8:29 AM

Sri Lanka's coastline liberated

Sri Lankan soldiers of Army 58 Division have linked up with the 59 Division soldiers freeing the last remaining coastal stretch under LTTE clutches. The link up marks the total liberation of the coastline of the Island nation.

6:19 AM

Army Col. arrested over links with LTTE

A sri Lanka Army Colonel was arrested yesterday over his close connections with the suicide bomber who jumped to his death from the seventh floor of a building in Wellawatte on Thursday morning.

The LTTE cadre who jumped to his death was identified as T. P. Sajitharan.

On information provided by an LTTE suspect in Police custody, a special Police team visited Sajitharan's room in the high rise building. While they were examining his room he jumped to his death from the balcony. Police recovered four suicide kits and several explosives from his room.

The Colonel who lived in the suburbs of Colombo had earlier served in the operational areas in Mullaitivu. He is said to have accompanied the LTTE cadre to the Deyata Kirulla exhibition at the BMICH a few months ago. Thousands of people visited the exhibition, which lasted for about a week, daily. The LTTE cadre was ready at that time to blow himself up but he missed his target and returned to his abode. A high level VVIP was his target but until his death he failed to get at the target.

The information about the Colonel's involvement with the suicide bomber was given to the Police by an accomplice of the suicide bomber who is already in Police custody

The investigating team believes that a large sum of money has been paid to the Colonel.

6:18 AM

Karu defends Ranil

Deputy leader of the United National Party Parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya on Thursday refuted the allegation that the UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was on a vicious propaganda mission against the Sri Lankan government in the western countries.

Speaking to the media he said "It is absurd and false to say that our leader is going round the world undermining the government and carrying out propaganda in support of LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka, Jayasuriya said.

"The UNP is a patriotic political party. The UNP not only loves country and the people but also is a political party that always believed in the unity and co-habitation of all communities - Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim in the country," Jayasuriya said.

He said the UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe left the country to attend some important conferences, an invitations as a political figure holding a reputed office of the Asian Democratic organisation.

Jayasuriya blamed the State media for the fabricated allegation against his party leader.

6:07 AM

Obama restarts Guantanamo trials

Al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is among those who could face the tribunal [EPA]

Barack Obama, the US president, has said military commissions for al-Qaeda suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp will be restarted.

Obama said new legal safeguards would be introduced to the system, including a ban on evidence obtained using "cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation methods".

"These reforms will begin to restore the commissions as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law," Obama said in a statement released on Friday. 

Obama suspended the tribunals, which were set up by the administration of George Bush, his predecessor, soon after he took office in January and placed them under review.

The move is likely to affect the five detainees charged with having played key roles in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been accused of planning the attacks.

Obama said he would also place restrictions on the use of hearsay evidence, so that the "burden will no longer be on the party who objects to hearsay to disprove its reliability".

Detainees would have expanded rights to choose their own legal representation and basic protections provided for those who refuse to testify, he said.

The US president also said he would work with congress "on additional reforms that will permit commissions to prosecute terrorists effectively and be an avenue, along with federal prosecutions in Article III courts, for administering justice".