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Showing posts from July, 2009

Implications of the cultural crisis of Sri Lanka

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(July 30, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's rulers are entangled in a knot of cultural issues in a multiplity of sectors and taking various measures according to their whims and fancies creating a vicious circle. In one scenario, the government has decided to ban the 'adults only' movies even for the adults of Sri Lanka. Before that, the government also initiated legal action against 12 websites the CID had identified containing 'obscene' material. It was not clear why these sites were handpicked among the hundreds of the thousands of websites of that genre. Some critics said that they were the mostly visited sites by the CID officials. Meanwhile, the state-sponsored commodity worship that is highly exhibited via the ways the mobile phones are used in Sri Lanka took the life of a grade 9 student of Museus Girls' College, a leading private school in Colombo city. The girl was caught by school prefects with a mobile phone in her possession and the sources say

What is the reason behind the clash between two Muslim sects in Beruwala, Sri Lanka?

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(July 26, 2009 -Lanka Polity) Two people were killed and around 40 were injured in a clash between two groups of Muslim sects in Beruwala. The clash was between the laymen of the ancient Buhari mosque (Jamaeth of Buhary Thaikiya) and the new Rahuman mosque (Sunnath Ansaary Jamaeth). "Buhari mosque had its 135th annual Kandoory on last Wednesday and the Rahuman mosque apart from criticising the Kandoory had also conducted the Friday Jummah prayer (Sermon) on this issue angering the Buhary Thikiya Jamaeth party.The party of Jamaeth of Buhary Thaikiya went to the Masjidul Rahmaniya mosque of Sunnath Ansaary Jamaeth at the Mahagoda road in Beruwala and attacked the mowlavi who conducted the Friday Jummah prayer and others who were with him. Later they set fire to the mosque," reported Lanka Muslim Guardian website. Weekend English newspapers reported the incident highlighting various causes that are contradictory to each other.  The story of the Sunday Times was different f

Greed of Standard Chartered Bank officials and the folly of Sri Lanka state officials lead to fuel hedging

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(July 26, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Today's Sunday Leader reproduced a document that explained some vital facts related to oil hedging deal between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The affidavit filed on July 24 by Kimarli Fernando, formerly of Standard Chartered Bank, in the Supreme Court last week was published by Sunday Leader with the permission of Ms. Fernando. In the affidavit, Ms. Fernando cites that the SCB local office projected a commission of approximately one billion rupees in Sri Lanka, and looked at commissions to be booked at one billion rupees overseas. Recalling her discussions with Mr. Asantha De Mel, the former Chairman of CPC at his office on the 24th of October 2007, Ms. Fernando says that he informed her that he had no appetite to lose money and he had no interest on one year structures and looked for short tenors. He also had said that he expected the banks to guide him daily to ensure that the transaction had valu

Sweden to close down embassy in Sri Lanka

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(July 25, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sweden, one of the main development partners for Sri Lanka in the 1980s has decided to to close down its embassy in Colombo.  The Swedish Embassy in Colombo is scheduled to be closed by March 31, 2010, said Xinhua news agency quoting diplomatic officials. Sri Lanka and Sweden were embroiled in a diplomatic row in April this year when Sri Lanka denied visa for its Foreign Minister Carl Bildt who was intending to join British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in a visit to Colombo during the last stages of the government's military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels.  The Sri Lankan government claimed Bildt was welcome to make a separate visit.

Indian film maker Ram Gopal Varma lies about his new film

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(July 25, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Indian filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma boasted that he shot his upcoming film "Agyaat" in Sri Lankan forests at a time when the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) was on. "We shot when the war against LTTE was on in Northern part of the country. My unit was naturally scared. Btut, I told them that if we had to die, it can happen while we are dining at the Taj hotel in Mumbai as well," the filmmaker told PTI. However, the film was shot in Sigria jungles of central Sri Lanka, hundreds of miles far away from the real battle field. The film, which revolves around a group of people stuck in a jungle while they struggle to survive an unknown entity, is slated to release on August 7, reported PTI.

Electricity to Northern Province of Sri Lanka

(July 24, 2009) M.M.C. Ferdinandos, the Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy says that the high tension power lines of Northern Province that were demolished during the period of conflict will be renovated with the assistance of the Japan (JAICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Tenders are to be called before September, he says.

US official visits Sri Lanka as IMF loan is released

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(July 24, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Immediately after the IMF emergency loan was approved for Sri Lanka, the newly appointed United States Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Eric P. Schwartz is to arrive arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow (25), US Embassy in Colombo announced. US was earlier accused of delaying the loan for Sri Lanka. Schwartz has worked with Sri Lanka earlier as UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery from 2005 to 2007.  He is scheduled to visit the IDP camps in the North and will meet with senior government officials and civil society representatives. This tour is significant as Sri Lanka looks improving its diplomatic ties with US and the West that are worried about the developing close ties of the island nation with China.

Thirty-four media workers killed during present government rule in Sri Lanka

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Another 50 scribes in self-exile (July 23, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a newly formed expatriate journalists' association says that people of Sri Lanka are deprived of their right to information and media and journalists are forced to practice unprecedented level of self censorship. JDS points out that thirty-four journalists and media workers have been killed with no recourse to justice since the present United Peoples Freedom Alliance ( UPFA ) government came into power in April 2004 . Out of 34 killed three were Sinhala journalists, one Muslim and 30 were from the Tamil community, JDS observes. In addition, 10 journalists and media workers were abducted. The tense situation in Sri Lanka resulted in more than 50 journalists leaving Sri Lanka fearing persecution: They now live in the following countries: Austria 01; Australia 03; Canada 03; Denmark 01; France 12; Germany 04; India 05; Malaysia 01; Netherlands 02; Nepal 02; Norway 02; Swit

Sri Lanka Minister of Women's Affairs fails to field a single candidate in her district nomination list for Provincial Council election

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(July 23, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka Minister of Women's Affairs Sumedha G. Jayasena represents Monaragala district, one of the poorest areas of the island. The district is in the Uva Province and the election for the Provincial Council is to be held on August 08. Although Mrs. Jayasena, a powerful politician in Monaragala district, is the Minister of Women's Affairs the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) nomination list represents no women. Interestingly enough, the Minister herself is urging for 33% women's representation in parliament. However, she has fielded several male relations in the UPFA nomination list. Not only the UPFA, the opposition United National Party (UNP) that speaks progressively about women's rights and the Marxist People's Liberation Front (JVP) that accepts equality of women have failed to field any female candidate in their nomination lists.

Land grabbing taking place in cleared areas in northeastern Sri Lanka

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(July 22, 2009 - Lanka Polity) A mass scale land encroaching is reported from areas like Welioya (Manalaru), Kokkuthudai, Kokilai etc. in the northeastern terrain of Sri Lanka. Civilian activities were restricted in these areas for a long period of time due to the fighting between the Army and the Tamil Tiger rebels that claimed for a Tamil homeland in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. However, following the Army’s victory over the Tamil Tigers, demining and rapid development is taking place in the area and ambitious and mostly well-to-do Sinhala people in Welioya and Padaviya colonies are reportedly grabbing land. When we asked about this from the Residential Project Manager of Welioya Mahaweli zone P. G. Dayananda, he rejected that encroaching is taking place. He said that the residents of the area are given permission to cultivate in state land. The residents of Welioya pay Rs. 750 per acre and the other persons pay Rs. 1000 per

Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka: Rohitha to go; Mahinda to come

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(July 21, 2009 - Lanka Polity) The Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama is likely to lose the portfolio due to allegations on extravaganzas including excess foreign tours and lavish spending during tours.  Meanwhile, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights is reportedly vying for the Foreign Ministry and expressed what he planned to do if the post is given to him in an interview with Sri Lanka Guardian.  However, sources say that Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has the uncompromising support of the Buddhist religious leaders, a fact the President considers seriously.

Sri Lanka signs Letter of Intent for IMF Loan as the foreign reserves are improving

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(July 21, 2009 -Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's foreign currency reserves have risen to more than $1.7 billion from $1.44 billion at the end of May and $1.27 billion by the end of March, the Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on Monday. However, although the urgency for the $ 1.9 billion loan is ebbing as the Central Bank governor says, the bank signed a list of promises to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a proposed lending agreement to repay debt and rebuild the island economy. “We have set out our intentions, which do not differ from the macroeconomic policy thrust that we have been following,” central bank governor  said in a telephone interview today to Bloomberg. But he seemed evading divulging the promises.  

Armed forces restructuring underway in Sri Lanka

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(July 20, 2009 - Lanka Polity) A new office to be set-up soon at the former JOC (Joint Operations Command)for the newly appointed high power Chief of Defense Staff General Sarath Fonseka. The new office is to be titled the Office of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). It will oversee a massive overhauling of the three armed forces in the coming months. According to media reports the the new Office of the CDS will have a staff of 300 including seven major generals, one rear admiral, and an air vice marshal. The staff include Chief of Staff, a Director General Joint Planning & Defence Development, Director Joint Intelligence, War Assistant to the CDS, War Secretary to CDS, and Director Research & Development. In the restructuring, the land forces and sea-borne forces will be combined with air superiority. The three armed forces are to be restructured as one force with superficial boundaries between the Army, Navy and Air Force. According to the CDS Bill published on June 1,

Sri Lanka to drop plan to buy Mig-29

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(July 20, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka defense sources say that the attempts to purchase a fleet of Mig-29 aircraft are now permanently put off following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Sri Lanka now moves towards reconciliation and reconstruction and the defense needs are moving from a purely operational perspective to strategic, military sources say. Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy has proposed to set up a maritime border patrol with helicopter and UAV operations from the larger bodied off shore patrol craft.

New Automatic Weather Stations system in Sri Lanka meteorological Depatment malfunctioning

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( Lanka Polity - J uly 20, 2009) Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) system provided to the Department of Meteorological by Japan (JICA) following the tsunami in 2004 is reportedly malfunctioning and giving out wrong weather data, reliable sources say.This system was handed over to the Ministry of Disaster Management officially on July 13 in a grand ceremony attended by the Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Japanese Ambassador of Sri Lanka. . This system provides data such as air temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, rainfall etc. These data are proved erroneous and the Department is not currently using them for forecasts, sources say. However, the department pays a satellite bill of millions of rupees monthly, in addition to the high  maintaining costs for this Automatic Weather Stations system . This project was worth Rs. 650 million. The project bore a large cost as the expenses like five star hotel bills etc. for the Japanese

Sri Lanka's military strategy to curb Tamil nationalist sentiments among IDPs under pressure

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(Lanka Polity - July 20, 2009) International media reports and unofficial local reports say that Sri Lanka government's military strategy to suppress the nationalist sentiments among the Tamils displaced from the formerly rebel-held Vanni in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka is under pressure due to international human rights concerns, lack of resources to hold people for long period of time and also due to the unrest among the inmates of the military-run refugee camps. The government tirelessly counters media and other reports regarding the situation in the refugee camps. Government officials presented facts last week to prove that the skeptical media reports on the mortality rate in the camps were inaccurate and the rates were within the accepted parameters. However, the government has pressed the aid workers to sign agreements to prevent leaking out information regarding the camp life to media. The government has to permit the aid workers to enter into the well guarded camps

Traders of Sri Lanka seek freedom for trade to and from Jaffna

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(July 19,2009) The traders of Sri Lanka seek freedom for trade to and from Jaffna peninsula. They point out that the producers as well as the consumers may benefit if the high transport cost can be reduced.The licensed lorries that transport between Jaffna and Colombo levy high charges. For instance, the transport charge of a 15 ton lorry is over Rs. 130,000 and the Jaffna - Colombo traders say this can be reduced to Rs. 75,000 if their lorries are given permits. The government has provided limited access to the A-9 highway from Vavuniya to Jaffna after clearing the Vanni areas from the Tamil Tiger rebels. The lorries to and from Jaffna are unloaded and checked at Omanthai check point and the operation costs tens of thousands of loading and unloading costs per a lorry. Further, it takes hours for a lorry to be unloaded, checked and reloaded. All private vehicles from Northern Province are banned entry to the Southern areas of the country beyond Medawachchiya checkpoint in Anurad

Is the leader god, king or man?

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In Sri Lanka, the leaders try to appear as kings and actually act as God. This phenomenon was clearly seen in Prabakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Today, the President Mahinda Rajapakse is appearing as King of this country. But in West, with the paradigm shift in which Obama came into power, the leader is depicted more and more as a human being. But we are anti-Western and think we have better values.

Wimal in President's entourage; Nandana shows a different body language

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(July 19, 2009) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse is displaying ex-revolutionary People's Liberation Front (JVP) member and present leader of the National Freedom Front (JNP) Wimal Weerawansa in a way the revolutionaries get frustrated about their one time idol. Rajapakse accompanies Weerawansa in his entourages to foreign countries and media give wide publicity to Wimal's participation. Observers say that the President is trying to show that the ex-revolutionary has become an obedient partner of his bandwagon. The President similarly petted the militant leaders like Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Champika Ranawaka and ex-military wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) Karuna Amman till their image was tarnished and dropped them later. Meanwhile, New Minister of Tourism Nandana Gunathilaka (JNP) who is not in good terms with Weerawansa has issued a poster in which he appears before the President Mahinda Rajapakse who is bending before him taki

Dayan Jathilaka fired from his post as permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva

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(July 18, 2009) Sri Lanka government has fired diplomat turned scholar Dr. Dayan Jathilaka from his post as permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. The government has informed him by fax that his contract will be terminated effective August 20, 2009. Reliable sources say that the reason for his removal from the post is his views supportive to the 13th amendment to the constitution. The Sinhala chauvinist forces have succeeded in the government in pressurizing the President to sack him since he is considered one of the foremost academics that strongly upholds the implementation of the 13th amendment to the constitution in the post-LTTE era.

Sri Lanka's new state policy; 'One country; one underworld'

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(Juy 17, 2009) Sri Lanka Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka said that the state had declared war against drug dealers , ransom takers, thugs and murderers following the victory against terrorism. He made this statement addressing a ceremony held to declare open a new building in Mulleriyawa police station.  A direct link between the killing of a number of underworld goons during the recent past and this declaration of war against underworld can be guessed.  Over 100 individuals suspected to be the members of underworld gangs were arrested recently from Maligawaththa of Colombo city. One person named Fajee said to be a leader of an underworld gang has reportedly fled from the country as a member of his gang was killed this week in Colombo.  Anamalu Imitiaz, the leader of the rival gang was abducted and killed last week. These underworld gangs supported the candidates of both the ruling party and the opposition United National Party (UNP) at the past Western Provinci

Sri Lanka to heighten internet censorship

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Labels: අන්තර්ජාල වාරණය (July 17, 2009) The websites the Sri Lanka government accuses of 'slinging mud' at it will face a situation that they 'will be automatically shut down.' Media spokesman on National Security Minister Keheliya Rambukwella made the warning as reported by the defense reporter of the state-owned Dinamina Sinhala daily.  A team of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) led by Deputy Inspector General Nandana Munasinghe has started identifying such websites using multiple technologies since yesterday according to the newspaper report.   Lanka News Web, a website accused by the government politicians and the pro-government media of 'slinging mud at the government' cannot be accessed from Sri Lanka since July 11. However, the Minister of Information and Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa denies any involvement of the government in such filtering. Pro-LTTE Tamilnet website is also blocked since years and the government does not admit th

Editors' Guilty: Lasantha Wickramathunga forgotten at the annual journalism excellence awards ceremony in Sri Lanka.

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  (July 16, 2009) The 10th annual awards ceremony to honor excellence in journalism jointly organized by Sri Lanka Editors' Guild and the Sri Lanka Press Institute was held on Tuesday (24) in Mount Lavinia Hotel with much grandeur but turned out to be a farce as the internationally recognized investigative journalist and slain founder editor of The Sunday Leader , Lasantha Wickrematunge was completely forgotten at the event. A minute’s silence was observed in memory of all the journalists who died during the past year. Reliable sources said that the Editors' Guild was reluctant even to mention Lasantha Wickramathunga's name in the function. Reportedly, the organizers of the event collected material from Leader Publications Pvt Ltd prior to the event with a promise of a small video presentation on the life and times of Wickrematunge, a pledge never accomplished. Reliable sources say that the Editors' Guild is in the view that the Sunday Leader is not a quality p

Sri Lanka Presidential Commission on serious violations of human rights submit an incomplete report before winding up

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(July 15, 2009) The special Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka submitted an incomplete report to the President and wound up its operations. The commission chaired by the retired Supreme Court Judge Nissanka Udalagama exonerated Army from the allegations leveled against them by various sections including the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Jaffna University Teachers for Human Rights regarding the killing of 17 employees of the French NGO named Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Muttur and the killing of five students in Trincomalee in 2006. But the probes did not extend to investigate the perpetrators of the crimes. The commission admits the investigation is incomplete and recommends the President to probe the incidents further. Udalagama said to the BBC that it lacked resources for video conferencing with the witnesses that have sought asylum in foreign countries. The commission did not record evidence of one eye witness who escaped from death

Sensitive colonization issue in Sri Lanka's Welioya (Manal Aru) area

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(July 14, 2009) The Director General of Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority Dharmasiri de Alwis has told the state-owned Dinamina newspaper today that 2500 families will be settled in Nedunkarni in Mullaithivu district under the Welioya project of the Mahaweli L-zone. Each family will be granted one acre for paddy cultivation, half an acre for coconut growing and one acre for the home garden.  Nedunkarni is a Tamil dominated area centered by a small town and the residents are now internally displaced in camps in Vavuniya. Dinamina report does not mention anything about the ethnicity of the settlers in the new colonies.  We consider this as a very sensitive political issue that should be handled with utmost care. Mahaweli Authority should not be the sole competent authority in this regard.  The idea that the Sinhala invaders are colonizing their land is one of the basic tools manipulated by the Tamil nationalists to fuel the passion on the homeland among

IFJ Condemns Vilification of Lawyers for Sri Lankan Newspaper

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(July 14, 2009) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked at a recent article posted on the website of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence, branding as “traitors” five lawyers appearing in a case of contempt involving the Sunday Leader newspaper. The article, titled “Traitors in Black Coats Flocked Together”, names five lawyers who appeared for the Sunday Leader at a hearing in the Mount Lavinia court near Colombo as having “a history of appearing for and defending” separatist guerillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The article features pictures of three of the lawyers. “We have observed in recent times that this manner of public vilification of individuals for being supposed sympathisers of the LTTE has often provoked physical attacks on them by vigilante groups,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said. “The IFJ calls upon the Sri Lankan President to publicly repudiate the sentiment expressed in the article and ensure that it is removed from t

Sri Lanka opposition tries to field an intractable candidate for the upcoming Presidential to challenge the powerful President

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(July 14, 2009) Sri Lanka's opposition political parties are reportedly trying to field an intractable candidate for the upcoming Presidential to challenge the powerful President Mahinda Rajapakse. Rajapakse is marketing his role as the overall commander of the three armed forces in the war to maintain his power and many political strategists opine that only a person who acted a superior role in war can challenge his candidacy for the Presidency. It is reported that there is an attempt to bring a figure that acted a major role in war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) as the common candidate of the opposition in the next Presidential. A leftist party that acted the role of king maker in the past elections has initiated this move, sources say. Although this party has no strong vote base day, it is very well organized and clever in political campaigns. Some say they can teach the Sri Lankans that the crow is white if they want

Two photos of Balachandran Prabakaran

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(July 13, 2009) Here we post two photos of slain son of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam ( LTTE ) leader Velupillai Prabakaran. In the first photo adapted from the Sri Lanka Defense Ministry website the caption given is "Killer's Love." The second photo was posted in several websites recently as the photo of the dead body of the assassinated Balachandran Prabakaran, a minor. We do not write a caption here and leave that to you. But we can say one thing. The caption you write will reveal you; not this minor.    

Sri Lanka state terrorism in cyber space

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(July 13, 2009) The website of the Sri Lanka state-owmed Dinamina newspaper has been reported as an attacking site that tries to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system. Meanwhile, the authorities have also taken steps to block the Lanka News Web (www.lankanewsweb.com) in Sri Lanka since July 11. This site published both in Sinhala and English post news that thoroughly criticize the government, its allies and the pro-government media. It was started in February and came under criticism from the pro-government lobby since the beginning. The editors of the website are believed live in UK. Some media persons supected to be the reporters of this website are also under threat.

Sri Lanka state's ICRC phobia

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(July 12, 2009) Sri Lanka has asked the ICRC to scale down its operations in the island and the ICRC has in response shut down two of its offices in the Eastern Province and the expatriate staff was withdrawn. Sri Lanka government and the Sinhala nationalists that support it always suspect of a Western conspiracy against the nation and try to shy away from the humanitarian and other world organizations. The phobia created in the minds of the people help them to get the people maintain them to save the nation from the Western conspirators despite the high cost they have to pay for it. No one can deny their can be Western influence in these organizations. It is crystal clear that they are run in line with the Western ideology on humanitarianism. That is the very fact that make the Sri lankan authorities tremble before them. On one hand, they are guilty of their conduct in relation to the modern ideology and on the other hand they have no alternates to the Western ideology at least to

Sri Lanka’s failure to provide scientific proof to the death of Tiger leader gives way to blind nationalism

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(July 11 2009) Sri Lanka is failing to provide concrete proof of the death of Velupillai Prabakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) and Pottu Amman , the intelligence chief of the outfit who are wanted by India to wind up the case regarding the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi . The sources say that Sri Lankan authorities are unable to provide scientific proof for the deaths of these Tiger leaders. Although a corpse said to be of Prabakaran's was displayed as the government declared he was killed on May 18. No corpse of Pottu Amman's was shown so far.  The situation has triggered claims from the ardent Tamil Ealam nationalists that their elusive leader is still alive and will appear in public in right moment. The admittance of the expatriate leadership of the LTTE has also gone unhindered among these arch nationalists. In theater-crazy Tamil Nadu, the politicians are manipulating the