Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sea Tiger leader Soosai "missing" and 11 killed after air raid on Mullaitivu hideout

Mullaitivu: Air Force fighter jet aircraft on Friday (Feb 6) afternoon at 1.45 pounded a hideout located 1km North East of Pudukudiyirippu Junction, Mullaitivu. Later the LTTE terrorists using dozers were digging up the "hideout" targeted by the jet aircraft. Once again at 4.45 in the evening, Air Force jet aircraft pounded the same terrorist hideout destroying the LTTE dozers. Once again the LTTE employed dozers to investigate the area which were also pounded by the Air Force jet aircraft.

The Air Force was later able to confirm that the hideout targeted was the coordinating headquarters of the senior LTTE Sea Tiger leaders. Eleven LTTE cadres including senior LTTE cadres and their body guards had been killed while a large number of terrorists had also been severely injured in the air strike.

It is now confirmed that as a result of monitoring LTTE communications, the Sea Tiger leader SOOSAI is reportedly "missing". It is known that the hideout was a building which consisted of all modern facilities and lavishly equipped.

Live Video:

Sri Lankan rebel leader missing as thousands flee war

COLOMBO (Reuters) - The stream of civilians fleeing Sri Lanka's war zone picked up speed and air force jets killed 11 guerrillas in a strike that left the leader of the Tamil Tigers' naval wing missing, the military said on Saturday.

More than 50,000 soldiers are converging on a tiny wedge of jungle in the Indian Ocean island's northeast to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatists and end one of Asia's longest-running wars.

With rebel territory fast shrinking, the hunt is on for Tiger leaders including the elusive Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the man who founded the group that turned the suicide bomb into a weapon of war and landed on numerous international terrorism lists.

Fighters bombed a complex of bunkers with an apartment and communications dishes on Friday, killing at least 11 rebels, air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

Initial reports said it may have been a Prabhakaran hideout, but later was found to be an operational base for the LTTE's "Sea Tigers" naval wing and its chief, Soosai, he said.

"Intelligence reports say the whereabouts of Soosai is not known. He is now missing," Nanayakkara said.

>> Full story

Sri Lanka says Tigers 'infiltrating' media, aid organisations

COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka's top defence official has accused international media and aid organisations of siding with the Tamil Tigers, a report said Saturday, as the military pushed its offensive against the rebels.

A day after an angry mob stoned the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Colombo, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said the Tigers were infiltrating relief agencies and news organisations.

"There is a well-orchestrated campaign to discredit the government and the security forces and bring pressure on it to declare a ceasefire by LTTE agents who have infiltrated international organisations and media institutions," Rajapakse told the state-run Daily News.

Colombo has rejected calls from foreign governments and agencies to halt its offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to avoid civilian casualties, saying it is on the verge of victory.

Sri Lanka has also resisted calls for a "no fire period" to allow civilians to get out of the conflict zone, while rights groups and foreign governments have accused the Tigers of holding civilians as human shields.

Rajapakse said people allegedly in the pay of the Tigers were "fabricating stories to invent a scenario of a human catastrophe and are disseminating false information."

The defence secretary is leading the government's crackdown against the Tigers, who lost their mini state last month in the face of a military offensive that has pushed the rebels back to a narrow strip of land.

>> Full story

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sri Lanka: Aerial photos of Puthukkudyiruppu Hospital shows No Damage Nor Cluster Bombs

Sri Lanka Air Force today released an aerial video footage taken by a Beach Craft yesterday over the area showing the actual condition of Puthukkudyiruppu hospital.

Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said this video footage was taken by the Beach Craft at about 1:55 p.m. yesterday during a reconnaissance mission over Puthukudduyiruppu area.

The video footage clearly shows the buildings of the former Puthukkudyiruppu Hospital with no damages caused due to artillery fire or aerial bombardment.

Few days ago United Nations officials accused the government of attacking the hospital with cluster bombs. The officials later changed their stand.

The International Committee of Red Cross also said the hospital was hit by the shells three times during last few days.

Following this situation the Puthukkudyiruppu Hospital was moved to a no-fire zone in a coastal area of Mullaitivu on Feb 04th.

Video:

Al Jazeera - Sri Lanka Civilians escaping from LTTE - 06 Feb 2009

Video:

From Chalai - Northern Battle Front - 5 Feb 2009

Video:

ALERT: User lkwebnews and Rupavahini clips banned on YouTube

UPDATE: Now lkwebnews is back on YouTube with a slightly different user name - lkvebnews. Visit his channel for latest videos from War Front - http://www.youtube.com/user/lkvebnews

Note from "lkvebnews": lkwebnews was suspended due to a fake claim by a LTTE Supporter. We have got the information from youtube and we are trying to solve the problem.

Here are the details of that LTTE supporter

From: "lazylions1" kajitharan2003@gmail.com
To: copyright@youtube.com
Date: Feb, 2/3/2009 13:23

Copyright Owner Name (Company Name if applicable):
rubavakiny televison limited(govt)

Your Full Legal Name (Aliases, usernames or initials not accepted):
perara

Your Title or Job Position (What is your authority to make this complaint?):
ambassdor

User Address:
64

User City:
bd edoard vaillant

User State:
aubervilliers

Post Code/Zip:
93300

User Country:
FR

Username:
lazylions1

User Email Address:
kajitharan2003@gmail.com

User Phone:
003361685160

Original News Item:
A user called lkwebnews in YouTube posted "Rupavahini" video clips from Sri Lanka's battlefront. His videos were getting a lot of hits. Now his account has been canceled by YouTube claiming copyright claims. But it sure have done by LTTE supporters pretending to be "Rupavahini":

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by rubavakiny televison limited(govt)."

From the spelling "rubavakiny" in the YouTube notice, it looks like a Tamil Tiger supporter has sent a fake copyrights claim. The actual State Television is called "Rupavahini".

Rupavahini should be alerted that a fake protest has been made and they should make a counter-complaint to YouTube.

UN accepts that Sri Lanka did not use cluster bombs

UN accepts that Sri Lanka did not use cluster bombs - Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of Sri Lanka's Peace Secretariat.

Video:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

CBC News: Toronto's Tamil protesters exposed

According to Canada's CBC News, the majority of Canada's Tamils are members of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) or supporters of the group. Tamil Tigers have eliminated most of Tamil moderates to cave in a separate state for LTTE out of Sri Lanka.

Tamils in Canada want the Canadian government to intervene and prevent the fall of the Tamil Tigers so that the group can re-arm and re-group. This will take Sri Lanka back into decades of civil war, and allow Tamil refugees in Canada to continue with their refugee cases and subsequent Canadian citizenship.

Video of CBC News:

Army captures last sea tiger base in Chalai and clears entire Visuamadu area

Troops of 55th Devision headed by Brig. Prasanna Silva totally shattered the power of the sea tigers by taking complete control of Chalai today (Feb 5) evening.

Meanwhile, Task Force 3 and the 57th and 58th Divisions captured the entire Vishwamadu area in Mullaittivu.

The forces approached the defence line and advanced towards Puthukudiyiruppu. The forces advancing from the North captured Chalai, the largest sea tiger base. It is believed to be larger than the sea tiger base in Mullaitivu. The forces have also captured several sea tiger camps in the West and North.

Air Force raids LTTE Communication and Command centres

Sri Lanka Air Force launched two successful attacks on an LTTE Communication centre and on an LTTE Command centre used by the LTTE senior leaders today morning (Feb 05).

The communication centre located 1.5 km north east of Puthukudirippu Junction in Mullaittivu was pounded at around 10.10 am said the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS).

Meanwhile, the LTTE Command centre located in 1.5 km north of the Puthukudirippu Junction was also pounded by the SLAF at the same time today.

According to MCNS, SLAF Kifir jets were used to launch the attacks. The pilots engaged in the attacks have confirmed that the targets were achieved accurately.

Sri Lanka rejects dialogue appeal

(BBC) The Sri Lankan government has rejected a call by international donors to the Tamil Tiger rebels to negotiate terms of surrender with the government.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the BBC that the government would only accept an "unconditional surrender" by the rebels.

The donors - the US, Japan, Norway and the European Union - have also called on the Tigers to lay down their arms.

The government has ruled out a ceasefire and vowed to crush them.

Mr Rajapaksa told the BBC: "There is no question of negotiations on surrender. The rebels should surrender unconditionally. They should lay down their arms first."

He ruled out any amnesty for top rebel leaders, but said that "lower level cadres" would be "given amnesty, retrained, given vocational training and integrated into mainstream society".

Mr Rajapakse also rejected a ceasefire call by the US, UK and Canada, saying that the rebels had used ceasefire time "only to regroup and attack security forces".

"When the government declared a 48-hour ceasefire period last week, the rebels used the period to launch suicide attacks near the frontlines using three trucks loaded with explosives," he said.

>> Full story here

CNN World Headline News - President: Rebel defeat has united Sri Lanka

(CNN) -- Sri Lanka's president declared Wednesday that the country's Tamil insurgents are on the verge of total defeat, saying their demise has helped unite the island nation on the 61st anniversary of its independence.

"We are today a nation that has defeated a powerful enemy that stood before us," Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his independence day speech. "Our entire nation is now united in the shade of the national flag."

But in other parts of his speech, Rajapaksa indicated that the fight against the Tamil Tiger rebels was not over.

"I am confident that in a few days we will decisively defeat the terrorist force that many repeatedly kept saying was invincible," he said.

In another part of the speech, he said, government forces over the past two and a half years have "been able ... to almost completely defeat" the rebel forces.

Government troops and Tamil rebels are locked in a battle for the remaining rebel strongholds in the north of Sri Lanka, where the the country's ethnic Tamil minority has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1983.

Humanitarian groups say as many as 250,000 unprotected civilians are trapped in the area where the fighting is taking place, and the onslaught has intensified as government forces have closed in on the rebels.

Aid agencies have asked for increased access to the region, calling conditions in northern Sri Lanka a nightmarish situation.

The fighting has forced the closure of Pudukkudiyiruppu hospital in the Vanni region, the last functioning medical facility in the conflict zone.

(Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/02/04/sri.lanka.victory/index.html)

Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona on CNN

CNN's Monita Rajpal spoke with Sri Lankan Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Palitha Kohona, on the cluster bomb allegations.

CNN Video:


If above embedded video is not accessible, please follow this link.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

LTTE used Cluster Bombs, not Sri Lankan forces

Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona talks to Al Jazeera.

Video:

Pope appeals for Innocent Victims Caught Up in Sri Lanka Conflict

Pope Benedict made an appeal for peace in Sri Lanka during his weekly audience today, saying that the increasing number of innocent victims caught up in the conflict in the country gave serious cause for concern.

The Pope added that the safety of civilians needs to be guaranteed and assistance be given to those in urgent need of food and medical attention.

"News of the worsening conflict and the growing number of innocent victims induces us to address a pressing appeal to the combatants to show respect for humanitarian law and for people's freedom of movement," Benedict said.

"May they do everything possible to guarantee assistance for the wounded and security for civilians, and enable their most urgent food and health care needs to be satisfied."

Listen:

Story: Vatican Radio

President invites all Sri Lankans who left the country to return back

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Independence Day address invited all the Sri Lankans who have left the country because of the war to return back. He said, "whatever the number of countries in the world, there is no place that is safer to anyone than the land of ones birth. The time has now dawned for the Sri Lankans who have left their country, because of this unfortunate battle that had dragged for more than 20 years, to return to their land of birth and to the places they lived in. On this important occasion, on behalf of the entire Sri Lankan nation, I make an open invitation to all Sri Lankans - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and of all other communities, who left this country because of war to return to your motherland."

Address by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the 61st Independence Anniversary Celebrations, Galle Face, Colombo. February 4, 2009

Ven. Members of the Maha Sangha,
Respected Members of the Clergy of all other religions
Hon. Prime Minister,
Hon. Speaker,
Hon. Ministers & Members of Parliament
Hon. Governors,
The Hon. Chief Justice & all Members of the Judiciary
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
The Secretary to the President & all Public Officers
Commanders of the Security Forces & the Inspector General of Police
My Dear Mothers, Fathers & Children,

I announce with pride that we have raised the National Flag today over a motherland that is being united in keeping with the heart felt wishes and prayers of our people. My dear people who through sacrifice of life have come forward to defend the freedom of our land; and through their blessings and every thought supported that struggle; and my dear children who have eagerly looked towards the struggle for freedom in our land,

61 years ago our great motherland was freed from the clutches of British Imperialism. The British granted us Independence on February 4th 1948, after 500 years during which our country was controlled wholly or partly by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.

By this time our people had struggled against colonial rule in 1818 and 1848. Our great heroes such as Monaravila Keppettipola and Puran Appu had scarified their lives in these struggles. Whenever we think of our freedom we always recall the greatness of such heroes.

However, due to our motherland being subjected to repeated foreign incursions and invasions there were many challenges to the progress of our nation. The unbroken progress of our knowledge and technology was suddenly interrupted. With the dawn of Independence from British rule on February 4th 1948, we gained the opportunity to move towards progress in a manner that was inherent to our nation. However, we failed to lead our society, handed to us with divisions, into the proper path of unity and progress. Therefore, as we completed 30 years after independence we saw the birth of separatist, racist and terrorist politics that sought to divide our motherland.

Friends,

Although every year in the past we have commemorated our Independence, through 30 years during this period we have lived in the midst of an illegal, armed, terrorist movement. Therefore, throughout this period we could not celebrate true Freedom.

Due to this terrorism the Sinhala and Muslim people who lived in the north were compelled to flee from their traditional lands. This period saw the massacre of Buddhist worshipers near the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, at Anuradhapura. At Kaththankudi, Muslims were killed while worshiping in their mosque. There were terrorist attacks on the pinnacle of Buddhist worship, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Innocent people were collectively massacred in many places of this land.

That is not all, for the first time in the history of our land the tiger terrorists carried out ethnic cleansing. They sought to establish a fascist state in which the Sinhala and Muslim people, as well as the Tamil people who were not prepared to bow before them, would not live. A large number of Democratic leaders of the Tamil people were killed by the terrorists. Similarly, many of our national leaders were assassinated by the forces of terror. The entire country was terrorized.

Friends,

Our country became the victim of the most powerful terrorist organization in the world. We had come to the verge of the separatist terrorists achieving their goal of dividing the country and establishing a separate state of Tamil Eelam. We were being compelled by some administrators of that time to except the so-called peace brought about by the division of the country, and the victory of the forces of terror. Many foreign forces attempted to persuade us that the path to achieving peace was to be subjugated by a terrorist organization that had power on land, sea and air as well as ruthless suicide killers.

Together with this, some international institutions sought to show our country as a failed State, which pained the hearts and minds of all of us at the unfortunate fate that was sought to be bestowed on the land of our birth.

Friends,

We were finally challenged by this unfortunate fate that our great motherland could no more bear.

In the Presidential election held in 2005 you brought me to the leadership of our land. It was to battle against this misfortune of fate; to defeat it and to bring victory to the nation over it. It was to defeat the foundations of a cowardly peace based on the victory of separatist terror, and instead establish a genuine and dignified peace for our land.

In the Presidential Election of 2005, you handed to me and to our Government the challenge of being victorious over the threat that time had raised against us. We faced this daring challenge with a determination to somehow achieve victory over it.

It is said that failure is the very mother of success. You are aware that most governments and leaders of the past attempted to solve this problem with separatist terror, through military means and discussions. It is no secret at all these efforts were unsuccessful. It is these failures that led me to decide to move towards success. This is what I stated in my policy statement - the Mahinda Chintana - presented for the 2005 Presidential Election:

"It is my intention to critically examine the merits and demerits of the steps taken so far to deal with this complex problem and consider a fresh approach. In doing so, the fundamental platform that I would base my initiative would be an undivided country, a national consensus and an hounourable peace".

We have now been able, within a short span of two and half years, to almost completely defeat the cowardly forces of terror that had wrapped our entire nation in fear through several decades. This great victory has been brought to our country through our Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, the Police Special Task Force and Civil Defence Corps carrying out the task before them, jointly and with great dedication.

Our heroic forces have given us the opportunity today to celebrate the anniversary of our Independence in a country freed, after many years, from the dark shadow of terrorism.

Friends,

We are all aware that there have been betrayals and subjugations throughout our history. This reminds us of many infamous names. At the same time are we also reminded today of the bravery, national pride and patriotism that was seen in our great kings such as Dutugemunu, Gajaba and Vijayabahu.

Our forces have protected the great heroism and dignity of the past and handed it to the future. It was no easy task to destroy the threat to the unitary nature and freedom of our country from the LTTE that was described as the most powerful terrorist organization in the world.

Our troops have given us the opportunity to see the dawn of an honourable peace for the country. They have sacrificed their flesh, blood, sinews and life itself to bring this great historic opportunity to our motherland. Our troops were able to carry forward the battle against terror with great care so as not to cause harassment to the innocent Tamil people. The dignified peace that is now dawning upon us becomes greater and more unique than the peace enjoyed by the people of other countries, because it is built on the immense sacrifice of these heroes.

Friends,

There are good reasons behind this victory. The people contributed to this victory without any differences, in the face of many economic hardships. They correctly understood that we have launched a proper battle for the defeat of separatist terrorism. But for the sacrifice of their children to the armed forces, police and civil defence corps in such large numbers by our mothers and fathers, as never before seen in our history, this victory would not be possible. Their immense commitment was not in vain. It is these sacrifices that have enabled the National Flag to fly with pride over the entire country today.

Our troops gave us this victory through their own skills, knowledge and expertise. Our forces did not obtain the assistance of any foreign experts. Similarly, our forces had a certain expertise of their own. It is their refusal to say no, on any occasion. They always thought that "we should do this somehow for our country". Our country has achieved these victories because they had the courage to think in such manner. Do not forget that in most countries where separatist terrorists have been active, they have achieved victory. However, In Sri Lanka we have been able to defeat terrorism and separatism and safeguard the unitary nature of our State.

Whatever the number of countries in the world, there is no place that is safer to anyone than the land of ones birth. The time has now dawned for the Sri Lankans who have left their country, because of this unfortunate battle that had dragged for more than 20 years, to return to their land of birth and to the places they lived in. On this important occasion, on behalf of the entire Sri Lankan nation, I make an open invitation to all Sri Lankans - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and of all other communities, who left this country because of war to return to your motherland.

Friends,

I am confident that in a few days we will decisively defeat the terrorist force that many repeatedly kept saying was invincible. However, we should not think that with this alone we have overcome all challenges before us.

Since independence we have achieved good results in some sectors. We have obtained a satisfactory position on child health and education. 97% of our children obtain admission to schools for education. At a time when in most countries of the world a free health service and free education have been denied to their people, we as a government are dedicated to carry out these social responsibilities.

However, although there are several such matters about which we can be pleased there are many more challenges to be overcome, too.

It is necessary to provide a more productive education to our children, which is suited to needs of the progress of our country. Wherever poverty raises its head it should be overcome. It is necessary to see the emergence of a public service with different attitudes. We should bring the public service to the position when it considers the people as its master. Today, we all face the challenge of bringing about a country that has good governance and prosperity, leaving no room for corruption and waste.

Friends,

We are today a nation that has defeated a powerful enemy that stood before us. Similarly, we should have the ability to defeat all internal enemies that are found in our midst. We should be ready to change as it is necessary to meet these new challenges. What is best is to be united as one nation, to see the dawn of the proper social, economic, cultural and political goals of society.

Today, there is a new vibrancy in our National Flag. There is a new resonance in our National Anthem. The National Flag that our heroic troops took to the north flutters in the hands of the people of the north. Our entire nation is now united in the shade of the National Flag, conscious of the need to achieve victory over the new challenges before us. They love their country more than at any other time in our history.

Friends,

We should be ready to properly grasp and not waste the opportunity that history has presented to us after 61 years of freedom from colonial rule, to once again raise our country to the dignity it deserves.

The nation expects a new future, and a future of change. A future where the unpleasant experiences that we jointly faced in the recent past are not repeated. It is time to stop the refrain that we "cannot" and we "don't have". The remnants and leftovers of subjugation should be erased from our minds. We should look towards the future as a people with a proud and glorious history. Do not strain to demonstrate subjugation and servitude. Rather, strive to demonstrate your freedom and non-servitude, to rise with dignity of a citizen who equally loves the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and all others who makeup our nation. The sowing of discord belongs to the past. The future belongs to those who sow the seeds of unity. The spread of social injustice is of the past. The future is for the building of social justice.

How can it be difficult for us who were able to defeat separatist terrorism that many said was invincible, to build this new future in our motherland? However, difficult it may be, doing justice by the Sri Lankan nation has no other path than the determination to achieve it.

More than anything else I have faith in the spirit and pride of the Sri Lankan nation. Our heroes of war confirmed this belief of mine. We move towards an era of national reawakening and commit our service to it because, of this trust in our nation.

Friends,

What is before us is a century of expectations. If we are able to leave the stage of history as those who have fulfilled the expectation of the nation, what more satisfaction can one have? Let us all go towards realizing that great satisfaction.

In that march ahead, should we hesitate to say what has to be said? No. Should we hesitate to do what needs doing? No. Or else, would it be possible for us to bring about a Sri Lanka that is free of terrorism? In overcoming the challenges of the future too, we shall work in the same manner.

Friends,

I do not believe that the true extent of our development is seen on the bill-boards in our cities. I believe that the full measure of our progress can only been seen when the faces of our people and our children light up with joy and satisfaction. It is necessary to work hard to achieve this.

We took the greatest risk in the battle to defeat separatist terror. It was the risk of life. Our Defence Secretary and the Commander of our Army did not abandon their responsibilities even having faced terror attacks from suicide killers. During this period the forces of terror preyed on the lives two of our most senior Ministers. However, in the face of such danger we did not show that we lacked the courage to face up to the enemy. At a time when their fellow soldiers were dying from enemy attacks in the battle field, our troops did not abandon the battle for fear of their lives. Had we not the courage to face up to such dangers would it have been possible for us to safeguard our country? Similarly, I wish to state, that in the struggles ahead to build a new country we shall not fear to take necessary decisions in the face of any dangers that we may face.

We shall also in the same manner enter the struggle to establish stability and good governance in our country, free of corruption and waste. We must be able to change as required by the challenges placed before us by time. If we cannot do so we should be ready to leave the stage.

Friends,

A Former Governor of the World Bank James Wolfenson said thus on July 5th 1998: "Wherever social and economic expectations have been destroyed, in such a place there is only a small space for peace. Similarly, there is also very small space for stability".

I am today a firm believer in this. We are now building a country where people will not die through terrorism. Similarly, we should transform this into a country where the social and economic expectations of the people are not shattered. If not, there will only be a very small space for peace and stability.

It will be possible for the victories of war to be lost by war, only if such military victories are not consolidated through the plough. Therefore, we should be ready to direct our country towards a campaign that will take us to social, economic, cultural and political progress.

It is our responsibility to bring our people to the awareness that sovereignty lies with them. If the people do not believe that what is done is in keeping with their needs and expectations, the value of their sovereignty will be diminished. What change can we bring to the country without seeing the dawn of the day when the people realize that they are the real owners of the agricultural land, the assets of nature, the environment and all assets of the ocean and fisheries?

What other path is there to demonstrate the power of sovereignty, other than giving to the poor a standard of life under which they have land to live, a home, a good education for their children and proper opportunities for employment? What purpose is there to them in any power that does not bring about a change their lives? Ensuring the security of people's sovereignty means ensuring social security; increasing the space for peace and widening the space for stability. This is how we should protect the peace and stability we have won. I believe we can achieve this, too.

Friends,

In conclusion, permit me to say something very special on this day of national pride. I call upon you to stand on your feet with the firm conviction that we can take our country to future victories based on the experiences and the knowledge we have gained in the struggles we have won to date.

Let us be ready to raise our country to new heights as people full of enthusiasm, but with tranquility of mind; with the necessity for speed, yet with proper method. Let us not fear any challenges. Let us have the courage to realize our expectations.

Similarly, let us extend the cooperation of the entire nation to the people of the north and the east who suffered under the grip of separatist terror for many years, to once again step towards satisfaction and freedom in life.

Let us come forward both in word and deed to bestow upon them the kindness, friendship and prosperity they deserve.

This 61st anniversary of independence has given us the opportunity to realize the pride and dignity of our freedom. The time is now ready for the battle to raise Sri Lanka to the dignity of a country that is energetic, powerful, virtuous and wise. Let us as patriotic Sri Lankans achieve success in that battle too, without delay. Let us dedicate ourselves to bequeath this true freedom to our country.

Friends,

I respect the maxim that the motherland and ones own mother are comparable to paradise. At a time when our motherland is united under a single banner, I invite all parties to come together irrespective of ethnicity, community and party differences, giving the opportunity to all to do their duty by the motherland. What greater satisfaction can Mother Lanka have than all of us being the children of a single mother? I, therefore, appeal to you to join us to bring that great satisfaction to our motherland.

Let us look at all the children of our motherland - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and of all other communities, spread throughout our land, and living with no divisive thoughts among them. They look upon us with great expectations. They question us and hold us to task. They seek their future from us. They are the future of this land. May you have the strength and courage to take our country in a new direction on their behalf.

May you all receive the Blessings of the Noble Triple Gem.

Independence Day LIVE from Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Independence Day Celebrations in Colombo is over. Enjoy the live telecast of ITN...
Video:

Inflation drops from 28% to 10.7%

Sri Lanka’s inflation has dropped considerably. Central Bank Deputy Governor W.A. Wijayawardena said inflation which stood at 28 percent in June last year had decelerated to 10.7 percent. He forecast a further decline.

The Deputy Governor said the inflation rate is measured in terms of the Colombo Consumers Index prepared by the Department of Census and Statistics. In July 2008 it increased up to 28 percent. From January this year, it declined to 10.7 percent. He attributed this decrease to the stringent financial policies adopted by the Central Bank. According to Central Bank estimates, the rate will fall to four to five percent in the mid-year.

U.S., EU, Japan, Norway urge Sri Lanka's Tigers to surrender

The United States, European Union, Japan and Norway on Tuesday urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to consider surrendering to avoid more deaths, including among thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone.

"There remains probably only a short period of time before the LTTE loses control of all areas in the north," they said in a joint statement. "The LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka should recognize that further loss of life -- of civilians and combatants -- will serve no cause."

Full statement issued by the Tokyo Co-Chairs...

Embassy of the United States of America
Colombo
PRESS RELEASE

Statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs

Colombo, February 3, 2009: The Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly express their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. The Co-Chairs call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the no-fire zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. They also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect international humanitarian law.

International efforts to persuade the LTTE to allow the civilians freedom of movement have failed. There remains probably only a short period of time before the LTTE loses control of all areas in the North. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka should recognize that further loss of life – of civilians and combatants – will serve no cause.

To avoid further civilian casualties and human suffering, the Co-Chairs:

• call on the LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms, renunciation of violence, acceptance of the Government of Sri Lanka's offer of amnesty; and participating as a political party in a process to achieve a just and lasting political solution; and
• call on the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to declare a temporary no-fire period to allow for evacuation of sick and wounded, and provision of aid to civilians.

The Co-Chairs will work with the Government of Sri Lanka, India, the United Nations and others to ensure:

• the internally displaced people from the north are transferred to temporary camps where UN agencies, the ICRC, and humanitarian organizations will have full access and the IDPs will be treated according to international standards and resettled in their original homes as soon as possible; and
• an inclusive dialogue to agree on a political settlement so that lasting peace and reconciliation can be achieved.

Colombo to get air cover on Independence Day

In addition to the usual security measures in place on land and sea, a tight air cover will be in operation over Colombo and its suburbs during the Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green today (Feb 4). “We will use our air capabilities to protect the skies over Colombo during the celebrations,” Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said, adding that the Air Force would thwart any threat at any required time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sri Lanka's UN Ambassador Interview with CNN

Sri Lankan official on crisis

Sri Lanka's U.N. ambassador H.M.G.S. Palihakkara discusses what the government is doing to protect civilians in the war zone in Sri Lanka.

CNN Video:


If embedded video is not accessible, please follow this link.

Last & Seventh LTTE Airstrip Falls into Army Hands

The seventh and apparently the last some 2 km long LTTE runway in the west of Sundarapuram, Thirivilaru, northeast of Piramantharukulam, Puthukudirippu was captured and the area brought under the control of 58 Division troops commanded by Brigadier Shavindra Silva by Tuesday (3) morning, the Army Headquarters declared.

Though the entire strip is about 2 km, the tarmac was only 350 meter in length and 50 meters in width according to the ground troops who launched a lightning attack before troops moved in there. The tarmac had been partitioned into sixteen sections beginning from 1-16, most probably to use it as a hangar after return on completion of clandestine aerial terrorist bombing operations.

Ground troops before Tuesday’s (3) capture have earlier overrun six more terrorist runways and tarmacs in the KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITTIVU districts.

On 16th January 2009 ground troops caught the 1 km long LTTE runway in the eastern edge right opposite the famous IRANAMADU tank bund. Just a day before that detection, troops captured one more LTTE tarmac of 1100 meter from the eastern side, parallel to the IRANAMADU tank bund on 15th January 2009.

A day prior to last Christmas day (24th December 2008), heroic troops walked into another 350 meter long LTTE runway in the AMPAKAMAM north, giving a further blow to the terrorists.

Making another significant contribution, troops on 20th November 2008 completely overran a separate LTTE runway on POONERYN-PARANTHAN road (A-35) between the 15th and 18th Mile Posts and dominated their presence.

One more tarmac belonging to terrorists in WANNIVILANKULAM, about 7 km northwest of MANKULAM fell into Army hands on 30th September 2008. It was 500 meters in length.

Again one more well-built 2.5 km long LTTE runway with a few hangars was captured by the troops, from the area, about 5 km west of MULLAITTIVU lagoon on 10th September 2008.

(Courtesy: Army.lk)

Video:

Tamils in Jaffna march to free Sri Lankan civilians trapped by LTTE

Thousands of Tamil residents in the northern town of Jaffna stage a demonstration on February 1, 2009 in support of government forces. They marched to the United Nations offices in Jaffna to urge intervention over civilians caught in the conflict zone.

Video from Reuters:



NTD TV Video:



More pictures of Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils holding banners and placards with messages to save their relatives in Wanni, during the demonstration in Jaffna peninsula:

Troops capture LTTE Forward Defense Line in Chalai - 2 Feb 2009

TV (camera) crew came across LTTE attacks as they went to video the battleground.

Troops of 55 division led by Brig. Prasanna De Silva have breached the Earth Bund in the North of Chalai, Mullaittivu and captured the forward defense line (FDL) of the LTTE terrorists, latest information from Wanni battlefront confirmed.

Fierce fighting broke out between LTTE and security forces in the Chalai general area since yesterday and LTTE ended up loosing their front defense line.

TV (camera) crew came across LTTE attacks as they went to film this video in the battleground...

Video:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Video of Prabhakaran's Main Hideout captured in Piramanthalkulama, Mullaittivu

Troops miss Prabhakaran by minutes?

Troops operating in the area of Puthukudyiruppu area have discovered a concrete built underground bunker with four rooms and a basement early this morning (Feb 2). It is believed to be a hiding place of Tiger chief V. Prabhakaran. They also believe that Prabhakaran had possibly vacated the place a while ago as troops found a pile of burnt photographs and documents.

A stock of insulin and a photograph of Prabhakaran taken in the same bunker too were found inside the bunker, confirming that it was occupied by him. The bunker is within a coconut grove with the entrance too covered by coconut fronds, according to military sources.

Video:



For pictures, click here

LTTE Organizing a Rally in Los Angeles?

The following is an email chain received by Mawbima...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: xxx
Date: Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 2:57 PM
Subject: LTTE Terrorists Organizing a Rally in Los Angeles.
To: xxx

Friends,

Cat is out of the bag! 'Tamils for Democracy', according to their email below, is the same organization who organized the rally last week in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC to discredit the Sri Lankan G overnment. Now in LA? By hiding inside Lasantha's coffin, these terrorists are doing their dirty work in support of vanishing LTTE. Please, inform the authorities in LA. What ever political party we believe in, this is the time to support our Government, and our Forces so we can celebrate Unitary Sri Lanka after three decades. Our Country has suffered for more than 28 years in fighting Terrorism. Please don't let these Terrorists do harm again to our Mother Land.

Please inform all your friends in Los Angeles to watch out for these Terrorist Supporters. Don't fall pray to these cunning LTTE tactics.

please forward this email to all your friends who really care for your Mother Land.


-----Original Message-----
From: Thamils For Democracy
To: xxx
Sent: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 2:44 pm
Subject: Rally Now!

Dear Eelam Patriots:

While the Sinhala forces are boasting of victories, we urge all Tamil brothers and sisters to rally to bring International action against the murderous Rajapakse government. The protest rallies held in Washington DC recently were a resounding success and we must continue in our fight to bring justice and democracy to the people of Tamil Eelam.

A rally to protest the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremeatunge and the Sinhalese war on Eelam is being organized in Los Angeles. Wickrematunga was a staunch friend of Eelam. He had the courage to tell the world that 'Tamils are being exterminated" by the Sinhalese. We are encouraged that some of our Sinhalese brothers will be joining this rally in Los Angeles. We have also received good response from CNN and the L.A. Times. Please encourage all your friends to join, es pecially the Sinhalese and Muslims. There are many Sinhalese in Los A ngeles who hate the Rajapakse government and support the UNP and we can expect them to come forward.

At this rally, we will also show the world that the suffering of the Tamil civilians is similar to Gaza and that the US must intervene to stop the destruction. Martin Luther King Blvd. is the tentative location. We have written to some leading Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Mayor Villairagosa about this rally and we expect someone from their offices to turn up. We have to make full use of Lasantha's murder!

Further details will be emailed to you shortly.

Don't give up hope!!

Secretary
அமுதா சுவாமிநாதன்

Air Strikes in Mullaittivu area - Northern War Front - 1 Feb 2009

Video:

58 Division recovers heavy weapons from Visuamadu - Wanni Operation - 1 Feb 2009

Video:

Lasantha killing: More arrests likely

More suspects are expected to arrested in connection with the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga following the recovery of his mobile phone, SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said yesterday.

He said that the breakthrough was made after the arrest of the 22-year-old three-wheeler driver from the Attidiya area, who had the mobile in his possession.

"We are now tracing calls made by the suspect", he said.

SSP Gunasekera said that initial investigations had revealed that the phone had been sold to the suspect by a person identified as an habitual drug addict and IRC who has been in remand custody since January 23.

Both the buyer and the seller of the mobile are Sinhalese, he said declining to divulge more information as it would hamper ongoing investigations.

(By Franklin R. Satyapalan, Island)

Pro-LTTE Web Sites Target India As The Villain

By B. Raman

In a desperate attempt to secure a pause in the fighting in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka in order to be able to regroup, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been emulating the tactics of human shields or human buffers used by the Hizbollah in the Lebanon in 2006 and by the Hamas in Gaza recently to slow down the Israeli military strikes.

2. While refusing to let the civilians in the areas still controlled by it to move to the safe zones proclaimed by the Sri Lankan Government under the pretext that the civilians cannot be forced to move against their will unless there is an internationally-guaranteed ceasefire, it has activated the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the West and Australia to demonstrate in large numbers in the streets to highlight the plight of the civilians. It has mobilised the support of foreign human rights organisations on this issue. Impressive demonstrations were held by large numbers of Sri Lankan Tamils in different Western cities on January 31, 2009.

3. At the same time, pro-LTTE web sites have been highlighting the protests launched by some political parties and by some sections of students and lawyers in Tamil Nadu against the alleged violations of the human rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils and their calls for Indian intervention in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. They have been trying to project as if the protest campaign in Tamil Nadu has been gathering momentum.

4. Some of the pro-LTTE web sites in the Tamil language have been carrying inflammatory articles projecting India as the villain for allegedly providing military assistance to Sri Lanka in its counter-terrorism campaign against the LTTE. They indirectly admit that during the last two years the LTTE has suffered a series of set-backs and attribute these set-backs to the assistance allegedly given by India to the Sri Lankan Army.

5. One such article calls upon the members of the Sri Lankan diaspora abroad to hold continuous demonstrations outside Indian diplomatic missions in protest against India's role in Sri Lanka. The pro-LTTE web sites have been directing their criticism against the Government of India as well as the Congress (I), which is projected as the "Sonia Congress". Some of the criticism is personally directed at Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

6. They have been accusing the Congress (I) of taking vengeance on the Sri Lankan Tamil community for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)

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

Colombo (AP) - Sri Lanka warned Western diplomats, foreign journalists and aid groups Sunday that they would be "chased" out of the country if they appear to favor the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa singled out the ambassadors of Switzerland and Germany, and television networks CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera in his criticism of foreigners, accusing them of being biased.

Rajapaksa said certain foreign media reports were damaging the security forces at a time they were "dealing the final death blow" to the Tigers.

His ire appears to stem from concern expressed by the international community that the government is not doing enough to extricate civilians trapped in the fighting between the military and the Tamil rebels in the north.

In an interview published in the independent Sunday Island newspaper, Rajapaksa said the three TV networks were sensationalizing civilian hardships by telecasting video clips from a Web site run by the rebels. The ambassadors were trying to create panic, he was quoted as saying.

"They will be chased away (if they try) to give a second wind" to the separatist Tamil Tigers, said Rajapaksa, who is the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The government says the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the rebels are formally known, are using civilians as human shields, a charge denied by the insurgents.

"It was irresponsible (of the foreign media) not to talk about civilians held in the war zone by the LTTE while making comments that only helped the Tigers," Rajapaksa said.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tamil Nadu orders closure of colleges and hostels

CHENNAI: Colleges across Tamil Nadu will remain closed from Monday, the state government announced Saturday in view of students' protests over the situation in Sri Lanka.

Colleges will remain closed from Monday "due to the prevailing law and order situation", Chief Secretary K. Sripathy said in an official release.

He had also ordered the closure of student's hostels in the State.

Several organisations including those of students have been holding protests and demonstrations in the state over the suffering of Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka amid the armed forces' campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Naval Patrol Craft rescues 43 Tamil Civilians fleeing from LTTE clutches in Mullaithivu

Sri Lanka Navy’s patrol craft rescued 43 Tamil civilians who were fleeing from the LTTE clutches on the 31st of January 2009 around 0730 hrs.

The escapees, belonging to 11 families, consisted of 14 males, 13 females and 16 children, of whom 12 were boys and 4 were girls. They had fled huddled together in two fiber glass boats, seeking assistance from the naval vessels deployed on rescue missions in the Mullaithivu seas.

They had been overjoyed when they finally managed to reach the naval patrol craft despite their boats’ dangerous slow passage due to overcrowding and choppy seas. Upon rescue, the escapees were safely brought to the Naval Detachment at Pulmudai. Naval personnel attended to the group’s immediate basic requirements by providing them with much-needed food and refreshments. Medical treatment was given to those who were found sick and weary by the naval medical personnel.

The escapees expressed their great relief to have been rescued from an ordeal of painful experiences they had received at the hands of a merciless terror outfit which does not care even the International Community’s persistent appeals to let go the innocent civilians in their grip. LTTE’s tyrannical orders, they claim through their first hand experience, do not spare even the sick or the wounded.

Sri Lanka Navy has made special arrangements to receive hapless Tamil civilians fleeing from the LTTE clutches. Naval personnel and vessels along with stand-by rescue and medical teams are on special deployment for this humanitarian assistance mission in the North-eastern seas.



(Courtesy: Sri Lanka Navy)

LTTE ignores 48 hour ultimatum for safe passage

The LTTE has ignored the 48 hour ultimatum by the Sri Lankan government for the safe passage of civilians into the no fire zones declared.

The LTTE ignored the ultimatum with which was declared to ensure safe evacuation of an estimated 1.2 lakhs people forcibly held by the LTTE as human shields. "LTTE terrorists, violating the objective of the safe area moved heavy artillery batteries and mortar guns among the civilians endangering their safety and also attempting to draw civilian casualties in a military retaliation", defence observers state.

According to ainformation, the Tigers are manning a forward defence line in the outer perimeters of the Safe Zone, which is also said to be cluttered with land mines preventing any civilian attempts to reach the liberated areas.

"The people have been constantly intimidated by the LTTE and warned of severe reprisal for attempting to flee from the LTTE zones", a military official at Vavuniya said citing a group of escapees who had arrived at Omanthai on Friday (20). "Faced with an inevitable defeat the terrorist outfit has resorted to the crude tactic of using civilians to prolong the multi-frontal military surge into its remaining jungle hideout, now stretched across a mere 250sq.km area," defence observers further stated.

Despite the LTTE´s contempt on the safe passage of civilians the Sri Lankan government on Saturday (31) announced that it would continue to adhere to the zero civilian casualty (ZCC) policy while engaging in its all out effort to eradicate the terrorists.

LTTE Sea Tiger group leader killed

An LTTE Sea Tiger group leader identified as Arivu has been killed by the Sri Lanka Army’s 58 Division infantrymen when they stormed an LTTE hideout in the Piramanthalkulam area in Mullaittivu yesterday (Jan. 31).

The LTTE cadres were preparing for an assault at the time of the surprise military attack which left many terrorists killed and others fleeing in disarray, security sources said. Meanwhile, seven other terrorists were also killed by sniper fire in separate locations Northeast of Piramanthalkulama and North of Vishvamadu, military sources added.

Meanwhile defence sources say that the two Black Tiger camps captured by troops yesterday yielded the largest weapons haul in the on-going operations in the Vishvamadukulam area. They also recovered 12 bodied of Tiger cadres, who are believed to be from the Black Tiger brigade.

The LTTE Underwater Vehicle (Submarine) Manufacturing Yard in Mullaitivu - Wanni Operation - 31 Jan 2009

Video: