Saturday, June 6, 2009

An Appeal to all Sri Lankans Living Abroad

By Ven. Udagama Sumangala, Los Angeles, California

President John F. Kennedy’s most memorable quote, which is from his inaugural address in January of 1960, is: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!” I’ll never forget hearing this when it was first spoken, and I can’t help but seeing its relevance now for Sri Lanka.

We are grateful that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, and the entire staff of the combined armed forces have at last defeated the LTTE for the benefit of each and every Sri Lankan. They spent a great deal of the country’s wealth in order to accomplish this monumental feat, but the money they spent was an investment in the future – OUR future. Without this investment, our country as we know it might not have any future, and we could still be living in the brutal arms of terrorism. Sri Lanka could have become a divided island, with two nations instead of one; divided by race, philosophy, religion, political perspective, and goals.

Now it’s time for all of us as Sri Lankans – no matter in which country we live – to invest in Sri Lanka’s future. Here’s what all of us can do for our country:

The Central Bank is introducing Dollar Denominated Development Bonds, which will be available by mid-June. Sri Lankans in any country can buy these as an investment opportunity in various denominations, and the Government will repay them with interest.

Another way to invest in Sri Lanka is for all Sri Lankan expatriates to open Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) accounts. These are for Sri Lankans who are employed abroad, or for those who have become residents or citizens of other countries. It is an incentive given to them to repatriate their earnings to Sri Lanka by permitting them to maintain accounts in designated foreign currencies.

The following groups and individuals are eligible for NRFC accounts:

  • Sri Lankan citizens employed abroad.
  • Sri Lankan citizens who had been employed abroad and returned to Sri Lanka provided the account is opened within 90 days of their return to Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lankans who are now citizens of other countries.
Here are the benefits of NRFC accounts:

  • Accounts maintained in foreign currency.
  • Available in the form of Savings or Fixed Deposit accounts.
  • Interest earned in foreign exchange.
  • 20% bonus interest on interest earned.
  • Funds can be remitted for authorized purposes without any Exchange Control approval.
  • Interest income exempted from income tax.
  • Eligible for Foreign currency housing loans.
  • SET card facility.
As a Buddhist monk living in the United States I have already opened an NRFC account in Sri Lanka. I urge all Sri Lankans living overseas to do the same, to show their support for the Government as it rebuilds our country, and to show their thanks to the President for winning the war.

The Western Powers are hinting that the US$ 1.9 billion loan Sri Lanka seeks from the IMF may be delayed, and there are rumors that even if it goes through there may be conditions attached to it that might be unacceptable to our Sovereign Nation. Buying bonds and opening NRFC accounts will bring foreign currency into the country, and help the Government weather the current economic storm.

The first war has been won: the war against terrorism. Now it is our turn as Sri Lankans to help the Government win the next war: the economic war for survival. We can all help. Please act today.

May you have the Blessings of the Triple Gem.

Residents asked to clean up to prevent breeding of dengue

From today onwards residents of all households, especially in the Western Province, should keep thier environment clean to prevent the breeding of dengue mosquitos, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

Addressing a ceremony to mark the World Environment Day yesterday at the SOBA exhibition at the Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo he said mosquitoes breed rapidly during the months of May, June, July and August and it is everybody’s responsibility to make sure that their environment is free of mosquito breeding places.If they could continue with their cleaning activities at least for four Saturdays a month the mission would be completed.

Ranawaka said that he had instructed all Provincial Councils and the 6,000 schools in the island to keep their surrounding clean.

"If we fail to take immediate measures Chickengunaya and Malaria too could creep in," he warned.

>> Source

Public must be willing to make sacrifices now, for long term benefits later

A senior economist said Sri Lankans will have to make sacrifices now in order to realize greater benefits in the future and the government will have to move away from the political-economic path governments have traversed on for decades.

Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne said the rest of Sri Lanka will need to make a big sacrifice to develop the North and East so that communities can be meaningfully integrated and development of the entire country sustained, considering the government’s fiscal constraints to meet the urgent needs of the once war-torn regions and at the same time stimulate the economy that is now feeling the ill affects of the global financial crisis.

"Why is this necessary? It is good economics. But good economics is not good politics and now is the time government will have to engage the public to make difficult decisions for the sake of the future," said Dr. Abeyratne, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Colombo.

"The government has a huge role to play in rehabilitating, reconstructing and integrating the economies and the people of the North and East with the rest of country. The government would have to bear a massive expenditure which cannot be imagined until the communities and private sector are able to stand on their own two feet," he told a seminar yesterday.

>> Full Story

NASA breakthrough: ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka

As NASA cameras pored over now defunct No-Fire-Zone, it only detected SL armed forces extending their arms of friendship to their northern brethren. It was of no avail to many cynical rumour mongers. However, NASA cameras came out with a rare breakthrough. It revealed a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The bridge, made up of a chain shoals, is currently named as Adam´s Bridge and nearly 30 km in extent.

The bridge may be man made, archeologists guess. For one thing, they say, it’s the bridge’s unique curvature. And, for another, it’s the age. The legends go as far as few thousand years, while archeological studies suggest that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago. This essentially calls for an insight into Ramayana, which was Tredha Yuga, an era that goes as far back as 1,700,000 along the timeline.

>> Full Story

Friday, June 5, 2009

Indian Envoy castigates Navanethem Pillay for remarks on Sri Lanka

We would like to remind all concerned that the independence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [Ms. Navanethem Pillay] cannot be presumed to exceed that of the UN Secretary-General.

It would be extremely unfortunate if inter-governmental decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council were to be ignored or set aside, and the High Commissioner and/or her office were to misinterpret them or willfully neglect them or supersede them, said India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Mr. A. Gopinathan, expressing the concern of the Indian delegation to the UNHRC with regard to the remarks made by the High Commissioner on Sri Lanka and the recently concluded Special Session, in her statement.

>> Full text of the statement by the Indian Envoy

Sri Lanka conducting search on 'LTTE' vessel bound for Wanni

Colombo (PTI) The Sri Lankan Navy is conducting a search on board a suspected LTTE cargo vessel that was seized and now anchored in Panudura coast near here, officials said on Friday.

The vessel, said to be carrying 884 metric tonnes of medical and food supplies reportedly for the LTTE cadres was seized by Sri Lankan Navy patrol craft off the Colombo seas on Thursday.

According to Naval sources, the Syriyan vessel 'Captain Ali' had set off from United Kingdom on April 20, 2009 "under the pretext of a mercy mission" towards Puthumathalan in the then 'No-Fire Zone'.

The vessel is now being towed towards the Colombo harbour with its captain Kristjan Guomundsson, an Icelander and a former Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) member, an official statement said.

Meanwhile, the Navy said the controversial ship was carrying unauthorised cargo collected by LTTE sympathizers in Europe and was reportedly to be distributed to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Wanni.

The vessel had a crew of 15, including one Iceland National, one UK passport holder of Sri Lankan Tamil origin two Egyptian nationals and eleven Syrian nationals, it said.

>> Source

Why Doctors from Sri Lanka's Combat Zone May Face Jail

The veil of secrecy over the whereabouts of three doctors who worked in Sri Lanka's shrinking war zone last month has finally been lifted. On Thursday, Colombo announced that three doctors, all of whom were treating patients in Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-held areas in the final days before they were gained by Sri Lankan government forces, are now in government custody and face court action for collaborating with the Tigers.

Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe revealed that the three doctors Dr. T. Varatharajah, Dr. T. Sathyamurthi, and Dr. V. Shanmugarajah had been detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and are being investigated for suspicions of working with the Tigers. The three doctors remained in the shrinking combat zone during heavy battles in May, and only crossed over to government-held areas three days before the government announced the death of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, signifying the effective end of the Tigers' long insurgency.

During the last weeks of the war, the government had consistently charged that the three doctors were providing inflated numbers and wrong information on civilian casualties by government fire within a narrow no-fire zone. On May 12, Dr. Varatharajah told the Associated Press that 49 patients were killed and 50 others were injured when shells hit the only functioning medical facility within the zone.

"I can't reveal all the details of the confessions [by the doctors], but you will see when they appear in court," Samarasinghe said, indicating that the doctors were likely to retract accusations that government forces were responsible for the shelling.

>> Full Story

SL Insurance sale annulled, shares revested in Treasury

* Deal struck under UNF/UNP government
* Govt. Valuer kept in the dark
* Tender Board had no jurisdiction

The Supreme Court yesterday declared in judgement that the sale of 90 per cent shares held by the Secretary to the Treasury on behalf of the government, in the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, had been carried out wrongfully. The Court declared the aforesaid sale to a private owner null and void and ordered that the shares sold in that transaction be immediately re-vested in the Secretary to the Treasury.

The respondents, Milford Holding Pvt. Limited and Greenfield Pacific EM Holdings Ltd., would have to return to the Treasury the 90 per cent shares they purchased subsequent to an agreement dated April 11, 2003.

The aforesaid companies will be entitled to their investment amounting to Rs. 6.5 billion.

The Court ordered that the Secretary to the Treasury nominate new Directors to the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.

>> Full Story

The Tamil Diaspora should stop financing demised LTTE and help our Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka - By Dr Raju Selva

I have been pleading through the print media over the last few years for the Tamil Diaspora to stop helping LTTE financially, logistically and politically and prolong the war between the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE. I have tried to convince the Tamil Diaspora that they were chasing a mirage of a mythical Eelam created by now dead Prabhakaran but was unsuccessful. Even at this moment, pro-LTTE apologists are continuing their protests down the streets of big cities in a vain attempt to justify LTTE and bring disrepute to the armed forces and Government of Sri Lanka. Now protesting for what? Surely they can’t bring the humanitarian factor of the IDPs as the Tamil Diaspora is also as guilty as LTTE of creating the IDP crisis. My last appeal to them thro print media on 16/5/2009 was the Tamil Diaspora to send their even underage children to Mullathivu to save now dead Prabhakaran as he was short of human numbers to fight the armed forces, if they really admire this brutal murderer who brought nothing but misery and humiliation to the Tamils in Sri Lanka. There was no misery or humiliation for the Tamil Diaspora enjoying comfortable life in affluent countries in the West and Australia. Every person in the Tamil Diaspora should read Dr. Noel Nadesan’s most recent letter titled “No More Tears for Tamils in Sri Lanka’ which has been published in Sri Lankan print media and many websites. The misled children and the youth by the senior Tamil Diaspora should also read this article by another Tamil journalist living in Down Under.

>> Full Story

Sri Lanka says up to 5,000 civilians died in Tigers battle

A senior Sri Lankan official ­today estimated the civilian death toll from the last stages of the war with the Tamil Tigers as 3,000 to 5,000 and defended the use of mortars in a government-designated ­"no-fire zone".

Rajiva Wijesinha, permanent secretary in Sri Lanka's ministry of disaster management and human rights, rejected reports that 20,000 civilians were killed as the army overran the Tigers. He also rejected an unpublished UN report that 7,000 people had been killed by the end of April.

"I would estimate it altogether at 3,000 to 5,000," Wijesinha said in an interview with the Guardian, attributing the deaths to the Tigers' use of refugees as human shields. "The Tigers had prepared this hostage situation and the figures went up very badly," he said, adding that the UN figures had not officially been made public because they had not been verified. "These UN figures I'm afraid are not worth the emphasis that is placed on them."

Sri Lanka has been accused by the UN and western governments of using heavy weapons against a "no-fire zone" it had designated for civilians caught up in the last stages of the conflict on a ­narrow coastal strip in the north-east of the island.

>> Full Story: Guardian

Australian Sri Lankan Raise Funds for a Portable Echo Cardiogram Unit for the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital in Colombo


Udeni Gunasekera, a keen member of the Explorers’ Club at Peradeniya University (Geology) in Mid 1970s has undertaken a solo and unsupported charity bicycle ride from his home in Perth Western Australia to Melbourne. He has to date ridden for 37 days and completed over 2500kms. He is now on to the final 1000kms of his journey.

Udeni’s bicycle trip is being made in order to raise funds for a much needed Portable Echo Cardiogram Unit for the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital in Colombo. This would enable medical staff to travel to locations where children have heart defects and carry out required screening. Currently such units are solely located in the capital city’s main children’s hospital, and patients in peripheral areas must wait for transport by ambulance for screening to be done.

Udeni carries his own tent, clothing, food, water, communication & other essential devices and has braved the climate and weather since setting out from Perth in April. He travels during daylight hours, and makes his bed in either a roadhouse/motel if available, or makes a bush camp not far from the highway. So far he has had 13 such bush camps along the way across the Nullabor Plain.

Udeni’s large heartedness and sacrifice, to help the children in Sri Lanka - whose own hearts may need major corrective surgery - is a truly uplifting example, in these times when the media carries many stories of a depressing nature.

All funds raised will go to the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
His trip information can be seen on :Bike Trip OZ

Those wishing to contribute can do so via the information on the links given above.

Best place to invest in Asia is Sri Lanka - Jim Rogers

Jim Rogers, a renowned global investor, in an interview with the Economic Times of India, says that Sri Lanka is the best place to invest in the Asian region after the end of the 30-year war.

You recently said that you would invest in China and Sri Lanka but not in India. Aren’t you betting on the new government in India?

I was trying to make a point that if anyone wants to invest in this particular part of the world, the best place would be Sri Lanka. Because it looks like the 30-year war is coming to an end.

Throughout history, if you go to a place after the war ends you usually find everything as very cheap, everyone is demoralised, people are just depressed and there are enormous opportunities if you have energy.

In my view, investing in Sri Lanka in May 2009 is probably a better bet than Pakistan, Bangladesh, India or some of the other countries nearby.

>> Full Interview: Economic Times

Related:

>> China and Sri Lanka are better investment opportunities than India: Jim Rogers Blog

The human cost of Sri Lanka's war: Too many heroes

From The Economist print edition

ALONGSIDE some of the government’s finest military hardware at a ceremonial parade in Colombo on June 3rd were dozens of disabled soldiers in gleaming wheelchairs. Sri Lanka has paid a heavy price for its recent rout of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the defence secretary and brother of the president, has admitted that 6,261 soldiers were killed and 29,551 wounded in three years of fighting. He revealed, too, that a total of 23,000 troops have died since the first casualties in October 1981, when the Tigers’ leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, sprang off a bicycle and shot two soldiers running errands in the northern town of Jaffna. Prabhakaran and much of the army he built are now dead. The Tigers have not disclosed their losses but the Sri Lankan army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, says an estimated 22,000 have been killed in the past three years, and 9,000 have surrendered.

>> Full Story

Religious Observances and Inter Cultural Promotion in Atlanta

Sri Lankan patriots in Atlanta, Georgia, in U.S.A. organized religious observances to invoke blessings on members of the security forces, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher Sri Lankans who were killed/injured as a result of the war and to promote unity among all the religious groups and nationalities as Sri Lankans under one flag and as one nation.

This event was very successful by sharing thoughts and cultural activities between the Sri Lankan communities living in the State of Georgia. The Buddhist religious activities were conducted by Ven. Panamwela Wajirabuddhi Thero and Ven. Panamwela Wajirabodhi Thero of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara. The Roman Catholic religious activities were conducted by Mrs. Valerie Panditharatne. Hindu religious activities were conducted by Oviya and Pavana. Sarath Weerasekara, a former Captain of SL Army, organized the event.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Navy intercepts Pro-LTTE Merchant Vessel

Merchant Vessel ‘Captain Ali’ (IMO: 6619920), the pro-LTTE ship sailing towards Sri Lanka has been intercepted by the Navy and is being escorted to the harbour for checking, say sources. The ship that began its journey with “relief supplies” for the civilians in the north during the height of the battle against the Tigers was reportedly chartered by Tiger sympathizers.

The ship was on a supposed “Mercy Mission to Vanni” and sailed on its second leg from Fos-Sur-Mer in France on 7 May 2009. The main objective of this Mission is reportedly to send food, medical supplies, other relief items, doctors and humanitarian professionals to the Vanni area of Sri Lanka to provide vitally needed humanitarian relief.

>> Source

Sri Lanka Insurance Corp sale reversed by court-

June 4, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Supreme Court said a 2003 privatization of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) to listed Distilleries group was illegal and ordered the firm to be returned to the government and the purchase price refunded.

Court ordered the government to repay 6.0 billion rupees originally paid by the private firm to gain control of SLIC.
Court said Milford Holdings, a special purpose company incorporated by the Distilleries group to purchase SLIC, could keep the profits earned during the time they ran the insurer.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka is part of the empire of businessman Harry Jayewardene. SLIC life and general insurance funds control large stakes in several listed companies including John Keells Holdings and Commercial Bank.

>> Full Story

Now we have a new American Ambassador...

by L. Jayasooriya

Sri Lanka understands with relief that the term of the American Ambassador Robert O Blake has ended and that he has been promoted most probably on the recommendation of Hillary Clinton who is exactly on the same wave length as him. We only regret that he has not been put in charge of Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the various states in that area to put them all in order as required by America. Why was he denied this chance?

Now we have a new ambassador by the name of Ms. Patricia Butenis about whom we have been told at length in a comprehensive article titled “Caution Sri Lanka: New US Ambassador Patricia Butenis - a meddler in internal affairs”, published in the reputed Asian Tribune website on 2009-05-30 by Daya Gamage. After the experience we had with Blake and the fact that America wanted to save the LTTE and failed and with the much changed ground situation after the elimination of the LTTE the activities of every American ambassador from now on will be watched. In India too the appointment of Mr. Peter Burleigh on a third tour after taking him out of retirement will cause some suspicions because Mr. Burleigh according to the Asian Tribune has been a CIA operative. Why take a man out of retirement unless there is no other suitable person?

The article in the Asian Tribune reveals a great deal about your activities, Ms. Butenis, mostly in Muslim countries. There is no indication that you have had experience dealing with Hindus like your predecessor Blake who was in New Delhi and was wise enough not to meddle in the internal affairs of India. If he did he wouldn’t have lasted there a day longer.

He had the audacity and the courage to advise us to follow the lead of men like Tissa Vitarana and Ranil Wickraasinghe and has said many things against us to the press but he has never had the courage to reply when challenged. That does not display diplomacy. He was displaying his contempt to the host nation. When things were going bad for the LTTE he even went to Chennai and whipped up South Indian hatred against our government. During his entire stay here he has generated so much of hate against America that no other ambassador has been able to do. That is the way he served his country. I will take seven decades for that hate to go away unless it enters schoolbooks. Our president did not sack him the way that Mugabe and Chavez sacked their American ambassadors because the biter response from America at a time when we were weak and were concentrating on finishing off with the LTTE would have added to our problems.

Now that we have exterminated the LTTE that had the backing of America for three decades as has been clearly demonstrated and have discovered new friends at the UNHRC the environment has changed completely. That probably was the reason why Robert Blake was promoted to a higher appointment to avoid the fate that befell the ambassadors who interfered with Mugabe and Chavez. Blake will never be posted here again because our government will not approve his posting.

Robert Blake visited Buddhist temples twice on his own and exchanged gifts. That was not a part of his duties unless he has been officially invited for a function. It is now clear that he went there to add “Buddhist experience” to his bio data similar to what Sarah Palin did when she wanted to add diplomatic experience to counter Hillary Clinton during the presidential debates. That was a real laugh.

Buddhists for whom there is no God and no Soul are the most tolerant and most forgiving in this world. They never harbour grudges. Even the terrorist leader Prabakaran has gone on record to say that a Sinhalese man will forget everything in two weeks. Unlike Blake if you were to associate with genuine Buddhists who constitute 70% of the nation and all others without joining the traitors to de-stabilize the government you will have a pleasant stay in our country and you will find peace and tranquillity of mind during the tenure of your office.

All Ceylon Buddhist Congress Register Concerns with British High Commisioner on Temple Attack

ALL CEYLON BUDDHIST CONGRESS - INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL
380, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7
Phones: 2691695/2508552, Email: acbc@isplanka.lk, www.allceylonbuddhistcongress.com

PRESS RELEASE
June 4th, 2009

A two member delegation from All Ceylon Buddhist Congress met the British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes, this morning, and registered their grave concern over the recent attacks on Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre popularly known as Kingsbury ‘Buddhist Temple’ in London.

The delegation consisted of President of ACBC Mr Jagath Sumathipala, and its Vice President and Chairman International Affairs Mr Suren Abeyagoonasekera.

The Kingsbury Temple has been attacked 10 times within this year and 3 were during May 2009. Besides there were incidents of attacks on business premises, and news has reached ACBC of acid attacks on two girls.

The delegation pointed out that past British Governments has worked closely with the Buddhist community and even commended or decorated Buddhist scholars. The discontent and anxiety of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community living in London was pointed out. The British High Commissioner acknowledged concerns raised, and assured close attention of British Government.

Both parties recognised the need for a closer dialogue in order to eliminate misunderstandings and to improve the relationship between two countries with respect for each other.

The All Ceylon Buddhist Congress is closely monitoring the developments with great concern and interest. The International Affairs Division of the All Ceylon Buddhist Council intends to improve International Relationships through dialogue, knowledge sharing and greater understanding.

Sri Lanka poised to become Paradise Isle again

CHENNAI: The Paradise Isle of Sri Lanka is once again beckoning Indian tourists. Travel and tour companies and airlines are optimistic that the flow
of tourists, which dipped considerably after the LTTE's air wing attacked Colombo airport in 2001, will improve.

"Now, only traders travel daily to Sri Lanka from Chennai, apart from some corporate travellers. All are waiting and watching to see how the post-war situation will develop. If there is likely to be a backlash to the defeat of the LTTE, then people will not travel immediately," said an Air India official.

Airlines consider the Chennai-Colombo route a lucrative one because the flights go full due to the fact that several small-time traders source products from the island nation.

Every day, Jet Airways, Air India, Air India Express, and Sri Lankan as well as the recently-introduced Kingfisher Airlines operate services to Colombo from Chennai. A majority of the more than 600 seats available are occupied by traders and "kuruvis" who fly there to bring in liquor.

>> Full Story

UNSC to discuss Sri Lanka situation

NEW YORK (IANS): The UN Security Council plans to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon this week to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka for the first time since fighting ceased in the island nation, the council's president said Tuesday.
Ban will brief the 15-nation council behind closed doors on Friday and it will be an "unofficial, interactive dialogue," said Turkish Ambassador Baki Ilkin, whose country presides over the body in June. He provided no other details.

The meeting takes place in the wake of allegations that 20,000 civilians were killed in the last weeks of fierce fighting between government troops and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

The Sri Lankan government declared victory last month after claiming to have killed LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The UN, which has been heavily involved in relief activities during and after the fighting, has said nothing about the killing.

Amnesty International and other non-governmental organisations called for an official investigation and demanded that the UN make public what it learned about the condition of the civilians before the war ended in Sri Lanka.

UNP blindly following West - Udith Lokubandara

W. J. M. Udith Lokubandara, son of Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara said he would gladly accept the post of Badulla district SLFP organiser offered to him by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his wedding day because he cannot play any positive role in the UNP which was blindly following the West in its policies and programs.

He said this when he called on the Malwatte and Asgiriya prelates at their respective viharayas in Kandy to receive their blessings yesterday.

Lokubandara said the UNP had never given him an organiser's post. But when the President gave him the SLFP organiser's post, the UNP was spreading a false rumour saying that he was already a UNP organiser with a sinister motive to undermine him. He said the President had offered this post quite unexpectedly but he hoped to make use of its to provide a dignified service to the people.

>> Full Story

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sri Lanka leader hailed as king for beating rebels

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — President Mahinda Rajapaksa, criticized internationally for his conduct of the war against the Tamil Tigers, has been all but crowned king inside Sri Lanka.

In the weeks since Rajapaksa declared victory in the country's 25 year civil war with the rebels, a string of music videos have praised him as the nation's savior. Giant billboards with his image have been erected across the capital. He has been hailed as the modern-day incarnation of a warrior king who unified this island nation more than 2,000 years ago.

"He is a lion. He is the father of Sri Lanka," said R.S.P. Nishantha, a 38-year-old tennis instructor. "He has done what others did not dare to do."

Though many in the Tamil minority disagree and have expressed distaste with the nonstop celebrations, these are heady days for Rajapaksa, a provincial politician who just barely won election in 2005.

Embracing his role as the standard bearer of Sri Lanka's mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority, Rajapaksa embarked on a victory lap across the country after the military routed the Tamil Tigers two weeks ago, ending their dreams of a separate homeland for mainly Hindu Tamils in the north and east.

He addressed tens of thousands of cheering Sri Lankans at a rally outside parliament. Sri Lanka's top Buddhist monks presented him with the highest national honor, essentially naming him "Guardian of the Sinhalese nation." He made a pious offering at a sacred tree believed descended from the Bo tree where the Buddha gained enlightenment.

"My dear son, daughter. I am the happiest head of state to see a younger generation that so loves its country," he told a parade Wednesday that was billed as the final victory rally. "I am the proud father of that generation."

What Rajapaksa will do with his new popularity is not yet clear. His term expires in 2011, and with the opposition in disarray he seems to have little competition for re-election. His ruling coalition has already won full or partial control of every province in a string of polls timed to coincide with successes on the battlefield.

Jehan Perera, a political analyst from the dovish National Peace Council, said he cannot remember a Sri Lankan leader with such overwhelming popularity among the Sinhalese and expects Rajapaksa to further consolidate his power.

>> Full Story

No Referendum in Sri Lanka - President turns down the proposal

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa fresh from a historic victory over terrorism has turned down a proposal by a section of his cabinet to hold a referendum to extend the life of Parliament and to marry the second Presidential Election due in 2011 to that referendum as the people were now in favour of Rajapaksa following the victory over LTTE terrorism, highly placed authoritative sources disclosed today.

Sources said that the President has told the proposers that he would not follow any undemocratic methods to extend the life of his government nor wished to hold Referendums instead of democratic elections."I know the people love the country and me and I don't fear to face elections', the President has stressed.

The current term of the President ends in 20011 November. If he decides to go for an early presidential election after completing four years this November, under Clause 4 of Article 35 of the Constitution, the President could take oaths in 2011 as there is provision for the incumbent President to be in office till the next President takes oath. If the next President takes oath within two weeks of the next presidential election, then the fresh term of office would be counted from that date.

>> Full Story

National Victory Day - President's Speech

Video:

New era in foreign relations to safeguard motherland – President at Victory Day and Tribute to War Heroes

In order to, protect our new freedom after defeating terrorism, and to prevent being under the pressure of others, it is necessary to begin a new era in foreign relations to safeguard my motherland, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the nation at the Victory Day and Tribute to War Heroes celebration in Colombo, today (03).

Having won the freedom of our motherland, we must next establish our freedom and sovereignty internationally. Terrorists were able to get the world to bring pressure on us, a free and sovereign State, because they had the capability to bring pressure on those governments, he said.

Expressing the gratitude of the nation to the War Heroes who sacrificed so much for the freedom of the country, the President said “we cannot allow the land that was won with such great sacrifice to be divided or even a shadow of separatism to fall on it. In the solutions that we offer there will not even be an iota of space for racism and separatism. We shall, as soon as possible, move towards our own solution of not dividing the land that is now made one and ensuring that there will be no threat to peace in our region.

“Firstly, it is necessary for us to provide all facilities that were denied to the people of the north for 30 years. There is no doubt this will be a massive development exercise, similar to the operation carried out to end the terrorism of 30 years within two and half years. The northern spring is not only to be dawned but also to spread with speed across the north,” the President added.

Speaking in Tamil President Rajapaksa also said: “The war against the terrorists is now over. It is now the time to win over the hearts of the Tamil people. The Tamil speaking people should be protected. They should be able to live without fear and mistrust. That is today the responsibility of us all.”

>> Full Text of the President’s Address to the Nation

Stark warnings for those seen traitors in Sri Lanka

"This (victory) was achieved by defeating the activities of the wretched traitors like you who commit evil acts against Mother Lanka," the letter said, and warned the CPA to shut down for a week to honour the fallen.

COLOMBO, June 2 (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan rights group said on Tuesday it had received a threat accusing it of treason, the day after a media activist was beaten up in the latest episode in the country's long history of politically tinged violence.

Press rights groups have warned that journalists seen as sympathetic to the defeated separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were at risk, and on Monday, media activist and journalist Poddala Jayantha was abducted and beaten. [ID:nB221508]

On Tuesday, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in Colombo said a letter left at its office titled "Notice to the Traitors" talked about the military victory over the Tamil Tigers last month that ended a 25-year separatist war.

"That is through the dedication of the present government, fearless military commanders and heroic warriors born in our motherland. And also, through the sacrifice of their bones, flesh and streams of blood," said a copy of the letter provided by CPA.

Since the declaration of victory on May 18, anger from government backers has been directed at Sri Lankan journalists and activists seen as having supported the Tigers during a war that killed 6,200 soldiers in its last three years.

>> Full Story

Sri Lanka May Sell Rupee as Post-War Inflows Increase

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka may sell its currency should it gain too much as foreign aid and investments flow into the country after the end of a 26-year civil war, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said.

“The currency could appreciate when large amounts of money come in,” Cabraal said in an interview in Colombo yesterday. “But we learnt some good lessons in 2005 post-tsunami that we shouldn’t allow these conditions to drive the economy by itself and there has to be some kind of intervention.”

Cabraal said excessive gains in the rupee could damage exports, which make up a third of the $32 billion economy and employ more than 2 million people in the island’s tea plantations and textile factories. Millions of dollars of aid after a tsunami hit Sri Lanka on Dec. 26, 2004, increased demand for the rupee, strengthening the currency by 5.4 percent the following month and halving export growth from a year earlier.

>> Full Story

Two major northern irrigation tanks to be rehabilitated

A master plan to revive two partly abandoned major irrigation tanks in the North is under discussion at the Irrigation Department. And, irrigation engineers are already in the process of drafting the plan. These tanks, in the heart of the Northern Province, will be rehabilitated at a cost of Rs. 635 million on the instructions of Ports, Aviation and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

The poor knowledge on the function of ancient irrigation systems had lead towards an unplanned disruption of ancient tank systems during the large-scale irrigation development projects, and many planners were not been able to capture the harmony between local and regional hydrological characteristics, an Irrigation Ministry official said. He further said that larger reservoirs usually act as feeders for smaller cascade tank systems.

With the conclusion of 30-year-old civil war, the government is busy resettling war displaced back in their own lands and most of them are farmers. Their incomes are based on producing paddy or other agriculture-based products. And, proceeding with such rehabilitation will be vital factor to cater to their domestic and agricultural needs he said.

The Giant’s Tank (Yoda Wewa) and Akatthinuruppu tank in Mannar will be rehabilitated at the first phase of the project. And, further, the Giant Tank located in Manthai (West) DS Division will also be rehabilitated at cost of Rs. 385 million. The project will be funded by the World Bank. funds.

>> Full Story

Who will be the next CJ?

With Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva to retire on June 7, the legal circle is abuzz with speculation as to who would occupy the highest seat in Sri Lanka’s judiciary. Meanwhile a simple ceremony was held at the Hultsdrop Court premises this morning to honour the outgoing Sri Lankan Chief Justice.

Meanwhile legal sources say that several names of top rankers in the judicial sector have been suggested to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pick a successor to the CJ. These include a senior minister who has been engaged in the legal field for more than twenty years.

Sarath Nanda Silva, receive his Primary and Secondary education at Trinity College in Kandy and then entered the Sri Lanka Law College. He holds a Master of Laws degree Magna Cum Laude from the University of Brussels. He was admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in June 1967 and commenced his career in the Attorney General’s department in 1968 as a Crown Counsel. He was promoted to Senior State Counsel in 1975 and Deputy Solicitor-General in 1979. Appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 1987, he became the President of the Court of Appeal in 1994.

Justice Silva served under the Chandrika Kumaratunga regime as Attorney-General in 1996 and was appointed a President’s Counsel the same year.

His appointment as Chief Justice evoked widespread protest in the media, mainly because he was not the most senior judge in Sri Lanka. During last few years he had given many controversial Supreme Court decisions.

>> Source

Sri Lanka Sees Foreign Investment Quadrupling as Civil War Ends

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka expects foreign direct investment to more than quadruple to $4 billion by 2012 as the end of a 26-year-old civil war leads to political stability.

“Interest in Sri Lanka is tremendous now,” Dhammika Perera, chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, said in an interview in Colombo yesterday. “The end of the war has put the country on the radar of global companies.”

Clothing manufacturers and hotel operators are scouting the nation for investment opportunities after the military defeated rebel Tamil Tigers last month, Perera said without naming the companies. President Mahinda Rajapaksa may still have to find a settlement to the separatist demands of the ethnic Tamils to secure lasting peace and build investor confidence.

>> Full Story

Sri Lanka on guard for separatist revival

GENEVA, June 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka is keeping a close eye for signs of separatism among the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by its civil war, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka's minister of disaster management and human rights stressed that work is under way to root out remaining insurgents who may jeopardise the Indian Ocean island's fragile peace.

"The government of Sri Lanka will continue with its efforts to weed out terrorists who have infiltrated the ranks of IDPs (internally displaced persons) and the civilian population," Mahinda Samarasinghe told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

He said that his government is also busy demining the former war zone and providing aid to ethnic Tamil and other survivors.

"To sustain these initiatives we need to be on our guard against any attempts to revive and revitalise separatism, disunity and destabilisation," he told the forum which last week held a two-day session on Sri Lanka's 25-year separatist war.

>> Full Story

A History Lesson for the “Western Powers”

By Stephen Long, Los Angeles, CA

History is a funny animal. Like a pet dog it can be loved, rubbed, groomed, fed, made to obey, ignored, forgotten, punished, or locked up – depending on the owner’s proclivities and prevailing mood. As long as the animal is fed, it is usually cooperative. In a rare moment, however, it can bite back if provoked or mistreated. I think this might be just one of those moments when the dog takes a nip out of his owner’s hide. Let me explain.

The recent uproar over presumed human rights abuses by the Government of Sri Lanka resulted in the “Western Powers” crying foul in unison. Even without proper investigation, for some strange reason they quickly jumped to condemn the GOSL, which was doing everything it could to protect the lives of the innocent Tamil human shields and bring them to safety in the No Fire Zone. There has been a lot of tearful feigned sympathy for the rescued IDP’s, but there has also been a huge loss of memory in regards to the “Western Powers” past sins of mass murder, or their looking the other way while thousands suffered and died on their watch.

Let me cite a few examples, and allow me to cry “Foul!” on behalf of the innocent victims.

* Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the “Western Powers” there have been 92,133 to 100,591 documented civilian deaths from violence in Iraq (source: “Iraq Body Count” website). The British medical journal, The Lancet, puts the figure much higher at approximately 654,965.

* Since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S. there have been 7,760 to 10,557 documented direct deaths of civilians, and 3,200 to 20,000 indirect deaths for a total of direct and indirect at 10,960 to 30,557 (source: Wikipedia). The “Unknown News” website puts this figure at 19,886 including nearly 1,100 foreign troops and journalists who have been killed.

* Going back a ways in history, the Mau Mau insurrection against British rule in Kenya caused the death of 10,173 activists, and an approximate 70,000 Kikuyu tribesmen were imprisoned (source: About.com: African History).

* Going back even farther in history to World War II, there were approximately 140,000 innocent civilians killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the U.S.; 80,000 at Nagasaki; and as many as 500,000 in Dresden when the Allies dropped 700,000 phosphorous bombs on the city – nearly one for every two inhabitants. Approximately 120,000 Japanese residents in the US (66% of them US citizens) were imprisoned in ten interment camps, an act that was declared unconstitutional in 1945, and never apologized for until President Clinton’s era (albeit very weakly).

* Even farther back in history, to the turn of the last century, you’ll find the US suppression of the insurrection in the Philippines killing 200,000 people, with the policy to shoot anyone over ten years old who dared to resist US occupation. Speaking of genocide, what about the killing of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans – even going so far as to make gifts of US Army blankets to the Natives that were laced with smallpox. Nice gifts. Reports of genocidal actions by the “Western Powers” during their empire expansion and colonial periods already fills volumes – including Sri Lanka’s history books. Did anyone call “foul” when they were actually happening?

* A little more recently, Belgium’s legacy when Rwanda was granted independence in 1962, was the death of 800,000 Tutsi’s and Hutu sympathizers from April 6, 1994 and continuing for 100 days – some days killing as many as 10,000. Belgium and the other “Western Powers” did nothing until it was too late.

* How about the genocidal campaigns in Bosnia, Cambodia, Hitler’s Holocaust, and the Japanese Nanking Massacre? Who came to the rescue of the innocent victims – or even cried foul while they were being cruelly and systematically exterminated?

* The statistics of the LTTE’s war to create a racially separate homeland for Tamils are staggering. Over thirty years approximately 100,000 people of all races were killed, and countless more injured or permanently maimed. The LTTE was 100% responsible for this outrage, so who could blame the GOSL for wanting to end it once and for all?

The GOSL rescued nearly 300,000 Tamils being held by Prabhakaran as human shields during the waning days of Eelam IV, and is currently doing its best to care for them with the limited resources it has available. I don’t know why the Government isn’t being applauded for such an accomplishment. I still can’t figure out why the “Western Powers” are crying foul. What exactly is there intention, I’d like to know. Do they really want to see the conflict finished – or is it in their best interest to continue seeing the South Asian region de-stabilized? Is this perhaps why the British Government sold arms to Sri Lanka during Eelam IV, and we’re just now finding out about it? Was it just to make a sale and keep business moving?

It’s almost as if the “Western Powers” can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that a small, far-away island nation, populated by brown-skinned natives, could be successful in ending a thirty-year terrorist scourge when they can’t do the same in their own struggles, wherever they might be. Granted, the brown-skinned natives didn’t acquiesce to the “Western Powers” demands to cease their fire and allow the terrorists to escape. Also granted, the brown-skinned natives are proud of their victorious accomplishment, and of their President who stood firm against the “Western Powers” ridiculous and duplicitous demands.

I say we all stand up and cry “foul” at the “Western Powers” for their historical, un-avenged murders, and at those who simply stood by and allowed the destruction of millions of innocent lives. I think history, like the mistreated dog, will bite the “Western Powers” on their collective posteriors, while it winds up applauding Sri Lanka for its success against the LTTE terrorists, and its compassionate treatment of the survivors that it made sure were spared and re-settled in their homes.

History indeed is like an animal. I don’t think it will be too long before the “Western Powers” are bought to their knees by the dogs they raised, but can no longer control. Their “national karma” may have just “come home to roost” and put them even more at risk than they already are. Perhaps by then history, like a good dog, will be on the side of Sri Lanka and give it the proper accolades it so rightfully deserves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Balasingham’s widow leading LTTE London protests

A Tamil terror chief who allegedly handed cyanide pills to child soldiers is living in a London suburb, the Standard can reveal.

Sri Lankan intelligence officials believe Adele Balasingham, 59, is one of the most senior figures in the remains of the terror group which fought a 26-year war for independence on the island and was defeated last month
They claim she has played a key role in organising protests by Tamils outside Parliament and want Britain to take action against her.

Sri Lanka’s government believes Tamil Tiger leaders abroad are raising funds and procuring equipment which could be used in fresh attacks.

Mrs Balasingham lives in a œ500,000 house in New Malden, Surrey. She is the widow of Anton Balasingham, a Sri Lankan with British citizenship who was the chief political strategist of the Tamil Tigers until he died in 2006.

Mrs Balasingham, an Australian-born nurse, met and married him while he was living in London in the Seventies. She became deeply involved in the Tigers’ cause - ending up as the leader of its women soldiers and nicknamed “Aunty” on the island.

>> Full Story

Letter to the EAST

Letter to Manmohan Singh, Hu Jintao, Dmitry Medvedev, Mohammed Ahmadinejad, Taro Aso, Asif Ali Zardari.

Writing to you with the utmost gratitude for helping our nation wipeout the scourge of terrorism from our shores.


Dear Sirs,

I grew up in the streets of Colombo (over 350km from the conflict zone) as an adolescent and late teen in the fear of death.

On my way to the school the school bus would pass road blocks every few hundred meters manned by young Sri Lankan soldiers and police nervously cradling their T56s or AK 47 assault rifles. Once we reached the school gates every student, teacher, parents and visitors bag was searched for bombs. It was the same routine on the way out, the same routine to go to the bank, airport or any other public place where people congregated. Every time you hopped on a bus you were not sure whether it was going to blow up. If you were driving a car you would keep your distance from any public transport just in case, if the bus blows up in front of you, in the hope you and your family do not get killed. When your loved ones go to work in the morning you are never sure whether they are going to make it back in one piece. There were not guarantees. Images of bombs, guns and blood drenching corpses are carved into our mind by the regular occurrences of violence witnessed both first hand and daily on the news reports. I was born with this cursed war, grew up with the war and have never visualized my country without the war in the background.

And distinguished Sirs, if you ever asked anybody in your country about Sri Lanka, no doubt they have heard about it and first thing that would come to their mind is the Tigers. I, we, my fellow Sri-Lankans thank you for helping to eliminate that cursed animal the ‘Tiger’ from this beautiful land.

Now Sirs, with all the trials and tribulations we have gone through can you imagine how we felt when the President declared the War is over. Young and old, men and women, they all took to the streets and celebrating this great day. To be honest I don’t know whether it is really all over or whether this scrounge will come back and haunt this beautiful nation again.

But hope, just the mere idea of hope, the renewal of hope is enough for us to celebrate till the wee hours and dream about a new dawn in Sri Lanka.

Context

Dear Sirs, I know you are fully aware of the context of this war. But I will take the liberty of giving everyone a perspective on what really happened in a few words.

Over the last twenty six years over seventy thousand people have been killed due to this war. The end was never in sight and for all we know there could be more bloodshed in years to come. Innocent civilians were getting blown up to pieces in every corner of the country. It is the duty of all democratically elected governments in a sovereign nation to protect its people from all evil. I know, you are fully aware of this Sir, that’s exactly you would do if this happened in your country and it would be your duty too. (Mr Hu Jintao, I am also aware that you are not democratically elected, but who are we to tell you what works in your country). The great American General Dwight D Eisenhower once said ‘We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it’, this is exactly what Sri Lankan government did. They fought a bloody war against the world’s most sophisticated and the ruthless terrorist organization and came on top.

September 11, 2001 was a tragic day in which 2974 American citizens were murdered by terrorists in their homeland. Like any nation protecting its citizens, The United States of America declared war on Terror and invaded two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq. In order to protect the US of A and its people, troops went over 11000km to reach Afghanistan and to Iraq. They invaded two sovereign nations, deployed over a hundred thousand military personnel, billions of dollars worth military hardware and they are still fighting the war which started on the 7th of October 2001. Furthermore they had the backing of their western allies UK, Australia and others (even though these countries did not have first hand experience of terrorism of this magnitude within there borders at that time).

Sirs, for us Sri Lankans, terrorism was not merely a one-off event; it was literally a lifetime of suffering. Every Sri Lankan knows somebody who’s been killed due to this bloody war. Finally the Government of Sri Lanka and the people they represented, the people who had voted them into power, had had enough. Never forget that they did not invade another country, they simply protected the borders of the sovereign nation of Sri-Lanka and crushed an outlawed terrorist organization which was banned in most countries including EU, UK and USA.

Casualties and War crimes claims

At a time when the world is battling to win the war against terror, the Sri Lankan government’s win against the terrorism should be welcomed by everyone. It is a long overdue example of triumph over terrorism; of resolve and steadfastness in the face some very long odds. But this does not seem to be the case. Most world leaders are reluctant to congratulate Sri-Lanka due mainly to the civilian casualty figures waved around by the LTTE sympathizers. They say that there were over 7000 civilian casualties in the final phase of the government push. Keep in mind that the Government categorically denies this number, and their figure is in the low hundreds.

Sirs, I honestly do not know which number is the correct figure and I am no expert but from what I understand there is no war in the world that is fought without there being regrettable civilian casualties. Now if you look at the current wars around the world, the even the most exaggerated numbers look to be in the junior league. Depending on the which website or paper you are reading civilian casualty figures for Afghanistan seems to be varying from 50,000 to 100,000 and in Iraq it is said to be anything between 150,000- 200,000 deaths (some say this number is over 1 million)

So, why is the case of Sri Lanka so unique? Well Sirs, I think its come down to the Propaganda war and the diplomacy, which I must admit the Sri Lanka has not been good at.

Sri Lanka doesn’t have CNN and BBC on our side, in fact quite the opposite. Sirs, it is very scary if you manage to get these two news channels on your side, you can do whatever you want and get away with it. Look at the US led Iraq invasion; we all (including me) were lead to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (now proven to be a false pretence) which gave them the premise to invade a sovereign country and get away with it.

Furthermore, we don’t have outspoken, enigmatic diplomats like Robert Blake around the world, our Diplomats are living the luxurious expat lifestyle with back room diplomacy. In the meanwhile the sixty million strong Tamil Diaspora have infiltrated into the mainstream politics and media of the western world and they make sure their voices are heard. Due to the size of our country and to our small economy nobody cares about our foreign office. I mean there is big difference to when Hilary Clinton or David Miliband picks up a microphone, to when Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama makes an announcement. With no offence intended towards Mr. Bogollagama, Sirs do you even know him? He is our Foreign minister.

In addition the problem lay in our foreign policy. Having a foreign office alone is not enough, you need to have a well defined, consistent Foreign policy, which we did not have. Since 1977 various SL governments have chopped and changed their policy to gain short term political rewards. With exception of Lakshman Kadiragamar we have not had a foreign minister with the long term vision and the fortitude to deal with complex geo-politics.

Next big thing is the votes. There are over 125,000 Tamils living in UK and at least another 100,000 Tamils living in neighboring France. When 100,000 British Tamils took to the streets Gordon Brown and David Miliband had to do something. They did not need to know about the context, they simply needed to do something for their constituency. David Miliband did not have to know about the tigers blowing up buses full of students while he was attending prestigious Oxford. He knew his constituency was asking for the Tigers to be saved when he made the trip to Sri Lanka, asking for a ceasefire to lessen the pain of the civilians caught in the conflict zone. Bernard Kouchner of France is politician in the same nature who even betrayed his own socialist party to land in the foreign minster position in Sarkozy’s government. They are politicians, so the votes do count.

Sirs, I do not pretend to understand how the United Nations investigates war crimes. But how can anyone in their right mind call for a war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka? Even if you go by the Tiger sympathizer’s numbers there are 7,000 civilian casualties (Government figure is in the low hundreds) but 350, 000 people have been rescued and over 15,000 square kilo meters has been liberated. Furthermore there are over 10,000 (ex-terrorists) POWs that are getting vocational training and not the torture (in military bases of foreign countries) like some of the big nations do.

Sirs, has anyone been investigated for war crimes over the invasion of Iraq? Close to 200,000 people being killed and counting and there are no UN resolutions being passed on this. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 killed over 1000 civilians and displaced over one million people within one month but there was neither war crimes allegations nor UN resolutions being passed. Are there any war crimes investigations on ‘Dick Cheney’s’ torture policy on Guantanamo bay prisoners? So why do the western nations like to bully countries like Sri-Lanka? I think I know… Sri Lanka is a $40 billion economy and depends heavily on foreign aid. Hence the West believes that they are entitled to be teachers of the poorer nations like Sri Lanka.

Friends in Need

Sirs, at this juncture Sri Lanka has discovered who her real friends are. We all know our best of friends will not leave us when we are in trouble. In this case India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Japan and Russia (the countries of which you are heads of state) came to our aid. Put simply the West abandoned Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka needed someone to listen to her and back her up in her time of need but the West thought they knew better than to listen and instead they tried to teach lessons that do not apply in our neck of the woods and continue to do so. Due to this what is continuing to happen is that the West is making more enemies and alienating its friends by adopting the same policies as they did when they colonized them.

Discrimination and the need for a political solution

Sirs, if anyone is top say that there is no discrimination of Tamils in Sri Lanka they could not be more wrong. There is ugly division of the people which was initially created by our colonial masters and has since it gotten wider due in no small part to the corrupt and short sighted politicians adopting erroneous policies to get more votes by creating division among the people. This has become more exaggerated since the eighty’s due to the LTTE. Now the trust between the two races has been shattered for a long time.

But Sir, if you look at it in context, it is not any different from Whites and Blacks in USA or France, or the Whites and the immigrants in UK or Australia. These comparisons of course do not make it right. This situation needs to change. No, it must change.

In terms of racial equality the world has come a long way. We have a black president in the white house and you would think USA, the beacon of democracy has got it right in the race war. But have they? Even as I write to you today, in every socioeconomic statistic, infant mortality, literacy, life expectancy, home ownership, Black and Latinos are far behind their white counterparts. Furthermore, average Black and Latino wage is less than 75% of the White folk’s wage, Blacks have far less university degrees than the their white counterparts, In corporate America at executive level you will not find many minorities either. America is not unique in this; you can have the same statistics extrapolated across UK and France too.

What happened in July 23, 1983 is ugly and abhorrent and should never happen again. Over 500 innocent Tamil civilians were killed by politically motivated criminals. This created a bad name and bad blood between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. When you talk about this incident we as a nation and ethnic group are all sorry for what happened and vow never let it happen again.

In the course of human history countries have made big unbelievable mistakes. Invasions of another sovereign countries (colonization), World Wars, Atomic bombs, the stolen generations and more recently the Hurricane Katrina response and the Iraq invasion. These things are done and you cannot change history but the most important thing is not to let it happen again and to make sure you put the measures and policies in place to ensure that this is the case. 1983, Black July is one of those big mistakes that should never be repeated. It is not only good policy and common human decency to make sure we stop such acts but it is also good politics.

The Sri Lankan Government has defeated the LTTE militarily and there are now over 300,000 displaced people in the North. The government should now keep its promise and resettle these people as soon as possible. It should also negotiate an acceptable political solution for the moderate Tamil population. They should be given the equal opportunity and be able to live with the dignity that they deserve as this is their country as much as it is mine. We should get rid of the divisions in this country and embrace all ethnicities under the one flag. There need not be a Sinhala Country, Tamil Country or Muslim Country. It should be only the one glorious Nation, Sri Lanka.

Dear Sirs, On behalf of all Sri-Lankans I would like to say that we are eternally thankful to you and the Nations that you represent for helping to make our country a safer place.

Yours Respectfully,
Ranga Welaratne.

Change of Working Culture of Sri Lankan Foreign Missions Towards a new Sri Lanka

By Vajiragnana Warnakulasuriya - Melbourne, Australia

It is no secret that nearly a million or more of Tamils live abroad today and it’s their willful or compulsory funds that made LTTE to equip state of the art weaponry as discovered by the defense forces.

At no time we thought all Tamils were LTTE nor do they share the LTTE ideology, but I am sad to say we Sinhalese abroad have been wrong. This assumption is proven beyond any doubt looking at the number of Tamils who parade in the cities all over the Western countries on their anti Sri Lankan protest marches. Even at the moment when the LTTE was killing their own people, they didn’t care for those innocent, their own tribe, but continued the support to save only the LTTE leaders with the help of the hired international community.

We tend to believe ninety-nine percentages of the Tamil elders are well educated and a very high percentage is professionals. However back in Sri Lanka during the last three decades all-small children were brainwashed in such a way to portray the Sinhalese, whether it’s the forces or the simple villages as devils or ferocious animals, therefore they have to be killed at sight. This indoctrination was so effective that anyone in thirties and under who has never had any contact with the Sinhala people believed it is the gospel truth; this made it easy for them to kill Sinhalese without mercy. During this period lay Sinhalese never killed any Tamil or even the LTTE except by the forces.

>> Full Story

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sri Lanka: Ban strongly rejects UN as source of casualty reports

1 June 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his strong concerns over “unacceptably high” civilian casualties in the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and Tamil rebels, while rejecting in the strongest terms any figure attributed to the United Nations.

Briefing the General Assembly today on his recent visit to Sri Lanka and other travels, Mr. Ban said media reports alleging that some 20,000 civilians may have been killed during the last phase of the conflict “do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal.”

Last month, Sri Lanka’s Government declared that its military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was over, ending more than two decades of fighting.

“I categorically reject – repeat, categorically – any suggestion that the United Nations has deliberately under-estimated any figures,” the Secretary-General underscored.

“Let me also say, whatever the total, the casualties in the conflict were unacceptably high – as I have also said repeatedly,” he added.

>> Full Story: UN

Ex- LTTE cadres to be rehabilitated

The Government has taken Initiatives to expedite the process of rehabilitating the ex-LTTE cadres who have surrendered with the Security Forces during the last phase of the humanitarian operation in the North.

Deputy Minister of Social Services & Social Welfare, P. H. Lionel Premasiri made a inspection visit to Vavunia today (01) to get first hand assessment of the programme and to instruct the relevant authorities.

These persons including the disabled will be given vocational training and deployed them in the Northern development initiative as these persons.

>> Full Story

New Army HQs for Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu

The Sri Lanka army has established two Headquarters in Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi in order to overlook the development and security plans of the two fully liberated districts. They are also in addition to the existing Vanni Headquarters.

The present General Officer in Command of the 56 Division in Omanthai, Major General Channa Goonetilleke has been appointed as the Security Forces Commander Kilinochchi while Overall Operations Commander, Anuradhapura Major General Nandana Udawatta has been appointed as the Security Forces Commander, Mullaitivu.

The 53 Division under the command of Major General Kamal Gunaratne and 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva will be kept as two reserves. Army Divisions for offensive operations are directly under the command of the Army Commander and the two divisions will be located in Mankulam and Paranthan respectively.

>> Source

A massive Northern cultivation program

The Ministry of Agriculture has commenced a massive cultivation program in the North after 30 years. Although the North is blessed with appropriate geographical advantages for coconut cultivation, the LTTE was a major threat, Minister of Agriculture Hema Kumara Nanayakkara told our special correspondent in Vavuniya during a visit to the welfare centers in Vavuniya.

The Ministry had already formulated a plan to cultivate plants in the North and the program would begin following the resettlement of all internally displaced people. Before the program, all the required infrastructure facilities for coconut cultivation would be provided to make it a complete success, he added.

>> Full Story

A new IDP Village to be set up in the North

Another relief village is to be established for the people displaced in the north due to terrorist activities. Preparatory work on this village to be set up at Manik Farm Vavuniya, commenced yesterday (31), Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Relief Services and Re-settlement U.L.M Haldeen told www.news.lk today (01).

He pointed out that this will be the fifth relief village to be constructed on behalf of the displaced people and around 40,000 persons are scheduled to be temporarily resettled in this village, which is located in the area, named as zone number 5.

>> Source

Dengue can send you to Jail

Strict action will be taken by the Health Ministry against anyone who has an environment conducive for the breeding of mosquitoes from today (01) and the Ministry has directed all Medical Officers of Health( MOH) to be alert to combat the menace, Media Secretary to the Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition W.M.D Wanninayeka told www.news.lk today.

He said that relevant laws have been formulated with regard to the prevention of breeding of mosquitoes. As such, the Ministry has the prerogative to impose a fine of Rs.1,000 up to Rs. 25,000 on such offenders.

Furthermore, the laws could also see offenders jailed for a period of six months extended up to two years.

The Director General of Health has been given complete authority to implement these laws and Dengue has now spread to 68 Medical Health Official Divisions, he added.

>> Source

Sri Lankan expats in Calgary celebrate the end of LTTE terrorism

Patriotic Sri Lankans expatriate community in Calgary, Canada celebrated the liberation of our motherland from the brutal LTTE on 30th May 2009 at Alexandra Centre Society Hall.

More than 400 Sri Lankans gathered to honor the all who took part in liberating our Sri Lanka. Roses were offered to fallen heroes by the members of the community. Patriotic songs and dances were performed by Sri Lankan Calgarians. 'Rhidma' group provided the music.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sri Lankan govt. invites investment to war-ravaged north

Colombo (PTI): Inviting private investment to rebuild the war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka, the government has said it will ensure "local ownership" of the development projects to be implemented in the region.

Chairman of Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province, Basil Rajapaksa, said the government wanted to localise development projects to suit the needs of the people in the northern areas, as he met a group of Tamil professionals for working out ways to develop the region following end of the conflict.

"When development is taking place the people want their ownership. It should not be something which we enforce from outside. We must ensure the local ownership of the people.

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Sri Lanka seek help in dismantling Tigers' network

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Sri Lanka appealed Sunday for international support in dismantling the global political network of the Tamil Tiger rebels after declaring a full military victory over the separatist movement.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told a high-level security forum in Singapore that Colombo needed help in disabling the Tigers' "powerful political lobbies in certain capitals" that are seeking to resurrect the movement.

"It is important for the international community to take all measures to assist the government of Sri Lanka, to track down the global network of the LTTE," Bogollagama said.

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Doctorates for President, Defence Secretary

The Senate of the University of Colombo unanimously resolved that the Degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) be conferred on President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Senate has also resolved that the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) be conferred on Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The degrees will be conferred on President Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in recognition of their yeoman service to the nation in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity; restoring peace and harmony among all Sri Lankan communities and uplifting the image of Sri Lanka within the international community, a statement of the Senate of the Colombo University states.

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'I'm only 16. They gave me a rifle. It was heavy. They said we had to go forward. If we came back, they would shoot us'

by Gethin Chamberlain, The Observer, Guardian, UK.

Tamil children as young as 11 were forced at gunpoint to fight for the Tigers in Sri Lanka's civil war. Survivors talked of their ordeal to Gethin Chamberlain in Ambepusse

Darchiga Kuken, a former Tamil Tiger child soldier interned at the Ambepusse rehabilitation centre after escaping from the rebels. Photograph: Gethin Chamberlain.

Darchiga Kuken was sheltering in a bunker in the Mullaitivu area when a group of about 20 Tamil Tiger soldiers arrived and demanded that she went with them.

"I was sick with chicken pox. My mother and father were screaming and crying, saying that I was sick and pleading with them not to take me," she said. The men went away. And then at 5pm on 14 March they came back. They called me to come out and then they grabbed me and put me in a jeep. I started to cry. I was shouting: 'Mother, father, help me.' "

The 16-year-old is now being held in what the government describes as a "rehabilitation centre", a jungle camp built on a hillside outside the town of Ambepusse in the south of the country. Here children like her, who were forced to fight on the front line in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka, gave the Observer compelling evidence of war crimes committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The camp currently houses 95 children, with another 200 on their way from internment camps around the town of Vavuniya in the north of the country.

Despite international concerns over the treatment of LTTE suspects, the children appeared to be well treated and were able to speak freely when the Observer visited the camp on Thursday. The most distressing sight was a young boy howling in pain on the floor of one of the huts; his friends said that he had recently arrived and still had a piece of shrapnel lodged in his skull from the recent fighting.

The accounts of these boys and girls who surrendered to the Sri Lankan army were shocking. They say they were dragged screaming from their families and sent into action with only a few days of basic training. The older members of the LTTE warned them to keep firing and advancing, or they would be shot by their own side from behind.

Those who did try to escape said they were fired on by their own side. Children who were recaptured had their hair shaved off to mark them as deserters and boys were beaten.

>> Full Story: Guardian

VICTORY: Grand finale at Galle face

The National Celebration on Victory over Terrorism and the Military Parade will kick off at the historic Galle Face Green on June 03rd.

The chief guest will be President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Commander-in- Chief of all Forces. Among the other distinguished participants are Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka, Speaker of Parliament W.J.M.Lokubandara , Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, Cabinet ministers and Parliamentarians. The Secretary of Defence, Tri-Service Commanders, the IGP and the chief of the Civil Defence will also grace this occasion.

The event is organized by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs. On this occasion, the Tri- Service commanders will officially convey the conclusion of the north east war against terrorism to the Commander in chief, President Rajapaksa by handing over a scroll that contain that national massage.

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Head of FORUT - Norwegian NGO deported from Sri Lanka - Way to Go.......

The head of Norwegian NGO FORUT was deported last night (May 30) for her involvement with the LTTE and for indulging in activities inimical to the sovereignty and independence of Sri Lanka, Defence sources said.

Ranvei Tvetenes, who was very often described as a law unto herself, had ordered the bringing down and removal of the national flag of Sri Lanka that was hoisted by the local staff in the FORUT office premises, to mark the victory in the war with the LTTE by the armed forces on May 20.

She had also refused to grant the holiday declared by the President on the occasion.

"The staff however had stood firm and demanded the holiday and with great reluctance she was compelled to submit to their demand, under severe pressure from the disgruntled staff", said a senior employee of FORUT.

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Time to counter misinformation campaign effectively

by S. Akurugoda

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka addressing the mass rally at the Parliament grounds called upon to appoint a Presidential Commission to probe the activities of the LTTE and its shocking caches of sophisticated arms and ammunition. During the humanitarian operation and thereafter, the Security Forces exposed the magnitude of the LTTE's underground arsenal and said to have in the process of further investigation to gather proof of evidence to probe the link between the outfit and its local and foreign promoters.

As the Prime Minister quite correctly identified time has come for all those who are genuinely interested to see the lasting solution to achieve peace, stability, progress and the establishment of democracy in Sri Lanka without any racial and religious differences, to identify the real culprits for the death and destruction in the country and take action there on for the betterment of future generation.

Although the Sri Lanka government had taken steps to confront the terrorist outfit militarily, not enough attention had been made to counteract the effect of false propaganda machinery of the LTTE, both in and outside the country. As a result the menace of separatism is still alive both in and outside Sri Lanka.

Now that the chances of dividing Sri Lanka on ethnic lines by military means are no more, the next question, often raised by the desperate agents of the Anglo American oriented international community (who openly exhibited their indisputable relationship with the Tamil Tigers and their terrorism) is ‘human rights’, ‘equal rights’, ‘living with dignity’ etc, mere slogans adopted by the very same divisive forces to promote separatism.
The crushing defeat of the LTTE, no doubt, would have caused serious concerned to the bogus “peace’ and ‘rights’ activists and other interested parties whose survival depends upon the continuation of conflicts and terror, though they appear in public as the saviours of peace.
These NGO ‘peace nicks’, anti-war kingpins who appear under various attractive name boards such as ‘co-existence’, ‘National Peace’, Policy Alternatives, “Ethnic Studies”, Free Media’ etc and who were extremely busy supplying the necessary amenities to their pay masters of the West to save Prabakaran up to the last moment, appear to have gone underground for the time being, but will resurface very soon and will do whatever possible to maintain their stance at any cost. This time, probably, to give another attempt to pave the way for the dead Tiger Leader’s dream.

Although we have not come across a recent appeal for ‘piece’ from Jehan Perera of so-called National Peace Council, man who work very hard to white wash LTTE in each every atrocities committed by the outfit as “tit-for-tat kind of retaliation” while tarnishing the image of Sinhalese and political parties opposed to LTTE , and his bunch of so-called ‘independent (but dollar dependent) analysts’ have to start from some where to justify their existence to the funding agencies. Since the vision statement of the NPC includes the LTTE as an integral part of the solution, now the time has come to change the ‘vision’ prior to commence his next mission.
Kumar Rupasinghe, the well known key player of the infamous Anti-war Front and Foundation for Co-existence has already announced his latest starting point, ‘enhancing 13th amendment to the constitution’. Probably, this is the only way-out left for him to keep communal cry alive and later to defeat the victories achieved by our security forces. He will definitely get the necessary moral support form the old Marxists and other groups who were with him during his ant-war campaign, but in the government rank now.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, it seems, has already commenced his misinformation campaign to tarnish the image of our country and one such meeting is reported to be held in Melbourne at the coming week end under the topic ‘Human rights and media freedom in Sri Lanka’, the very usual topic repeated by these paid groups over and over again.

While promoting the terrorists’ global campaign that Sinhalese, particularly Sinhalese Buddhists, or the Sri Lankan Government as Tamil’s greatest enemy, these NGOs and other interested parties including their funding agencies were promoting the misconception that the war against the terrorist outfit is un-winnable. Hence completely eradicating the terrorist is not the expectation or the mission of these paid groups.

A lie repeated under each and every news item, repeatedly for decades, via international news agencies could register as a conclusive piece of evidence in support of the LTTE terrorism in the minds of the millions of its readers /listeners/viewers throughout the world, with time. Western media institutions often give wide publicity to media releases of the NGO peace bandwagons operating from Colombo and frequently quote their so-called analysis made in favour of the separatist and disastrous to the security forces and the Sri Lanka government.

NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, usually to further the political or social agendas of their members or funders. Their ‘academic’ directions, in the name of peace-making, merely worsened the crisis and prolonged an unnecessary war. These NGOs were in the driver’s seat during the Chandrika-Ranil regimes when the CFA was in full swing. Hence the contribution of these lobbyist NGOs to the loss of lives and destruction by promoting the terrorist’s global campaign for a non-existing problem should also be probed and appropriate action should be taken, at least, to counter their misinformation campaign effectively if terrorism is to be wiped-out completely from our soil.

As we remember, immediately after Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power, a conference was held in Colombo for the diplomatic service personnel, specifically to explain the dynamic role that they have to play when countering the activities of the LTTE and its front organizations responsible for spreading misinformation and raising funds. Although the Sri Lankan diplomatic services operating in some of the countries are active in this direction, the most appear to be quite sluggish. Despite the efforts of handful of patriotic Sri Lankan expatriate community living in those countries, anti- Sri Lankan propaganda machineries continued at an unprecedented level, while our diplomatic missions were apparently doing nothing.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his historic statement made in the Parliament on 19th may 2009 said that there would no longer be divisions among minorities and majorities in the country on the basis of ethnicity but there would be two kinds of people--those who loved the country and those who did not. Those who do not love the country are now a lesser group. Hence it is essential to have a complete overhaul of our diplomatic mission as a matter of national priority and to choose our High Commissioners, Ambassadors and Consulates from those who loved the country.