Prabhakaran is indisposed. Sources emanating from the Wanni says Pottu Amman and Soosai are handling the operations.
Prabhakaran is now hiding in the Government declared Safe Zone mingling among the civilians. It is reported that he is demented by the severe defeat his outfit is suffering. As such, sources emanating from the Safe Zone said second level leaders Pottu Amman and Soosai are tasked with handling the final battle. They are forcibly recruiting civilians to strengthen the secondary leadership and are pleading with the civilians to handover their children to protect the final swath of land. Prabhakaran has withdrawn from the battle of securing an Eelam State. His health condition is reported to have deteriorated rapidly. He is suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and heart related diseases. He is surrounded by doctors who provide him medication. He was disabled in an air attack in November 2007. The civilians have even rejected heeding any orders of the LTTE leader.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Prabhakaran is indisposed. Sources emanating from the Wanni says Pottu Amman and Soosai are handling the operations.
Posted by media at 4:56 PM
The President had a discussion with Tamil political parties on the present situation in the North at Temple Trees yesterday. The President said the terrorists were using Tamil civilians as human guards although the troops were exercising restraint in their humanitarian operations. The LTTE had not taken action to protect the Tamil civilians. The Tamil National Alliance was on several occasions invited to broach the Northern situation. However they did not participate due to LTTE pressure. The President reminded that the Government took action to meet all requirements of the civilians in the grip of the LTTE, including food and medicine, sans a dearth. The terrorists had used a major part of the essentials supplied to the civilians for their benefit and build bunkers. He underscored that food will be not used as a weapon to defeat a war.
Posted by media at 4:55 PM
A series of events have been organised to mark the death anniversary of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.
A dana will be held at Hinatiyana M.V. on April 1 at 12.00 noon while at 4.00 p.m. the Negombo Indoor Stadium will be named Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Stadium while a statue of the late Minister will be unveiled at the venue.
A new wing will be opened at St. Peter's College, Negombo on April 4 at 9.30 a.m. The new crematorium at Seeduwa will be opened on April 4 at 10.00 a.m.
A Dana for soldiers will be held on April 5 at noon while on April 6, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled at Weliweriya at 7.00 a.m.
Scholarships will be awarded to blind children on April 7 while a book containing speeches of the late Minister Fernandopulle will be released at 4.00 p.m.
A live TV program from Sri Jayasudarshanaramaya will be telecast on April 9 followed by dana and anusasana at 6.00 a.m.
Arrangements have also been made to issue a stamp of the late Minister.
Posted by media at 4:49 PM
(by K. R. PUSHPARANJAN)
We too have now begun to feel the heat of ill-effects of the world economic recession despite various optimistic statements made by politicians and the top brass at high echelons in the government. Hundreds of private sector establishments in a number of fields have been shut down and employees are facing challenges they never ever thought could be realities. Even BOI companies with foreign investments are steering in the direction of scaling down operations and retrenching employees.
Naturally and obviously, when the country after country even in the highly developed world have begun to feel the heat of the global meltdown at their doorway, an already ailing economy like ours cannot conceal from the after effects of the chaos in the global financial markets. At a time when the whole world is tumbling in an ocean of economic recession and financial catastrophe there is no chance of survival for a smaller economy like ours. Of course the only possibility is that a direct impact of the global situation might not affect us straight away; but yet its off spins might create a significant brunt. However, such off spins could be quite capable of totally devastating a diminutive economy like ours if the issues are not addressed in the right perspective at the right time.
Around one million expatriate workers distended all over the world mainly in the Middle East, remit increasing amounts of Dollars to inject strength into our ailing economy. This top foreign exchange earner of our country is facing the risk of slamming the brakes on worker remittances as a result of the global financial crisis which would rigorously intensify our economic wretchedness.
Moreover, apart from the uncertain labour market, we have reached the brink of falling world prices and demand on our main exports. Tea, rubber, cinnamon, coconut, garments, gems and a number of other commodities have faced the quandary of loosing demand in the international market thus experiencing sharp falls in prices as well as demand. Gem and jewelry industry can no longer attract overseas buyers for some time. Tourism is operating at grave losses. Also we do not possess adequate foreign assets to brag. Of course extension of GSP+ concession to the garment exporters by a couple of years has given some sigh of relief to that industry. Nevertheless, with the added effect of synthetically held local currency, the situation has dramatically worsened. Needless to say that by artificially holding the local currency in order to lower import costs doesn’t at all compensate for the losses the economy suffers through reduced export income.
Strongest economy on earth with ubiquitous assets and gigantic martial command escorting the economic, political, intellectual and military supremacy over all other nations is where the tribulation set in motion. Financial, trading, service and production sectors in the US market are in ruins; banking institutions, investment companies, insurance and other asset management companies have crashed. Even Europe, Japan and Australia are going through the same fate.
At the rate the financial crisis is swallowing up the world in full bloom and the credit crunch is munching the global markets in style, frail economies such as ours have no chance of standing alone. Most disturbing question is how long can we stand this situation? With all the efforts the world high powers are putting in, recuperation of the global trade and industry is at least a couple of years away. When the global financial crisis hit on the head, our economy was already burning in turmoil.
War, inefficiency, bribery, corruption , extortion, fraud, nepotism, cronyism, terrorism, frittering away public funds by the politicians and high ranking public servants, high energy costs, high inflation, uncontainable exchange rates, attitude problems are some of the factors that made things worse for our country. However, though the recent global crunch only added just one more factor to the hit list, the blow it can turn about could be severe due to its rapid and swift augmentation throughout. In every probability, there is no way Sri Lanka can keep away from the effects of economic recession but certainly the authorities could think and act sensibly towards finding ways of minimizing the impact by adopting proper policies. Most of all, the important thing is to adopt proactive policies.
Posted by media at 4:45 PM
Pottu Amman and Soosai directing Tiger cadres in battlefront
With the Sri Lankan Army advancing into their last stronghold, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are facing grave difficulties in their attempt to slow down the army’s progress in what could be safely termed the last phase of the Eelam war. Among the many difficulties assailing the LTTE are shortage of arms and trained cadres, lack of proper military planning and especially the weak leadership. With the rapid advance of the troops, the LTTE leadership has become very weak, in the recent past, according to the former LTTE cadres, who fled to the cleared areas. Due to the situation, several leaders were reportedly under house arrest including former LTTE military spokesman Ilanthariyan and Peace Secretariat Head Pulidevan. Now no one knows the whereabouts of these two senior leaders. It was learnt that they were captured while attempting to flee the area
Also it has been reported that the health condition of LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was getting worse as he was under severe mental stress due to the current war situation.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 12:15 AM
Friday, March 27, 2009
Posted by media at 11:05 PM
Sri Lanka might be gaining the upper hand against the Tamil Tigers, but it now faces a diplomatic dispute.
BANGKOK, THAILAND – A diplomatic row is escalating over civilian casualties in Sri Lanka’s war with the Tamil Tigers. The two sides are in the midst of a military showdown in a coastal strip of jungle in the island’s northeast corner.
Western nations are calling for a pause in the fighting to allow for the evacuation of up to 180,000 trapped people, but Sri Lanka is pushing back. In particular, the government is challenging the United Nation’s assessment of suffering among this cornered population. The government was angered following a senior UN official’s recent warning that both sides in the conflict may have committed war crimes.
Last week, the Monitor reported that UN documents attributed escalating deaths and injuries to Army shelling in a no-fire zone (see the Monitor’s story here).
>> Full Story: CS Monitor
Posted by media at 11:00 PM
In its biggest defence deal with India, Israel will provide its largest arms buyer an air defence system at a whopping sum of $1.4 billion.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has officially acknowledged that the defence deal between the two countries was signed on February 27 under which Israel will develop and manufacture seaborne and shore-based systems against missile attack on India, business daily Globes reported.
The two sides have agreed that part of the payment for the systems will be made during the development period and the balance will be paid during the 66-month delivery period, which is slated to begin 90 months from the date the advance payment is received.
As per the agreement, IAI has also undertaken to procure military or aviation products and services from India. Besides, it will invest in defence companies in India up to an amount equal to 30 per cent of the contract.
Meanwhile, the state owned Israeli firm stated that it delayed announcing the contract because the customer informed them that early disclosure was liable to cause material difficulties in its execution and may even result in cancellation, the business daily reported.
IAI also added that it felt that this risk would be substantially reduced once the advance payment was received, the report said. The Israeli defence industry, however, decided to go open on the contract following reports in media, even though the advance payment has not yet been received, it said.
Posted by media at 10:58 PM
The Colombo District Court issued an enjoining order today (March 27) preventing the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the United National Party (UNP) from removing Deputy Minister of Livestock Development Abdul Baiz Kamardeen from Parliament.
Posted by media at 10:55 PM
The United Nations Security Council meeting in a basement room – an arrangement seen as a diplomatic victory for Colombo – discussed the Sri Lanka crisis and delivered a “friendly censure” on the country, according to reports.
The UN-based Inner-City Press news website quoted Costa Rica’s ambassador Jorge Urbina as saying the council’s second session in a month on the conflict in Sri Lanka was a “friendly censure” of the government. Costa Rica along with Austria and Mexico is one of the main players of the Security Council move.
Following a closed door session at which Sri Lanka’s Mission to the UN showed pictures of the conflict zone, U.S. representative Rosemary DiCarlo said that Sri Lanka had been shelling areas with civilians, close to hospitals. She said that the camps for internally displaced people, which she called internment camps, would only be funded by the UN for three months, the ICP report said.
According to the report, UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes said he “wouldn’t like to put a time” frame on how long the UN would fund these camps, from which IDPs cannot leave or receive visits, even from family members. He also declined again to confirm his own agency’s figures of 2,683 civilians killed from January 20 to March 7, a number that only came out because the document was leaked to Inner City Press.
U.S. representative DiCarlo said the number of civilians trapped between the LTTE and the government number from 150,000 to 190,000. The UN’s Holmes added the Sri Lankan government’s figure as 70,000.
The Inner City Press said: We note that Holmes also wryly stated, on his way into basement Conference Room 7, that “this meeting doesn’t exist,” a reference to its strange location, title and format, a concession by the Council to its members who wanted no briefing at all. Holmes has to deal with politics. The question is, when must humanitarian principles unequivocally win out?
French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, who spoke as he rushed out of the meeting, said that “both sides must comply with international humanitarian law.” He added that the Sri Lankan government is asking countries with Tamil diaspora populations to make sure money is not donated or exported from their soil to the Tamil Tigers. How this would be implemented by the UK is not clear. UK Ambassador Sawers spoke briefly to the Press, but not on this point.
Posted by media at 10:51 PM
Moments before a Chatham House roundtable discussion in London Dr. Pakiya sothy Saravanamuttu , the executive director of the Center for Policy Alternative, a heavily Western funded NGO was jubilant. He asked me, “Isn’t it unusual for the British parliamentarians to take up Sri Lanka many times during the last few months”. He was here in London probably to meet some of those parliamentarians.
When I repeated his question to Douglas Wickramaratne , who was seated next to me at the round table to listen to Pakiyasothy Saravanamuttu, Wickramaratne, President of UK’s Sinhala Association said there is nothing unusual about it. British parliament is the only legislature where there is a parliamentary group for Tamils, and many have been repeating well hacked slogans of the Tamil Tigers like “Genocide” – a notoriously unsubstantiated statement only of cheap propagandist value. Many of them seem to be dependent on about 100,000 Tamils settled in London for their votes. It is being led by a Goanese British parliamentarian, now being investigated for his sleazy behaviour. The London Daily Mail recently accused of “grotesque abuse of his position” in helping a convicted conman and having received “lavish hospitality” from him, he said. The relationship of Vaz and London’s LTTE is not well known, except that he parrot-like repeats many Prabhakaran slogans.
But the usually academic like Saravanamuttu although, he is hell bent on proving a thesis against Sri Lanka, lost his cool and was calling Douglas Wickramaratne “below his dignity” and “contemptible” for dragging in the financial misappropriation of Saravanamuttu’s NGO where his side kick Sunanda Deshapriya has admitted the charge and resigned.
Saravanamuttu was angry and said that this issue of misappropriation should not have been brought into this forum at all. He would have, among other things, very embarrassed that this was mentioned in front of those white liberals who were filling the seats around the round table. Douglas Wickramaratne was asked to meet him outside where he could explain the whole matter.
During the diatribe between Pakiyasothy Sarvanamuttu and Douglas Wickramaratne the latter said, “It is generally accepted in Sri Lanka that the last people who want permanent peace in the country are the NGO’s as the hierarchy of those organizations enjoyed a luxury life-style earning millions of Rupees a month. Then Saravanamuttu retorted back by saying , “Isn’t your organization a NGO?” Wickramaratne said, “No ours is a cultural organization.”
During this discussion he was accusing the Sri Lanka government for the kind of facilities they have provided for the internally displaced persons and said it is feared that they could become permanent settlements uprooting the Tamil civilians from their traditional settlements in the LTTE occupied areas, despite Sri Lankan assurances that the people would be settled back after hundreds of thousand explosives buried under the ground are de-mined. Saravanamuttu attacked the Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament from Wanni District who expressed his satisfaction about the camps and accused him of taking part in a “conducted tour of the government.” Saravanamuttu did not seem to have visited them or tried to visit them. Therefore, he did not have any notes about them to compare with those of the TNA MP Vinodha-radhalingam or groups of foreign ambassadors who praised them, that would have built more credibility about his academic brilliance. But yet he used his Cambridge picked up “eloquence and academic vista” to condemn the Kadiragamapuram Wellfare Center for Tamil IDP’s, not substantiating them with any data of his.
Douglas Wickramaratne questioned why Saravanamuttu is predicting about the future of those Tamil civilians , at the height of the war, when they are on a better footing than most other IDP’s. Wickramaratne said LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran chased out 100,000 Muslims from the Jaffna peninsula giving them only 24 hours notice, permitting them to take with them the equivalent of £ 5 of British money in their pockets. Still those Muslims, after many decades are living a squalid life and are unfortunate enough not to get any attention from people like Saravanamuttu, Wickramaratne charged. Seemingly agitated once again, Saravanamuttu said he was not here to explain what they did not do and did do for various communities in the past. If he wanted , Wickramaratne was asked to meet him outside for another explanation.
Saravanamuttu, praised Navaneetham Pillai of the United Nations , an ethnic Tamil from South Africa , who allegedly wrote questionable report about No Fire Zone shelling of the civilians, which many have said, extremely unreliable. Her information that made the basis of her report that accuses the Sri Lanka government was highly unacceptable, the Sri Lanka government charged.
He was speaking about Gareth Evans’ highly condemned R2P proposal. He was speaking about his wish that British government should diplomatically attempt to get the cooperation of other members of the UN Security Council to find out procedural means to forego the vetoes of China or Russia and continue more vigorously against Sri Lanka.
He was hell bent against Sri Lanka. Only one other individual, Velupillai Prabhakaran would have been little more anti-Sri Lanka than him.
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
Posted by media at 10:45 PM
The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that the Sri Lankan government has enthusiastically and positively responded to the Indian proposal of evacuating the internally displaced civilians in the Northern conflict and establishing the already functioning field hospital for the evacuees from the war torn area, in a letter written to Muthuvel Karunanidhi , the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
“Certain suggestions to ameliorate their conditions were proposed; the most important being an offer to set up a field medical unit/hospital to cater to the civilians and internally displaced persons evacuated from the war zone. The Sri Lankan side has responded enthusiastically to our offer. The field hospital has been set up and is functioning well,” he said in the letter
Manmohan Singh also said the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa “very recently affirmed his commitment to a devolution package, which he said would fully satisfy the Tamils.
“He [the Sri Lanka President] has also said that steps in this direction are being initiated immediately. We may wait and see what steps area actually taken,” said the letter dated March 19, a copy of which had been released to the press.
The Indian Prime Minister said in the letter that the Sri Lankan government should come up with a package of devolution of power.
“We have indicated that this should also include assurances of equality and equal rights for Tamils, as is the case for other citizens of Sri Lanka,” he said. Dr. Singh further added that “the plight of thousands of innocent Tamils, who have become unfortunate victims of the on-going conflict, is indeed pitiable. There are, in addition, thousands of others outside the war zone who live in makeshift camps, where conditions are hardly any better,” he said.
Engagement with the Sri Lankan authorities was on at different levels and one outcome of the multi-level engagement was the establishment of a field hospital. “Contacts are being maintained at several levels, including at the very highest level…Our concerns regarding the plight of Tamils were explicitly reiterated.
Certain suggestions to ameliorate their conditions were proposed; the most important being an offer to set up a field medical unit/hospital to cater to the civilians and internally displaced persons evacuated from the war zone. The Sri Lankan side has responded enthusiastically to our offer. The field hospital has been set up and is functioning well.” India had repeatedly stressed the need to temporarily stop the war.
“We have consistently proposed a temporary cessation of hostilities, which could be utilised to facilitate the movement of the Tamil population out of the war-affected areas to the safety zones, where proper rehabilitation facilities could be arranged,” he said.
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
Posted by media at 1:10 AM
Colombo: Sri Lanka has ascended from the lowest income earning countries to middle level earners with the increase of GDP per capita by 88.9 per cent.
This situation enabled the government to transact with the IMF from which a loan worth of US$ 1.9 billion is expected in an understanding manner, said Media Minister Lakshman Yapa.
Addressing a press conference at the Media Ministry, Yapa said inflation in the country has reduced from 28% in 2008 to 7.6 per centage though the percentage of loan per person increased by 54 percent.
The total unsettled loans as against Gross National Production has seen drastic decrease since 2005.
The percentage of total unsettled loans as against the Gross National Product was: 2002 - 105.5 per cent, 2003 - 105.5 per cent, 2004 - 105.5 per cent, 2008 - 85 per cent.
According to Minister Lakshman Yapa Sri Lanka is entitled to claim a loan of US$ 3.2 billion from the IMF but the country has sought only US$ 1.9 billion.
>> Full Story: Times of Lanka
Posted by media at 12:57 AM
Posted by media at 12:55 AM
Sri Lanka's state-run Bank of Ceylon profits have increased 19.2 percent to 3.87 billion rupees in 2008, helped by strong fee income despite interest expenses rising.
The bank said its foreign branches in London, Maldives and Indian had performed well in 2008.
"Our London branch has come into profits after 10 years," chairman Gamini Wickramasinghe said.
The group's interest income grew 17.0 percent to 51.5 billion rupees, interest expense grew 21.9 percent to 37.0 billion, but net interest income grew at a slower rate of 6.2 percent to 14.5 billion rupees.
"Our funding costs are also taking a toll as you know the rates have been quite high," the bank's chief financial officer Saliya Rajakaruna said.
>> Full Story: LBO
Posted by media at 12:50 AM
* China, Russia said to oppose formal council discussion
* U.N. says rebels hold civilians as human shields
UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council will discuss the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka on Thursday as fears grow about the fate of tens of thousands of civilians trapped by fighting between government forces and rebels, diplomats said.
U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes is set to brief council members at an informal meeting that is not expected to lead to any action, diplomats on the 15-nation council told reporters.
Diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Austria and other council member states have said they would be open to such a briefing.
But U.N. diplomats say China and Russia were among those who oppose formal discussion of the issue, saying the fighting between the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government forces represents no threat to international peace and security and was therefore no business of the council.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 12:44 AM
It was the fourth occasion in recent times the British parliament was discussing Sri Lanka. Members cutting across party lines came hard on the Colombo government for nearly one and a half hours on Tuesday, for its attacks on civilians, failure in heeding international calls for ceasefire, humanitarian abuses and blockade of international monitoring. Many members demanded UN action, suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth and pressure on India to act in stopping the war. However, Bill Rammell, the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs came out only with rhetorical assurances, sounded negative to substantial demands and accused the LTTE for preventing people from leaving.
“It has become increasingly clear that the principal reason why more IDPs have not left the conflict area is that the LTTE is forcibly preventing them from doing so. A number of NGOs working in northern Sri Lanka have publicly stated that that is happening. The UN has also condemned the LTTE for forcibly recruiting civilians, including women and children. We must attack that on all fronts and we must express our concerns to the Sri Lankan Government. I urge anyone with influence and with access to the LTTE to put those concerns forward”, Rammell said at the end of the debate.
>> Full Story: TamilNet
Posted by media at 12:44 AM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
National Integration Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan told Parliament yesterday that the Eastern Provincial Council does not need police powers.
Conferring such power on the Estern Provincial Council will create unnecessary problems, he said.
Participating in the adjournment motion debate on the current political situation in the East, Minister Muralitharan said that he had brought this to the notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that prevailing corruption and other shortcomings in the EPC were also brought to the notice of the President. The President was closely monitoring the situation, he said.
>> Full Story: The Island
Posted by media at 10:53 PM
Mar 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka health officials today granted the permission to bakery owners in Trincomalee to reopen their bakeries under restrictions.
According to the Health Ministry the bakery owners in Trincomalee were granted the permission only to sell bread, roast bread, and cakes.
Selling of other bakery products such as rolls, pastries, egg buns and such are strictly prohibited until further notice.
The Health Ministry has taken this decision following the food poisoning incident in Trincomalee after some people consumed buns containing egg and became ill due to a bacterial contamination. One person died while many more needed hospitalization.
Meanwhile samples of bakery products, brought to Colombo from Trincomalee in connection with the food poisoning, will be submitted to the Medical Research Institute (MRI) today.
Posted by media at 10:42 PM
To: Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
Dear Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn,
I am writing regarding the letter by Mr. Brad Adams, the Executive Director of Human Right Watch pertaining to emergency support loan request by Sri Lanka.
As a Sri Lankan American living in the Los Angeles, California who has lived in Sri Lanka for over 20 years, I have studied the situation on the island for the last 26 years. My frequent travels to this beautiful island and my long running friendships with lifelong friends there have kept me informed about the realties on the ground. I also read the letter by HRW of New York to the IMF and found it to be very inaccurate and misleading. Therefore my objective today is to counter many allegations made by HRW and convince you to fully support the Sri Lankan government.
Let me start by discussing a wider view of this nation: Sri Lanka is a thriving democracy with a very compassionate people and full of potential. Unfortunately, this nation has faced the full brunt of the world's most brutal terrorist organization, the LTTE, for the last 25 years. While fighting this internationally funded terror group, Sri Lanka has done its best to develop as a progressive nation and care for all its citizens.
>> Full Letter
Posted by media at 10:38 PM
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi told a press conference in Puducherry that he is particularly not fond of the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) because he killed his father Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
He said, “"The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is a terrorist group. I am not particularly fond of LTTE myself. It killed my father."
A LTTE suicide bomber killed the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru the founding father of modern India, and son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at an election rally at Siri Perumbudur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu in May 1991. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his intelligence chief Pottu Amman is wanted in India for the assassination.
Rahul Gandhi however said India was doing its best to protect Tamil civilians caught in the conflict in Northern Sri Lanka.
He said, “We are trying to help the situation there.”
Recently LTTE political head S. Nadesan refused to answer a question whether the outfit regret the assassination.
LTTE’s former ideologue Anton Balasingham once tried to say that the assassination was a historical and monumental blunder which he regretted.
But later the LTTE backtracked on the regret through another spokesman.
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
Posted by media at 10:36 PM
March 25, 2009: As the army advances into long held LTTE territory, the government has found ample evidence of how foreign aid groups (NGOs, non-governmental organizations) had become part of the LTTE war effort, while pretending to be neutral providers of humanitarian aid. The government accuses the NGOs of continuing that effort by falsely accusing the army of deliberately targeting civilians in the final battle with the LTTE. The government believes many of the NGOs hired LTTE members, and allowed the local NGO operations to be taken over by the rebels. Had the NGOs not allowed this, they would have been expelled from LTTE territory and lost business (NGOs survive by supervising the distribution of aid provided by donors, usually national governments and foundations.)
So far this year, about 50,000 Tamil civilians have escaped from LTTE control. The LTTE has held captive a large group of Tamil civilians, and used them as human shields. The civilians are forced to build fortifications and transport supplies. About a thousand of these civilians are escaping a day now, despite the LTTE use of force (beatings and gunfire) to try and prevent this.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 8:40 AM
by Shenali Waduge
How many would have thought there would be a time that the LTTE would or could be cornered to a 12km stretch. In all probability the LTTE would also not have thought that it would be in this predicament. Most importantly those that backed the LTTE all through the years by way of contributing financially or otherwise must be facing the most daunting task of having to come to terms with an eventuality that would probably change their financial position drastically. Giving courage & steering the Government to remain focused to the elimination of the LTTE is the people of Sri Lanka & it is their steadfastness that denies external forces the ability to swing carrots to sway the Government to provide a lifeline to the LTTE.
Those that backed the LTTE at times have camouflaged themselves as international humanitarian workers, media networks & their staff & peace activists & posed to them are some questions that they may well do to start formulating their responses. So for many of us each time news of LTTE territory being captured is released it naturally provides a sense of disbelief & the immediate question of why this could not have been done earlier. Most of us would say that it took a courageous leadership trilogy to create the consistent trend of victories that have fallen upon the military. If we praise the Country’s leader, the Defense Secretary, the Armed Forces heads especially the Army Commander it would automatically question why their predecessors failed.
One of the most important elements of the present success is to compare a full swing military offensive to the half-hearted peace periods & military attacks that took place prior to 2005. Let us be honest enough to accept that post 1983 upto 2005 were all half-hearted attempts of “appeasement” as a result of the entry by foreign “peace facilitators” who have till now not accepted their failures in Sri Lanka. What transpires from the argument is the ability to understand if at all how on the one hand you have the LTTE listed internationally as a Terrorist Movement, listed by the United Nations as a “Recruiter of Child Soldiers” & then why these very nations & the UN should force a nation to accept the LTTE as “fighting” for “self-determination” & being representative of the 2.4million Tamils in Sri Lanka. So what we have is on the one hand the LTTE is listed as a terror group, wanted by Interpol & then world leaders see fit to arrange peace talks where the Government of Sri Lanka ends up having to attend these peace talks & discuss devolution etc by dangling loans, development initiatives to coerce the Government to adapt “reforms” that would quintessentially benefit them. Does this not immediately raise any to demand what type of foolish gameplan world leaders are actually up to? Simply put, are the LTTE freedom fighters or terrorists? Why cannot world leaders, peace activists & the media answer this simple question? “They are terrorists….but…………..” is not good enough a response & not fair by the Sri Lankan nation.
It is a tragedy that Sri Lanka’s leaders especially those of the past have not been forthright in showing to the people of Sri Lanka the charade that exists. What is peculiar to the present is the fact that the Sri Lankan public is today very much aware of the hypocrisies that prevail, the public are very much alert to the nuances that foreign politicos & their emissaries as well as the peace activists, humanitarian workers & even UN representatives are attempting the Government to agree to….it is this awareness that invokes the public to back the Government but more importantly force the Government to be alert to the repercussions of playing into the hands of these global forces that have in reality been more treacherous than the LTTE. Thus, if the Government takes the credit for the elimination of the LTTE we can correctly assume that the public had a major role in giving the Government the backing to remain stoic against the odds & no force can defeat a united country. It had been easy for foreign forces to twist previous Governments who have easily succumbed to foreign pressures nonetheless a united public is not easy to defeat definitely not for the foreign forces or even the Tamil Diaspora whatever strings it is planning to pull internationally.
Therefore, to the nations that boasted of its ability to forge peace (Norway), to the peace activists that have cvs highlighting their achievements their role in Sri Lanka should not permeate them to feeling proud of what they have done & if they have a conscience they would admit their errors.
It is true that Sri Lanka has had spells of bad governance – can one find a country which has not been guilty of bad governance. The nations that speak with virtue today are the very country’s that experienced human rights violations, racial discriminations, gender discriminations & in many of these nations these issues still continue. What the world needs to be truly aware is the factual elements of factors that often tend to get ignored.
Sri Lanka is a nation of multi-ethnic people. No world body, world leader can change the fact that 74% of the population are Sinhalese – making 14.8million of the 20million total population. Let us remember that through 1505 upto Independence in 1948, the colonial systems were set up to benefit the minorities to whom privileges were given. So we are talking of minorities practically overpowering the majority race purely on the grounds of the systems created by colonial rulers to ensure the creation of a minority-majority rift – this was a blueprint practiced by all colonial rulers with desired results & success & it seems strange that many enjoy referring to the Sinhala Only policy which even the Sinhalese didn’t agree to & which was hardly implemented before amendments & alterations were put in place. Why is it that post-independence Sri Lanka when Tamil politicos demanded 50-50 representation (denied by the British) & Tamil domination of the State sector as a result of the colonial rulers giving State jobs to minorities very subtly ignored? How many Sinhalese were employed in the State departments in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s as against Tamils? Did the Tamils tell the British – this is unfair & request better positions for the Sinhalese? Then we come to the next question would it have appeased the world if this system continued allowing practically zero entry to Sinhalese even into the present millennium? Would it have suited the world to remain silent to the ill-practices that were created by the British? The Tamils cannot be blamed for the privileges that they were recipients of – this of course was by sacrificing their religion to obtain English education which was made easy since colonial rulers ensured all missionary schools were set up in areas that minorities lived in. So, the foundations of ethnic rivalries were realistically implanted by the colonial rulers.
How did we come to be termed as ethnic groups, who first classified people & differentiated them, what benefits has this classification created against the negations that have arisen globally? Once again colonial rulers have much to answer for – it was they who divided the people, it was they who created a sense of distinction & it was they who created much of the ill-will that prevails. But, do we still need to revert backwards & not right the wrongs that have been reasons for the disunity?
For those who think they know about Sri Lanka should remember that Sri Lanka’s political parties are multi-religious, multi-ethnic apart from those political parties that are based by their very names on “ethnicity” – Tamil National Alliance, Muslim Congress ….it is to be desired that the establishment of ethnic based political parties be eliminated from attempting to be representatives of the country – ethnic based parties only serve to arouse ethnic sentiment & create further division by the slogans they carry for political votes & political mileage. The main political parties in Sri Lanka are open to all ethnic groups, their rise in the central committees are not based on any ethnicity or religious factor but on their leadership & the strength of the votes they muster. The world did not ask why the LTTE chose to gun down Lakshman Kadiragamar or Jeyraj Fernandopulle. Both were members of the ruling Government, both were minority leaders, both held important portfolios & both were respected by the public. Lakshman Kadiragamar was tipped to be the Prime Ministerial candidate who even had the backing of leftist groups like the JVP. Jeyraj was a Catholic & the Chief Government Whip. The tragedy of Lakshman Kadiragamar’s death was that he was of a vintage class of people whose language anyone has yet to equate & his respect upon international platforms leaves a void for Sri Lanka.
Coming to the present predicament in Sri Lanka running through very minor instances that took place in 1950s, 1970s should now be put to rest. With regard to the incident that took place in 1983 the present Opposition Party must accept their role & those of some of their leaders in instigating the mob riots that took place for the riots & destruction that ensued silenced the fact that many Sinhalese offered their homes to save their Tamil friends from the mobs & hooligans who ran amok. So in reality you have only a couple of instances where the Sinhalese people have been made accountable though in reality the public wished to have no role in it. But what about the countless times that the LTTE have struck how are their attacks measured – have the LTTE not killed innocent civilians, children, pregnant women, the clergy, important personages & political leaders? Can the world say something other than follow a customary template statement? Why would the UN Secretary General even see reason to issue a condolence message to a dead LTTE area leader? Why would a terror outfit be allowed to stage programs in countries that have banned it? Until these nations answer the “WHYS” they have no right to force Sri Lanka to pause its military offensive against the LTTE.
Why has LTTE terrorism gone on for so long? Internal & External factors account for the continuance of LTTE terror over the years. The LTTE was created for India’s benefit & it is apparent now that India indirectly desires to see the LTTE’s extinction having realized controlling the LTTE is not as easy as it was in the early stages.
The bulk of the blame actually should be directed at the Tamil people – they chose to remain silent when the LTTE declared it was the “sole representative” of the Tamil people, they chose to remain silent despite the LTTE killing hundreds & thousands of innocent people & destroying Sinhala & Muslim villages – not many Tamils dared say aloud that the LTTE was wrong or that what the LTTE was doing or demanding was not what the Tamil people actually wanted.
So we now come to the question of WHAT DO THE TAMIL PEOPLE WANT?
Essentially in answering this question we need to be a little more realistic….having created a utopian idea that a separate state is a possibility there are likely to be Tamils who may nurse the ideas of obtaining a separate state – little do they wonder how they are likely to survive in such a state knowing the dictatorial tendencies of the LTTE supremo….so we assume that the separate state idea is that which is actually being promoted not by Tamils in Sri Lanka notably in the North of Sri Lanka but by Tamils who are now almost foreign & on the brink of obtaining their permanent residency in the countries they now live as refugees. We are all aware that there are likely to be many who live in these countries on the strength of their woos, their cries of discrimination by the Sinhalese that suffices to lengthen their stay & buy time for them to apply & obtain to their residency status & amidst the hat collection for the LTTE cause allows scope to pocket dollars or pounds for their own keeping thus a secondary income-flow takes place & to this we need to include the monies that are derived from other clandestine operations of which illicit arms smuggling, human trafficking & drugs take prominence. The extra-income is what LTTE terror allows for the Tamil Diaspora plus opportunities for media coverage & to rise to prominence by way of using the “discrimination” slogan – should we be surprised when Mexico of all countries should wish to include Sri Lanka into the Security Council agenda – is this not a country that is home to drug lords & arms smuggling!
Ironically, our leaders have erred greatly & been made fools by these peace & conflict resolution experts….the Tamils in foreign countries are governed by the rules & regulations that exist in those countries. Their voices are mere opinions & do not hold water in what goes on in Sri Lanka. The Tamils in Colombo have absolutely nothing to complain about. Their complaints if any are no different to the complaints that the Sinhalese & Muslims & Burghers will have & should not be taken separately….But all through these years we have only been drafting solutions, devolution proposals to the desires of the people outside of the conflict zones….therefore all these proposals rightfully belong in the dustbin & should be shredded to pieces including the APRC proposals.
We have now over 55,000 civilians & possibly a further 15,000 to 20,000 civilians may still be trapped & kept from escaping by the LTTE. Realistically it is these people who have provided the LTTE year after year of children to groom as child soldiers, babies that have eventually been brainwashed into hardcore LTTE members & it should be rightfully to these people that the State should address any grievances …for their grievances are not against the State but against the LTTE. It is not the State that has denied them their right to being Sri Lankan but the LTTE & therefore it is from these people the question of what they desire must be asked.
The cries for INGO/NGO presence for humanitarian needs for these people is obviously to groom them towards advocating demands other than asking to live in peace & harmony. Is it not strange that in a majority Hindu-based North where we believe only a small number are Christians or Catholic that only Christian & Catholic priests speak on behalf of the people? Moreso is it just a coincidence that the INGOs/NGOs are Christian & Catholic based! In the small stretch that the trapped civilians & the LTTE are confined to the ICRC & UN convoys with their flags are seen plying from one end to the other. They may not be mandated to provide information to the military on the number of LTTE cadres or their positions within this area but surely they should be able to reveal exactly how many civilians remain – the tents are no indication that civilians may live inside, therefore we can but wonder since now over 55,000 civilians have crossed whether there are a significant many civilians inside which would greatly help the military to strategize their final onslaught & eliminate the remaining LTTE gunmen along with Prabakaran if he is not the lookalike & son Charles Anthony!
Going forward which is what Sri Lanka needs to do – the external factors need to reassess their role. Can they offer a reason why the LTTE should not be eliminated? Can they offer reasons why the LTTE should remain in existence to kill, assassinate, plant bombs, send suicide missions as they see fit? How much has the country or its people gained by the LTTE presence, what has the influx of foreign forces in the form of NGOs/INGOs actually given Sri Lanka? – They bring in money but what have they actually done with it? Why does these external factors see fit to tie development aid, infrastructure development, loans, concessions etc to accepting LTTE terrorism & curtailing or refusing aid if the Government refuses to be coerced into accepting them. Obviously these foreign powers or external factors have had an easy task manipulating previous Governments however the present scenario provides eye openers for the people as evidenced by the tide of votes that flowed to the ruling party. Let it be noted that the unified stand by the people that broke customary strongholds of opposition party is not that the opposition party was rejected but more of a nation & its people desiring to side with the present Government & building a force to counter the foreign forces that are out to provide lifelines to the LTTE. Thus, the people have being alert enough to see the hypocrisy that have ensued all through these 25 years of conflict & mustered enough sentiment to say enough & to even steer a Government to lead the drive to eliminate the LTTE. There’s not much external forces can do in an environment where the public – the masses stand together to say “We want the LTTE eliminated”. This is the common sentiment prevailing & the calls for devolution, political proposals are mere gimmicks to change the tide & to steer the focus. The overwhelming desire of the people of Sri Lanka to finish the LTTE is a factor that these foreign forces seem to ignore but it is a factor that the forces that are trying to pressurize the Government needs to consider for now even the Government’s hands are tied as a result!
It is absurd to introduce proposals or implement such when the people who matter & to whom the key questions should be asked are attempting to escape the LTTE & come to safety & to eat & drink in peace – what good would be politically carved proposals on paper to these people at this stage. After the Government & more so the military can declare that the areas are now safe & free from LTTE the people should be slowly allowed to go back to where they belong, to set up their homes which would have been destroyed & to actually start life afresh devoid of the fear that the LTTE would steal their children or force them to take up arms.
In reality political proposals serve only the politicians – for the public things are a lot simpler. They need good healthcare, efficient & effective public service, user-friendly roads, frequent modes of public transport, equipped schools & facilities, trained teachers, public-friendly police service…..to steer these desires no rocket-science is needed & with the Ministers, Non-Cabinet Ministers & the many other Provincial Council MPs that are in abundance surely it does not require further tinkering of the constitution to make governance public-friendly & for the good of the people! All it takes is a focused program & motivated staff & if this is lacking it is upto their respective heads to ensure that programs are undertaken to better the status quo.
Thus, we can look forward to a good future for Sri Lanka – if the public have been wise to steer an elimination of LTTE terror, the public now needs to ensure that they maintain their focus to see that proper governance takes place & politicians must realize that democracy is returning to the hands of the true leader – the Public of Sri Lanka & the Government are merely the facilitators.
Posted by media at 8:34 AM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Posted by media at 7:10 PM
“An exclusive tax concession is on the table, and it’s of major legislative interest to the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is really keen on the removal of taxes on intellectual property.
And, the new tax concession will allow authors, publishers, theatre producers, film makers, lyricists and others to come to the market with their creations with an open mind,” Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said in Parliament today (25).
“Neither of these issues came to a vote, nor are they considered by any previous governments so far. UPFA government always gives artistes priority, and we expect more action in cultural circles in future. If artistes live in a low-cost business environment, it will certainly uplift the quality of life of the nation,” Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya went on.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 7:03 PM
LTTE terrorists have reportedly fired surface-to-air-missiles (SAM) at two Sri Lankan Air Force Bell- 212 helicopters, engaged in casualty evacuation operations in general area Puthukudiyirippu today (March 25) at around 11a.m.
According to Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, the pilots have managed to take the injured personnel into safety from the risk imposed with evasive air maneuvers evading the missile attack. LTTE terrorists have fired the missiles from the government declared No Fire Zone , the Spokesperson said citing SLAF pilots and technical sources.
Posted by media at 7:02 PM
Editor of the Tamil newspaper Sudaroli, S. Vidyadaran has filed a Fundamental Rights application with the Supreme Court requesting for his release from detention. The application filed through Mr. Vidyadaran’s lawyers has cited the Inspector General of Police and the Director of the Colombo Crime Division among several others.
Petitioner states that the police had not provided reasonable reasons for his detention and further states that the continued detention amounts to infringement of his Fundamental rights.
Hence the petitioner requests the Supreme Court to consider his release under any conditions deemed appropriate.
Posted by media at 7:01 PM
The resignations of school principals who are to launch a campaign against their unresolved grievances will be accepted, says Education ministry Secretary Nimal Bandara. He states that Education Minister Susil Premajayantha has instructed him to accept the letters of resignations of the principals if handed over to him.
Mr. Bandara adds that steps have already been taken to promote principals, one of their demands, as per notification by the Public Services Commission on March 17 and that this process will be completed by May this year. Until such time, the payment of their salaries will be done as per a circular issued on February 3.
Some 3,000 school principals from the Association of Educational Professionals have threatened to hand over their resignation letters to the Education Ministry as a protest citing the non-rectification of their longstanding salary anomalies.
Posted by media at 7:00 PM
The voters of Attanagalla, the stronghold of the Bandaranaike dynasty yesterday (March 24) rejected former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s appointment as the Sri Lanka Freedom Party chairperson of Ruwanpura Bala Mandalaya.
She was the SLFP chairperson of the Ruwanpura Bala Mandala for the past 18 years. The members of the Bala Mandala selected a newcomer, Dinesh Madushan Kularatna as the new chairman. As a result the former president lost her final designation within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The Bala Mandala members said they had decided to reject Ms. Kumaratunga as they are unable to meet her in any emergency situation.
Posted by media at 7:27 AM
Chennai (PTI): The BJP on Tuesday said any support to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu would hurt the cause of Sri Lanka Tamils, as the image of the banned outfit has suffered a "setback" in the state following its involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The State BJP president L Ganesan, in a statement here said some persons from Tamil Nadu were vocally supporting the outlawed unit in the name of backing Sri Lankan Tamils and their actions went against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
"Such action by persons could dissuade people of Tamil Nadu from supporting the Sri Lankan Tamils issue as the LTTE had suffered a setback in the state after the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, even though it was earlier looked upon as an outfit fighting for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils," he said.
The people of Tamil Nadu are interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils and would not welcome any action which was against the sovereignty and integrity of India, he said.
Posted by media at 7:10 AM
Posted by media at 7:05 AM
SPUR (Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka Inc)
Reg: A003 0777 M
P.O. Box 4066, Mulgrave VIC 3170, Australia
Phone: (+613) 9795 7143, Fax: (+613) 9795 7142
25 March 2009
His Excellency Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
The Hon Dato Seri Utma Dr Rais Yatim
STOP LTTE a.k.a TAMIL TIGERS before they become a threat to the national security of Malaysia and the SE Asian region
Malaysia stands as a strong nation state in the international community thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the farsighted national leaders. Malaysia was able to withstand internal as well as external challenges to its sovereignty and its territorial integrity as building a strong nation was the key policy platform of Malaysians. The country was determined to defeat the fissiparous movements attempting to carve out ethnic enclaves and also groups which dependent on armed violence to derail Malaysia’s path to progress.
Today, Sri Lankan political leaders as well the vast majority of the population are engaged in militarily defeating the LTTE a.k.a Tamil Tigers and are presently this group of terrorists have been restricted to a sliver of land not more than 25 sq miles. As you no doubt are aware, the LTTE is nurtured by funds collected in foreign countries as a section of the racist members of the Tamil Diaspora including some in Malaysia still dream of creating a separate country in Sri Lanka. According to racist Tamil historians it will be the first step in setting up a ‘Dravidasthan ‘, in this case including some parts of present Malaysian territory and Tamilnadu in India.
Malaysia unfortunately has been a centre for fund collection for the LTTE through the World Tamil Movement and some of the very active pro-LTTE academics including a senior professor in a well-known Malaysian university. It is a well-known fact that some of the businesses operated in Malaysia are fronts of the LTTE. The LTTE’s principal international arms purchaser and money launderer, K. Pathmanathan Also known as K.P is reported to be in Malaysia with a band of senior LTTE members setting up the LTTE network for future operations. This information has received the attention of a number of anti-terrorism experts.
Janes’ monthly the prestigious Defence magazine confirms that the LTTE collects US $300- a year from its business operations as a well as from well-wishers. These collections are illegal and contravene the UN resolutions on international Terrorism. Since the funds are finally utilized to arm a terrorist group with destructive motives and also to kill the Sri Lankans and destroy the economy, WE REQUEST YOU TO INVESTGATE into the LTTE ‘s recent resurgence in Malaysia.
In the name of the friendly people of Sri Lanka and in keeping with the UN Resolutions on international terrorism, WE REQUEST YOU TO TAKE URGENT LEGAL ACTION AGAINST K. Pathmanathan and his collaborators in Malaysia.
Posted by media at 6:45 AM
By Nirj Deva, Member of the European Parliament for the Southeast of England
Three years ago, Sri Lanka elected Mahinda Rajapaksa as president because he pledged to take the offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the guerillas who have been fighting for 25 years to carve out an independent homeland for the country's Tamil minority. Many well-meaning people saw Rajapaksa's promise as warmongering, and, even as Sri Lanka's army has been pressing toward victory, urged him to negotiate with perhaps the world's most fanatical terror organization (the Tamil Tigers, it should be recalled, virtually invented the cult of the modern suicide bomber.)
Fortunately, Rajapaksa listened more to his war-ravaged citizens than to outsiders, and today what seemed impossible - military victory over the Tigers, the oldest, largest, and wealthiest guerrilla army in South Asia - appears at hand. Over the past few months, the Tigers have suffered a series of devastating blows. Instead of commanding much of northern Sri Lanka, they are now confined to a shrinking pocket, and are reduced to mindless military stunts such as the recent bombing by light aircraft of the tax administration building in the capital, Colombo. Thousands of Tamil Tiger fighters have deserted. A rebel army has dwindled to a fanatical few.
But fighting the Tigers and seeking a peace deal have never been alternatives. Rajapaksa's predecessors spent years engaged in fruitless talks and ceasefires, during which the guerrillas remained committed to their aim of dividing the country and making demands for political and socio-economic changes that no democracy could accept, even as they carried on killing and kidnapping. Weakening the Tigers militarily has thus always been a necessary condition for achieving a political settlement with Sri Lanka's Tamils.
Now that the guerrillas are boxed in, what can Rajapaksa reasonably offer to them and ordinary Tamils? The Tigers' leaders have committed crimes against humanity, and some of them engage in criminal activities. So they have little incentive to demobilize. Some Sri Lankans say the best place for the Tiger leaders is jail. True, but in politics the best justice can be the enemy of the general good. Though the Tigers can no longer destroy Sri Lanka's democracy, fighting to the last guerrilla is in nobody's interest. Ending this conflict will require political adroitness and continued military firmness.
Achieving a lasting peace, though difficult, is possible. On the most basic level, it will almost certainly require security guarantees for the Tigers' leaders. But it should not, as some say, include any offer of power-sharing with the guerillas (ordinary Tamils are another matter). Sri Lanka is a democracy. In exchange for laying down their arms and ending a pointless and destructive war, Tiger soldiers should be encouraged to take part in politics, but on exactly the same terms as any other Sri Lankan.
Nobody should underestimate the difficulty of rebuilding Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north and reconciling the Tamils at a time of global recession. In countries with strong ethnic, tribal, and religious divisions, unless it is made clear from the start that everything possible will be done to foster reconciliation, communal enmity will most likely simmer. Any "victory" that the Tamils perceive as leading to subjugation of their rights and aspirations for equality with the majority Sinhalese will be short-lived. So Rajapaksa must offer the Tamil people a political compromise, perhaps including some cabinet positions, as well as the promise of a revived economy.
Indeed, the Rajapaksa government, and the majority Sinhalese, must understand that the political and economic reforms needed to achieve a lasting peace are inextricably intertwined. One cannot succeed without the other.
On the political front, a power vacuum must be avoided. Although one of the main goals of reconstruction must be the creation of a democratic system that the Tamils regard as their own, establishing effective governance, and fast, in Sri Lanka's north matters just as much. Order must be restored rapidly, with zero tolerance of looting and other crimes.
Nevertheless, victory over the Tigers need not rule out some form of decentralization that guarantees the Tamils some political say, so long as a degree of local autonomy does not destroy Sri Lanka's unity. The alternative to such a political compromise may be a return to the tragic and bloody secessionist course that the Tigers sought for so long.
Indeed, no effort should be spared to get skeptical Tamil groups to participate in the forthcoming peacemaking. Of course, it may take some time for the Tamils and their leaders to learn the mutual tolerance and self-discipline of democratic government. Handing over any local power before those leaders are ready to use it would be an error, with potentially disastrous consequences. In the Eastern Province, a good start has been made, with former terrorists now winning through the ballot box and not the bullet.
Economic reform also must begin without delay. Sri Lanka's economy must open up - not an easy thing to achieve at a time when liberal economic reforms appear to be in disrepute. But such an opening is essential if the country's Tamils are to have real hopes for their future within the country. Sri Lanka's Buddhist traditions and historic links with Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos makes it easy for it to be a future member of ASEAN, which Sri Lanka should try to join as a means of anchoring its economy in the wider region.
Some of what needs to be done, including the sequencing of reconstruction measures, is now better understood - not least due to the different recent experiences in rebuilding Bosnia, Colombia, and other war-torn states. These efforts demonstrated the need to have an effective legal system and functioning state institutions before embarking on big structural reforms. In this respect, Sri Lanka's ability to maintain its democracy throughout decades of war gives reason for hope.
Nirj Deva is a member of the European Parliament for the Southeast of England and the EPP-ED Coordinator of the Development Committee. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate (c) (www.project-syndicate.org).
Posted by media at 6:30 AM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The New-York based Human Right Watch released another disinformation report on Monday (March 23) saying that despite the assurances given by the government of Sri Lanka the Army continues to shell the no-fire zone where thousands of civilians are held as human shields by the terrorist outfit, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
HRW citing new information from the region said that they have received reports of civilians being killed and wounded daily in the no-fire zone, while the Sri Lankan government continues to deny the attacks.
Their 'reliable' new information came from a doctor at the makeshift hospital in Putumatalam who over the phone told the HRW 'that dozens of dead and wounded civilians were being brought to the hospital daily.'
There is no doubt the 'reliable' information was received from the same doctor who supplies exaggerated casualty figures to Associated Press and BBC. HRW says shells fell 250 meters away from the makeshift hospital while the doctor was on the phone with the HRW.
It is surprising how this doctor has miraculously survived this long while hundreds of civilians around him have died daily due to the shelling from the government on every hospital, makeshift or otherwise he has been serving.
Does HRW have any information from sources other than this doctor? Are there any other doctors in the hospital who can give information? Is this a self-appointed spokesman for civilians or LTTE? Do they have any information from the aid agency workers in the area? HRW in its report mentions few incidents of death and injury to aid workers, so there are at least local aid workers in the area.
Certainly an international humanitarian agency cannot just rely on just a telephone conversation thousands of miles away with a source who could very well be either under the death threat of LTTE and acting as a LTTE spokesman or an actual LTTE Tiger acting as a doctor. Are there any HRW staff in or near the area who can verify the identity of this doctor who gave all the information in a phone call while shelling is going around him?
Simply put what credible facts and figures the HRW has, to claim that the government troops are still shelling the no-fire zone and the makeshift hospital other than hearsay? What evidence does HRW have to identify the shells that fall in the no-fire zone are from the Sri Lankan Army and not from the LTTE? After all LTTE has no regard for the human life as they continue to kill the civilians who try to leave.
If the Sri Lankan government is still continuing the shelling and as Brad Adams, the Asia director at HRW says, "has responded to broad international concerns with indignation and denials instead of action to address the humanitarian crisis," why would the sailors of the Sri Lankan Navy risk their lives to evacuate the fleeing civilians who are being shot at by the LTTE?
For a while HRW hollered of genocide and internment camps with barbed wires for the lucky ones who escaped the LTTE execution. Those charges went silent when the government allowed the international aid agency officials to visit the Internally Displaced People (IDP) centers in Vavuniya and to see for themselves how the displaced are treated.
Sir John Holmes, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator toured the civilian shelters last month and said he was very satisfied with the way the government authorities are handling the humanitarian situation in the IDP centers.
When the Sri Lankan military started the offensive last year from Mannar in the Northwest and proceeded towards the east and even during the capture of Kilinochchi the Air Force bombed various LTTE installations and strongholds but there was no accusations of government shelling of civilians that flew around the globe despite that there were more civilians in those areas then.
Coincidentally when the LTTE got cornered in Puthukkudyiruppu and realized that they are finished and no where to run and will be annihilated unless they stop the offensive somehow, the HRW started its campaign to accuse the government of genocide and shelling hospitals.
What is the real agenda of HRW? There is no secret that the HRW is supporting the Tamil Diaspora's struggle to save their dream of separate homeland. HRW makes their goal of blocking the Sri Lankan government's war on terror clear in their report.
One of HRW's goals is to put Sri Lanka on the UN Security Council's agenda, asking UN to "urgently address the deteriorating situation." However, they have faced a stumbling block from China and Russia. China blocked the move last week and Russia voiced against it recently.
HRW has repeatedly called on Sri Lanka's key bilateral partners, such as Japan, the United States, and India to tie their financial assistance to the civilian issue. During the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sri Lanka on February 24th, HRW insisted on imposing conditions on the financial assistance to Sri Lanka but admitted that China and Russia would oppose such a move.
Having failed to achieve these goals HRW now has turned its attention to block the loan the Sri Lankan government is requesting from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue with the resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the Northern Province.
Last week, Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the IMF board saying that the government's current policies and practices are counterproductive to the stated goal of the IMF loan and urged the IMF board members to set strict conditions before granting the loan.
>> Full Story
>> HRW Letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sri Lanka's Emergency Support Loan Request
Posted by media at 10:38 PM
A leader in the maritime sector
* The vision of the Government is to develop Sri Lanka as a competitive Maritime and Logistics Centre and to be a leader in the Maritime Sector in the region.
* The National Policy for Ports and Shipping envisions a development strategy with a timeframe up to 2020 to make Sri Lanka a Maritime and Logistic Centre in the region.
* The total cost for Phase one is USD 360 million.
* The project was launched in April 2008 and Phase one will be completed by 2010.
Sixty-five percent of the work on two break-water alms (east and west) of the Hambantota Port has been completed and excavation and dredging is in progress for the channel across the Karagamlewaya.
The project can be completed before the estimated time in 2011, Chief Engineer Southern Port Development Janaka Kurukulasuriya told Daily News Business.
He said that the port will be developed initially to cater to the industrial and service sectors and later for container traffic.
As excavation is being done under dry conditions as a result of preventing water coming to the basin from outside much money and time had been saved and underwater excavation would have c ost much more, Kurukulasuriya said.
A new international port will be developed and containers too in the region will be handled at the Hambantota Port encouraging industries.
The port is designed for futuristic needs of deep draughts and wide yard areas so that when the Colombo Port is unable to expand facilities, the Hambantota Port will be ready to take over that demand and be ahead of competitors in the region, he said. Containers too will be handled for the region, he said.
Hambantota is a highly underutilized land and is in close proximity to international shipping routes.
At present more than 100 vessels bypass the Sri Lanka South-West coast daily with no value addition to the country’s economy, he said.
Therefore, the Hambantota Port will be developed to cater to twelve areas - Thermal power generation, oil refinery and petrochemical industry, coal fired power plant, bunkering services, coal transshipment and distribution, ship-building and repair activities, transshipment car activities, bonded export processing zone, bulk cargo and general cargo berths, fishing activities and export of fish products and container traffic.
Kurukulasuriya said that the first vessel could sail from the port by January 2011.
>> Source: Daily News
Posted by media at 3:29 PM
Two more persons committed suicide today in two separate incidents in Tamil Nadu, allegedly distressed over the plight of Tamils in war-torn Sri Lanka.
Marimuthu (60), a former Congress activist, set himself ablaze at Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district and police claimed to have recovered a letter in which he had urged Congress President Sonia Gandhi to intervene and stop the ethnic war.
Marimuthu, in the letter had said: “Neither the Tamil Nadu Government nor Centre are serious about ending the conflict in the island nation.” He had also mentioned sending a telegram to her, seeking her intervention, police said.
Before setting himself ablaze after pouring kerosene over his body, Marimuthu hoisted the Congress flag in front of his house, police said.
In the second incident, Balasundaram, a cook from Sri Lanka living in India since 1972, allegedly immolated himself at Alangudi in neighbouring Pudukottai district, upset over the situation in Sri Lanka.
A member of DMDK, headed by actor Vijaykanth, he expressed anger over Congress “not taking any steps to protect Lankan Tamils,” police, quoting the initial report said.
Posted by media at 1:45 PM
President Rajapaksa donates his monthly salary to the programme of rebuilding the Northern rail track up to Kankesanthurai.
The Northern rail track, linking the North and the South, will initially be rebuilt up to Kankesanthurai. At a function at the Presidential Secretariat today, the President donated his monthly salary to Minister Dulles Alahapperuma. Presidents Secretary Lalith Weeratunga also handed over his monthly salary to this worthy cause.
Posted by media at 12:10 PM
We are smart; when I asked, if the pilots of the Sep.11 attack are commemorated, Canada was dumbfound
The two LTTE kamikaze pilots that launched an air attack in Colombo were commemorated in Canada raising a diplomatic problem between the two countries.
Commenting on the issue, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said, "I met the Canadian High Commissioner recently. I questioned him about the commemoration held in Ottawa to remember the two LTTE kamikaze pilots that launched an air attack in Colombo. Two large sized portraits of the pilots were garlanded at that big function. LTTE is banned in Canada and I asked how such function was warranted there. I recalled him about their pledge for preventing LTTE fundraising in Canada. The diplomat said that there is freedom for any such act in his country. Then I pointed out that we are also smart guys and argued back if the two pilots that attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 are also allowed to be remembered in Canada. The High Commissioner was speechless. We taught him the lesson that terrorism is same anywhere and asked not to support it and not to be fork-tongued in the fight against terror."
Commenting on the similar conducts of the countries like Canada, Britain and some of the European countries, Minister Samarasinghe expressed the following views.
"In the countries like UK, Denmark, France, Netherland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland there are sizeable populaces of Sri Lankan Tamils that have sought political asylum there. Now they have the citizenship and voting rights as well. The best example is Canada where there are more than 500,000 Tamils. They are residing in electorates where the two major parties are on the balance. The previous government was pro-Tamil and they did not heed o the plea to ban LTTE there when US did that. Then opposition pledged to ban LTTE since Canadian money could be transmitted for terrorist acts. The present Prime Minister of Canada kept his promise and banned LTTE. The Tamils challenge this government through there voting rights. Present Canada government has a thin majority and looks not durable. Therefore, the Tamil votes are powerful there even today. As they can be a decisive force in an upcoming election, present Canadian government also tries to win their support."
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 12:05 PM
United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader Karu jayasuriya has been vested with all political powers while Ranil Wickremesinghe is to remain as Party leader, says General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
This follows a party meeting at Siri Kotha this afternoon and the pressure by a new reformist group led by MP Johnston Fernando and Lakshman Seneviratne among others, who wanted Mr. Wickremesinghe to step down as leader.
Posted by media at 10:48 AM
In 2006, a haughty LTTE turned its back on a delegation the government sent to Geneva to have talks with the outfit. A few months later Prabhakaran resumed war by launching terror attacks on the armed forces personnel and the police and capturing the Mavil Aru anicut. In his heroes' day speech in November 2005, a few days after the installation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prabhakaran had promised to plunge the country back into a bloodbath. He kept on claiming until a few months ago that he would turn the tables on the military and achieve his goal of separation in spite of a string of crushing defeats.
But, Prabhakaran is now begging for a ceasefire and offering to talk without pre-conditions! If only he had done so in 2006, many lives could have been saved on both sides and he and his partners in crime wouldn't have had to hide behind ladies' clotheslines in Puthukudiyiruppu!
What the LTTE's offer signifies is the efficaciousness of Sri Lanka's war on terror. The 'most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world', which even dared fly in the face of a call from the donor Co-chairs (the US, the EU, Japan and Norway) for it to return to the negotiating table after its exit from talks in 2003 and to refrain from scuttling the peace process, is now on its knees suing for peace!
Whoever thought before the launch of the Vanni offensive that Prabhakaran would have to grovel before the government so piteously!
>> Full Story: Island Editorial
Posted by media at 10:45 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Security Forces have taken control of Puthukudiyiruppu East up to the A-35 Highway. The troops have entered Puthukudiyiruppu East up to the A-35 highway. As a result, the LTTE had lost their main supply route. The troops stepped into the location following an intense battle. The LTTE had built massive defence bunds and trenches. But the troops managed to breach the bunds and overcome the obstacles. Losing the A-35 Road after being dislodged from the Puthukudiyiruppu town, is a severe blow to the LTTE terrorists. The terrorists had been unleashing attacks on the troops from within the Safe Zone. However, the Government troops did not launch any attacks on the terrorists who had been remaining within this Zone.
The LTTE is now confined only to nine square kilometres other than the Safe Zone.. Task Force Eight of the 53rd Division achieved this victory. The terrorists are left with only 25 square kilometres including the Safe Zone. Troops have surrounded the area from three fronts. The Security Forces are engaged in heavy battles to take control of this area.
Posted by media at 7:24 AM
Another 22,000 houses are coming up for the civilians who are escaping from LTTE tyranny. All arrangements are in place to meet the required facilities of these civilians. They are highly appreciative of these welfare measures. With the exodus of civilians on the rise, the Government has already crafted the required plans to meet their basic needs. The Governments desire is to assure each family with a house. The programme is mooted under the guidance of Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa. All arrangements have been made sans obstacles to extend the necessary financial grants.
Posted by media at 7:22 AM