10:09 AM

Five UNP MPs threaten to sit as independent

A group of five UNP Parliamentarians has decided to work as an independent group in Parliament if the party is not reorganized according to the proposals they have submitted to the leadership, UNP sources said yesterday (8).

The five UNP members demanded for party reforms and a change of policy at a recent working committee meeting of the UNP saying that the party had no future if it continued with its present policies.

They fear that the party reforms they sought may not take place.

A meeting of the UNP seniors to consider the proposals for reforms was scheduled for yesterday at Sirikotha, UNP headquarters. They were expected to draft a report at that meeting, sources said.

The draft report was to be presented at the Working Committee meeting to be held Thursday.

A spokesman for the group of five said they would await the report on party reforms and if their proposals were not to be implemented, they would agitate for them both in and outside Parliament and take to the streets.

He said the group will remain in the UNP but they will join other groups and parties to demand for democratic reforms.

10:06 AM

Major terror attack at Vavuniya

Latest military reports received from Vavuniya reveal that a major attack launched by LTTE terrorists at the security forces headquarters Wanni and Air Force Base Vavuniya early this morning (Sept 9) was completely foiled.

According to the reports, the terrorists launched a pre-dawn ground assault coordinated with artillery fire and an air raid with the intention of causing severe damage to the Air Force assets in the Vavuniya air base.

Defence sources in Vavuniya state, the terrorists launched artillery fire to the Army camp in order to prevent counter attack and directed their ground assault at the airbase. However, valiant soldiers moved forward amid heavy enemy artillery fire and crushed the terror ground assault completely. According to the available information 10 bodies of slain LTTE cadres have been found so far.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets intercepted two LTTE light aircraft fleeing after failed mission at Vavuniya Air force base and shot down one of the aircraft in the Mullaittivu skies.

10 soldiers laid down their lives and 15 others suffered injuries. One police constable was killed and 8 others sustained injuries due to the enemy artillery fire. Five Air Force personnel also suffered injuries.

9:05 AM

Tiger plane shot down

Sri Lanka Air Force plane shot down a Tiger small aircraft and successfully downed it. Reports revealed that the Sri Lankan Air force jets shot down a Tamil Tiger plane after the rebels launched a pre-dawn bombing raid on Vavuniya Security Forces Headquarters.

Sri Lanka Air Force Fighter jet conducted their First Air to Air Combat today morning in Mullativu sky and shot down Tiger Air Craft said Sri Lanka Air Force Commander Air Vice Marcel Roshan Gunathilake.

Today morning around 3.30 A.M., LTTE had fired artillery from east of A9 road to Vavuninya Security forces Headquarters at the same time they took off their air craft’s which was immediately indicated in the radar and Sri Lanka Air Force F7 fighter jet belongs to Squadron 5 took off from Kaatunayake and flew over Mullativu air and intercepted Tiger Air Craft and shot it down.

Air force information revealed that radar picked up three Tiger planes and soon after at least one bombed a military base in Vavuniya.

This is the seventh air raid by the Tigers since they began flying a small fleet of Czech-made Zlin-143 aircraft in March 2007.

The last Tiger air attack wounded 10 sailors after a bombing run on the strategic eastern port of Trincomalee in August.

9:01 AM

Monk discharged from remand

The Supreme Court yesterday discharged from remand custody, the Ven. Pannala Pragnaloka Thera, the Chief Priest of Welikadawatte Temple, Rajagiriya, who was remanded by the Supreme Court on September 1, for failing to answer its summons.

Counsel Prassanthalal de Alwis submitted to the Supreme Court a motion filed on behalf of Ven. Pannala Pragnaloka by a brother thero of the same temple, the Ven. Hikkgala Udayadhamma Thera asking for the release of the thera.

A letter dated September 7, 2008 attached to the motion said that the Ven. Pannala Pragnaloka Thera had been produced before the Magistrate on a complaint of sound pollution caused by the use of unauthorized amplifiers in the temple. The suspect had been told to appear before the Supreme Court, but the due date had not been clearly indicated.

Hence, Ven. Pragnaloka Thera, had been unable to answer summons of the Supreme Court, last Monday. The letter also said that Pragnaloka Thera had no knowledge about the group of monks who had come to Court last Monday and had failed to curtsy the judges when the judges came on the Bench. The letter said that the Ven. Pragnaloka Thera respected the law and respected the Court. The unauthorized amplifiers used in the temple will not be used in future. The Bench comprised the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva Justice Shirani Tilakawardene and Justice N. G. Amaratunga.