plugs of the machine when doctors saw no good prognosis for him , hospital sources said.


Tamil Tigers must end terrorism, U.S. envoy says
Tamil Tiger rebels must abandon terrorism if they want to bring peace to the South Asian island nation where escalating violence is threatening a return to civil war, U.S. envoy Donald Camp said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ``should readdress its methods and should abandon terrorism,'' Camp, the U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary for South Asian affairs, said yesterday during a visit to Sri Lanka. ``That's the only way it can really have a future in a united Sri Lanka.'' (Bloomberg)


US urges EU to ban LTTE
The United States asked the European Union to follow its lead and ban Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels to cut off their arms supplies, a visiting US State Department official said yesterday.

"We have encouraged the EU to list the LTTE as a terrorist group, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Camp said at the end of his two-day visit. (Bloomberg)


Sambuddha Jayanthi celebrated in Los Angeles
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The giant Vesak Lantern measuring more than 15 feet in height, carrying 12 medium sized lanterns, surrounded by 72 additional small lanterns.
( photo by: Sunil Ranjith De Alwis )
The Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in and around Los Angeles, California had elaborate and grand Vesak celebrations on 13th and 14th of May, 2006 to commemorate the 2550th "Sambuddha Jayanthi".

The center of these celebrations was the rotating, giant Vesak Lantern at "Maithri Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center, Sun Valley, California. The dedicated young and elderly Lankans living in Los Angeles who have banded themselves as "The Sri Lankan Patriots" are spearheading the project and are also determined to continue the good work into the future in addressing other social and patriotic issues.


BBC 'biased': protest in London
A petition blaming the BBC for hampering Sri Lanka’s attempts to “eradicate terrorism” has been handed over to the BBC officials.

Nicki Clarke, Executive Editor of the Asia Pacific Region and Priyath Liyanage, Head of Sinhala Service of the BBC World Service were handed over the petition on Monday. (BBC)


Rebels trade charges after civilian massacre
The Sri Lankan government traded charges with Tiger rebels over the killing of 13 Tamil civilians at the weekend, amid escalating violence in the restive northern region.

Another bomb went off in the northern peninsula of Jaffna on Monday but there were no casualties, military officials said. Security had been stepped up in the area following the weekend bloodshed. (Turkish Press)


More attacks seen in north
Glancing nervously into the jungle as they secure the main road north, Tamil Tiger fighters say they believe they are already at war and that government troops are operating behind their lines.

International truce monitors say a string of attacks in Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) territory -- yet more ceasefire violations as violence on both sides becomes what the monitors term a "low intensity war" -- suggest that the rebels could be right. The army denies the charge. (REUTERS)


Casualty toll surges in violence
At least 17 people have been killed in fresh violence in Sri Lanka, the police said Sunday, as the Tamil Tigers vowed a "war" to maintain their navy even though truce monitors said the fleet violated a cease-fire pact.

Thirteen people were gunned down in separate incidents in the northern islet of Kayts on Saturday night, the Sri Lankan military said. Two people were killed in the restive northeastern port district of Trincomalee. Another two were fatally shot at Atchchuvely in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, the police said. (Int.Herald Tribune)


As some in Sri Lanka prepare for war, Buddhist celebrations are not dimmed
In this Tamil rebel stronghold, hundreds of people stood in long lines over the weekend, stocking up on food and fuel and preparing for war.

Across much of the rest of Sri Lanka, there were long lines too - but lines of revelers taking part in celebrations marking one of the year’s most important Buddhist festivals. (Boston Herald) `Fasting Buddha` handed over to Sri Lanka
Pakistani High Commissioner Bashir Wahli in a special ceremony held in the Sri Lankan capital handed over a statue of `Fasting Buddha` as a goodwill gesture from the government of Pakistan.

The step was taken in response to a request made by the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse during his recent visit to Pakistan. (Paktribune)


President vows to protect sovereignty at any cost
President Mahinda Rajapakse has vowed to protect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty at any cost and threatened tough action if Tamil Tiger rebels refuse to end a spasm of violence that has left more than 170 people dead since early April.

Suspected rebels, meanwhile, fatally shot a member of a breakaway faction late Saturday in eastern Batticaloa, a local police officer said Sunday on condition of anonymity because of police regulations. (Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka at war with Tiger rebels - monitor
Sri Lanka's military and the island's Tamil Tiger rebels have returned to a "low-intensity war" despite a ceasefire that still technically holds on paper, the head of the unarmed Nordic truce monitors said on Saturday.

"You could in some definition say we already have a war. We don't have a peace agreement, we have a ceasefire agreement. So there is a war ongoing. It is a low-intensity war. You can say that," Major General Ulf Henricsson, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), told Reuters in an interview. (REUTERS)


Tamil Nadu verdict may not impac
The victory of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu is not expected to have any impact on Sri Lanka unless war erupts in the island and Tamil refugees flee to the Indian state in large numbers.

DMK chief Karunanidhi has not forgotten the terrible political price he paid in the 1991 elections when his DMK was sent packing by voters disgusted with its close ties with the LTTE, which had that year assassinated former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. (Gulf Times)


EU slams Tigers over sea attacks
The European Union has branded the Tamil Tiger rebels "reckless" after a sea battle that killed at least 17 Sri Lankan sailors and some 40 rebels.

The warning came as the head of the ceasefire monitoring mission, Ulf Henricsson, said Sri Lanka was in a state of "low intensity war". (BBC)


LTTE wants monitors to protect Sea Tiger vessels also
The LTTE has asked the Nordic truce monitors to give protection to Sea Tiger vessels, in the same way as they protect Sri Lankan Naval vessels.

The LTTE's political wing leader, SP Tamilselvan, has demanded that the truce monitors escort Sea Tiger vessels, just as they escort Sri Lankan vessels in the troubled waters of the North East. (Hindustan Times)


US says Tiger violence poses war risk
The United States on Friday condemned an attack on a Sri Lankan naval vessel by separatist Tamil Tigers, warning the violence risked returning the South Asian island nation to civil war.

"We are deeply concerned about the escalating violence by the Tamil Tigers, which has put Sri Lanka at risk of a return to war," said a statement by Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs. (REUTERS)


LTTE demands sovereign rights
Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday rejected a ceasefire ruling against them and demanded "sovereign rights" as Sri Lanka's military hunted for the bodies of 18 people killed in a major sea battle.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insisted they will operate naval and air wings and slammed Scandinavian ceasefire monitors for ruling against their launching of an offensive against the Sri Lankan navy on Thursday. (The Times of India)


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan concerns by sea and air attacks
The Secretary-General is disturbed by the news of major sea and aerial attacks in Sri Lanka, including an attack on a vessel that had unarmed international monitors on board. These attacks have caused the deaths of 18 Sri Lanka navy personnel and a number of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members.

The Secretary-General has taken note of the statement by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), demanding that the LTTE immediately cease all operations at sea, and describing these as a serious violation of the Ceasefire Agreement. He adds that it is unacceptable to attack vessels that are carrying SLMM monitors (U.N.O)


Tamil Tigers threaten more attacks
Tamil rebels on Friday threatened more attacks on Sri Lankan navy vessels if they approach coastal areas under rebel control, a day after a major sea battle.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, launched an attack Thursday in 15 small boats against a navy convoy escorting a troop carrier with 710 soldiers aboard, navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said. The European-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said a truce monitor was in the troop carrier when it was attacked. (Washington Post)


LTTE warns monitors
The LTTE on Thursday asked the Nordic truce monitors not to board Sri Lankan naval vessels and warned that they would be doing so at their own peril.

"We urge you for the last time not to be on board Sri Lankan Naval vessels until further notice from us. If you chose to ignore our warning, we are not responsible for the consequences". (Hindustan Times)


Crisis talks after raid
International truce monitors in Sri Lanka have begun emergency talks with Tamil Tiger rebels after a sea battle the government says left dozens dead.

The European peace monitors blamed the rebels for a "gross violation" of the 2002 ceasefire in Thursday's violence. (BBC)


Fears rise as sea battle kills 67
At least 17 Sri Lankan sailors and 50 Tamil Tiger rebels were reported killed Thursday in a fierce sea battle off the island's north - an action that possibly took the country closer to a return to civil war.

Tamil rebels sank a navy fast-attack craft by ramming it with a boat loaded with explosives, military spokesman PD K Dassanayake said, adding that the navy vessel was among escorts for a ship transporting 710 soldiers. (The Standard)


Air strikes after attack on navel vessels
A LTTE spokesperson speaking from Kilinoachi said that four locations close to Iranamadu have been bombed.

Political wing head of the LTTE in Trincomalee Eliilan , told the BBC that around noon shells were fired from the Trincomlee harbour area. (BBC Sinhala)


Rebels sink patrol boat-monitors
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels sank a government navy attack boat and attacked a troop transport vessel off Sri Lanka's northern tip.

''Our monitors saw several Tiger boats attacking the transporter ship and firing,'' said Helen Olafsdottir, spokeswoman for the unarmed Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (Deepikaglobal)


Lanka’s arms shopping not worrying India
Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera, a fashion designer before he joined politics, will be here early next week to discuss the situation in his troubled island home with India’s top political leaders, including the prime minister.

The growing violence in the island has threatened the fragile cease fire which held the peace in the island for the last four years. (dnaindia)


"Anarchy" in Sri Lanka as diplomats ready to talk peace
Diplomats prepared to talk peace in Sri Lanka but on the ground the violence escalated with Scandinavian monitors describing the situation as out of control.

"The escalation of violence that's occurring now is completely out of control," Helen Olafsdottir, spokeswoman for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that oversees a four-year-old truce, told AFP on Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Navy, Air force sink rebel boats
Sri Lanka’s navy and air force sank two Tamil Tiger rebel boats in battle on Friday, officials said, further straining a battered 2002 ceasefire as peace talks seemed still out of reach.

More than 200 people have died in the past month as violence soared, raising fears a two decade civil war might resume. Both sides say they want talks, but until thorny transport issues are solved most analysts expect violence to worsen. (Khaleej Times)


Violence to hit economy, drive inflation
Renewed violence in Sri Lanka could push up inflation and interest rates while hitting economic growth, analysts say, and any return to bombings in the capital could prompt serious economic hardship if foreign investors flee.

A suicide attack in Colombo's army headquarters and government air strikes on Tamil Tiger targets have already prompted rating agencies to downgrade their outlook and unless peace talks resume diplomats fear violence could get worse. (Hindustan Times)


Talks deadlocked as army kills 7
Sri Lanka's army said it killed seven suspected Tamil Tigers after an attack on a checkpoint on Thursday, while the rebels raised new objections to a government plan aimed at ending the deadlock over peace talks.

International truce monitors say around 200 people have died since early April in the bloodiest month since a 2002 truce halted two decades of civil war. Talks due to be held last month in Switzerland have been postponed indefinitely by the rebels. (Scotsman)


Talks deadlocked as army kills 7
Sri Lanka's army said it killed seven suspected Tamil Tigers after an attack on a checkpoint on Thursday, while the rebels raised new objections to a government plan aimed at ending the deadlock over peace talks.

International truce monitors say around 200 people have died since early April in the bloodiest month since a 2002 truce halted two decades of civil war. Talks due to be held last month in Switzerland have been postponed indefinitely by the rebels. (Scotsman)


Two more killed in violence
Two policemen were killed in a grenade attack in northern Sri Lanka where a Claymore fragmentation mine also exploded but caused no casualties, officials said.

The attack added to the some 200 people killed in the bloodiest month since a 2002 truce took effect between Tamil Tiger rebels and the government. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Japan set for dialogue
Japan's peace envoy to Sri Lanka is due to arrive in the country on Saturday for talks with the president, senior officials and Tamil Tiger rebels.

Yasushi Akashi's visit comes amid increased violence in Sri Lanka. (BBC)


Minister hopeful of peace talks’ success
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who headed the government delegation to peace talks in Geneva in February is proving to be a staunch optimist.

A week after an LTTE suicide bomber exploded herself at the army headquarters in Colombo, killing 11 and plunging the country onto the brink of war, Mr de Silva still believes that peace talks will prevail. (Dawn)


Uthayan attack condemned
International and Sri Lankan human rights watchdogs have strongly condemned the attack on Uthayan newspaper office in Jaffna.

New York based media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged the government to fully investigate the attack and “take measures to ensure the security of all media workers”. (BBC Sinhala)


Veteran journalist Deeptha returns home for his final rest
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The ashes of veteran journalist Mr. Deeptha Leelarathna who died on February 23, 2006 in Southern California were interred at his hometown cemetery in Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka on May 1st.

It was his wish that he be laid to rest in his motherland said his wife Hassina Leelarathna who brought the ashes to Sri Lanka.



Main opposition to support gov't in possible war
Sri Lanka's main opposition party said Tuesday that peace process was the only way to resolve the country's separatist armed conflict orchestrated by the Tamil Tigers, but the party would back the government if it opted for a military solution.

Lakshman Kiriella, a frontline member of the United National Party (UNP) told reporters that "we say peace process is the only way to solve the problem but if the government wants to opt for war we will then back it." (People's Daily)


On This Day, 1986: Bomb kills 21
Twenty-one people have been killed and 41 injured after a bomb exploded in an airliner at Colombo airport.

There were 128 passengers on board - among them 25 Britons, five of whom were injured. It is believed the bomb was planted by Tamil rebels seeking a separate homeland on the island state. (BBC)


Three blindfolded bodies found
Police today found the bodies of three blindfolded men with stab wounds on the side of a road in northern Sri Lanka.

The victims founded in northern Vavuniya district had not yet been identified, senior superintendent of police Jagath Abeysirigunawardena said. (Irish Examiner)


Japan's special envoy to visit India
Japan's special envoy to Sri Lanka will visit India next week to discuss the rapidly deteriorating situation in the island nation and ways to avert a possible resumption of a full-scale war.

Yasushi Akashi, who last came to New Delhi in November 2004, is expected to meet Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan on May 11. He may possibly call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too. (New Kerala)


Paramilitary blamed for Uthayan attack
Two media workers were killed and three injured in a shooting in a newspaper office in Jaffna while journalists celebrating the World Press Freedom day in Colombo.

Sri Lankan and international journalists demonstrating in front of the Fort railway station called for the authorities to bring the killers of previously slain Sri Lankan journalists into justice. (BBC Sinhala)


'Enough is enough' says president; seeks immediate talks with rebels
- President Mahinda Rajapakse called Tuesday for immediate peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, saying his tiny tropical island has seen enough bloodshed.

"Enough is enough," Rajapakse told The Associated Press in an interview as spiralling violence threatened to undermine a three-year-old cease-fire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (canada.com)


Seek truce talks despite bloodiest month
Sri Lanka has stepped up moves to revive talks with Tamil Tiger rebels as eight more guerrillas were reported killed after the bloodiest month since a truce took effect in 2002, officials said.

A breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers attacked a base of the mainstream guerrillas in the northeastern port district of Trincomalee, killing at least eight, military sources said, citing intercepted rebel radio communication. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers say shelled as violence simmers
Tamil Tiger rebels said they were shelled on Tuesday morning by government artillery, but the army denied taking any action as violence threatened a 2002 truce and planned talks remained deadlocked.

Local police said it might instead be a clash between the Tigers and breakaway faction the Karuna group, which the rebels say is government backed. But the rebels clearly blamed the army for attacking them near the northeastern port of Trincomalee. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Tigers likely to accept govt flight offer
A top rebel official said on Monday that the LTTE was likely to accept the government's offer of a sea plane for hierarchical Tiger cadres to travel from the east to the northern rebel headquarters for a crucial internal meeting prior to peace talks with the government.

The LTTE reaction was positive according to preliminary discussions within the organisation, the LTTE representative told TOI on condition of anonymity. The Tiger guerrillas are due to announce its decision formally next week. (The Times of India)


Military denies rebel claims on deaths of soldiers
Sri Lanka's military today denied a report in a pro-rebel website that five Government soldiers were killed while supporting a breakaway Tiger faction.

Defence Ministry spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said that security forces were not involved in yesterday's battle between the main Tamil Tigers and a faction led by V Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna. (The Hindu)


Rebel boats attack navy vessel, killed 7
Suspected Tamil Tigers killed at least seven people in a mine blast and a shooting on Monday and the navy said it came under attack from the rebels' sea wing intensifying fears of a return to civil war.

The navy said five armed Sea Tiger boats, including two suicide craft, approached one of its vessels in waters off Trincomalee on the northeastern coast. When the navy tried to investigate, it was attacked. (REUTERS)


Tight security meets May Day marchers in Asia
Workers across Asia rallied Monday to press for better conditions, often encountering a heavy police presence and, in some places, outright resistance.

In Sri Lanka, where violence between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military has heightened fears of a return to civil war, the government canceled all May Day rallies in the capital. (USA Today)


2011 World Cup in Asia
A joint bid by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh successfully beat a joint proposal by Australia and New Zealand yesterday.

Ehsan Mani, President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed made the announcements at the Dubai Press Club yesterday. (Gulf News)


Government surprised by truce monitors ruling
The Sri Lankan government said Sunday it was surprised by the ruling of the international truce monitors saying that the government's air strikes last Tuesday on Tamil Tiger selected targets was a violation of the ongoing truce agreement.

Keheliya Rambukwella, minister of Policy Planning and the government's defense spokesman said Sunday: "I am surprised by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) ruling." (XinhuaNet)


Tigers say raid army backed paramilitaries
Tamil Tigers said they raided camps belonging to renegade ex-rebels on Sunday, killing 20, while the government and rebels traded artillery fire in the northeast as war fears remained high.

The past three weeks have been the bloodiest since a 2002 cease-fire with more than 120 people, possibly many more, killed in suspected Tiger attacks on the military, ethnic riots, government air strikes and murders of civilians on both sides. (REUTERS)


Bodhi Puja in California for speedy recovery of Army Commander and other victims
Photo
( photo by: Gamini Edirasinghe )
A Bodhi Puja organized by Sri Lankan Patriots in California was held at Maithree Vihara, Sun Vally, California, on April 28, 2006 for the speedy recovery of Sri Lankan Army Commander Lt. Gen.Sarath Fonseka and other victims who got severely injured in the LTTE suicide bombing in Colombo.

Following this religious ceremony, the participants held a meeting to denounce the never ending LTTE terrorist activities and the LTTE's false pretence for peace to deceive the international community.


Sri Lanka facing dangerous propaganda war: president
Sri Lanka is facing a propaganda war more dangerous than the recent violence in the country, the president said, as newspapers accused foreign journalists of biased coverage.

"Now we are confronted with a more dangerous war -- that is the propaganda war," President Mahinda Rajapakse told a meeting of political parties late Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers, breakaway group clash
Tamil Tiger rebels and a renegade ex-Tigers group were fighting each other in the east of the country on Sunday, Sri Lanka's army said.

"There has been some firing and some attacks," said army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe. "LTTE and Karuna. Both parties are fighting." (REUTERS)


European monitors accuse government of violating truce with Tamils
European peace monitors said Saturday the Sri Lankan government has violated a ceasefire by launching deadly air strikes in Tamil Tiger rebel territory and security forces may also have conducted extra-judicial killings of civilians.

The Sri Lankan government denied the allegation. (Canada.com)


Six civilians shot dead
Six civilians were shot dead on Friday in separate attacks in three north-eastern districts.

The body of a rickshaw driver was found with gunshot injuries in Jaffna while gunmen shot dead four Tamil men in eastern Batticaloa district. (Dawn)


Military Tigers, exchange fire
Tamil Tigers and the military exchanged fire across front lines on Saturday, overshadowing efforts to return to long-delayed peace talks amid fears the country could slip into a renewed civil war.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels fired shots across a northern checkpoint with government territory in the early hours of the morning, drawing small arms fire from government forces, the army said. (REUTERS)


Rajapakse convenes all-party meet
President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday convened an all-party meeting to discuss "the future course of action" to be adopted in the peace process.

The meeting is also to evolve a position seeking international support for Sri Lanka's peace moves, a senior Presidential source said. (The Hindu)


Step up political pressure on LTTE'
Calling it a "close and friendly neighbour", Sri Lanka wants India to assist in "political and diplomatic terms to the peace process".

Talking to journalists here on Friday, the Sri Lankan high commissioner C R Jayasinghe said the air strikes against LTTE facilities were "targeted and limited" in nature, but LTTE provocation would not prompt Colombo to "renounce" the 2002 ceasefire agreement. (Times of India)


Peace overseers meet in Norway
Representatives from nations overseeing the Sri Lanka peace process were meeting in Oslo Friday to discuss ways to stop the escalation of violence between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The European Union, the United States, Norway and Japan are the so-called "co-chairs" of the peace process, ensuring that the Sri Lanka government and the Tamil Tigers respect a 2002 cease-fire accord designed to end two decades of armed conflicts. (Aftenposten)


Roads reopen
Sri Lanka reopened roads linking government and Tamil Tiger rebel-held territory Friday after two days of airstrikes against guerrilla areas ended, but the threat of a return to civil war remained amid continuing bloodshed.

The military seized three T-56 automatic rifles in Trincomalee, the hotbed of the current violence, late Thursday from two suspected rebels, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. (CNN)


Air strikes stop
Sri Lanka's military held off air strikes on Tamil Tiger targets for a second day on Friday, but in a capital still jittery after a suicide blast, troops seized a suspected rebel in a raid on a shopping mall.

More than 120 people have died in the bloodiest three weeks since a 2002 ceasefire, and diplomats say the island teeters on the brink of a new war over the Tigers' fight for a Tamil homeland in the north and east. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


India keeps close watch on Sri Lanka, Nepal
India will keep a close watch on the Sri Lanka co-chairs meeting scheduled for Friday at Oslo — a senior diplomat from the Indian embassy will attend the meeting, as an observer.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh, who returned from Germany last night, was briefed on both Nepal and Sri Lanka developments at a Cabinet Committee on Security meeting on Thursday evening. (The Times of India)


Landmine blasts kill 2 sailors
Landmine blasts in Sri Lanka killed two sailors Thursday and wounded two government commandos in the north of the country.

The two sailors were riding a motorcycle in the government-held enclave of Jaffna when an antipersonnel mine exploded, mortally wounding them. The commandos were wounded in a separate attack near Sri Lanka's northwest coast. Officials blame both attacks on Tamil rebels. (Voice of America)


5 headless corpses found
Police found five headless corpses near the Sri Lankan capital Thursday, a senior police officer said.

The corpses were found in Awissawella, a predominantly ethnic Sinhalese area. (an.no)


strikes stop
Sri Lanka stopped bombing Tamil Tiger targets and reopened borders with rebel territory on Thursday, but with the island teetering on the brink of war the police said a fragmentation mine blast killed two sailors

Both sides have vowed to retaliate if attacked again after heavy firing Tuesday night and Wednesday caused thousands to flee their homes and raised fears a 2002 cease-fire could collapse. (REUTERS)


Thousands fleeing air strikes in northeast: UN
Photo
A mother weeps outside a morgue in Colombo to collect the body of her son soldier Sarath Kumara, who was killed in a suicide attack on the convoy of army chief Sarath Fonseka a day earlier.
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )
Government air strikes in northeast Sri Lanka have caused thousands of people to flee their homes, the United Nations refugee agency said.

UNHCR spokesman Lyndon Jeffels said UN staff could not confirm local government figures in the district of Trincomalee that 40,000 had been driven from their homes by two days of air strikes against Tamil Tiger rebels. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Army strikes Tamil Tiger bases
About 15 000 people fled their homes after Sri Lankan air force strikes pounded Tamil rebel-held areas and killed at least 12 people, the insurgents said, as the government vowed further strikes if guerrillas launch any attacks.

The government said that its wave of airstrikes on Wednesday followed Tamil Tiger rebel attacks on navy boats in north-eastern Sri Lanka. (IOL)


Tamil Tigers one of world's deadliest militant groups
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, blamed for a suicide attack against a top military official that threatens to pitch the island back into civil war, is one of the world's deadliest guerrilla groups.

For Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran the most lethal weapon in his armoury is the young men and women who believe the greatest glory lies in blowing themselves to pieces in suicide attacks. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Post blast, national security tops Govt agenda
The Sri Lankan government has said that following the LTTE's bid to assassinate the army commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday, it has decided to give top priority to safeguarding national security.

But this would be done without veering from its commitment to the peace process and the resolution of the ethnic conflict through talks with the LTTE, cabinet spokesmen Keheliya Rambukwella and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told the media here on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times)


Emergency co-chair meeting called
The international donors of Sri Lanka have called an emergency meeting to discuss the volatile security situation in the island.

Representatives from United States, Norway, EU and Japan are to meet in Oslo in Friday, Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim told BBC Sanadeshaya. (BBC Sinhala)


Secretary-general strongly condemns suicide bombing
The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s atrocious suicide bombing at a military installation in Colombo.

The Secretary-General is disturbed by the rapidly escalating violence on the island, as seen in a vicious cycle of attacks and retaliations that appears to seriously endanger the fragile peace process. (United Nations)


Cowardly attacks cannot scare my government- President
Photo

President Mahinda Rajapaksha stressed that terrorist attacks could not scare his government and the interest and commitment shown by the government should not be considered as cowardice.

The President condemned with abhorrence the barbaric suicide bomb blast carried out by Wanni Tigers and wished quick recovery for the wounded.(LankaTruth)



Washington condemns attack
Photo
njured Sri Lankan soldier being carried to hospital.
( photo by: Sanka Vidanagama )
The United States condemned a suicide bomb attack against an army headquarters in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo that killed 10 people and severely injured the army chief.

"This is clearly an act of terror, which we condemn," the State Department's deputy spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters. "It is an unacceptable act of terror, a clear provocation and an escalation of violence.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Forces launche air strikes on Tamil rebels
Sri Lanka launched air and naval strikes on Tamil rebels in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt on the army chief that left 10 people dead and risked returning the country to war.

The strikes came after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the army headquarters killing at least 10 people, critically wounding army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, and injuring 30 others. (Yahoo News/AFP)


India slams suicide bombing
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday spoke to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and conveyed India’s strong condemnation of the suicide bombing incident in Colombo.

During the telephonic conversation, Mukherjee had expressed India’s solidarity with the government and people of Sri Lanka in this "difficult hour," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. (Sify)


Woman suicide bomber kills 10, wounds Sri Lanka army chief
A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber pretending to be pregnant blew herself up seriously wounding Sri Lanka's army chief and killing 10 others.

More than 30 people were also injured by the blast inside the high security zone of Colombo's main military base, police said on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Rebels seeking to incite riots
Sri Lanka's military on Monday accused ethnic Tamil minority rebels of killing six Sinhalese rice farmers working in their fields to provoke ethnic rioting.

Government troops, meanwhile, shot and killed two ethnic Tamil rebels after coming under attack in eastern Batticaloa, the Defense Ministry said. Separately, the rebels killed two policemen in the latest attack in northern Vavuniya, a police spokesman said. (Yahoo News/AP)


Sri Lanka questions 3 from Maldives for suspected links with Islamic ultras
The Maldives said on Monday it has alerted police in nearby Sri Lanka to look out for young Maldives men and women, whose families believed they plan to join Islamic fundamentalist groups abroad.

``Parents had told us that they had seen e-mails and letters which made them worried that their children would flee Maldives and join Islamic fundamentalist groups,'' chief government spokesman Mohamed H. Shareef said from the Maldives' capital, Male. (The Hindu)


Sri Lanka questions 3 from Maldives for suspected links with Islamic ultras
The Maldives said on Monday it has alerted police in nearby Sri Lanka to look out for young Maldives men and women, whose families believed they plan to join Islamic fundamentalist groups abroad.

``Parents had told us that they had seen e-mails and letters which made them worried that their children would flee Maldives and join Islamic fundamentalist groups,'' chief government spokesman Mohamed H. Shareef said from the Maldives' capital, Male. (The Hindu)


'Tamil rebels' shot
Two suspected members of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebel group have been killed in the east of the country.

The deaths, in the coastal town of Batticaloa, came after rebels were blamed for the deaths of six villagers from Sri Lanka's Sinhalese community. (BBC)


Villagers 'shot by Tamil Tigers'
Six villagers from Sri Lanka's majority Sinhala community have been abducted and shot dead, officials say.

Correspondents say it is the worst attack on Sinhala villagers since Tamil Tiger rebels and the government began a ceasefire in 2002. (BBC)


Sri Lanka urges EU to ban on Tigers after talks deadlock
he Sri Lankan government here Sunday urged the European Union (EU) to slap a ban on the Tamil Tiger rebels after plans to hold talks in Geneva on April 24-25 between the two sides ended in deadlock.

"The government wants the European Union to go ahead with theirt hreaten sanctions and list the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) a terrorist organization," Palitha Kohona, the head of the government peace secretariat told reporters. (Xinhua Net)


Truce talks deadlocked, violence escalates
The Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) remained deadlocked on Saturday over the proposed peace talks while violence escalated in the island country with at least four soldiers being killed in separate attacks.

A soldier was killed by suspected Tamil Tigers militants in the Northern Province area of Vavuniya at around 10:00 a.m. (0430 GMT) when a claymore mine exploded on an Army road patrol. (People's Daily)


Another demand by LTTE
Government has offered to fulfil the latest made demand by the LTTE.

The LTTE has made a request thru the Norwegian facilitator s to provide them with a helicopter that could accommodate ten people, the head of the government peace secretariat Palitha Kohona said. (BBC Sinhala)


China vows to safeguard Sri Lanka's territorial integrity
China today praised Sri Lanka for supporting its "core interests" in issues like Taiwan and Tibet and promised to support Colombo in safeguarding its territorial integrity.

At a meeting with Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong said the two countries had enhanced political trust, expanded trade and economic cooperation and promoted friendship between their people since they forged diplomatic ties in 1957. (The Hindu)


Three mine attacks
An Army offier and four soldiers were killed and elevan others injured Saturday in three mine explosions.

In another incident, unidentified gunmen shot a Tamil woman and seriously wounded her husband. (BBC Sinhala)


Rebels call off talks with Sri Lankan cease-fire monitor
Tamil Tiger rebels canceled talks with the chief European cease-fire monitor who had hoped to resolve a dispute with the Sri Lankan government blocking peace talks, as two army soldiers were killed and six others injured on Saturday in two mine explosions blamed on the rebels, officials said.

Ulf Henricsson, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, returned to Colombo from the rebels’ stronghold on Saturday after talks with rebel political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan were called off, mission spokeswoman Helen Olafsdottir said. (Khaleej Times)


Blast kills 2 soldiers
Two soldiers were killed and four others wounded when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded an anti-personnel mine in northern Sri Lanka, the military said.

The explosion occurred close to Vavuniya town 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the capital, Colombo, an official of army media unit said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. (CNN)


Tigers reject latest offer
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers rejected on Saturday a deal on transport of their commanders that could have allowed peace talks with the government to go ahead, as more violence raised fears of renewed civil war.

Swedish Major-General Ulf Henricsson, who heads the monitoring mission that oversees a 2002 ceasefire, traveled to the rebels' northern base to try to coax them to attend talks in Geneva planned for April 24-25 but won no agreement. (REUTERS)


President takes charge as violence escalates
Sri Lanka's president took charge of a new panel to halt a slide back to full-scale war as suspected Tiger rebels exploded mines and fought gunbattles killing four people, officials said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed a high-level panel headed by himself to take stock of the deteriorating situation in troubled regions, agriculture minister Maithripala Sirisena said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


'Last attempts' to save Geneva talks
The international truce monitors and the Norwegian government are in Kilinochchi trying to persuade the Tamil Tigers to change their stance on talks with the Sri Lanka government.

Head of Sri Lanka monitoring Mission (SLMM), Ulf Henricson, and first secretary of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo are discussing proposals put forward by the GoSL. (BBC Sinhala)


Rising violence leaves at least 4 dead
Ethnic clashes rocked Sri Lanka's northeast on Friday after mine attacks blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels killed at least three in a wave of violence that has raised fears of a return to civil war.

The unrest near the city of Trincomalee came a day after the Tigers said they were indefinitely postponing talks with the government initially set for next week, despite the efforts of a Norwegian peace envoy. (Swissinfo)


Blast kills 1, army blames Tamil Tigers
A claymore mine blast killed a guard and wounded a police officer in northeast Sri Lanka on Friday, in an attack the army blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels, the latest violence threatening the island's fragile truce.

The blast, which occurred near the northeastern port city of Trincomalee, came a day after the Tigers said they were postponing indefinitely talks with the government initially set for next week, despite the efforts of a Norwegian peace envoy. (REUTERS)


'Bombs will blast'
Tamil Tigers say that claymore bombs will blast until the government stops acts of violence.

“If the government stops violence in the North and East there would be no need for claymores,” said the political chief of the LTTE on Thursday. (BBC Sinhala)


Sri Lanka’s UN candidate says man to deal with Iran
Photo
former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala
Sri Lanka’s candidate for UN Secretary General said on Thursday he believed his expertise on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction made him the best person to succeed Kofi Annan and deal with Iran.

Jayantha Dhanapala, former head of the Sri Lankan government’s peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels, is one of three Asian candidates hoping to take over the top UN job at the end of the year.(Khaleej Times)



Lanka's deteriorating situation worries India
India is seriously concerned over the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka where rapidly rising killings and counter-killings have the potential to suddenly blow up.

Even if Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) do meet in Geneva, the understanding here is that there is an urgent need for both sides to rebuild mutual trust. (Hindustan Times)


Rebels pull out of talks indefinitely
Tamil Tiger rebels said on Thursday peace talks due to be held in Switzerland next week have been postponed indefinitely, citing recent violence against Tamil civilians.

In a statement after a meeting with Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hannsen-Bauer, the Tigers said they would not attend the talks until "normality returns". (REUTERS)


Hopeful of talks schedule
Sri Lanka on Wednesday said it remained hopeful that the second round of ceasefire talks in Geneva later this month would he held. The Government's position is against the backdrop of the recent spiralling violence in the north-east and a stand-off between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"As far as the Government is concerned, we are optimistic that the talks will go on," Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister and Colombo's recently appointed spokesperson on the security situation, told a press conference on Wednesday. (The Hindu)


President's appointments challenged
The Appeals Court in Sri Lanka has granted leave to proceed to two petitions against the recent appointments made by President Rajapaksa to two public bodies.

The court postponed the hearing on petitions by Avadhi Lanka and Simogh Organisations against appointments made to National Police Commission and Public Services Commission to 28 April. (BBC Sinhala)


More bloodshed as Norway pushes for peace
Another 10 deaths were reported in Sri Lanka's embattled north and east as Norway's new peace envoy launched a fresh attempt to salvage the island's collapsing ceasefire.

Two Claymore mine attacks also rocked the troubled regions Wednesday, wounding at least five people including a Korean businessman and two of his Sri Lankan associates, the military said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


More killings in the NE
The worsening violence in Sri Lanka has claimed more lives.

Police have found the bodies of five people with gunshot wounds in the northern town of Jaffna. (BBC Sinhala)


Blast kills 5 soldiers
At least five Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded Monday when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated an improvised explosive device, military officials said.

According to the military, the attack took place around 8:30 a.m. (3 a.m. GMT) about a mile (1.6 kilometers) outside the northern village of Vavuniya. The explosives were concealed in a rickshaw and exploded as military vehicles carrying commandos passe. (CNN)


Blast kills four soldiers, injures 12
Photo
Ramini Chandralecka (C), the pregnant wife of a slain commando regiment soldier, mourns during his funeral procession in Kadwatta, Sri Lanka April 13 2006. ( photo by: Buddhika Weerasinghe )
A powerful bomb has exploded in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least four soldiers and wounding 12, military officials said, casting fresh doubts over plans to resume ceasefire talks.

An army officer said the bomb, which went off as a bus transporting troops passed by in the district of Vavuniya, may have been fixed to a farm vehicle parked on the road.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Tamil Tigers withdraw from talks
The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) have announced that they are withdrawing from the scheduled peace talks in Geneva on April 24th and 25th. The reason given is disagreement with the Central Government about travel safety for LTTE leaders.

The leader for the LTTE peace secretariat, S. Puleedevan, says the Tigers are concerned over the safety of a transport by boat of LTTE military leaders. (The Norway Post)


New attack wounds five
Five people, including two Sri Lankan soldiers, were wounded on Friday in a Tamil Tiger mine attack, the army said, a day after the rebels agreed to go to Switzerland for talks with the government.

More than 40 people have died in the last week in the bloodiest spell of violence since a 2002 truce, leading many to fear talks scheduled for next week would be cancelled and that the island's two decade civil war would resume. (REUTERS)


Sri Lanka back from brink but cautious on peace
Sri Lanka took a step back from the brink of civil war on Friday after Tamil Tiger rebels agreed to go to talks in Geneva, but with a new date yet to be agreed many remain cautious about hopes for a lasting peace.

More than 40 people have died in the last week in the bloodiest spell since a 2002 truce, leading many diplomats to fear talks scheduled for next week would be canceled and that the island's two decade civil war would resume. (REUTERS)


Talks in Geneva postponed as violence threatens truce
Talks between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva next week have been postponed as surge of violence threatens a truce that ended the South Asian island's civil war.

`The talks are postponed and new dates are being discussed at the highest level,'' Espen Gullikstad, a spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, said by telephone from Oslo today. ``Negotiations with both parties continue.'' Norway helped to broker the February 2002 cease-fire. (Bloomberg)


Annan calls for lasting peace
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on all parties concerned in Sri Lanka on Wednesday to implement the Ceasefire Agreement for a lasting peace.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Annan said he is very concerned about the escalating violence and loss of life in Sri Lanka, including mine attacks on soldiers and police and targeted killings of political activists. (People's Daily)


Trinco victims pledged compensation
The government of Sri Lanka has pledged compensation for civilians affected by the series of blasts in Trincomalee.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special envoy, Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, warned of ‘severe consequences’ if the law enforcing authorities fail to take action against looters and troublemakers. (BBC Sinhala)


Sri Lanka faces spreading violence as bomb attack prompts riot
Sri Lanka is facing ``real danger'' that violence will spread in the country after a bomb attack sparked a riot in the northeastern town of Trincomalee resulting in the deaths of at least 15 people, truce monitors said.

Violence may result ``in more innocent people dying'' unless the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam take steps to control the unrest, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. (Bloomberg)


LTTE violating ceasefire accord
Sri Lanka on Wednesday accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of repeatedly violating the four-year-long ceasefire agreement and cautioned the guerrillas not to test government's patience.

"It is the intention of the government to carry forward the peace process with tolerance, which has been manifested during the last four, five days despite series of attacks. (The Hindu)


Trincomalee 'calm' after curfew
The police in Sri Lanka have imposed curfew in the eastern town of Trincomalee after a series of bomb blasts.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Rohan Abeywardhana told BBC Sandeshaya that 14 people including 2 security personnel were killed in a bomb blast near the vegetable market. (BBC Sinhala)


Market bomb kills 13, dims peace hopes
A bomb has ripped through a vegetable market in northeastern Sri Lanka, killing 13 people in the latest of a series of blasts which have cast a cloud over upcoming peace talks.

At least 50 other people were injured in the port town of Trincomalee when a bomb fixed to a bicycle exploded, hours after a Claymore fragmentation mine killed two constables in the same district, police said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Police say 9 dead after blast, riot
Two Sri Lankan soldiers and seven civilians died after a blast in the northeastern port of Trincomalee on Wednesday and the riots that followed, forcing authorities to impose a curfew in the town.

A string of suspected Tamil Tiger attacks on the military in recent days had killed more than 20 people since Friday, leading diplomats to fear civil war might resume, but police said they did not know who was behind the Wednesday blast (REUTERS)


Police say Tiger ambush kills two officers
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a police truck with a claymore fragmentation mine on Wednesday, police said, killing two officers and wounding two amid a surge of violence ahead of planned peace talks.

More than 20 people have died since Friday and diplomats fear violence may be spiralling out of control, that peace talks scheduled to take place next week in Geneva may not happen and that the island's two-decade civil war may restart. (REUTERS)


Truce team will meet rebels after attacks on military
Cease-fire monitors in Sri Lanka are seeking talks with Tamil Tiger rebels after attacks in the past two days killed at least 15 soldiers and sailors before peace talks scheduled for next week in Geneva.

`The attacks are seriously jeopardizing not only the Geneva talks scheduled later this month, but are having a detrimental effect on the cease-fire,'' the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. (Bloomberg)


Navy bus blast kills 12
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a bus full of sailors in northeastern Sri Lanka killing 12 and wounding eight more.

The bus was travelling from the port city of Trincomalee to Kantale, the next main town in the region, when it was caught up in the blast, a police official told AFP on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Britons injured in Sri Lanka death blast
Two British tourists have been injured in a blast that killed 10 sailors in Sri Lanka.

First reports said that a mother and her daughter from Norfolk were in a separate vehicle when the bomb wrecked a bus carrying the sailors. (Times Online)


Terrorist Tigers banned, Canadian Tamils urged to report on fund-raising
Photo
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay (L) and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day speak to journalists in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 10, 2006. Canada has listed Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels as a terrorist group and made it a crime to support or participate in its activities, the new Conservative government announced on Monday. ( photo by: Chris Wattie)
The Conservative government has outlawed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and will encourage Canadian Tamils to snitch on any fund-raising efforts by the violent Sri Lankan separatist movement.

The Tamil Tigers were formally listed as a terrorist group effective Saturday, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced Monday in a decision he said was "long overdue." (canada.com)




Governor of Maryland confers Citation on Dr. Amaradeva
A Citation from the Governor of Maryland Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., recognizing the contributions of Dr. K.W.D. Amaradeva to Sri Lanka’s music scene for over five decades, was conferred on Dr. Amaradeva during his musical performance Amara Piyasara in Maryland on April 8, 2006.

The Secretary of the State of Maryland, Ms. Mary D. Kane, who represented Governor Ehrlich on the occasion, read and presented the Citation to Dr. Amaradeva. Mr. Jason M. Chung, Executive Director of Governor Robert Ehrlich’s Office on Asian Pacific American Affairs was also present during this event. (Colombo Page)


Lankan gem industry aims to dig deeper
Sri Lanka’s gem mining sector, the world’s largest sapphire producer, believes economic growth in China and elsewhere will boost sales and is considering mining deeper to tap more stones, a senior official said on Monday.

Accounting for about 4 per cent of the island’s export earnings, Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry bought in some 36 billion rupees ($35 million) in export revenue in 2005, and the state-run National Gem and Jewellery Authority sees that rising further. (Jang)


New violence hits five government soldiers, two civilians killed
A mine exploded in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, killing five soldiers and two relief workers, the military said, as foreign ambassadors urged Tamil Tiger rebels to seek a peaceful settlement to the country’s two-decade conflict.

The soldiers were moving in a van when the Claymore mine exploded, killing four, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said, adding that two other soldiers were also wounded. One of the wounded later died. Two Sri Lankan relief workers who were in another vehicle coming from the opposite direction were also killed, he said. (khaleej Times)


Donors meet Tamil Tigers to save peace talks
Envoys from Sri Lanka's international donors went to meet Tamil Tiger rebels in a bid to keep peace talks due to be held in Switzerland from April 19 on track, officials said.

The ambassadors of Norway, Japan and the European Union (EU) flew north to rebel political headquarters at Kilinochchi to see the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). (Yahoo News/AFP)


Interest rate may cut first time in 2 years to spur growth
Sri Lanka's central bank will probably cut its key interest rate for the first time in more than two years to spur investment and economic growth after four increases last year helped slow inflation.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will cut the repurchase rate at which it drains money from the banking system to 8.50 percent from 8.75 percent, six of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News said. Three expect the central bank to leave the repurchase rate unchanged for a fourth straight month. The bank's decision is due April 12 around 7:30 a.m. in Colombo. (Bloomberg)


SL Tamils see India as their fatherland: LTTE ideologue
The Tamils of Sri Lanka consider "Tamil Eelam" in the North East of their island, as their "motherland", and India as their "fatherland", says the LTTE's ideologue and chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham.

In an interview to the popular Chennai-based weekly Ananda Vikatan, which has been widely reproduced here, Balasingham said that the Sri Lankan Tamils had "always looked upon India as their fatherland." (Hindustan Times)


Canada to place Tamil Tigers on terror list
The Conservative government has added the Tamil Tigers to its list of outlawed terrorist organizations, CTV News has confirmed.

The separatist Sri Lankan group is the first organization banned by the Conservatives, but the 39th group outlawed under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act. An official announcement is expected Monday. (CTV.ca)


India wants Sri Lanka, LTTE to move beyond Karuna
Amid indications that President Mahinda Rajapakse is prepared to walk the extra mile for peace, India does not want the upcoming Geneva talks between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to get confined to 'Colonel' Karuna, the LTTE renegade.

Whatever the strengths of the arguments advanced by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) vis-à-vis its former commander, the fact is that both sides to the conflict have their own concerns and everything needs to be addressed fairly and impartially. (Yahoo News/Jang)


Now for the Ramayana trail in Sri Lanka
Photo
Mythological events and images from the Ramayana epic will now provide the backdrop for an innovative package for visiting tourists offered by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and SriLankan Airlines.

"Ramayana creates a lot of interest in India and Sri Lanka. Hence, SriLankan Airlines thought it fit to use it as a marketing strategy to woo tourists from India," says N. Prabaharan, its regional manager for Sri Lanka and India Sub-Continent.(The Hindu)


LTTE spurns to transport commanders through govt territory
Tamil Tiger rebels warned they would transport senior commanders through government areas without a military escort in violation of a truce deal because the government refused to airlift them to a crucial meeting.

The Tigers said they would use their own boats to move the guerrillas thereby risking clashes with Sri Lanka’s navy after the government refused to fly senior rebel leaders by helicopter to a main guerrilla base for a crucial meeting, a pro-rebel report said on Saturday. (Jang)


Attacks in Trinco
The army in Sri Lanka says one of its soldiers has died and two others and a civilian have been injured in two attacks by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels.

He said an observation post near the Selva Nagar Army detachment in Trincomalee was attacked by LTTE with mortar fire and RPG. (BBC Sinhala)


Mahinda SLFP acting leader
The ruling party in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), has appointed President Mahinda Rajapaksa as acting leader.

President Rajapaksa, a senior vice president of the party, is to temporarily replace former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has left for a long trip abroad. (BBC Sinhala)


Tamil activist 'killed'
Unidentified gunmen have shot dead the head of a Tamil activist group in eastern Sri Lanka, police say.

Vanniasingham Vigneswaran was killed while entering a bank in the eastern city of Trincomalee, they said. (BBC)


Norwegian envoy tells Sri Lanka, rebels to meet Geneva pledges
Norway's peace envoy told Sri Lanka's government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam their peace process will fail unless they implement pledges to boost a 2002 cease-fire made at talks held in Geneva in February.

``The purpose of the process is not merely to meet, but to move toward peace,'' Erik Solheim said after talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday in Colombo. ``We ask the government and the LTTE to do whatever is in their hands to stick to the letter on the cease-fire and what was agreed in Geneva.'' (Bloomberg)


Sri Lanka banks on poorest women
Women's banks are flourishing in Sri Lanka but there are questions about whether they really make a difference to poverty.

There is barely space to move in Philomena Aranasingham's front room. She lives in the Kirullapone slums in the heart of Colombo, moments away from a still waterway with sewage floating by. (BBC)


Asia's textiles coping despite loss of quotas
Asia's textile and clothing industry appears to be coping well since the ending of the global quota system at the start of 2005, the Asian Development Bank said today. Fears that Asia's textile and clothing industry would collapse appear to have been "exaggerated", the Manila-based multilateral bank said in its annual Asian Development Outlook report for 2006

One the big fears among textile and clothing exporters in Asia had been that China would flood world markets at the expense of developing nations such as Bangladesh which relies very heavily on the trade. (Independent)


Norway's peace envoy opens talks with LTTE
Norway's new peace envoy opened talks with Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday as the Sri Lankan government's key electoral partner renewed calls for removing Oslo from the negotiations.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Oslo's newly appointed emissary, travelled to the rebel-held northern town of Kilinochchi on Wednesday for discussions with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), officials and the rebels said. (Hindustan Times)


Norway rejects JVP accusations
The Royal Norwegian Government has refused claims that newly appointed special envoy was earlier involved with Sudanese peace process.

Norwegian Minister for International Development, Erik Solheim, said Jon Hanssen-Bauer had nothing to do with Sudan. (BBC Sinhala)


Talks hinge on disarming renegades-rebels
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers received Norway's new special peace envoy at their northern base on Wednesday, urging him to press the government to honour a pledge to disarm renegades they say are attacking them.

The Tigers accuse the military of helping a breakaway rebel commander called Col. Karuna of mounting attacks on their fighters, and have warned a new peace bid to shore up a 2002 truce and avoid a slide back to civil war hinges on disarming them. (REUTERS)


US training Asian counter terror experts
Counter terrorism and anti-money laundering experts from South Asian nations began training with US experts in Colombo on Tuesday, the US embassy said.

Some 40 South Asian regulators and lawmen from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka were attending the study sessions organised by the US department of justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Himdustan Times)


Muslim women to join army in Lanka
Islamic scholars on Monday gave Muslim women permission to join Sri Lanka’s first exclusively Muslim infantry battalion to help provide security in the country’s insurgency-wracked east, a religious leader said.

“We have no objection to Muslim women joining the security forces, but it must safeguard our culture and religion,” said Muslim scholar Mubarak Abdul, who is also president of the United Party of Ulema, an umbrella group of political parties and religious scholars. (Dawn)


Norwegian envoy meets Lanka govt.
The new Norwegian peace envoy for Sri Lanka who arrived on Monday has met government officials in the capital, Colombo.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer has had discussions with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and officials from Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat. (BBC Sinhala)


Time to end Sri Lanka time split
Sri Lanka is a country divided not just by war, but also by time. Officially the country is six hours ahead of GMT. But in Tamil Tiger controlled areas, the time difference is five and a half hours ahead of GMT, the same as in India. Now that may change.

The change in time zone is under discussion. If it happens, it is likely to coincide with the Tamil and Sinhala New Year on 14 April. (BBC)


JVP says ready for any election
Sri Lanka's main left party the JVP, or the People's Liberation Front, says they are ready to face any election as they are confident of a good showing.

Responding to reports that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse may opt for a snap parliamentary election, the JVP General Secretary Tilwin Silva told reporters that his party is ready for any election. (People's Daily)


South Asia a fast growing computer market after 16 percent rise in sales
The growth prospects for computer vendors remain bright in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after total sales in the three South Asian countries grew 16 percent to 851,735 units in 2005, an industry report says.

Demand from the public sector, telecommunications and financial services industries will be the main drivers for computer sales in the 2006-2010 period to produce a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent in Pakistan, 22 percent in Bangladesh and 11 percent in Sri Lanka, International Data Corp (IDC) said. (Turkish Press)


Renegades threaten to kill Tiger supporters
A breakaway faction of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers vowed on Monday to shoot dead supporters of the mainstream rebel group unless they return thousands of homes and businesses appropriated from Muslims in the 1990s.

The group led by breakaway former commander Colonel Karuna, who is locked in a deadly feud with the Tigers that threatens to rekindle a two-decade civil war, told Reuters it will also hunt down three top rebels and hand them to Nordic truce monitors. (REUTERS)


New Nordic peace envoy visits Sri Lanka before talks
Norway's new special peace envoy to Sri Lanka began a four-day visit to the island on Monday to pave the way for a second round of emergency talks in Geneva this month to shore up a 2002 truce, officials said.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer, a peace adviser at Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is due to meet President Rajapakse, political leaders and the Tamil Tigers. His predecessor, Norwegian development minister Erik Solheim, will join him on Thursday (REUTERS)


SLFP rules out snap general election
SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena Sunday ruled out a snap general election to seek an absolute majority in Parliament.

Addressing a press conference at the SLFI, the Mahaweli Development Minister emphasised that there would not be an election for several years. (The Island)


Govt. urged to sack the JVP
A dissident group from Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP) might cross over provided the government change its policies, a leading UNP parliamentarian said.

Former Fisheries minister Mahinda Wijesekara said the UNP has lost many elections due to inefficient leadership of Ranil Wickramasinghe. (BBC Sinhala)


Snap poll possible as ruling party sweeps local elections
Sri Lanka's ruling party may call snap elections after its success in local polls gave it a chance to break away from hardline allies opposed to a peace process with Tamil rebels, analysts say.

President Mahinda Rajapakse could call parliamentary polls four years ahead of schedule if his two key nationalist allies try to block efforts for a political settlement to the festering ethnic conflict, they say. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Norway peace envoy to discuss Sri Lanka with India
Norway's new peace envoy to Sri Lanka will be here this week to discuss with Indian leaders the situation in the island in the run up to the next round of peace talks in Geneva on April 19-21.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer will arrive in New Delhi on April 6, two days after he turns 54, for his first trip to India after taking charge of the new responsibility on March 17, with or without the company of his predecessor Erik Solheim (Hindustan Times)


Resolved to combat extremism and terrorism
Photo
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf greets his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapakse.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to further strengthen their multifaceted and multisectoral cooperation in education, culture, commerce and trade, science and technology, and tourism for their common benefit.

This has been state in a joint statement issued about the visit of President Mahida Rajapakse of Sri Lanka to Pakistan. (BBC Sinhala)


Colombo seeks Saudi experts for oil exploration in Mannar
A Sri Lanka ministerial delegation said Friday that its meetings with local ministers and officials had been “fruitful.”

“Our suggestion for training our workers in oil exploration skills in Saudi Arabia was warmly welcomed by Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi,” A.H.M. Fowzie, Sri Lankan minister of railways and transport, petroleum and petroleum resources development, told Arab News. (Arab News)


Rajapaksa's electoral stunner augurs well for peace
The ruling United Peoples' Freedom Alliance's stunning victory in the local government elections held on Thursday, augurs well for the peace process in Sri Lanka, the media say.

It is also seen as an endorsement of his "Mahinda Chinthanaya", the manifesto of the rural poor and the indigenous and moderate Sinhala nationalistic forces. (Hindustan Times)


Muslim regiment cause worry
Sri Lanka's plan to recruit Muslims into a special regiment in its overwhelmingly Sinhalese army has earned bouquets and brickbats, with critics warning that it can further fuel ethnic tensions.

Colombo reportedly plans to take 500 to 800 Muslims into the 100,000-strong army so as to inject more security in Muslim majority areas of Sri Lanka's east that is often seen as a communal tinderbox. (Daily India)


Victory a 'mandate for peace'
The voters in Sri Lanka have endorsed the government’s attempts to make peace with the Tamil Tigers, victorious United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has claimed.

Government’s chief negotiator Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the public have given a mandate for UPFA government to continue negotiations with the LTTE to find a lasting solution to Sri Lanka’s national question. (BBC Sinhala)


Rajapakse in Pakistan to boost trade
President Mahinda Rajapakse left Friday for a three-day official visit to Pakistan, hoping to cement better trade and defence ties with the South Asian neighbour.

Rajapakse was scheduled to meet with his Pakistani counterpart, president Pervez Musharraf, prime minister Shaukat Aziz and other officials and sign several agreements on tourism, culture, railways and education, officials at the foreign ministry said. (Times of India)


Ruling party heads for local council win
Sri Lanka's ruling party is heading for a comfortable sweep of local council elections after the first test of public opinion since President Mahinda Rajapakse came to power.

Official results declared by the Sri Lankan election department showed that Rajapakse's people's Alliance had won 39 out of the 49 councils declared so far after Thursday's local government election for 266 councils. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Vote amid raids
At least five people were hurt yesterday in assaults during local elections seen as a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapakse's governing coalition and its support of a peace process with Tamil rebels.

Over 10 million people were eligible to vote in the elections for 226 local councils, which come as spiraling violence threatens a four-year-old cease-fire between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. (Gulf Daily News)


Government, JVP gain at local polls
Sri Lanka's government and its hardline Marxist allies made early gains as local election results trickled in before dawn on Friday in a poll analysts say could impact on a peace bid with the Tamil Tigers rebels.

Thursday's vote at local authority level is widely seen as a litmus test of the popularity of the Marxist JVP, who helped President Mahinda Rajapakse to power but insist on a tough line with the Tigers many say is hurting efforts to turn a ceasefire into lasting peace after two decades of civil war. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Low voter turn out at local polls
A low turn out and failure of the police to strictly enforce election laws marred Sri Lanka's local poll which concluded yesterday as the Marxists JVP battled to emerge as a stronger political group.

Election-weary Sri Lankans in most areas failed to turn up in the usual numbers and the election officials were expecting that the final turn out would be less than 65 per cent compared to the usual 75 to 80 per cent recorded during the last few elections. (Gulf News)


Rebels, navy clash
Sri Lanka's navy and Tamil Tiger rebels have exchanged gunfire off the eastern coast of Trincomalee.

No one was hurt. Both sides accuse the other of attacking first. (BBC)


President’s visit to boost economic ties
The primary objective of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s visit to Pakistan this week will be to boost economic cooperation and increase two-way trade that at present stands at just a little over $200 million.

This was stated by Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.S. Weerasooriya while talking to Dawn on Tuesday. (Dawn )


Votes in local poll
Sri Lankans began voting on Thursday in local government elections widely seen as a litmus test of the popularity of President Mahinda Rajapakse's hardline Marxist allies that could impact on a fragile peace process.

Polls in and near Tamil Tiger areas across most of the island's north and east have been postponed for six months on security worries and, with only a handful of frontline areas voting, attention is concentrated on the majority Sinhalese south. (REUTERS )


Norway: Talks will go ahead
Norwegian peace facilitators and Tamil Tigers have discussed the ways to implement the pledges made at the talks with the Sri Lanka government in Geneva.

Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim told BBC Sandeshaya that his discussions with LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham in London focussed on strengthening the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed in 2002 (Yahoo News/AFP )


Mediator to meet rebel negotiator
The top mediator in Sri Lanka's peace process, Erik Solheim of Norway, will meet with the rebels' leading negotiator in London to discuss peace progress on the war-torn island, the Norwegian government said.

Solheim and Tamil rebel negotiator Anton Balasingham will prepare the groundwork for a meeting between the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Geneva on April 19-21. (Yahoo News/AFP )


Mediator to meet rebel negotiator
The top mediator in Sri Lanka's peace process, Erik Solheim of Norway, will meet with the rebels' leading negotiator in London to discuss peace progress on the war-torn island, the Norwegian government said.

Solheim and Tamil rebel negotiator Anton Balasingham will prepare the groundwork for a meeting between the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Geneva on April 19-21. (Yahoo News/AFP )


The first-ever children's radio channel
The first-ever children's radio channel, Vidula, has been launched. The launching ceremony was held at Temple Trees on Tuesday morning under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Declaring open the new service, the president said the channel could render a huge service to create innovative future generation in the country. (BBC Sinhala )


President wins tsunami case
Supreme Court has ruled that President Mahinda Rajapaksa's rights were violated by police, who had initiated an inquiry against him on allegations of misuse of tsunami funds, a court official said on Monday.

The court ordered police inspector general Chandra Fernando, the former head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Deputy Inspector General of Police Lionel Gunatillake and an opposition politician who lodged the complaint, to pay compensation amounting Rs 100,000 ($1,000) each. (Hindustan Times )


Suspected rebel front warns of new attacks
A suspected Tamil Tiger front threatened on Monday to resume attacks on Sri Lanka's military, with the government and rebels seen unwilling to compromise weeks before talks aimed at averting renewed civil war.

Tension fell in the island's minority Tamil dominated northeast after the two sides met last month in Geneva for the first high level talks in three years. That followed violence that almost destroyed a 2002 truce, raising the spectre of a return to a two-decade war that killed more than 64,000 people. (REUTERS)


SLMM warns of escalation of violence
The international ceasefire monitors in Sri Lanka have urged Tamil Tigers to cooperate with them and the government in their investigations on an attack on a navy boat off Kalpitiya.

Strongly condemning the attack, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), said it is hard to rule out LTTE hand on the incident happened on Saturday, though the Tamil Tigers have denied any involvement. (BBC Sinhala)


Sailors feared dead in rebel sea blast - Navy
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up their own trawler and sank an approaching Sri Lankan patrol boat on Saturday, leaving eight sailors presumed dead just weeks ahead of crunch peace talks, the Navy said.

The incident is the worst since the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) agreed to hold peace talks in Geneva in February. A second round in April is seen as vital to avoid sliding back into a two-decade-long civil war. (REUTERS)


Rebels blow up selves, 8 sailors missing
Eight Sri Lankan navy sailors were missing at sea on Saturday after suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up their own trawler off Sri Lanka's west coast and damaged an approaching navy vessel, the military said.

Eleven navy sailors escaped the blast but search teams were still scouring for eight members of the crew, military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said. (REUTERS)


Military and rebels rearm despite talks - Army chief
Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger rebels are both re-arming even as they prepare for a new round of talks in Switzerland, the army chief said on Friday, saying the 2002 ceasefire has too many loopholes.

Violence in Sri Lanka's minority Tamil-dominated north and east pushed the island to the brink of war in January but has fallen off sharply since the two sides agreed to hold their first direct talks since 2003. But Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said both sides were continuing to prepare for battle. (REUTERS)


Geneva talks will be held as planned
The Sri Lankan government said on Thursday that next month's Geneva talks will go ahead as planned despite doubts being raised by the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Government spokesman and Minister of Media and Information Anura Yapa told reporters here that talks scheduled for April 19- 21 in Geneva will go ahead as planned. (People's Daily)


Sri Lanka imposes rice supply quota
Pakistani exporters are making efforts to get rice and tea removed from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka as Colombo imposes quota on the import of rice, thus restricting trade.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed FTA at the beginning of 2005, which took effect from June 1, 2005. However, both the governments have so far failed to evolve a strategy for the export of rice from Pakistan to Sri Lanka. But Sri Lankan exporters have been enjoying duty-free export of tea to Pakistan. Tea is Colombo’s major export earner. (Jang)


Attempt to undermine Auditor General
The Asian Human Rights Commission, also known as Ahrc, has said it's gravely concerned that Sri Lanka's Auditor General, Sarath Mayadunne is being criticised by senior government officials.

In a letter to Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse, Ahrc urges him to prevent any attempts to undermine the official, whose duty - it says - is to make a critical evaluation of the public institutions without fear of interference. (BBC Sinhala)


Sri Lanka Embassy in U.S. wants dialogue with Lankan groups
Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, D.C. in the United States is now inviting all Sri Lankan associations, spread in this country, all professionals, academics and others to contact it to open a dialogue with the Sri Lankan Diaspora living in the United States and maintain contacts.

The Deputy Chief of Mission Ravinatha Ariyasinha told Asian Tribune that it is important to get the message out to the larger Sri Lankan Diaspora domiciled in this country for mutual benefit. (Asian Tribune)


Oil hunt in Lanka
Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries is drawing up plans to invest in oil and gas exploration, production and refining in Sri Lanka.

Seismic surveys have indicated that the island nation has potential reserves of 10-15 million barrels in the Gulf of Mannar and the Cauvery basin. (Business-Standard)


Leading Tamil businessman killed
A leading Tamil businessman and a member of his staff have been killed in northern Sri Lanka, officials say.

Businessman M Gunaratnam ran bus services and other enterprises, the Associated Press news agency reports. (BBC)


India clawing back to Sri Lanka's North East
India is slowly, patiently and with a clear agenda finding its way back into Sri Lanka's North East, after having almost washed its hands off the Tamil scene following Rajiv Gandhi's assassination 15 years ago.

In just a year after Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran declared in Trincomalee that the "North East is very close to India's heart", New Delhi is making its presence felt again in a troubled region where it once enjoyed tremendous goodwill. (Hindustan Times)


FR case against JSC appointments
A senior counsel has urged the presiding judge of a Fundamental Rights case to hand over the petition to another judge on grounds of conflict of interest.

Counsel Elmo Perera has produced a FR petition against the appointment of two judges to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) by the President without seeking recommendations from Constitutional Council (CC). (BBC Sinhala)


Army supports peace, but not afraid of rebels
Army chief says that the military's support for the government's peace initiatives was not due to any fear of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Addressing his troops in the northern town of Vavuniya on Friday, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army Sarath Fonseka said that the Army's policy is the same as the government policy. "The problems of the Tamils must be solved through peaceful means," military sources quoted him as saying on Saturday. (People's Daily)


Rebels may postpone April crunch talks
Tamil Tiger rebels will view any further attacks by renegades they say are military-backed as an act of war and may postpone crunch talks unless the state disarms them, their chief negotiator has warned.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are due to attend a second round of peace talks with Sri Lankan officials in Geneva in April, and say the island's fragile peace process could grind to a halt if the government fails to honour a pledge to rein in armed groups. (REUTERS)


Tigers and Navy gun battles in the East
Sri Lankan security forces today claimed of coming under attack from Tamil Tiger vessels. They say the incident had happened off the coast of Trincomalee. Meanwhile the Tamil Tigers blamed the Navy of firing at villagers along the coast of Sampoor.

The SLMM says there three incidents of firing in the area during the last five days. (BBC Sinhala


Violence down, but Sri Lanka extends state of emergency Violence down, but extends state of emergency
Sri Lanka on Tuesday extended a state of emergency first imposed after the assassination of its foreign minister six months ago, but said violence had fallen sharply since talks with Tamil Tiger rebels in February.

Introduced after Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was gunned down by a suspected Tiger assassin last year, the state of emergency gives the police and army wide powers. (REUTERS)


Violence down, but Sri Lanka extends state of emergency Tamil party boycotts parliament
Sri Lanka's main Tamil minority political party stayed out of Tuesday's parliamentary session to highlight alleged inaction by the government to implement agreements reached in Geneva with the Tamil Tigers, the party sources said.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a Liberation Tigers of TamilEelam (LTTE) rebel proxy political party has 22 MPs in the 225-member assembly. (XinhuaNet)


Mixed reactions for NE polls delay
Political parties supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa are divided over the decision to postpone elections for the local bodies in the north and east.

Buddhist monk-led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) praised the decision by the election commissioner to put off the polls. (BBC Sinhala)


Peace talks key issue as postal vote begins
Government officials and soldiers began posting ballots on Monday for Sri Lanka's March 30 local elections, with the island's peace process a central issue but no decision yet on whether residents in rebel areas can vote.

More than 200,000 government officials and soldiers are allowed to send in ballots early for village, district and municipal council elections across the country so they will not be disrupted from their duties on election day. (REUTERS)


Postponed local polls in troubled areas
Sri Lanka today postponed holding of local government elections to in the island's troubled northern and eastern regions by six months.

The vote scheduled for March 30 was put off till September 30 in the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Batticaloa, elections department officials said. (The Hindu)


Identification a must for voting
The Election commissioner Dayananda Disanayaka has decided that at the forthcoming local government elections all voters will need to prove there identity before voting.

In addition to the national identity card a number of other documents could be used for proving identification. (BBC Sinhala)


Norway appoints new special envoy for peace process
The Norwegian government has appointed Jon Hanssen-Bauer as its new special envoy for the peace process in Sri Lanka, the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Friday in a press release.

According to the press release issued by the Norwegian embassy to Sri Lanka, Hanssen-Bauer will be responsible for Norway's day- to-day work as facilitator of the peace process in Sri Lanka. (People's Daily)


Solheim not to quit Lanka peace bid
Norway's peace broker Erik Solheim will soon be getting a deputy to do the actual peace facilitation work in Sri Lanka.

A Norwegian Embassy spokesman told Hindustan Times that a new Special Peace Envoy would be appointed, but added that the envoy would be working under. (Hindustan Times)


Apparel makers exploring Sri Lanka market
Pakistan apparel manufacturers are exploring investment opportunities in Sri Lanka amidst reports that the European Union is considering to bring down value addition criterion to 35 per cent for Sri Lanka under the GSP Plus scheme.

Besides textiles, the IT companies and businessmen of other sectors in Pakistan are exploring investment opportunities and developing warehousing facilities for their products in Sri Lanka. (Dawn)


LTTE warns Lanka of violence
Tamil Tiger rebels told peace broker Norway on Thursday that the Sri Lankan government was reneging on promises to disarm paramilitary units, and said the island could see a resurgence of violence.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they informed Norway’s top envoy Hans Brattskar that Colombo was going back on promises made during talks last month in Switzerland. ( Jang)


Solheim to give up job
Norway's peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, has announced that he will soon give up the job.

However, Mr Solheim told journalists in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, that he would still lead efforts to resolve Sri Lanka's civil war. ( BBC)


Strike paralyses train, health services
Thousands of civil servants marched in the Sri Lankan capital today to demand higher salaries, as part of day-long nationwide industrial action by government employees that paralysed rail and health services, a strike organiser said.

Workers from the health, postal, transportation, education and other government services joined the national strike, accusing senior government officials of giving themselves large pay rises while neglecting junior posts, said postal union spokesman Nawaratne Bandara. ( The Hindu)


Sinhalas see Rajapaksa as peacemaker: Survey
An overwhelming majority of Sinhalas, the dominant community in Sri Lanka, think that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is committed to a negotiated settlement of the ethnic conflict, and that he has the strength to bring it about, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA).

Eighty-seven per cent said that Rajapaksa had the strength to take the peace process forward and 80% said that he was committed to finding peace through talks. ( Hindustan Times)


Britain urged to protect Tamil Diaspora
Tamil Tiger representatives in the UK “threatened and blackmailed” the Tamil Diaspora demanding large sums of money, according to Tamil activists.

Raj Jayadevan, leader of the Tamil Democratic Congress (TDC), said the rebels launched a campaign in November 2005 to wage the “final war” against the Sri Lanka government. ( BBC Sinhala)


LTTE still holding child soldiers: UN
Despite repeated pledges by LTTE guerrillas to free all its underage combatants, the UN children’s agency stated last week that Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels still hold as many as 1,358 child soldiers. The statement came as the government confirmed they would formally take up the issue of LTTE child soldiers at the next round of peace talks scheduled to be held in April in Switzerland.

Unicef said the Tamil Tigers have recruited 5,368 child soldiers since the 2002 ceasefire agreement with the government. ( Dawn)


Sci-fi guru urges Sri Lanka not to go back in time
Sri Lanka should ditch a plan to permanently turn its clocks back 30 minutes in April because the move could push up the island's energy bill and ward off investors, resident science fiction guru Arthur C. Clarke has warned.

The government announced this month it would reverse a 1996 daylight saving measure that turned clocks forward, putting the island back in synch with neighbouring India -- and Tamil Tiger rebels who run a de facto state in Sri Lanka's north and east. ( REUTERS)


Children protest against abductions
Hundreds of children left their classes in parts of eastern Sri Lanka on Wednesday to protest the abductions of three teenagers blamed by the military on Tamil Tiger rebels, police said.

The rebels have denied responsibility, saying witnesses told them that a van used to abduct two of the teenagers on Monday sped toward a Sri Lankan military camp. ( Times of India)


Old British cars keep war-hit S.Lanka on the road
Photo
Garage owner Raja Durai watches over British cars, which are over 50 years old at public parking place in Kodikkamam, Jaffna peninsula
( photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )

If war returns to northern Sri Lanka, garage owner Raja Durai says it might be too much for the new Japanese-built cars he repairs.

He'd rather trust veteran British cars half a century old.When two decades of civil war ended in 2002, the only vehicles left on the Jaffna peninsula were old British cars and Sri Lankan army vehicles and trucks. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Tigers extorting millions from Tamils abroad: report
Tiger rebels are using threats, intimidation, and violence to extort millions of dollars from Tamils living abroad, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stepped up their fundraising in the West last year when violence at home escalated, with at least 153 people killed in December and January this year, the rights watchdog said. (Khaleej Times)


Gov't ally not to rock boat despite differences
The main ally of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday that it will not upset the Rajapakse administration despite a decision to contest this month's local election independently.

Tilwin Silva, the general secretary of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, told an election rally Tuesday in the central town of Kandy that they will continue to support the Rajapakse government at the center. (People's Daily)


Gov't ally not to rock boat despite differences
The main ally of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday that it will not upset the Rajapakse administration despite a decision to contest this month's local election independently.

Tilwin Silva, the general secretary of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, told an election rally Tuesday in the central town of Kandy that they will continue to support the Rajapakse government at the center. (People's Daily)


Gov't ally not to rock boat despite differences
The main ally of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday that it will not upset the Rajapakse administration despite a decision to contest this month's local election independently.

Tilwin Silva, the general secretary of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, told an election rally Tuesday in the central town of Kandy that they will continue to support the Rajapakse government at the center. (People's Daily)


Govt optimistic on future talks
The government of Sri Lanka expressed "confidence" that the next round of talks with the Tamil Tigers would go ahead as scheduled despite warnings by the rebels.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the LTTE would not abandon the talks as threatened as the international community exerts pressure on the parties to continue talks. (BBC Sinhala)


JVP rejects Indian federalism
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a key ally of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka, has categorically rejected the Indian model of federalism, which the moderate Tamil leader, V Anandasangaree, had proposed as a solution to the ethnic conflict in the island.

In a letter to Daily Mirror the JVP said that the news report that the JVP was willing to consider the Indian model of federalism was "false and invented". (Hindustan Times)


JVP rejects Indian federalism
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a key ally of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka, has categorically rejected the Indian model of federalism, which the moderate Tamil leader, V Anandasangaree, had proposed as a solution to the ethnic conflict in the island.

In a letter to Daily Mirror the JVP said that the news report that the JVP was willing to consider the Indian model of federalism was "false and invented". (Hindustan Times)


Tigers' call to disarm ridiculed
Police chief Chandra Fernando has said the Tamil rebels have no right to call for the disarming of other armed groups.

Fernando has described the call by the rebels to disarm other armed groups as "a ridiculous suggestion". (Gulf News)


Tigers threaten to pull out of peace talks
Tamil Tiger rebels are threatening to pull out of peace talks set for next month unless the government disarms rival militants.

The Tigers have accused Colombo and its paramilitary units of launching assaults on their positions in Sri Lanka's east, despite pledges by both sides to enforce a ceasefire. (ABC Asia Pacific)


Guidelines agreed for local polls
Representatives of main political parties in Sri Lanka have urged the elections commissioner to take measures to curb malpractices during the local government elections.

The main opposition, United National Party (UNP), has requested Dayananda Dissanayake to ensure that every voter brings a recognised form of identity to the polling booth. (BBC Sinhala)


Mass ordination of monks
Sri Lanka will hold a mass ordination of monks to mark the arrival of Buddhism in the island nation 2,550 years ago as well as staff dozens of temples faced with closure, an organiser said on Monday.

Starting on the first full moon day of May, 2,550 Buddhist monks will be ordained in an ambitious project to swell depleted ranks, monk Missaka Kamalasiri said. (Hindustan Times)


Enlists convicts to feed army
Sri Lanka plans to move dozens of convicts to an army-held enclave in the rebel-dominated north, officials said on Monday -- not as a punishment but to grow vegetables.

Forced to fly up to 1.5 tonnes of vegetables a day into the Jaffna peninsula to feed 40,000 troops because of patchy local supplies, the army plans to send as many as 200 prisoners serving time for minor offences to work on a farm. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Court order on SLMC nominations
The judiciary in Sri Lanka has ordered the authorities to reaccept the rejected nomination papers for 12 local government bodies by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

The Appeals Court also annulled the rejection letters issued by the retaining officers in the east, Chilaw and Mannar districts. (BBC Sinhala)


Police step up probe into human smuggling scandal
Police detectives in Sri Lanka are to record a statement from Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Jeevan Kumaratunga over a multi-billion dollar forged passport scandal involving a group of supporters of the minister and Nigerians who provided the forged visas to them.

The move follows revelations made by some of the suspects now in custody in connection with the racket which involved the issue of forged United States visas for jobs in Alaska. (Gulf News)


Lankan Tamils revise stand on Vaiko’s defection
Sri Lankan Tamils, who were initially shocked by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko's defection from the DMK-led coalition to the Jayalalithaa camp, now feel that the defection may actually be beneficial to them.

Tamil sources, both moderate and radical, told Hindustan Times that with Vaiko's defection, both the two main political formations in Tamil Nadu - one led by the DMK and the other led by the AIADMK - now have supporters of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. (Hindustan Times)


LTTE committed 14 CFA violations for every one by Govt.
says American State Department

Photo

“According to Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) statistics, the LTTE committed 14 cease-fire violations for every 1 committed by the government,” states a report on "Human Rights Practices – 2005" issued by Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on American State Department on 8th March, 2006

American State Department has based its information and statistics on reports issued on CFA violations. The report states during the year the LTTE continued to operate its own court system. The LTTE demanded that all Tamil civilians stop using the government's judicial system and rely only on the LTTE's legal system.(LankaTruth)


JVP pressure for review of Norway's role
The JVP is increasing pressure on the government to review status of the Norwegian facilitation in the Sri Lankan peace process.

JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa last Wednesday met President Mahinda Rajapakse's to emphasise the urgent need to review the tripartite government-Oslo-LTTE relationship, political sources said. (Island)


Northern Fishing restrictions relaxed
The Government has decided to relax restrictions placed on fishing in the Northern peninsula.

Speaking to Sandeshaya Defence spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinha said that now fisherman in the North will be able to fish in areas that that were allowed to go as soon as the cease fire agreement was signed. (BBC Sinhala)


JVP protests paddy "propaganda"
Police in Sri Lanka have baton charged farmers calling for the government to establish a proper programme to sell their cultivation at Welikanda, Polonnaruwa.

Thousands of protesters blocked Kaduruwela area for nearly three hours accusing the rice mill owners of influencing the paddy prices. (BBC Sinhala)


Dance artists of Sri Lanka to grace Hanoi Opera House
The renowned dance ensemble Channa-Upuli Troupe from Sri Lanka will perform a variety of traditional dances at the Hanoi Opera House next Tuesday on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has three traditional dances: the Kandyan tradition of the hill country, the low country tradition of the south and the Sabaragamuwa tradition of Gems city, in Ratnapura District. The dances go back more than 2,500 years. (Vietnamnet)


Army finds weapons during sweep of Tamil area
Soldiers seized a cache of grenade launchers, grenades and ammunition for a type of automatic rifle typically used by Tamil Tiger rebels during a sweep of northern Sri Lanka, the Defense Ministry said today.

The ammunitions were found in bags abandoned on a roadside during search operations in predominantly Tamil areas of Jaffna Peninsula on Tuesday and yesterday, the ministry's Media Unit said. The haul included three grenade launchers, 13 live magazines of T-56 rifles and some hand grenades. (The Hindu)


Muslims assail LTTE ‘plots’
Sri Lanka’s chief Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), has accused the LTTE of carrying out a ‘sinister operation’ to link Sri Lankan Muslims with extremist Muslim groups such as Al Qaeda and vehemently denied accusations by the Tamil Tigers that a Muslim Jihadi group was operating in the east of the country.

Rauf Hakeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), described as ‘preposterous’, the claims made by the LTTE who maintain that several killings of Muslims as well as Tamils were carried out by an emerging ‘Jihad’ movement. (Dawn)


EU slams Tigers for polls boycott
European Union election monitors in Sri Lanka have accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of preventing members of the Tamil community from voting in last November's presidential election.

The monitors say an election boycott was enforced in rebel-held north and east of the island. (BBC Sinhala)


Large gathering at Deeptha Leelaratne funeral
Photo
Maha Sanga at the funeral ceremony
( photo by:Gamini Edirasinghe )

(By a Correspondent in Los Angeles) More than five hundred expatriates and Americans assembled at North Hollywood’s Wat Thai Buddhist Temple Hall to pay last respects to the dead Sri Lankan journalist Deeptha Leelaratne , where his funeral ceremony was held.

Fellow journalist, and former deputy editor of the Sunday Observer, Philip Fernando making an eulogy said, the large gathering bore ample testimony to Deeptha’s endearing qualities of selfless service to fellow men and his love for the country of his birth.


SLMC seeks judicial remedy
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has urged the judiciary to order the Elections Commissioner to accept nomination papers for local elections earlier rejected due to an injunction order.

The General Secretary of the SLMC, Asan Ali, has produced 12 petitions before the Appeals Court on Wednesday citing the Commissioner and the relevant retaining officers. (BBC Sinhala)


LTTE peace team nabbed with gun catalogues
Tamil Tiger rebels were delayed on their return from peace talks in Europe on Tuesday after airport customs officials in Sri Lanka found gun catalogues in their luggage and briefly confiscated them.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were also forced to pay $380 in duty on a range of new items including electric razors, head-mounted torches and digital cameras, officials said. The Tigers had no immediate comment. (REUTERS)


LTTE has lost faith in Geneva talks
The LTTE has said that the talks with the Sri Lankan government, held in Geneva on February 22 and 23, offer no hope of peace.

Asked by newsmen in Kilinochchi on Tuesday whether the Geneva parleys offered any hope for the people, LTTE's political leader SP Tamilsevlan shot back: " When we ourselves have no hope, how can the people have?" (Hindustan Times)


UNP calls for direct talks
The main opposition in Sri Lanka, United National Party (UNP), has demanded government engage in talks with them parallel to talks with the Tamil Tigers.

Senior UNP lawmaker Dr. Jayalath Jayawardhane said that the party urged President Rajapaksa to conduct direct talks with the UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe. (BBC Sinhala)


JVP calls to take tougher line on rebels
A key ally of Sri Lanka's government urged a tougher stance against Tamil rebels and to beef up training for the country's security forces to deter the Tigers from going back to war.

"The government of Sri Lanka should speak softly and carry a big stick, which will greatly negate the LTTE threat of a return to hostilities," the Marxist JVP said Monday after a routine meeting of political parties with President Mahinda Rajapakse to discuss the island's peace process. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tamil Tiger rebels kill a former soldier
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot and killed a former Sri Lankan army soldier, the military said on Monday, in the latest violence threatening the country’s uneasy cease-fire.

The head of European truce monitors in Sri Lanka warned that such attacks could derail talks aimed at keeping the island from sliding back into civil war. (LankTruth)


Media culture at the expense of National security
Patriotic National Movement in a letter addressed to the president today (05th) says the newspaper article “The Tiger report on paramilitaries” which appears on page 12 of the “Sunday Leader” on 05.03.2006 has betrayed the National Security and Armed Forces personnel.

The report, according to Sunday Leader has been compiled by the Tigers and placed before the negotiating table in Geneva. This report supports Balasinghem’s contention that the government armed forces maintain working relationship with “Karuna Faction”. (LankTruth)


Battles to keep monks and JVP onboard
Right-wing allies of Sri Lanka's president have renewed moves to drop support for his shaky minority in parliament over his failure to take a harder line with Tamil rebels, officials say.

President Mahinda Rajapakse called an all-party meeting for Monday to discuss the peace process, which the nationalist all-Buddhist monk party, the JHU, and the Marxist JVP will attend. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Lankans take dim view of Indo-US deal
If comments in Sri Lankan media are any indication, Sri Lankans have a dim view of the new-found Indo-US strategic alliance sealed in New Delhi on March 3.

Edit-page articles in the leading English dailies over the past few days suggest that the Sri Lankans view the alliance with skepticism if not trepidation. (Hindustan Times)


President Mahinda calls for explanations from Bogollagama
Sources from the President’s House said that president Mahinda Rajapaksha has decided to call explanations from Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in respect of several controversial problems that have arisen recently.

The President had given instructions not to take family members in this tour to Geneva. The President had declined a request made by Minister Jeyaraj Fenandupulle to accompany his wife to Geneva in this tour. But Minister Bogollagama accompanied his wife and children to Geneva without the permission of the president. (LankTruth)


Sri Lanka to put back clocks by half an hour after 10 years
Sri Lanka will put back its clocks by half an hour and revert to the practice of having the same standard time as India after its 10-year experiment to save daytime failed.

President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered that Sri Lanka revert to its original standard time, five and a half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which the country maintained till May 1996. (The Hindu)


Tamil Tiger rebels die in ambush
Tamil Tiger rebels say two of their fighters have been killed in an attack by the army in Batticaloa town in eastern Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan army has denied the allegations published in a report in a pro-rebel website, TamilNet. (BBC )


Army denies abducting LTTE cadres
The military in Sri Lanka have denied any involvement in abducting Tamil Tigers in the volatile eastern district of Trincomalee.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said no SLA personnel have entered the LTTE held territory since the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) was signed in February 2002. (BBC Sinhala)


Sri Lanka to explore crude oil
Authorities in Sri Lanka are planning to call for bids from international oil companies to excavate crude oil off the north-western and south-eastern coast.

The bids will be opened in July and closed in December this year, Petroleum Minister AHM Fowzie told BBC Sandeshaya. (BBC Sinhala)


Two men face murder trial after tsunami robbery
Two men accused of grabbing a gold chain from a woman caught in the 2004 tsunami before letting her be swept to her death will be put on trial for murder, officials said on Friday.

Police said the two men had been in prison since Jan. 13 last year on charges of theft, and would appear in court later this month. Solicitor General C.R. de Silva decided to charge them with murder after watching a video of the incident. (areuters)


Huge haul of explosives recovered
Sri Lankan police recovered hundreds of sticks of dynamite from a truck transporting coconuts to the north, where an ethnic Tamil insurgency has raged for over two decades, a police official said on Friday.

The 348 sticks of dynamite were found on Wednesday, hidden among a load of coconuts, which were being dispatched to eastern town of Mannar, 220 kilometers Colombo, local police chief Anil Priyantha said. (Hindustan Times)


Japan tells "Don't take aid for granted"
Japan warned Sri Lanka on Thursday not to take hundreds of millions of dollars' in aid for granted, saying future assistance will depend on the government tackling policy inconsistencies and reform.

Akio Suda, Japan's ambassador to Sri Lanka, said his government was concerned at how Sri Lanka has squandered years of potential development through slow decision making, and was concerned about the island's budget deficit. (REUTERS)


Jaffna security reviewed
Security officials in the northern Sri Lankan town of Jaffna have agreed to scale down their presence in an attempt to bring the normalcy to the city where violence increased before talks between the government and the Tamil Tigers.

The regional commanders of the Sri Lanka military have pledged to human rights activists not to deploy security forces in front of schools in Jaffna. (BBC Sinhala)


Opposition wants ceasefire details out in open
The controversy over amendments reported to have been made to the existing Ceasefire Agreement with Tamil rebels has taken a further turn with the opposition demanding that the government make a clarification on the amendments.

The main opposition is demanding that the government makes public the amendments it is reported to have made to the existing CFA. (Gulf News)


JVP questions Geneva statement
The JVP says that there is a contradiction between the final statement of the Geneva talks and the initial statement made by the governmentat the inauguration.

Commenting on the agreement JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Hearath said that it was a mistake for the government delegation to agree to strengthen the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). (BBC Sinhala)


UN tsunami envoy hails talks between Sri Lanka warring parties
Breakthrough talks last week between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lanka government could help speed the delivery of aid to tsunami survivors on the island, a senior United Nations envoy said.

"I think that any time the parties to a conflict are talking to one another it enhances the prospects of the kind of reconciliation that permits the delivery of assistance," UN deputy special envoy for tsunami recovery, Eric Schwartz, said in an interview late Monday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Rajapakse's allies reject Geneva agreement
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's electoral allies — the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) — have rejected the Geneva agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the ground that it ran contradictory to the Government's position on the ceasefire agreement (CFA).

"The unitarist JVP welcomed the Government's handling of the Geneva talks as a "step in the right direction," but denounced the post-talks statement.The JVP welcomed the Government's opening statement, in which Colombo's Chief Negotiator, Nimal Siripala de Silva, said the CFA was unconstitutional. It, however, said the joint statement at the conclusion of the talks was contradictory. (The Hindu)


Tsunami-hit communities need more say in aid programs, UN says
Communities in Indonesia, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives should be given a greater say in how government recovery programs are being implemented, the United Nations said.

``We need to be serious about including traditionally marginalized communities in the decision-making process,'' Eric Schwartz, the UN's deputy special envoy for tsunami recovery, said, according to the UN. ``This recovery effort will only be truly successful if we ensure that the affected communities are engaged in the process.'' (Bloomberg)


Residents venture back out as violence ebbs
People have returned to the streets in Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic east after talks between the government and Tamil Tigers pulled the island back from the brink of war, but distrust remains.

A month ago, Reuters found Malika Ponuthurai, her children and grandchildren living in an overcrowded church hall with more than 100 other minority Tamils after violence and threats forced them from their multi-ethnic village. (Tehran Times)


Deeptha Leelaratne veteran journalist dies in Los Angeles
Photo
Deeptha Leelaratne in a 1998 photograph
(photo by: Sunil Ranjith De Alwis)
(By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles)
Deeptha Leelaratne, (70) veteran journalist of the Lankadeepa of the former Times of Ceylon Ltd. and the Publisher and Editor of the Sri Lanka Express, the bi-weekly newspaper published in Los Angeles, died of a massive heart attack in his Tarzana home near Los Angeles during the night of February 22.

The co-editor of the newspaper and his wife, Hassina Leelaratne was away in Sri Lanka , to complete a Tsunami aid project for which the bi-weekly news paper collected funds, when the death occurred. Sources close to the family said the veteran journalist died before any para-medics could be called to the house or before any Medical aid could be given.


High risk for bird flu
Sri Lankan health officials said today that the country is at high risk for a bird flu outbreak and falls short on resources aimed at prevention.

“The risk is high,” said S.K.R Amarasekara, the chief of Sri Lanka’s Animal Production and Health Department. (Ireland Online)


Sri Lanka set to tax Hollywood, Bollywood blockbusters
Photo
Women stream out of a cinema in Colombo.
(photo by: Sena Vidanagama)
Sri Lanka will tax imports of popular Hollywood and Bollywood movies, dramas and sitcoms from April and use the funds to develop the island's film industry.d

Imported movies will be taxed 750 dollars while television dramas and sitcoms would be taxed at the same rate but for blocks of five half-hour programs, R.T.L. Weerasinghe, the Treasury's senior tax advisor, told AFP. (REUTERS)



EPDP wins election in LTTE-held area
The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), which is opposed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has won a symbolically key local body, Puthukudiyiruppu, where the headquarters of LTTE leader V. Prabakaran is believed located.

According to officials, the EPDP's nomination paper for the council in the rebel-held north was the "only valid nomination paper," for the election scheduled for March 30. (The Hindu)


No links to talks venue : govt media
State media in Sri Lanka have denied reports that the government is setting up live telephone links to the venue of the peace talks with Tamil Tigers in Geneva, Switzerland.

Daily News editor Bandula Jayasekara, who is in Geneva, told BBC Sandeshaya that the reports are “completely false.” (BBC Sinhala)


SL Muslim rights activist warns of arms struggle
A leading Muslim human rights activist has warned that Muslims in Sri Lanka may be forced to take to arms and seek help from the Muslim world if the LTTE continues to trample on them and the government keeps ignoring their cries.

MIM Mohideen, Chairman of the Muslim Rights Organisation, said, "If this state of affairs is allowed to continue we will have another looming problem of immense magnitude. (Hindustan Times)


Rajapaksa for multi-party approach at Geneva talks
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the government's delegation for the Geneva talks on the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) to take a "multi-party approach" because he does not believe that the government is the sole representative of the people of Sri Lanka, according to the state owned Daily News.

Speaking on Friday at an All Party Conference, five days ahead of the crucial talks with the LTTE, Rajapaksa said that he did not believe that the government had the right to become the sole representative of all the democratic parties and other movements in the country. (Hindustan Times)


Tiger rebels free policeman ahead of talks
Tamil Tiger rebels released a policeman as a goodwill gesture ahead of key ceasefire talks next week, the guerrillas announced.

The constable was freed on Saturday from the rebel-controlled town of Kilinochchi where he was held for over five months by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a day after government authorities freed four guerrilla suspects. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Geneva talks should ensure there are no second class citizens in this country! - JVP
A statement issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP for the all Party Conference held today reiterates its stand for a multicultural, multi ethnic and multi religious society in Sri Lanka without any ethnic or religious borders.

The statement states that the JVP believes that all parts of Sri Lanka are the traditional homelands of all its constituent ethnic and religious groups and stands for the full expression of the democratic rights and human freedoms of all the people in Sri Lanka. (LankaTruth)


"No peace until top rebel dead"
says Venerable Ellawala Medhananda
Photo
Venerable Ellawala Medhananda
(photo by: Buddhika WeerasinghE)
A Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, who heads a religious party opposed to a Tamil homeland in the north and east, says the country would be better off if the reclusive rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers were dead

Venerable Ellawala Medhananda, head of the National Heritage Party, or Jathika Hela Urumaya, said the government should be prepared to fight the rebels, led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, to the bitter end if peace talks in Switzerland next week fail. (REUTERS)


S.Lanka, rebels swap prisoners before crunch talks
Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers agreed to a prisoner swap on Friday as a rebel delegation left for next week’s crunch talks in Switzerland which are seen as a last chance to avert a return to civil war.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they would release a policeman they detained in September after the government released four rebels on bail and would release another one as long as four other Tigers were also freed. (Khaleej Times)


Rebels leave for talks
A team of Tamil Tiger rebels are due to leave for Geneva for crucial talks with Sri Lanka's government, officials say.

The meeting on 22-23 February will be the first face-to-face talks at such a high level for nearly three years. (BBC)


Colombo UNP, Gampaha SLFP lists rejected
The UNP faced another major setback when its nominations for the Colombo municipal council were rejected.

Returning Officer Mahinda Deshapriya ruled that as there was an under aged candidate in the list and this was not in compliance with the election law. (BBC Sinhala)


Presidential pardon to SB
The President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has reduced the prison term of a former senior minister paving the way for his immediate release.

President Rajapaksa has directed a letter granting a pardon to SB Dissanayake to Justice Minister Amarasiri Dodamgoada, according to the presidential secretariat. (BBC Sinhala)


Nationwide local elections in March
Sri Lanka said on Thursday it would hold local elections on March 30, including in Tamil Tiger rebel-held areas, but analysts said the vote could prove to be a double-edged sword.

While some welcomed the fact that the poll would enable the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to take part in the electoral process through their proxies in parliament, others feared the rebels could scare off opponents to secure more power at a local level. (REUTERS)


Pro-LTTE group rejects unitary state
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the pro-LTTE Tamil party seen as the political wing of the LTTE, said on Wednesday that President Mahinda Rajapakse’s complete rejection of a Tamil homeland demand ahead of Feb 22-23 peace talks in Switzerland was not an impediment to the resumption of face to face dialogue between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The head of the TNA, R. Sampanthan said that the Tamils ‘are not talking about an exclusive Tamil homeland’ but reiterated that the cultural factor of the Tamil-speaking people should be respected. (Dawn)


Armed gangs threat to peace - Haukland
The truce monitors say that if authorities turn a blind eye to activities of armed gangs it could lead to collapse of normalcy.

Hagrup Haukland, head of the Nordic Monitoring Mission in Sri Lanka, speaking to the foreign Correspondents said that the last few months had been a very difficult period. (BBC-Sinhala)


Be 'flexible' at Geneva, India tells Sri Lanka
India has advised Sri Lanka to be "flexible" during talks with the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Geneva next week.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran made the suggestion to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a meeting in Colombo on Monday, official sources told the agency on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times)


Rebels say shocked at president stand on homeland
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Wednesday they were shocked at President Mahinda Rajapakse's rejection of their demands for a separate Tamil homeland, and said it may leave them no alternative but to push for self-rule.

Rajapakse told Reuters in an interview on Monday that a separate homeland -- which the Tigers have said he must grant or face renewed armed struggle -- was out of the question, just days ahead of crunch talks on Feb. 22-23 seen vital to hopes of averting a slide back to civil war. (REUTERS)


Truce talks to focus on shadowy paramilitaries
The role of shadowy paramilitary groups in Sri Lanka's troubled regions will be a key topic during truce talks between Colombo and Tamil rebels, a diplomatic source said.

The agenda for the first face-to-face meeting between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will focus on addressing the issue of "paramilitary" groups, the source close to the process said on Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


JVP demands fresh peace process
Sri Lanka's main Marxist party, a key member of the ruling coalition, has demanded a brand-new peace process to replace the Norwegian-led initiative, which it said had failed.

The JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said President Mahinda Rajapakse should adopt a "fresh approach" to negotiating peace with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (Yahoo News/AFP)


State of emergency extended
Sri Lanka's parliament on Tuesday extended a state of emergency for one month, saying the country's security situation did not allow an easing of the tough anti-terror laws.

Minority Tamil legislators kept up a boycott of the assembly as the government sought the extension of the emergency it declared on August 13, a day after then foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated. (DNA Wrold)


S Korean minister enters UN race
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon has declared his candidacy for the top job at the UN, officials say.

Mr Ban joins a number of other Asian contenders, including Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Jayantha Dhanapala from Sri Lanka. (BBC)


Chandrika 'still faces threats to her life'
Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga has complained to President Mahinda Rajapakse that her security is being systematically pruned despite threats to her life.

Chandrika is reported to have made the allegations in a letter to the President in which she claims that the threat to her life was from the Tamil rebels as well as sections from the government. (Gulf Times)


No homeland for Tigers - President
Photo
President Mahinda Rajapakse talks to Reuters during an interview at his official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka February 13, 2006.
(photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi)
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday ruled out Tamil Tiger demands for a separate homeland in the island's north and east, but said he would rein in armed groups -- a central rebel demand ahead of crunch talks.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have threatened to resume an armed struggle that led to two decades of civil war which killed more than 64,000 people up until a 2002 truce unless the government gives them a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils. (REUTERS)


New Tamil party opts for federalism
Just days before Colombo and the Tamil Tigers meet in Geneva, a new Tamil political party that was formed quietly in Sri Lanka says its aim is to transform the country into a federal republic.

And the All Ceylon Tamil United Front’s top functionary, and the only one prepared to reveal his identity for now, is none other than K Vigneswaran, who had played a key role in setting up a provincial administration in the island’s northeast when Indian troops were deployed there almost two decades ago. (Gulf Times)


Thai firms sought for refinery
Saha Regal Best Co , a Thai construction investment firm, is looking to select medium-sized Thai construction firms to carry out civil construction for the development of a 200,000 barrel per day oil refinery in Sri Lanka.

The company last week signed an agreement with a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC), and PL Global of South Korea for engineering, procurement and construction for the refinery in Sri Lanka. (Bangkokpost)


United States Congress backs democratic Sri Lanka to the hilt
The United States House of Representatives last week accepted a resolution submitted by Representative Frank Pallone condemning Sri Lanka’s rebel group LTTE and encouraging a lasting political solution to its national question. The resolution has now being sent to the House Committee on International Relations.

"Sri Lanka continues to maintain a fragile peace in its own borders with the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Increasing economic stability and the accompanying growth and prosperity will help to maintain this peace and hopefully give the breathing room for a permanent peace agreement. (Asian Tribune)


Sri Lanka doubts foreign advisors ahead of truce talks
Sri Lanka has found that US experts hired to advise its peace negotiators could compromise crucial ceasefire talks, a state-run newspaper reported as Tiger rebels were accused of gun running.

The foreign conflict resolution experts hired by Colombo last week turned out to be "too liberal" and "possibly too pro-Tigers" and could compromise two-days of talks due to start on February 22, the Sunday Observer said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka accuse Tigers of gun-running ahead of truce talks
Sri Lanka’s military on Sunday accused Tamil Tiger rebels of attempting to smuggle in explosives and ammunition ahead of crucial face-to-face talks with Colombo later this month.

The defence ministry said a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber detonated explosives and destroyed a gun-running trawler off the island’s northwest coast late Saturday when challenged by the navy. (Khaleej Times)


Elephants raise funds for their upkeep
Dozens of captive elephants raised funds for their upkeep Saturday by running races, playing tug-of-war and dancing to the rhythm of traditional drums.

Elephant trainers maneuvered their animals _ draped in bright colored cloths _ through a lively game of polo amid loud cheers from the boisterous crowd, most of whom were children. (CBS News)


Tigers deny smuggler boat blast
THE Sri Lankan military said Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up on a trawler smuggling weapons overnight to avoid a search ahead of peace talks in Switzerland later this month, but the rebels denied involvement.

A spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said the trawler might have simply been an innocent Sri Lankan or Indian fishing boat. The rebels have routinely denied involvement in recent incidents. (The Australian News)


Navy says rebel smugglers blew themselves up
Sri Lanka said Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up on a trawler smuggling weapons off the island's coast on Saturday to avoid a search ahead of talks in Switzerland later this month aimed at averting civil war.

The military said a fast attack boat intercepted a deep sea trawler headed towards a rebel-held section of the island's north west coast. As they moved in to investigate, the trawler exploded, damaging the warship and critically injuring a sailor. (REUTERS)


Trawler explodes in roubled waters
An unidentified trawler blew up with its crew off Sri Lanka's northwest coast as a naval craft tried to approach it, the military said.

The craft exploded with at least four people aboard, a navy official said Saturday, citing reports from a Sri Lankan navy craft which was in the area at the time of the explosion off the coast of Mannar. (Yahoo News/AFP)


President launches National Year of Children
President Mahinda Rajapakse declared yesterday it was his aim that all work undertaken by the Government for the welfare of children be available to all children on an equitable basis.

"I want the fruits of our work for children to spread evenly throughout the country from Point Pedro to Dondra Head and Colombo to Batticaloa encompassing the entire land. (iicrd)


AsiaNews launched
The newly launched AsiaNews weekly aims to provide accurate, timely and informative stories on Asia with the collaboration of 14 newspapers in 12 countries.

Thai Foreign Minister Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon, in his remarks at its launch yesterday, said the publication of the 36-page magazine by the Asia News Network (ANN) reflected the region's growing influence in the world. (The Star)


Russia, unlike U.S., supports Asia for top U.N. post
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former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala
Russia said a successor to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan should be an Asian and threw cold water on U.S. suggestions that the next top U.N. diplomat could come from any region in the world.

"We prefer to follow the traditional way of tackling the issue, of handling the matter of election of new secretary general," Russia's U.N. Ambassador Andrei Denisov said on Thursday. He added that it was Asia's turn for job. (The Star)


Sri Lanka too joins in condemning controversial cartoon of Prophet Muhammed
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) a network of over 50 of the largest and most influential National organizations of Muslims in Sri Lanka joined over 1.5 Billion Muslims the world over to condemn the publication of the blasphemous cartoons depicting our Prophet Muhammed, which initially was published in a Danish newspaper 'Jyllands Posten'.

The MCSL believes that freedom of thought, expression and action is God's gift to be excised with responsibility for the greater benefit and good of humanity without any consideration of nationality, gender, color or religion and not sow the seed of tension and cause distress, harm or pain to a section. (Asian Tribune)


Prisoner swap with Tigers
Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers are considering a prisoner swap to pave the way for trust building at talks this month that could be the island’s last chance for peace, a government negotiator said on Thursday.

“The Tigers are holding two police constables we are hoping will be released before talks begin,” Trade Minister and peace envoy Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said in an interview in the midst of preparations for the talks in Switzerland. (Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka names negotiators amid Norway, Swiss moves
Peacebroker Norway and talks host Switzerland have stepped up diplomatic moves to arrange face-to-face talks between Sri Lanka's warring parties as Colombo named more peace negotiators.

Norway's top envoy here, Hans Brattskar, and Swiss ambassador Bernadino Regazzoni flew to the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi to arrange for Tiger negotiators to travel to Geneva in two weeks, a government official said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Two judges resign from Judicial Service Commission
Sri Lanka's judiciary has been drawn into a crisis after two judges resigned from the three- member Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a constitutional body empowered to maintain the administration of the High Court and lower courts.

Two senior Supreme Court judges Shirani A. Bandaranayake and T.B. Weerasuriya have resigned from their posts as members of the JSC leaving behind the Chairperson Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. (Gulf News)


Largest ever allocation for Samurdhi
In the largest allocation yet for poverty alleviation, the Government has set apart Rs. 5,009 million to implement the proposed development programmes of the Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority (SLSA) during the current year, redoubling efforts to eradicate poverty as enunciated in Mahinda Chintana.

"This is the highest ever allocation made by a Government to the Samurdhi movement to uplift the economic conditions of the poor and develop the infrastructure in their villages," Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told a one day seminar held at BMICH, Colombo yesterday to educate all District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries on the proposed programmes of the Samurdhi Ministry. (Relief Web)


Ex-president returns land gift amid court probe
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Former president has returned her expensive retirement gift, her office announced after legal action was filed against her.

Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday handed back the 1.5 acre (0.68 hectare) area of land near the national parliament to the state, it said in a statement on Wednesday.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka seeks changes to truce with Tigers
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A woman walks past a poster supporting peace moves underway between Tamil Tiger rebels and the government in Colombo.. ( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )
Sri Lanka will seek to amend the ceasefire agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels during negotiations in Geneva later this month despite opposition from the guerrillas.

President Mahinda Rajapakse told his negotiators to ensure that promises in his election manifesto titled "Mahinda Chinthana", or Mahinda philosophy, are followed in dealing with the rebels."Everyone should take action in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana which was put forward before the people," state television quoted the president as saying while addressing a two-day workshop for his negotiators.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Investors lack confidence despite peace bid: World Bank
Agreement by Sri Lanka's warring parties to hold their first face-to-face talks in three years will help reconstruction but there would be no significant foreign investment until lasting peace is achieved, Agence France Presse reports a World Bank official said Monday. "We haven't got a security and a peace framework in which people have full confidence at this time," country director Peter Harrold told reporters here. "This is key to poverty reduction over time."

Peace was essential to enable Sri Lanka to raise its level of investments and achieve the eight percent growth target the government had set for itself this year, Harrold said. The eight percent target compared to estimated six percent growth in 2005 and an expansion of 5.4 percent in 2004 (Asian Tribune)


Tigers reject change in ceasefire pact
Tamil rebels have declared that they are not prepared for any modifications of the existing Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) during upcoming discussions with the government to renew peace talks.

The indication was made soon after Norway announced that the talks between the Sri Lankan government and the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will commence on February 22 in Geneva. The announcement was made after Norwegian peace envoy to Sri Lanka Erik Solheim met with LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham in London on Monday. (Gulf News)


Warring parties gear for Swiss talks after breakthrough
Sri Lnment and Tiger rebels were gearing up for face-to-face talks in Geneva later this month after breaking a three-year deadlock in their faltering peace process.

Peace broker Norway finalised the two day talks starting on February 22 after discussions with the top Tamil Tiger negotiator Anton Balasingham in London on Monday, diplomats said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Date set for key talks
Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels will meet in Geneva on 22-23 February, peace broker Norway says.

The news came after talks in London between envoy Erik Solheim and chief rebel negotiator Anton Balasingham. (BBC)


Rebels, peace envoy to meet on talks date
Tamil Tiger rebels will meet a Norwegian peace envoy to set a date for talks with Sri Lanka's government.

Erik Solheim, Norway's minister of international development, is scheduled to meet Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, today in London, according to a report on the TamilNet Web site. Rebel spokesman Daya Master confirmed that the meeting was scheduled for today but declined further comment. (Bloomberg)


Tiger proxies to contest local election
Tamil Tiger proxy party the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will contest the forthcoming local polls in the Indian Ocean island country's troubled northern and eastern regions.

The TNA officials said Sunday the party would field candidates for all the local councils in the two provinces but are of the opinion that the present climate in the region was not conducive to holding an election. (XinhuNet)


Rajapakse talks unity before key dialogues
President Mahinda Rajapakse took a firm stand against rebel demands for a Tamil homeland on Saturday as tanks and rocket launchers rolled along the capital’s seafront in an Independence Day show of force.

"This country belongs to Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil, everybody," Rajapakse said, referring to the main groups on an island torn by the 2004 tsunami as well as war. "By dividing this country we cannot solve this problem. It would worsen the situation." (Jang)


Sri Lanka shows military might as Tigers protest anniversary
Photo
. ( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka has put on a bristling display of its military might to mark freedom day as Tamil rebels forced a work stoppage ahead of key talks to save a tenuous truce in the strife-torn island.

Shops were closed and public transport was off the streets in the restive northeastern port district of Trincomalee after the one-day strike called by a Tamil Tiger front organisation, police said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Opposition Leader criticized for making anti-peace statements
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Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has come under considerable flak for making negative statements with regard to the resumption of peace talks scheduled to take place this month in Geneva.

Several political parties and Ministers termed Wickremesinghe's utterance as a 'childish and unbecoming' statement from a leader of a respected political party in Sri Lanka.The UNP leader addressing a meeting in Matara had said that talks in Geneva will fail unless the Government agrees to disarm the Karuna faction.(Lankaeverthing)


Donors skip talks with rebels after protests
Sri Lanka's key international lenders postponed a meeting scheduled with Tamil Tiger guerrillas after protests from pro-government Buddhist monks and Marxists, officials said.

A party of Buddhist monks and the main Marxist party -- key backers of the Colombo government -- had protested to officials of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund about the planned meeting with the rebels (Yahoo News/AFP)


President urges unity, Tigers call for strike
President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged unity and peace in Sri Lanka, even as a Tamil Tiger front organisation called for a one-day strike to coincide with Saturday's independence day.

Rajapakse in a freedom day message urged all Sri Lankans to work towards ending ethnic bloodshed in a country where over 60,000 people have been killed in a Tamil separatist conflict since 1972. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers say no firm dates for key talks
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, angry at what they say was the army-linked abduction of eight Tamil aid workers, said on Friday they had not agreed a firm date for peace talks, contradicting a minister who said a date had been set.

Weeks of suspected rebel attacks on troops had pushed the island in January to the brink of a new civil war, but tension eased last week after Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim brokered an agreement for the two sides to meet in Geneva. If those talks fail, many expect war. (REUTERS)


Sri Lanka banks on patriotism to push 'junk' bonds
Sri Lanka said it was banking on the patriotism of citizens holding foreign currency savings to buy 25 million dollars worth of junk-rated government bonds.

Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said the five-year bond issue, to be launched Monday aimed at financing infrastructure projects, targets Sri Lankans employed abroad or those holding foreign currency accounts. (Yahoo News/AFP)


"Sri Lanka peace process needs Indian push"
An international study on Sri Lanka’s faltering peace process wants India to become a member of the co-chairs group that also includes the US, Norway, Japan and the European Union.

The study, “Aid, Conflict and Peace Building in Sri Lanka, 2000-2005”, however notes that New Delhi may not be keen in view of its past disastrous experience in the island nation. (dnaindia)


Peace envoys named as scare shuts parliament
A security scare shut down Sri Lanka’s parliament on Thursday as the government named two members of a five-man team who will hold crunch peace talks with the Tamil Tigers in Geneva later this month.

The island has been jumpy since a string of suspected Tamil Tiger rebel attacks on troops brought a 2002 truce to the brink of collapse, but tensions have eased since the two sides agreed last week to hold direct talks in Switzerland. (Khaleej Times)


Parliament suspended after security scare
Sri Lanka's parliament was suspended on Thursday after police dogs searching the chamber started behaving suspiciously, officials said, adding that nothing had been found but they were taking no chances.

The island has been jumpy since a string of suspected Tamil Tiger rebel attacks on troops brought a 2002 truce to the brink of collapse, but tensions have eased since the two sides agreed last week to hold direct talks in Switzerland this month. (REUTERS)


New kidnap allegations overshadow peace effort
A charity close to the Tamil Tigers said that five more aid workers had been abducted in eastern Sri Lanka, a day after the rebels warned kidnappings were threatening planned truce talks.

The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) said Wednesday a second group of five charity workers went missing in the district of Batticaloa Tuesday, two days after five other aid workers were abducted by "paramilitary personnel." (Yahoo News/AFP)


Government rejects report of abduction of Tamils
Sri Lanka's government rejected media reports that five Tamil tsunami aid workers were abducted by a paramilitary group in the east of the country.

Police haven't any report of the incident taking place two days ago near a security checkpoint in the eastern Batticaloa district, the government's information department said yesterday in a statement. Police are investigating the reports, it said. (Bloomberg)


"One step at a time towards peace" president says
Sri Lanka will adopt a step-by-step approach to peace with Tamil Tiger rebels and will try to strengthen the ceasefire in a new round of talks in February, President Mahinda Rajapakse said.

"The most important thing is to stop violence," he told AFP in an interview on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE threatens to pull out of peace talks
The Tamil Tiger rebels said today they will pull out of upcoming peace talks in Switzerland unless the government takes greater steps to protect Tamils against abductions.

Participation in the talks will depend on what steps the government takes to stop kidnappings and harassment of Tamils, a senior rebel official, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, told The Associated Press from the de-facto rebel capital of Kilinochchi. (The Hindu)


Karuna declares ‘unilateral ceasefire’
Karuna has announced a ‘unilateral ceasefire’ against wanni tiger organization to enable President Mahinda Rajapakse to negotiate a permanent peace settlement.

However, he has emphasized that his organization will not hesitate to retaliate if wanni tigers continue with their killing spree. He has stated that his organization has no confidence of the SLMM (LankaTruth)


Truce may collapse, lead to war: study
Sri Lanka's ceasefire between the Tamil Tiger guerrillas and the government can collapse and trigger renewed fighting, a path-breaking international study on the peace process has cautioned.

At the same time, it is "too early to talk of success or failure" of the Norwegian-mediated peace process between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said the report, "Aid, Conflict and Peace Building in Sri Lanka, 2000-2005". A copy of the study was made available to IANS. (New Kerala)


Suspected paramilitary group holds Tamils
A group of suspected paramilitary fighters in Sri Lanka abducted five Tamil relief workers in the eastern Batticaloa district, the workers' organization said.

The five were forced into a van yesterday after being stopped while traveling from Batticaloa to Vanvuniya, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization said in an e-mail statement. (Bloomberg)


Tamil gang leader deported to Sri Lanka
Immigration authorities have deported a high-ranking Toronto gang figure who came to Canada 17 years ago as a refugee and promptly embarked on a life of crime and violence.

Jeyaseelam Thuraisingam was the leader of the Seelapu gang, one of several Sri Lankan Tamil street gangs that Toronto police and Canada Immigration have been working to dismantle since 2001. (National Post)


Tea exports hit record high
Sri Lanka, one of the world's top exporters of tea, sold a record 308 million kilos (677 million pounds) of the commodity to overseas buyers last year, a brokering house said.

The tea exports in 2005 were 2.83 percent higher than in 2004, maintaining a small but steady increase seen in the past three years, the Asia Siyaka Commodities said on Monday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka clings on in lingerie battle of the fittest
Sri Lanka wants to be a world hot spot for lingerie and make clothing its main dollar earner, but local manufacturers are feeling hemmed in a year after export quotas were lifted.

Top international brands, including Victoria's Secret, Marks and Spencer and Triumph get their intimate women's wear from Sri Lanka, which is traditionally known for its tea. (Yahoo News/AFP)


SLFP – JVP begin talks for join election campaign
SLFP and the JVP have begun talks regarding contesting forthcoming local government elections as a joint front. The discussion was held on 27th evening at Temple Trees on the request of the SLFP.

SLFP leaders have pointed out the importance of both parties contesting as United People’s Freedom Alliance and have requested for JVP views about it. (LankaTruth)


Sporadic violence in Sri Lanka
Two Sri Lankan security personnel have been wounded in separate attacks as Government and Tamil Tiger rebels today traded allegations of truce violations, but the main wave of killings appeared to be stemming after a breakthrough in peace talks.

The military said the rebels attacked a military check point in the northern peninsula of Jaffna yesterday with small arms, while police were also attacked with automatic gunfire and a grenade. (The Hindu)


Lull in Sri Lanka fighting, but long way to peace
Fighting in Sri Lanka's strife-torn north and east has fallen off since the government and Tamil Tiger rebels agreed last week to hold fresh talks in Geneva, but peace still appears a long way off.

Both sides accused each other of attacks within hours of the deal on Wednesday, but there have been no reports of major clashes from then until Sunday -- a brief but definite lull since almost daily fighting erupted in early December. (REUTERS)


Indian Air Force chief to visit Sri Lanka
The chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to visit Sri Lanka amid persisting concern over the island nation's ethnic conflict despite a breakthrough in the peace process.

Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi will reach Colombo on Monday on a five-day trip. (Hindustan Times)


No proof Army backs Karuna
Sri Lanka's peace monitors have no evidence that the country's army is supporting the breakaway Tamil Tigers group headed by Karuna, a senior official of the Nordic body says.

"We have no proof that the army is directly supporting the Karuna group but we know that some local army officers had knowledge of the whereabouts of some Karuna supporters," Helen Olafsdottir of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) told Tehelka magazine here in an interview. (Hindustan Times)


Indians flock to SL despite security threats
ndians keep pouring into Sri Lanka, no matter what the security situation is here. But the more sensitive Western tourists show a tendency to drop out if trouble is in the air.

Having been a year of high political instability and a high voltage Presidential election campaign, 2005 saw a 3 per cent fall in tourist arrivals. (Hindustan Times)


Peace talks go ahead, deplores violence
The Sri Lankan government said on Friday it will go ahead with peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, deploring new violence that killed a senior rebel fighter.

“The government is determined to go ahead and hold the talks, as agreed,” Director of the Government Information Department, Anusha Palpita, told The Associated Press. (Khaleej Times)


Vilified peacemaker finds himself Sri Lanka's saviour
Not long after being burnt in effigy as a "terrorist supporter", Norwegian peacebroker Erik Solheim has turned Sri Lanka's saviour in the eyes of Buddhist monks who anointed him an "angel of peace".

When the flamboyant 50-year-old minister held his first meeting with the Tamil Tiger chief in November 2000 and declared the rebels serious about peace, he was branded a "white Tiger" and vilified by nationalist monks. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Clash erupts a day after peace deal
Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger rebels both said they came under attack on Thursday, a day after the two sides agreed to hold fresh peace talks in Geneva.

The rebels said the army had killed one of their men in an ambush, while the military said unidentified attackers had fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at a bunker. (REUTERS)


Tigers release policeman after talks deal
Tamil Tiger rebels released a policeman as a goodwill gesture on Thursday, a day after agreeing to peace talks in Switzerland with the government, but some said they feared a new war had only been postponed.

The stock market soared on news of fresh talks, but some in the war-weary north were less euphoric. (REUTERS)


8 wanni tigers killed by Karuna faction
Seven members of wanni tiger organization were killed and three injured in an attack carried out by members of Karuna faction of the tiger organization at Wadumune area south of Welikande

The attack had been carried out at about 10.00 a.m. on Jan.26th. A group of wanni tigers who had been travelling on the road at Wadumune area were ambushed by the members of Karuna faction (LankaTruth)


Envoy says needs patience
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Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solhiem speaks to the media during a press conference in Kilinochchi.
(Photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Sri Lanka's peace process is back on track but patience is sorely needed and will be key to any success, Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim said on Thursday after the government and Tamil Tiger rebels agreed to meet for talks.

Solheim, leading Norwegian efforts to bring a lasting end to the island's two decade war since secret negotiations began in 1998, said when he started he would not have believed there would be so little progress in eight years. (REUTERS)


Annan hails peace talks
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UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday hailed the peace talks to be held between the government and the rebels of Sri Lanka.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Annan said he is very pleased to learn that, for the first time since April 2003, the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have agreed to hold direct talks in mid-February in Geneva.Meanwhile, the secretary-general also welcomed the renewed efforts by the government of Norway. (XinhuaNet)


SL Rupee rallies as peace talks fixed
Sri Lanka's rupee rallied sharply in late trade on Wednesday after Tamil Tiger rebels agreed to a Norwegian proposal to meet the government in Switzerland for ceasefire talks.

A string of suspected rebel attacks have stretched a 2002 truce to its limit and had raised the spectre of a return to civil war. Many predicted war if Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim had not been able to resolve an impasse over the talks venue. (REUTERS)


Four senior UNPers join Govt.
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UNP Parliamentarian Keheliya Raambukwella was sworn in as the Non-Cabinet Minister of Policy Development and Implementation by President Mahinda Rajapakse in a short ceremony held at Presidential Secretariat.
In a major setback for the opposition UNP, four senior UNP parliamentarians crossed over today, further strengthening the government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

UNP Kandy District MP Keheliya Rambukwella, Chief Whip of the Opposition and Kalutara District MP Mahinda Samarasinghe, UNP spokesperson Prof. G.L. Peiris and Susantha Punchinilame have crossed over to the government. (Colombo Page)


Rebels agree to peace talks
The Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday agreed to hold talks with the Sri Lankan government in February, raising hopes that the country may avoid sliding back to war.

The rebels' approval came after Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim met with the reclusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (Int. Herald Tribune)


Tigers pledge not to attack troops
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will not attack government forces provided the military ceases violence against Tamil civilians, the rebels said on Wednesday as they agreed to Swiss peace talks.

The rebels had previously denied involvement in a string of attacks on government forces that has stretched a 2002 truce to its limit and raised fears the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) might resume their fight for a Tamil homeland. (Int. Herald Tribune)


Envoy heads to meet Tigers to save truce
Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim headed for crunch talks with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday, while in the capital small explosions raised fears of a return to conflict.

No-one was injured in the five overnight bombs or grenades in Colombo residential districts, but the sound of blasts and of army vehicles racing through streets reminded some of two decades of war during which Tiger suicide bombers attacked the city. (REUTERS)


Talks to avert Sri Lanka crisis
A Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, has arrived in northern Sri Lanka to hold talks with the leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Mr Solheim is carrying a message from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. (BBC)


UNP politico behind Colombo explosions?
Security sections have received information that the minor explosions that occurred in several areas in the suburbs of Colombo yesterday evening was the handiwork of members of the underworld on the instigation of a UNP politician.

Those who set the bombs had left to their destinations from an office of this relevant UNP politician from Kotte. Security sections believe that the politician may have engineered the explosions to confirm the UNP propaganda that there exists an insecure situation in the country. (LankaTruth)


Solheim will tell rebels Government wants talks
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President Mahinda Rajapakse receives Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim in Colombo.
Norway's peace envoy Erik Solheim will meet Tamil rebel leaders today, bringing a message that Sri Lanka's government wants talks to revive the peace process that is being threatened by an upsurge in violence.

Solheim, who met President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday, will fly to the Killinochchi base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north to meet rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. (Bloomberg)


Several explosions in suburbs of Colombo
Several explosions in Colombo and its suburbs have been reported this evening. No loss of life or damage to property has been reported.

One explosion has occurred in a pile of garbage about Castle Hospital. Another has occurred on the rail road in Nugegoda and this has caused minor damage to a rail sleeper. To facilitate investigations rail transport up to Nugegoda has been temporarily suspended. (LankaTruth)


Two and a half million people to meet for World Unity and Peace
Heads of state, spiritual leaders and participants from the U.S., Russia, Canada, Iraq, India, the Middle East, Africa, China and many other countries will meet Feb. 17–19 in Bangalore, India, for the Art of Living Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations. The three-day international conference for world unity and human values will include what is expected to be the largest group meditation in history.

Leading participants include Indian President A.P.J. Kalamm; the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse; the King of Ghana, Osagyefuo Amoatio Ofori Panin; President of Slovenia, Dr. Janez Drnovšek; President of Mauritius, Anerood Jugnauth; three former Prime Ministers of India; and the Vice Presidents of India, Croatia, South Africa, and Surinam, among others. (Yahoo News/PRWeb)


Peace envoy steps up efforts
President and a top Norwegian peace envoy are meeting today in a desperate attempt to prevent the nation’s slide back into civil war as separatist rebels prepared for a possible return to the battlefield.

The rebels admitted yesterday that they were training ethnic Tamil civilians for combat to bolster their ranks for an eventual return to war against government troops, adding urgency to this week’s shuttle diplomacy by Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim. (Ireland Online)


Killings amid peace bid
Two Tamil civilians, one of them a local journalist, have been killed in eastern Sri Lanka amid fresh attempts to restart peace talks, officials say.

The two men were shot dead in separate attacks by unidentified gunmen in the port town of Trincomalee. (BBC)


Tigers are reprehensible, says U.S. enovy
"The people of this country ought not to have to live for another 15 to 20 years with this reprehensible terrorist group"
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United States Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, speaks to the media in Colombo, Monday, Jan. 23, 2006.
( photo by:Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will never have a relationship with the United States unless they cease violence, a top U.S. official said on Monday, saying they were a "reprehensible terrorist group".

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Tiger attacks on the military were ruining the lives of ordinary people, many of whom fear a two-decade civil war that has already killed over 64,000 people could reignite. (REUTERS)


Mannar blast – a ploy to obstruct Prabha-Solheim meeting?
Talk among political analysts in Colombo is that the mystery explosion that was reported from un-cleared areas in Mannar on the 20th morning was a well calculated ploy by Velupillai Piripaharan to stop his scheduled meeting with Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim.

Mr. Solheim arrived in Sri Lanka with theoretician of wanni tiger organization Anton Balasingham. Aim of his visit to Sri Lanka this time is to meet tiger leader Velupillai Piripaharan and discuss matters regarding preparing grounds for commencement of peace talks between GOSL and the wanni tiger organization. (LankaTruth)


Diplomats try to save unraveling ceasefire
Top U.S. and Norwegian officials are in Sri Lanka as part of a diplomatic offensive to save the country's three-year-old ceasefire from unraveling completely. But even as U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Norwegian peace mediator Erik Solheim were conferring in the Sri Lankan capital, violence was continuing in the country's north.

A landmine killed three Sri Lankan soldiers Monday as they patrolled a highway outside the northeastern city of Batticaloa. Sri Lankan officials again blamed members of the Tamil Tiger guerrilla group. (Voice of America)


Geneva possible peace talks venue
Norwegian peace brokers are likely to suggest the Swiss capital of Geneva as a venue for the resumption of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Meanwhile, government sources said that president Mahinda Rajapakse was even likely to agree to LTTE demands of having talks in Oslo. “It is peace that the government values the most,” a government source said (Adnki)


New attack ahead of last-ditch peace bid, kills three soldiers
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Buddhists offer flowers before a statue of Buddha at a temple in Colombo at the start of a campaign to pray for peace.
( photo by:Sanka Vidanagama)

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed and killed three soldiers in Sri Lanka's restive east on Monday, just as a Norwegian peace broker flew in to begin a last-ditch peace bid to avert a slide back into civil war

The patrol was ambushed with a deadly claymore fragmentation mine a block of plastic explosive which blasts out ball bearings -- the latest in a string of attacks that have killed over 70 armed forces personnel since December. (REUTERS)


Senior U.S. official arrives in Sri Lanka
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U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns
( photo by:B Mathur)

Nicholas Burns, a top U.S. State Department official has arrived in Sri Lanka to push forward the country's peace process, airport officials said Sunday.

The U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs,is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka and he will meet with SriLankan President Mahinda Rajapakse.His visit comes ahead of a crucial visit by Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim who is also the Norwegian special peace envoy on the peace process with the Tamil Tigers. (XinhuaNet)


Solheim due today to revive peace process
Norwegian peace facilitators are likely to suggest the Swiss city of Geneva for the resumption of talks between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a local newspaper said on Sunday.

Norwegian International Development Minister and Special Envoy Erik Solheim, who arrives in Colombo today is expected to sound the LTTE over this proposal, The Sunday Times newspaper said. (Gulfnews)


Sri Lanka offers compromise as Norway moves to save peace bid
Sri Lanka will offer a compromise to end a deadlock in peace moves with Tamil rebels when a Norwegian envoy visits this week, following violence that has claimed 146 lives in two months.

An official said the government is ready to make concessions on a venue for talks when Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim launches his mission Monday to salvage a 2002 ceasefire, in the face of almost daily killings of rebel supporters and troops. (Yahoo News/AFP)


President calls for talks with Tigers
President Mahinda Rajapakse, on Sunday called for immediate talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels to halt spiraling violence threatening Sri Lanka's four-year-old cease-fire and taking this tropical island again toward the brink of war.

But in an interview, Rajapakse also had a warning for anyone who might take his wish for peace as a sign that the government was unable to take on the Tigers. (The Hindu)


Navy, fishermen nervously eye each other
Off Sri Lanka's east coast, navy fast attack boat crews nervously eye local fishermen through heavy machinegun sights, worried they may soon be fighting Tamil Tiger rebels for control of crucial sea-lanes.

The navy says a Black Tiger suicide attack sank one of its patrol vessels earlier in the month, and many fear that if Norwegian peace broker Erik Solheim -- due to arrive Monday -- cannot revive peace talks, war might not be far away. (REUTERS)


Thamilselvan dead or injured?
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( photo by:Jean-Philipe Ksiazek)
Today at about 06:30 a.m. the villagers of the Mannar heard sounds of huge explosion from the un-cleared area of Mannar.

According to our sources, the explosion sound was a bomb attack on Wanni Tiger leaders. Unconfirmed reports say several top leaders of the tiger organization died in the incident and Thamilselvan. Leader of the political win of the LTTE is either died or injured in the attack. (LankaTruth)


US promises aid against Tigers
As the four-year-old ceasefire in Sri Lanka is on the verge of crumbling, the United States has offered to strengthen its military assistance programmes and increase training for government forces if the country's rebel group resumes its separatist war in the northern and eastern provinces.

After meeting with senior officials in Washington last week, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the objective of his trip was to keep Washington abreast of "the current status of the peace talks, where it has got stalled, and the need for it to be resumed as early as possible". (IPS News)


Four killed in fresh fighting
Sri Lankan police today shot dead two suspected Tamil Tiger rebels who tried to attack them even as the guerrillas killed two persons in the island's east, military officials said.

Police opened fire at the two suspected rebels when then tried to lob a grenade at them at Chettikulam, they said. In a separate incident, a homeguard and a civilian were gunned down in Seruwila and the attackers escaped with a gun carried by the trooper. (The Hindu)


Business leaders urge federal solution to end conflict
Sri Lanka’s business leaders asked the government on Saturday to turn the country into a de facto federal state in a bid to end decades of ethnic bloodshed.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the Indian federal system of government should serve as a model for devolution of power in Sri Lanka where Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for an independent state. (Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka's balance of fear
A year ago, there was some hope that the tsunami which wrecked the island would bring the Tamil Tiger rebels and the government closer.

Many thought that the two sides could work together, perhaps through an aid-sharing deal, and try to overcome years of mistrust. (BBC)


War inevitable if no progress: senior rebel
Tamil Tiger rebels will return to war unless progress is made soon in the island's deadlocked peace process, a senior rebel said just days ahead of a visit by Norwegian peace broker Erik Solheim.

Solheim has warned the island not to expect too much from a visit aimed at rebuilding an almost-destroyed 2002 ceasefire. But, like the rebels, government soldiers in the minority Tamil-dominated north and east say they believe war could come in days if he cannot at least get the sides to agree a venue for new talks. (REUTERS)


EU says violence in Sri Lanka is eroding peace process
The EU expressed concern on Friday that violence was eroding chances for peace in Sri Lanka and condemned a recent attack by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on offices of European officials monitoring the country’s shaky peace process.

It said the Jan 13 attack “was a deliberate attempt to undermine the cease-fire agreement” between Tamil Tigers and the government. The attack occurred at the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Batticaloa. In a statement, the EU said “while the people of Sri Lanka want peace,” there remain forces hostile to the cease-fire agreement, which it said must be fully implemented. (Daily Times)


Former defence minister acquitted
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Former Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte waves to his supporters outside the High Court of Colombo January 20 2006. ( photo by: Buddhika Weerasinghe )
Sri Lanka's High Court today acquitted former deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte and his two sons charged with murdering 10 political rivals, but sentenced five of their bodyguards to death.

The three-judge bench found Ratwatte and his two sons Lohan and Chanuka not guilty of killing the 10 men during the December 2001 parliamentary elections in the central district of Kandy. (The Hindu)





All parties for resumption of talks
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Jantha Vimukthi Peramuna’s leader Somawansa Amrasinghe sits next to opposition leader and right-wing party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe at the All Party Congress at the Presidential Secretary in Colombo, January 19, 2006. ( photo by: Buddhika Weerasinghe )
An all-party meeting convened by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday evening unanimously decided that steps should be taken to resume "immediate talks" between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"The parties agreed that there was a need to resume talks immediately and that steps should be taken to that effect," a senior presidential aide told The Hindu.(The Hindu)


Sri Lanka reiterates one-China policy
Sri Lanka said on Thursday it will follow its longstanding ‘one-China’ policy amid moves by Buddhist groups here to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama for a key celebration.

Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the government which came to power in November will continue to recognise only ‘one China’, but local individuals and companies were free to trade with partners in Taiwan. (Daily Times)


Sri Lanka reiterates one-China policy
Sri Lanka said on Thursday it will follow its longstanding ‘one-China’ policy amid moves by Buddhist groups here to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama for a key celebration.

Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the government which came to power in November will continue to recognise only ‘one China’, but local individuals and companies were free to trade with partners in Taiwan. (Daily Times)


Micro-enterprise loan disbursement reaches completion
Just one year after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, CCF-Sri Lanka has completed distribution of micro-enterprise loans in two of the hardest hit districts: Galle and Trincomalee.

"I believe the families are now improving their incomes, said Wimal Liyannarachchi, manager of CCF's micro-enterprise development program in Sri Lanka. "This directly and positively affects the nutritional level of the children and the children's school attendance. It also helps the families repair their homes and purchase essential materials for their daily lives. Most importantly, it helps build up their mental happiness." (Relief Web)


Govt. pins hopes on Norwegian peace mediator
The Sri Lankan government is pinning its hopes on a visit by Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim to end a deadlock with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on renewing peace talks, a government minister said Thursday.

"We are positive that the meeting between Solheim and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran would bring some results to start peace talks soon," Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters. (New Kerala)


Rebels keep up attacks as peace bid looms
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed an army truck with a fragmentation mine in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing four people and injuring more than 20 in a fresh threat to a last-ditch peace effort.

Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim is to hold talks next week with the government and, separately, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in what is seen as the last chance to prevent the resumption of a fratricidal war that has killed more than 64,000 people since 1983. (REUTERS)


Exports fall as agriculture declines
Exports from Sri Lanka fell in November as the island shipped fewer clothes and less agricultural produce including tea, the central bank said Thursday.

Exports dropped 3.5 percent to $500.9 million from a year earlier, when November exports jumped 27 percent, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. Imports slid 0.8 percent to $756.1 million. (Int. Herald Tribune)


Emergency extended
Sri Lankan Parliament today extended further by a month the state of emergency declared five months ago after the assassination of then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, amid protests by Tamil legislators and a lull in violence in the restive regions.

The 225-member Assembly was in session for just five minutes and approved the tough laws without going in for a debate or vote by division, officials said, adding the emergency, imposed shortly after the August 12 killing of Kadirgamar by a suspected Tiger sniper, gives sweeping powers to security forces. (Chennai)


LTTE readying for war against govt.
The time is 7.30 pm. It is an evening with a cup of tea and the television. A group of eager youth affiliated to the LTTE’ media unit sit around waiting for the beginning of the transmission.

Talk ceases as the channel begins airing its programmes for the day. Nearly fifteen minutes is devoted to the “Tamil Eelam’ theme song that is aired daily at the opening of the transmission which lasts for two hours. Vellupillai Prabakaran looms across the screen larger than life. (Dawn)


Raise $100 mln by selling bonds
The Sri Lankan government aims to raise 100 million US dollars by selling three-year bonds to nonresident Sri Lankan next month, local media said Thursday.

The government in its budget for 2006 said that it would sells bonds with maturity period of three to five years to Sri Lankans living abroad and Sri Lankan residents whose earnings are in foreign currencies. (XinhuaNet)


Terrorism should be defeated to take country forward - Wimal Weerawansa
The country has embarked on a new journey after the presidential election and if the political parties don’t act, guided by correct decisions, they would have to take leave of their political existence said Mr. Wimal Weerawansa, Information Secretary of the JVP.

He made these observations at a lecture given under the theme “Challenges before the country after the presidential election!” held in Kandy. (LankaTruth)


Sri Lanka ‘can learn from Irish peace’
Sri Lanka can learn from the Northern Irish peace process as it tries to avoid a return to civil war, a former senior member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has said. Martin McGuinness, now a negotiator in the Sinn Fein political party, was asked by a local pro-peace group to visit Sri Lanka after a string of attacks by suspected Tamil Tiger rebel on government troops raised fears that a 2002 truce might fail.

"Just travelling around the streets here, what do I see on every street I go? I see policemen, soldiers, checkpoints. It just reminds me of what life was like in the north of Ireland over 10 years ago", he told Reuters in an interview in Colombo. (Jang)


More troops to be deployed in Trincomalee
The Sri Lankan military deployed more troops in the strategic port city of Trincomalee on Wednesday, a day after European cease-fire monitors suspended operations there, local residents said.

Trincomalee - 230 kms northeast of the capital, Colombo - serves as a major base of Sri Lankan navy and has been hit by a series of deadly attacks blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels. (Hindustan Times)


SB’s membership in Parliament questioned by Wimal
JVP Parliamentarian Mr Wimal Weerawansa at a meeting of Party Leaders in Parliament today enquired why the Secretary of Parliament has failed to inform the Commissioner of Elections on the vacancy created by the judgement against Mr S B Dissanayake.

Failure to do so has denied the constituents of Nuwara Eliya of their representation in Parliament, he said. (LankaTruth)


2 killed, 12 wounded in bus attack
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a bus carrying Sri Lanka navy personnel Tuesday, wounding 12 sailors and sparking a gunbattle that left at least two civilians dead in the crossfire, the military said.

The assailants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting the bus in Trincomalee, 230 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, military spokesman Brig. Athula Jayawardena said. (Int. Herald Tribune)


Military ambushed as envoys visit rebels
Suspected Tamil Tigers launched several attacks on Sri Lankan troops on Tuesday while Nordic truce monitors said they were suspending operations in the east because of security fears.

The army said one soldier had been killed and thirteen military personnel wounded in two claymore mine attacks in the minority Tamil-dominated north and east, while two civilians died in the crossfire. (REUTERS)


Tamil Tiger rebels will meet Norwegian peace envoys
Sri Lanka's rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will meet Norwegian peace envoys and members of the Scandinavian cease-fire monitoring mission today to discuss increased violence threatening the truce Norway brokered in 2003.

Hans Brattskar, Norway's ambassador to Sri Lanka, and Hagrup Haukland, head of the monitoring mission, will visit Kilinochchi in the rebel-held northern region, the TamilNet Web site said. (Bloomberg)


Annan urges respect for ceasefir
Responding to the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the country’s Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to support the ceasefire and resume talks.

In a statement released by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan also deplored Saturday’s attack on the facilities of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. (Scoop)


Row over Lanka first lady's visit to temple tapers
Thiruvananthapuram: The storm brewing over the visit of the Sri Lankan First Lady Siranthi Rajapakse to the famous Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur appears to have blown over on Monday with the temple authorities clarifying that she was a practising Buddist and an ardent devotee of the Sri Satya Sai Baba.

Initially it was felt that the wife of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was a Christian . (Gulf News)


Military finds mines in north
Sri Lankan Army said on Monday that two deadly claymore mines had been recovered from the northern Jaffna peninsula.

Officials said the two mines each weighing about 10 kg were found at Kodikamam area in Jaffna on the Varani Road. (XinhuaNet)


killings continue, peace envoys awaited
Two men were shot dead in eastern Sri Lanka on Monday in violence ahead of visits by U.S. and Norwegian envoys trying to halt a slide back to civil war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

On Friday, Nordic truce monitors questioned whether the 2002 ceasefire that halted two decades of fighting still held. Later that night, a bomb ripped through one of their vehicles in the first attack on monitors, but no-one was nearby. (REUTERS)


Sri Lanka plans new security force
Sri Lanka plans a new security force in the capital to deal with possible attacks as concern grows for a fragile ceasefire with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

Heavily-armed troops and police have been visible in the city of 650,000 in recent weeks, in line with tighter security following clashes between troops and rebels in the country's northeast, police Deputy Inspector General Pujith Jayasundara said. (Herald Sun)


Tigers condemn bomb attack on truce monitors
Tamil Tiger rebels have condemned a bomb attack against Scandinavian truce monitors as an attempt to wreck an already troubled ceasefire with government forces.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they were "extremely disturbed and concerned" about Saturday's bomb attack in the eastern town of Batticaloa against the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). (Yahoo News/AFP)


United States sends top politico-military official to Sri Lanka
The United States government is sending the third ranking official of its Department of State Under Secretary Nicholas Burns to Sri Lanka for talks with top officials of the Government of Sri Lanka to assess the current deteriorating situation in this Indian Ocean island state.

Ambassador Burns, who is expected to be in Colombo on January 23 and 24, will also meet with Norwegian Special Envoy Erik Solheim and others to discuss the current status of the peace process. (Asian Tribune)


Truce monitors escape attack
Attackers have thrown a grenade into the compound of truce monitors in Sri Lanka's violence-scarred east, damaging vehicles and a building but causing no injuries, officials say.

The attack came early on Saturday just hours after the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) reprimanded both Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatists and the government over a spike in violence. (Aljazeera)


Monitors call for action to prevent war
Scandinavian truce monitors pointed a finger at Tamil Tiger rebels over a wave of mine attacks that has killed dozens of troops and called for urgent action to prevent full-scale war in Sri Lanka.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said it was unable to accept denials from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but also faulted the government for not acting against anti-Tiger paramilitary units. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers seek military upper hand ahead of talks
Tamil Tiger rebels, blamed for a series of deadly attacks on Sri Lankan troops, are battling to gain the upper hand over the military ahead of a new round of peace talks, analysts said Friday.

The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have remained quiet about the string of deadly attacks over the past month which have threatened a three-year-old cease-fire brokered by Norway. (Manila Times)


Britain sending minister to India, Sri Lanka to boost trade
Britain's trade minister has announced that he would lead a delegation of businessmen to India and Sri Lanka next week to boost Britain's bilateral business relationships with the South Asian countries.

Ian Pearson will visit India from January 16-18, and Sri Lanka from January 19-20, it was announced Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Government condemns the killing of Navy sailors.
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A woman carries her child and a placard as she attends a demonstration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, January 12, 2006
(Photo by:Buddhika Weerasinghe)

Sri Lanka Government has condemned the killing of the nine Sri Lanka Navy sailors in a claymore mine attack at Chettikulam yesterday evening. "We totally condemn this attack," government spokesman and Cabinet minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

The Government spokesman pointedly alleged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the latest attack on the Navy sailors.(Asian Tribune)



Strike grips after violence
A strike called by a pro-government group upset over Tamil rebel attacks paralysed Sri Lanka's restive port town of Trincomalee in the island's embattled northeast, police said.

Shops and offices were shut in the town, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of Colombo, and few vehicles were on the roads, police said by telephone on Thursday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka pledges not to start war
Sri Lanka pledged not to start a war with Tamil rebels despite an escalation of violence and expressed hope that peace broker Norway will salvage a truce with the guerrillas.

Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva discounted fears of a return to full-scale war with the deaths of at least 115 people in the past month in attacks blamed mostly on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). (Yahoo News/AFP)


Suspected rebel ambush kills 8 Sri Lankan sailors
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed 8 sailors in a fragmentation mine ambush on a main supply route in the island’s north on Thursday, the Navy said, amid growing fears of a return to civil war.

The strike in army-held territory in the north-central district of Vavuniya comes after a series of similar mine attacks killed 39 military personnel in December. (Khaleej Times)


Leader of Wanni Tigers under house arrest
Army intelligence sources say that political wing leader of the Wanni Tigers organization for Batticaloa Ilanthairayan alias Marshall has been summoned to Kilinochchi and detained under house arrest.

He has thus been put in house arrest on charges of raping women Tiger cadres and other women and misappropriation of money. He has also been ousted from the post of the political wing leader for Batticaloa. (LankTruth)


Tsunami death lie father jailed
A hoaxer has been jailed for wasting police time after claiming he lost a daughter in the Asian tsunami.

After the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, father-of-three Bosson flew out to Sri Lanka where he told British police that he had just identified the body of his 19-year-old daughter Kayleigh Dillon at a makeshift beachside mortuary. (BBC)


Tamils step up pressure on troops to quit
Tamil civilians backed by Tiger rebels stepped up demands for the withdrawal of troops from Sri Lanka's embattled regions, the guerrillas said, after the US warned them against returning to war.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement posted on their website said thousands of minority Tamils staged a rally in the north-eastern district of Trincomalee Tuesday to demand a military pullout. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka exploring buying Chinese weapons
Sri Lanka is considering the purchase of Chinese-made guns for its navy just days after an explosives-laden boat slammed into a patrol craft, killing 13 sailors, a news report said on Wednesday.

The report follows the strongest-ever warning by United States that the Tamil Tiger rebels resist any resumption of their armed struggle for a separate homeland, with Washington suggesting it was prepared to back the Sri Lankan Government in a conflict. (The Hindu)


S.Lanka says foils deadly ambush as war fears
Troops found a boobytrapped claymore fragmentation mine in Sri Lanka's far north and suspected rebels lobbed grenades at army bunkers, the military said on Wednesday, amid mounting fears of a return to civil war.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) accused the army of abducting a Tamil youth from his home in the army-held northern enclave of Jaffna and threatening to shoot his mother, the latest in a litany of reported army abuses the rebels warn could spark war. (REUTERS)


Tsunami-hit train moving to museum
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School children walk pass the wreckage of the tsunami hit train 'Princess of the South' at Peraliya, about 56 miles south of Colombo.
For many villagers here, the sight of a train swept up in the 2004 tsunami disaster is just too painful.

About 1,500 passengers on board were killed when the giant waves swept the southern Sri Lankan coast and enveloped the train's nine cars.And while the community had initially asked that the wreckage be left as a monument to that fatal day, they've since had second thoughts.(Asahi)


Jaffna likely Tiger focus if war comes
If Sri Lanka's two-decade-old civil war flares again, as many fear it will, Tamil Tiger rebels are likely to launch an assault on northern Jaffna as well as hit-and-run guerrilla attacks on supply lines, analysts say.

The Jaffna peninsula is seen by the rebels as the center of a future Tamil homeland, but they have held it only intermittently in the past and it is now under government control, albeit surrounded by Tiger territory. (REUTERS)


Return to war at high cost, US warns Tigers
The United States warned Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels that a return to war would cost them dearly.

US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead, told a meeting of businessmen here on Tuesday that Washington wanted the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to stop its "violent activities" and return to peace talks with Colombo. (REUTERS)


US says no quick free trade deal with Sri Lanka
The United States warned Sri lanka against banking on a quick free trade deal to fix its economic woes and urged the island to restore peace and open its markets.

US ambassador to Sri Lanka Jeffrey Lunstead told a meeting of business leaders here that peace in the ethnically divided island was the key to economic prosperity. (REUTERS)


People suffer as violence rises: monitors
Ordinary people in Sri Lanka's north are suffering and are fleeing their homes as Tamil Tiger rebels and the government blame each other for rising violence, the head of a Western truce monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The government blames the rebels for a string of attacks on its forces including the suspected suicide sinking of a navy patrol boat at the weekend, while the Tigers say the military is abusing civilians and is behind some attacks on rebels. (REUTERS)


President vows tough line on terror as violence rises
President on Monday vowed tough measures to prevent “terror attacks” that undermine an already troubled ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels as officials reported three more deaths in the embattled east.

President Mahinda Rajapakse told diplomats that his government will take “all necessary measures to deter further terror attacks,” his office said in a statement. (Khaleej Times)


Three die in violence
A Sri Lankan soldier and two suspected Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in fighting in the north-east of the country, the military says.

An army spokesman said one soldier died and five were wounded in a rebel ambush late on Sunday near Trincomalee. (BBC)


Suspected rebels kill 1 soldier, wound 3
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed two army patrols in north-eastern Sri Lanka, killing one soldier, the army said on Monday as a search continued at sea for 13 sailors missing after an apparent suicide attack.

One Tiger militant was killed when troops returned fire, the army added. (Swiss Info)


Navy restricts fishing
The Sri Lankan Navy has imposed restrictions on fishermen around key harbours in the north and eastern parts of the country following attacks on the Navy, including a major attack carried out by Tamil rebels off the north eastern port on Saturday.

The restrictions were expanded after the attack which claimed the lives of at least 12 sailors and left one more missing. (Gulf News)


Presidential panel inquiry into Navy chief's deals
President Mahinda Rajapakse will appoint a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate military procurement deals entered into by former Commander of the Navy and now Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Daya Sandagiri.

The move follows revelations in newspapers that Admiral Sandagiri entered into a deal with an Israeli firm to procure 20-year-old guns for the Navy's Fast Attack Craft fleet on the grounds they were "brand new". (Gulf News)


Hit by attacks,army take no chances
Speeding along the rough roads of the Sri Lankan army-held Jaffna peninsula, guarded by armoured vehicles front and back, convoys transporting troops near Tamil rebel-held areas take no chances.

While a 2002 ceasefire is still technically holding, a string of suspected claymore fragmentation mine attacks on patrols and convoys in December -- the deadliest month by far since the truce -- killed 39 military personnel. Most troops patrolling Jaffna say they expect war. (REUTERS)


Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels attack navy vessels
An explosives-rigged fishing boat rammed a Sri Lankan navy patrol early Saturday, killing 13 sailors in a suspected rebel attack, officials said.

One navy boat was destroyed in the explosion off the coast of Trincomalee - the latest in a series of attacks against government troops by suspected rebels, who are campaigning for a homeland for Sri Lanka’s 3.2 million ethnic minority Tamils. A second boat, which was at a distance, escaped the impact of the explosion. (Boston Herald)


Sri Lanka Naval vessel with 15 sailors reported missing
Sri Lanka Navy has encountered yet another blow in the small hours of Saturday, as the Sri lanka Navy’s two patrol craft put out to sea - one is missing with 15 sailors.

According to reports that the Navy’s fast attack naval vessel Dvora with 15 Naval personnel is missing off the coast of Trincomalee. (Asian Tribune)


Diplomatic push as attacks stoke war fears
One person was killed and six were wounded in sporadic attacks in Sri Lanka's troubled eastern region overnight, the military said on Friday, as the government sought U.S. diplomatic help to avoid a slide back into war.

A civilian died and three others were hurt when an unidentified gunman lobbed a grenade and opened fire near rebel-held territory in the eastern district of Batticaloa. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Strike grips after troops accused of killing students
A strike gripped Sri Lanka's restive port town of Trincomalee, a day after the funerals of five students allegedly killed by government forces, residents and officials said.

Residents said shops and offices were shut in Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of Colombo, the capital of the tropical island nation torn by ethnic conflict. Public transport came to a halt, they said on Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Speaker visits Santiniketan
Mr Wjam Lakubandara, the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, today came to Bolpur to visit Santiniketan.

Mr Lakubandara, along with his wife, son and his assistant secretary Mr Neil Iddawala, will visit Visva-Bharati campus in Santiniketan on 6th January. (The Statesman)


Indian killed in Colombo
An Indian national, A. Prasad (alias Durga Prasad) was murdered in a Colombo suburb on Wednesday night.

Mr. Prasad (30) hails from Hyderabad and was working for a private telecommunications firm in Sri Lanka.(The Hindu)


A soldier ambushed ahead of funerals
Suspected Tamil rebels set off a landmine that wounded a soldier in northern Sri Lanka ahead of the funerals of five students allegedly killed in cold blood by the security forces, officials said.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas ambushed the soldier travelling in a tractor in the district of Vavuniya by setting off a Claymore mine, a military spokesman said on Thursday.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers say willing to die, ready for war
Malathy is around five feet tall, joined Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels a decade ago and says the deaths of her comrades have only strengthened her. She is ready to fight again.

Dressed in the distinctive tiger-striped battledress of a movement that fought for two decades for independence until a 2002 truce, the 28-year-old said she and her fellow cadres had hoped the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire would deliver a lasting peace, but it had not.(REUTERS)


Sri Lanka plans to increase rubber production to meet international demand
The Ministry of Plantation Industries has taken numerous steps to overcome the prevailing shortcomings in the rubber industry with the view to augment and improve the rubber export and industry in the country.

The Ministry says a number of issues which delayed the progress of rubber sector, such as low replanting rate, inadequate supply of high yielding varieties, shortage of tappers, declining production of crepe rubber, inadequate extension services, low fertility of rubber lands and low productivity of small holders due to insufficient adaptation of technology.(Asian Tribune)


Probe into killing of students
Defence ministry announced a probe into the killing of five students amid allegations they were shot in cold blood by members of the security forces.

The ministry, which earlier maintained that the victims died when a bomb they carried went off prematurely, said it had decided to go ahead with a "full scale" inquiry after autopsy reports confirmed the five had been shot dead.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka lifts ban on chick imports
Sri Lanka has partially lifted a ban on poultry imports and allowed farmers to bring in one-day old chicks to maintain a steady supply of chicken and eggs, an official said.

"The ban on import of day-old parent chicks has been lifted from this year, from countries free of bird flu like India, France and Britain," the chairman of the All Island Poultry Association, D. D. Wanasinghe, said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Fears grow for Sri Lanka's economy
A series of attacks on Sri Lankan troops by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in December has sparked fears that the island nation's economy, which has been on the mend since a ceasefire in 2002, could be damaged once again.

Gross Domestic Product in 2004 was $20 billion, with per capita income of around $1,000. Despite the December 2004 tsunami and its impact on tourism and fishing, the economy is estimated to have grown at 5.5-6.0 percent in 2005, aided by a boost in the services and construction sectors.(REUTERS)


Asian Personalities of the Year
The best of times, the worst of times -- that Dickensian line seems to aptly describe the person who has made the biggest impact in the Asia News Network's first-ever "Asian Personalities of The Year" rankings.

It was tough trying to determine which Asians deserved this accolade, but ultimately we decided to emphasise Asians who had made the greatest impact on the international arena as our top three ... for better or worse.(Korea Herald)


Erik Solheim unwelcome in Sri Lanka
Government of Norway must come forward to remove immediately Erik Solheim from having any role in the peace process between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, it has been strongly urged.

Sri Lanka Arts Council in Australia was highly critical of Erik Solheim in a letter addressed to Lars A. Wensell, Ambassador of Norway in Australia.(Asian Tribune)


Hundreds detained
Security forces in Sri Lanka say they have detained hundreds of people in a sweep for suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the capital, Colombo.

Some 900 people have been detained in searches in five predominantly Tamil dominated districts, an official said.(BBC)


Sri Lanka scours capital for rebel suicide bombers
Heavily armed police and troops combed the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday hunting Tamil Tiger suicide bombers feared to have infiltrated the city, and detained over 900 people for questioning, officials said.

Troops carrying assault rifles stopped cars at random at junctions across Colombo and conducted house-to-house searches in a joint operation with police also aimed at known criminals and drug dealers.(REUTERS)


India pledges to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in New Delhi.
( photo by: Prakash Singh )

India has pledged its full support for the protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. India says it appreciates the effort taken by the present regime to resort to the peace process while trying to stick to the Cease Fire Agreement.

This has been emphasized by the joint statement of the India and Sri Lanka issued at the end of the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha's Indian tour. India hopes that a political solution with devolution of power in an open and transparent manner would be reached for the resolution of the national question.(LankaTruth)


JVP raps Norway minister over truce comments
The main Marxist backers of Sri Lanka's president have asked him to reconsider the role of a Norwegian minister who urged the government and Tamil Tigers to meet urgently for peace talks.

JVP slammed Norwegian Minister for International Development Erik Solheim over his remarks that Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels should stop a debate over the venue and get on with talks to salvage their truce.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Norway's envoy will visit next month to boost truce
Norway will send its peace envoy to Sri Lanka in January to try to support a 2002 cease-fire that is in danger of collapsing amid increasing violence between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

Erik Solheim, Norway's Minister of International Development, will visit Sri Lanka from Jan. 23-26, according to a statement from the Norwegian government, carried on the TamilNet Web site.(Bloomberg)


President wraps up his India visit
President Mahinda Rajapakse is returning home tomorrow with a brief stop over in Kochi to pay his obeisance at the famous Guruvayoor temple amidst indications that he has relented to let Oslo play host to peace talks next month.

Today, his engagements included meetings with Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party chief, who is also the Chairperson of ruling alliance, and leaders of the mainline communist parties. Several Federal Ministers called on him. He also interacted with Indian business tycoons.(Asian Tribune)


Sri Lanka raises $100m to meet oil import bill
Sri Lanka has raised a 100-million-dollar loan from foreign banks to help pay hefty oil import bills that threaten to blow a hole in the country's balance of payments, the Central Bank said Wednesday.

Petroleum imports have risen 45 per cent to almost 1.4 billion dollars for the 10 months to October due to high oil prices, according to the central bank.(Independent)


Sri Lankan patriots commemorate first tsunami anniversary in Los Angeles
Photo
( photo by: Gamini Edirasinghe )
Despite the rainy weather, a large number of Buddhist monks and people participated at the memorial ceremony held at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles to commemorate the victims of the deadly tsunami that struck Sri Lanka and many other countries on December 26, 2004, exactly a year ago.

The ceremony was organized by the Sri Lankan Patriots and the first part of the ceremony was dedicated to remember the victims of the tsunami. Candles were lighted and flowers were placed at the memorial monument built for the occasion.


War may not be far away: truce monitors
The Norwegian-led truce monitoring mission has demanded an immediate end to the latest wave of bloodshed in Sri Lanka and warned that war "may not be far away".

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said they themselves were under threat and were unable to operate in an insecure environment.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Deadly mines found by troops in northern
Sri Lankan troops on Thursday found deadly claymore mines which have caused the death of 40 soldiers since the beginning of this month.

Defense officials in the capital Colombo said that three claymore mines were found in the northern town of Mannar, 312 km from here at two separate locations.(People's Daily)


Rajapakse, Manmohan agree on revival of peace process
Photo
President Mahinda Rajapakse inspects a guard of honour of Indian troops upon his arrival at The Presidential Palace in New Delhi. ( photo by: Prakash Singh )
Amid fears of collapse of the Sri Lankan peace process, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday agreed on the urgency to begin talks, aimed at shoring up the ceasefire between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan armed forces.

Mr. Rajapakse, visiting India on his first overseas tour since becoming President last month, held talks with Dr. Singh for 40 minutes. At the delegation-level talks that followed, he briefed the Indian side on his assessment of the status of the peace process, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said. "Both sides agreed that peace talks, aimed at strengthening the ceasefire, should begin at the earliest." (The Hindu)


War fears grow as ambush toll rises
Using rings and other belongings, Sri Lankan officials tried to identify the remains of 12 soldiers killed in a mine blast, the latest attack on the military by suspected rebels that has raised fears of a return to civil war.

Tuesday's attack in the island's far north was one of the deadliest incidents since a 2002 ceasefire and the second such attack in less than a week. The mine blast toll rose to 12 after two wounded victims died.(REUTERS)


Lanka seeks India's active role to tame Tamil Tigers
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to hold talks in New Delhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday in a bid to secure New Delhi's increased involvement in the island's troubled peace process.

Rajapaksa arrived in India on Tuesday for a four-day visit, his first foreign trip since taking office after winning the November 17 presidential election.(Hindustan Times)


Norway warns truce could collapse
Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway has urged Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels to immediately resume talks to save a truce facing collapse amid rising violence that claimed over 80 lives this month.

Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim said in a statement that Oslo was "deeply concerned" about the recent wave of violence and warned that the entire peace process was at risk.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Searches for rebels as war clouds loom
Troops searched for Tamil Tiger rebels and claymore mines in military-held areas in Sri Lanka's north and east on Wednesday as the toll from a deadly ambush that raised fears of a return to civil war rose to 12.

Tuesday's attack in the island's far north, which killed 10 soldiers on the spot and claimed the lives overnight of two others, was one of the deadliest incidents since a 2002 cease-fire and the second such attack in less than a week.(Swiss Info)


US concerned by Sri Lanka violence
The United States expressed deep concern over rising ethnic violence in Sri Lanka and called on the government and Tamil separatists to "embrace peace and work together."

"We are deeply concerned about the continued erosion of Sri Lanka's four-year old ceasefire as marked by the recent series of violent incidents," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said in a statement.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Rebel attack kills 11 soldiers
Fuelling fears of a return to civil war, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed 11 soldiers in the island's far north on Tuesday in the second mine attack in less than a week, the military said.

The blast followed a string of guerrilla ambushes on the military and the assassination of a pro-rebel member of parliament at a Christmas mass that are straining a 2002 truce to breaking point.(REUTERS)


President leaves for first official visit to India
President Mahinda Rajapakse has opened a four day official visit to neighbouring India in what has been described a crucial trip for Sri Lanka's peace process in the wake of escalating violence in the north and eastern parts of the country, officials said Tuesday.

President Rajapakse accompanied by six cabinet ministers left Tuesday noon to New Delhi where is due to meet his counterpart Dr. Abdul Kalam, Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. He is also scheduled to travel to Chennai for talks with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram.(Monstersandcritics)


Two killed in raid
Sri Lankan soldiers have shot and killed two suspected Tamil rebels during a cordon and search operation in the island's volatile east, where a pro-rebel parliamentarian was assassinated on Christmas Day.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, a military spokesman said: "When we were clearing an area ... two terrorists tried to attack our troops."(AljazeeraNet)


Monks pray, butchers hang up knives as Sri Lanka honors tsunami victims
Photo
President Mahinda Rajapakse comforts a tsunami survivor during a memorial ceremony on the first anniversary of the tsunami in the Southern village of Peraliya.
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )
Sri Lanka on Monday remembered the Dec. 26 tsunami victims with prayers, flowers, lamps and a two-minute silence as survivors, officials and foreign diplomats gathered in a village that suffered the country's largest loss of life.

Butchers hung up their knives to show respect for life while Buddhist monks prepared to chant through the night on the first anniversary of the disaster that left at least 216,000 dead and missing in a dozen countries. (Independent)




Sri Lanka braces for high-profile funeral, toll hits six
Fresh violence claimed six more lives in Sri Lanka as Tamil Tiger rebels prepared for the funeral of a Tamil legislator gunned down during Christmas Mass.

A police constable was killed when suspected rebels launched a pre-dawn rocket-propelled grenade attack on Puttur police station in the eastern district of Batticaloa, where the lawmaker was murdered on Sunday, police said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka to remember tsunami dead with two-minute silence, vigils
Photo
Sri Lankans plant trees in tsunami-hit Peraliya.
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )
Sri Lanka will pay emotional tribute on Monday to an estimated 31,000 people killed by the Asian tsunami exactly a year ago with a two-minute silence and coast-to-coast candlelight vigils

As officials launch a new initiative to speed up slow-moving reconstruction work, President Mahinda Rajapakse will lead commemorative ceremonies with an address in the southern village of Peraliya. (channelnewsasia)


Foreign exposure backfires on Sri Lanka's 'baby 81'
Sri Lanka's celebrated tsunami survivor, "Baby 81", was reunited with his parents after a highly publicised court drama, but almost a year later the family says the explosion of media attention has backfired on them.

Murugpillai Jeyarajah, 31, a barber from Sri Lanka's eastern coast, says the international publicity generated by the story is proving counter productive and they are being overlooked for aid at home.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Tamil legislator shot dead at Christmas mass
Unidentified gunmen shot dead Tamil legislator Joseph Pararajasingham during a Catholic Christmas mass in Sri Lanka's embattled eastern province, police said.

The 71-year-old rebel-allied MP was shot from behind at close range at St. Michael's church at Batticaloa, 303 kilometres (189 miles) east of the capital, they said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Diplomats rush to save truce as violence spikes
Diplomats from Sri Lanka's key backers headed for emergency talks with Tiger rebels on Saturday amid fears that the country could slip back to war after a day of violence that killed 18 people, officials said.

The diplomats from the quartet known as ‘Co-Chairs’ left for the rebel-held northern town of Kilinochchi, 330 km north of Colombo to meet with the rebel political wing leader S P Thamilselvan, officials said.(Sify)


Co-chairs against appeasing LTTE
The co-chairs of the 2003 Aid Sri Lanka Conference in Tokyo, who represent the international community in the Sri Lankan peace process, have concluded that the current policy of appeasing the LTTE has not worked.

According to informed sources, the co-chairs, comprising US, EU, Norway and Japan, now feel that the LTTE will have to be told in no uncertain terms that unless it stops its violent activities forthwith, punitive action may have to be taken.(Hindustan Times)


Tamil Tiger blast kills 15 Sri Lankan sailors
Suspected Tamil rebels blew up a navy road convoy in Sri Lanka on Friday killing at least 15 sailors and wounding 15 more, a defence ministry official said as the guerrillas warned of more strikes.

“We have recovered the bodies of 15 sailors who were travelling in a bus that was part of the convoy,” a defence ministry official told AFP. “A truck that was providing escort to the bus was also hit.”(Khaleej Times)


Rebels say they killed sailors in clash
Tamil Tigers said on Friday they had killed three sailors during the most serious clash with the navy since a 2002 cease-fire, and they vowed to continue to fire in self-defense.

The navy said on Thursday Tiger cadres attacked two naval craft off the island's north-west coast and returned fire, the latest clash in an escalating round of violence that has stoked fears of a return to two decades of civil war.(REUTERS)


Sea battle ends with rebels, sailors captured
Sri Lanka's navy and Tamil Tigers have fought a sea battle off the island's northwestern coast with 10 people being seized, the navy said.

Tiger rebels attacked two naval boats off the town of Mannar, sparking an exchange of gunfire, navy spokesman Jayantha Perera said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Soldier killed, diplomats push peace talks
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed one Sri Lankan soldier and wounded another in the government-held north, the army said on Wednesday, as prospects for direct peace talks looked increasingly remote.

One soldier was wounded on Wednesday after several shots were fired from behind rebel lines near Jaffna, an army spokesman said, while another was shot dead in a bunker in the town itself.(Khaleej Time)


Rajapakse orders probe into violence in northern Jaffna
President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered the defence authorities to submit a report on Monday's violence in Jaffna, in which at least seven civilians and three soldiers were injured.

Mr. Rajapakse, who is also the Defence Minister, called for the report amidst concern among a section of the northern residents that the violence was a result of the "changed military leadership."(The Hindu)


Rebel allies cause suspension of parliament
Sri Lanka's parliament was suspended briefly on Tuesday after political proxies of the Tamil Tiger rebels staged a protest, shouting slogans and demanding the army pull back troops in the minority Tamil north of the country.

Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan accused the army of opening fire on peaceful crowds in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula on Monday and injuring 15 people as student demonstrators clashed with troops.(REUTERS)


Missing tsunami children still haunt
In the jungles of Sri Lanka's rebel-controlled north, parents almost one year after the tsunami continue to scour Tamil Tiger training camps hoping to find their missing children.

In the tourist-oriented government-controlled south, parents have by and large accepted that their sons and daughters who vanished when the giant waves ravaged the tropical island are not coming back. They will light lamps and pray for their souls on the anniversary of the devastation later this month.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Mediators urge Tigers to end violence
The co-chairs of a group monitoring Sri Lanka's peace process called on Monday on the island's Tamil Tiger rebels to put an immediate end to violence, warning of unspecified serious consequences otherwise.

The meeting between the European Union, Norway, Japan and the United States -- the four co-chairs of a 2003 Tokyo conference on reconstruction and development of Sri Lanka -- came as violence flared in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula.(REUTERS)


Army fires as crowd attacks checkpoints
Sri Lankan troops fired shots on Monday to disperse a crowd attacking checkpoints in the northern city of Jaffna, the army said, while the local hospital said at least one man had been wounded.

Jaffna Teaching Hospital said it had received 14 casualties, including one person with a gunshot wound.(REUTERS)


Tiger rebels reject Asia peace talks offer
Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday rejected a government offer to hold crunch talks in Asia aimed at averting a return to civil war, insisting any meeting should be hosted by peace broker Norway.

New President Mahinda Rajapakse has offered to meet the rebels for immediate talks in any Asian country, but not in Europe. He has also angered the Tigers by rejecting their demand for an ethnic Tamil homeland outright.(khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka's Indian origin Tamil party to form new alliance
A political party representing the Tamil community of Indian origin is to forge a new broader political front, party officials said Saturday.

The senior leaders of the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), a political party cum trade union, have traveled to the Tamil Tiger rebels-held Kilinochchi district in the northern province to have talks with the political leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, the party officials said.(People Daily)


Monitors blame Tigers for chopper attack
Scandinavian ceasefire monitors in Sri Lanka blamed Tamil Tigers for shooting at an unarmed military helicopter earlier this week and said the attack seriously undermined the fragile truce.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) called Wednesday's shooting of a Mi-17 transport helicopter flying over the east of the island a "gross violation" of a ceasefire that went into effect in February 2002.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka in new peace talks bid
The Sri Lankan government has formally invited the Tamil Tigers to restart peace talks and will agree to a rebel demand for them to be held overseas.

The government had previously insisted talks be held in Sri Lanka. Last week, Japan offered to host new talks.(BBC)


President & Leader of Opposition agree to commence peace talks soon
Photo
President Mahinda Rajapakse and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe agreed to commence the peace process in order to solve the National question by a political solution.

The discussion was held as a result of the invitation the President made to the Leader of the Opposition. The President had decided to have discussions with all parties that represent the Parliament regarding the present political situation and the peace process.(LankaTruth)



President begins talks on sustainable peace
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has begun his consultation process leading to achieving lasting peace in the country, the state radio said here Thursday.

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) said that the President had held talks with the main left party, the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, on Wednesday and on Thursday evening when he was due to meet the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP).(XinhuaNet)


Sri Lanka issues its first-ever inflation-linked bond
Sri Lanka has issued its first-ever inflation-linked bond, a move analysts said should spur the government to attempt to keep a lid on the nation's hefty inflation rate.

The government did not disclose the size of the three-year issue placed with two state-run banks but market sources pegged it at two to three billion rupees (20 to 30 million dollars).(Yahoo News/AFP)


President to visit India on December 27
President Mahinda Rajapakse will pay on official visit to India for four days from December 27 during which he will hold discussions with the President, the Prime Minister and other leaders.

Rajapakse's visit to India, the first foreign visit by him after becoming President last month, is being considered an important milestone in India-Sri Lanka relations.(Hindustan Times)


Lanka debates India’s role in peace process
With the hardliner Buddhist monks of the National Heritage party (or JHU) calling for India to play a stronger role in Sri Lanka’s deteriorating peace process, opinions vary on the part that India can play to usher in a stable peace between the government and the LTTE.

Meanwhile LTTE claims that former Tiger commander Karuna, who broke away from the organization last year, was operating from India was completely dismissed by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.(Dawn)


Southern highway to boost economic growth
Government of Sri Lanka has given priority for the fast track of the Rs. 30 Billion Southern Highway which is expected will boost GDP growth to 10 per cent in the South.

The Asian Development Bank and Japan Business Corporation is supporting the ‘Southern Transport Development Project’ estimated at a cost of Rs. 30 billion will reduce drive time to 1 and half hours from the current four hours travel time between Colombo and Matara.(Jang)


Sri Lanka issues cheaper coins to save a packet
Photo
Sri Lankan bank official with freshly-minted coins.
( photo by: Sena Vidanagama )

Sri Lanka launched a new series of lightweight coins with a lower metal content in a bid to reduce minting costs.

The new series in denominations of five, two and one rupee and fifty and twenty five cents were plated brass, nickel and copper compared to traditional coins made with copper and zinc, said Rose Cooray, Assistant Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.(Yahoo News/AFP)



Tiger rebels fire at helicopter
Tamil Tiger rebels damaged a Sri Lankan military helicopter in the first attack on an aircraft since a 2002 truce, the military said on Wednesday, as soldiers in the north searched houses for hidden weapons.

A string of recent attacks on army and police patrols, vehicles and outposts -- including two mine blasts in the northern government enclave of Jaffna that killed 14 soldiers -- has left many fearing a return to war.(REUTERS)


Sri Lanka to hold talks with Norway in Hong Kong to save peace bid
Sri Lanka's foreign minister will meet his Norwegian counterpart this week after Norway imposed conditions on resuming its mediation in the island's ethnic conflict, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will meet Jonas Gahr Store Thursday on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong, a ministry statement said on Wednesday.(yahoo News/AFP)


Don’t use situation in North for political advantage - Maithripala writes to Ranil
Minister Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary of the SLFP has invited Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe to support the peace initiative of President Mahinda Rajapakse without engaging in petit political gambling using the situation created recently by the terrorist acts of the tiger organization.

Writing to the Leader of the Opposition Mr.Sirisena states President Mahinda Rajapakse has decided to commence the peace initiative with a new look for which he had got a mandate.(LankaTruth)


Sri Lanka urges Norway to stop all aid to the Tamil Tigers - New Times, Norway
In its latest report the New Times of Norway has revealed, among other things, that the Government of Sri Lanka has urged Norway to stop all aid to the LTTE and that Anton Balasingham, the LTTE negotiator at the peace talks held in Thailand, also did go to the brothels in Bangkok to look at the :"doll like" Thai prostitutes. His wife, Adele Balasingham an Australian, however, had asked him not to go to brothels again, states New Times.

According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry the Norwegian aid to the LTTE at the same level as last year and to the same causes. By the end of this year the Norwegian support to the LTTE will be around 25 million NOK, an organisation lead by V. Prabhakaran, wanted by Interpol for murder, organized crime and terrorism.(Asian Tribune)


Policemen injured in blast
In continued violence in Sri Lanka's north-east, 20 policemen were injured in a grenade explosion in the Mannar district on Monday night, the army said.

Suspected LTTE cadres threw "two grenades at them when they were attending a routine lecture" in Pesalai. Last week, the Mannar police had recovered explosives from a suspected LTTE woman cadre, who was subsequently whisked away by LTTE cadres from a hospital.(The Hindu)


Govt. is losing international support
The present government has turned away from a united country and changed its stand on Norway complains Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the UNP. As a result the government has lost the support of the international community added Mr. Wickremasinghe.

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe made these observations at a meeting held at ‘Sirikothe’to apprise the district leaders on the programmes adopted by the UNP in the future.(LankaTruth)


Mortars fired at army camp, rebels blamed
Suspected Tamil Tigers fired mortar bombs at an army camp in eastern Sri Lanka, military sources said Tuesday as the rebels said they had not decided whether to attend peace talks offered by Japan.

Tuesday's attack -- which missed the army camp around 20 miles (30 km) outside the eastern town of Batticaloa and caused no casualties -- is the latest in a rash of violence that has sparked fears of a return to a two-decade civil war.(REUTERS)


Rebels may go to Japan, army patrol hit
Tamil Tiger rebels indicated on Monday they would be willing to attend peace talks in Tokyo, as violence again flared in the east of the country.

Two soldiers were wounded in a claymore fragmentation mine attack by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels, the fourth such attack in a week, the military said. The Tigers denied involvement in the blast.(REUTERS)


More blasts amid fresh peace moves
A powerful mine exploded just missing a police patrol after Japan offered to host talks between Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger rebels to save their tottering truce, officials said.

The explosion caused by a claymore mine targeted the patrol in the northern district of Vavuniya, a military spokesman said on Monday.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Three killings reported from northeast
At least three deaths have been reported from the troubled North and East provinces Sunday midst actions taken by President Mahinda Rajapakse to appoint a probe committee to look into the Tamil Tiger attacks and related violence in the northern Jaffna peninsula last week.

Defense officials said here that a policeman was killed in Vavuniya, 256 km north of the capital Colombo when the Tamil Tigers forcibly took away one of their woman members from the hospital in the town.(People's Daily)


Sri Lanka irked over Norway comments on peace bid
Sri Lanka has expressed concern over Norway's remarks that it would only resume the role of peace broker in a three-decade ethnic conflict if both sides agree to a set of conditions, a press report said.

Colombo expressed "concern" over the remarks made last week by Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim, the Sri Lankan Sunday Times said, adding that it would raise the issue with Norway's ambassador.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Japan says wants to host peace talks
Japan is willing to host direct talks between Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tigers to revive a flagging peace process, a Japanese envoy said on Sunday, as suspected rebels launched several attacks across the island.

A string of lethal strikes on troops in the last week has put a 2002 truce under greater strain than ever before. Recent attempts to arrange meetings have failed after the two sides refused to agree a venue -- the Tigers wanting to go abroad and the government wanting to hold it between the two front lines.(REUTERS)


Explosion in office of pro-government Tamil party, wounds four
An explosion in the office of a pro-government Tamil political party in northeastern Sri Lanka wounded four people, the Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said it was not immediately known what caused the explosion Saturday at the office of the Eelam People's Democratic Party in the port town of Trincomalee, but the party has been attacked in the past by Tamil Tiger rebels.(The Star)


Rajapakse for separating roles of facilitator and monitor
President, Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday said that the facilitator for the peace process and the monitor for the ceasefire agreement "cannot be from the same country."

The President's view on separating the twin roles currently played by Norway was reported in the state-run Daily News.(The Hindu)


Rebels warn : Last chance to avert war
Photo
Sri Lankan government soldiers guard next to a Hindu temple during a protest against government military troops in northern Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka December 8, 2005.
( photo by: Stringer )

Sri Lanka's government faces its final opportunity to avert a return to a civil war, the Tamil Tigers have warned, vowing to use all available resources to fight unless given a homeland.

The Tigers, who used suicide bombers to devastating effect in their drive for autonomy and have threatened to resume their struggle next year unless given political powers in the north and east, said their deadline depends on new President Mahinda Rajapakse's response.(REUTERS)


A decision has to be taken about Norway! - The President
President Mahinda Rajapakse points out that both monitoring the ceasefire and facilitating the peace process cannot be done by the same individuals. As such, a decision will have to be taken in the near future about the mediation of Norway said the President when he met Japanese special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi.

Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse said he hoped to continue with the peace process with the participation of a Scandinavian country and the mediation of an Asian country.(Lankatruth)


World's poorest don't want "$100 laptop" -Intel
Potential computer users in the developing world will not want a basic $100 hand-cranked laptop that is due to be rolled out to millions, chip-maker Intel Corp. Chairman Craig Barrett said on Friday.

"Mr Negroponte has called it a $100 laptop -- I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget'," Barrett, chairman of the world's largest chip maker, told a news conference in Sri Lanka. "The problem is that gadgets have not been successful."(REUTERS)


Defense chief says military ready for fight, but won't break cease-fire
Sri Lanka's defense chief said Friday the military is prepared for renewed conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels, but that it won't break a three-year cease-fire

'The armed forces are ready,' Admiral Daya Sandagiri told a news conference flanked by the army chief and heads of the air force and police.(Terra)


Budget fulfils promise to help the poor
Photo
President Mahinda Rajapakse delivers a speech at Parliament complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, December 8, 2005..
( photo by: Stringer )

Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's new president and finance minister, fulfilled his electoral promises with a budget containing fertiliser subsidies and other spending promises that analysts say will strain deteriorating public finances.

Before the budget was announced, Sri Lanka received its first sovereign credit rating as the country prepares for a debut bond issue of about $500m early next year that will partly pay for yesterday's "consumption promises".(Financial Times)


Norway for ‘close talks’ with India
Hours after Sri Lanka’s new President overturned an earlier statement and asked Norway to resume its role as facilitator of peace talks between the government and Tamil rebels, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg arrived in New Delhi to consolidate India’s support before facilitating the initiation of the next round of talks.

Stoltenberg met PM Manmohan Singh on Thursday and will hold another meeting on Friday as well.(Indian Express)


Fitch gives Sri Lanka a global credit rating
Sri Lanka on Thursday received its first international credit rating, paving the way for bond sales to help finance its recovery from two decades of civil war and the tsunami disaster.

Fitch Ratings assigned the nation a BB- rating, three levels lower than investment grade. The junk rating is the same as that of Indonesia and Brazil.(Int. Herald Tribune)


Allies reject peace move
Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks and Marxists, key allies of the new president, have said they oppose his invitation to Norway to resume peace efforts but have pledged to maintain support for him.

The all-monks party of the JHU, or National Heritage Party, and the Marxists said on Thursday they opposed Norway's continued participation in the faltering peace process.(Aljazeera.net)


Raises taxes and spending in populist 2006 budget
Sri Lanka raised taxes for companies and salary earners and pledged to spend more to help farmers in its revised federal budget for 2006 unveiled by the president and finance minister.

The populist budget comes after Mahinda Rajapakse won the November 17 presidential election with the support of Marxist and Buddhist nationalist parties who support his call for a review of the peace process with separatist Tamil rebels."(Yahoo News/AFP)


Annan strongly condemns Sri Lanka violence
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has strongly condemned the wave of violence that has killed 27 people in Sri Lanka since the weekend and urged the opposing sides to uphold a 2003 ceasefire accord.

"The secretary general condemns the recent violence in Jaffna and the northeast of Sri Lanka," a UN statement said addding that Annan "is very concerned about the increasing tensions in the country and appeals to all parties to uphold the 2003 ceasefire agreement."(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lankan forces better equipped now: army chief
Sri Lanka's outgoing army commander, Shantha Kottegoda, on Monday said the armed forces are "better equipped" than they were when the ceasefire agreement was signed between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2002.

He was of the view that the LTTE was "weakened" after last year's rebellion by its former special commander, V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna). The LTTE, he said, currently had a "depleted" number of cadres with "low morale".(The Hindu)


Army chief seeks talks with Tigers amid blasts
Sri Lanka's new army chief took command with a call for talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to defuse tension in the northern town of Jaffna after 14 soldiers were killed in two blasts.

Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka Tuesday said he wanted to re-establish communication links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to prevent attacks against government forces.(Yahoo News/AFP)


The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress slams LTTE for its anti-Muslim agenda
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Sri Lanka's prominent Muslim party, in a press release accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for engineering violence against the Muslims in the East. The party accused LTTE of hurling grenades at people at prayers in a mosque at Akkaraipathu on the day preceding the poll and killing scores of people, killing Mr.Faleel, the Divisional Secretary, Kathankudy, on 4th December killing a Muslim civilian Hajja Mohideen of Thoppur and also Killing three Muslim civilians of Thoppur and dumping their bodies in the neighborhood.

SLMC also claims that these incidents have cumulatively forced a mass scale exodus of Muslim civilians seeking protection to safer places.(Asian tribune)


Lankan peace process on life support, says US expert
Teresita Schaffer, a leading US expert on Sri Lanka and a former US Ambassador in Colombo, says that the Sri Lankan peace process is on "life support" and "cannot be revived".

"The peace process that began with such hope in early 2002 cannot be revived. Sri Lanka needs to re-invent both the ceasefire and the peace dialogue," she wrote in the December 1 issue of the South Asia Monitor, the journal of the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).(Hindustan Times)


I will cut your throat if you visit Wanni – Tamilchelavan
According to our sources there had been a serious political argument between chief of the LTTE’s Political division, Tamilchelvam and the LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham. According to political analysis this argument raised between Wanni and London.

Balasingham’s hero’s day speech which delivered on last Sunday was the reason for the argument, our sources say. In the speech Balasingham said to LTTE supporters in London that during the peace talks held in Bangkok, between the LTTE and the GOSL in 2002, only he and G L Peris were talking peace. The other delegation had visited red light district in Bangkok, which is popular for sex industry.(LankaTruth)


Coast Guard on alert following rising tension
The Coast Guard and coastal police have been put on high alert here following the latest outbreak of violence between the LTTE and security forces in Sri Lanka.

The Coast Guard and Coastal police had been asked to monitor the coast to prevent smuggling activities as intelligence reports revealed that LTTE could start stockpiling medicines, petroleum products etc before launching a major offensive against the Sri Lankan army, police said.(The Hindu)


Mine blast rocks truce, monitors urge calm
Photo
Troops scan a road in north central Sri Lanka for land minesew protest from many leaders around the world including USA. ( photo by: sena Vidanagama )
Six soldiers have been killed in a landmine blast in northern Sri Lanka, the military said amid an upsurge in violence that prompted Scandanavian truce monitors to warn of "irreparable" damage to the country's four-year-old ceasefire.

The six men were killed and another injured Sunday when their vehicle triggered a mine planted by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Colombo, an official said.(Yahoo News/AFP


At least six soldiers killed in blast
At least six soldiers have been killed in a powerful landmine blast in northern Sri Lanka, a military official says.

The soldiers were onboard a tractor trailer when it was hit by a landmine in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, 400 kilometres north of the capital Colombo, the military official says.(Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Ex-president's big budget irks
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has questioned the "excessively high" budget of the former president amid allegations state funds had been misappropriated just before her retirement.

Chief Justice Sarath Silva asked the attorney general why Chandrika Kumaratunga had a budget higher than the 290,000 dollars allocated for running the supreme court which has 10 judges.(Yahoo News/AFP)


New general to lead army
New president appointed a battle-hardened commander to lead the military on Friday, just days after Tamil rebels threatened to resume a violent separatist campaign if their demands are not met.

Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka will take charge of the 120,000-strong armed forces on Tuesday, said military spokesman Brig. Nalin Witharanagee.(Seattlepi)


India for continued ceasefire in Sri Lanka
India favours the maintenance of the ceasefire in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during a 35-minute meeting on Thursday evening.

Sri Lanka and India also agreed that they needed to conclude, as early as possible, a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which has been under discussion between the two countries for some time now.(The Hindu)


Rebel UNP MP's want Ranil to resign
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The majority of United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians gave an ultimatum to their leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign Tuesday December 6.

The rebel group led by Rukman Senanayaka told Wickremesinghe’s representative, Malik Samarawickreme at a meeting of the parliamentarians held at party headquarters at Siri Kotha in Kotte that if he failed to resign, the group would act as an independent group without the leader.


Sri Lanka rejects Tiger deadline for peace deal
Sri Lanka dismissed a Tamil rebel ultimatum for a political settlement and said no deadline could be imposed to resolve the ethnic conflict that has dragged on for over 50 years.

Constitutional affairs minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said: "We don't get excited by these deadlines," set by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the government to come up with a reasonable settlement. Colombo.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Top European truce-monitor, Tamil Tiger rebels discuss faltering ceasefire
The head of a European truce-monitoring team met with a top Tamil Tiger leader Thursday to discuss the proper implementation of a faltering ceasefire with Sri Lanka's government.

Hagrup Haukland met with S.P. Thamilselvan, chief of the separatist rebels' political wing, in Kilinochchi, a northern rebel-held town 275 kilometres north of the capital. Colombo.(Cnews)


Federalism within a United Sri Lanka is the solution to the ethnic problem - V. Anandasangaree
V. Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front has urged the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to come forward to settle the ethnic problem with the federal set-up following the Indian pattern, within a United Sri Lanka as a solution to the ethnic problem.

The TULF leader has pointed out that 49% of the voters who voted for Ranil Wickremasinghe in the last Presidential election have approved federalism as the solution to the ethnic problem confronting the country.(Asian Tribune)


International campaign on women rights global consultation meeting in Sri Lanka
Nearly 200 activists from approximately 70 countries worldwide gathered yesterday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to begin an historic global gathering of women human rights defenders.

The consultation meeting, attended by the First Lady of Sri Lanka, Shiranthi Rajapakse, is addressing experiences of women who defend a range of human rights issues, as well as women and men around the globe who defend the human rights of women.(Amnesty International)


Fernandopulle to rebel against Chandrika's entry to parliament
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Powerful cabinet Minister and close ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that they would not allow former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to enter parliament as an appointed Member.

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Minister of Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs, Consumer Development and Highways said the Former President’s entry to the parliament should be prevented since it would destroy the unity of the governing UPFA, a coalition of many parties.


India worried over Sri Lanka developments
India will have crucial talks with Sri Lanka's new foreign minister and Western nations amid worries that the growing belligerence in that country could lead to more bloodletting

India's envoy to Colombo, Nirupama Rao, is here for consultations with the government in the wake of the regime change in Colombo where Mahinda Rajapakse, widely seen as a Sinhala-Buddhist hardliner, has taken power as president.(Manorama Online)


Civil war could reverse tsunami recovery: Clinton
The visiting UN envoy for tsunami recovery, Bill Clinton, warned Sri Lanka on Tuesday that a return to civil war in the island could undo efforts to rebuild after last year’s devastating tsunami.

“Any recovery progress achieved this year will be quickly reversed if Sri Lanka returns to civil conflict,” the former US president said.(Khaleej Times)


Fernandopulle says Anura supported UNP
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Powerful Minister in the new government, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said in an interview that his cabinet colleague Anura Bandaranaike, who was sworn in as the Minister of Tourism, was actually supporting the opposition United National Party at the Presidential election against President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In an interview with the popular weekend newspaper “The Divaina Irida Sangrahaya” Fernandopulle said that Anura Bandaranaike was negotiating to re-join the opposition United National Party in the house of Pradeep Amirthanayagam, before the Presidential election.


Clinton in Sri Lanka for tsunami recovery tour
The United Nations special envoy for tsunami recovery, former US president Bill Clinton, arrived in Sri Lanka to inspect reconstruction efforts in the island nation, UN officials said.

Clinton was expected to travel to the island's northeastern town of Kinniya on Wednesday to meet with a local community affected by the December 26 disaster, the officials said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka head offers peace talks
Sri Lanka's new president has invited the Tamil Tigers to resume peace talks, a day after the rebels issued an ultimatum for a political settlement.

President Mahinda Rajapakse said he was ready for talks immediately to improve the two sides' 2002 ceasefire.(BBC)


`Col.' Karuna for Indian mediation
The leader of the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna) on Sunday said his group would welcome "only the mediation" of India and the U.K., as "only these two countries understand our problems very well."

In his "Heroes' Day" speech, the former LTTE special commander for two eastern districts said: "In particular, India is the country which should come forward to settle our problem."(The Hindu)


Party elders ask Ranil to resign
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Opposition United National Party Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya and senior parliamentarian Rukman Senanayaka deputized other parliamentarians and requested their leader to resign from the party leadership.

United National Party stalwarts Karu Jayasuriya and Rukman Senanayaka told party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the parliamentary complex , Friday, that if he did not resign from the leadership the party was facing an imminent danger of a break up.


Rebels warn may intensify struggle
Tamil Tiger rebels warned the government on Sunday they would intensify their independence fight unless given acceptable political power, in a speech analysts said was diplomatic but also threatening.

Rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran said the Tigers would wait to see how perceived hardline new President Mahinda Rajapakse would approach the island's stalled peace process.(REUTERS)


“JVP does not accept any Ministerial portfolios” – JVP Leader
Photo
JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe
“In supporting President Mahinda Rajapakse to implement his ‘Mahinda Chintana’ the JVP does not need any Ministerial portfolios or any other position” said its leader Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe.

He made this statement in Colombo at the first media briefing held after the Presidential elections. Mr Amarasinghe added that their topmost challenge and the objective was to save the country from the reactionary forces and said that the people of this country have achieved that great victory.(LankaTruth)


Government ally to stay out
The main left party the JVP or the People's Front, an ally of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, said Thursday that they would stay out of the government at least for the near future.

Somawansa Amerasinghe, the party leader, told reporters that his party would wait along the side lines, giving Rajapakse time to implement the conditions in the pact entered between President and the JVP in the run up to the Nov. 17 election.(XinhuaNet)


Tamil Tigers in tsunami funds row
sri Lanka warned the Howard Government that charity donations given by Australians after the tsunami may have been used to fund terrorist group the Tamil Tigers.

The warning came ahead of police raids in Melbourne this week on a group suspected of raising funds to support the Tigers, who are waging a bloody war to create a separate homeland in Sri Lanka.(The Australian)


Tsunami survivors learn to live with elephant neighbors
They survived last year's Indian Ocean tsunami, but the residents of one of Sri Lanka's resettlement communities are facing a new problem: elephants.

A new housing project outside one southern town has been built in elephant territory and the two sets of neighbors must now learn to co-exist.(Voive of America)


Minister resigns amid row over leaving Marxists out
A Sri Lankan minister resigned shortly after he was sworn in today, saying he was unhappy that coalition partners had been snubbed in the new cabinet line-up and he was given a low-level portfolio.

Sripathy Sooriyarachchi, who was made Minister of Employment, said he quit because the non-cabinet rank job he was given was beneath his qualifications as a lawyer.(Outlook India)


Anura pardoned by President
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
President Mahinda Rajapaksa showed Buddhist compassion and said “Let bygones be bygones,” when he offered estranged colleague Anura Bandaranaike the sole portfolio of Tourism when the new ministers of his cabinet were sworn in at the President’s House, Wednesday.

Anura Bandaranaike was estranged by his repeated statements embarrassing Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidential campaign that helped Mahinda’s rival Ranil Wickremesinghe.


New terror raids target Tamils
Police launched new anti-terror raids across Melbourne yesterday investigating a group suspected of giving assistance to overseas terrorist organisation the Tamil Tigers.

No arrests were made but police hope the early-morning raids on several houses will be a breakthrough in a case that has been under investigation by the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police for months.(The Australian)


Floods kill 6
Floods triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka have killed six people and damaged thousands of homes, affecting many still in shelters after last year's tsunami, the government said on Wednesday.

Some 2,000 homes were destroyed and at least 63,000 people affected, a broad term covering those who had suffered damage to their homes, businesses or any other property.(REUTERS)


LTTE chops hand of voter
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The state owned independent television network (ITN) and the independently owned Island news paper of Colombo have reported that a terrorist group has chopped the hand of a voter for voting at the just concluded Presidential election of Sri Lanka.

The sole voter at the Kilinochchi polling station in the Tamil dominated North the voter defied the order of the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to boycott the elections.


Tsunami survivors forced from homes
Tsunami survivors were among some 20,000 people forced from homes and makeshift shelters across Sri Lanka on Tuesday after heavy rains triggered severe flooding, officials said.

The rains badly affected eastern and northern provinces, where hundreds of thousands of coastal residents are still living in wooden shacks and concrete shelters almost a year after their homes were swept away by the tsunami.(swiss Info)


President to keep finance, defense
Sri Lanka's new president, Mahinda Rajapakse, will keep the finance and defense portfolios for himself when he unveils his cabinet later on Tuesday, his media secretary told Reuters.

Rajapakse, the island's former prime minister, has previously held the labor, fisheries and highways portfolios in cabinet, but has never held the post of Finance Minister.(REUTERS)


Anura overlooked: Rathnasiri Premier
Photo
Anura Bandaranaike looks on during the prime minister's swearing ceremony at President House in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 21, 2005.
( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )

by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo
United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to tender his resignation on November 22. Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka took oaths as the new Prime Minister of the cabinet of President Mahinda Rajapaksa November 21, Monday.

The 18th Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka Mr. Wickramanayaka held the same position in the former cabinet of the outgoing President Chandrika Kumaratunga.


Ranil to resign;
Karu and Rukman to the helm

Photo

by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo
United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to tender his resignation on November 22.

Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya is expected to become the leader while the late Dudley Senanayaka's nephew and the late Prime Minister D.S.Senanayaka's grandson Rukman Senanayaka is expected to become the deputy leader of the party.


Mahinda ready for direct talks with Tigers
Photo
Sri Lanka's newly elected President Mahinda Rajapakse (right) hands over his affirmation of office to Chief Justice Sarath Silva in Colombo on Saturday ( photo by: Sena Vidanagama )
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The newly sworn in President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he was ready to start negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who on their own accord left the peace talks.

He said, "On this occassion I would like to reiterate my desire to engage in direct talks with the LTTE. We would revise and update the existing ceasefire to overcome its defects. I appeal to India and other friendly nations as well as to the International community who love our small island nation to assist us in reaching an honorable peace in our country.".


"Daughter of destiny" brings down curtain on dynasty
Photo
President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, has relinquished her office, ending 11 years in power and bringing down the curtain on the Bandaranaikes dynasty.
Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga has relinquished her office, ending 11 turbulent years in power and bringing down the curtain on the Bandaranaike dynasty.

She came to power in 1994 promising to abolish the all-powerful presidency but in the end fought and lost a legal battle to cling to the office for a further year.
The daughter of two prime ministers, her mother Sirima Bandaranaike was the world's first woman prime minister -- Kumaratunga grew up living and breathing politics.(Yahoo News/AFP)


New president rejects budget
Sri Lanka’s new President Mahinda Rajapakse announced on Saturday he would ditch the national budget for 2006 now before parliament after it was presented by his predecessor two weeks ago.

Soon after being sworn in as the fifth executive head of state, Rajapakse said he would also have a brand new cabinet and unveil a new budget that will incorporate election promises in his manifesto.(Khaleej Times)


Election victor awaits swearing-in
Sri Lanka increased security on Saturday ahead of the swearing-in of the country's new president, Mahinda Rajapakse, with observers keen to see what stance the perceived hardliner would take with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Rajapakse beat main opposition party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe by a slim margin, owing his victory in part to an apparent Tiger boycott that helped keep away over half a million voters in the north and east -- voters who had been expected to back the opposition United National Party.(Swiss Info)


Mahinda the New President elect of Sri Lanka– Officially announced
Photo
Mahinda Rajapakse also celeberated his 6oth birthday is seen feeding a piece of birthday cake to his wife Shirani.
Mahinda Rajapakse, “the new President elect” – it was officially announced Dayananda Disanayake, Election Commissioner, on Friday at 1:30 p.m Sri Lanka time, at the Election Department, located in Rajagiriya.

According to the official figures released, out of a total of 13, 327,160 eligible voters, 9,826,908 voters had cast their votes .Mahinda Rajapkse polled 4,887,152 against Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 4,706,366.(Asian Tribune)


Opposition demands fresh poll in Tamil areas
The opposition United National Party (UNP) demanded fresh voting in the island's north where Tamil Tiger rebels reportedly enforced a mass boycott of the presidential election.

The UNP, whose candidate lost narrowly to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, said it wants a re-poll in Tamil-dominated Jaffna where the voter turnout was less than 0.01 pct.(Fobers )


Mahinda wins: Ranil to resign
Photo
( photo by: Stringer/REUTERS )
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The Presidential Election Campaign office of the UPFA candidate announced that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has been duly elected as Sri Lanka's fifth executive President.

As the final results were pouring in it has been projected that Mr. Rajapaksa would receive 150,000 majority votes over his United National Front candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe.


Lowest poll in Jaffna due to intimidation
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Election Commissioner Dayananda Dishanayaka speaking over the state owned television Rupavahini said that the lowest ever number of votes at any election were cast in Jaffna District, this time, for the Presidential Election .

The Chief Elections officer in Jaffna K. Ganesh said only 1.4 % of the all registered votes were cast in Jaffna District .


Mahinda is leading; UNP stunned by LTTE withdrawal
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
While many election observers indicated that there was a remarkable lead by Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa over his rival Ranil Wickremesinghe in numerous opinion polls, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign manager Minister Mangala Samaraeera said the candidate could poll 57 % of all the votes cast.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his confidence of a clear victory over Wickremesinghe and his campaign headquarters at the Temple Trees said his majority this time could be better than any winner of the office since the Presidential system was installed in 1978 doing away with the Westminster style Parliamentary system of government.


Presidential poll ends; voter turnout reaches 75%
Sri Lankan election officials reported a 75 percent voter turnout across the island, though few voted in areas held by Tamil separatists, who have said people shouldn't bother participating in the presidential polls.

Some polling stations in the Tamil-majority districts of Batticaloa, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Vavuniya reported a turnout of less than 2 percent, independent election monitoring officials said.(Bloomberg )


Vimal demands millions as damages from pro-UNP TV's
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
In three seperate letters of demand the leader of the parliamentary group of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Wimal Weerawansa said three different privately owned television channels should pay him Rupees one hundred million each for purposely distorting a statement in order to support the United National Front candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential election.

Attorney at Law Anura Jayasinghe sent the three letters of demand to Teleshan Network Private Ltd., a TV channel owned by Ranil Wickremesinghe's brother Shan Wickremesinghe, Swarnavahini channel owned by Soma Edirisinghe, and Sirasa channel owned by Maharaja Organization.


Background to the current presidential election
The number 13 figures prominently in this presidential election. There are 13 candidates competing to win the hearts and minds of 13 million voters. This is also Ranil Wickremesinghe's 13th attempt to win power. 56-year-old Wickremasinghe, the leader of the opposition, has lost 12 times before. Some of his closest allies in the UNP have been pessimistic about his winning this time too. Whether 13 is going to be his lucky number or not will be known today.

His main rival is Mahinda Rajapakse who will be 60 in two day’s time. Prime Minister Rajapakse hopes to combine his birthday celebrations with a victory celebration if he wins today. This is his first presidential election.(Asian Tribune )


Rural voters focus on fertilizer and peace
For some, the key issue in Sri Lanka's presidential poll is how to permanently end civil war. For others, it is the economy.

But for many in the country's agricultural heartland, it all comes down to fertiliser.(Tehran Times )


Gomis attacked for statement by Christians
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The Christian Workers Fellowship charged that Archbishop Oswald Gomis is raising fears about democratic political parties while maintaining a deafening silence about murderous violators of the ceasefire and their sponsors and allies.

The Christian Workers Fellowship in a statement attacked Archbishop Oswald Gomis for issuing a pre-election message to Christians raising fears about JVP and JHU, two parties who are working within a democratic framework and allied to Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa while maintaining a deafening silence about the Tamil Tigers who violate the ceasefire agreement by killings with impunity and forcibly recruit children for war and their sponsors and allies.


Five killed in violence
AT least five people, including two police, were killed overnight in Sri Lanka despite a nationwide security alert on the eve of presidential elections, officials said.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead two constables in separate incidents in the eastern province where police also found a landmine near a polling station, a police official said.(The Australian.)


Karuna asks Tamils to vote for Rajapaksa
Photo
The breakaway LTTE leader Col Karuna
The breakaway LTTE leader Col Karuna has asked the Tamils of the North East to vote for Mahinda Rajapaksa, candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in the Presidential election of November 17.

In an interview to the London-based Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and published by the Asian Tribune web journal on Monday, Karuna said that he appreciated Rajapaksa's statement that the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the LTTE would be renegotiated and that he would consult all political parties on the peace process.(Hindustan Times)


Presidential poll final result to come out next morning
The final result of the Nov. 17 Presidential Election of Sri Lanka will be announced on Friday morning, Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake was quoted Tuesday by Daily News as saying.

"If everything goes well without any incidents we will be able to release the final result by next morning," Dissanayake said.(People's Daily)


Ready for presidential poll
Sri Lanka's Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said here Monday that all arrangements for the Nov. 17 presidential poll has been finalized.

The campaigning by all 13 candidates for the poll will close midnight on Monday and Dissanayake said that radio and television campaigns too must come to an end.(XinhuaNet)


Security tightened as campaigning wraps up
Police increased security in Sri Lanka on Monday, the final day of campaigning for a Nov. 17 presidential election, after the bodyguard of a Tamil minister opposed to Tamil Tigers was shot dead.

Additional security patrols were on standby in Colombo where main presidential candidates Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe were due to give their final campaign speeches from bullet-proof glass booths.(REUTERS)


Clarke awarded Sri Lanka's highest honour
British science fiction guru, Arthur C. Clarke, who had made Sri Lanka his adopted home, has been awarded the island's highest national honour.

Clarke, who turns 88 in December, has been honoured with "Sri Lankabhimanya," and the investiture ceremony will take place Monday, the local Sunday Times said.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Key presidential aspirants getting ready for final assault
With the election campaign coming to an end by midnight tomorrow, the key presidential aspirants of the November 17 poll are getting ready for the final assault to wind up their month-long campaign on a high note.

While ruling party candidate, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse will address the final election rally at Campbell Part at Borella, former Prime Minister and main Opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe, is scheduled to finish off his campaign at Maradana, both located in the heart of Colombo city.(Web India 123)


U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka succumbs to LTTE and its proxy pressure
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, in its protracted war since 1983 on three fronts, military, diplomatic and psychological, has been emphasizing, nationally and internationally, that Sri Lanka is run by a ‘Sinhalese dominated government’. The Tiger outfit’s warfare on diplomatic and psychological fronts partly carried previously by prominent Tamil lawmakers and now totally by its proxy, Tamil National Alliance, has won the hearts of American Foreign Service officers who represent the United States Department of State in Sri Lanka.

The LTTE phraseology ‘Sinhalese dominated government’ has now crept into official public documents, prepared by the United States embassy in Sri Lanka, and released in Washington by the Department of State.(Asian Tribune)


President arrives in heavily secured Dhaka
The South Asian Leaders Summit begins here at Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh later today Saturday 12 th November. The Srilankan Airlines' special flight brought President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her delegation and it touched down at the Zia International Airport in the early hours this morning.

The President was escorted by the Sri Lanka's High Commissioner Gamini Munasinghe and the Chief of Protocol from the aircraft to the red carpet area where she was received by the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan. The Sri Lankan leader was then accorded a guard of honour by a Bangladeshi Army unit.(Asian Tribune)


Ranil has no approval for federalism from UNP
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Although the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is making a major policy change in the party to accept a federal system of government in place of the current unitary system of government it has not been put through the general membership of the party at an annual conference for approval.

United National Party’s former policy of a unitary system of government is clearly stated in the 1978 constitution of the country mainly authored according to the party policy formulated by the leader of the party and the late President J. R. Jayewardene.


Ranil seeking a mandate for federalism
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
United National Front leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is seeking a clear mandate from the Sinhala and Muslim voters to adopt a federal system of government doing away with Sri Lanka’s unitary constitution in the forthcoming presidential election.

While not mentioning the term ‘federal’ in his public election speeches in Sinhala he talks about sharing the power with regions and vigorously argues that it would under no circumstances lead to separation of the regions, namely the North and the East.


Indian origin Tamils back Ranil
Indian Origin Tamils (IOT), mostly small traders and tea garden workers living in the Ratnapura and Badulla districts of South Central Sri Lanka, are fully backing Ranil Wickremesinghe.

This support is critical for Wickremesinghe because, as compared to his rival, Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), he is weak among the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community.(Hindustan Times)


US to fund election monitoring
The United States is to fund two private election monitoring outfits in Sri Lanka in a bid to ensure that next week's presidential vote is free and fair, the US embassy said.

The two organizations have been appointed to 'monitor and report on the 2005 presidential election and to help ensure a free and fair poll on November 17,' it said in a statemen.(Forbes)


Sri Lanka scraps plan for free incoming calls on mobiles
Photo
A street cleaner uses a mobile phone in Colombo, 10 November 2005, a day after plans to allow free incoming calls on mobile telephones was abandoned
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )
Sri Lanka has abandoned plans to allow free incoming calls on mobile telephones, shifting away from the liberal communications system neighbouring countries have adopted to spur growth.

Sri Lanka's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) said it decided to scrap altogether the "Call Party Pays" system which was due to be implemented from March last year but then suddenly put on hold when parliamentary elections were called.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Tamils shun poll, may hurt ex-PM's chances
Tamil politicians allied to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers vowed on Thursday to remain neutral in the island's upcoming presidential poll, a move analysts said could hurt the chances of main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a coalition of minority Tamil parties, had been expected to endorse Wickremesinghe at a Nov. 17 election because he is less hardline than rival candidate Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse.(REUTERS)


Sri Lanka banks on 6.5 billion dollar foreign aid to lift economy
Sri Lanka is banking on 6.5 billion dollars in foreign aid to revive its tsunami-battered economy, finance ministry officials said a day after the government unveiled a deficit budget.

The island was expecting the huge inflow of foreign financial assistance in the next three years to help maintain an average growth rate of six to eight percent, ministry officials said on Wednesday.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Peace official resigns
Sri Lanka's top official handling the peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels has resigned.

Jayanatha Dhanapala said his decision would allow a new president to appoint his own official but gave no other details for his resignation.(BBC)


Sri Lanka raise sin taxes, unveils deficit budget
Photo
Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama Tuesday unveiled the 2006 budget granting salary increases to public servants
(Photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

Sri Lanka has announced higher taxes on gambling, smoking and liquor but slashed other levies in a budget speech boycotted by the opposition which dubbed it a ploy to bribe voters before a key election.

Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama Tuesday unveiled the 2006 budget granting salary increases to public servants and duty-free cars to professionals who earn foreign exchange.(Yahoo News/AFP)


UNP media henchmen put forward as party organizers
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Free media advocates in Colombo complained that the selection of an unprecedented number of individuals engaged in the news industry both in the electronic and print media in Sri Lanka as UNF electoral organizers sadly demonstrated UNF Presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe’s notorious attempts to plant his henchmen in the media to control it.

Under well known restrictions in the newspaper by pro-Ranil Wickremesinghe factions the Island newspaper published a list of young media personalities who used their news jobs as spring boards to jump into the political arena under the guidance of Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose father once successfully used the Lake House group of newspapers to break a left leaning government.


Set for tax cuts
Sri Lanka is set to offer generous tax cuts in the annual budget Tuesday despite a sharp 23 percent increase in defence spending, official sources said.

Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama told reporters here Monday that he will go ahead with presenting the budget despite protests from the opposition that it amounted to an undue advantage to the ruling party ahead of the November 17 vote.(Independent)


Mahinda accepts a challenge
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa accepted the challenge thrown by Ranil Wickremesinghe to face him in a debate.

But he said he was not ready for debate in a cool room but one before the people irrespective of the place where it would be held.. Let it be at Bulathsinhala, Dedigam, Galle Face green in Colombo, Biyagama or at Batalanda itself on a public platform, Mahinda Rajapaksa said.


UNP might not receive all Tamil votes
by Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s election campaign fears that the ongoing clash between Wanni and Karuna factions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) would not enable the Wanni faction to deliver the desired amount of Tamil votes from Tamil areas for the victory of the United National Front leader at the forthcoming Presidential elections.

Ranil’s main election opponent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing an election rally at Bulathsinhala said that the whole country knew Ranil Wickremesinghe had a secret pact with Prabhakaran and he was extremely careful not to utter a word about it.


Candidate offers cows if elected
A wealthy Sri Lankan presidential candidate said he will use his personal fortune to buy a cow for every home if he is elected.

"Every Sri Lankan home will be gifted with a high milk-yielding cow from (the Indian state of) Kerala which could be expected to yield 10 liters (2.5 gallons) to 16 liters (four gallons) of milk every day," Victor Hettigoda was quoted as saying by The Island newspaper on Friday.(Seattle PI)


First day of postal voting ends peacefully
Ahead of the November 17 Presidential elections in Sri Lanka, public servants and security personnel cast their postal ballots today on the first day of the two-day exercise without any hiccups, officials said.

Some 323,000 public servants and security personnel deployed for conducting the election were entitled to cast their vote today and tomorrow. The first day of the exercise ended without any hiccups, the officials said.(The Hindu)


LTTE neutral as Tamils may tip scales in Sri Lanka presidential vote
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have decided to remain neutral in the presidential election this month, a pro-rebel website reported as minority Tamil voters emerged as potential king-makers

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will not pressure minority Tamils to take part in or to boycott the November 17 election, C. Ilamparithi, a leader of the LTTE based in the northern city of Jaffna, said on the Tamilnet website.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Terror fundraising hits $180M
Canada's anti-money laundering agency detected a staggering $180-million in suspected terrorist financing in the country last year, says a report released yesterday.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) said in its annual report it had uncovered 32 cases of "suspected terrorist financing and other threats to the security of Canada.(National Post)


S Lanka suspends all poultry imports on flu fears
Sri Lanka said on Saturday it has temporarily halted all poultry imports after bird flu outbreaks in eastern Europe and parts of Asia and as the island's migratory bird season gets underway.

"The world situation is changing every day, so we have decided to temporarily restrict all poultry imports," S K R Amarasekara, director-general of the animal production and health department at the island's Livestock Ministry, told Reuters.(Hindustan Times)


Norway's dual role in peace talks under fire
Norway's role in Sri Lanka has come under fire during the nation's election campaign, Norwegian Broadcasting reported on Friday.

Norway is both facilitating the peace talks between Colombo and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as well as leading the international observer force in Sri Lanka.(XinhuaNet)


Lanka poll: Kegalle Sinhalas yearn for non-elitist leader
Photo
Presidential candidate. Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksha shakes hand with his Tamil supports in Jaffna on Nov.4th 2005
One of the distinguishing features of the November 17 Sri Lankan presidential election is that the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community seems to be earnestly seeking a "homegrown" and "non-elitist" national leadership to replace the Westernised and elitist one which has held sway since Independence in 1948.

This explains the significant support this community is giving to a person like Mahinda Rajapaksa, the candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in preference to Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP) in Kegalle district in North Western Sri Lanka.(Hindustan Times)


PM vows troops no going back to war
Prime Minister and the ruling party's presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse toured the northern Jaffna peninsula Friday and assured troops stationed there that his presidency would not see the resumption of fighting with the Tamil Tigers if elected.

Rajapakse like his rival Ranil Wickremesinghe a day earlier visited Jaffna by helicopter. He spoke to troops at the Sri Lanka Army's Palaly military base and conducted a tour in the High Security Zone.(People's Daily)


Rebels brush off poll, voters await signal
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels say they are completely disinterested in the island's upcoming November17 presidential election, but voters in areas they control are waiting for a lead from the militants.

the northern rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi some voters said they would prefer opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe -- who brokered a 2002 truce that halted two decades of war -- over Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, favorite of Sinhalese nationalists opposed to wide devolution to minority Tamils.(Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Sri Lanka to host tourism meet
Tourism officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka will meet here on Friday to discuss opportunities for sub-regional cooperation for sustainable tourism development.

The Sixth Tourism Working Group Meeting under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be an important event, being the first SASEC meeting to be held in the country(The Times of India)


Opposition says peace deal in two years
Photo
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe speaks with a soldier in a bunker within the Palaly Military Complex
(Photo by: Sena Vidanagama)

Sri Lanka's opposition leader visited the main military garrison in the Tamil heartland of Jaffna and vowed peace within "two to three years" if he is elected president this month.

Opposition candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe made a rare visit to this sprawling military complex at the northern tip of the arid Jaffna peninsula to address troops who are observing a shaky truce with Tamil rebels.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Wickremesinghe campaigns in rebel heartland
Leading Opposition presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe, a former Prime Minister, visited Sri Lanka's rebel heartland today to seek support from troops and ethnic Tamils in next month's presidential election.

Wickremesinghe arrived on an air force plane from Colombo, accompanied by several armed security guards. As the aircraft landed, military jeeps encircled the plane and later escorted him to the airport complex.(The Hindu)


UNP ill-used my child - A mother complains
Photo

A mother had complained to the Child Protection authority stating that her child was tormented and used in an advertisement without her knowledge.

Namindu Lakshan, was used in an advertisement indicating that the price of milk food will be reduced when Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe became the President. This advertisement is telecast as part of Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe’s presidential propaganda.(LankaTruth)


Japan provides funds for the election monitoring activities
The Government of Japan has agreed to provide financial assistance for the election monitoring activities in Sri Lanka.

It has provided a sum of USD 107,842 to People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections – PAFFREL and Center for Policy Alternatives - CPA to facilitate the conducting of a free and fair presidential election. The PAFFREL and CPA are to two main organizations involved in election monitoring activities.(Asian Tribune)


Oil Deposits in Sri Lanka
An interview by Walter Jayawardhana:
Dharmasiri Weerasinghe is a leading engineer in the oil exploration industry. During a career spanning more than three decades, he has worked for some of the biggest multi-national corporations who drill the earth for black-gold. He has successfully explored oil from the foot hills of Andes in Colombia to deep sea sites in Angola. At present he is engaged at oil fields close to Red Sea in Egypt

For him oil exploration is like mining for gems. For instance, one could hit oil in an abandoned well like one could find the most precious blue sapphire in an abandoned gem pit. Likewise, the oil test wells hopelessly left by the Russians nearly four decades ago at Pesalai in Mannar, perhaps could now indicate that they possess large reservoirs of oil, if the tests are done applying modern technology.


Opposition leads presidential race: survey
An opinion poll gave Sri Lanka's opposition leader an edge in the presidential race, with a majority saying he was better able to revive the economy and the troubled peace process.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives thinktank, in a survey of 1,200 voters in 22 voting districts across the island, found that cost of living and the peace process with Tamil rebels were the two main issues in the November 17 election.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Nearly a year after the Tsunami, Sri Lanka strife flares
Nearly a year since the tsunami devastated the nation, a fresh wave of political violence is sweeping across eastern Sri Lanka. Armed factions vie for supremacy, assassinations and abductions go on in broad daylight and parents squirrel away their children for fear they will be conscripted into battle.

Loss piles upon unbearable loss. There is no sanctuary even at a relief camp here for families displaced by the tsunami. Since February three women at the camp have been widowed.(The New York Times)


Two killed in fresh violence
A police constable and a Tamil rebel informant have been killed in separate incidents in Sri Lanka's embattled northeast, the defence ministry said.

Suspected members of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Monday evening lobbed a grenade at a police truck in the Jaffna peninsula, killing a constable and wounding three others, the ministry said in a statement.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Parties trade charges over killing of officer
Sri Lanka's ruling party and the main Opposition yesterday exchanged criticism blaming each other for the slaying of a top military intelligence officer as police continued their investigations after arresting four suspects.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the main Opposition claimed that various actions by the rival parties led to the assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Rizli Meedin, 39.(Gulf News)


Secret hand behind murder of Col. Meedin
Internal sources of security forces indicate that there is a hidden hand behind Army Commander’s silence about the murder of Colonel T.R. Meedin.

According to these sources it has been established that the murder of Col. Meedin has been committed by the tiger organization.(LankaTruth)


Killings spark concern
The number of political killings in Sri Lanka this year is nearing 200, international ceasefire monitors say.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission urged the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to work together to end the cycle of violence.(BBC)


Presidential Election - a guideline for voting
Mahinda Rajapakse leads the poll with 67.72
Presidential election will be held in Sri Lanka in 17 November 2005. There are thirteen candidates trying to get the top job.It is widely expected, that, two candidates will emerge as strong contenders. This is high time the voters be educated and guided in exercising their franchise. This my endeavor to educate the voters on their voting pattern.

Therefore as at present, the current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and the previous Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are listed as strong contenders for the top job.(Asian Tribune)


Top military intelligence officer shot dead in capital
A senior military intelligence officer involved in gathering information about Tamil rebel activities was shot dead by an unidentified gunman inside his vehicle in the early hours of Sunday in Sri Lanka’s capital, police said.

Lt. Colonel T.R.Meedin, 39, had gone out with a group his friends on Saturday night, and his bullet-riddled body was found close to his residence at Kiribathgoda, eight kilometres east of Colombo city, police said.(Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka troops on alert
Government soldiers were on alert in a Tamil village in northern Sri Lanka on Saturday, a day after troops fired on villagers protesting the alleged rape of a girl by a soldier.

Killing one person and injuring two others, a military spokesman said. The violence took place in Puttur East village on the Jaffna Peninsula.(Jang)


UNP and LTTE worried about Tamil votes
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
United National Front sources said that they are highly worried that Velupillai Prabhakaran would not be able to deliver the necessary number of votes from the Eastern Province for the victory of Ranil Wickremesinghe at the forthcoming Presidential elections due to the opposition from Karuna.

The pro-UNF Daily Mirror said Karuna would soon distribute leaflets in Batticaloa requesting people not to vote for Ranil Wickremesinghe.


Peace, economy hinge on coalition - ex-PM
Sri Lanka can forge lasting peace with the Tamil Tigers and propel its economy to double-digit growth if its two main parties join forces, former prime minister and presidential hopeful Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday.

Right-of-centre market favourite Wickremesinghe is set to go head-to-head with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse for the presidency in a Nov.17 vote seen as too close to call, and says broad political consensus is the key to a deal with the feared Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).(REUTERS)


Rbels look for a song
Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels, who have been fighting since 1982 for a separate state, now want something else, their own national anthem.

The pro-rebel Tamilnet website reported that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had invited "bards and minstrels with patriotic fervour" to write a "national anthem" within a month.(Jang)


EU warns Sri Lanka to clean up election act
TheEuropean Union warned Sri Lanka that it will organise no more election monitoring missions to the troubled island unless Colombo implements recommendations to reduce fraud.

John Cushnahan the head of the 72-member European Union mission for the November 17 presidential election said Sri Lanka had failed to implement suggestions made after observing three previous elections.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Rebel leader to make announcement on peace process
The Tamil Tiger leader would make an announcement on the peace process with the Sri Lankan government during his annual "hero's day" speech next month, a Tamil legislator has said.

Selvam Adaikkalanathan, a parliament member from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said Thursday the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabakaran would make an announcement.(People's Daily)


Election head rules out presidential vote in Tiger rebel territory
No polling for next month's presidential ballot will take place in territory held by Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka's election chief said, but people living there would still be able to vote.

Two minor candidates in the November 17 vote asked the Supreme Court Thursday to halt polling arrangements, saying the authorities were set to have voting booths in rebel territory, mainly in northeast Sri Lanka.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Suspected Tigers kill Sinhalese activist
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead today a leading activist from the majority Sinhalese community in the embattled northeast of Sri Lanka, police said.

The victim, identified as Anura Abeyratne, was shot in the head in the port city of Trincomalee, 260 kms from the capital Colombo, a police official said by telephone.(Hindustan Times)


Sri Lanka says strict poultry ban blocked bird flu
Sri Lanka is free of bird flu and the island managed to prevent an outbreak thanks to a strict ban on poultry imports from affected countries that has been enforced since 2003, the industry here said on Wednesday.

The All Island Poultry Association said Sri Lanka maintained a ban on chicken products and animal feed from countries listed by the World Health Organisation as affected by avian flu, or the H5N1 strain of the virus.(Daily Times)


Critics accuse Ranil for Lying on peace talks
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Although Ranil Wickremesinghe is blaming the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna for the collapse of the “peace talks” with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) many have pointed out that both Mahinda and the JVP did not have anything to do with the peace talks and the negotiations collapsed under his own regime when the LTTE boycotted the Tokyo negotiations

Addressing an election rally Ranil Wickremesinghe said at Thambuttegama in the Anuradhapura District that the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the JVP were to be blamed for not starting the peace talks and thereby losing nearly rupees Five Hundred Thousand Million in the form of foreign aid due from Western nations and Japan.


EU observers to help oversee election
The European Union, which slapped sanctions on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, said on Wednesday it would send a team of election observers to help oversee the island's Nov.17 presidential poll.

The EU, one of Sri Lanka's leading donors, said that it will send 72 experts to join observers from Asia, the Commonwealth, and around 33,000 local officials in monitoring the election in the violence-prone island.(REUTERS)


Sri Lanka Establishes Petroleum Development Ministry
Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday established a new ministry to exploit the country's petroleum potential amid plans to involve India in the process.

Kumaratunga's office said she established the Petroleum Resources Development Ministry on Tuesday and named herself as the Minister-in-Charge in addition to her other duties as minister for defence, education and media.(Yahoo News)


UNP Distributes two verions of election manifesto
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The United National Party is distributing two versions of its election manifesto and in the most widely distributed Sinhala version, important and controversial sections of the restricted larger version have been removed.

In the widely distributed version, the UNP proposals to balance the Sri Lanka Army with the LTTE armed forces have been omitted.


Chandrika in a fix over budget postponement
It is apparent that President Chandrika Kumaratunga wants to postpone Sri Lanka's budget for 2006 to a date after the November 17 presidential election, but she is going to have great difficulty in getting the cabinet to agree to a postponement.

The opposition United National Party (UNP) has been demanding postponement of the budget from November 8 to November 22 so that the party in power does not get an undue advantage during the election campaign.(Hindustan Times)


Tiger rebels keep child vice cops in jail
Tamil Tigers refused on Tuesday to free three captured policemen who say they strayed into rebel territory hunting a British paedophile, but angry ceasefire monitors called for their release.

The rebels say the three officers had breached a strained three-year-old ceasefire agreement by crossing into their territory, but Nordic ceasefire monitors say they believe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are over-reacting.(Khaleej Times)


Free poll in troubled regions
Sri Lanka's government has promised a "free and fair" presidential election in the island's embattled northeast amid fears that escalating violence could scare off voters.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga's office said she had agreed in talks with the main opposition candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure that the November 17 vote in the troubled areas will be fair.(Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE proxy party attacks Mahinda Rajapaksha
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) proxy party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has attacked Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election manifesto for not supporting LTTE-proposed Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) and other related measures.

TNA is considered to be the voice of the LTTE and this is an early indication that the terrorist organization would support the United National Front (UNF) candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe at the forthcoming Presidential elections, political analysts said.


Tamil rebels neutral in presidential poll
Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels have decided to keep neutral in the country's upcoming presidential elections, but would permit canvassing in the rebel held northern and eastern areas.

"We have decided to be neutral... We will not support any party," the Sunday Observer quoted Daya Master, spokesman of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as saying.(XinhuaNet)


JVP leader alleges UNP of a secret pact with LTTE
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Somawansa Amerasinghe alleged that UNF Presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe has entered into another secret pact with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to obtain votes from Northern and Eastern provinces at the coming Presidential elections.

He challenged Wickremesinghe to reveal the conditions of the alleged pact before November 15. In an exclusive interview with this correspondent at the JVP headquarters at Nugegoda the party leader pointed out that the failures of Ranil Wickremesinghe to condemn the assassinations of former foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and the two Jaffna principals of leading schools in Jaffna who refused to let the LTTE recruit child soldiers from their schools as terrorist acts of the LTTE were caused by the pact and explained his strong desire to protect it.


Ranil & CBK scheme to prevent budget in November
A special meeting between President Chandrika Bandaranayke Kumaratunga and Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe is to be held on the 24th to prevent the budget proposals being presented to the Parliament say political circles.

Accordingly, Mr. Wickremasinghe will make a request asking not to present the budget during the month of November stating that doing so would be disadvantageous for his presidential campaign. According to political circles the President has already expressed her readiness to comply with Mr. Wickremasinghe’s request.(LankaTruth)


Rebel supporters demand lifting of EU travel ban onTamil Tigers
Supporters at a rally held in eastern Sri Lanka Saturday urged the European Union to be "realistic" and lift a travel ban clamped on Tamil Tiger rebels, a pro-rebel Web site reported.

The EU announced earlier this month that representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will be refused entry into member states until the bloc considers whether to add the guerrillas to its list of terrorist organizations.(India Daily)


Rajapakse to halt privatization if elected president
Sri Lanka's prime minister will scrap proposals to sell state-owned companies if he is elected president next month, his economic adviser said.

That would include halting plans by outgoing President Chandrika Kumaratunga to cut the government's 49.5 percent stake in Sri Lanka Telecom, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's economic adviser Nivard Cabraal told reporters on Thursday.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Sentenced to death for 4.6 grams of heroin
A Sri Lankan man was sentenced to death for possessing 4.64 grams of heroin, following a five-year trial, a news report said on Friday.

udge Sunil Rakapakse of the Colombo High Court said he imposed the death penalty against Lakshman Jayaweera.(Hindustan Times)


Colombo denies truce violation
The Sri Lankan government yesterday denied Tamil Tiger rebel charges that it had violated a cease-fire agreement by flying an air force spy plane over rebel areas and insisted that it was committed to the peace process.

The plane crashed inside guerrilla territory in northern Sri Lanka a day earlier.(Gulf news)


No immediate threat of bird flu in Sri Lanka: minister
The Sri Lankan government assured that there was no immediate threat of avian flu in the island country despite the spread of the deadly virus in several Southeast Asian and European countries, Daily News reported Friday.

Government spokesman and Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was quoted as saying that there was no need to panic since Sri Lanka had so far not come across even a single case of the avian influenza virus.(People's Daily)


Government says no change in Tamil Tiger stance
Sri Lankan government announced Thursday that two international community representatives who visited the island last week were not able to break the deadlock between the Tamil Tigers and the government to start talks to review the ongoing truce.

Nimal Siripala De Silva, the government spokesman and the Minister of Health, told reporters that Trond Furuhovde, the special Norwegian representative, was not able to get the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to change its stance on the venue for the talks.(People's Daily)


To prevent bloody repeat
Running for Sri Lankan president is said to be one of the most dangerous tasks in the world - and with good reason.

The last two presidential campaigns had bloody endings, with suicide bombers blowing up themselves in front of candidates, killing dozens.(BBC)


Tamils turned down ceasefire talks
Sri Lanka on Thursday said Tamil Tiger rebels did not agree to a bid by peace broker Norway to restart talks on a ceasefire imperiled after the August assassination of the country’s foreign minister.

Norwegian envoy Trond Furuhovde told the government that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they were not ready to hold talks on the ceasefire, government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters.(khaleej Times)


Tamil population drop from second to the last in the latest census -- World Factbook
Based on the latest census figures the World Factbook states that the Sri Lankan Tamils who were the second largest community (12%) has come down to 3.9 % in the census figures of 2001. The Sri Lankan Moors have shot up from the third position to No: 2 -- i.e .7.2%. The Indian Tamils is at 4.6%. The Sinhalese as expected topped the list with 73.8%. These figures indicate that the Sri Lankan Tamils have dropped to the bottom of the ladder with all other communities climbing over it.

Sri Lankan Tamils constituted around 1.2 million in the pre-Eelam war period. The decline in the population of the Sri Lanka Tamils is mainly due to the post-1983 politics of violence.(Asian Tribune)


Sri Lanka to start construction of first express railway
The construction of the Colombo- Katunayake express railway line, Sri Lanka's first ever express rail link system, will commence next month, the Daily News reported Thursday.

Railways Ministry sources were quoted as saying that the 200 million US dollars project funded by the Chinese government will be launched in Nov. after receiving Cabinet approval.(People's Daily)


Students want Norway to disarm Tigers
A group of Sri Lankan students are urging the Royal Norwegian government to bring pressure on the Tamil Tigers to give up arms.

The group calling itself 'Students for Human Rights' staged a noisy demonstration in front of the Norwegian embassy here Wednesday calling for action to force the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to give up arms.(People's Daily)


Sri Lankan would stop asset sales to foreigners
Sri Lanka's prime minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, has pledged to stop state asset sales to overseas investors if elected president in the Nov. 17 election.

Sri Lanka's economy will be bolstered by developing agriculture, fisheries, construction and industry, according to a manifesto he released on Tuesday.(Herald Tribune)


S.Lanka extends emergency amid assassination probe
Sri Lanka extended on Tuesday a state of emergency imposed in the wake of the August assassination of its foreign minister, a murder the government blames on Tamil Tiger rebels but has yet to prove.

The state of emergency gives government and police special powers to detain suspects and deploy troops en-masse if need be. The second extension of the measures comes as ties between the state and the Tigers are at their lowest ebb since a 2002 ceasefire halted two decades of civil war.(REUTERS)


PM vows to overhaul peace process
Photo Mahinda Rajapakse, the ruling party’s candidate for presidency shares joyful moment with the JVP parliamentarian Wimal weerawanse and the Leadre of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe at the public meeting in Anamaduwa
( photo by: Gamini Edirisinghe )

Prime minister today pledged to revise a peace agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels and reject their demand for self rule if he is elected president.

Mahinda Rajapakse, the ruling party’s candidate in the November 17 election, said he would protect the country’s unity, sovereignty and security and preserve the civil rights of all groups.(Ireland Online)


LTTE issues dress code for Tamils
Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers have imposed dress restrictions for Tamil youth, sources in Jaffna said. Posters put up by the LTTE have detailed separate dress codes for females and males. The growth of beard and long hair have been forbidden for young men.

For girls, close-fitting shirts and skirts have been banned along with the wearing of trousers. Instead girls have been asked to wear the Tamil costume of Shalwar Kameez.(Dawn)


Tamil man shot
An ethnic Tamil man was shot and wounded Tuesday in what authorities believe was an attack linked to fighting between rival rebel factions in Sri Lanka's volatile east.

Two unidentified gunmen shot Kadirgamar Thambivelupillai, 49, while he was riding his motorbike to work in Batticaloa, 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of Colombo, military spokesman Brig. Nalin Witharanage said.(News from Russia)


Iran calls for expansion of ties with Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker WJM Lokubandara in Geneva on Sunday called for promotion of relations with Iran in all fields.

WJM Lokubandara met with the head of the Council of Iran's Inter-Parliamentary Group and head of the Iranian parliamentary delegation to the 113th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Kazem Jalali.(Tehran Times)


Ranil and federlism
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
A Sri Lanka Army military analysis said that although the United National Party candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke of Oslo Declaration and Tokyo Declaration as providing a framework for a lasting political solution for the country’s separatist war it did not take the country anywhere since the Liberation Tigers of Tamil had totally rejected them.

United National Party election manifesto entitled People’s Agenda does not mention the word “federal” in the entirety of the 55 page booklet but the Oslo Declaration and Tokyo declaration had asked for a federal solution.


Two killed as Norway envoy says no breakthrough in Sri Lanka talks
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead a policeman and a soldier in fresh violence in Sri Lanka amid renewed attempts by Norway to revive peace talks, officials and the defence ministry said.

Gunmen opened fire on two constables in the northern peninsula of Jaffna late Friday and one of them succumbed to his injuries, a government military official in Jaffna told AFP on Saturday.(yahoo News/AFP)


Rajapakse to preserve Lanka's unity
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's manifesto for the November 17 presidential elections vows to uphold the unitary nature of Sri Lanka.

The manifesto pledges to replace the controversial Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) that President Chandrika Kumaratunga pushed through with the rebel LTTE.(Gulf News)


Ranil Wickremesinghe confesses
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
United National Party leader and the party’s presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe has confessed that the agreement he has signed with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is full of many faults.

To a delegation of his party delegates from Colombo East and West, the party leader said since the Ceasefire agreement the assassinations of both the LTTE and the Karuna faction have alarmingly increased.


Alleged Tamil Tiger attack leaves soldier dead
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed a soldier in an attack on an eastern Sri Lanka military checkpoint, the Defence Ministry said on Friday, a day after a Norwegian peace broker urged the rebels to try and save a 2002 cease-fire and stop the country sliding back into war.

A group of rebels surrounded the checkpoint in Santhiveli village in the eastern district of Batticaloa on Thursday night and attacked with grenades and rifles, said military spokesman Brig. Nalin Witharanage.(The Hindu)


Opposition calls for foreign monitors for vote
Sri Lanka's main opposition called for international observers to monitor next month's presidential election amid fears of violence.

Opposition leader and candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe said he wanted foreign monitors to be deployed ahead of the November 17 election.(Yahoo News/AFP)


Police continues questioning the linchpin in Kadirgamar’s killing.
The Crime Division Police of Sri Lanka continues with the questioning of Charles Gnanakone, a businessman and the resident of Australia, the alleged linchpin in the murder of former Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who was arrested on 10 October and held by the Colombo Crime Division, despite report emerging that he is taken sick and the police are arranging for his medical treatment.

The millionaire Sri Lankan businessman was arrested on 10 October, in a house in Nikape, Dehiwala, and was taken for questioning around 1.40 a.m. by a team from the army’s Operations Command, on receiving information that there were some terrorists hiding in a safe house in Nikape.(Asian Tribune)


Lukshman Kadirgamar fulfilled nation’s yearnings- H.L. de Silva
The key note address at the commemoration meeting with the theme “Lakshman Kadirgamar – a Statesman of Distinction” was made by President’s Counselor H.L. de Silva at the BMICH today. Senior counselor Gomin Dayananda made the welcome speech.

Ms. Kadirgamar opened the web site www.kadirgamar.net where those who oppose separatism and atrocities of the tiger organization could sign a petition addressed to international community including EU, USA etc. asking to impose sanctions against the LTTE and their front organizations.(LanakTruth)


Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Gnanakoons
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Colombo:
Many have expressed their concern that United National Party leader and Sri Lankan Presidential candidate Ranil Wickramesinghe should reveal his connections with the Gnanakoon family before the November elections.

The Sri Lanka Army and the police, for questioning in connection of the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, arrested one of the Gnanakoons, Charles Selvakumar, October 10. Close relatives of Tamil guerilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the two Gnanakoon brothers, Charles Selvakumar and Donald Jayantha hail from Velvetiturai, the native village of Prabhakaran and have been actively engaged in the LTTE activities for decades.


Mr. Pain Killer offers balm for Tiger problem
Sri Lanka's "Pain Killer" businessman Victor Hettigoda launched his bid for the presidency by offering peace talks with Tamil Tigers and balm to journalists.

Hettigoda, 68, said he decided to challenge the main contenders -- Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe -- as he was the only man who could resume talks with the Tigers on a clean slate. (Yahoo News/AFP )


Tamil Tigers killed by rival group
At least four Tamil Tigers were killed and five others were injured in an attack believed to have carried out by the renegade faction of Tigers, police said Tuesday.

The attack took place around 11:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) Monday night at Vavunathivu in the eastern Batticaloa district in an area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (People's Daily )


Sniper gun found ahead of visit by president
Police found a sniper gun and ammunition in northwestern Sri Lanka ahead of a planned visit to the area by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, officials said.

The weapon, together with two pistols and ammunition, was found near Marawila, 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital Colombo, a police official said by telephone. (Yahoo News/AFP )


Lanka gives monetary aid to Pakistan, sympathises with India
Sri Lanka today gave USD 100,000 dollars to help earthquake victims in Pakistan while expressing sympathy with bereaved families in India.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga in her message to Indian counterpart APJ Abdul Kalam recalled New Delhi's support to the island when it was hit by a tsunami in December last year. (OutLook India )


Presidential hopefuls campaign on peace and prices
Photo Main Sri Lankan candidate for the presidency Mahinda Rajapakse has launched his campaign promising peace at last for the shattered island and lower consumer prices.
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi) )

Sri Lanka's two main candidates for the presidency launched their campaigns at the weekend promising peace at last for the shattered island and lower consumer prices.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse was kicking off his campaign from the historic town of Anuradhapura on Sunday, a day after his main rival, former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed supporters at another historic city."The prime minister is offering peace with dignity," a spokesman for his office said even as his campaign managers were trying to put together an election manifesto incorporating pre-poll deals with two nationalist groups. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka holds first world spice festival
Sri Lanka is hosting the first international spice festival with chefs from 13 countries, including India, attending the event that began Friday.

The ten-day World Spice Festival includes a seven-day food promotion event with the participation of some of Colombo's top hotels, said a Sri Lanka Tourism Board (SLTB) official. (Hindustan Times )


President to pardon former minister SB
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has decided to release the UNP national organizer and one-time her close confidante SB Dissanayake from jail. Her dramatic decision will lead to create a ‘hot-situation’ in political arena since the UNP Leadership has already extended his invitation to SLFP Leader, President Kumaratunga to joins-hands with UNP to form a ‘government of national consensus.

Presidential Secretariat sources told ColomboPage that President has given several instructions to the officials on release of SB Dissanayake. “Documents are ready for President’s signature,” sources added. (Lankaeverthing )


Opposition leader calls for unity to end bloodshed
Photo opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has launched his presidential election bid from Kandy
( photo by: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi )

Opposition leader launched his presidential election bid from this historic city urging unity among the deeply divided Sinhalese ahead of a peace deal with Tamil rebels.

Former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe called on the island's influential Buddhist clergy to help unite the majority Sinhalese community, who mainly follow Buddhism. "We cannot have a peaceful solution to the conflict unless the two main parties in the country unite and have a common position on the national question," Wickremesinghe said on Saturday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Daughter of a former politician in suicide attempt
Doctors failed to save the life of a woman who set herself ablaze in the compound of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader’s private residence.

Kumari Cooray, daughter of a former politician, tried to commit suicide in the premises of SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem’s private residence in Colombo on Wednesday night. She died the next day at a hospital. (Dawn )


Thirteen candidates in race for presidency
The two main candidates for Sri Lanka's presidency filed their election nomination papers along with 11 others vying for the all-powerful but low-paid job of head of state.

Election chief Dayanada Dissanayake said Friday the 13 candidates, including the two top contenders, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, had filed their papers early Friday without objections. (Yahoo News/AFP )


LTTE waiting for SLFP manifesto
The LTTE has said that it has not made up its mind about who it should support in the Sri Lankan Presidential election because the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party is still to bring out its manifesto.

Speaking to newsmen in Kilinochchi on Thursday, the LTTE's political commissar, SP Tamilselvan, said that the Tamils' attitude towards the election would depend on a comparative analysis of the manifestos of the principal contenders –-Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Sri Lankan Freedom Party and Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party . (Hindustan Times )


Norway rules out early talks on truce
Peace broker Norway ruled out early direct talks between Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka to save their truce although the rebels said they were ready for discussions before next month's presidential vote.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said they were prepared for urgent talks on the ceasefire, which has been in force since 2002 but came under severe strain after the foreign minister was assassinated in August. (Yahoo News/AFP )


Norway asks Lanka’s Tamil rebels to stop killings and child conscription
A Norwegian diplomat asked Tamil Tiger rebels to halt political assassinations and child conscription as continued violence threatened to derail Sri Lanka’s fragile cease-fire, officials said.

Hans Brattskar, Norway’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, met the Tamil Tigers’ political head, S.P. Thamilselvan, on Thursday at the northern rebel-held capital of Kilinochchi. (Khaleej Times )


Lanka starts campaign to bag Secy-General post for Dhanapala
Photo Former United Nations disarmament chief Jayantha Dhanapala.
( photo by: Stan Honda )

The election for a new United Nations Secretary-General is more than a year away but Sri Lanka has already started a sustained campaign for its candidate - career diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala.

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has written letters to all 191 member states emphasizing his qualifications and seeking their support but diplomats say it is too early for any country to make up its mind as they expect several other candidates to throw their hat in the ring for the $250,000 a year job. (Manorama News)


Blast targets Tamil party
A bomb in a parked van exploded Thursday morning in a mostly Tamil area of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, injuring at least one person.

The explosion occurred near the office of the newspaper of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, a Tamil party that supports the Sri Lankan government and is opposed to the Tamil Tiger rebels, the BBC reported. (Science Daily )


Key parties back opposition
Photo Supporters cheer and wave flags during a rally by Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Freedom Party Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa in Thissamaharamaya, southern Sri Lanka, October 5, 2005.
( photo Courtesy; Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )

Two key parties threw their support behind Sri Lanka's opposition presidential candidate Wednesday, boosting dovish Ranil Wickremesinghe's campaign in a tight race as he promises to be more flexible in peace talks with ethnic Tamil rebels.

As then prime minister, Wickremesinghe signed a cease-fire with the Tamil Tiger movement in 2002 and embarked on peace talks to formally end the conflict. He has vowed to give the rebels greater autonomy under a federal system of government. (Yahoo News/AP)


France to provide 62 mln USD to tsunami rebuilding
France will provide 74 million Euros (about 62 million US dollars) to Sri Lanka in a bid to facilitate the rebuilding of the tsunami affected infrastructure in the tsunami-hit eastern Trincomalee district, the presidential office said here on Wednesday.

In a press release, the office said the two governments signed three agreements in Paris in the presence of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga who is visiting France. (XinhuaNet )


Norway to meet Tamil Tiger rebels to salvage Sri Lanka's peace process
A top Norwegian diplomat will meet with Tamil Tiger rebel leaders on Thursday to try to keep Sri Lanka from sliding back into civil war, officials said.

Hans Brattskar _ Norway's ambassador to Sri Lanka and a key player in the Norwegian-brokered 2002 cease-fire that halted two decades of ethnic conflict in the South Asian nation _ was expected to travel on Thursday to the northern rebel-held town of Kilinochchi, officials involved in the peace process said on condition of anonymity. (The Hindu )


Police to remove election propaganda displays
The cost of removing Sri Lankan presidential election posters and cutouts exhibited in the island country will be around 8 million rupee (around 80,000 US dollars), local media reported Wednesday.

The Police Election Bureau said it will start to remove these posters, cutouts and propaganda material in public places from the nomination day on Oct. 7. (XinhuaNet )


Opposition clinches support of main Muslim party
Sri Lankan main opposition party's presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe has clinched the support of the main Muslim party in the forthcoming presidential election scheduled on Nov. 17.

Rauff Hakeem, the leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) told the media on Tuesday that his party had decided to back Wickremesinghe, the candidate of the opposite United National Party. (XinhuaNet )


Government proposes 23 percent hike in 2006 defence spending
Sri Lanka's minority government has told parliament it wanted a 23 percent increase in defence spending next year to nearly 700 million dollars as part of its annual budget.

The government did not mention any reason for the proposed enlargement of the defence allocation which comes during a ceasefire with Tiger rebels in a conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972. (Yahoo News/AFP )


Sri Lanka detects oil deposits
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has disclosed the possibility of a massive oil deposit that could run between the north-western part of the country to the south-eastern coast.

Kumaratunga said that oil has been detected along the Puttalam to Hambantota coastal belt and exploration of the deposits will commence soon. (Gulf News)


At least three killed in east ahead of PM’s visit
Gunmen fatally shot two ethnic Tamils and a Sinhalese man in separate attacks in Sri Lanka’s volatile east, hours before a planned visit on Saturday by presidential candidate and current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, police said.

The Tamil men, both aged 23, were shot dead by unidentified gunmen just before midnight in Valaichchenai village, 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, said Rohan Abeywardene, the region’s top police chief. (Khaleej Times)


US backs strong action agaist Tamil Tigers
The United States Thursday welcomed the European Union Travel ban on the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers and said it believed the ban would remain till purpose of imposing it was achieved, Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror said Friday.

"The EU ban reflected the international community's strongest message that acts of terrorism by the LTTE would not be tolerated,"Christina Rocca, US assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs was quoted as saying. (People's Daily)


Sri Lanka to raise money from migrant workers
Sri Lanka plans to raise 100 million dollars through an international bond issue aimed at its nationals employed abroad, a Central Bank official said.

The island hopes that its one-million work force employed overseas will subscribe to the bond issue which will help the government finance its ballooning oil import bill, the official said on Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka hopes EU pressure would kick start peace with Tigers
Sri Lankan government said Friday that a European Union declaration on the Tamil Tigers would help in the efforts to revive the stalled peace negotiations.

Nimal Siripala De Silva, the government spokesman and the Minister of Health, told reporters here "We do hope that the EU declaration would help us to re-start peace talks." (People's Daily)


A Sri Lankan-born rapper gives genre a worldly spin
On its surface, the M.I.A. single "Sunshowers" is one of the most irresistible club bangers of the past decade.With the relentless 808 drum machines, M.I.A.'s oblique London colloquialisms and a restless hook, dance floors never stood a chance.

But the song from M.I.A.'s debut record, "Arular," is actually a rebel yell. It tells the story of a man who is murdered because he had befriended a group of Muslims - kind of a buzzkill after your third Red Bull-vodka. (Denver Post)


President pledges to upgrade public, private transport services
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has pledged to extend government support to both public and private bus operators to upgrade their services and help them run as profit making ventures.

Addressing the official ceremony of establishing the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), Kumaratunga said the government was ready to uplift the private bus sector too in the same manner it was improving the public transport services, reported the Daily News. (People's Daily)


JVP challenge main opposition to reveal solution to ethnic crisis
The JVP or the People's Liberation Front has challenged the main opposition presidential candidate to reveal its method to solve the separatist armed conflict.

Wimal Weerawansa, the JVP propaganda secretary, told reporters here Wednesday that the main opposition United National Party (UNP)candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe had failed to outline his final solution. (XinhuaNet)


Court suspends probe into PM's tsunami deals
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ordered that a criminal investigation into the prime minister's handling of tsunami aid be suspended for almost three months after the premier claimed his election campaign was suffering.

Chief Justice Sarath Silva told the police Criminal Investigations Department to immediately halt its probe into the bank accounts Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse maintained to hold donations meant for tsunami survivors. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Underage love and sex at 13?
Sri Lanka debates the unthinkable

Sex at 13 is now legal, said national newspaper headlines last week. The story under the headlines said Cabinet had approved a proposal to lower the age of a girl for consensual sex from the present 16 to 13. The news item angered parents who asked whether the politicians had gone mad.

The people in general were confused. They asked what made the government come out with such a stupid idea at a time it was facing a presidential election. Some said the move was probably aimed at protecting a ruling party big wig or his son who might have got into trouble after having sex with a 13-year-old. (Khaleej Times)


Tsunami relief holds lessons for hurricanes
Despite the unprecedented global relief effort for the Indian Ocean tsunami, just 60 percent of those affected in India and Sri Lanka said they got timely and adequate aid in the first 60 days, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The survey of affected families and aid workers in the two countries showed the relief effort succeeded in delivering aid to millions of people, according to the nonprofit Fritz Institute, a San Francisco group that specializes in logistics for humanitarian relief and conducted the survey. (The Star)


EU bars visits by Sri Lanka Tiger rebels
The European Union on Tuesday barred Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels from visiting its member states and said it was considering listing the group as a terrorist organisation.

In a harshly worded statement, the European Union deplored the assassination of Sri Lanka's foreign minister in August -- a murder the government blames on the Tigers -- and called on the rebels to uphold a truce that halted two decades of civil war. (Yahoo News)


Wickremesinghe vows peace, food subsidies
Sri Lanka's main opposition leader vowed to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Tiger rebels, offered food subsidies and pledged to ban the dowry system if elected at the November presidential polls.

Former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, 56, said Tuesday his main goal would be to seek a federal power sharing deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka aims to make music, not war
After almost two decades of civil war, Sri Lanka was battered by the tsunami on Dec 26 last year.

Once again, the country had made international headlines for the wrong reasons. (Media Crop)


Four killed in prison van shoot out
Four people were killed including three prison officials when an armed gang attacked a prison van in Sri Lanka on Monday, police said.

The attack occured around 10:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) at Gampaha, 38 Kms north of the capital Colombo. (People's Daily)


Officials misappropriate tsunami aid -auditor
Sri Lankan government officials misspent or misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tsunami aid after failing to follow instructions, the island's auditor general said on Monday.

Officials gave millions of rupees in tsunami assistance to thousands of families who were not directly affected by the Indian Ocean island's worst natural disaster in memory. There were others displaced by the tsunami who did not get the rations they were entitled to. (REUTERS)


Lankan, Thai diplomats in run for top UN post
One of Sri Lanka’s top diplomats, Jayantha Dhanapala, is quietly moving around in crowded lobbies here, making contacts with leaders from around the world in pursuit of his bid for the post of UN Secretary-General.

The other declared candidate in the field is Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, Thailand’s deputy prime minister, who was the first to announce his intention to run for UN secretary-general. A third candidate being mentioned, but not yet officially in the race, is President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland, an East European country. (Dawn)


Tamil to run for presidency
A former ethnic Tamil rebel said Sunday he will run for president in the Nov. 17 election in Sri Lanka, which has been ruled exclusively by ethnic Sinhalese leaders since its independence.

A.R. Arudpragasam, a former militant, said he would run on a platform advocating a federal solution to the island's decades-long civil war. (The Star)


British leaders angry at LTTE terrorism
The Lakshman Kadirgamar assassination has triggered the personal concern of British leaders over the conduct of the LTTE. Prime Minister Tony Blair has personally written to President Chandrika Kumaratunga assuring her that Britain actively supports the listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation by the European Union, a source with links to the British Government told The Sunday Times.

Meanwhile, the EU`s working group on Asia that met last Wednesday in Brussels to consider sanctions against the LTTE could not reach a consensus. The officials are due to meet again in the first half of October to consider Sri Lanka`s call for action against the LTTE that is now backed by Britain. (Lankanewspapers)


I won't vote, says election chief
Sri Lanka's colourful election chief says he does not intend to vote in November's presidential election because he does not trust politicians.

Dayananda Dissanayake, 64, said he last voted in 1963. "Since I got to know politicians, I decided never to vote again," he said. (BBC)


Re-poll could delay Presidential poll result
Sri Lanka`s election chief warned here Friday that announcement of Sri Lanka`s presidential election result could be delayed if he was forced to order a re-poll.

Dayananda Dissanayake, the Commissioner of Elections, told reporters that if violence, intimidation and malpractice marred election in any of the polling stations during the presidential election to be held on Nov. 17, he would be compelled to annul the poll in such stations. (AgolaPress)


More tourists but less business
More tourists are visiting Sri Lanka despite the tsunami that devastated coastal hotels but they are spending shorter holidays, slowing a recovery of the battered hospitality sector, officials said.

The security-sensitive industry could suffer further if there is an outbreak of violence in the lead-up to the presidential vote on November 17, but officials said they expected a peaceful campaign. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tsunami dead to get voter cards
Sri Lanka is to send out voting cards for those people believed to have died in December's tsunami because it cannot be sure who survived.

The country is holding its presidential election on 17 November. (BBC)


Strike grips over military presence
Public transport came to standstill and offices, schools and banks remained shut in Sri Lanka's embattled northeast as Tamil residents protested a heavy military presence in the region.

he one-day work stoppage in the district of Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (162 miles) northeast of Colombo, was called by a pro-Tamil Tiger local organisation demanding a withdrawal of security forces, police said on Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


UNICEF and Sri Lanka President condemned LTTE for recruitment of under aged children
Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kamaratunga and Ann Veneman showed great concern over the child recruitment by the Sri Lanka Tamil rebel outfit- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and condemned the same. Recruitment of child soldiers is considered a gross violation of ceasefire agreement by the Tamil Tigers.

The Executive Director of UNICEF Ms Ann Veneman met with Sri Lanka President Kumaratunga at UN after her address in the UN General Assembly and said she shared her views and her concern for children. (asian Tribune)


Presidential polls set for Nov. 17
Sri Lanka's election commission announced Monday that the country's next presidential election is to be held on Nov. 17, putting an end to the long debate over the date for the election.

Dayananda Dissanayake, the Commissioner of Elections, said in apress release that the poll date is Nov. 17 and the nominations for the poll would be accepted between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. local time on Oct. 7. (XinhuaNet)


Tamil Tigers say election should not stop talks
Talks to shore up a shaky ceasefire between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government should not be deterred by an upcoming presidential election, the political leader of the rebels said.

"The election in the south must not under any circumstances deter the implementation of the ceasefire," political wing chief S.P. Thamilselvan told AFP in an interview in the northern rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi. (TurkishPress)


Tamil rebels call for immediate truce talks
The political leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels has called for immediate talks with Sri Lanka's government to save a shaky ceasefire.

Tamil Tiger political chief S.P. Thamilselvan said the rebel group was ready "even in the next minute" to begin talks with the government. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Emergency for one more month
Sri Lanka today said it would extend for another month the state of emergency imposed after the slaying of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels last month.

A resolution to extend the emergency would be presented in Parliament next week, Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva announced, although he did not give any reasons for the extension. (OutLook)


Sri Lanka on overseas public diplomacy rampage: Kumaratunga appeals to international community at UN
Sending her top advisor and head of the Peace Secretariat Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala on a week-long public diplomacy campaign in America’s capital, Washington, whose finger prints are often seen in many developments and trends worldwide, on a new crusade against Sri Lanka’s Tamil rebel outfit, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a major speech at the United Nations on Thursday, September 15 wanted the World Body and the international community to take meaningful and effective action against Tamil Tiger activities overseas.

The approach the Government of Sri Lanka took for a very long time, which eventually proved a failure, was its heavy dependence on the Norwegian facilitators to contain the Tiger outfit, maintain the fragile Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) on float and appease the donor countries and the international community that the country is on the correct path in marginalizing the rebels to get them back to talks and win millions of dollars in development aid. (Asia Tribune)


President vows to share power with Tamils to end bloodshed
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has pledged to turn her embattled republic into a federal state and share power with minority Tamils in a bid to end decades of ethnic bloodshed, despite a rebellion in her own party.

The outgoing Sri Lankan president told the Asia Society in New York late Wednesday that her Indian Ocean island nation must change its unitary character and work towards helping Tamil Tiger rebels to join the political mainstream. (Yahoo News/AFP)


IMF warn Sri Lanka on subsidies
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Sri Lanka that it is exceeding government spending targets.

It urged Sri Lanka to cut subsidies, especially on fuel, to help restore economic stability. (BBC)


PM vows new approach with Tigers if elected
Photo Prime Minister and presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks with Reuters during an interview at his official resident in Colombo September 14, 2005.
( photo Courtesy; Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )

Sri Lanka's peace bid with the Tamil Tigers needs a fresh approach, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse said on Wednesday, vowing if elected president to invite his opponents to join forces to negotiate with the rebels.

Left-of-centre Rajapakse, who will face off against right-of-centre predecessor Ranil Wickremesinghe in presidential elections in November, says converting a 2002 truce into lasting peace after two decades of civil war and pursuing economic development are his top priorities. (Reuters)


British man arrested for children sexual abuse
A British man was detained Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing several Sri Lankan children, officials said.

The 51-year-old surrendered to police in the capital Colombo and remains in police custody, said Dimuthu Galapatti, spokesman for the National Child Protection Authority or NCPA, which is spearheading the investigation, the AP informs. (News from Russia)


South Africa 'A' cricketers bus crashes in Sri Lanka
The South Africa 'A' cricket squad members have escaped unscathed in a head-on collision on the road between Dambulla and Kandy in central Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

The squad were travelling in a bus from practice when the accident occurred. (IOL)


Court delays frozen rebel aid pact ruling
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Monday put off a hearing expected to resolve the fate of a government pact to share $3 billion in tsunami aid with Tamil rebels, a delay expected to further strain relations between the foes.

The next hearing would now take place on Nov. 22 -- which falls after the Nov. 21 deadline for Sri Lanka's upcoming presidential election. (REUTERS AlertNews)


Japan grants 1.8 mln USD to clear landmines
The Japanese government has granted 1.8 million US dollars to five international non- governmental organizations to accelerate landmine clearance in Sri Lanka`s north and east, a local internet newspaper said Saturday.

The Colombopage quoted Japanese Embassy sources as saying that the grants were provided for one year`s mine clearance activities at several locations in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar in the north and Batticaloa in the east. (AngolaPress)


Chandrika unhappy over pact
Photo Premier, Mahinda Rajapakse seen here signing an agreement in Colombo with Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva.
( photo Courtesy; Lakruwan Wanniarachch )

President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over the poll pact between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and the former ruling ally, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, sources close to her said.

In an "intra-party letter," Ms. Kumaratunga expressed displeasure at Mr. Rajapakse not consulting her before concluding the agreement. (The Hindu)


Norway to send envoy to Sri Lanka truce talks
Peace broker Norway said it will send a special envoy to Sri Lanka to help save a troubled ceasefire after admitting it had failed to secure agreement about a venue for planned talks.

The Norwegian government in a statement said it is 'deeply concerned' by the continuing violence in the island-nation despite a truce that has been in place since Feb 2002. (Forbes)


UN will not replace Norway as peace facilitator
The Sri Lankan government said Friday that it had not requested the United Nations to take over the peace facilitation role from Norway in its conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

Nimal Siripala De Silva, the Minister of Health and the government spokesman, told reporters here that a visit by Kofi Annan's special envoy early this week was not meant to probe the possibility of ousting Norway. (XinhuaNet)


Sri Lanka calls for revamp of peace process
Sri Lanka called for a review of the peace process aimed at ending the island's three-decade-old ethnic conflict, seeking a greater international role in supplementing Norway as peacebroker.

Jayantha Dhanapala, the senior adviser to the Sri Lankan President, said that last month's assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, which Colombo has blamed on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , raised hard questions about the global role in Sri Lanka's peace process. (yahoo News/AFP)


Passengers stampede to evacuate Saudi plane in Sri Lanka; one killed, dozens injured
Panicked travelers stampeded off a Saudi airliner during a bomb-scare evacuation Thursday at Sri Lanka's international airport, with one person killed and dozens injured.

Authorities said there was no initial indication that Tamil Tiger rebels were involved, though the apparent hoax came after the guerrillas rejected the Colombo airport as a possible site for crucial cease-fire talks - a fresh blow to the country's fragile peace process. (Boston Herald)


Tigers reject truce talks at airport
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas rejected as "totally unacceptable" a call by peace broker Norway to hold talks on salvaging their fragile truce at the island's only international airport.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said in a statement on Thursday that they turned down the venue as they did not think it was suitable for conducting "serious political discussions". (yahoo News/AFP)


Passengers stampede to evacuate Saudi plane in Sri Lanka; one killed, dozens injured
Panicked travelers stampeded off a Saudi airliner during a bomb-scare evacuation Thursday at Sri Lanka's international airport, with one person killed and dozens injured.

Authorities said there was no initial indication that Tamil Tiger rebels were involved, though the apparent hoax came after the guerrillas rejected the Colombo airport as a possible site for crucial cease-fire talks - a fresh blow to the country's fragile peace process. (Bostan Herald)


Court ruling ends 11-year presidency
Photo A woman and motorcyclists pass a billboard with images of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party's presidential candidate, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa , and Prime Minister candidate Foreign Minister Anura Bandaranaike in Colombo, August 26, 2005.
( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's final term expires in December, ending her controversial 11-year reign and clearing the way for a vote before November 21.

Opposition activists took to the streets on Friday and exploded fire crackers outside the Hulftsdorp Courts complex after the five-judge bench delivered a unanimous decision to a packed court room guarded by armed police and troops. (Yahoo News/AFP)




Court rules president's term ends this year, elections in months
Photo
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has ruled that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's final term ends in December, clearing the way for elections between October 22 and November 22.

Kumaratunga had argued that a left-over year from her first term should mean she could stay in office until late 2006.But a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath Silva ruled that her second and final term will end on December 22 this year. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Heading for 2005 presidential vote
Sri Lanka waited with bated breath on Thursday, the eve of a Supreme Court ruling that many expect will order a presidential election for this year.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga argues she should stay in power until late 2006, while her foes say the vote is due in 2005. A political squabble has pushed the issue into the courts, and the island's main parties have hedged their bets and are in campaign mode. (REUTERS AlertNews)


Sri Lanka says wants rebel talks at home
Sri Lanka ruled out Norway or any location outside the country for talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to salvage a fragile ceasefire, a spokesman said.

"The government stand is that it is more practical to hold it here," spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters on Thursday, adding the talks would only focus on securing the February 2002 ceasefire. (yahoo News/AFP)


Protests against Sethu
Protesters in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday extended their "solidarity" and "support" to counterparts in India who were opposed to the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) and demanded its withdrawal.

A small group of protesters representing the `People's Movement Against Sedu Samudram Project' demonstrated outside the Indian High Commission. (The Hindu)


New foreign minister makes India first overseas trip
Sri Lanka's new foreign minister will travel to India on his first official visit after being sworn in this week to replace slain predecessor Lakshman Kadirgamar, a spokesman said.

The brother of President Chandrika Kumarataunga, Anura Bandaranaike, 56, is scheduled to arrive in India Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, a spokesman for his office said on Wednesday. (yahoo News/AFP)


Forget peace talks, punish rebels
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Supporters of JVP try to tie the hands of a man whom they suspect to be a Tamil rebel at a protest rally in Colombo August 23, 2005. ( photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Over 2,500 hardline Marxists marched in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday calling on the government to ditch planned peace talks with Tamil Tigers rebels and to punish them instead for a rash of killings blamed on them.

The People's Liberation Front (JVP), which defected from the government coalition over plans to share tsunami aid with the rebels, said it was time to get tough with Tigers -- who the government accuse of assassinating the island's foreign minister this month. (REUTERS Alert News)


Court asks elections chief to hold back on calling poll date
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court asked the elections chief to hold back on announcing the date of presidential polls pending a ruling on when the term of incumbent Chandrika Kumaratunga ends.

Kumaratunga and the opposition have argued about whether her current, final term ends in December this year or at the end of next year, a controversy on which the Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday. (yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lankans in Los Angeles Protest against the LTTE
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Los Angeles Sri Lankans protest against the continued LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. The latest being the killing of popular Foreign Minister drew protest from many leaders around the world including USA. ( photo by: Sunil Ranjith De Alwis )
On August 19, 2005, a large number of Sri Lankans gathered in front of the Federal Building to protest the escalation of terrorist acts including a recent spate of political killings in Sri Lanka by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem, a vicious terrorist group. Capping the terrorist activities, a few days ago, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgarmar was gunned down in cold blood.

The Sri Lankan protest in front of the Federal Building in Los Angeles is a calling on the international community to take action to stop the LTTE atrocities in Sri Lanka before they go any further.


FM chosen from Sri Lankan dynasty
Sri Lanka has named the brother of President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the replacement for assassinated foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Anura Bandaranaike is a member of a political dynasty going back 50 years and was already a cabinet minister. (BBC)


Hand grenades thrown into Tamil newspaper office in capital
Unidentified men threw two hand grenades into a Tamil newspaper office in Sri Lanka's capital on Saturday, but they did not explode, the military said, AP reported.

Three staff members were working in the branch office of the Sudar Oli newspaper, which is known for being accurate in reporting on the country's Tamil Tiger rebels. (China Daily)


Rebel clash kills 4 in east
At least four main stream Tamil Tiger cadres were killed and three others were injured as a result of internecine clashes, Sri Lankan defense officials said Friday.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) mainstream road block at Arasadithivu in the Batticaloa district had come under attack Thursday 11:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), defense officials said. (People's Daily)


LTTE widely being blamed for FM's murder
Despite the state of emergency imposed in Sri Lanka, the only signs appear to be the presence of special security forces sprinkled over the main roads and the special session of parliament where the government wants to seek parliamentary support to extend the current state of emergency by a month.

So far over fifty suspects have been questioned with at least eighteen of them being produced in court and released on bail while eight others including two Sinhalese female domestic workers and a male domestic servant have been remanded. (Jang)


Tigers agree to review truce
ri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have reportedly agreed to meet with the government and review their truce which was threatened following the assassination of the foreign minister.

Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had agreed to discuss ceasefire implementation with the Colombo government, the BBC said on its website citing the Norwegian peace broker. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Attacks on police in east
Police in eastern Sri Lanka had come under attack in two separate incidents, police sources said Wednesday.

Tn the first reported attack, a sergeant and a constable were injured when a police foot patrol was subject to a grenade attack at Batticaloa around 8:30 p.m. local time (1430 GMT) Tuesday. (People's Daily)


Urgent talks with Tigers, emergency extended
Sri Lanka's parliament has extended a state of emergency as the president asked peacebroker Norway to arrange an urgent meeting with Tiger rebels whom she has accused of assassinating her foreign minister.

The assembly Thursday voted 124-21 to extend for a month the tough emergency laws imposed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka needs polls for peace: Wickremesinghe
Four days after Sri Lanka's foreign minister was assassinated, former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday demanded fresh parliamentary elections to take forward the country's stalled peace process. Delivering the Dinesh Singh memorial lecture here.

Wickremesinghe underlined that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government lacked the majority support in the 225-seat parliament. "The President completes her second term of office soon. (India Daily)


Sacred Sri Lanka tree out of the woods in Taiwan
A sapling from a Sri Lankan bodhi tree deeply revered by Buddhists has at last made it into Taiwan after being rejected by quarantine authorities for fear of parasites.

The sapling from the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, believed to be descended from the bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, was detained at customs due to regulations forbidding imports of Sri Lanka bodhi trees with roots. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Tamil rebels say will not initiate war
Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels, accused of assassinating the foreign minister last week, have said for the first time that they will not resume a two-decade war for self-rule.

But the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said they would defend the island’s minority Tamils from attack. (Khaleej Times)


Cease-fire under increased strain
The fragile cease-fire between Sri Lanka's government and its ethnic Tamil rebels came under fresh strain Wednesday with the rebels accused of shooting at a combined police and military team investigating the killing of a senior policeman in northern Jaffna earlier the month.

The incident follows Friday's assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected rebel snipers in Colombo. (Yahoo News/Kyodo News)


Emergency extended for a month
Sri Lanka’s president called on Tuesday for a month’s extension of a state of emergency to give police and troops greater powers to hunt down the assassins of the country’s foreign minister.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga summoned an emergency session of parliament for Thursday to extend the emergency powers, invoked on Saturday for an initial 10 days, which allow searches without a warrant and detention without charges. (Wrold News)


Despite ceasefire, political killings on rise in Sri Lanka since April
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) signs a book of condolences in memory of the late foreign minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kadirgamar at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington August 16, 2005. ( photo Courtesy; Yuri Gripas/REUTERS )
Political killings in Sri Lanka continue to escalate past the one-a-day mark and last Friday's slaying of the foreign minister highlights the risk of a return to all-out civil war, a leading rights watchdog said Tuesday.

Lakshman Kadirgamar became the latest and most prominent victim of political violence that has persisted despite a 2002 ceasefire agreement between the government in Colombo and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said Human Rights Watch (HRW). (yahoo News/OneWrold)


UN rebukes LTTE for insulting Lankan flag
The United Nations has protested to the LTTE about an incident in which, about 60 people stormed into its office in Kilinochchi on Monday, and forcibly brought down the UN flag then flying at half-mast in honour of the slain Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar.

"These regrettable incidents took place after UN staff refused to comply with the group's demand that the flag not be flown at half-mast," said Maguel Bermeo, UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, in a press release issued on Tuesday. (Hindustan Times)


Tiger sniper kills a soldier
A suspected Tamil Tiger sniper shot dead a government soldier in northeastern Sri Lanka, a military official here said.

The soldier was killed as he stood guard at a sentry post near the town of Muttur, the official said on Tuesday, adding that the army suspected the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were responsible. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Defiance from a bunker
Douglas Devananda is the only surviving Tamil minister in the ruling Sri Lankan government alliance after last week's assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

He lives in a leafy, upscale neighbourhood in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, with doctors and businessmen for company. (BBC)


Emergency extended as Norway holds talks on peace process
Sri Lanka’s president called on Tuesday for a month’s extension of a state of emergency to give police and troops greater powers to hunt down the assassins of the country’s foreign minister.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga summoned an emergency session of parliament for Thursday to extend the emergency powers, invoked Saturday for an initial 10 days, which allow searches without a warrant and detention without charges. (Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka urges crackdown on Tamil rebels
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Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh (L)and Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee (R) attend the funeral of Lakshman Kadirgamar in Colombo.Sugandhi Kadirgamar (C) wife of the late Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar ( photo Courtesy; AFP )
Sri Lankans cremated their assassinated foreign minister Monday as the government urged the international community to clamp down on overseas supporters of Tamil rebels amid fears the killing could scuttle a three-year-old cease-fire.

Soldiers and police fanned out across Colombo which remained under a state of emergency while foreign dignitaries mingled with saffron-robed Buddhist monks and thousands of ordinary Sri Lankans to pay last respects to the slain Lakshman Kadirgamar at Independence Square. (ABC News)


Thousands at minister's funeral
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Pall-bearers carry the coffin of slain Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at Independence Square in Colombo August 15, 2005. ( photo by:Adeel Halim/REUTERS )
The funeral of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who was shot dead at his home on Friday has taken place in Colombo.

A heavy security cordon is in place with soldiers and navy personnel joining thousands of police.
Mr Kadirgamar's coffin, draped with the Sri Lankan flag, was taken on a 2km procession to the cremation site. (BBC)


Sri Lanka to cremate slain minister
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Sugandi Kadirgamar, wife of slain foreign Lakshman Kadirgamar, listens to Buddhist monks during their visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005. ( photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP )
Sri Lanka prepared to cremate its foreign minister with full state honours on Monday after an assassination President Chandrika Kumaratunga blamed directly on the Tamil Tiger rebels the minister campaigned to outlaw.

Carpenters worked through the night to erect a funeral pyre in Colombo's Independence Square as thousands of police scoured the city for the sniper or snipers who shot Lakshman Kadirgamar four times as he emerged from his swimming pool on Friday night. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Joint operation arrests 12 Tamils in assassination

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Sri Lanka's government said Sunday that 12 minority Tamils were arrested during overnight raids in connection with the slaying of nation's foreign minister, a killing that officials blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels and warned could rupture the island's fragile peace process.

The raids took place in and around the capital, Colombo, and netted 11 Tamil men and one Tamil woman, said Brig. Daya Ratnayake, the spokesman for the defense ministry. (US Today)


Manhunt for minister's assassins
Sri Lanka appealed for public help as more than 1,000 police hunted the suspected Tamil Tiger rebels who gunned down the foreign minister, an attack that has strained an already shaky ceasefire.

Police kept up house-to-house searches and detained about 15 people over the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar, shot dead at home here Friday in the highest-level political killing in this island nation in more than a decade. (Bahrain Tribune)

Tigers deny killing, president sticks to truce
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Sri Lankans pay their last respect to slain Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at his official residence in Colombo ( photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP )
Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency and soldiers searched homes and vehicles for suspects Saturday following the assassination of the country' foreign minister, which put the island's fragile peace process at risk. At least seven people were detained over the killing.

The government said Saturday it had not taken any action that would violate the cease-fire with the Tamil Tiger rebels, who the military blames for the fatal attack on Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, 73. The Tigers deny any role in the killing. (My Telus)


Sri Lanka minister's killing sparks civil war fears
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A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard on a street in Colombo, August 13, 2005. ( photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency on Saturday after a sniper shot dead Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an attack police blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels and which raised the spectre of a return to civil war.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam denied any involvement, condemning the attack and warning the state of emergency was endangering a 3-1/2-year ceasefire. The government said it found the rebels' denial hard to believe but said the truce would hold. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Government disbelieves Tiger denial of FM’s killing
The Sri Lankan government on Saturday blamed the Tamil rebels for the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, despite strong denials from the rebels that they were not involved in the killing that has drawn worldwide condemnation.

Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva told a news conference in Colombo that it was difficult to accept the Tamil rebel position that they were not involved in Friday’s assassination. (Khaleej Times)

World leaders condemn Kadirgamar's assassination
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World leaders today strongly condemned yesterday’s assassination of the Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, as a “vicious act of terror,” and “a gruesome deed.” Sri Lanka has declared a period of national mourning. A state funeral for Mr. Kadirgamar has been scheduled for Monday.

The Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was deeply saddened” by the assassination, strongly condemned it and said her government “will not be bowed by such heinous acts of violence and will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.” (The Hindu)


3 killed, 5 injured in Tiger attacks
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday gunned down a couple believed to be supporters of a rival ethnic Tamil group, hours after they attacked security forces at a camp for tsunami survivors, injuring four people, police and the military said.

Suspected rebels also shot dead a police sergeant and injured a village guard in northeastern Sri Lanka, police said. (Bahrain Tribune)

India condemns Kardirgamar killing as 'heinous act'
India on Saturday condemned the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar as a "heinous act" and said he was a "long-standing friend of India".

In a statement that "unreservedly" condemned the murder, the External Affairs Ministry hoped the "perpetrators of this terrorist crime" are brought to justice. (Hindustan Times)


a state of emergency declared
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The body of slain Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is moved from Colombo National Hospital to the police morgue
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an outspoken critic of the Tamil Tigers, was assassinated by suspected rebel snipers, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.

Kadirgamar, 73, was shot in the head and chest late Friday night at his tightly-guarded residence in the capital Colombo and died soon after in hospital, said army chief Shantha Kottegoda and hospital sources. (yahoo News/AFP)


Rice condemns minister's killing
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, greets Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, prior to their bilateral talks, Friday, June 3, 2005, at the State Department in Washington.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the assassination of Sri Lanka's prime minister as a "senseless murder and vicious act of terror" and urged Sri Lankans not to let it lead to resumed civil war.

In Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, "We condemn this outrageous and barbaric act" and offered condolences to the Sri Lanka government and Kadirgamar's family. (yahoo News/AP)


Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar assassinated
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Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar talks to reporters during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka in this February 27, 2004 ( photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi/REUTERS )
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has been assassinated by an unidentified sniper in the capital.

Kadirgamar, 73, was shot at his tightly-guarded private residence in Colombo, army chief Shantha Kottegoda told AFP. (The Australian News)


How one Sri Lanka city stays above the ethnic fray
The only thing that slows traffic between Sri Lanka's capital and the heartland city of Kandy are the winding uphill roads. There are no checkpoints, no police, no soldiers pointing rifles - none of the security precautions, built up after years of ethnic conflict, that clutter roads heading farther north into ethnic Tamil strongholds.

But Kandy, too, has a significant Tamil population. The Tamil and Muslim minorities account for 20 percent of the population. Yet, Kandy, Sri Lanka's second largest city, doesn't have the simmering tensions between Tamils and the Buddhist Sinhalese majority like the capital, Colombo, whose ethnic composition is similar. (Yahoo News)

JVP calls for abolishing joint deal with Tigers
Sri Lanka's main leftist party JVP or the People's Liberation Front has announced that abolition of a joint deal with the Tamil Tigers for tsunami relief co-ordination would be the key to any future alliance with the ruling party.

Wimal Weerawansa, the leading parliamentarian for the JVP told parliament Thursday that if they are to extend support to the ruling party in the near future, the P-TOMS or the post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure must be abolished. (People's Daily)


Kalashnikovs, karate? Tamil Tigers offer training
Want to learn how to handle a Kalashnikov, or try basic martial arts? Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are offering civilians a crash course in self-defence guerrilla-style, just in case a two-decade civil war resumes.

Around 2,000 housewives, university students, school teachers and senior citizens living in rebel-held territory assembled at a ground in their northern stronghold of Kilinochchi on Thursday for a fitness drill. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Sethu project will benefit Lanka also
Allaying Sri Lankan fears about the adverse environmental and economic impact of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) on the island country, India says that, far from harming Sri Lanka, the project will benefit it as much as it will benefit India.

"The project will give a boost to coastal shipping by opening the possibility of better navigability between Colombo port and ports in the North East of the island"Sunjay Sudhir, First Secretary at the Indian High Commission in Colombo told Hindustan Times here on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times)


JHU-JVP link on Presidential candidate
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Women walk past a wall plastered with election posters from the ruling Sri Lanka's Freedom Party's presidential candidate, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo August 10, 2005
( photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )

JHU Leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera told a news briefing that despite a major difference on national and religious issues the JVP is the only party the JHU could agree with on the question of national security and sovereignty.

'Candidates from both the main political parties are not concerned about the burning issues of the country,' the Ven. Thera said adding that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse is following an evasive policy while Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to become the President using the rising cost of living as the main issue. He said that none of the candidates have presented their policy on national security and terrorism, which is the burning problem at the moment. (LankaNewspapers)


Ruling party files court action on election
The dispute over the date for Sri Lanka's next presidential election took a new turn here Tuesday when the ruling party filed court action to seek an order for the election chief to hold the election in 2006.

A spokesman for Irrigation Minister Maithripala Sirisena who is also the general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) said that a petition was filed in the Supreme Court asking the Commissioner of Elections to require him to hold the election not before 2006. (Xinhuanet)


S.Lanka will not hunt down renegade rebels
A feud between Sri Lanka's mainstream Tamil Tigers and a breakaway faction that threatens to rupture a 3-1/2-year truce is an internal rebel problem, and the government will not hunt down and disarm the renegades, a top official said on Tuesday.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demand that the government disarm a splinter group led by a top former rebel commander called Karuna who broke ranks last year, warning that a rash of deadly attacks on its cadres could rekindle a two-decade civil war. (REUTERS AlertNews)


Thousands stranded as bus drivers decry fines
Tens of thousands of people were stranded across Sri Lanka on Tuesday and hundreds of children missed school as private transport operators went on strike to protest higher fines for bad driving.

The government introduced higher fines from July in an attempt to reduce a sharp increase in road accidents and discipline often reckless drivers. (REUTERS)


Desmond De Silva appeals on Autism in Sri Lanka
Superstar, Desmond de Silva created history by becoming the first ever Sri Lankan artiste to appeal on behalf of the 38,000 people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome on the island.

Children and people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome struggle without access the public services of health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care. There are only a handful of private schools catering to the needs of autistic children in Sri Lanka. (Click Press)


Opposition campaign to force presidential election
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has launched a signature campaign to force the holding of the country's next presidential election by the year's end.

The UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the petition campaign from the party headquarters Monday aimed at getting over 1 million signatures to urge the authorities to order the poll. (People's Daily)


20 people injured after train crashes into passenger car
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Schoolchildren look at the wreckage of a train after an accident in Ratmalana, about 12 miles south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Aug. 8, 2005. ( photo by:Eranga Jayawardena )
A train struck a passenger car sitting on a railroad track in southern Sri Lanka on Monday, injuring at least 20 people, police said.

The train crashed into the coach in Ratmalana, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the capital of Colombo. The coach had accidentally broken away from a train that had earlier traveled on the track, said Sirisena Herath, deputy inspector general of police, citing preliminary reports. (Hindustan Times)


President condemns Jaffna deaths
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Mutilated hacked body of Jaffna SP
Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga has condemned the deaths of a police official and a barber in the northern town of Jaffna.

The policeman was hacked to death by a mob after a soldier accidentally fired his weapon, killing the barber, officials say (BBC)


Angry mob kills policeman
A senior police officer was murdered by a mob in northern Sri Lanka overnight after a barber giving a hair cut was accidentally shot dead, police chief Chandra Fernando said.

Police Superintendent Charles Wijewardena was investigating the killing of the barber when a Tamil mob turned against him, military officials said. (The Australian)


Wild elephants cause for concern
Sweating nervously in the jungle heat, Sri Lankan ranger Mahesh Pahalage peers warily through dense undergrowth at a towering elephant's swishing trunk and gestures silently to a camouflaged colleague.

Unusually tense for an experienced tracker, Pahalage is among three teams of wildlife officers fanning across this 900-acre manmade teak forest in central Sri Lanka armed with shotguns. They are not hunting for poachers. (CNN)


Lanka facing serious economic woes
The International Monetary Fund yesterday warned Sri Lanka to revive a peace process with Tamil rebels and step up its tsunami reconstruction or risk compounding already serious economic woes.

Large fiscal deficits and a high level of public debt are sources of macro-economic instability while inflation is galloping away and reforms lagging, the international lender said. (Gulf Daily News)


Let court settle term row says President
The Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday sought the Supreme Court's help to settle the controversy over her term.

While she contends that her term ends in 2006, the opposition United National Party (UNP) says that it ends at the end of 2005 itself. While the UNP insists that the next Presidential election should be held in November-December 2005, the President's party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), says that the election is not due until the end of 2006. (Hindutan Times)


Government files review plea on P-TOMS
The Sri Lankan Government on Friday filed a review petition requesting the Supreme Court to reconsider its interim injunction on the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) agreement between Colombo and LTTE.

According to sources, the Government asked the court that it be permitted to carry on with the operational aspect of the P-TOMS as it was a "delegated power" made by the Government to the LTTE and did not amount to granting the rebels the functions of the Government. (The Hindu)


Norway in fresh bid to save peace process
Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway was sending a top envoy here for talks with the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in a fresh bid to save the troubled peace process, a government spokesman said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen will arrive here next week for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and leaders of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva said Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Follow IRA’s example, Sri Lanka urges Tamil Tigers
Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels should take their lead from the Irish Republican Army, lay down their weapons and abandon a two-decade armed struggle for self-rule, the island’s government said on Friday.

But Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka’s civil conflicts are worlds apart -- the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) control a de facto state in the South Asian island’s northeast and are locked in a standoff with the military that threatens to rupture a 2002 ceasefire. (Khaleej Times)


Three-way struggle
As a triangular struggle for control of the island country's restive east worsens among the Tamil Tigers, a renegade faction led by the so-called Colonel Karuna and the Sri Lankan army, observers fear the fragile truce brokered by Norway in February 2002 is about to come unstuck.

The monitors have been lobbying for a high-level meeting between government officials and Tiger representatives to break a deadlock over transport facilities in the tsunami-devastated East of the country and also to retrieve a rapidly deteriorating security situation. (Asia Times)


Sri Lanka to bring new laws to combat porn
Sri Lanka Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Ministry has decided to bring in new laws to combat the growing spread of pornographic material in the country, official Daily News reported Thursday.

The ministry had already completed several studies on this vexed problem and that they would soon introduce a countrywide program designed to wipe out pornographic material, the Ministry Secretary A.P.A. Gunasekera was quoted by the paper as saying. (People's Daily)


PM tapped to run for presidency
Sri Lanka's ruling party has chosen Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as its next presidential candidate when the country votes for a successor to Chandrika Kumaratunga, a government source said on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka's main political parties are locked in a bitter feud over the timing of the next poll, with the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in full election mode having already nominated former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as its presidential candidate. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


UN "to protect children from war"
The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution aimed at protecting children in armed conflict.

A UN report published earlier this year named those who recruited children for fighting, which included theTamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and groups in Burundi, Sudan, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. (BBC)


Journalists threatening the country`s security: President
President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday accused the private media and particularly defence correspondents of exposing sensitive military information in a manner that harmed national security.

Addressing armed services commanders the Police Chief and other senior officers at a conference held at the BMICH.An angry President told the journalists from the private and state media to leave before she briefed the security commanders. (LankaNewspapers)


President asks for foreign help to stop killings
Sri Lanka's president asked her main foreign backers to put pressure on Tamil Tiger rebels to stop their alleged killings amid growing international concern for a fragile truce.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga during talks with diplomats from the United States, European Union, Japan and Norway expressed her willingness to review the Oslo-brokered truce with Tamil Tiger rebels in a bid to improve confidence. (yahoo News/AFP)


UN to monitor children drafted into war, abused
UN Security Council members intend to adopt a resolution on Tuesday that would name and shame nations or rebels killing, maiming and sexually abusing children in war zones or recruiting them as soldiers.

The measure had been delayed since February, with China and others arguing that countries not yet on the council’s agenda could not be monitored, council members said. (Khaleej Times)


Swimming a growing sport in Sri Lanka
Prabha Dharmadasa, Mayumi Raheem and Milinda Wickramasinghe, who are competing this week in Montreal, lost their homes in the December tsunami that killed over 30,000 in Sri Lanka alone. They are still living in temporary shelters.

After the disaster, the government mandated that all children learn to swim. According to Wilson, police officers have been fanning out across the country, teaching kids the basic strokes and water survival skills. (The State)


Tsunami fraud claim, PM seen in clear
Sri Lankan investigators probing opposition claims that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa misappropriated tsunami aid have found no evidence of wrong-doing, a top police source said on Monday.

The main opposition United National Party has accused Rajapaksa of trying to siphon off nearly 83 million rupees (1 million pounds) worth of aid after his secretary transferred that amount to a relief fund set up to help rebuild the prime minister's tsunami-hit constituency on the south coast. (Swiss Info)


No tsunami threat in Sri Lanka after Indian quake
Following an earthquake off the Nicobar Islands in India, mild tremors were experienced in several places in Sri Lanka at about 9.45 pm on Sunday.

The Tamil station Shakthi FM said that no tsunami warning had been issued by the Sri Lankan government. (Hindustan Times)


Signing of P-TOMS biggest betrayal in history - Dambara Amila thero -
`The biggest betrayal in the history of Sri Lanka has been committed by CBK when she stealthily signed the P-TOMS agreement with a murderous terrorist organisation.

By this treacherous pact she has sold the country for her personal gains and deceived not only the Mahanayaka theras but the whole nation as well. Patriotic bhikkus of this country should cease all dealings with her and declare a `Sangha Ahona` (an act of prohibition) against her,` said Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, president Jathika Bhikku Peramuna (JBP) and senior lecturer in Archaeology, Sri Jayewardenepura University. (Lankanewspapers)


Indian diplomat's car snatched at gunpoint in Sri Lanka
Unidentified gunmen today snatched the vehicle of India's Assistant High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, K R Rajan Pillai, after forcing him and his family out of it, police said.

The brand-new four wheel drive vehicle was wrested from the diplomat at Ambepussa. (PTI News)


Violence hit in Eastern
A policeman and a civilian was killed in eastern Sri Lanka Thursday night by suspected Tamil Tigers, police said Friday.

Some six policemen were on duty at the Okanda Temple festival in Pottuvil, 332 km east of capital Colombo when the Tigers opened fire around 11:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) killing one of them and a civilian by stander, police said. (XinhuaNet)


ITN launches satellite digital video broadcast
Sri Lanka Independent Television Network has become Sri Lanka's first television channel to launch Satellite Digital Video Broadcast Direct To Home Daily News reported Friday.

"When most of the countries transform its analog transmission system to digital technology, it is a pity that we haven't taken any significant step forward towards this direction," said ITN Chairman Newton Gooneratne. (People's Daily)


village counsellor gunned down
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a village counsellor in eastern Sri Lanka, where growing violence threatens a fragile cease-fire.

Marimuthu Baskaran, 54, was shot dead by two men late Wednesday night in Kalmunai village, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the town of Batticaloa, said police officer C.I. Sushantha. (Jang)


Tsunami relief centre bombed, 3 injured
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on Thursday attacked a tsunami refugee camp in eastern Sri Lanka, wounding two elite special task force commandos and a police constable.

Military officials said the attackers lobbed a grenade into the sentry point at the Akkaraipattu tsunami relief centre on Thursday, wounding two special task force commandos and a police constable. (Hindustan Times)


Tiger rebels warn of truce collapse, Sri Lanka says no return to war
Sri Lanka's Tiger rebels have warned that a truce brokered by Norway was at "grave risk" of collapsing even as the Colombo government said it had no intention of returning to war.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) told Norway and the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission at a meeting in the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi that saving the truce was the responsibility of the government. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Aid pact salvageable but damage done Sri Lanka may be able to save a tsunami aid-sharing pact that donors hoped could jumpstart peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, but a court freeze on the deal has further strained a ceasefire already on the brink of collapse.

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court suspended the deal to share $3 billion worth of international aid with the Tigers last week after objecting to plans for a relief fund in the rebel's northern stronghold, a ruling which diplomats and analysts say has further eroded trust between the foes. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Donors issue truce plea
Sri Lanka's main foreign donors say escalating violence is threatening the island's peace process.

In a statement the donors expressed alarm at deteriorating security and urged the government and Tamil rebels to take urgent action to end bloodshed. (BBC)


Tigers kill soldier, civilian
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead a Government soldier and a civilian in two separate incidents in Sri Lanka today, amid mounting fears for a fragile truce.

The Army said a soldier was gunned down at the Eravur military check point in the island's east while a civilian was killed by a suspected Tiger pistol gang member in Puttalam in the north-west. (The Hindu)


India to rebuild tsunami-hit Colombo-Matara rail line
India is actively considering a Sri Lankan government request for help to rebuild and modernize the tsunami-hit Colombo-Galle-Matara railway line running along the island's western coast, according to diplomatic sources.

The rail line had hit the headlines all over the world on December 26, 2004, when the vicious waves of the tsunami hit a packed passenger train at Peraliya, killing 1,500 men, women and children. (Hindustan Times)


Court blocks tsunami deal
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has effectively blocked a controversial deal with Tiger rebels to share billions of dollars in tsunami aid.

Chief Justice Sarath Silva says locating the headquarters of the proposed Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) in a rebel-held area is unacceptable as ordinary citizens would not have access to the region. (ABC)


Tigers may use armed escorts, risking collapse of cease-fire
Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday announced they may have to start using their own armed escorts for guerrillas traveling through government-held areas.

Sri Lanka's three-year-old cease-fire and pushing it to the brink of collapse. European cease-fire monitors later entered emergency talks with the government on how to prevent the island nation from plunging back into war. (Hindustan Times)


Navy men fire back at Tigers
At least one LTTE cadre was shot dead and another two captured, when Navy personnel retaliated after coming under gunfire from a group of LTTE cadres at Kamburuppidy in Trincomalee last night, police said.

Trincomalee ASP G. Stanislaus said around 7.30 p.m. yesterday the Navy post came under fire from a group of LTTE men and Navy personnel at the post had to retaliate in self-defence. At the time of the incident there were three Navy personnel at the post, he said. (LankaNewspapers)


President appeals for calm as violence escalates
Sri Lanka's president has appealed for calm in the restive northeast where bomb attacks have killed four and wounded more than a dozen since the weekend, as police reinforcements were rushed to the area.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she had ordered "specific measures" to bring the situation in the coastal district of Trincomalee under control after an upsurge of violence following the killing of four Tiger rebels on Sunday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Police officer ambushed in troubled northeast
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed and wounded a police officer in restive northeast Sri Lanka, hours after nine soldiers were injured in a similar attack, police said.

Gunmen opened fire at the police inspector while he rode a motorcycle at Thampalakamam in the Trincomalee district, a police officer in the area said on Thursday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tigers quit key town, bomb hurled at tsunami relief center
A bomb was thrown at a tsunami relief centre in volatile northeastern Sri Lanka, wounding nine civilians, including a four-year-old girl, and two soldiers, police said.

The pre-dawn attack came amid mounting fears for the island's fragile truce between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, who without warning Wednesday quit their offices in the government-held town of Trincomalee. (Yahoo News/AFP)


UNP leads Opposition march into Colombo
Main Opposition United National Party (UNP) on Tuesday led a protest march into the capital Colombo, demanding that the presidential election be held later this year.

The 10-day protest march, which started at Dondra, the southern-most point in Sri Lanka, wound its way over 162 km before reaching the outskirts of Colombo on Monday evening. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the UNP's presidential candidate, led the protest march and addressed meetings along the route. (The Hindu)


Eight hurt as strike cripples northeastern
At least eight policemen and a soldier were wounded in suspected Tamil rebel attacks in strike-bound northeastern Sri Lanka, a day after the guerrillas warned of a return to war.

Two of the police officers were critically hurt when their anti-riot squad vehicle was attacked with a grenade in Trincomalee district, said a police official contacted by telephone on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


EU's Wallstrom inspects Sri Lanka's tsunami recovery
Top European official Margot Wallstrom inspected Sri Lanka's tsunami relief and recovery efforts funded by the European Commission.

Wallstrom, a vice president of the European Commission, travelled to the southern district of Galle and visited a food aid project that provides weekly rations to 910,000 tsunami-affected people countrywide, the statement said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Strike grips Trincomalee as Tigers warn war
strike gripped Sri Lanka's north-eastern district of Trincomalee on Tuesday to protest the killing of four Tamil Tigers, as the rebels warned that they were being "provoked" to resume their separatist war.

The district of Trincomalee, where the Indian Oil Company has a storage facility, was shut down following the strike called by a pro-rebel civilian organisation to protest the Sunday's killing of the four men. (Hindustan Times)


Tamil Tiger rebels warn of war after latest slayings
Tamil Tiger rebels warned that Sri Lanka could slip back into war and accused the government of provoking them to break a fragile Norwegian-brokered truce following the latest killings.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Sunday's killing of four of their cadres in the north-eastern district of Trincomalee was a serious breach of the ceasefire in place since February 2002. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Lankan maid had a dream to fulfill
The Sri Lankan maid who died in a fire rescuing the child in her charge last week in Jeddah came to the Kingdom just three months after her marriage. She promised her relatives that she would find the funds to build her dream house back home.

Asiyath Umma, 27, in the Kingdom for 18 months, sacrificed her life to rescue her employer’s eight-year-old boy. She died of smoke inhalation; the child was subsequently admitted to the hospital for treatment. (Arab News)


Tight security in the port town
Security forces were on alert Monday in an eastern Sri Lankan port town, a day after two senior Tamil Tiger rebels were gunned down.

Two civilians were also killed Sunday when unidentified assailants lobbed hand grenades at a Tamil Tiger rebel office in Trincomalee, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of Colombo. Police say the attack was probably linked to fighting between two rebel factions. (Hindustan Times)


Tigers mourn slain cadres amid tight security
Tamil Tiger rebels were observing a day of mourning in northeastern Sri Lanka a day after two of their senior members and two others were killed in a grenade attack, residents said.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said the four men will be buried at a Tiger war cemetery in an area they control within the coastal district of Trincomalee. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tamil Tigers training Nepal's Maoists
Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrilla group is providing military training to Nepal's Maoist insurgents in Bihar near the Nepalese border, a media report has said.

In its Friday edition, the South Asia Tribune, an ezine - magazine published on the Internet - from Washington said the Lankan rebels were teaching Nepalese outlaws to form human bomb squads for suicidal missions. (Hindustan Times)


Lankans ask UK to boot out LTTE from London
Making use of the 7/7 terrorist strike in London, politicians and media in the predominantly Sinhala-speaking south Sri Lanka are demanding that Britain boot the LTTE out of London if it is really serious about fighting terrorism globally.

Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero, leader of the Buddhist monks' party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), told journalists on Friday, that the LTTE's ideologue, Anton Balasingham, was spreading his terrorist ideology from his base in London without let or hindrance. (Hindustan Times)


Four killed by unidentified gunmen in capital Colombo
A tea trader and his three colleagues were found shot dead in the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday, with police saying they could have been killed over a business dispute.

The men belonged to Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority, and were believed to have been killed elsewhere and then dumped in a luxury jeep along a quiet but plush street in the city, said Sarath Kumara, a senior police official at the scene. (Khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka will not be forced to hold snap elections as budget vote looms
Sri Lanka's shaky minority government said it expected to survive a crucial budget vote later this year and would not be forced to hold snap elections, despite losing the support of its main Marxist ally.

Sri Lanka's constitution requires that the government resign if a finance bill is defeated on the floor of the house. Unless the opposition agrees to take over power, the country must face a snap election. (yahoo News/AFP)


President condoles the death and injuries of many in the London Bomb Blasts
Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka President, in a message to British Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned unreservedly the heinous bombing attack in London yesterday which caused death and injuries to many.

Presidential Secretariat in a press release described that “President Chandrika Kumaratunga was shocked and saddened to learn of the terrorist attack on the British capital.” (Asian Tribune)


S.Lanka crushes arms trade -- with bulldozers
Sri Lanka wants to crush its illegal firearms trade to curb its murder rate, so on Friday it did just that -- sending two bulldozers rolling over 32,000 rusty shot guns, rifles and handguns to drive its point home.

The arms, harvested from a firearms amnesty, a Marxist insurrection in the 1970s and 1980s, two decades of civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels and from crime gangs, were mostly beyond repair, and had been sitting in police and army stores for years. (SwissInfo)


Sri Lanka threatens legal action over India's new sea lane
Sri Lanka warned Thursday it may resort to legal action against neighbouring India over its plan to dredge the shallow sea dividing the two nations, but hoped to settle the issue amicably.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said Colombo could take India's Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project to an international court but added that this would be a "last resort." (Hindustan Times)


Intelligence officer shot dead ahead of PM's visit
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead an intelligence officer conducting security checks in eastern Sri Lanka ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, officials said.

The officer from the police intelligence unit was shot Wednesday in the town of Kalmunai in Ampara district, which the premier is due to visit on Saturday, officials said. Another officer was also shot and wounded. (Yahoo News/AP)


JVP marchs against peace broker Norway
Hundreds of Marxist party activists protested against peace-broker Norway here after Sri Lanka's foreign minister questioned Oslo's impartiality in the peace process with Tamil rebels.

The marchers, led by the Marxist JVP or People's Liberation Front, held up traffic at for hours at Lipton Circus and tried to march to the nearby Norwegian embassy but were blocked by heavily armed police and dispersed peacefully. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lankan hotels climb to world "Hot List"
Sri Lanka's tourism industry is celebrating this season as four hotels from the island nation have been featured in this year's "Hottest New Hotels and Resorts" rankings of the prestigious US-based travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.

Published in the May 2005 edition of the magazine, 116 hotels - from 38 countries - were ranked in the Hot List 2005. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board Chairman, Udaya Nanayakkara said, "Sri Lanka has turned a corner in luxury accommodation, further enhancing the island's reputation as a world-class destination." (Hindustan Times)


Sri Lankan hotels climb to world "Hot List"
Sri Lanka's tourism industry is celebrating this season as four hotels from the island nation have been featured in this year's "Hottest New Hotels and Resorts" rankings of the prestigious US-based travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.

Published in the May 2005 edition of the magazine, 116 hotels - from 38 countries - were ranked in the Hot List 2005. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board Chairman, Udaya Nanayakkara said, "Sri Lanka has turned a corner in luxury accommodation, further enhancing the island's reputation as a world-class destination." (Hindustan Times)


Foreign minister questions impartiality of peace broker Norway
Sri Lanka's foreign minister has questioned the impartiality of peace broker Norway after earlier urging it to quit unless it can ensure democracy in areas held by Tamil Tiger rebels, a report said.

The private Sunday Island newspaper quoted Lakshman Kadirgamar as saying that Norway -- asked by Sri Lanka in January 2000 to help mediate an end to decades of civil war -- must be seen as impartial. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Main opposition party launches drive for early elections
Sri Lanka's main opposition party launched a 10-day march with thousands of supporters to pressure President Chandrika Kumaratunga to call nationwide elections by year-end and revive a Norway-led peace process.

United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and supporters set off from the southernmost tip of the island for the capital Colombo, 170 kilometres (110 miles) north, where they will arrive for a rally on July 12. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Indian PM Singh to lay foundation stone for India-Sri Lanka sea lane
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone for a shipping channel in a narrow strait between India and Sri Lanka that will slash travel time for ships between the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, an official said.

"The prime minister will visit Tamil Nadu to inaugurate the Sethusamudram project Saturday afternoon," a spokesman for Singh said in the Indian capital. (Yahoo News/AFP)


UN body to purchase rice in Sri Lanka
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has decided to purchase 18,130 tonnes of rice from Sri Lankan farmers to offer to local people affected by the tsunami, Xinhua reports.

The agreement was signed between WFP Country Director Jeff Taft Dick and Sri Lanka Agriculture, Livestock and Lands Ministry Secretary Tissa Warnasuriya in Colombo recently, the Daily News reported Saturday. (New Kerala)


Security alert in eastern after killings, Tiger deadline
Government forces stepped up security in Sri Lanka's restive east, a day after suspected Tiger rebels killed three soldiers and issued a two-week deadline for the government to increase their levels of protection.

The defence ministry said security forces had stepped up their alert in the troubled eastern province while police began investigating Thursday's slaying of two military intelligence officers and their driver. (Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE gives two weeks ultimatum to Sri Lanka Government.
The Tamil rebel outfit –Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has extended a two weeks ultimatum to the Government of Sri Lanka to provide a foolproof security arrangements for their militant cadres to travel through the Government controlled areas to the region controlled by them.

This two weeks ultimatum was extended by S.Paramu Tamilselvan, Head of the LTTE’s political division at a meeting in Kilinochchi with the Hagrup Haukland, Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the Norwegian Embassy officials. (Asian Tribune)


Three soldiers killed in suspected rebel ambush in east
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a military vehicle in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing three soldiers from the army's intelligence unit, the defense ministry said.

Two suspected Tamil rebels on a motorbike fatally shot the driver, and then forced the motorized rickshaw to stop. One of the soldiers in the back seat shot back but the rebels sprayed them with bullets, killing both of them instantly, said military spokesman Brig. Daya Ratnayake. (Yahoo News/AP)


Sri Lanka's growth turns upwards
Sri Lanka's economic growth has started to recover from the tsunami which hit the island state in December.

Expansion for the year to March was 4.8%, up from the 4.4% recorded three months earlier. (BBC)


Time ripe for new journey
says Somawansha Amarasinghe
The time has come to detach from the two traditional political parties and hand over the country to patriotic forces said Mr. Somawansha Amarasinghe. He said that the leaderships of both traditional parties have betrayed the country. The leader of the JVP made these observations in the National Convention of Delegates held in Colombo yesterday.

Speaking of the destructiveness of the P-TOMS Mr. Amarasinghe said for the first time in history, the dignity of the state of Sri Lanka has been belittled before a terrorist organization. Which leader is capable of signing an agreement which hands over five out of ten positions and the chairmanship in the 'Regional Committee' to the terrorist tiger organization and restrict the sovereign state to have only the deputy chairmanship asked Mr. Amarasinghe. (LankaTruth)


Lanka Prez dispels fears about LTTE misusing tsunami funds
The Sri Lankan President said on Wednesday that there were built-in safeguards to ensure that the funds allocated to the Government-LTTE Joint Mechanism for post-tsunami reconstruction in the North Eastern Province were not diverted to military or other unauthorized purposes by the LTTE.

The Presidential Secretariat said in a press release that all allocation of funds to the Regional Committee of the Joint Mechanism would "follow proper, approved procedures" (Hindustan Times)


DPI protests Centre’s Defence deal with Sri Lanka
Members of the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) on Tuesday observed a fast in Chennai condemning the Centre’s decision to sign a Defence agreement with the Sri Lankan Government.

Thol Thriumavalavan, general secretary of the DPI, under whose leadership the fast was held, said, ‘‘All the parties who formed the government at the Centre, had always isolated Tamil Nadu.’’ (Newindpress)


Sri Lanka finds 35 new amphibian species, but shrinking habitat a threat
Conservationists in Sri Lanka, the world's top spot for frogs, have discovered 35 new species of the amphibians -- only to find that another 19 species have died out.

Sri Lanka's Wildlife Heritage Trust, in a report to be published Thursday, blames habitat loss on the tropical island for the die-off. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Muslim party makes up with ruling coalition
A key Muslim party in Sri Lanka's ruling coalition has withdrawn an ultimatum to the government that it drop a controversial deal to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels, party officials said.

The National Unity Alliance (NUA) had given President Chandrika Kumaratunga until Tuesday to roll back Friday's deal with the rebels. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Muslims strike over aid
Photo
Parliamentarian of JVP Sunil Handunnetti, left, arrives at the High Court to present a petition against the tsunami aid-sharing deal in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 27, 2005.
( photo by:Eranga Jayawardena) )
Muslims strike over aid
Sri Lanka's minority Muslims have gone on strike to protest for a greater role in a deal to distribute billions of aid dollars for December's tsunami victims.

Shops and schools closed and transport was disrupted in Muslim areas in the east and there were reports of roadblocks and tyre burning. The government signed a deal with Tamil Tiger rebels last week but Muslims say they were marginalised in it. (BBC)


US hails aid-sharing deal
The United States today praised an agreement between Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger rebels to share in the distribution of foreign tsunami aid.

The pact will allow the dispersal of some of the USD 3 billion in foreign tsunami aid to Sri Lanka's north and east, parts of which are controlled by the Tigers. (Hindustan Times)


Muslim party threatens to quit over tsunami deal
A key Muslim party threatened on Sunday to resign from the Sri Lankan government over a controversial deal to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels. The National Unity Alliance said it would quit the ruling coalition in two days unless the president drops a deal clinched with the Tigers on Friday to distribute billions of dollars in tsunami aid from international donors.

“We have decided to give the government 48 hours’ notice and thereafter we will leave,” deputy leader M.L.M. Hizbullah said, adding that as a first step he quit the politically-appointed post of chief of airports. (Dawn)


JVP to go to court against gov't tsunami agreement
Former main ally of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition, the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, said Sunday they will take legal action against the government's joint deal with the Tamil Tigers for Tsunami relief co-ordination.

The JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe told reporters here that his party would file action in court against the move to enter thejoint mechanism with the Tamil Tigers known as post Tsunami Operational Management Structure. (XinhuaNet)


Trinco harbour, Ampara coast under Kilinochchi
The strategically vital Trincomalee harbour and adjacent areas come under the controversial P-TOMS, the regional tier of which is LTTE dominated and is located in the Tiger controlled no-go district of Kilinochchi.

Trincomalee harbour and the adjacent coastal areas, regarded for centuries as a strategic prize, and of particular concern to Sri Lanka and India owing to the recent LTTE build-up, were affected by the tsunami. However, they have not been exempted from the ambit of the P-TOMS. Thus they come into the tsunami disaster zone, the two kilometre strip from the waterline. (LankaNewspapers)


UN's Annan 'pleased' with tsunami deal
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has welcomed a tsunami aid-sharing deal between Sri Lanka's government and Tamil rebels as an "important day" for the island.

Annan was "pleased" with the agreement between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , his spokesman said in a statement on Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Deal with Tigers sparks Muslim, Marxist anger
Sri Lanka entered a landmark tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tiger rebels and raised hopes of saving a Norwegian-led peace bid, but Marxists vowed to bring the government down and Muslims expressed anger over the pact.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government, which was reduced to a minority last week when a Marxist coalition partner walked out, said the deal could revive peace talks which have been on hold since April 2003. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Sri Lanka signed tsunami aid pact with Tigers
Photo
Maithripala Sirisena, River Basin Development Minister, left, shows a copy of a memorandum as Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama looks on during a media conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, June 24, 2005.
(photo by:Eranga Jayawardena)
Sri Lanka's government signed a long-awaited pact to share $3 billion in tsunami aid with the Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday, a senior government official told Reuters, a move that could revive a stalled peace process.

The signing comes after months of political bickering that threatened to collapse the government. Outside parliament, hardline Marxists opposed to the Tigers skirmished with anti-riot police as Buddhist monks in saffron robes noisily helped derail a debate inside. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Rebels say poised to sign tsunami aid pact
Photo
Buddhist monks and protesters break through a police barricade during a protest outside the parliament complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 24, 2005. The protesters are demonstrating against the Sri Lanka government's pact to share $3 billion worth of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tigers. The government signed the pact on Friday, a senior government official said, with the rebels due to sign later in the day.
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Friday they are poised to sign a long-awaited pact that gives them a share of $3.0 billion worth of tsunami aid, as government officials prepared to do the same and debate it in parliament.

As the debate loomed, police fired teargas to disperse about 1,000 supporters of Sri Lanka's hardline Marxist party, the People's Liberation Front, as they protested near parliament against a deal that led them to quit the ruling coalition last week. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Sri Lanka set to enter aid deal with Tigers, Marxists warn of protests
Photo
Leader of the People's Liberation Front or JVP, Somawansa Amerasinghe speaks during a press conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, June 23, 2005.
(photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe )
Sri Lanka is on the verge of clinching a deal with Tamil Tiger rebels on sharing foreign aid for post-tsunami reconstruction, official sources said as Norway kept up shuttle diplomacy to save the faltering peace process.

Sources close to the government said Thursday that the deal, seen as a prelude to saving Sri Lanka's peace bid, would "most likely" be signed on Friday.Norwegian diplomats here, meanwhile, made an unscheduled visit to the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi Thursday, a day after the guerrillas said that their talks with Oslo's deputy foreign minister Vidar Helgesen brought no results. (Yahoo News/AP)


U.S. may develop tsunami warning system
The United States is discussing with other nations a joint venture to develop an early-warning system to detect tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.

Some 280,000 lives were lost six months ago when the largest earthquake in the world in 40 years triggered a tsunami that brought death and devastation to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Maldives and Somalia. (SeattlePi)


Snap election possible - Minister
A senior minister yesterday acknowledged the possibility of early parliamentary elections, as a result of the simmering political crisis triggered by the JVP's pull-out, over the proposed Oslo-arranged tsunami aid sharing deal with the LTTE.

Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday morning told German Ambassador Jurgen Weerth that parliamentary election would have to be held if the UPFA government failed to pass its second budget. According to de Silva, who played a key role in negotiations, leading to the formation of the UPFA administration, just over a year ago, the forthcoming budget would indicate the fate of the government. (The Island)


Controversial aid deal to parliament
Sri Lanka's controversial aid mechanism with the Tamil Tigers is to be presented in the country's legislature, a senior minister said Thursday.

Maithripala Sirisena, the Leader of the House of Parliament and the senior government minister, told parliament that the proposed joint deal with the Tamil Tigers for tsunami relief co-ordination in Tamil regions officially known as the post-Tsunami operational management structure would be subject to an adjournment motion in the House on Friday. (Hindustan Times)
Sri Lanka's AIDS worries: UN
A United Nations report released Thursday urged Sri Lankan leaders to "break the silence" and tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS which it said has been worsened by December's tsunami disaster.

The Millennium Development Goals Report, compiled by the UN Development Program (UNDP), called on politicians "to break the silence to encourage people to learn how to protect themselves..." (Hindustan Times)


Tensions rise as Norway tries to salvage peace bid
Tensions mounted in northeastern Sri Lanka after suspected Tiger rebels attacked villagers as a Norwegian envoy held talks with the guerrillas on reviving peace talks, police said.

Suspected supporters Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam men lobbed a grenade at a motorcycle near the northeastern district of Trincomalee, wounding two women and a man, a police official in the area said on Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Former gov't ally blames NGOs for breaking up gov't
The former main partner in Sri Lanka's ruling coalition on Wednesday blamed the agents of non- governmental organizations (NGOs) dependent on foreign funds for breaking up the government.

Wimal Weerawansa, the parliamentary group leader of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, while addressing parliament on the first session since walking out of the government here Wednesday, said that their leaving of the government headed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga was caused by a conspiracy hatched by a small group within the government who are agents of NGOs. (People's Daily)




Tiger rebels say Sri Lanka promises to share aid soon
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Wednesday that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had promised she will soon share $3.0 billion in tsunami aid with them, but pact broker Norway said more government talks were needed first.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said Norway had asked them to wait until a political spat over the issue -- which has split the coalition government in two -- has died down before it goes through. (REUTERS Alert News)


President discusses tsunami aid deal with Norway minister
The much debated tsunami aid deal was top of the agenda when Sri Lankan President received Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister at her official resident yesterday.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga expressed her strong commitment to proceed with the proposed Post-Tsunami Operations Management Structure (P-TOMS) which is sometimes referred to as the Tsunami Relief Council by the government and 'Joint Mechanism' by opponents of the agreement, and briefed Deputy Minister Vidar Helgesen on her consultations with political parties, religious leaders and civil. (PressEsc)


JVP/JHU to field common presidential candidate
Political sources say The Janatha Vimukthi Permauna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) may get together to field a common candidate at the next Presidential elections. A common candidate, who would stand for the unitary character of the country and one who would denounce terrorism would be their choice as the common presidential candidate.

A JHU member said there were many in the SLFP and the UNP who were willing to support them at the right time and this was the right time for the country to present a common candidate rather than somone from the two main political parties. (LankanNewspapers)


You are responsible for break up of the Alliance
Tilvin Silva tells the President
Tsunami relief council would definitely jeopardize the unity of the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims living in this country and undermine the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka by getting the tiger organization statehood says Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP in a letter to the President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Replying to a letter sent by the President in reply to a letter sent by him, the General Secretary of the JVP states, "So far at least a rough draft of the so-called tsunami relief council, which we believe would critically affect the political future of Sri Lanka and has already aroused a gigantic opposition to it to bring about political upheaval, has not been put before the country other than certain statements made unilaterally by you and a few others in your party. (LankaTruth)


Don't politicise tsunami aid, warns Tamil leader
Tamil Tiger rebels have asked Sri Lanka not to "politicise" tsunami relief, but said working with Colombo to distribute foreign aid could help build confidence among the warring parties.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they invited Colombo to jointly distribute relief to survivors of the December 26 tsunami but regretted that six months later the government has still taken no action. (yahoo News/AFP)
Sri Lanka defends tsunami taxes
Sri Lanka's government has defended the $1m customs duty it charged the charity Oxfam for bringing in 25 off-road vehicles for tsunami aid work.

Finance Minister Sarath Amanagama said the rules applied to all and exceptions were not being made for charities. (BBC)


Fresh Norway push for peace as Sri Lanka rules out snap polls
Norway has announced a fresh mission to jumpstart Sri Lanka's faltering peace process as Colombo ruled out snap polls after the government was reduced to a minority over a deal with Tamil rebels.

Norway's deputy foreign minister, Vidar Helgesen, was slated to arrive Monday for a five-day visit to talk with Sri Lankan leaders on the peace process, the Norwegian embassy said in a statement on Friday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


JVP keeps option open to rejoin
Photo
Somawansa Amerasinghe, leader of People's Liberation Front, a major coalition partner, reacts during a press conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, June 16, 2005
(photo by:Eranga Jayawardena )
Sri Lanka's main Marxist party quit the 14-month-old coalition government to protest sharing aid with Tamil Tiger rebels, but kept the door open for reconciliation with President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

The JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said its decision to leave had gone into effect at midnight, leaving Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) as a minority administration backed by smaller parties. (Yahoo News/AFP)




JVP quits government
The main Marxist coalition partner quit Sri Lanka's government in protest against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's plans to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels, a party spokesman said.

The JVP said its decision to leave the government on June 16 went into effect at midnight because there was no response from the president to their demand that she cancel plans for the aid deal. (Yahoo News/AFP)


JVP refuses to put off deadline for quitting coalition
The main partner in Sri Lanka's ruling coalition did not give an indication to postpone their deadline for quitting the coalition after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's appeal, the Daily Mirror reported Wednesday.

The prime minister urged the JVP or the People's Liberation Front to reconsider its decision to quit the government immediately after the midnight Wednesday and put off the deadline till June 30, but the JVP leader rejected the appeal. (Xinhua Net)


Sri Lanka to share tsunami aid with rebels
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Ve. Damabar Amila (C), of National Bhikkhu Front, lies during the fourth day of his fast to protest against the government's plans to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels in Colombo June 15, 2005
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's president vowed Wednesday to go ahead with a deal to share tsunami aid with the rebel Tamil Tigers, despite a threat by a ruling coalition partner to leave the government if she does not back down.

Opponents say the pact backed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga threatens the country's sovereignty and will help the Tigers in their quest to carve out a separate state. On Tuesday, more than 10,000 demonstrators rallied in Sri Lanka's capital to oppose the pact. (Yahoo News/AP)
2 held in Tamil journalist's murder
Sri Lankan police have arrested two persons in connection with the abduction and murder of senior Tamil journalist, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, media reports said.

The two suspects were members of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE). "Investigators have also taken into custody a vehicle alleged to have been used by the suspects to abduct Sivaram and the SIM of the mobile phone" used by the late journalist. (The Hindu)


10,000 Sri Lankans protest proposed tsunami aid-sharing deal
Ten thousand protesters gathered Tuesday in Sri Lanka's capital to oppose sharing tsunami aid with rebels, prompting police to bolster security around the president's house.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga says she will go ahead with her government's plan for a joint council with the Tamil Tigers to disburse the aid, despite growing protests and threats from her political allies. (Hindustan Times)


Tamil rebels fire on Sri Lankan navy patrol
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels fired at a navy patrol Tuesday in northern Sri Lanka, wounding at least one sailor, the defence ministry said.

The wounded man was among four sailors on a reconnaissance patrol in the town of Manner, 235 kilometers (146 miles) north of Colombo. (Hindustan Times)


Sri Lanka coalition in survival talks, police tear-gas monks
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Buddhist monks carry a monk during a protest in the capital Colombo June 13, 2005.
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's president held talks with opposition leaders to seek support after a key coalition partner threatened to quit over a tsunami aid deal with Tamil Tiger rebels.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga was holding closed-door talks with main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe after discussions with other political leaders, a spokesman for her office said on Monday. (China Daily)


Police use tear gas, batons to break up monks protest
Police fired tear gas and used batons for the second time in days to break up a protest by Buddhist monks opposed to government plans to enter into a tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tamil rebels, a witness said.

Protestors from the National Monks' Front were halted by anti-riot squads while marching toward President Chandrika Kumaratunga's tightly-guarded residence here, a witness said. (Relief Web)


Tsunami council will not affect territorial integrity: Chandrika
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has assured the Buddhist leadership in the island-nation that the proposed Post-Tsunami Operations Management Structure (P-TOMS) "does not threaten the nation's security or territorial integrity."

At a meeting with the Mahanayakas of three Buddhist chapters — Malwatte, Amarapura and Ramannya — on June 10, Ms. Kumaratunga "explained in detail" the proposed Tsunami Relief Council for the north and east and its status. (The Hindu)


Tsunami survivors protest in southern Sri Lanka demanding compensation for destroyed homes
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Tsunami survivors block traffic during a protest in Pareliya, about 95 kilometers (59 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, June 12, 2005.
(photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Hundreds of tsunami survivors protested in southern Sri Lanka Sunday alleging the government has still not compensated them for homes lost to December catastrophe.

The demonstrators in Pareliya village carrying black flags blocked traffic on the main road linking capital Colombo with the southern town of Galle.Protesters turned violent and stoned a bus when police tried to disperse the crowd. They said police attacked protesting women with rifle butts. No one was injured. (yahoo News/AP)


JVP sticks to its guns – June 16 deadline stands
The JVP does not accept President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s pledge to the four chief prelates and will still leave the government on June 16 if there is no definite statement that the Joint Mechanism will be chucked out in its entirety.

"We don’t accept her (Kumaratunga’s) statement to the chief prelates," said Wimal Weerawansa, JVP propaganda secretary. "It merely says that the Joint Mechanism won’t be set up without discussion with the chief prelates. It doesn’t mean anything. She may still sign the Joint Mechanism after talking to the monks." (The Island)



Buddhist monk turned former Christian Minister passed away
Photo
Venerable Nashville Samitha
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles:
Venerable Nashville Samitha , a Buddhist monk turned former Christian Minister passed away at his home at the Sarathchandra Buddhist Center in North Hollywood, California.

He was 94 years old when his illustrious life came to an end, the incumbent of the Center , Venerable Bhante Yatrawana Siriniwasa said.He passed away on Tuesday June 7 listening to the chanting of Pirith by the other monks of the Center, Venerable Siriniwasa added.
Monk ends 'death fast' in exchange for talks
A Buddhist monk legislator called off a death fast, a day after Sri Lanka's president promised to consult the clergy amid growing opposition to her plan to share tsunami aid with Tiger rebels.

But a bigger threat to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government loomed with a threat by the Marxist JVP party to pull out of the ruling coalition, setting the stage for its possible collapse, unless she abandons the aid-sharing plan by next Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Grenade attack kills two, wounds five
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels attacked the office of a rival Tamil group in northern Sri Lanka with grenades, killing two people and wounding five, the military said.

An office of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) came under attack just before midday at Kurumankadu in Vavuniya district, a military spokesman here said on Saturday. (Yahoo News/AFP)




Karuna group opposes JM
The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, political party led by LTTE breakaway group leader Karuna, has written to President Chandrika Kumaratunga that a Joint Mechanism with the Wanni leadership of LTTE, for post tsunami rehabilitation for the North and East, would not be in the interest of the people of the Eastern Province.

In the letter, addressed to the President by the Secretary of the party K.Suvami last Monday (6), the Karuna group said "The people in the Eastern Province had received nothing but gruesome handling of their aspirations and live in an atmosphere of their own. It is a well known fact that peace cannot be achieved by mere words or fabricated through forces (arms) as the Wanni leadership evidently believes. The truth still remains that the people in the Eastern. (The Island)


Gov't under fire over plan to share tsunami aid with rebels
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Buddhist monks duck teargas and water cannons outside Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's residence in Colombo
(photo by:Sena Vidanagama)
Sri Lanka plunged into deeper crisis as a key coalition partner gave the president five days to back off from an aid-sharing deal with Tamil rebels and Buddhist monks threatened to set themselves on fire over the issue.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to break-up a protest by saffron-robed Buddhist monks, before President Chandrika Kumaratunga tried to defuse tension by announcing she had not finalised dates for the deal. (yahoo News/AFP)


JVP threatens to quit
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Somawansa Amarasinghe, leader of the Sri Lankan Marxist People's Liberation Front, center, parliamentarians, Wimal Weerawansa, left, and Tilvin Silva, greet the media at a press conference in Colombo, on Friday
(photo by:Eranga Jayawardena )
A key member of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition threatened to quit Friday unless the government scraps its plan to let Tamil rebels help dole out billions of dollars in tsunami aid.

If the Marxist People's Liberation Front withdraws from President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling coalition, the government could collapse. (Boston News)


Lanka to receive radar systems from India
Giving a major boost to their defence cooperation, Sri Lanka today said it will accept air defence radar systems from India as the two sides announced a slew of measures which would help the island nation in various spheres of development.

At a joint press interaction with External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh after the meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, his counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar said "Yes, certainly we will accept it." (Outlook)


Sri Lankans protest as officials seize their land for tsunami 'safety zone'
When the tsunami hit Arugam Bay, a small community on the east coast of Sri Lanka, more than 300 people died. Then, the country's rival communities, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, stood shoulder to shoulder as they grieved.

Almost six months after the Boxing Day disaster, the friends and neighbours of the victims have come together again in a show of solidarity, amid fears that the face of Sri Lankan tourism is being changed for ever. (The Independent)


India committed to Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity
External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, who left for Sri Lanka on Thursday on a three-day visit, will co-chair the sixth meeting of the joint commission between the two countries, an official statement said.

It is his first visit to Colombo after assuming office in May 2004. (The Hindu)


Chief prelates issues serious warning to Chandrika
The chief prelates of the three buddhist sects have issued a jointly signed statement to compel the President to immediately stop the signing of the Joint Mechanism agreement with the terrorist Tiger organisation.

she fails to do it a religious edict to this effect will be issued, the Chief Prelates have stated further. ( LankaTruth)


Main opposition in the dark on joint
Sri Lanka's main opposition accused the government of keeping them in the dark on the proposed joint tsunami relief mechanism with the Tamil Tigers.

Karu Jayasuriya, the deputy leader of the United National Party(UNP), told reporters here Thursday "We do not know details of it." ( XinhuaNet)


More Buddhist Monks join death fast against Tiger deal
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Ven.Attanagalle Rathanapala, who is also a member of JVP backed National Bhikkhu Front, joins a fast-to-the-death protest in front of the main railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka June 8, 2005.
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Seven more Buddhist Monks have joined fasting unto death against Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's move to enter a joint deal with the Tamil Tigers on post-tsunami reconstruction.

The Monks belonging to the National Bhikku Front, an affiliated organization of the Marxist JVP or the People's Front started their fast in the capital Colombo's main business area of Fort Wednesday morning. (People's Daily)


LTTE asks govt to risk war over aid
Sri Lanka’s government is dragging its feet over plans to share $3 billion in tsunami aid with Tamil areas and risks plunging the island into a dangerous situation, Tamil Tiger rebels warned on Tuesday. Nearly six months after the Indian Ocean tsunami battered Sri Lanka’s coast and flattened communities on both sides of the ethnic divide, senior government aides say bickering over the issue within the ruling coalition could force a snap election.

“If they do not definitely say they would sign the joint mechanism, the situation would become very serious and dangerous,” Tiger political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan said in Kilinochchi, the rebels’ northern stronghold, after talks with a visiting Norwegian envoy. ( Dawn)


Key coalition partners signal quitting
Sri Lanka's Marxists, key coalition partners of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, have announced they will block her plan to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels even if the move leads to a collapse of government.

The Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, in its first policy announcement in parliament over the controversial aid-sharing deal with Tiger guerrillas, said Wednesday it was willing to sacrifice the government. ( Yahoo News/AFP)


President promotes plan to jointly distributing tsunami aid with Tamil Tigers
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Buddhist monks, who are also members of People's Liberation Front backed National Bhikkhu Front, join a protest in front of the main railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka June 8, 2005.
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's president said her proposal to join with Tamil Tiger rebels to distribute tsunami aid is a golden opportunity for the country to forge peace, despite high-profile opposition to the plan _ including from monks on protest fasts.

Today we have a golden opportunity to stop fighting and move forward through peace," President Chandrika Kumaratunga was quoted Wednesday as saying in the state-run Daily News newspaper. (Yahoo News/AP)


Split in Chandrika's party over deal with LTTE denied
A spokesman for the Sri Lankan Cabinet minister, Mangala Samaraweera, has denied that he had resigned from the Media and Information portfolio because he had differences with President Chandrika Kumaratunga over the proposal to establish a Joint Mechanism with the LTTE for post-tsunami reconstruction in the Tamil-speaking North Eastern Province .

The spokesman told HindustanTimes.com on Wednesday, that Samaraweera resigned from the Information and Media Ministry only to enable President Kumaratunga to accommodate Reginald Cooray, who would be quitting the chief ministership of the Western Province and becoming a Cabinet minister at the Centre. ( Hindustan Times)


Join hands to Defeat Betrayal
-Wimal Weerawansa-
Mr Wimal Weerawanse group leader of the JVP parliamentarian today made a special statement in the parliament regarding the proposed Joint Mechanism for tsunami affected areas.

In this speech Mr Weerawansa stressed “The number of Grama Sevaka Divisions affected by tsunami disaster in the North and East is only 319. Out of them 270 are fully in the control of the government of Sri Lanka. Less than 49 Grama Sevaka Divisions are in un liberated areas, where they are controlled by the Tigers organization at gun point. It is no secret that even in these 49 Grama Sevaka Divisions government exercise some control and discharges their responsibilities though with short comings.” (LankaTruth)


LTTE claims they would use air assets
The Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka for the first time announced Tuesday that they would put into use their air capability.

The head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) S.P. Thamilselvan told reporters in the rebel- held Kilinochchi district on Tuesday that they would be using their ground troops, naval unit and its "air force" to provide security to their cadres in traveling through the government controlled areas in the war-torn north and east provinces. (People's Daily)


LTTE assails Colombo stand on transport facilities to its leaders
Opposition to Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's proposed post-tsunami operational management structure (P-TOMS) has gained momentum. Hardliners have demanded its withdrawal and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam shifted their emphasis to the current status of the ceasefire agreement and the provision of transport facilities for its regional leaders.

The LTTE on Tuesday said the ceasefire agreement (CFA) "is under serious threat" due to the "actions and inactions" of the Government. (The Hindu)


Government has diluted stand on LTTE: Swamy
The Janata Party president, Subramanian Swamy, on Tuesday said that the Tamil Nadu Government has diluted its stand on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) resulting in the free movement of LTTE cadres in Ramanathapuram district.

Refuting the Chief Minister's charge that he had changed his stand on the LTTE, Dr. Swamy said the Chief Minister had slackened in the hunt for the LTTE in Tamil Nadu. (The Hindu)


Sri Lanka eases rule for kids’ passport
The citizenship certificate is no more a prerequisite to apply for separate passports for Sri Lankan children born outside their home country, according to a new decision taken by the immigration authorities of Sri Lanka.

An embassy source in the UAE said that immigration authorities back home had agreed to issue passports for children born in the UAE, whose applications for citizenship were still pending with the authorities. (khaleej Times)


Sri Lanka coalition under siege as monks, Tigers raise pressure
Media minister Mangala Samaraweera resigned
Photo
Parliamentary group leader of Jathika Hela Urumaya, Omalpe Sobhitha (R), meditates during a fast-to-death protest in front of the Tooth Temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka June 7, 2005.
(photo by:Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Sri Lanka's president came under intense pressure as a key minister quit and the influential Buddhist clergy vowed to end her career if she approved an aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam also raised the stakes by warning that a truce arranged by peace broker Norway was under "serious threat," signalling that the country could slip back to war. (Yahoo News/AFP)


India's external affairs minister to visit Sri Lanka
India's external affairs minister will visit Sri Lanka this week to discuss expanding trade, investment and tourism, the island's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

During his two-day visit starting Thursday, K. Natwar Singh will attend the Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar, the ministry said in a statement. (Yahoo New/AP)


Tiger proxies disrupt Sri Lanka parliamentary session
Proceedings in Sri Lanka's parliamentary sessions were interrupted twice here Tuesday as the Tamil Tiger proxy party staged a noisy protest, parliamentary officials said.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs became unruly after its senior legislator Mavai Senathirajah made an address on the situation in the eastern port town of Trincomalee (XinhuaNet)


Norway's ambassador meets with Tamil rebels
Norway's ambassador to Sri Lanka Hans Brattskar has flown to a rebel held area in the northern part of the country to discuss proposals to handle post-tsunami rehabilitation work there, officials said Tuesday.

The meeting between Brattskar and Tamil political wing leader S.P.Thamilselvan was taking place on Tuesday amidst strong protests by Buddhist monks who oppose the proposed aid plans. (ReliefWeb)


Menik Ganga project starts
The largest irrigation project in Sri Lanka after 20 years commenced yesterday at Lunugamvehera.

The chief guest at the inaugural ceremony to mark the opening of this highly important irrigation project was Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. (LankaTruth)


Two Tamils killed in attacks that may be linked to feuding between militants
Gunmen on Monday fatally shot two Tamil men in separate attacks in the capital and eastern Sri Lanka that authorities suspected were linked to feuding between militant groups, the military and police said.

The victim in Colombo was a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel who was seriously wounded when police found him while patrolling near a newspaper office of a pro-government Tamil group opposed to the rebels, said Brig. Daya Ratnayake, a military spokesman. (Yahoo News/AP)


Sri Lanka in political showdown over tsunami aid
Sri Lanka's government scrambled on Monday to convince its Marxist ally not to topple it over plans to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels, as a top Buddhist monk began a fast-to-the-death protest.

Senior government aides said President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her cabinet were in crisis talks with the ruling coalition's Marxist partner, the People's Liberation Front (JVP), to avoid a defection that could force the second snap poll in just over a year. (REUTERS AletNet)


Malaysia to allow influx of workers from Sri Lanka
Malaysia is to allow an unlimited number of workers from Sri Lanka into the country in a bid to address a critical labour shortage.

The agreement, which places Sri Lanka on a list of official labour-providing countries, follows the Sri Lankan Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Athauda Seneviratne's visit to Kuala Lumpur last week. (Yahoo News/AFP)


World marks green day; big city mayors sign pacts
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Mayor Ajith Mannapperuma (L) of Gampaha, Sri Lanka, points to the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge as he talks with U.S. Park Ranger Howard Levitt in San Francisco, June 3, 2005.
(photo by:Lou Dematteis )
Big city mayors from around the world signed a series of pacts on Sunday to improve the conditions of urban centers, capping a five-day U.N. World Environment conference in San Francisco, the city where the United Nations was founded in 1945.

The signing ceremony on World Environment Day in the ornate rotunda at City Hall committed more than 50 of the world's largest cities to "build an ecologically sustainable, economically dynamic, and socially equitable future for our urban citizens," organizers said. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Lanka outfit ups the ante
The LTTE today said they would arrange their own transportation through government controlled-territory if Sri Lanka fails to provide them with escorts amid stepped-up tensions between the two sides.

In a letter to the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission which oversees the country’s three-year-old truce — the rebels’ political chief SP Thamilselvan warned of finding “other means” if the government fails to transport them, senior rebel officials said on condition of anonymity. (The Statesman)


Peace hopes rise after India backs aid plan
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President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
(photo by:Prakash Singh )
Sri Lanka's hopes of reviving peace talks with Tiger rebels were raised after India gave its backing to a controversial aid-sharing deal with the guerrillas, a senior diplomat and analysts said.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga Friday secured support of the powerful northern neighbour for a deal with Tamil Tigers who remain outlawed by New Delhi since 1992 for their role in the slaying of former premier Rajiv Gandhi. (Yahoo News/AFP)


TEXT OF JOINT STATEMENT BY INDIA
AND
SRI LANKA

Buddhist monks launch protest against Joint Mechanism
A group of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka today launched a protest movement against the government’s plans to sign a ‘Joint Mechanism’ with the separatist rebels in the north, SinhalaNet news service reported today.

A motorcade carrying Buddhist elders belonging to the nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), an all-clergy political party that commands nine seats in the national Parliament, will set off from Colombo and will travel to one of Buddhism’s holiest sites, the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy. (Press Esc)


Opposition leader defends truce agreement
Sri Lanka's main opposition leader has maintained that despite government's claims, the truce agreement he entered with the Ail Tigers three years ago was not the cause of violence and murder in the country.

Addressing a public rally in the north central town of Anuradhapura on Friday, Ranil Wickremesinghe said President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who had criticized the Norwegian backed agreement, could have abrogated it if she did not like it. (People's Daily)


Sri Lanka to support India’s SC bid: FM Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has declared his country’s support here India’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Asked at a press conference on Friday about Sri Lanka’s position, he replied that as far back as September 2004, the Sri Lankan president had endorsed India’s candidature as well as that of Germany, adding, “though we have not so far taken any decision on logistics, but our endorsement is very categorical.” He also said that Colombo would support veto powers for India were it to obtain the Security Council seat it seeks. (Daily Times)


India, U.S. worry rebels seeking air force
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice greets Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at her State Department office in Washington, June 3, 2005. Kadigamar is in Washington on an official visit.
(photo by:Jason Reed )
Both India and the United States are concerned about reports that Tamil Tiger rebels are seeking to build up an air force, Sri Lanka said after a state visit to India by President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced "concern", while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "took serious note" during a separate briefing in Washington by foreign ministry officials, the Sri Lankan government said. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Vaiko opposes assistance to Sri Lanka
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to give any defence assistance to Sri Lanka in the interests of the Tamils in the island.

Mr. Vaiko met Dr. Singh on Saturday and expressed serious reservations over the defence agreement between India and Sri Lanka proposed during the current visit of the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, as also on other agreements signed between the two countries. (The Hindu)


India for early resumption of talks bet Sri Lanka Govt, LTTE
Favouring early resumption of talks between Sri Lankan government and LTTE, India today supported a "comprehensive" and "negotiated" solution to the ethnic conflict as the two countries decided to conclude talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnerhsip Agreement

In a joint Statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the two sides expressed concern over ceasefire violations and illegal acquisition of air capability. (BBC)

'Held captive by the Tamil Tigers'
A leading Tamil activist resident in the UK who was a former supporter of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers has been talking to the BBC about his alleged kidnapping by the rebels.

Rasingham Jeyadevan says he was held captive by the Tigers during a recent trip to Sri Lanka. (BBC)


Violence hindering tsunami aid - agencies
A spree of killings in Sri Lanka's restive east and flaring ethnic tensions are hindering tsunami relief efforts, a group of nearly 100 aid agencies said on Friday, calling for an end to the violence.

Shootings and grenade attacks have become commonplace in Sri Lanka's east in recent months, blamed largely on feuding between Tamil Tigers and remnants of a breakaway faction. (Reuters's Alert News)

Kumaratunga briefs on peace deal with LTTE
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a three-day visit, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and briefed him about the peace process between her government and the Tamil Tigers.

Kumaratunga also informed Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening about the proposed tsunami joint mechanism with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and sought India's views on it. (Hindustan Times)

'Ghost photo' does the trick
The N-series passport introduced by the Sri Lankan government has helped curb illegal immigration to a great extent, thanks to the 'ghost' photo which appears alongside the original picture.

Mohammed Nabavi Junaid, the newly-appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to UAE, told Khaleej Times that the novel security features in the passport does not allow tampering with either the photograph or personnel details. (Khaleej Times)

Cracks widen in the UPFA
Major differences in the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance further widened with two major partners adopting uncompromised stands on the proposed tsunami joint mechanism with the Tamil rebels.
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna reiterated its staunch opposition to any truck with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as President Chandrika Kumaratunga embarked on a visit to New Delhi to obtain the Indian tacit understanding before establishing the joint mechanism. (Asian Tribune)

India offers to aid Lanka protect skies
India is open to assist Sri Lanka in redesigning its air-defence network and help provide radars to improve its airspace coverage after reports that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have added at least two aircraft and a chopper to their arsenal.

It’s learnt that Colombo will send a team of senior defence officials over the weekend to discuss the technical details. New Delhi is willing to offer training of personnel, guidance and advice in designing the air defence of the country besides help to get new radar systems. (The Indian Express)

TV re-transmission centre in Vavuniya attacked
A privately-operated TV re-transmission centre in Sri Lanka's northern Vavuniya town was attacked in the early hours of Thursday by an "unidentified group," which blew up its equipment, sources in the northern town said.

The re-transmission centre, operated by the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), used a satellite dish to retransmit the Tamil language entertainment channels of the popular Indian private broadcaster, Sun TV, to "a limited radius" in the region. (The Hindu)

Donors postpone talks with Sri Lankan rebels ahead of aid-sharing deal
International donors said they had postponed a meeting with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels amid moves by Colombo to enter into a controversial aid-sharing deal with the guerrillas.

Representatives of the World Bank and other lending institutions cancelled a planned visit Friday to the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi, where they had been expected to discuss disbursement of tsunami relief. (Yahoo News/AFP)

President visits Delhi
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has arrived in the Indian capital Delhi on a two-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations.

She is due to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening. (BBC)

Sri Lanka to consider suggestions by employment agencies in Malaysia
Sri Lankan Manpower and Foreign Employment Minister Athauda Seneviratne Wednesday met 18 representatives of Malaysian employment agencies and vowed to consider their suggestions aimed at enhancing the quality of Sri Lankan workers sent to this country.

The suggestions included providing skills training and sending workers good in the English language. (Bernama.com)

Sri Lanka denies misusing tsunami aid
Sri Lanka's president on Wednesday denied claims that her government was mishandling billions of dollars donated by the international community to help the country recover from December's devastating tsunami.

Chandrika Kumaratunga said reports that the relief effort had been hampered by widespread. (FT.com)

Two arrested in military officer killing
Photo
The remains of Major Nizam Muthalif, covered in green cloth, is escorted by soldiers, as relatives follow, during his funeral in Mount Lavinia, a suburb of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, June 1, 2005.
(photo by:Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)
Two suspects have been arrested for alleged involvement in the killing of a senior military intelligence officer, the state radio said Wednesday.

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) quoting police sources as saying that two suspects had been arrested at the Eastern Province town of Ampara, 347 kilometers from capital Colombo. (People's Daily)

President to visit India ahead of aid-sharing deal with Tigers
Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga will travel to New Delhi for talks with Indian leaders amid moves to strike an aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels, her office said.

Kumaratunga will meet Indian Premier Manmohan Singh and India's Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi during her two-day stay, a spokesman for the president's office said on Wednesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)

Soaring building costs hamper donor effort
Prices of building materials are rising sharply in Sri Lanka as aid agencies flock to rebuild the island's tsunami-ravaged coast and could translate into fewer houses being built, donors warned on Wednesday.

Some materials are scarce, a sales tax is compounding matters, and some donors worried that government bureaucracy will delay rebuilding have even resorted to buying land to build on rather than waiting for it to be allocated for free. (Yahoo News/REUTERS)


Sri Lanka hopes to complete majority of permanent houses for tsunami victims by year end
Sri Lanka hopes to finish building the majority of permanent houses for tsunami victims by the year's end, an official said Wednesday.

"Most of the affected families have moved from emergency shelters to transitional housing units," Mano Tittawella, chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Relief and Rebuilding the Nation told a news conference. (Yahoo News/AP)


Apply now for Sri Lankans
Malaysian employers planning to hire workers from Sri Lanka can submit their applications now.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said the Government had not set any limit on the number of workers who could be brought in from the country. (New Straits Times)


Senior Sri Lankan army man killed
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A senior member of the Sri Lankan intelligence services has been shot dead in the capital, Colombo.

Maj Nizam Muthalif was shot while travelling in his chauffeur-driven car.
Defence Ministry spokesman Brig Daya Ratnayake said the attack had been carried out by Tamil Tiger rebels: "It was a well planned operation." (BBC)


President moves to link with rebels for aid
Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga has declared she is ready to establish an official link with Tamil rebels to jointly handle post-tsunami aid.

Major Nizam Muthalif, who was the commanding officer of the first battalion of the Military Intelligence Corps was shot in the busy Kirillapone district as he was going to a military academy to attend a function, military spokesman Brig Daya Ratnayake. (The Star)


Supreme sacrifice if Buddha statue is removed: Chief incumbent
Chief Incumbent of the China Bay Sri Bodhivihara, Trincomalee, Ven. Dehiowita Piyatissa Mahathera threatened to lay down his life if the Government tries, by whatever means, to remove the Buddha statue at the Trincomalee town. He was addressing a press conference yesterday at Colombo.

The Thera also said that if some people were to remove the Buddha statue, a group of monks would conduct a fast undo death, until the Government intervenes and restores the status quo. (LankanNewspapers)


Buddhist party to contest for presidency
Sri Lanka's all Buddhist monk party is to field its own candidate in the country's next presidential election, making it the second party to express presidential candidate.

'According to a statement made public Monday by the leader of the JHU or the Heritage Party, Venerable Ellawala Medhananda, the JHU would be contesting in the next presidential election to safeguard the rights and the identity of 74 percent Buddhists of the country. (Peopls's Daily)


India has vital stake in unity of Sri Lanka: PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India had a ''very vital stake'' in the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and expressed the hope that the ethnic problem would be resolved peacefully.

''We are not indifferent'' to what was happening in Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister told foreign correspondents who wanted his response to the ''dangerous'' security problem arising from the LTTE setting up naval and air bases. (Deepika Global)


Abduction of children by LTTE: "A Horrible Crime " Declared Bill Clinton
Former U.S.President Bill Clinton, in Colombo as a special UN envoy for Tsunami reconstruction, categorically called the abduction of tsunami affected children, by the LTTE, to be trained as child soldiers, a " Horrible crime."

LTTE has so far recruited 137 children into their ranks since the tsunami, nine of whom were taken directly from relief camps, according to a UNICEF report. (Sinhalaya)


President vows aid deal with Tigers amid Clinton pressure
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sunday vowed to share foreign aid with Tamil rebels a day after former US president Bill Clinton urged local politicians to support the controversial move.

Kumaratunga was “very committed” to establishing the proposed ”joint administrative machinery,” her office said in a statement Sunday following her talks here with Clinton Saturday. (Khaleej Times)


Clinton backs Sri Lanka tsunami-aid plan
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Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, center, and Bill Clinton, former U.S. President and U.N. special envoy for post-tsunami reconstruction, shake hands, as Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, left, looks on at the presidential house in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, May 28, 2005.
(photo by:Eranga Jayawardena)
Former President Clinton on Saturday endorsed a proposal by Sri Lanka's president to share tsunami aid with the Tamil rebel group that controls parts of the country's north and east.

Clinton, recently appointed U.N. special envoy for tsunami recovery, was here on the second leg of a four-nation tour to ensure that billions of dollars are distributed properly. He arrived Friday from neighboring India. (Yahoo News/AP)


Bill Clinton arrives in Sri Lanka
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Former US President and U.N. special envoy for post-tsunami reconstruction Bill Clinton, is welcomed with a garland at Colombo airport, Friday, May 27, 2005.
(photo by:Eranga Jayawardena)
The United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, former US president Bill Clinton arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday.

The government officials here said the former US president, who landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo around 8 p.m. local time , was received by Sri Lankan Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama.

This was Clinton's second visit to the Indian ocean island ravaged by last December's tsunami tidal waves which killed nearly 40,000 people. (XinhuaNet)


Norway-led truce monitors warn of 'air assets' of Tamil Tigers
European truce monitors in Sri Lanka have warned that the 'air assets' of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels could re-ignite war on the island and destabilise security in South Asia.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said Tiger guerrillas possess an airstrip in the island's north but warned that any move by government forces to bomb it could lead to the resumption of war. (Forbes)


U.S. researchers design tsunami-resistant house
U.S. researchers have designed a house they say is better able to withstand a tidal wave and are planning to build 1,000 of them in Sri Lanka, one of the countries hit by last year's deadly tsunami.

Carlo Ratti, a teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was at a wedding in Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck the region last December. When he returned to MIT, he worked on the design of the "tsunami-safe(r) house" with colleagues at his school, Harvard University and British engineering firm Buro Happold. (China Daily)


Foreign aid donors under human rights fire over Sri Lanka killings
Peace broker Norway and nations which promised Sri Lanka three billion dollars in tsunami aid were accused by an international human rights group of not using their financial clout to halt a string of killings.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said an estimated 200 people had been killed in Sri Lanka since an Oslo-brokered truce went into effect from February 23, 2002. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Buddhists celebrate ‘Vesak’in Pakistan
The Buddhist community celebrated ‘Vesak,’ festival of the full moon, known as the ‘Asian Festival of Lights,’ at the Buddhist Cultural Centre in Islamabad.

The celebration was attended by the president of the All Pakistan Buddhist Association, Raja Tridev Roy; the high commissioners of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; the ambassadors of Burma and Nepal; the DHC, Indian high commission; Chairman, Universal Interfaith Peace Mission, Allama Abdulfateh Chisti and a couple of priests from the Christian faith. (jang)


Bill Clinton schedules to visit Sri Lanka this weekend
Clinton is scheduled to arrive on May 27 and depart the next day. Diplomatic sources said Clinton would meet the donor representatives based in Colombo and will discuss tsunami reconstruction activities with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga during his stay.

Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry sources said the UN special envoy will travel to one of the worst affected areas in either the North or the East during his visit. (SaiberNews)


Sri Lanka grapples with Islamic threat
While the emergence of armed Islamic groups in Sri Lanka's explosive Eastern province as well as increasing clashes between moderate and hardline Muslims are cause for serious concern, the raising specter of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism there is just as worrying.

For several years, reports from the violence-torn, ethnically diverse Eastern province have drawn attention to the emergence of armed Muslim groups. Names such as Osama Group, the Muttur Jetty Group and the Knox Group have often figured into reports in the media. (Asia Times)


Tsunami sets damaged countries back ten years
Countries hit by last December's devastating tsunami around the Indian Ocean will take at least five to 10 years to recover with the help of international aid, United Nations agencies said on Monday.

Technical experts underlined after a meeting organised by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) that recovery efforts needed to tackle problems with poverty, conflicts or land disputes that existed before the tsunami struck, on top of reconstruction. (IOL)


Uneasy calm grips Sri Lanka's troubled town
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An uneasy calm gripped Sri Lanka's troubled port city of Trincomalee as Buddhists celebrated a key anniversary amid protests over a Buddha statue in the region, police and residents said.

No explosions were heard in the town overnight after a Hindu group on Sunday suspended their strike to allow the Buddhists to celebrate the birth, the enlightenment and the passing away of the Buddha Monday, residents said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Rebel office attacked
Sri Lanka's eastern port city of Trincomalee continued to be in tension while a Tamil Tiger political office had come under attack in the neighboring Batticaloa district killing a woman, police said Sunday.

A political office belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in the Kaluwanchikudy police area in Batticaloa district was attacked by an alleged gang of the rival Karuna faction on Saturday. (XinhuaNet)


Ranatunga heads panel for Sri Lanka's coach
Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga will head a high-profile cricket committee to pick the national team's new coach, it was announced on Saturday.

Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee said a nine-member panel would hold discussions early next week with former Australian Test player Tom Moody, tipped to take over as the country's next coach. (IOL)


Sumatra quake shook earth's total surface
December's great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake ¡ª the most powerful in more than 40 years and the trigger of a devastating tsunami ¡ª shook the ground everywhere on Earth's surface. Weeks later the planet was still trembling.

The quake resulted from the longest fault rupture ever observed ¡ª 720 miles to 780 miles, which spread for 10 minutes, also a record. A typical earthquake's duration would be 30 seconds. (China Daily)


Shipping canal between India, Sri Lanka approved
Rs.24.27 billion ($558 million) ship canal that will create a shorter maritime route between southwest and southeast India was approved by the central government Thursday.

"It is a 100-year-old dream of the people of Tamil Nadu and will open a new shipping channel," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its nod to the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (Web India123)


Child-abuser monk in suicide bid
A Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka has tried to commit suicide after he was jailed for raping a nine-year-old girl.

Bellana Pannaloka Thero, of the Sri Vimalarama temple in Nugegoda, near Colombo, drank a substance from his pocket shortly after sentencing. (BBC)


Sri Lanka appoints Ranatunga to ICC Cricket Committee
Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's most successful cricket captain, has replaced former teammate Aravinda de Silva on the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee.

Ranatunga's first assignment in his new position will be to attend an ICC meeting in Dubai on May 16 and 17, Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Tryphon Mirando said Friday. (Fox Sports)
Sri Lanka raises key interest rates

Sri Lanka's Central Bank announced here Friday that it decided to raise its key interest rates by 25 basis points, the first time for the bank to increase its rates in six months.

The repurchase interest rate which is being used to drain money from the banking system will stand at 7.75 percent and the reverse-repurchase rate at 9.25 percent from 13 May 2005. (Xinhua Net)


Sri Lanka seeks Indian air traffic controllers
The Sri Lankan government has asked India to keep air traffic controllers on standby in case talks with its own technicians over a demand for hefty licence fees fail.

The strike by Sri Lankan air traffic controllers can jeopardise air travel and affect the international donor conference starting in Kandy Monday. About 100 to 125 foreign delegates are expected to arrive. (Web India 123)


Atapattu named Sri Lankan captain
Sri Lanka has named Marvan Atapattu as captain of its national cricket team for the forthcoming series against West India and a triangular tournament that will also involve India.

The other members of the squad were not immediately announced by Sri Lanka's interim board managing the sport. (The Australian)


LTTE dictatorship will not be acceptable: India
India has expressed continued support to the Norway-facilitated peace process in Sri Lanka but made it clear that it is bitterly opposed to any "dictatorship" of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran conveyed the message to Norway's peace envoy Erik Solheim during a 90-minute meeting at the South Block on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times)


Sri Lanka says no return to war as donors fear for peace process
Sri Lanka vowed the country would not return to war despite a deadlock in peace talks and failure to strike a deal with Tamil rebels on tsunami relief ahead of a key review of foreign aid.

Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama Thursday said all parties in the ruling coalition as well as the main opposition were convinced that "war is not a solution." (Yahoo News/AFP)


Fire fight with Tamil Tiger rebels injures four policeman
Four police were injured Thursday when Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a convoy carrying a rival Tamil group in Sri Lanka's volatile east, the military said.

The rebels opened fire and hurled grenades at two vehicles carrying members of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, or EPDP _ a government coalition partner, said Brig. Daya Ratnayake. (Yahoo News/AP)


Thousands still wait for aid millions to lift their despair
Rebuilding work has hardly begun in most of the disaster-hit countries
Pushpa sat peeling carrots outside the tent in which she has lived with her three young children since her home and her husband were swept away by the Boxing Day tsunami.

“We know your people helped us with money,” she told The Times. “So what has our Government done with it? The monsoon will be here soon and still we have no home.” (Times Online)


US boost for Sri Lanka's tsunami-hit tourism industry
Sri Lanka will spend 7.3 million dollars to woo high-spending holiday makers from Europe and neighbouring India to fill hotel rooms left empty after the December tsunamis, officials said.

The Ceylon Tourist Board said three million dollars from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) would boost its own budget of 4.3 million dollars to promote the Indian Ocean island as an upmarket holiday destination. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Queen, Blair lead tsunami service
Hundreds of bereaved families and friends of those killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami are joining Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair at a memorial service to honor those who died.

Actor and director Richard Attenborough, whose daughter and granddaughter were killed in the December 26 tragedy, will give a reading during Wednesday's ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. (CNN)


S. Lankan government to crackdown on maids abused in Mideast
Following recent reports of torture, harassment and even death of several Sri Lankan housemaids employed overseas, mostly in the Middle East, Athauda Seneviratne, Sri Lankan Minister for Labour Relations and Foreign Employment said his government will crackdown on the abuse of tens of thousands of Lankan women working abroad.

In a recent interview to an international news agency, Minister Seneviratne said he has travelled to some Middle Eastern countries to gather firsthand accounts of abuse, and that the government is taking urgent measures to battle the problem. (Khaleej Times)


President under siege as protests mount from allies
Pressure mounted on Sri Lanka's president as her key coalition ally vowed to block a deal with Tiger rebels on tsunami aid while the opposition scuttled a pledge to not demonstrate against the government while the country rebuilds.

The Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, staged a mass rally to denounce plans supported by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to form a "joint mechanism" with Tiger rebels to distribute aid to tsunami survivors. (Yahoo News/AFP)
Sri Lanka's cricket crisis engulfs former greats

Two of Sri Lanka's greatest cricketers, Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda De Silva, were caught in a crossfire between rival factions in the country's crisis-ridden cricket establishment.

The interim committee appointed by the government to run Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) want De Silva, the vice-president of the previous board, removed from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) high-profile cricket committee and replaced by Ranatunga. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Strikes grip eastern province after protestor killed
Shops were closed and public transport ground to a halt in eastern Sri Lanka as pro-rebel activists launched a one-day strike to protest the killing of a demonstrator, officials said.

Key towns in the eastern province of Batticaloa were at a virtual standstill following the strike called by pro-rebel activists the day after the army killed a demonstrator during a protest over a new police checkpoint. (Yahoo News/AFP)


President to visit New Delhi
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will pay an official visit to New Delhi over the weekend, a media report said in Colombo on Tuesday.

There was no formal word from Kumaratunga's office about the visit, but the Sinhalese-language Lankadeepa newspaper said she will leave for India on Saturday on a two-day official visit. (Rediff)


Tigers warn over aid delay
Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka have said any further delay in distributing aid to tsunami-hit Tamil areas will have serious implications for peace moves.

They blamed President Kumaratunga for the hold-up in establishing a so-called "joint mechanism" to share out aid. (BBC)




PM`s `win-win` deal with unions defers CEB revamp
The UPFA Government yesterday bowed down to a JVP ultimatum this week to boycott Cabinet meetings and decide on its future with the UPFA Government after a month by deferring plans to re-structure the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) into nine companies.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse worked out a deal with JVP trade unions after a three-hour meeting from 9.30 am at Temple Trees and agreed on two main issues -- that the JVP accepts the need to re-structure the CEB on the one side, while on the other, the re-structuring of the CEB will be deferred for at least one month when JVP trade unions together with CEB officials and Power & Energy Ministry officials are expected to come up with the details on how it should be done. (LankaNewspapers)


Sri Lankan women pay a high price for jobs
The teacher held up an electric cake mixer and told the class of women before her to clean it properly. If it smells, "Mama," as the aspiring maids were instructed to call their female employers, "will be angry and she will hammer and beat you."

"This is where you go wrong," the teacher continued. "That is how Mama beats you and burns you - when you do anything wrong." (Herald Tribune)


World Cup hero fears for Sri Lanka's crisis-ridden cricket
Power-hungry administrators and a lack of bench strength has left Sri Lanka's cricketing future in a mess, according to the country's celebrated former captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Ranatunga, who became a household name after leading Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996, says drastic measures are needed to ensure the sport flourishes in the cricket-crazy island nation. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Stock investors cleaning up as Sri Lanka struggles with political chaos
Sri Lanka's peace bid is in tatters, the coalition government is battling a mutiny, the economy is in trouble but despite all the bad news the stock market has turned into one of the world's top gainers.

The tiny exchange has been hitting new record peaks virtually every day in recent weeks with the All Share price index now at 1,893.8 -- over 52 percent higher than a year ago. (Yahoo News/AFP)


LTTE poses threat to Indian security
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas may be taking part in the Norway-backed peace process but they remain "one of the deadliest terrorist organisations in the world", the Indian Government says.

The Home Ministry's annual report for 2004-05 says that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's demand that its naval unit should be treated on a par with the Indian and Sri Lankan navies was a "threat. (Hindustan Times)


President explains joint mechanism to JVP
A special discussion between the representatives of the SLFP including the President and representatives of the JVP took place yesterday. The discussion was on the proposed joint mechanism.

According to the President’s explanation the joint mechanism consists of three levels. They are National Committee, Regional Committees and the District Committees. (LankaTruth)


Sri Lanka Tigers getting more aircraft: Indian foreign minister
India is concerned about information that a Tamil rebel group in neighbouring Sri Lanka has built an airstrip and acquired aircraft, Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said.

Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were believed to be getting more aircraft, the minister said in an interview with The Hindu newspaper on Saturday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Opposition rejects Kumaratunga's overtures on Tiger deal
Sri Lanka's main Opposition has rejected an offer to discuss a proposed tsunami aid distribution deal with Tamil tiger rebels, President Chandrika Kumaratunga's office said today.

Kumaratunga in a letter to Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said she regretted the main Opposition keeping away from a meeting she called for Monday to discuss the proposed deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (Zeenews)


Sri Lanka committed to aid deal with Tamil rebels but no deadline
Sri Lanka's government is firmly committed to a deal with Tamil rebels on distribution of tsunami aid but will not be pinned down to a mid-May deadline, the country's foreign minister said after a meeting with donors.

"On the part of the president there is a very firm commitment this joint mechanism will be signed," Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told journalists on Friday. (Yahoo New/AFP)


Cricketchief reverses decision to resign
Duleep Mendis has reversed his decision to resign as Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive in the latest twist in the crisis surrounding the administration of the sport on the island.

Mendis, a former Sri Lanka captain, coach and manager, resigned last week after being called in for questioning by the Criminal Investigation Department. (Yahoo New/REUTERS)


Tsunami aid deal with rebels to be limited to one year
Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels plan to set up a joint group to distribute foreign aid to tsunami victims, officials said Thursday, despite a threat by the government's main ally to withdraw its support if such a body is created.

The announcement came ahead of a key meeting between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her main coalition partner, the Marxist People's Liberation Front, in a last-ditch effort to secure their approval for the group, which would operate for one year. (Yahoo New/AP)


Clearing the way for a new future
Chandra Mathi is heaving piles of rubble to clear away the remains of a house destroyed by the 26 December tsunami.

It is well over 30°C in the midday sun, but the heat doesn’t deter this 29-year-old mother of three and the other nine men and women working with her. They are a part of the Sri Lanka Red Cross clean-up operation that is bringing some semblance of order to the country’s devastated coastline. (Reuters AlertNet)


Anyone can get away with murder in Sri Lanka
Anyone can get away with murder in Sri Lanka because of the inability of the state to improve the law and order situation in the country, a human rights group has warned.

The warning came in an Asian Human Rights Commission statement condemning the death of journalist Sivaram Dharmeratnam. (PressEsc)


President vows tsunami deal with rebels
Sri Lanka's president said she is determined to reach a deal with Tamil rebels about the distribution of aid after the December tsunami, despite the risk it could see her shaky coalition collapse, it was reported.

The government needs an agreement with the rebels so it can distribute foreign aid to rebel-held areas, some of which suffered huge damage in the disaster that killed nearly 31,000 people here and initially a million left homeless. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Armed police raid cricket board headquarters
Armed officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) invaded Sri Lanka Cricket's headquarters on Tuesday with officials from the sports ministry.

Senior Sri Lanka Cricket employees were told that the government had ordered the CID to hand over control of the premises to a government-appointed interim committee. (Yahoo News/AFP)


India offers three-year debt moratorium to Sri Lanka
India has offered a three-year debt moratorium to Sri Lanka during a review of their relations at high-level official talks here, the two sides said in a joint statement.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran discussed Sri Lanka's tsunami reconstruction efforts with his counterpart H.M. Palihakkara and offered more assistance, Tuesday's statement said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Tsunami aid stranded at port
Sri Lanka confirmed that tonnes of aid for stricken tsunami survivors had been stranded at the country's main port here after import duties were reintroduced.

About 200 shipping containers of old clothes and bottled water would soon be cleared for distribution to make room at the terminal, social services ministry spokesman W.M.S. Wijekoon said on Tuesday. (Yahoo News/AFP)


India, Sri Lanka discuss tsunami rehabilitation
The Foreign Secretaries of India and Sri Lanka on Monday discussed bilateral issues, including tsunami rehabilitation, defence cooperation, the Sethusamudram project and the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation agreement.

The discussions, led by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and his Sri Lankan counterpart H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, included a "frank exchange of views" on the developments in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, regional and international affairs, an official Indian statement said. (The Hindu)


Sri Lanka set for privatisation, price hikes ahead of key aid meet
Sri Lanka is set to shortly increase domestic fuel prices and end subsidies in line with promises to international lenders ahead of a crucial aid meeting, official sources said.

The price increase is aimed at convincing multilateral lending institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank that the government is serious about reform and to reduce consumption and ease pressure on the balance of payments, finance ministry sources said. (Yahoo News/AFP)


Amidst tight security crowds surge through Colombo
Crowds surged through Colombo yesterday in eleven processions, headed for the various venues where a number of May Day rallies, including those of the three main parties, were held Special security arrangements had been made to protect the city against a possible outbreak of violence.

The People's Alliance (government) May Day procession started at the Campbell Park, Borella and reached the Galle Face green while the UNP rally started from the Sugathadasa Stadium and reached the Colombo Town Hall grounds. The JVP procession started at Dehiwala to reach the BRC grounds. (The Island)
Pak exhibition in Colombo starts

Pakistan’s first-ever single country exhibition ‘Pride of Pakistan’ was formally inaugurated by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jeyaraj Fernandopulla in Colombo on Friday.

Around 150 guests including senior government officials, diplomats, office bearers of various chambers of commerce and industry and representatives of the Sri Lankan corporate sector attended the inaugural ceremony, according to a press release issued here. (Jang)


U.S. identifies 40 foreign terrorist organizations:Sri Lanka’s LTTE still procures weapons, US says.
The United States Department of State, in its annual terrorism report ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2004’, released as an official document of the U.S. Government on Thursday, April 28, has identified 40 Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or popularly known as The Tamil Tigers, has been named one among them.

The official report acknowledges that the LTTE “has a significant overseas support structure for fundraising, weapons procurement, and propaganda activities.” (Asian Tribune)


Prominent Tamil journalist slain in Colombo
A prominent Tamil journalist was fatally shot after he was abducted by unidentified men at a restaurant in the capital, police and colleagues said Friday. (The Star)


Crash forces Sri Lanka bus reform
Sri Lanka's government has pledged to crack down on the private bus sector, a day after a crash at a rail level crossing that killed 35 people.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse vowed an overhaul of bus services and tough penalties for offending drivers. "We need to take a fresh look at the entire system," Mr Rajapakse said, adding that he would also be pushing for major changes in traffic laws. (BBC)


Sri Lanka urged to clean up roads after train-bus crash
"There are legal restrictions as to the number of cattle to be transported in trucks. But buses are overloaded."
Sri Lanka's press today demanded better road safety and asked police to "rein in asphalt cowboys" a day after the country's worst train and bus collision killed 35 passengers and wounded 28.

The privately run Island newspaper said yesterday's crash at the town of Polgahawela was not an accident but "mass murder" and called for an overhaul of the issuing of driving licences for public transport. (Zee News)


New regulations within two weeks ' NTC : `Bus crews behave like animals`
The Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) yesterday claimed that most drivers and bus conductors behaved like `animals` (thirisannu) and blamed the government and provincial authorities for failing to impose standards.

`These drivers and conductors of private buses are a useless group of people,` declared Gemunu Wijeratne, head of the PBOA. `They behave like animals. It's come to the level of unemployed people and kudu karayas and nobody is checking their standards at all. There is no discipline. The accidents will only get worse if this situation is allowed to continue.` (LankaNewpapers.com)


Sri Lanka's worst train-bus crash kills 35, driver arrested UPDATED
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Sri Lankans stare at the wreck of a passenger bus which collided with an express train in Polgahawela, central Sri Lanka April 27, 2005
(photo by: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi )
Thirty-five passengers were killed and 28 people injured in Sri Lanka's worst train-bus collision at a railway level crossing in this north-western town, police and doctors said.

The packed bus was dragged 55 meters (yards) after being struck by the express passenger train when it tried to beat the locomotive and cross the track 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Colombo (Yahoo News/AFP)


60 feared dead in Sri Lanka smash
A fiery train-bus accident in Sri Lanka has killed at least 60 people and injured 30 others, police say.

The collision was so violent, according to authorities, that the train split the bus in half, setting it on fire. (CNN)


Joint mechanism with LTTE opposed
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The Patriotic National Movement hav