Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't make fuss over Thamilselvan death - Anadasangaree tells Tamil Nadu

TULF leader V. Anadasangaree has advised the leaders in Tamil Nadu not to bother about the death of S.P Thamilselvan and not to make an issue of it in Tamil Nadu.

Anadasangaree also said, in a lengthy statement issued yesterday, that Tahmilselvan was at war with the Sri Lanka Army and the latter targeting him was justified. "After all didn’t Thamilselvan separate children from their parents, brain wash them and convert them to become suicide cadres?’ he queried.

He reminded the leaders of Tamil Nadu that Thamilselvan was not assassinated like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Both the LTTE and the security forces were going all out to score over the other and Thamilselvan died in action.

He said:

"Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka narrowly escape death engineered by the LTTE. The latter was seriously injured and was hospitalised for a long period. But the two suicide bombers who attempted to kill these officials died.Was Thamilselvan not responsible for the death of these two LTTE cadres?"

"Sri Lankan Tamils themselves did not bother much about Thamilselvan’s death. Lack of proper understanding of the ground situation and the LTTE’s false propaganda had created so much excitement and exaggerated sympathy in Tamil Nadu for a person who should have been properly dealt with by the court of law for aiding and abetting suicide cadres.

"Will any parent in Sri Lanka, India or in any other part of the world or any one of the 22 TNA Parliamentarians who act as proxies of the LTTE or any political leader or anyone contributing to the LTTE’s fund and championing the cause of the LTTE undertake to handover one of his or her sons or daughters to join the LTTE suicide mission in which case I will hail the LTTE as real heroes."

He said children of Prabhakaran and Thamilselvan have been sent to foreign countries for their education while the children of poor Tamils living in Wanni are forcibly conscripted, trained for three months and sent to the battle field and in most cases they don’t return alive, Anadasangaree had said.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) chief arrested in US

The International Chief of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) Dr. Murugan Vinnayagamurthi and his wife have been arrested.

The US government apprehended him after FBI conducted comprehensive investigations. The TRO extorted money from Tamils in Britain, Canada, France, Sweden, Australia and the United States claiming that it was for the welfare of the Tamil civilians in the North and East, but the international community drew attention to this organisation after it was bared that weapons as well as military hardware required for the LTTE were being purchased from these funds and directed to the LTTE. Documents related to short-range missiles and submarines were seized during some raids. The French government indicted some members of the LTTE who were operating in that country.

Dr. Murugan and his wife were taken into custody for providing technology on the manufacture of submarines to the LTTE. FBI pointed out that they would be produced in courts after a systematic probe on the irregular transactions carried out by the TRO.


Millennium Development Goals on right track

The Government's 10-year development plan is on the proper track to achieve a long-term sustainable growth by 2010, Executive Director/ National Programme Director- Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Dr Don S. Jayaweera said.

"The Government's policy on reducing poverty is mainly based on pro-poor and pro-growth approach and strategy of reducing sharp regional disparities in poverty and wealth creation," Dr Jayaweera said at the Asia Pacific MDG Progress Report Dissemination Event.

Delivering the keynote address he said that though Sri Lanka has achieved considerable success in the reduction of non-income poverty, there has been relatively less success in reducing income poverty.

Jayaweera said only 8 per cent of the people live in the extreme poverty category of US$ 1 per day. However, 51 per cent of the people live on less than US $ 2 per day and there was only a minor change in the proportion of population living below the national poverty line from 26.1 in 1990 to 17.2 in 2006.

He said that in 1990 the country's poverty reduction is 16 per cent and has come down to 6.5 per cent this year and expected to come down to five per cent in 2008 is one of the achievements in the Government's ten year development plan.

He said Sri Lanka's budget deficit has been reduced to 7 per cent in the 2008 budget is expected to reduce to five per cent in the next year and year before. In tern it would be able to reduce the poverty through employment generation in the short-term perspective.

Sri Lanka has shown outstanding progress towards MDGs such as primary education, literacy and gender equality.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne said among the countries in the Asia Pacific Region, Sri Lanka has shown an outstanding progress towards MDGs such as primary education, literacy and gender equality. Maternal mortality rates in the country are among the lowest in the region.

He said Government policies and concerted timely response such as free education and access to free healthcare have resulted in Sri Lanka obtaining a relatively high Human Development Index. It has set an example for other countries in the Asia Pacific Region to follow, he said.

He said in Sri Lanka poverty is highly prevalent in the plantation sector and certain provinces in the country which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

ADB Country Director, Sri Lanka Richard Vokes said MDG is at the half way mark towards the target date of 2015 and have a historic opportunity to change the lives of millions living in object poverty.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Govt wins Budget

The Government yesterday won the budget vote by a comfortable 16 member majority overcoming a challenge by the Opposition which had vowed to defeat it.

The Second Reading of Budget 2008 was passed with 118 voting for and 102 against. The 64 Members of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), 24 members of the UNP-D Group, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (10 Members), Ceylon Workers Congress (eight Members), Jathika Hela Urumaya (eight Members), EPDP (one Member - Minister Douglas Devananda) and Upcountry People's Front (two Members) voted with the Government.

The JHU's independent Member Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera and UNP MP Mahinda Ratnatilleka who joined the Government last week voted for the Budget.

The SLFP's Wijedasa Rajapakshe who crossed over to the Opposition last week and JVP dissident Nandana Gunatilleke abstained.

The United National Party (43 Members), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (37 Members), Tamil National Alliance (20 Members - two MPs M.K. Eelaventhan and Kanakasabey were absent) and Sripathi Suriyarachchi and Mangala Samaraweera of the SLFP (M) voted against.

The JVP revealed its stance of opposing the Budget only at the last minute. The victory was seen as a blow to the main Opposition UNP which had vowed to defeat the budget and topple the Government.

(Ranil Wijayapala, Uditha Kumarasinghe and Irangika Range)

Prelate appeals for supporting President’s programmes

KANDY - The national programmes inclusive of the liberation of the land from the LTTE launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa should not be disrupted for selfish political gains observed the Venerable Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anunayake Thero of the Malwatte Chapter, yesterday (18).

Ven. Vijithasiri Anunayake Thero said that during two years of President Rajapaksa had adopted several measures to give relief to the people.

President Rajapaksa had liberated the Eastern Province and was in the process of creating conditions in those parts of the country for the people to live in harmony without fear of terrorist attacks, the Thera said, urging all political parties not to resort to anything that would jeopardise that process.

The prelate added that he was confident that patriotic politicians would not let down the President at the Budget vote.

A similar statement was made the chief incumbent of Rajapavanaramaya Getambe Ven. Keppetiyagod Siriwimala Thero.

(Cyril Wimalasurendre)