8:26 AM

recording tape has been made to match Gen. Fonseka’s voice

JVP M.P. Anura Kumara Dissanayake told media that from the high places of the Govt. arrangements are being made to prepare a bogus voice recording to match the voice of Gen. Sarath fonseka purporting to be statements of Gen. Fonseka made to Sunday Leader Editor on the 13th.

Despite the General making it abundantly clear on the following day itself that the statements attributed to him were not made by him and were misleading, the Govt. had been blowing this episode out of proportion to cash in on it.

The Sunday Leader Editor had been challenged two weeks ago to reveal the recording to corroborate her report, but so far there has been no response. As the opposition is intensifying the pressure for the recording, the Govt. is seeking to prepare a bogus recording. As the govt. can mislead with a portion of the recording by bogus voicing, the Opposition has demanded that the whole recording be forwarded, Dissanayake noted.

9:29 AM

Registration of Tamils traveling to Colombo relaxed

Registration rules for expatriate and local Tamils traveling to Colombo have been temporarily relaxed according to a statement released by the police today.

Senior DIG Nimal Madiweka told Media a short while ago that the rule has been relaxed with immediate effect but gave no time frame for it. DIG Madiweka explained that all Tamils, whether they are from abroad or from the North and East, will not have to register themselves with the police as per earlier regulations if they are staying for a short periods. However according to Mr. Madiweka, Tamils planning long haul stays will have to register.

Mr. Madiweka said, “Tamils can stay in Colombo for up to one month without registering themselves but if they exceed that period then they will have to register.”

9:27 AM

LTTE shot them –Kohona

It was Palitha Kohona, when he was the Foreign Ministry secretary who instructed the LTTTE Police chief B. Nadesan and chief of the Peace secretariat of the LTTE, S. Pullidevan to surrender to the Army carrying white flags with them.

Although the Govt. made a big din about a statement allegedly made by the Opposition common Presidential candidate Gen, Fonseka as reported by the Sunday leader newspaper on the 13th as a betrayal by the General, the Govt. has not given any publicity to the enunciations of Kohone in that connection.

Palitha Kohone had told a France news service, AFP on 21 May 2009 that when they tried to surrender coming forward, they were shot at from behind.

The IRC spoke to me and told the Two LTTE cadres wanted to surrender. II asked them to go forward slowly with white flags towards the army without any show of aggression or threat. However when they tried to advance forward they were shot by the LTTE from behind.

9:26 AM

Fonseka’s official photographer attacked

Opposition common Presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s official photographer who was at the Gen. Fonseka’s public rally today (22), at Mayurapadhi playground, Mawanella covering the event was attacked by a group of UPFA supporters.

The victims of this assault are Vishwanath Thenuwara, the official photographer of Gen. Fonseka and official videographer Sandun Jeewaka, a media personnel.

Eye witnesses to this incident said, a group who came in a vehicle bearing NO. JB 2616 launched this assault. There had been a large number of posters of President Rajapakse inside this vehicle.

9:24 AM

Rajapakse has spent more than Rs.13 million

The ‘Media Meeting’ organized by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party- Mahajana Wing headed by Mr. Mangala Samaraweera was held on Today (22). This is a short summary of some of the key points that were discussed during the meeting.

In the face of certain electoral defeat the government is stepping up Mugabe-style tactics to disrupt the common candidate’s campaign. The tactics that have been used have been deplorable and sad, while the police have done nothing to curb such actions. The government and its followers have used methods such as intimidation, death threats and assaults to discourage the UNF from carrying out its successful convention in Matara. All these attempts have failed in the face of our resoluteness. We in fact carried out one of the most successful conventions of all time. President Mahinda Rajapakse is now loosing ground in the whole Southern province.

On 19th December some young activists who were engaged in putting up street signs in Matara town for the Matara District convention were attacked by a group of armed thugs who traveled in a white Toyota Prado and who also shot rounds in to the air. Last night (21st of December) the UNF office that is situated at the ancestral home of Mr. Mangala Samaraweera was attacked by a group of thugs. They shot at a large banner of the UNF leaders and removed all the decorations in the area. Other cutouts throughout the Matara town were taken out and then left in front of the home of the Opposition Leader of the Southern Province. This was all happening under the eyes of the police officers who were there to ‘protect’ the cutouts of President. Even though we have lodged complaints against the parties who have committed these crimes, no action has yet been taken. In due time we will take all the necessary actions against both the perpetrators of these crimes and the police officials who have turned a blind-eye to them. We have reason to believe that the vehicles of Mr. Anura Gunarathne, who is a PC Minister, and Mr. Dilshan Gunesekara were used during these attacks. Furthermore, we believe that the Commanding Officer of Matara army camp, Captain Baratha Kodithuwakku, was responsible for planning some of these attacks.

We have to acknowledge the clear statement made by the Election Commissioner against the President’s habit of feedings thousands of individuals just before an election, and we want to thank him for such a statement. According to the receipts sent by Fingara Town and Country Club (caterers for the President) to Temple Trees, the total bill for feeding thousands of guests has been Rs. 13 million just in the last four months. Furthermore, we would like to ask the President how he has acquired these funds to feed so many people, especially on a public servants salary. We also request the President to divulge his personal assets as Sarath Fonseka has done.

8:12 PM

Police team search house where Fonseka made a stop-over

The owner of a house where presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka stayed over for several hours over the weekend while on his way to a rally in Ambalangoda has lodged a police complaint saying his house was searched by a special police team this morning.

According to the police complaint the police team searched the house for at least one hour and the search was conducted without a court order. Police media spokesman SSP I.M Karunaratne confirmed that there was a police complaint to that effect.

8:11 PM

Fonseka claims aide was abducted

Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka informed the Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka at the Elections Secretariat a short while ago that one of his aides, who is a retired army captain and was in charge of his internal security and campaign security, had been abducted two days ago, held at an unknown location and later released after being threatened, sources close to the General told media.

The source said that upon his release the officer who was abducted had claimed that he was threatened for being part of General Fonseka’s team.

8:02 PM

The Temple Trees ‘Dansalas’

A colossal sum of Rs.13, 199, 744.67 is owing to Fingara Town and country Club Ltd, at Old Kesbewa Road, as a result of the Sumptuous feasts, dinners and parties given to various groups at temple Trees during the period August to December.

The relevant Co. has forwarded its bills to Temple Trees for payment. The name of the customer mentioned in connection with these supplies is the Secretary at the temple Trees.

The bill amount in the month of August was Rs. 1,663,967.67. In the month of September was Rs.2.441,525.00. In October it was Rs. 1,747,450.00. In November it was RS. 3,930,525.00 and in December it was Rs. 3,416,279.00. In other words, the total expenditure is nearly Rs. 13.2 million.!
While the Presidential election has been announced, the President was inviting various groups of people and feeding them by throwing lavish parties and feasts.

In this connection the President recently said, he does not see anything wrong in giving feasts and dinners to those who come to a house. These traditions have been in existence even in the past. It is only a wrong if the Govt. is bearing the cost.

2:30 PM

29/11/2009 : General Sarath Fonseka

12:39 PM

Fonseka acknowledges political role in winning the war

General Sarath Fonseka speaking to reporters a short while ago acknowledged that political leadership did play a key role in the victory over the LTTE. He however said he was not happy at the way the displaced are being treated. The General, while reiterating he will run for Presidency, said he will keep his promises as the he did when he led the Army during the war.

General Sarath Fonseka says he will contest under the “Swan” symbol when contesting as a common candidate for the Presidency. He also said that he will run for Presidency under a newly registered party.

7:20 AM

27 politicos got money from the LTTE

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy claimed he had ‘official evidences’ that 27 political leaders belonging to various parties in Tamil Nadu received money from the LTTE.

Speaking to reporters in India, he said he would go to the court with the evidence if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to take action against ‘those leaders’.

‘I have received official and authentic evidences from Sri Lanka that 27 political leaders in the State received money from the Tigers. I am ready to unveil the details in the court if the Prime Minister of India failed to initiate action against them,’ he said.

Swamy also named some leaders, including some popular ones, and alleged all of them were paid by the LTTE seeking their support.

7:15 AM

‘Four hundred babies born at Menik Farm every month’

‘Four hundred babies are born every month in IDP tents at Menik Farm, Vavuniya, and they are in need of considerable assistance and care’, Sarvodaya leader Dr A.T. Ariyaratne said yesterday while making a commemorative address in honour of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, at the SEDEC centre, Colombo.

Ariyaratne said that at the request of the health authorities at the Farm, Sarvodaya was able to put together and supply some 800 cots for the infants in a short period of time, although the initial requirement was 400 cots. ‘If Mother Theresa were alive today, she would have rushed to the IDP tents in Sri Lanka, to help the inmates there’, he quipped.

Stressing that Mother Theresa served the poorest of the poor in India, irrespective of communal and religious differences, Ariyaratne explained that the Mother mostly served Hindus and Muslims and that she ‘wanted them to practise their religions better.’ She never sought to convert them to Christianity, he pointed out. ‘This notorious act of converting people by giving them handouts or all kinds of favours is a shame and has led to many religious conflicts and violence in many countries. We should oppose and do away with this evil practice and help people to practise their religion better’, he explained.

In an informal exchange with this journalist, the Sarvodaya chief said that the situation of the Northern IDPs had improved over the months, although conditions were difficult when they rushed to the camps at the closing stages of the military conflict. Sarvodaya is helping out in the camps at present, he said.

7:13 AM

30,000 IDPs to be resettled

All arrangements are in place to resettle 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 35 villages in the Vavuniya District, Northern Province Governor G.A Chandrasiri said.
The Governor, who was on an inspection tour in those villages pointed out that, 7,795 families will be resettled in 35 villages on the directions of the Chairman of the Uthuru Vasanthaya Task Force, Senior Presidential Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa.

The Governor inspected the Grama Niladari divisions in Maruthankulam, Norochchchimodei, Pranddikal, Salampaikulam, Pampemadu and Salampaikulam village and addressed the officials on the needs of the people.

Meanwhile, the government has taken steps to clean up these villages and provide water, electricity and roads. These villages have been affected by the LTTE for nearly 20 years.

Major General Chandrasiri also said the resettlement programme will be completed within the next few weeks and expressed his gratitude for the officials and the security forces for their cooperation.

Brigadier Priyantha Napagoda, SLFP Chief Organiser in Vavuniya, Premarathna Sumathipala, Vavuniya DIG and relevant government and security forces officials participated in this event.

7:05 AM

Visa-less passenger had won UK court ruling against eviction

The British High Commission last week explained the circumstances under which Ms. A. Krishnapillai had been assisted by its staff to travel to the UK without a visa.

She had won a UK court ruling about her previous eviction from that country under its immigration procedures and the (UK) Court of Appeal ruling in her favour had asked the UK Border Agency to reconsider the case.

This agency instructed that Krishnapillai be returned to the UK. She traveled without a visa because there was no category of visa that could be issued to her and the high commission had facilitated her return through the BIA with the full authority of Sri Lankan immigration officials to whose satisfaction the matter had been explained.

The high commission said that there is discretion within UK legislation to allow the visa requirements to Sri Lankan nationals to be waived in certain cases and this was one of those.

1:31 PM

Sri Lanka sends full report to EU on Tissanayagam case

Sri Lanka yesterday said that it has sent a full report to the European Union on the judgment and the circumstances that led to the conviction of journalist T.S. Tissanayagam following some local and foreign elements were on a mischievous attempt to intimidate the independence of Sri Lanka’s judiciary.

"Nobody had the right to question the independence and rationale of the judgment by a court in a democratic country," Cabinet spokesman Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said.

Similar judgments have been delivered on such charges against journalists in the US and UK and many other democracies but those judgments have never been an issue for protests or controversies, he charged.

He also said that the government has not in any way influenced the judiciary and the judgment was an independent decision of the court.

The EU Thursday said that it is troubled by the severe sentence given to Tissanayagam, who was found guilty under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka, of abetting terrorism and supporting the terrorist organization LTTE.

Sri Lankan government has stressed that the verdict has been reached by the judicial process following the due process and does not pose any restrictions on the media freedom.

1:27 PM

TNA to meet President

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa next Monday.
The President who is currently on tour in Libya will be meeting the TNA delegation headed by TNA Leader R. Sambandan on September 7 to discuss several key issues according to party member P. Ariyanendra.

“There are two key issues they we wish to discuss with the President. One is the situation of the internally displaced people and about their resettlement in the north, which we feel is happening without due process and legal purview. The second point of discussion will be the issue of a political discussion that has been under consideration for a long time but has seen little of concrete importance emerge,” he said.

1:26 PM

US disturbed by Channel 4 video

The video footage allegedly showing Sri Lankan Government soldiers executing Tamil rebels aired on Britain’s Channel 4 is ‘very disturbing’, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said yesterday.
Speaking at a press briefing of the UN Security Council she said that the US would like more information as they formulate their own national response. “These reports are disturbing and they are of grave concern,” she said.

Channel 4 News aired the unauthenticated video after obtaining it from a group of exiled journalists called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka has declared the video as fake.

Rice, who holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council during the month of September, said it was not yet clear whether the council would take up the issue.
"I'm not aware of a council member proposing that this be discussed on the council agenda but obviously these reports are very fresh and that could change," she said.

The UN on Tuesday had said it has always taken reports and information on human rights violations, including those related to war crimes seriously and the Channel 4 video is no exception.

However, the UN is not in a position to ascertain the authenticity of the video in question and has noted its rejection by the Sri Lankan authorities, the UN said.

1:25 PM

Media Minister orders ITN and Rupavahini Chairmen to take custody of video tapes amidst Channel 4 controversy

The Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa had ordered the Chairmen of ITN and Rupavahini that all video tapes on the war scenes in the North during the final phase be immediately taken into the custody of the Chairmen.

Incidentally , it was only the ITN and the Rupavahini the only two State Institutions which were permitted to cover these war scenes.

This urgent order by the Minister to take into custody all tapes both telecast and not telecast has raised queries as to whether this action of the Minister has any connection with the airing of human executions in SL by men in military uniform by Channel 4 in Britain.

1:25 PM

U.S. voices "grave concern" about Sri Lanka video

The United States voiced grave concern on Wednesday about video footage that a Sri Lankan group says shows government soldiers summarily executing Tamil rebels in violation of international law.

"These reports are very disturbing, they are of grave concern," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters. "We'd like more information as we formulate our own national response."

Rice was reacting to video footage aired last week on British television which, according to a Sri Lankan advocacy group, shows government forces executing unarmed, naked, bound and blindfolded Tamils during the army's final assault to smash Tamil Tiger rebels earlier this year.

The Sri Lankan government has dismissed the video as fake.

Rice, who holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council during the month of September, said it was not yet clear whether the council would take up the issue.

"I'm not aware of a council member proposing that this be discussed on the council agenda but obviously these reports are very fresh and that could change," she said.

Previous attempts to formally raise the issue of Sri Lanka's conduct during the final months of its 25-year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels met resistance from Russia and China, who opposed official council discussion of an issue they said was an internal matter for the Sri Lankan government.

Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said on Tuesday he hoped the United Nations would launch an investigation to determine whether Sri Lankan soldiers did in fact summarily execute Tamils, which would be a violation of international law.

Alston acknowledged there was no certainty the video was authentic. Britain's Channel 4 television said it got the footage from advocacy group Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.

"There's nothing on the surface to indicate that it is not authentic and, if that's the case, it would raise very grave concerns," Alston told Reuters in an interview.


A spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations took all reports of serious human rights violations and war crimes with the "utmost concern" and that the Channel 4 video was "no exception".

Sri Lanka's government has repeatedly denied that its forces were guilty of war crimes or human rights breaches during the last months of its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), whom it defeated in May.

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes has said several thousand civilians were killed during the final phase of Sri Lanka's war against the LTTE, when the rebels retreated to a narrow strip of coast in northeastern Sri Lanka.

The rebels brought hundreds of thousands of Tamils with them, whom U.N. officials said were used as human shields.

U.N. and Western officials accused Sri Lanka of using heavy artillery to shell areas that it knew were heavily populated with civilians, killing many of them in the process. Colombo denied the allegation.

By: By Louis Charbonneau
(Editing by Phil Stewart)

1:23 PM

Lanka News Journalists not produced before Court

he Police who took into custody three Journalists of the ‘Lanka News’ on the charge of attempting to trespass on a garden in Deniyaya, Matara had been handed over to the Colombo crime Division , Lanka News reports.

The three Journalists were to be produced before the Morawaka Magistrate today (03) , and their lawyers had also gone to the Morawaka courts this afternoon. Later however with the intervention of the DIG Anura Dissanayake of the CCD ,they were to be entrusted to the custody of the Colombo Police crime Division , the Lanka news had added.

9:42 PM

SSP’s wife gets super comfort at Prison

According to Prison sources, SSP Vaas Gunawardena’s wife , Shyamalie Priyadharshini Perera , one of the main suspects in the assault, abduction and illegal detention of IT student Nipuna Ramanayake who was remanded until 31 st August is receiving super exclusive comforts at the Welikada Prison.. From the moment she was remanded on 20th August she had been enjoying all the comforts and conveniences .

These facilities are being provided most secretly and this room had been allotted to exclusive women prisoners only. It has a fan and a bed and other conveniences that could be expected in a home. It is a Prison Hospital ward for women which has been transformed to give all these comforts. A politico’s wife who was awarded a death penalty too used this comfort laden room until she received the Presidential pardon, it has come to light through prison officials.

It has also transpired ,a woman prison Officer is responsible for providing all these comforts to the SSP’s wife , and she is the Officer who greeted the SSP’s wife when she stepped into the prison.

9:41 PM

Move to exhume Bauddhaloka tamil girl victims

The counsel appearing for the family of the deceased in the case of the two Tamil girls found in Bauddhaloka Mw, Jeewani and Sumanthi today moved in court to exhume the bodies of the two Tamil girls and hold a fresh autopsy as they were not satisfied with the one done earlier by the JMO.

The Magistrate had instructed the counsel to plead by way of an affidavit sworn by Move to exhume Bauddhaloka victimsthe parents on the next date of the case.

The parents allege that external injuries were observed, although the JMO had stated that the death of the two girls was a result of drowning.

9:40 PM

Iran to fund Uma Oya project

Irrigation Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera told Parliament yesterday that Surveys and geological investigations are being done for design and construction activities of the Uma Oya project.

This mega irrigation scheme estimated at US$ 590 million is scheduled to be completed by 2014. The Government ceremonially launched the construction work of this project on April 28, 2008 he said.

Of the total estimated cost of the project, US$ 450 million will be obtained from Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) as a loan while the balance US$ 140 million will be granted by the Sri Lankan Government.

The Minister was responding to an oral question raised by the JVP MP K.V. Samantha Vidyaratne.

Asked on the amount of money that has been obtained upto now, Minister Ranaweera said an agreement has been signed with Iran Government to obtain US$450 million.

In addition, Rs. 7060 million has been allocated by the Treasury for this project. The Uma Oya project consists of 45m high dam at Puhulpola on Uma Oya and the reservoir 30m high dam at Dyraba on Matotilla Oya and the reservoir, 3.8 km long link tunnel connecting Puhulpola and Dyraba reservoirs, 15.2 km long pressure tunnel from Dyraba to power station, underground Hydro-power station with 120mw installed capacity and 3.4 km long outlet tunnel from power station on Alikota-ara.

Meanwhile, the project has also planned to set up a power Transmission line from power station to grid sub station at Badulla and construct a 5 km long alternative road to replace the stretch of Welimada - Badulla road which will go under water due to creation of the Puhulpola reservoir," the Minister added.

9:40 PM

Exam staff to be removed over paper distribution

The examinations department has ordered the removal of examinations staff at an Advanced Level examination centre in Kotikawatte after they had mistakenly distributed papers for students this morning for an exam which was scheduled to be held this evening, a private radio station reported.

According to the report the staff had mistakenly opened the packet containing the exam papers in the morning and distributed it to the students when that particular exam was scheduled to be held this evening.

The Examinations department said that the staff at the particular centre will be removed on Monday.

9:38 PM

Uma Oya Project inaugural ceremony cost Rs. 26 million

The government admitted in Parliament today that it conducted the inaugural ceremony for the Uma Oya Project at a cost of Rs. 26 million even before the feasibility study was conducted.

Irrigation Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera revealed this in Parliament in response to a question by JVP MP Samantha Vidyaratne.

Of this expenditure, Rs. 8.5 million had been spent for advertisement and media, Rs. 2.9 million for refreshment, Rs. 1.6 million for cultural clams.

Besides, Rs. 5.5 million had been spent for the preparation of roads, repairing of buildings and decorations.Two monument towers had also been constructed at a cost of Rs. 5.5 million. The estimated cost for the project itself is US$ 590 million

7:28 AM

SSP Vaas transferred to Headquarters

SSP Vaas Gunawardena against whom there are charges over the abduction, assault and illegal detention of Nipuna Ramanayake of the SLIIT Campus has been transferred to the Police Headquarters with effect from 14th August. This is a step taken by the IGP while investigations are being conducted against the SSP.

Already, two Sub Inspectors have been transferred to Negombo and Kegalle; and four constables transferred to Galle, Kandy, Avisawella and Thebuwana in this connection. Investigations are also being conducted against them in the meanwhile.

However, it is significant to note that no arrests have been made so far although 12 days have already elapsed.

7:26 AM

More than 20,000 have escaped from IDP camps?

More than 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) residing in camps in Vavuniya have gone missing, and a census into the disappearances is now nearing completion.

A senior official at the Vauniya Kachcheri said yesterday, “There is a significant and glaring number of missing people from all IDP camps, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 are no longer there.”

According to him, it’s unclear how so many people had made their getaway as there had been a steady decline in numbers, and nothing concrete to investigate on.

Unofficial sources claimed that some Tiger top leaders who had also been hiding among civilians in the camps have made their getaway, and have reportedly bribed officials with sums running to millions of rupees.

The source added that most of the IDPs have occasionally left camps saying they required treatment from hospitals, especially during some epidemics. Most of them, however, have not returned when they were expected to do so. The senior official said the number of visits to hospitals has been drastically reduced and humanitarian workers are required to see that the needs of IDPs such as medicines are met.

7:25 AM

Bodies of two young tamil girls found

The bodies of two tamil servant girls were found yesterday in a canal opposite the houses where they worked in Cinnamon Gardens. The servant girls were discovered missing in the early hours of yesterday and their bodies were found floating in the canal by neighbours.

The girls had written a note together in Tamil saying: “Because of a reason that causes us unbearable pain we are taking our lives. No one is to blame,” a Police source said.
The servant girls were aged 16 and 18 and were from Maskeliya.

A police officer said they were yet to ascertain the motive for the possible suicide and inquiries are underway.

Police spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunesekera said that the girls were Tamil. Suicide was possible and however the cause of the death can be established at the inquest.

7:24 AM

Who will be the new Foreign Secretary?

Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona will leave for New York early next month to take up his new post as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, informed sources said.
At the time of going to press it was not clear as to who will replace him as Foreign Secretary.
The official government website also announced on Friday that Dr. Kohona, will shortly assume duties as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New York.

The incumbent Sri Lankan Permanent Representative in New York H.MG.S. Palihakkara was scheduled to return to Colombo over the weekend for personal reasons prior to completing his term there.
It is also still not clear who will fill the vacancy in Geneva as the Country’s Permanent Representative to the UN there. Dr Dayan Jayatillake was recently recalled without any official explanation.

Foreign Ministry sources said the Geneva slot is likely to be filled by either Aruni Wijewardena or Prasad Kariyawasam, both are senior career diplomats. Kariyawasam has already served a stint in Geneva as the country’s Permanent Representative
It was only in March this year that Jayatillake was given a one year extension.

It is believed that Jayatilleka’s sudden recall is over his getting entangled in public debates over some sensitive domestic issues.
Meanwhile, Jayatilleka yesterday denied rumours that he is to be the next Ambassador to Cuba. He added that the Government of Sri Lanka has not contacted him after informing that his tenure in Geneva will end on August 20.

“I have not been appointed, nor approached, nor has this been mentioned to me at all by anyone in the Government. I think this is merely a rumour without foundation,” Jayatilleka said. “I have had no communication from GOSL following the fax conveying my dismissal,” he added.

Earlier this week media reports circulated stating that Jayatilleka would be appointed as Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Cuba replacing Ms Tamara Kunanayakam. Last month Jayatilleka’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations came to an abrupt end as he was informed that his term in Geneva will end on August 20.

Meanwhile, senior diplomat Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne is now tipped to assume duties as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Rome. The current ambassador there attorney at law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya is expected to complete his term shortly.

8:41 AM

Ruling UPFA won Jaffna Municipality

Jaffna People have spoken. Ruling United People Freedom Alliance led by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has won handsomely in the Jaffna Municipal Council election.

Out of the 23 seats in the Jaffna Municipality, UPFA won 13 seats, while Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) also known as Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 8 seats, and Independent Group 1 and the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) led by V. Anandasangaree won one seat each.

A Government spokesman said that all credits must go to Minister Douglas Devananda , who made the victory possible for the ruling UPFA.

In the meantime, in the elections for Vavuniya Urban Council, out of the 11 seats, Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), won 5 seats, while Democratic People’s Liberation Front (PLOTE) 3, UPFA 2 and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 1 seat.

In the both elections, Opposition United National Party (UNP) has been completely routed.

8:37 AM

IGP’s action against Nipuna’s abductors awaited (Vas Gunawardena)

As the disciplinary control of the Police is under the IGP once again in the absence of the National Police Commission, authorities are watching to see what action Jayantha Wickramaratna will take against those responsible for the abduction and assault of a 22-year-old information technology student on Tuesday.

According to available evidence Nipuna Ramanayaka studying at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology was abducted as he was leaving the institution after sitting an examination on Tuesday afternoon by a group who came in the vehicle bearing registration GC-0343 belonging to the Police department.

The youth was later released by the Colombo Crimes Division office at Dematagoda (Vas Gunawardena) after being severely assaulted allegedly in a private house of a senior Police officer, stating it was a case of mistaken identity.
IGP Jayantha Wickramaratna contacted in this regard said he would take the necessary action according to the law of the land once he gets the official probe report into the case.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Ranjith Gunasekera asked about the IGP’s handpicked team probing into the case, said he was not aware of the details or when it would hand in its report.
Meanwhile Nipuna continues to receive treatment at the Colombo National Hospital.

The News-Lanka reliably learns that Nipuna has also been examined by the Judicial Medical Officer for possible institution of legal action against those responsible for the shameful assault.
Director of the National Hospital, Dr Hector Weerasinghe said the victim is being treated by surgeons, but he does not appear to require any surgery and that he had not suffered any permanent damage.

8:35 AM

KP sings about DPL, VIP links

Despite him being an internationally wanted fugitive, LTTE’s self-proclaimed leader since the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran, Selvarasa Pathmanathan has revealed shocking details about his continuing links with top officials of international organisations and ambassadors of leading Western nations serving in Colombo.

Since he was whisked to Colombo from Malaysia via Bangkok on Thursday night after a daring seize at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon, Selvarasa a.k.a. Kumaran Pathmanathan has been under interrogation at an undisclosed location in Colombo.

According to sources, he has also revealed details of Tiger leaders still hiding among civilians in IDP camps and about leaders who had managed to escape from those camps to India and Western countries.
As to details about the massive war chest of the organisation, placed by experts at billions of dollars, KP had claimed that he was not aware of those details as Prabhakaran had entrusted those functions to other people. But he has divulged information about his LTTE links in Western countries.

However, he has confessed that the bulk of the LTTE finances had come from Switzerland, followed by UK, South Africa, Australia and Canada.

Under intense questioning, he has also confessed to heading the organisation’s shipping, banking and arms dealing through a carefully selected special team.

Contrary to reports about India seeking KP’s extradition over his involvement in the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, highly placed government sources said, there had been no such requests so far and even if there are in the future, before acceding to any such requests, the LTTE’s new self-proclaimed leader would first have to face the judicial system here for the crimes he has committed against Sri Lanka.

Sleuths who are grilling him have yet to obtain information about Tiger weapon procurement details, its international links, payment procedures, and even its shipping network.

They are also said to be particularly interested in finding out details about all his movements in the last two months since the crushing of the organisation militarily in the Wanni, especially how he had made wide ranging links with the rival group that challenged his leadership role and then finally brought about a settlement with them last month, after protracted negotiations.

KP’s leadership was recognised indirectly in an official press release by the re-structured LTTE, which stated as follows:

“We, the Executive Committee of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, wish to officially let our beloved Tamil people and the international community know that Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who had been appointed as Head of International Relations by our National Leader, will lead us into the next steps of our freedom struggle according to the vision of our esteemed leader.”

Under the new unified dispensation, KP was to be “Thalaimai Seyalar” (Chief Secretary/Secretary General) and head of the organisation.

8:33 AM

IDPs camps running out of funds

Menik Farm camps which house over 250, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will soon be confronted with a massive crisis, as humanitarian agencies are allegedly running out of funds allocated for food supply, a local NGO source in Vavuniya said. Zone 3, where those who crossed over to the government controlled areas in the early stages of the conflict are kept, will be the first centre to be affected due to the scarcity of food, according to the source.

“NGOs are mandated to provide IDPs with food only for a particular period of time. Some donors have already stopped passing funds. So, although IDPs in Zone 3 are provided with dry rations, they no longer provide complimentary items,” the source said. Other zones will also soon be confronted with the same issue unless redemptive measures are taken, he said.
He confided that donors were generally reluctant to provide funding for food supplies. “They are more interested in engaging in the resettlement process”.

8:30 AM

Tamil parties in IDP racket

The IGP has alerted police chiefs in Vavuniya about a racket involving smuggling out IDPs from camps by operatives of several Tamil political parties.

In a confidential report sent to the DIG, Vavuniya, the IGP has implicated activists of Tamil political parties who laid down arms to join mainstream politics with smuggling civilians for exorbitant fees.

The claim has been confirmed by Vavuniya District TNA MP, S Kishor, who told this newspaper that he is aware that around 50,000 IDPs have escaped from welfare camps by paying money to these groups. He also said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been informed of the situation.

Sources revealed that amounts ranging from Rs.100, 000 to 10, 00000 have been paid to these groups by the Tamil IDPs for smuggling them out from welfare camps. In addition, Tamil political parties enlist these IDPs as new members and bring them out of the welfare camps.

DIG in charge of the Northern Province Nimal Lewke said “We are not still sure about the exact number of IDPs who escaped from the camps. Arrangements are being made to carry out a census on IDPs to check the figures”.

The DIG said that the lists of those who have passed away in camps and those who were released must be compared with documents at the Divisional Secretariat and then the number of those who have escaped can be identified”.

5:06 PM

Ranil sneaks into the country?

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's sudden return to the country yesterday morning without informing his close party members has surprised many UNPers.

Wickremesinghe returned after an European visit, which included a controversial tour of Norway, when the armed forces were about to crush the LTTE.

Political sources said the exact time of the return had been kept a secret, possibly due to fears that some of the disgruntled party rebels themselves might organise unpleasant protests against the leader as was the experience of some of his trusted lieutenants at a meeting in Matara, the previous Saturday.

According to party insiders, Wickremesinghe had hopped a helicopter ride to Colombo after landing at Katunayake to avoid any possible protests on roads.

"According to the information we received from his confidants, Wickremesinghe has informed them that he will be landing yesterday evening at 4 p.m. But actually he had reached Sri Lanka at 8:07 a.m on flight number QR 300," a party insider said.
He said that the Leader has not made known his actual time of arrival due to the rumours that some ministers were planning to throw rotten eggs at him when he arrives through the VIP terminal.

"It is the reason which compelled him to take the normal arrival terminal instead of the VIP terminal. I think this is the first time he has taken the normal arrival terminal after he had become a Parliamentarian," the source asserted.
He also noted that Wickremesinghe did not have to be frightened of entering his own country, if he had arrived on the day President Rajapaksa had declared victory over the LTTE in Parliament.

"We all should pay respects to the President since he has concluded the war which was there for 30 years. As the party leader Ranil should have been present in Parliament on the day President Rajapaksa made his historic speech. The UNP is known as a dignified party but Ranil's behaviour has completely tarnished the image of the party and because of him even we are not able to face our supporters," he added.

5:04 PM

TNA in dilemma

Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which till now insisted on recognising the Tigers as the sole representative of the Tamil people, will now take some crucial decisions on their future stand in the coming days, party sources said yesterday.

The other major decision before them is whether to go along with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, brought in under the Indo-Lanka Accord signed in 1987. The visiting Indian National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan and Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon early this week reportedly got an assurance from the Sri Lankan Government that it would implement the 13th Amendment as a means of resolving the conflict. Earlier, the TNA rejected the 13th Amendment as being totally inadequate.

With much of the head and body of the LTTE decimated during the 'bitter end' of their fight early last week, sources said the TNA Parliamentary Group was scheduled to meet on Friday to decide on their next course of action, but owing to the death of their Ampara District Parliamentarian K. Pathmanathan in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, the meeting had been put off. His body was flown to Colombo on Friday and was taken to Karaitivu yesterday for cremation on Monday.

According to party sources their Parliamentary Group meeting was scheduled to take place on Friday at the residence of Gajendra Kumar (G.G.) Ponnambalam. However, when contacted in this regard Ponnambalam said he was not aware of any meeting scheduled to take place at his residence, and added he was too busy to discuss anything further and requested us to contact him much later.

Meanwhile, after the total liberation of the NFZ, there was fear something might have happened to Mullaitivu District MP Sathasivam Kanagaratnam as his whereabouts were not known. But he was traced and a CID team picked him up from the Menik Farm IDP camp on Thursday evening, according to TNA Parliamentarian Sivanathan Kisshor, to record a statement.
Yesterday, CID brought Kanagaratnam to the Jayaratne Funeral Parlour at Borella for him to pay his last respects to his dead colleague and took him back after about 20 minutes.

Now freed from Tiger shackles it looks as if some members of the TNA now want to arrive at a settlement with the South. TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran told News-Lanka that he never subscribed to the view of recognising Tigers as the sole representatives of the Tamils.

Since the gunfire has ceased, he said now was the time to redress problems facing Tamils, re-open A9 Road, demilitarise the entire region and even lift the daily curfew in Jaffna.
He said the short meeting they had with the two visiting Indian dignitaries on Thursday at the India House was hardly enough to bring out their problems.

5:02 PM

Prabha’s ashes thrown into sea

Not even the ashes remain of LTTE Leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the man who dreamt of an Eelam State. Defence authorities have taken steps to discard the ashes of Prabhakaran at sea.
According to Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the cremation took place at Vellimullivaikkal, immediately after identification of the body. He also said that approximately 170 bodies had been identified of first, second and third ranking LTTE members who have been killed by the Army. Defence authorities have taken steps to have these bodies cremated as well.

9:52 PM

West tried to save Prabhakaran : Army chief Sarath Fonseka

Army chief Sarath Fonseka says the West tried to save LTTE chief Prabhakaran even the night before he died. Meanwhile defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse says the West must first allow investigations in their conduct in wars before seeking to initiate war crime proceedings against Sri Lanka.

9:50 PM

"Ban ki Moon" visits Menik farm camp

UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon on Saturday witnessed at first hand the conditions of tens of thousands of displaced Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka as he appealed to a triumphant government to ''heal the wounds'' left by three decades of ethnic conflict.


The Secretary General visited the camps in Vavuniya district on Saturday where more than 300,000 people are staying after escaping from the battle lines between government forces and Tamil Tigers.

Ban said his top priority would be to gain "unfettered access" for UN agencies and humanitarian workers saying the displaced persons were "badly in need of" humanitarian assistance.

The UN Secretary General is the first international figure to visit the Manik farm camp, which is now home to thousands of refugees who fled the war zone, after Colombo declared total victory over the rebels.

Tamil activists and groups have likened the barbed wire enclosed "welfare villages" to "concentration camps". They say that conditions are "unhygienic and unlivable" in the camps where there is threat of outbreak of diseases.

For the first time, the Sri Lankan government allowed access to journalists travelling with Ban to visit the camps. The area as well as the nearby battle zones have been off limits to journalists, aid workers and others.

The journalists will also be allowed to fly over the battle zone in helicopters along with the UN Secretary General.

After his tour of the relief camps and the battle zone, the UN Secretary General will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo.

Ban went round the camps where people are crammed in hundreds of tents in rows with hardly any space to move around with soldiers stationed all round the camp.

Some of the camp residents who have hardly any means to maintain privacy still held welcome signs for the UN chief.

After the visit, Ban said UN would seek the reunification of families broken by the war and reintegrate the society. "I want to help reconcile Sri Lanka and its people."

"Now that the long decades of conflict are over, it is time for Sri Lankans to heal the wounds and unite without regards to ethnic and religious identity," the Secretary General said on his arrival at the airport.

After early morning talks in Colombo with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Ban flew to the northern town of Cheddikkulman. He will then proceed to the central town of Kandy to meet with President Rajapaksa before heading back later this evening.

In his meeting with Rajapaksa, Ban is expected to press full and fear integration of the islands Tamil minority in a process of "national reconciliation" a demand already made by India.

His visit comes hours after the President brushed aside attempts to haul him and his government before war crimes tribunals for the manner in which the war was fought against Tamil Tiger rebels.

The president said he was not afraid of those attempts.

9:45 PM

‘New freedom, a great responsibility’ President

Dark days of terror are over and mothers of Sri Lanka do not have to fear for the safety of their children any longer, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a mammoth rally held yesterday at the Parliament Grounds to pay tribute to war heroes.

The commemoration ceremony was preceded by a colourful winding procession which started from the Campbell Park in the afternoon and took hours to reach the Parliament Grounds.

Now that the reign of terror was over, children could go back to school without fear of bombs and abductions, the President said.

He said in the past mothers and fathers were scared of taking public transport together. One travelled by bus and other by train as they wanted at least one of them to survive a possible terrorist bomb blast to look after their children.

With the new freedom, he said, came a great responsibility. "We all have to show our success in work,' he said, "that is the meaning of accepting responsibility for the people."

Stressing the need for magnanimity and unity, President Rajapaksa said if anyone was hurt when one raised the national flag, there was no purpose in victory celebrations. Victory, he said, had to be celebrated by all people as one family because it belonged to them all, be they Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers or Malays.

President Rajapaksa said war heroes must never be forgotten as they had given their today for the country's tomorrow. The wind, in which the national flag fluttered, he said, was symbolic of the last breath of those men and women who had made the supreme sacrifice for the motherland. The nation, he said, was duty bound to look after the families of those who had laid down their lives for the country.

There had been times when the national flag could not be hoisted in many parts of the country without permission from terrorists. But, today, it could be raised anywhere and over 15,000 sq. km. that had been under terrorists were open for anyone to move about. "Terrorists have nothing today," he said adding that the country had waited thirty long years for that day.

In 1956, recalled President Rajapaksa, five socio-political forces had been harnessed for the benefit of the country. They were, he said, Sangha, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru and they were collectively known as the Pancha Maha Balavegaya. He said today there had been an addition to those progressive forces and they had become six as a result: Sangha, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru saha Ranaviru.

The President said in his policy statement, Mahinda Chinthanaya, he had promised to build the country. And for that purpose, he said, waste and corruption had to be eliminated. "We must crack down on those behind drug peddlers and bootleggers," he said.

There had been many obstacles on his government's way in defeating terrorism, President Rajapaksa said. International pressure, he said, had been tremendous. But, he and his government had overcome all those obstacles and withstood unbearable pressure to achieve the goal of defeating terrorism.

President Rajapaksa said he and his family had become targets of sinister forces because of the country's war on terror. There had been attempts to haul him up before international criminal courts for the crime of liberating the country from the clutches of a terrorist outfit described as the most ruthless terrorist group in the world. "Some are trying to do this even now,' he said, "but I am not afraid of walking up to any gallows, having defeated the world's worst terrorists." He said he knew he had the confidence and the strength of Sri Lankans.

"All I need is for my country, my motherland to shine in glory," said President Rajapaksa to a rapturous applause.

1:43 PM

LTTE leader dead: Sri Lanka official

The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was shot dead while trying to flee government troops, a senior defence official has stated.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said on Monday that security forces found the body of Charles Anthony as well as three other senior separatist leaders.

Charles Anthony is the 24-year-old son of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers chief whose whereabouts are not known.

Also among the dead were Balasingham Nadesan, the head of the political wing of the LTTE, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, Nanayakkara said.
Seevaratnam Puleedevan and S Ramesh, the separatists' eastern leader, were also killed, the military said.

2:44 PM

LTTE ready to “silence its guns”

Head of the LTTE's International Diplomatic Relations Selvarasa Pathmanathan has said in a statement today the LTTE is read to "silence its guns" in order to save the lives of civilians still caught up in the fighting. However there was no mention of a Tiger surrender.

2:39 PM

LTTE leaders in less than one square kilometer

Sri Lankan soldiers have boxed remaining LTTE cadres into a 400m x 600m land stretch in the Vellaimullaivaikkal area, reveal the latest battlefield reports. According to the sources, troops have already rescued all the civilians held at hostage by the terrorists and taken them to safer areas.

Military spokesperson Udaya Nanayakkara said that over 50,000 civilians have been rescued from the LTTE hold during last 72 hours.

According to available information, two senior LTTE leaders identified as Muttappan and Pradeep were killed during the failed attempt to breach the military defences at the West bank of the Nathikadal lagoon this morning.  

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".

5:42 PM

Sea Tiger chief's family arrested


Sri Lanka navy sea units have arrested the family of LTTE's Sea Tiger wing leader Soosai this morning (May 15). According to the sources, the arrested include Soosai's wife, son, daughter, sister in law and her son.

The sailors have found the suspects on a boat along with another 6 civilians fleeing the LTTE hold. The suspects have been identified Sathyadevi (Soosai's wife), Suresh (16 year old Soosai's son), and Madhi (17 year old Soosai's daughter).

2:14 PM

59 Div cross over LTTE built earth bund

he 59 Division troops led by Brigadier Prasanna Silva have stepped-up into the on-going hostage rescue operation, with initial advances made by 6 SLLI and 12 SLLI infantrymen crossing the LTTE constructed earth bund cum ditch North of the Wadduvakal causeway, early this morning (May 12).

According to latest military reports, the initial forward military thrust was followed by the induction of Special Forces resulting in a rapid wipe-out of the remaining terrorist resistance in the area. Troops have advanced 300m further into LTTE defences after consolidating positions at the Wadduvakal causeway, military said.

The capture of the causeway and adjacent territory is of immense tactical importance considering the existing ground context, a defence observer said adding that this would inevitably open-up another alternative escape route for the civilians held hostage by LTTE terrorists. Not only troops have secured the Wadduvakal causeway, entrance to the Mullaittivu shallow waters, but also denied terrorists the use of the Nanthikadal lagoon minimizing concentrated LTTE attacks at fleeing civilians, the observer further said.

9:51 AM

LTTE military Spokesman killed

The LTTE military wing spokesman I Illentheriyan killed during fighting Sunday, Intelligence Source confirmed..

--Minister Keheliya Rambukwella---

9:03 AM

US report blames Taliban for civilian deaths

The U.S. coalition blamed Taliban militants Saturday for causing what Afghan officials say are dozens of civilian deaths during a prolonged battle that included American airstrikes. The U.S. said an unspecified number of civilians died but did not take responsibility for any deaths.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry declined to endorse the U.S. report, saying its own investigation would be completed soon.

Afghan officials have estimated up to 147 people died in the battle in the western province of Farah on Monday, but a U.S.

spokeswoman called that number exaggerated. The U.S. report did not offer an estimate of the number killed in the battle.

The preliminary report said Taliban fighters herded Afghan villagers into houses to use as human shields while they fired on coalition forces in two villages in Farah. The report said that U.S.

forces had responded to a call for help from Afghan forces and that militants attacked the troops from several locations.

Troops called for airstrikes on the militant positions, and a U.S. spokeswoman said Saturday that fighter aircraft made 13 passes over the two villages, using a combination of flares, strafing runs and bombs.

9:01 AM

Two LTTE senior level leaders killed

Deaths of senior LTTE operatives Cheliyan, the second in command of the LTTE Sea Tiger wing, and LTTE's military spokesman Illanthirayan are now confirmed.

Sri Lanka Amy revealed that the latest report received from Karayamullivakkal area confirmed that a senior LTTE leader identified as Cheliyan was the second in command of the LTTE Sea Tiger wing, was killed during confrontations that occurred when the troops captured a LTTE's earth bund built in the same area on Thursday (07).

According to Sri Lanka Army, Cheliyan was in his early 30s and was from Trincomalee. He was involved in many attacks on the Sri Lanka Navy in the past and received injuries in a confrontation with the Navy on 27th March 2008.

In the meantime pro-LTTE organ Tamil Net in a news report said, LTTE's military spokesman Punitharooban alias Ilanthirayan (Marshall) has succumbed to his injuries sustained on Saturday.

The 43-year-old Ilanthirayan was a senior member of the LTTE from Batticaloa district, who earlier served at the LTTE headquarters in the Vanni for many years before his appointment in charge of project planning for post Tsunami reconstruction in the eastern region by the then political head S.P. Thamilselvan.

Later, following Kaushalyan's assassination, he was appointed the head of LTTE's Batticaloa district political head, before his latest position as LTTE's military spokesman.

8:13 AM

IDPs hit by chicken pox and diarrhoea

Nearly 8,000 IDPs now housed in temporary camps have come down with chicken pox, Minister of Healthcare Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

Minister Silva told The News-Lanka that many were suffering from the disease before they escaped from the No Fire Zone and more IDPs are suffering from diarrhoea at the same time. "Diseases such as chicken pox spread faster when you have a large number of people living together in close quarters. Therefore, the doctors are using the acyclovir vaccine to control the spread of the disease," Silva said.

The Minister also said that Director of the Angoda Mental Hospital, Dr. Jayan Mendis and 50 more Mental Health Specialists have already been sent to treat the IDPs since they are suffering from mental depression, agony and pain.

"We are taking all measures to upgrade patient care and hospitals where IDPs are receiving medical care as their health had been neglected for years due to the on going war. The Ministry of Healthcare has taken all steps to strengthen the facilities since we want to give them the best care and facilities available in the country. They are part of us," Silva said.

The Minister said that the IDPs were found to be already weak and in urgent need of nutritious food when they arrived in the cleared areas. A majority of the civilians entering the safe areas were already suffering from injuries or various illnesses such as chicken pox, viral flu, respiratory, lung and skin infections, and diarrhoea.

8:12 AM

New No Fire Zone

The Sri Lankan government on Friday renamed the remaining area under occupation by the LTTE inside the No-Fire Zone (NFZ) as New Safety Zone (NSZ).

The Defence Ministry said here the Army now is in full control of more than two-third of the existing Puthumathlan "Safety Zone" and declared that the re-christened NSZ is confined to south of Karayamullivaikkal including Vellamullivaikkal — two km in length and 1.5 km in width — along the Mullathivu sea coast.


8:02 AM

IDP camp for 20,000 in Pulmuddai

A large-scale camp with a capacity to accommodate more than 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will be set up shortly in Pulmuddai, in an apparent move to cope with a high influx of IDPs to the area.

At present 2,300 IDPs are sheltered at Pulmuddai Sinhala Vidyalaya while 1,700 and 1,632 are housed at Al-Noor Muslim Vidyalaya and the Pulmuddai Hindu Vidyalam, respectively. Meanwhile, the Indian field hospital is to be relocated to another area once hostilities conclude, The News-Lanka learns.

District Secretary of Trincomalee, Ret. Maj. Gen. Ranjith Silva told The News-Lanka, that the government was ready for any eventuality.
"Despite the present security situation, we are sending 30 tonnes of food every other day to the No Fire Zone. The government is ready to face any eventuality," Gen. Ranjith Silva said.

International Committee of the Red Cross Spokesperson, Sarasi Wijeratne said that the ICRC was working hard with relevant authorities in providing basic facilities for the IDPs.
There has been an increase of IDPs over the past few days, bringing the total to over 190,000 in the IDP camps in Vavuniya, Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee. So far 17,673 IDPs have been traced and reunited with their families. A census is to be conducted in IDP camps in Vavuniya by the Ministry of Resettlement to further assist the tracing process. Over 170,000 are being sheltered in 23 IDP camps in Vavuniya while another 5,667 are housed in Trinomalee. Another 11,150 and 856 are sheltered in Jaffna and Mannar, respectively.

8:00 AM

147 killed in US air strike

Residents of two villages hit earlier this week by US air strikes have prepared lists with the names of 147 people killed in the attacks.
Farah Province deputy governor Yunus Rasooli told Reuters that residents of the village of Geraani had provided 90 names and residents of neighbouring Ganj Abad village another 57.

The two villages were struck by US warplanes during a battle in another nearby village on Monday and Tuesday.

Source : More

7:54 AM

Tamil civilians injured in LTTE firing

Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking to defence.lk said 12 Tamil civilians airlifted from Alampil to Anuradhapura base hospital for immediate medical attention.

More Tamil civilians forcibly held hostage by the LTTE terrorists in government declared "No Fire Zone" were able to reach the 59 Division escaping terror grip amidst LTTE's indiscriminate firing upon them. Many civilians reportedly received injuries in this incident and victims in serious condition were airlifted, a senior military official in Mullaittivu said.

One of the victims has succumbed to his injuries while airlifting, Air Force spokesperson added.

7:51 AM

Navy destroys 02 Sea Tiger boats

Continuing it's heavy onslaught on LTTE's desperate attempts to attack
the well fortified Naval cordon in the seas off Vellemullivaikkal
today (9th May 2009) around 0300 hrs SLN destroyed 01 LTTE sea tiger
suicide boat and 01 LTTE attack craft and captured another LTTE
suicide boat with an attack craft, killing 14 sea tiger carders on

Two bodies of sea tiger carders (male and female) were also recovered
and captured craft in the predawn Naval gun battle launched by the
combined Naval forces of Fast Attack Crafts (FAC), Special Boat
Squadron (SBS), and Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS ) a cluster of
LTTE sea tiger boats comprising two suicide craft laden with high
explosive and two enemy attack crafts were intercepted and attacked.
Naval troops optimizing their combined fire power completely destroyed
one enemy suicide craft and captured one with two enemy dead bodies on
board, while destroying one enemy attack craft and captured another
which were attempting to flee being unable to withstand the Naval

Monitoring of the LTTE communications has revealed that 14 sea tiger
carders have been killed in the gun battle. Further search and clear
operations are continuing.

7:50 AM

58 Div captures Karayamulliavaikkal earth bund

nfantrymen of 58 Division have gained total control over the entire
earth bund built by the LTTE terrorists in Karayamulliavaikkal by this
afternoon (8 May) following hours-long fighting, latest military
report received from the battlefront said.

According to the defence.lk correspondent in the battlefront, troops
of 6 Gemunu Watch (6 GW), 7 Sinha Regiment (7 SR) and 9 Vijayabahu
Infantry Regiment (9 VIR) have tactically advanced beyond the earth
bund after capturing entire bund. Consolidating operations now
underway to further strength the defence line, military sources said.

Fierce fighting commenced on 6th May lasted for days as terrorists
made their fullest strength to hold the earth bund built to resists
the security forces' offensive march, military sources added. Troops
were able to inflict considerable damages to the enemy in fighting
occurred last two days while capturing part of the earth bund.

In subsequent search operation conducted in the area, troops have
found 35 bodies of LTTE terrorists killed in fighting along with LTTE
military hardware.

33 x T-56 weapons, 2 x Light Machine Guns, 4 x Multi Purpose Machine
Gun, 1 x 12.7 weapon, 3 x I-Com radio sets, 1 x claymore mine, 3 x
T-56 magazines and 2 x detonators area among the items found.

Meanwhile, troops were able to capture an excavator, abandoned by the
LTTE terrorists, which is believed to be used by the terrorists to
build earth bunds.

12:36 PM

LTTE suicide bomb blast at Dharmapuram

Many civilians and one female solder were reported killed and scores injured when an LTTE woman suicide bomber detonated herself among thousands of civilians who were arriving at the Dharmapuram IDP center in Kilinochchi,

6:08 AM

Troops clear A-34 from Mankulam to Tanniyattu

Troops of Army 57 Division, Task Force 3 and Task Force 4 have opened up the A-34 road (Mankulam- Mullaittivu) road up to Tanniyuttu, following recent counter terrorist operations on the Mullaittivu battlefront, reveal battlefield sources.

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets and MI-24 helicopter gunships carried out air strikes at LTTE gatherings in the Mullaittivu area in support of advancing troops this morning (Jan 5). According to the defence sources, the air strikes were carried out between 11 Am to 12.30 PM targeting LTTE cadres withdrawing into jungle areas. The sources citing pilots confirmed that the attacks were successful.

6:06 AM

MTV/MBC under seige

The main control room of MTV/MBC in Pannipitiya has been set on fire by goons who stormed the building,And the network is comepletely off air. Unconfirmed sources say that an unidentified group has stormed the building.

5:28 AM

Hand over Prabhakaran to India

While some key Tamil Nadu politicians and other LTTE sympathisers are trying to secure India’s help to save the LTTEand its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran trapped in the North, the Congress Party of India has requested Sri Lanka to hand over Prabhakaran, if captured alive, to stand trial for crimes he has committed on the Indian soil.

The Times of India yesterday reported the request of the Congress.

Full text of the report: "Congress on Saturday demanded that Sri Lanka extradite LTTE chief Prabhakaran, an accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, if he is nabbed in the army offensive, in what signals a strong stand ruling out any intervention under pressure from DMK.
Congress spokesman Veerappa Moily told reporters that the LTTE was a banned outfit and Prabhakaran was wanted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. "He is an assassin and we would be very happy if he was extradited to India. We want him to be prosecuted and convicted here for the grave crime he committed," Moily said.

Before Sri Lanka’s army smashed through LTTE bastion of Kilinochchi, Congress often had to accommodate DMK’s sensitivities. But the demand for Prabhakaran’s extradition as well as the stand that the fight against terror was Lanka’s internal issue signals that in the coming days any pressure by DMK to lean on Lanka may not mean much.

Moily, however, took care to separate the issue of the extradition of Prabhakaran and how Sri Lanka treats the Tigers with the concern for the protection of the rights of Tamil minority in the island nation. He said that Congress was not mixing terrorism and ethnic issue, reiterating that Congress wanted Lanka to ensure the safety of Tamils and a policy of non-discrimination against them.

5:35 PM

Troops enter Oddusuddan

Troops of Task Force 4 who have continued their advances further northwards after capturing Nadunkeni have entered Oddusuddan township by this afternoon.

According to the latest information, troops of 14 Sinha Regiment (SR) commanded by Major U.S.N.K Perera under command to 642 Brigade commanded by Lt. Colonel B.T Hathnagoda entered the Oddusuddan town following the days long fighting ensued in the area.

6:07 AM

Fetch rting for Sri Lanka Banks

It is imperative for savers to find out from an independent third party the default risk of the fixed income investment prior to investing any money. In the absence of ratings, they will have to make their investment decision purely based on reputation and historical financial information of the borrower that may have little bearing to future financial condition of the borrower. Although various investments are sold using the word “guaranteed”, the borrower itself cannot give a guarantee, only a financially strong third party can give a guarantee.
  • National Savings Bank AAA(lka)
  • HSBC Sri Lanka Branch AAA(lka)
  • Standard Chartered Bank AAA(lka)
  • Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC AA+(lka)
  • Bank of Ceylon AA(lka)
  • DFCC Bank AA(lka)
  • National Development Bank(NDB) PLC AA(lka)
  • Sampath Bank PLC AA-(lka)
  • DFCC Vardhana Bank AA-(lka)
  • Hatton National Bank PLC AA-(lka)
  • Central Finance Company PLC A+(lka)
  • Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd A+(lka)
  • Abans (Pvt) Limited A(lka)
  • Lanka Orix Leasing Company PLC A(lka)
  • Nations Trust Bank PLC A(lka)
  • People’s Bank A-(lka)
  • Seylan Bank PLC BBB+(lka)
  • Union Bank of Colombo Limited BB+(lka)
  • Edirisinghe Trust Investments Limited B+(lka)
  • Vallibel Finance Ltd. B+(lka)

5:27 AM

the leadership given by the President had been exemplary

UNP Assistant Leader Rukman Senanayake yesterday expressed his confidence of an outright army victory over the LTTE.

Speaking to Media from Kataragama, the Kegalle district MP said that Friday’s liberation of Kilinochchi close on the heels of army’s victory at Paranthan would give a turbo boost to Sri Lanka’s fight against terror.

Senanayake said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government should be commended for boldly meeting the enemy challenge and successfully executing the war.

Responding to our queries, the MP said that the leadership given by the President and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been exemplary. He asserted that the recent territorial gains on the Vanni front had made the remaining LTTE strongholds shaky.

Fielding questions, he dismissed the perception that the UNP was attempting to throw a lifeline to the LTTE. "Absolutely not," he said, expressing confidence in the Rajapaksa administration’s strength to finish off Tigers.

5:20 AM

Prabha still in Mullaitivu - Karuna

Scotching speculation that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has fled the country due to his inability to resist the present onslaught by the government troops, Tamil Makkal Vidudalai Puligal (TMVP) Leader and Parliamentarian Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran alias Karuna yesterday confirmed that the LTTE Chief was still living in the thick jungles of Mullaitivu.

Karuna, quoting top level TMVP intelligence sources, told The Nation yesterday that Prabhakaran continued to give military leadership to his cadres from the jungles.
He categorically denied speculations that LTTE Leader Prabhakaran had crossed the Palk Straits, seeking refuge from the Tamil Nadu Government.Describing the fall of Kilinochchi as a great victory for the government forces in general and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in particular, he said he was confident that the troops would capture Mullaitivu shortly.

Karuna said the government should now open the A9 main supply road and take proper care of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).He also requested the civilians trapped in the Wanni to break through Tiger lines and soon enter safe areas. “The people did this in the east. They broke the main lines and entered Vakarai. They in fact, defied the LTTE order not to do so. So, I am requesting the people to do this and enter the government controlled areas,” he said.

5:36 PM

Less than 2,000 Tigers left -- Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka

Army Commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said that the Tigers are fighting a losing battle and now they are besieged in an area even smaller to Thoppigala and there are only about 1700-1900 remaining with the organisation.

The Commander was addressing the Cabinet ministers, top brass of the security forces, and government officials at the Presidential Secretariat expressed confidence that the war would come to an end in less than one year.

"Now the troops are moving northwards from Kilinochchi towards Elephant Pass and they are only 2km away from the area while the 59 Division is moving close to Mullaitivu and they are only five km from the sea tiger stronghold," the Army Commander said.

Yesterday around 60 civilians moved in to the government controlled areas from the Tiger held areas on Thursday the army handed over 35 bodies of LTE cadres who were killed in battle to the ICRC he said.

Troops have breached an 800 metre area of the bund and ditch built by the Tigers to thwart the advancing troops in area close to Mullaitivu he said. Lt Gen Fonseka said that the troops made many sacrifices a lot of blood shed in achieving this victory for the nation.

They fought against the terrorists even when the terrain was completely under water, wading across neck deep in water and some of the soldiers got drowned. But they were undaunted and they fought with grit and determination against all odds he said.

"When some people were celebrating the dawn of the New Year in Colombo the valiant troops who spent sleepless nights captured Paranthan at mid night on 31 December," Lt Gen Fonseka said.
The areas which have been re-captured by the troops are now being development by the government but during the abortive Ceasefire Agreement there was no development in these areas the Commander said.

The war against the LTTE recommenced in the north while the forces were smelling victory in Thoppigala and the east in late 2005 December he said. We had a mission and a vision which was to defeat the LTTE and completely eradicate terrorism from the country he pointed out.

The troops commenced their operations from Vavuniya with the 57 Division and the Task Force 1 and moved towards Madhu. Two months ago the troops liberated Pooneryn thus opening up a land route from Mannar to Jaffna after 23 years the Commander said.

5:31 PM

Bomb explosion near Red Mosque

A minor bomb explosion was reported near the Red Mosque at Bangasala Street, Petta, today (Jan 3) at around 4.55p.m.

Two people have sustained minor damages due to the explosion, our correspondent said reporting from the blast site.

6:33 AM

Gotabhaya asks LTTE to surrender

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the army had cut off Kilinochchi from three directions and was poised to overrun the town.

A confident Rajapaksa said that with Thursday’s (Jan. 1) liberation of Paranthan and Iranamadu junction, the army had taken up positions north, west and south of Kilinochchi.

"Kilinochchi is vulnerable and their resistance will collapse in a few days," he said, expressing confidence of wiping out the remaining LTTE bases in the northern theatre of operations within months. Declining to discuss a possible time-frame for the army to complete major ground operations, he said the enemy couldn’t last long due to the absence of fresh recruits and an uninterrupted sea supply route to replenish its arsenal.

Contrary to LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s recent claim that the liberation of Kilinochchi was a daydream of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, it would become a reality soon, he said.

6:32 AM

Chandrika Kumaratunga sells her luxury bungalow

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had sold her luxury bungalow at Horagolla. The house, built over a decade ago, near the old Sangabodhi Vidyalaya, on a plot of land given by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, had been acquired by a strong SLFP supporter. Informed sources identified the buyer as the proprietor of well-known eatery on the other side of Horagolla along the Colombo-Kandy road.

6:31 AM

High-speed patrol boats for vigil in Gulf of Mannar Biosphere

In a bid to protect the natural wealth of the 21 islands and surrounding areas of the Gulf of Mannar from poaching, patrolling of the area is being beefed up with the addition of three high-speed boats.
The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) would soon acquire the boats at a cost of Rs 1.30 crore from a Kerala-based company, an official of the trust told PTI.
The boats, fitted with 150 HP engines, can travel at a speed of 20 knots per hour. A special programme would be charted out to operate the boats in an effective manner so that all the islands could be covered and an efficient security system was provided to them, the official said.
The new boats are much faster and could reach the spot in case of complaint quickly, the official said.

6:21 AM

Way to Kilinochch

From Rivira Newspaper


10:33 PM

Tamil Tigers are open to restarting peace talks

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are open to restarting peace talks with the government, a senior official with the separatists has said.

Balasingham Nadesan, the Tigers political chief, made the statement to the Associated Press news agency as the army continued an offensive in the north aimed at crushing the group.

"We have always been ready for peace talks, but the Sri Lankan government has been always insisting on a military solution," he said.

The two sides have been battling for more than 25 years over the Tamil Tigers' demand for an independent state for minority Tamils in the north and east of the Indian Ocean island nation.

The military push deep into the separatists' heartland in recent months has forced the Tamil Tigers to retreat from vast areas they once controlled, and the government has said it expects to finish off the group in the coming months.

However, Balasingham Nadesan said the group did not believe it was facing imminent defeat.

"We have made several strategic withdrawals in order to save the lives of our people and maintain the strength of our forces. When the time and place is conducive, we will regain the land we have lost," he said.

--- aljazeera ---

8:55 PM

LTTE retaliated to the loss of Kilinochchi by a suicide bomb explosion

LTTE after its ignominious defeat in Kilinochchi has carried out a desperate suicide blast in front of the Air Force camp , Slave Island down the C.A. Gardiner road at 5.15 this evening (Jan 2).
Primary investigations have revealed that the suicide bomber had tried to enter the Air Force camp but prevented by the Airmen at the entrance. The explosion has caused damages to a public transport bus playing from Moratuwa to Pettah. Two people have been killed and 22 others suffered injuries in the explosion. The injured have been admitted to the National Hospital, Colombo.
Meanwhile, a person suspected to have accompanied the suicide bomber has been arrested by the air men.
Defence observers call the latest bomb blast of the LTTE a desperate reaction to its nearing defeat. On Sunday (Dec 28) LTTE carried out simillar suicide blast close to a Roman Catholic Church at Wattala killing 6 people and wounding 29 others.

11:05 AM

Kilinochchi in Army control?

Uncomfermed source say kilinochchi town in Army control. militery source said that the troops are poised to capture Kilinochchi, the LTTE political and military epicenter in a few hours time.

10:05 AM

Ilamperiyan dead

The Electronic Warfare (EW) sources confirmed that an LTTE's support group commander, known as Ilamperiyan, who commanded the Paranthan battle was killed in fierce fighting ensued on 31 December. He was later given the self-styled 'Lt. Colonel' rank, EW sources further confirmed citing LTTE communication channels.

5:25 AM

Ceylinco Insurance Traded

The Colombo stock market closed the year with a bang yesterday with turnover reaching Rs.208.5, up from the previous day’s Rs.97.4 million with both indices too moving up – the All Share Price Index by 18.48 points (1.25) while the Milanka gained 19.31 points (1.20).

Ceylinco Insurance opened trading yesterday with a big parcel of 263,000 shares traded at Rs.150, down Rs.25 from the previous close with two more parcels of 90,000 and 60,000 done in early afternoon trading at Rs.175.
The share hit Rs.200 shortly thereafter and some biggish parcels, two of over 11,000 shares each, one of 31,500 and one of 44,200 were traded at this price before market closed for the day and the year.
A total of over 0.5 million Ceylinco, trading between Rs.150 and Rs.200, closed at Rs.200 gaining Rs.12 and generating a turnover of Rs.110.6 million. Other Ceylinco companies that traded in some quantity yesterday included non-voting shares of Ceylinco Insurance which traded between Rs.120 and Rs.145 gaining Rs.32.50 to close at Rs.145 on 21,400 shares traded.

Ceylinco Seylan Development saw 0.4 million of its one-0rupee shares traded between Rs.4 and Rs.4.60 gaining 70 cents to close at Rs.4.40. Ceylinco Housing and The Finance confirmed yesterday that Mr. Lalith Kotelawala continues to be the Chairman of these two companies.