Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wanni Operation - 03 Jan 2008

Sri Lanka bombs Tigers in north after fall of HQ

COLOMBO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan attack helicopters bombed Tamil Tiger positions in the north of the island on Saturday, the military said, a day after ground forces seized the rebel headquarters town of Kilinochchi.

The military is now targetting the port town of Mullaitivu and other rebel strongholds in the north as it presses on with the deepest push into rebel-held areas to bring an end to the 25-year separatist war.

There has been no coment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the fall of Kilinochchi, for long the centre of the Tamil fight for an independent homeland in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.

"MI-24 helicopters attacked rebel positions west of Mullaitivu in support of ground troops," said a military source asking not to be named in line with national security policy.

Troops fought their way into the Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi deep in the north on Friday, in one of the biggest blows for the rebels in years.

Details of casualties from the fighting have not yet emerged and a pro-rebel web site www.tamilnet.com said the Tigers had moved their headquarters further northeast before the town fell.

"The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has entered a virtual ghost town," the website said. "The Tigers, who had put up heavy resistance so far, had kept their casualties as low as possible in the defensive fighting."

Sri Lanka military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanyakkara said troops were carrying out search and recovery operations in Kilinochchi town on Saturday.

Security has been tightened across the island following a suicide bombing that killed three air force personnel in the capital Colombo shortly after President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the fall of the de facto rebel capital.

Battle-field victories in Vanni since April 2008

(Click on image for larger version)

Fighting formations deployed on the Vanni front have scored a series of battle-field victories since their first territorial gains in April 2008. They are:

Task Force I

* Adampan on May 9

* Mullikkandal, Minnaniranchan and Marattikannaddi situated north of Adampan on June 24.

* Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’, an area extending over 120 Square kilometres on June 29 thereby bringing Alankulama, Andankulama, Alakaddiveli, Parappakandal, Parappukadatan, Papamoddai, Odupallam, Neduvarampu, Kannaputtukulama and Vannakulama under government control.

* On June 30 TF I links up with 57 Division southwest of Periyamadu creating the largest ever battlefront on the western flank in the entire Eelam war.

* Strategically located Sea Tiger base at Vidathalthivu on the northwestern coast on July 16

* Illuppaikkadavai on July 20.

* Vellankulam on August 2.

* Mulankavil and Pallavarayankaddu on August 12.

* Maniyankulama on October 16.

* Vannerikkulam on October 20.

* Nochchimodai on October 28

* Jeyapuram on October 29.

* Nachchikuda on October 29

* Kiranchi on November 10

* Devil’s Point and Vallaipadu on November 13

* Pooneryn regained on November 15

* Paranthan regained on January 1, 2009

57 Division

* Madhu church complex on April 24

* Palampiddi on May 16

* Mundumurippu on May 23

* Periyamadhu on June 15

* Naddankandal on July 11

* Kalvilan on August 13

* Thunukkai and Uilankulam on August 22

* Mallavi on September 2

* 29 October troops dominate Akkarayankulam tank bund

* Overrun Akkarayankulam built-up in Kilinochchi on November 5

* Kokavil on December 1

* Terumurikandy junction regained on Dec 10

* Iranamadu junction liberated on January 01, 2009

* Kilinochchi on January 2

Task Force III

* Mankulam on November 17

* Olumadu on November 25

59 Division

* Munagam base, the main logistic link between LTTE strongholds in Wanni and LTTE cadres in the east, across the Mullaittivu jungle on May 30.

* Michael base on July 4.

* Sugandan base on July 27.

* Jeevan base on August 16

* On August 21 troops advance along West of the Nayaru lagoon

* On October 23 troops dominate Gajabapura

* On November 11 troops dominate part of Kumulamunai village

* On November 29 troops reach Otiyamalai

* Alampil on December 4

* Mulliyawalai on Dec 26

Task Force II

* Navvi on July 11

* Puliyankulam on December 4

* Kanakarayankulam on December 5

(Courtesy of The Island)

Luxurious house of LTTE leader Prabhakaran and TRO office in Kilinochchi

People celebrating Kilinochchi victory

President's address to the Nation aftermath of Kilinochchi liberation

Friday, January 2, 2009

National Flag Hoisted by Major General Jagath Dias in Kilinochchi - 02 Jan 2008

Troops Capture Kilinochchi - 02 Jan 2008

LTTE suicide bomb explosion in Slave Island, Colombo after Kilinochchi liberation announced - 02 Jan 2008

Troops enter rebel headquarters Kilinochchi

Sri Lankan troops have now entered parts of Kilinochchi town from three fronts and are poised to take full control, upon which an official announcement will be made....

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan soldiers fought their way into the Tamil Tiger rebel capital Friday for the first time in a decade, military officials said, following months of fierce battles on the outskirts that left scores dead.

Troops entered the northern town of Kilinochchi from two sides, senior military officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

The level of fighting inside the town remained unclear. The military had predicted Thursday that soldiers would seize the town within two days.

The fall of Kilinochchi would be devastating to the separatist Tigers, who have had used the town as their political and military headquarters for the past 10 years and have created structures for an independent state, such as a police, courts, and tax offices.

Recent government military offensives have forced the rebels out of much of their territory in the north of the Indian Ocean island nation. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised to crush the rebel group and end the nation's 25-year-old civil war this year.

A 6-year-old Norway-brokered truce was officially called off last year with both sides openly violating the agreement.

Senior Sri Lankan officials have said repeatedly over the past two months that Kilinochchi would fall soon, but troops became bogged down by heavy rains and fierce rebel resistance.

Video: Paranthan Captured by Task Force 1 - Wanni Operation - 01 Jan 2009

Minor Cabinet Reshuffled – President takes over Media Ministry













Dr. Sarath Amunugama was sworn in as the Minister of Public Administration, which was felt vacant after the crossover of Karu Jayasuriya back to the opposition. Dr. Amunugama held the Ministry of Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development before.

Mr. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa was sworn in as the Minister of Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development. He held the Ministry of Mass Media and Information earlier.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the Ministry of Mass Media and Information.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

IRANAMADU Junction Captured too

KILINOCHCHI: January 1st morning’s capture of ‘notorious’ IRANAMADU junction area by heroic troops of the 57 Division ends months of speculation about the LTTE’s fabricated stories regarding their military might, the Army Headquarters declared.

Troops commanded by Major General JAGATH DIAS went ahead past the much spoken IRANAMADU junction, about six km south of KILINOCHCHI town center as the first light broke heralding the New Year. The capture, regarded as a significant breakthrough in the last leg of the WANNI humanitarian operations, came as the troops were nearing the southern perimeter of the Tiger fortress, KILINOCHCHI after Wednesday’s fall of the adjoining PARANTHAN town on A-9 Highway.

Troops of the 8 SLLI (Sri Lanka Light Infantry), commanded by Major IPSITHA DISSANAYAKA and 16 SLSR (Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment), commanded by Major DHAMMIKA DISSANAYAKA operating under 574 Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel SENAKA WIJESOORIYA conducted those offensives along the A-9 to triumphantly reach the IRANAMADU junction area. This will open easy capture of the IRANAMADU town at any moment from now onwards.

Ground sources said LTTE resistance to those troops was astonishingly weak most probably due to their declining morale and physical strength.

(Courtesy: SL Army)

Another historic victory: Paranthan falls

The Security Forces yesterday reached yet another historic victory in the Vanni liberation operation with Task Force I troops capturing the strategically important Paranthan town after cutting off the A-9 road from the North of Paranthan junction by yesterday evening, Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka told the Daily News last night.

The 57 Division operating in the Kilinochchi front also gained momentum in their battle as they entered the build up area in the Kilinochchi passing the Iranamadu junction from the West of A-9 road.

”Troops have already entered Paranthan and are short of only 100 meters to reach Paranthan junction. They will fully capture the Paranthan junction within the course of Wednesday night”, the Army Commander added.

“We have taken the control over the beach front from the North of Paranthan, completely cutting off the links the LTTE is having with the Jaffna front through A-9 road”, the Army Commander said.

The Army Commander said that the capture of Paranthan will lead to the total eradication of the LTTE from the remaining part of Vanni in the year 2009 which has been declared as the Year of Heroic Victory.

Paranthan is the most strategically important four way junction town, in the remaining areas held by the LTTE in Vanni and the North as it connects Pooneryn in the West, Mullaiitvu in the East, Kilinochchi in the South, and Jaffna and Muhamalai in the North to one main hub through B-69, A-35 and A-9 roads.

This is the second most important victory achieved by Task Force I, within one and half months as they captured Pooneryn on November 15, depriving the LTTE of the entire Western coast.

Heavy fighting erupted West of Paranthan front as Task Force I troops under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva confronted heavily with the LTTE during the advance towards Paranthan.

According to military sources more than 50 Tiger cadres were reportedly killed and more than 60 injured in the ensuing battle.

Troops have recovered bodies of the Tiger cadres in the vast stretch of paddy lands west of Paranthan.

As LTTE cadres were fleeing from the Paranthan front 13 civilians also surrendered to the Security Forces yesterday, military sources added. Whilst moving towards Paranthan, Task Force I troops also captured the entire earth bund in the Adampan village opening yet another gateway to Kilinochchi from the North.

The fall of Paranthan will also herald the fall of remaining Tiger strongholds Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu as troops of the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias also advanced towards the Kilinochchi build up area after passing the Iranamadu junction from the West of A-9 road.

”The 57 Division troops are just short of two and half kilo meters from the Kilinochchi station”, the Commander said.

He said that the Security Forces are determined to eradicate LTTE terrorism fully from the country in the year 2009 and these victories reflect the possibility of achieving that victory soon.

”The LTTE will not exist until the year 2010. We are confident of eradicating LTTE fully in the year 2009”, the Army Commander said.

(Courtesy: Lake House)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sri Lanka inflation slows to 18-month low

COLOMBO, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's annual inflation fell to an 18-month low of 14.4 percent in December, its sixth straight month of decline from June record highs, government said on Wednesday.

Inflation fell from 16.3 percent in November and it record high of 28.2 percent, the Department of Census and Statistics data showed.

Sri Lanka's annual average inflation eased to 22.6 percent from 23.0 percent in November. Analysts said falling oil and commodity prices and a tight monetary policy have helped bring inflation down. "This is mainly due to tight monetary policy," said Mohandas Thangarajah, an analyst at First Guardian Equities.

The central bank expects inflation to drop to single digits in mid 2009 and said the decline so far was a proof its policy, targeting reserve money rather than interest rates, was working.

"We didn't expect inflation to slow down so fast." said Nandalal Weerasinghe, chief economist at the central bank.

Central bank governor said on Wednesday that interest rates will decline next year alongside falling inflation while growth should hold at 6 percent with the help of government efforts to prop up the economy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Prices of Gas and Petroleum Products Down. Government Expenditure Slashed

Sri Lankan government announced a Rs. 16 billion "economic stimulus and concession package" to maintain growth at an optimistic 6.0% in 2009, with cuts in energy prices and incentives for exporters and industrialists. Cuts in government expenditure is also in the cards.

* Prices of gas, petrol, diesel, furnace oil, and kerosine down. Special relief package for three-wheels.
* Minimum prices set for Tea leaves and Rubber. Fertilizer subsidy for Tea growers.
* Allowances of MPs, Ministers, PM and President slashed.
* Costs of all State Institutions to be reduced.

A special cabinet meeting was called today (30) by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in order to discuss several urgent issues pertaining to the cost of living for the coming year.

Consequently, cabinet decided to bring down the prices of gas and several petroleum products with a view to strengthening the economy and bringing relief to the consumer, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives, Bandula Gunawardena announced in a special media briefing held a short while ago at the Government Information Department.

Accordingly, the price Laughfs Gas was reduced by Rs. 276, Shell Gas by Rs. 166, Petrol by Rs. 2.00, Kerosine by Rs. 10, Diesel by Rs. 10 and Furnace Oil by Rs. 10. In a special relief package for three-wheel operators, it was decided that a coupon system would be introduced where upto 4 liters of petrol would be given to each three-wheeler at Rs. 20 less than the regular price for a maximum allowance of 75 liters a month.

Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Prof. G.L. Peiris said that an assured price of Rs. 45 per kilogram of tea leaves has been set as relief for tea small holders. Also, a fertilizer subsidy has been approved for tea growers whereby they can purchase mixed-fertilizer at the rate of Rs. 1000 per 50kg.

Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Sarath Amunugama meanwhile said that repayments on loans given to modernize tea factories would be suspended for one year. One month's working capital would also be given to tea factories through commercial banks on the recommendation of the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

In addition, a minimum price of Rs. 150 per kilogram of rubber has been set. The cess for rubber imports has been raised to 15%.

The government would also limit the delay in refunding value added tax to exporters to a maximum of six months.

The 15% electricity surcharge that was imposed on industries and tourism will also be removed.

In addition, it was decided to cut the costs of all state institutions by 5%, the expenses of Members of Parliament by 5% each and Ministers by 10% each, those of the Prime Minister and President by 15% each, and the housing allowance of all MPs by 50%. Ministers also promised some austerity from the island's bloated public sector, which has been a drag on productive sectors.

(Courtesy: Government Information Department)

Troops capture Puthuiyankulam and Malayalapuram in Kilinochchi - Wanni Operation - 30 Dec 2008

All that you lost due to terror will be restored

- President assures people of Jaffna

“All that was lost to you due to terrorism will be restored. It will not be long before your brothers and sisters who are trapped in areas such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu can be happy. That is when, just like the New Dawn in the East, there will be the New Spring in the North,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to the people of Jaffna in connection with the “Future Minds of Jaffna" exhibition currently being held in Jaffna.

In the first ever address by a Sri Lankan Head of State to the Tamil people in their own language, the President said: “It is time for us to forget the unfortunate developments of the past. We shall take action to restore to the people of Jaffna and the North, all they have lost in the past.”

The "Future Minds of Jaffna" also known as the Jaffna Educational and Industrial Exhibition 2008, is organized by the Sri Lanka Army in Jaffna, and it is estimated that it drew nearly 200,000 visitors up to yesterday (29).

Here is the text of the President’s message to the people of Jaffna that was transmitted via satellite last night (29).

Vanakkam

My Dear Friends

I am pleased to address you today, because this exhibition shows the future vision for Jaffna.

I am pleased to send greetings to the people of Jaffna, as we set about bringing the dawn of a New Spring to the North of our country.

Some decades ago we traveled together in the Yal Devi Express. Just as the people from Jaffna carry on trade in Colombo, in the past the people from Matara in the South were successfully engaged in the restaurant and bakery trade in Jaffna.

The people in the South of our country always admire the industrious nature of those of the North. Similarly, it was the wish of the people of Jaffna that everyone be as friendly as those from the South.

It was a student leader from Jaffna who made the first demand for freedom from colonial rule for our country. Tamil leaders such as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanaden understood well how the imperialists were trying to divide us.

In the past, the leaders of Jaffna and the North who were fluent in Tamil, Sinhala and English wished that we all live together and in unity. We cannot live in this country that is divided as the North and South. We must live in unity.

It is time for us to forget the unfortunate developments of the past. We shall take action to restore to the people of Jaffna and the North, all they have lost in the past.

All that was lost to you due to terrorism will be restored. It will not be long before your brothers and sisters who are trapped in areas such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu can be happy. That is when, just like the New Dawn in the East there will be the New Spring in the North.

I believe that this exhibition will pave the way for persons with good skills and expertise to emerge in our country. I know that the youth of Jaffna has the strength, courage and determination to achieve this. Therefore, I extend my greetings to all the skilled and capable persons who will be the driving strength of the New Spring of Jaffna and the North.

I wish you all a very bright future

Thank you.

Vanakkam.

Courtesy : President Media Unit

Hundred Thousands of People Visited "Future Minds of Jaffna" 2008

'Future Minds of Jaffna' attracts over 100,000

The musical show at Jaffna Central College grounds attracted a large crowd. Picture courtesy Army Media Unit

Over 100,000 people from all parts of the Jaffna peninsula have visited the Industrial and Educational exhibition 'Future Minds of Jaffna - 2008' by yesterday.

According to records at the entrance around 17,000 people have participated during the first day, and by the next day, the count rose to 95,000 by late afternoon and night.

Over 100,000 people were present at the carnival at the Jaffna Central College grounds. Electric appliances were sold by leading Colombo based companies including Abans while telecommunication companies - Mobitel and Dialog, received a heavy demand.

All traders are selling their goods at the same rate as in other parts of the country.

Entertainment programs are also included in the carnival for children and adults. Merry-go-round, motorcycle rides in deathwell and the play train were favourites.

Local artistes and several south Indian artistes performed at the late night show which was well received.

South Indian artistes performed at the show as a result of the coordinating efforts of Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda.

The demand for the benefits at the exhibition is growing higher each day. Book stalls, I.T. education stalls, and the Nenasala IT centre was packed with people, specially youth.

Co-ordinating officer of Jaffna Technical College Career Guidance Unit Gayathri Sabaratnam said they are trying to find avenues of employment in other parts of the country for their students as job opportunities are limited in the peninsula.

"I'm extremely satisfied with the immense success we have achieved so far. Creating a safe environment for the people to enjoy their lives is one of the top most challenges for us. In my view we have succeeded in meeting the challenge," Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General G. A. Chandrasiri said.

Monday, December 29, 2008

LTTE abducts 16 children from Catholic Church run orphanage - Dharmapuram

LTTE terrorists had abducted 16 children from a Catholic Church run orphanage at Dahrmapuram in Kilinochchi on Friday (Dec 26), the church sources revealed. The sources while condemning this nefarious act of terrorism called the incident to be an ideal example of the inhumanity of the terrorist outfit.

Meanwhile, a group of civilians who were terrorized by the above incident have sought refuge with army on Saturday (Dec 27) afternoon. The refugees while confirming the incident have said that the abducted children had been taken to be trained as child soldiers and suicide bombers. 38 civilians belonging to 9 families including 3 infants have arrived at one of the Army Task Force 1 outposts after a risky journey across Kilaly lagoon. The refugees have told our special correspondent in the area that they had their homes close to the said orphanage and decided to escape into liberated areas for the love of their children.

"They (LTTE cadres) beat up the two priests in charge of the orphanage when they refused to give away the orphans" an eye witness has told our correspondent.

According to the sources, the terrorists had stormed the orphanage on the Boxing Day evening and demanded the two priest in charge of the place to give away all children above 12 years of age.

"They (LTTE) tied up the two priests and blindfold them before taking away the children at gunpoint" he has added.

A mother of two among the refugees who had also witnessed the crime said that she could not bear up the scene when the children had cried out for help.

"Those innocent children tried in vain to cling on to the two priests. They pleaded the LTTE cadres to let them go. But they were dragged like cattle taking to the slaughterhouse ...."

"I would never forgive myself for not helping those children ... But I have to save my children first. That is why I left my home "she has said showing her two young children.

Meanwhile, the church sources said that it was only Saturday (Dec 27) morning that the two priests had been able to untie themselves and reported the matter to church administration. The orphanage was initially located at Kilinochchi but recently moved to Dharmapuram due to increasing LTTE threats. It has been effectively functioning with the lavish support of the church and other donors for the last several years. The Church sources further said several more previous attempts of this nature were resisted and thwarted by the priests in charge. Church authorities are still on the look out for these parentless children who grew up in the orphanage while attending to their schooling.


Freedom Alliance and JNP ink historic agreement


The Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP) have signed a historic MOU directing the country towards a victorious path defeating separatist tiger terrorism as well as conspiracies of treacherous forces on Sunday the 28th.

The historic MOU was inked by Freedom Alliance General Secretary and Minister Susil Premajayanth and Secretary of the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna and Parliamentarian Nandana Gunatillake. The JNP is a partner of the JVP which extended support to the President in 2005 during the Presidential election. Minister Susil Premajayanth said the signing of the agreement is a historic chapter in further consolidating the support extended by them to the President and the Freedom Alliance.

Minister Maithripala Sirisena said conspiracies are in place at this decisive juncture to reverse the victories of the Government. As such, the Government will get further strength to defeat such conspiracies through this support. He said they wish to pay tribute to the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna on behalf of the constituent parties of the Freedom Alliance for reaching such an agreement. He urged further dedication to march forward overcoming all obstacles.

Wimal Weerawansa said 2009 is to be declared as a year of military victories. Therefore, they had to strengthen the programme mooted by the President to eliminate terrorism defeating all conspiracies. It is their party which is satisfied over the MOU reached with the Freedom Alliance as a partner of a political force which took political decisions to direct the country towards the correct path and continue the journey overcoming all obstacles.

Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the agreement is another chapter in their effort to further bolster the security of the country and ensure its existence.
Parliamentarian Nandana Gunatillake pointed out that this was neither an election agreement nor an agreement which enables them to enjoy privileges from the Government. He also said it was not an agreement seeking ministerial portfolios, but an MOU for the betterment of the country.

Troops take control of a luxury LTTE bunker - Wanni Operation - 28 Dec 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new year resolution...

Every noble achievement ever made in the journey of mankind has always been a destination of a noble dream.

We Sri Lankans have been struggling to portray a cultural and national destiny to our small Nation ever since we became a colony of the West in 1505. Every battle we fought for independence was a stroke of the brush with which we have been trying to paint our destiny on the canvas of time. Of course there were grand victories. The day we won the Cricket World cup in 1995 was one such day for our small Nation because that was something we fought and won. Those days made us look at each other with eyes filled with joy. We saw the same joy in all our eyes no matter what ethnic group we belonged. And, there were debacles. They made us look up at the blank sky with eyes welled up in tears. But the sky saw that tears were tears in all our eyes no matter we were Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, or Burgers. Most often, the debacles were destinations of tribalism of a few. All those victories and debacles added different colors to our painting.

2009. What is magical in this year? Nothing, unless we decide to try another brush to paint our picture. What about stopping for a while to think seriously if we ever had a dream for our painting? Are we really painting a picture without knowing what we want to paint? Well there is no harm if each one of us can not see the dream. Few months back, I took my ailing father to Niagara Falls. We had little preparation. The first glance at the entrance from the American side shattered all our hopes. We moves from place to place and each time we saw different Niagara falls. Finally we took a boat ride in the river bellow, and still we saw different but larger views of the fall when the boat moved. Maybe people who look at it from the Canadian side could see a still wider view, but unless they moved along the Canadian boarder, they wouldn't realize that there is nothing called "this is how Niagara falls look like". Same is true with the picture we are painting. Each one of us has a stroke there, and we make it without knowing how the final destiny of the portrait should look like.

This is the point we can sit back and think about. Lets think of things we have done right. The days we had bright colors. Take the day we won the World cup. Did we win world cups when Cricket was limited to few schools in Colombo or a particular social class? Those were the days we used to come home with injuries. We started to win after we let it go. Where did it go when it was free? To the lads who would play in the hot sun with a suitcase or umbrellas for a wicket, some piece of wood for a bat, and something roughly spherical for a ball. Those lads spoke some language not necessarily English. The destiny was a portrait rich in color everywhere. Any sample from it for the National pool was inevitably rich in capability. But, did it happen magically? No, the price was also high. The Cricket board has been a place for vigorous battles. One of the first battles was to get rid of those who inherited colonial practices. I think the same applies to the bigger picture we are painting. We have to dream of a day where we can proudly say we are an Asian role model for democracy, social justice, human development, and human rights. Why do we need human rights? Why should we care? Is it because some NGOs are yelling too hard? No. It is the perception of every citizen that his/her fundamental rights as a human is upheld by the country he/she lives in that makes one identify himself/herself as a citizen of that country with pride and a heartfelt love for that country. An oath can not do that. Note that it is the perception that matters, not what is written in the Law. Do all our citizens love the country with equal spirit? If not we have room for a new dream. Why do we need human development? The full potential of a human comes out when one is educated and trained to be productive. Otherwise, the population will not be an asset, but a burden to a country. Sri Lanka has the population of Canada or Australia. Are we harnessing the full potential of it? If not we have room for a new dream. Why do we need social justice? Is social justice for some elite segment of the society is enough? Do our Government institutes treat anybody who walks in to get a service with equal hospitality no matter what one wears, no matter how well they speak English, no matter the level of connections one shows? Have we ever heard stories where people from far away places like Jaffna, Hambantota, or Monaragala being asked to come again another day because some officer was not there to serve, while a son of a minister is given special seating and served in no time? If yes, we have room for a new dream. Why do we need democracy? Democracy is important because our final portrait will be ours if every one of us contributed a stroke of brush on the canvas of time.

A day will come when all of us can step back and look at our portrait and say "that is a pride of Asia". Till that day, lets work.

Happy new year to you all.

With best regards,

Thrishantha Nanayakkara
Radcliffe Fellow
Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

LTTE suicide bomb blast in Wattala - 8 killed, 17 injured - 28 Dec 2008


LTTE terrorists have carried out a suicide bomb attack near the sacred St Anne's church, Hekitta, Wattla in the north of Sri Lankan capital this morning (Dec 28). According to police sources, a male suicide bomber has exploded himself around 9 AM in front of the Civil Defence Force office on the church road.

Eight people have been killed and 17 others suffered injuries in the attack. An Army officer and 6 other CDF personnel were among those killed in the bomb blast. 13 CDF personnel and 4 civilians including a women were reported injured due to the bomb blast.

The injured have been admitted to Teaching Hospital, Ragama and National Hospital, Colombo. Sources in the Ragama hospital said that 2 of the 10 injured admitted to the hospital are in serious condition. Later, a CDF guard and a civilian who were among injured admitted to the National Hospital, Colombo had succumbed to injuries.

According to eyewitnesses, the suicide bomber had exploded himself when he was stopped by the security personnel on guard from entering the CDF office.