6:04 PM

Security News

LTTE terrorist yesterday (May 18) made an abortive attempt to halt the army advance on the Mannar front by attacking the Nadunkandal army deployments. According to military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara the terrorist launched heavy mortar fire around 1.40 pm. One soldier was killed in this incident. Later, the terrorists attacked the army defence around 3 pm. Troops gave an effective retaliation killing 11 terrorists and forcing the others to withdraw, he said. 4 soldiers suffered injuries in this incident, he added.

Troops forced into terrorist defences in the Vavuniya front yesterday (May 18) as sporadic clashes were reported between troops and LTTE in Periyamadu, Palampiddi, Palamoddai and Mundimurippu general areas , security sources said. Eight LTTE terrorists were killed in addition to 5 soldiers who have laid their lives during the confrontations, on Sunday. Four soldiers were also reported wounded including two due to an AP mine explosion in general area Palampiddi.

5:44 PM

Obama Reaching Winning Delegate Count

Senator Barrack Obama is only 23 short of the required 2,025 pledged delegate votes as Oregon and Kentucky go to polls today. He is also ahead in super delegates by 15. He would be heading to Iowa where he took his first "Primary baby steps" months ago prior to triggering a stampede winning 14 states in a row, and then to a much needed rest in Florida.

Senator Hillary Clinton is expected to win Kentucky handily even though the result would be immaterial at this stage, she cannot overtake Obama. George Bush’s “appeasing the enemy” speech before Israel Knesset received a thumping reprisal immediately from Democratic presidential front-runner Barrack Obama last week. Republican presumptive nominee John McCain joined in the fray and traded furious barbs.

7:11 AM

Sri Lanka President wishes tranquility on Vesak Day

The President of Sri Lanka issuing a Vesak Day message said his government’s hope is to bequeath a prosperous country by ridding the country, torn by terrorism, of robbers and turn it into a land of tranquility.

“Our resolve on this Vesak Day is to work with a correct vision in keeping with the Dhamma. This will see the fruition of our actions to build a new Sri Lanka,” he said in the message issued to commemorate the birth, attaining Buddha hood and passing away of Siddhartha Gauthama, more than 2550 years ago.

The following is the full text of the message:

“The Buddha showed us that advancement in this world and the next could be achieved by appreciating what is good. The policy of the government is to steer the country to the correct path by adhering to the Dharma. In doing so our responsibility is to tolerate other opinions and act with loving kindness.

“As the Buddha has taught: “Be alert; do not idle. Follow the law of virtue. He who is virtuous lives happily both in this world and the next” – Dhammapada. Ch.13 v 168.

“Let us stop being indifferent and speaking ill of the past. We should brook no delay in working to build a virtuous land.

“Our hope is to bequeath a prosperous country that is without armaments and fear of enemies and robbers, a country in which all could live in tranquillity. Our resolve on this Vesak Day is to work with a correct vision in keeping with the Dharma. This will see the fruition of our actions to build a new Sri Lanka.

“Let us resolve make this Vesak Festival meaningful by seeking refuge in the serene path of Buddha.

“May you all obtain refugee in the Buddha!”

7:10 AM

Chandrakanthan says he will work for the betterment of all ethnic groups

Chief Minister of Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan says that he is committed to work for the betterment of all ethnic groups in the province.

At a special interview with the SLBC today, he said that the first task of his agenda is to develop the province. The people of the area have been suffering for over 20 years due to lack of proper administration.However the avenues are now open to focus lights of development towards the gloomy areas in the province. The areas which the priority should be given have already been identified.

Accordingly the fields of health, education and self employment will be developed soon. The new Chief Minister added that it was blessing for him to worship the temple of the tooth in Kandy and to get the blessings of Mahanayaka Theras.

The Chief Minister also met the Maha Nayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters. The theras invoked blessings to him for his future career. He visited the Museum of the Temple and focused special attention to the photographs which show the damages inflicted to the temple by the LTTE attack in the past.

The Chief Minister also visited Ganga Rama temple in Hunupitiya, Colombo and took part in religious activities.

Meanwhile Minister Dr. Rajitha Senarathne says President Mahinda Rajapakse is the 1st leader in the country who bravely stood against racism in order to consolidate peace and harmony in the country. The president’s genuineness is apparent by the appointment of Mr.Sivanesathurei Chandrakanthan as the 1st chief minister of the Eastern Provincial Council.

The president has corrected the ills committed by the former leaders through this act. It has been proven that the president is a leader who is dedicated to establish peace in the country.

Mr Sivanesathurei Chandrakanthan gained the maximum preferential votes of 41,936 out of all candidates. Minister Senarathne therefore points out, appointing him as the chief minister is implementing public mandate, but not on communal basis.

7:10 AM

What is next step of the JVP?

Rumours are spreading on JVP’s behavior on inaugural Eastern Provincial Council meeting .At present both the UPFA and the UNP are waiting the JVP’s act on this issue. The JVP said it could now play a crucial role because the UPFA and other opposition parties were tied at 17-seats each.

Leading JVP front-liner said the party believed the newly-elected council was in crisis even before it started functioning but he did not indicate the JVP would respond.

The JVP has one seat at the EPC and M.L.A.M.Hisbullah and his two followers who got seats of the EPC decided to act as independently at the EPC.On Sunday Mr. Hisbullah said another member of the UPFA agreed to support Hisbullah faction.

However JVP says it would not assist the political parties which help for separatism. Issuing a press statement the JVP Politburo told they have experience on major parties move during the EPC campaign. However during the polls Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) recorded a dismal performance in terms of the percentage of votes the party polled.

Political analysts say ex- rebel leader Mr.Pillayan has wide experience to administer the EPC and assists public to develop the region. However they said the JVP and Tamil Democratic National Alliance which have two seats at the EPC would be the key deciding factor to protect the present EPC administration. A Spokesman of the Tamil Democratic National Alliance said they would help UPFA in the eastern Provincial Council.

According to the reliable sources some leading UNPers plans to defeat UPFA administration using Hisbullah faction at the first council meeting.

The UNP, SLMC and the three member group led by Hizbullah charged that Friday’s appointment of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillayan as chief minister for the Eastern Province was unconstitutional since he did not command a majority in the council and that the possibility of defeating the UPFA at the first council meeting was under active consideration. However UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake said the UNP has so far not decided to obtain Hizbullah’s support to defeat the present administration of the EPC.