Untitled Document
January 17, 2018 [GMT]
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When the no fire zone became a killing field
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

A week before its official launch in the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival, the capital on Friday caught a 20-minute preview of the film 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,' which included footage of the alleged cold-blooded killing of LTTE chief V. Prabakaran's minor son. 'It was a culmination of three years of journalistic investigation on war crimes and crimes against humanity,' said director Callum Macrae in a recorded message from London, adding that he hoped the film would lead to informed debate about the issue in the United Nations. 'Sri Lanka has demonstrated that it is unwilling and incapable of conducting an investigation. If the world betrays the Tamils again, they will take justice into their own hands.' The film, which contains deeply disturbing evidence, powerful eyewitness testimony and personal stories of survival in a war zone, also has a former U.N. staffer, Peter Mckay, publicly speaking about his experience of being trapped in a war zone for two weeks and witnessing first-hand the shelling of the no fire zone.

Fuel prices hiked at midnight
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

Sri Lanka's state-owned petroleum authority, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has raised fuel prices with effect from midnight yesterday (22). The price of 90-octane petrol, 95-octane petrol and Super Diesel has been increased by Rs. 3 while Auto Diesel price has been increased by Rs.6 per lite. Accordingly, the price of a liter of 90-octane will be Rs. 162 and 95-octane Rs.170. A liter of Diesel will cost Rs.121 and Super Diesel Rs. 145 from today. The price of kerosene has been increased from Rs.111 to Rs.115, the CPC said.

UNHCR commends Sri Lanka Navy for quick respons
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday commended the Sri Lankan navy for its 'quick action' in rescuing a group of Myanmar nationals around 250 miles off the island's east coast and providing immediate medical attention. 'UNHCR is greatly saddened by this latest terrible ordeal, and commends the quick action of the Sri Lankan navy in rescuing this group and providing immediate medical attention,' the agency's spokesman, Andrej Mahecic said. He added that the agency is ready to support the Sri Lankan authorities in assisting any among them who are in need of international protection. The Burma asylum seekers say they floated for 25 days at sea and 97 people died of starvation after Thailand's navy intercepted them and forcibly removed their boat's engine. The Thai navy has denied the allegation.

Sri Lankan media ignores Indian reactions
[Friday 2013-02-22 23:00]

The Defence Ministry website hosted an Information Department release refuting the story. Sri Lankan media largely ignored the sensation created in India and elsewhere in the world, after the publication of new pictures which suggested that Tamil Tiger chief V. Prabakaran's youngest son, Balachandran, was captured by the Sri Lankan forces ahead of being shot dead.

"Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict?
[Friday 2013-02-22 22:00]

The United States should not bully a small country like Sri Lanka, considering the difficulties it has had to face during a 30 year conflict, a member of the US House of Representatives who is visiting Sri Lanka, said yesterday. "Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict? Should we be looking at other countries when our own situation is yet to be cleared, for example even with Vietnam," Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr., a non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa, speaking to a group of journalists said last evening.

Without truth, there can be no justice or peace:
[Friday 2013-02-22 19:00]

Callum Macrae's documentary No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka's Killing Fields is making waves, showing war crimes during the LTTE-government conflict. Speaking with Manoj Ramachandran for Times of India, Macrae discussed his views on the Sri Lankan government, why accountability is crucial - and how India can help:

Why is your film significant?

Jayalalithaa demands economic sanctions on SL
[Friday 2013-02-22 19:00]

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram today blasted the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Government over the "inhuman act" of alleged cold-blooded killing of slain LTTE Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son Balachandran. Balachandran's killing is a "war crime of grave nature and unforgivable," she told reporters in Chennai. "He was just a child who had not committed any crime. He was killed in cold blood as he was the son of Prabhakaran. It is an evidence of many such killings and reveals the mindset of the present Government in Sri Lanka," she declared.

Balachandran died through exchange of fire - Sri Lanka tells India
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

It has been confirmed that the 12 year old young son of LTTE leader Prabhakaran, Balachandran has died through exchange of fire between the Sri Lankan and terrorist forces. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam has said that therefore, there is no need for an international investigation as it is being demanded some groups. The High Commissioner has emphasized that photographs being released alleging that Prabhakaran's son Balachandran was killed by the Sri Lankan security forces is only a propaganda act the pro-LTTE elements. High Commissioner Mr. Kariyawasam has also stated that the Indian Tamil leaders should visit Sri Lanka to find out by themselves the progress achieved by Sri Lanka in the post war period. He has said that there is no Elam concept in Sri Lanka and it is only confined to Tamil Nadu.

'Probe sexual violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka'
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a global human rights organisation, has sought an international investigation into reports of sexual violence, rape, third degree torture against Tamil women and men carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces to get confessions from those suspected to have links with the then Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The HRW, which has prepared a 140-page report, 'We Will Teach You a Lesson': Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,' which is to be released on Monday, provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006 to 2012 in both official and secret detention centres throughout Sri Lanka. While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict (with LTTE) that ended in May 2009, 'HRW found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.' HRW Asia Director Brad Adams claimed: 'The Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody. These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man/woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk.'

Gota rubbishes Channel 4 photos
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday rejecting the photographs displayed by Channel 4 television station of UK which is alleged to be of Prabhakaran's youngest son Balachandran, questioned as to how Channel 4 could say that he is in a bunker with the military by only looking at the pictures which do not indicate anything related to the military. 'They always cut and put these pictures which they have being doing for quite sometime. Who took these pictures? They never talk about the children killed by the LTTE and also about child soldiers who were trained to go on suicide missions as well as to munch a cyanide capsule,' he charged. When questioned whether the Military had any information about the deaths of Prabhakaran's family, he said that himself, the President and Sarath Fonseka were informed of such, only when those who were in the field had found their bodies.

India distressed over Balachandran photographs Top News
[Thursday 2013-02-21 16:00]

Indian Tamil political parties have reacted angrily over the photographs released by media showing Prabhakaran's youngest son Balachandran in custody prior to he had been murdered by shooting. The ruling party of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu alliance partner of the Indian government yesterday unanimously demanded that India should impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jeyalalitha Jeyaram told the media yesterday that at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, India together with the United States should take action against Sri Lanka. She said this is a child of 12 years old and he has not done any mistake. The only reason for his murder is that he was the son of Prabhakaran. It cannot be approved under any circumstances. The murder of 12 years old Balachandran is a war crime. The government of Sri Lanka should answer for this. This evidence and the evidence presented by Tamil parties clearly show the attitude and the mental position of the government of Sri Lanka.

President's special human rights envoy not part of Sri Lankan delegation to UNHRC
[Thursday 2013-02-21 16:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special human rights envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe is not part of the government's delegation to the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. Samarasinghe has led the government delegation at the high level sessions of the UNHRC for the past few years. The government is to be represented by a delegation of senior officials of External Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General's Department and headed by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha. Samarasinghe has confirmed to the local media that he would not be part of the government delegation to the UNHRC sessions. According to the External Affairs Ministry, government ministers were unlikely to be included in the delegation to the UNHRC sessions scheduled to be held from February 25 - March 22 in Geneva.

Do some members of Prabha's family alive?
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Although the dead bodies of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his elder Charles Anthony were found other members of his family were never under the custody of the Army. This has been stated by the Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya yesterday (20). Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya has stated this to the Sri Lanka News website expressing opinion about protest being created in international level following the release of photographs showing the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's young son Balachandran was under Army custody before he had been shot and killed. The Army spokesman also said that the Army came forward to look after safely the parents of Prabhakan who were found staying in a relief camp after crossing over the government controlled area.

Sri Lanka major opposition party bars 28 representatives from entering party headquarters
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has banned 28 people's representatives entrance to party headquarters Sirikotha. The banned UNP members include MPs Palitha Range Bandara, Palitha Thewarapperuma and Ashoka Abeysinghe. Provincial Councilors Shiral Lakthilaka and Maithri Gunarathne are also among the party members banned from entering the UNP headquarters. The others who lost the access to Sirikotha include members of the Pradeshiya Sabhas. Of them, 11 are group leaders of the local government authorities. UNP sources say that the party Administrative Director P.B. Medagedara has informed the party's decision in writing to the private security company that is in charge of security at the UNP headquarters. The banned members will have to obtain permission from the party secretary to enter the premises, according to the letter.

Russian support to strengthen security and economy
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Russia will stand by Sri Lanka to help strengthen its security and economy for the success its march towards becoming the wonder of Asia. The new Russian Ambassador Alexsender A Karchava gave this assurance when he called on Prime Minister D M Jayaratne at his official 'Visumpaya' residence for discussions yesterday. The Ambassador said Russia would supply Sri Lanka with Technical and Security equipment valued at Rs 300 million under an MoU signed between the two countries recently. This would include three helicopters and other equipment. He said that even though Russia was not a permanent member of the UNHCR it would act as an intermediary to eliminate pressure exerted on Sri Lanka and defeat resolutions brought against it by Western nation. The Russian Ambassador said he had also exchanged views with Sri Lanka's political authorities, External Affairs Minister and Presidential permanent representative on Human Rights in this regard and these discussions have been highly successful.

Ban wants accountability in Sri Lanka
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants accountability in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process. Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the UN Chief was aware of the new video footage released on the war in Sri Lanka and the reports about that video footage. He was referring to the video allegedly showing the youngest son of LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabakaran having snacks in an army bunker before being shot dead. Nesirsky however said that the UN did not have any comments at this moment directly related to the controversial video. 'The Secretary-General has consistently underlined the critical importance of addressing accountability in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process and achieving national reconciliation. We are obviously aware of the video footage and the reports about that video footage, but I don't have any specific comment on that,' he said.

Ambassador Athauda claims Tamils in Netherlands ready to support Lanka in Geneva
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

In the wake of pro-LTTE factions lobbying against Sri Lanka, ahead of the UNHCR sessions in Geneva in March, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Netherlands Buddhi Athauda revealed yesterday that the Tamil Diaspora in Netherlands was ready to hold protests in support of the country outside the forthcoming Human Rights sessions. Athauda maintained that the LTTE and its sympathisers were fast fading in the Netherlands and several attempts made by them to raise money by holding fund raising campaigns had failed. 'Many Tamils living in the Netherlands voice opposition to some LTTE supportive groups who spread diabolical lies against the Sri Lankan Government and say that they are willing to protest in support of the country in March,' he said. According to Athauda, the Sri Lankan community in the Netherlands was around 22,000 and a majority was Tamil. He also stressed that for the pleasure of some retired diplomats and high profile people in the international community for their evening pleasure and for them to have something to do, Sri Lanka should not be victimised.

Jayalalithaa cancels Asian Athletics Championships, says she won't host Sri Lankans
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Tamil Nadu will not host the Asian Athletics Championships scheduled for July, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said, because the Centre has not asked Sri Lanka to skip the event. She cited the alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan defence forces as they defeated the rebel LTTE in 2009, ending the island's lengthy civil war. 'Sri Lanka's participation would hurt people's sentiments in Tamil Nadu,' she said, adding that the Union government has ignored a request by her to ban Sri Lanka from the Championships.The 20th edition of the Championships was to be hosted in India after a gap of nearly 20 years. New Delhi had hosted it in 1989. Yesterday, the chief minister described as 'a war crime' the alleged execution of the 12-year- old son of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran. Photos released by UK's Channel 4 show the child snacking while in military custody just hours before he was shot dead. The photos, which are morphed according to the Sri Lanka administration, feature in a new documentary that will screen next month in Geneva to coincide with a UN Human Rights Council discussion on the country, currently facing censure by the US over its failure to probe war crimes.

Saudi recalls envoy from Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 19:00]

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Colombo in a tit-for-tat move amid tensions after a Sri Lankan nanny convicted of murder was beheaded in the kingdom, the official SPA news agency reported. 'Based on the decision by the Sri Lankan government to withdraw its ambassador from the kingdom, the (Saudi) foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador in Sri Lanka for consultations,' SPA reported late Tuesday quoting a ministry spokesman. Tensions between both countries have been strained since the January 9 execution at a prison in Riyadh of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafik, who was only 17 when she was charged with smothering a four-month-old baby in Saudi Arabia in 2005. Nafik was found guilty of smothering the infant in her care after an argument with the child's mother, the Saudi interior ministry said.

Prabhakaran's youngest son was not killed - Fonseka
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

The former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has emphasized that during the war situation prevailed in Sri Lanka and when he was the Army Commander the youngest son of Prabhakaran, Balachandran was not killed. The former Army Commander has made this revelation in response to an enquiry made by the BBC about a new documentary which presents photographs saying that the Army murdered the youngest son of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, Balachandran upon taking into custody by the Army. The former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has said that the forces under his command did not take the 12 year old son of Prabhakaran, Balachandran into custody. The former Army Commander has also told the BBC that at any time he is prepared to face any kind of investigation on allegations against the Army.

TN parties to step up pressure on Centre
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

Pictures of 12-year-old Balachandran, son of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, detained in an army bunker before he was shot dead in cold blood, have revved up the pro-Eelam rhetoric in Tamil Nadu and can potentially create complications for UPA government. With the US all set to move another resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 15, the UPA government at the Centre would be under intense pressure to vote in its favour and do a rethink on its diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka. India, which has historically refrained from voting against resolutions targeting individual countries, had succumbed to the anti-Sri Lanka chorus from Tamil Nadu to deviate from its stance. This earned the country the fury of Sri Lanka which has never tired of emphasizing that the fight against LTTE stemmed from the same concern for territorial integrity which New Delhi summons in the case of J&K. It has also reminded India that LTTE was responsible for the cold-blooded killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

Ranil raises ethnic tensions flare-up in P'ment
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pointed out the continuation of ethnic and communal violence taking place in some parts of the country and emphasised on the urgency of finding a firm solution to defuse the increasing tension between the Sinhalese and the Muslims. 'The Police reports that no incidents have taken place in Hiriyala and Kurunegala are incorrect. There is continuing tension in the area. Therefore, will the Government have an independent inquiry into this matter consulting the Provincial Council members and Members of Parliament who have made complaints and brought this to the notice of the Police?' he said.

Photos of Prabhakaran's son are 'morphed' - Prasad Kariyawasam
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam on Wednesday rejected claims made by a documentary that showed LTTE's chief Prabhakaran's son dead with five bullet wounds and said the photos in the documentary are 'morphed'. He added the documentary was the propaganda of LTTE backers and that the Sri Lankan military did not kill Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son. 'Prabhakaran's son could have been killed in crossfire while he was in a little bunker. There is no need for an international probe,' Kariyawasam said in an interview to CNN-IBN. A British documentary had earlier shown photos of the late LTTE chief's son being fed while in the Sri Lankan government's custody. The next set of pictures show him shot dead with five bullet wounds. 'Indian Tamil leaders should visit Sri Lanka to see progress. There is no Ealam. Sentiment in Tamil Nadu is worrying. We cannot tell India how to vote in Geneva. It is a responsible regional power,' Kariyawasam said.

Prabhakaran's son killing an act of extreme cruelty: Jayalalithaa
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

Describing the killing of Balachandran, the son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, 'as the cold-blooded war crime of gravest nature and unforgivable act' Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday called upon India to work together with the United States and like-minded countries to ensure that those responsible were made to face an international trial. Addressing a press meet here at the Secretariat, the Chief Minister said Balachandran, who was only 12 years old, was just a child. He had not committed any crime. He had been killed "simply because he happened to be the son of Prabakaran,' she said. The Chief Minister likened the massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka with the Nazi destruction of Jews in Germany. She reiterated that an economic embargo be imposed on Sri Lanka till the Tamils were rehabilitated honourably and given rights on par with Sinhalese. A resolution should be passed in the United Nations to this effect and India should take the initiative by collaborating with other countries. She recalled a resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 2011 on the issue.

Faraz hails MR in statement issued to the media
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

In a statement sent to the media written by the Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shauketaly, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been praised for pushing the authorities to investigate the recent shooting incident in Mount Lavinia. The statement quotes the journalist, who was shot by unidentified gunmen last week, as saying that the intervention of the President in the investigations clearly demonstrates the President's determination to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka. He is also quoted as saying that the articles that he has written on a variety of subjects including investigative articles, news reports, and the column he writes have been balanced and equitable in every way.

US to introduce resolution on Lankan human rights in Geneva
[Wednesday 2013-02-20 16:00]

Deeply concerned about allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Sri Lanka, the US today said that it plans to introduce its own resolution on the issue at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. 'We continue to be deeply concerned by allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights min Sri Lanka,' State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. 'At the end of this conflict, we support a full accounting for all who are engaged in acts that violated international humanitarian law,' Nuland said. She welcomed the report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noting the strong concern about the government of Sri Lanka's lack of action to address these long-standing issues of reconciliation and accountability.

Gen. Fonseka says learnt of wife's candidacy from newspapers
[Tuesday 2013-02-19 16:00]

DNA leader and former Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that he came to know of his wife's possible candidacy for the chief ministerial post in either the Wayamba or Central Provincial Council, both of which are expected to be dissolved soon, only through newspapers. 'Nobody mentioned such a thing to me, until I saw it on newspapers. Nobody has so far asked her to contest a provincial poll.' Contacted for comment on certain reports that he was planning to form a new political party on Saturday (23) at Kurunegala under the name 'Jathika Pavura', Gen Fonseka said there was no truth in those stories. The 'Jathika Pavura' was only an alternative organization to serve an umbrella for political leaders from various parties of the Opposition. 'We plan to invite Sajith Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya of the UNP and politicians such as Mano Ganeshan. We hope that they would come and join us. Already UNP dissidents such as Palitha Rangebandara, Ashoka Abeysinghe, Maithree Gunaratne and Shiral Lakthilaka have promised to attend Saturday's event at Kurunegala.'

Army obstructed the Jaffna Fast - UNP
[Tuesday 2013-02-19 16:00]

The General Secretary of the United National Party, Mr. Tissa Attanayake addressing a media briefing yesterday (18) said that it was the official of the Army Intelligence Unit that obstructed the fast held by the leaders of the opposition parties last Saturday in front of the Durga Amman Kovil in Tellippalai in Jaffna. Mr. Attanayake alleged that the persons who came to interrupt the fast and taken into custody had later been released with the interference of the Army officials. He said that the order to release the persons who were in civil dress and taken into custody has come from Colombo. He said that the people of Jaffna caught them and handed over to the Police. Mr. Attanayake said that the government has a responsibility of taking into custody these persons and bring them before the Law and added that this incident shows that in the North the rule of Gun is in existence instead of the civil administration.

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