"Star Lanka Online" Our NEW Web site And Web TV Channel Launched

TFGE , The Future Global Educational Center Has Launched
the official web site, called
*** Star Lanka Online Dot Com ........................

www.starlankaonline.com will be completed in very near future....

*** Star Lanka Online TV Channel,..................

Just One Click ahead ...

Now you can watch "Star Lanka Online TV" channel broadcasts from Matara, Sri Lanka in most part of the day. Still we are keeping a test transmission also. There is a link right side of your hand to watch our TV channel. You can watch (Click On the Box) live channel on this site without going to another site to watch the TV. and also recorded parts, following the below link.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is the end near for Sri Lanka's rebels?

Is the end near for Sri Lanka's rebels?- BBC

Tamil Tiger
This is the lowest point in the Tamil insurgency for over two decades

By Alastair Lawson
BBC News

The Sri Lankan army's capture of Elephant Pass, the strategic causeway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the mainland, is arguably one of the military's greatest successes over the past two decades of war.

It follows last week's fall of the town of Kilinochchi - the rebel's political and administrative centre - providing the government with two significant military and strategic breakthroughs within a fortnight.

It can also bask in the propaganda value of the army's latest advance. Elephant Pass has already been described by those close to the government as "symbolic of the unity that exists between the north and the south of our country".

The army can now re-supply its troops in the north by land instead of carrying out expensive and sometimes dangerous air and sea operations to avoid rebel territory.


On the face of it, President Mahindra Rajapaksa has fulfilled his election promise to defeat the Tamil Tigers and end their military campaign for a separate homeland in the north and east of the country for good.

Destroyed the tail of a destroyed Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus aircraft  after 2001 Tamil Tiger attack at Colombo airport
The rebels have proved over the years they are an effective guerrilla group

But dig a little deeper and the matters become much more complicated.

Although the Tamil Tigers are unquestionably on the back foot, it would be dangerous to discount them as a spent force. They have proved time and time again over the past 20 years that they are a disciplined, organised and at times ruthless guerrilla outfit.

"The rebels began their separatist campaign in the late 1970s as a separatist guerrilla group so defeat on the battleground means that in many respects they are returning to their roots," says Saroj Pathirana of the BBC Sinhala service.

"But that still does not mask the fact that the Tamil Tigers have probably come to their lowest point since the war began, and given recent military advances it must now only be a question of time before their last remaining stronghold - the eastern town of Mullaitivu - also falls."

Most analysts agree that Mullaitivu may prove a harder nut to crack because the town and the area immediately surrounding it are long thought to have been the centre of the rebels' military power.

It is estimated that the rebels have between 1,500 to 3,000 armed personnel still prepared to fight and that there are around 300,000 civilians in the Mullativu area.

But assuming it does fall - and few doubt that it will - what then will be the next step of the Tamil Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who has run his organisation over the years with a vice-like grip?

Guerrilla war

Some argue that he may choose to flee to India. But that would have to be under cover because he is wanted by the Indian authorities for his role in the murder of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi while election campaigning in 1991.

Some people feel that anyone who questions the government's actions are automatically rebel-sympathisers and enemies of the state
Saroj Pathirana,
BBC Sinhala service

Another option would be for him to remain hiding in the thick jungle of northern Sri Lanka - but that too would be risky as the Sri Lankan military presence grows stronger in the area.

A third possibility is the rebel leader re-starting a guerrilla war in the south as well as the north. Whatever option he chooses, it is unlikely that Mr Prabhakaran - who advises his cadres to swallow cyanide capsules if they are captured - will be taken alive.

Even if Mr Prabhakaran is taken out of the equation, demands for a separate Tamil state are unlikely to go with him. Over the years the Tamil diaspora in the US, Europe and Asia has provided large amounts of cash for the cause - and that money supply cannot be expected to dry up over night.

While President Rajapaksa celebrates it is not clear whether all his countrymen are equally elated. When news of Elephant Pass falling was announced in Colombo on Friday, there was mixed public reaction in contrast to the fire crackers and dancing on the streets that greeted the capture of Kilinochchi.


Interspersed between the military gains were two events that upset many Sri Lankans, especially those who support the opposition United National Party.

On Thursday, the editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was shot dead in Colombo.

Sri Lankan troops
Sri Lankan troops are close to capturing all rebel territory

Mr Wickramatunga was one of the country's most well-known journalists - a prominent critic of the government and sympathetic towards the opposition.

Human rights groups said that his death was a hammer blow for press freedom in the country, with some even arguing that the president himself must bear some responsibility because he and his associates "incited hatred" against the editor and "allowed an outrageous level of impunity to develop as regards violence against the media".

And just days before Mr Wickramatunga's murder, gunmen armed with grenades ransacked offices of the largest private TV broadcaster in the country.

"All this has created a climate of fear in Sri Lanka which many people feel has darkened the success of the military in the battlefield. Some people feel that anyone who questions the government's actions are automatically rebel-sympathisers and enemies of the state," says Saroj Pathirana.

While President Rajapaksa has arguably made more progress than any of his predecessors to end Sri Lanka's war, his military and political battles are far from over.

Sri Lanka denies civilian crisis - BBC

Sri Lanka denies civilian crisis-BBC

A Sri Lankan helicopter gunner over Mullaittivu, 27 January
The army says it means to "eradicate" the Tamil rebels

Sri Lanka's government has denied Red Cross and UN reports of a major humanitarian crisis in the north, where troops are fighting Tamil Tiger rebels.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the BBC that he had a policy of "zero" civilian casualties.

The Red Cross believes that hundreds of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands more are trapped.

With aid supplies mostly blocked, the UN plans to make a new bid on Thursday to evacuate badly injured civilians.

It will be the second time in three days that a United Nations convoy, trapped in the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu, will attempt to reach hundreds of critically wounded civilians, including at least 50 seriously injured children, the UN said from Colombo.

It is seeking permission from the Tamil Tigers to cross the front line during a lull in fighting and ferry the injured to Ministry of Health hospitals in Vavuniya that can cope with their wounds.

India has sought assurances that civilians trapped by the fighting in northern Sri Lanka will be protected.

At a meeting, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa - the defence secretary's brother - to expand "safe zones" for those displaced.


Gotabhaya Rajapakse said both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UN were wrong about the situation in the north.

1976: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam form in the north-east
1987: India deploys peace-keepers to Tamil areas but they leave in 1990
2002: Government and rebels agree ceasefire
2006: Heavy fighting resumes
2009: Army takes main rebel bases of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu

"I'm not saying they are lying but they are exaggerating," he said.

He also ruled out any ceasefire for humanitarian reasons, saying it would give the Tigers a chance to reorganise.

"The purpose of this offensive is to eradicate them," he said.

The military say they are involved in a final push against retreating rebels.

Moving north from the captured rebel town of Mullaitivu, they are trying to secure the north-east coastline to encircle the rebels and say they hope to control the entire north within weeks.

The ICRC said earlier that hundreds of civilians had been killed and a quarter of a million people were trapped by the fighting.

The ICRC based its figure of dead on body counts by its staff in local hospitals.

It called on the government troops and rebels to allow immediate and free access to the combat zone for humanitarian workers.

But Sri Lanka's Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights said it was the rebels who were preventing the evacuation of civilians, not government forces.

It accused the Tigers of bombarding and killing civilians and suggested the Red Cross suffered from "either wilful ignorance or naivete" when it accused both sides of endangering civilians.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eight 8 Babies Born to Stunned California Parents

8 Babies Born to Stunned California Parents

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Monday, January 26, 2009

Lasantha honoured in US House of Representatives

Lasantha honoured in US House of Representatives

Slain Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge was honoured by Congressman Adam Schiff last Thursday on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives by reading excerpts of his last editorial.

Schiff is one of the co-founders of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press. Since its inception in 2006, the caucus has highlighted the importance of free expression around the world.

“I rise today to honour, Lasantha Wickrematunge, a brave journalist who was gunned down while driving to work in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. Threats, attacks, and murders of journalist are becoming all too common in Sri Lanka. Wickrematunge knew the dangers well, but courageously continued reporting,” he said.

Schiff also read excerpts of his final editorial published posthumously. Meanwhile, Britain last week also joined in condemning the killing of Wickrematunge.

British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband in a statement last week condemned the killing of Wickrematunge and said that it was the duty of the authorities to take prompt action into these incidents.

“We condemn such brazen attacks. Of particular concern was the murder, on January 8, of the Chief Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper, Lasantha Wickrematunge. The Sri Lankan authorities have a duty to take prompt action to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation is carried out,” Miliband said.

He also pointed out the reports of abductions and disappearances in the country.

“There continue to be reports of abductions, disappearances and acts of violence and intimidation in Sri Lanka. Without strong mechanisms for independent human rights reporting, it is difficult to assess the true scope of the problem,” he said.

Read This article from the Sunday Leader, News Paper....Click Here

English literature could fill the vacuum

English literature could fill the vacuum

By S H Mithrapala Retired principal (SLES)

There are some valid reasons for reintroducing English literature to the school curriculum. No one can dispute the fact that the English language enjoys a privileged place in Sri Lanka. It is an international language. Though it is said to be a foreign language it is not foreign to the extent that languages like Russian, Chinese, Korean, etc are to Sri Lankans.
In the recent past computer science has become an indispensable subject. Also innumerable developments take place in scientifically and technically developed counties everyday. If we Sri Lankans are to pick up these latest findings, to keep pace with other countries that are making advances, the knowledge of English language is essential.
In this brief article I wish to highlight as to why we should revive the teaching of English literature to our students in schools. Since 1956 there has been a downward trend with regard to the teaching of English in our schools consequent to the Official Languages Act passed in parliament making Sinhala the official language of this country.
Therefore even at this late stage it is imperative that some meaningful and constructive steps are taken to rectify this pathetic plight of Sri Lankan students of not so affluent families due to a shortcut taken by certain power hungry politicians.
In Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, the situation with regard to the system of education under British rule was very much different from that of today. For whatever reasons that motivated them, a prominent place had been given to the English language by making it the medium of instruction in the few schools managed and supervised by the missionary educationists. Along with the handful of English medium schools there existed a large number of vernacular schools during that time.
In all missionary schools, the medium of instruction was English while in the vernacular schools it was either Sinhala or Tamil. The student who studied in Sinhala or Tamil was hardly exposed to English. The English medium students thus had a terrific advantage over their vernacular counterparts for whom the opportunities to learn the English language were limited and in some schools not available at all. Even at present, in most schools there is only one period in the school timetable to teach the English language in an appropriate, effective and useful manner.


When W J M Lokubandara was the minister of education and higher education under the UNP government, an effort was made to arrest the downward trend of the teaching of English in our schools. With the whole-hearted support of the then cabinet ministers, the minister of education was instrumental in introducing a number of far reaching measures to improve the teaching of English in our schools. Among such proposals introduced, one landmark proposal was the decision to reintroduce the teaching of English literature in GCE O/L and A/L classes. In fact it should be borne in mind that English literature was taught before 1956 only in the few English medium schools.
It is true that by making room for English literature in the school timetable alone students will not be able to acquire the quality of English knowledge that prevailed among the students of yesteryear, but as the good old saying goes it is better to have something rather than having nothing at all.
Some chosen texts of English literature were recommended for the teaching of English literature in our schools. The books recommended were to teach prose, poetry, drama and fiction.
Along with the use of the recommended books and other recommended changes to the school curriculum implemented, there should have been some appreciable improvement in the quality of knowledge of our students. But due to some unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances and reasons the plans of Lokubandara had been altered or some parts abandoned totally.
To improve the English knowledge of our students, the planners of the project believed that the knowledge of English of the teachers of English should also be improved. This was intended at the time mainly for uncertificated teachers of English who constituted a sizable proportion. With the financial backing of the World Bank the project to improve the quality of English knowledge of the then uncertificated teachers of English was commenced under the guidance of the then Secretary of Education and Higher Education Mr R I T Alles. At the commencement, this project had thirty training centres in selected areas. The programme differed in one aspect from that of other similar training programmes that the ministry conducted at that time. The trainers or tutors of these classes that were conducted during weekends were selected from retired English school teachers.
By re-introducing English literature into the school curriculum the planners were optimistic that the students would be more exposed to English than they were before. The planners were certain that by improving the quality of the knowledge of English of the teachers its cumulative effect would invariably benefit the students in the schools.

International schools

During the last two decades so called international schools have mushroomed in Colombo and even in Kandy, Galle and Ratnapura, and a host of others and these institutions are supposed to be playing the role played by the missionary schools. Most of the subjects are taught in the English medium and therefore the students in these schools are more exposed to the English language than their counterparts in state schools and such.
As it is impossible for the vernacular schools to revert back to the English stream, this vacuum could be filled at least to a certain extent by reintroducing the teaching of English literature which would definitely contain the deterioration of the knowledge of English of our students, both Tamils as well as Sinhalese.
In this effort to arrest the deterioration of the standard of English almost all English language teachers should be periodically retrained, supervised and their teaching activities monitored. The teachers themselves should make an honest effort to make a constructive contribution to the nation by doing their best to improve the standard of English of the present day student.
It is quite appropriate to conclude these observations by quoting the much repeated statement of the former Secretary of Education R I T Alles, Vedamahattaya merenna issara wattoruwa golayata denna ona - the physician should hand over the prescription (the knowledge of English in this context) to his student before his death.

Sri Lankan National Parks :Yala National Park

Sri Lankan National Parks

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is situated in the southeast region of the island in the dry zone bordering the Indian Ocean. Park area belongs to two provinces namely South and Uva Provinces.
Yala West (Ruhuna) is well recognised as one of the best parks in the world to observe and photograph leopards. The park covers an area of over 100,000 hectares and is divided into five blocks. Block one is the most visited area since it contains the highest density of leopards. But only Block I and Block II are open for visitors.
However the other areas of Yala such as Yala East had been closed to visitors for some years and it will take time to research density of leopards in these areas. Yala West consists of scrub jungle, brackish lagoons and stunning rock monoliths scattered throughout the park, its eastern edge is bounded by the South East coast. The park was initially established in 1938 only with block I and other blocks were included later. Rainfall is seasonal. Main source of rainfall is Northeast monsoons (December - February) and inter monsoonal rains during March-April. Mean Annual Rainfall: 900 - 1300 mm. Area is experiencing drought during June -October. Mean annual Temperature 27o C. Daily temperature above 30oC is not uncommon. Vegetation is mainly consists of Secondary lowland dry monsoon forest & semi arid thorny scrublands. Small patches of riverine forest, mangroves, sand dunes and dry grasslands also presented.
Forest area is dominated by Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Malitthan (Salvadora persica), Ehala (Cassia fistula), Divul (Limonia acidissima) and Kohomba (Azadirachta indica). Thorny scrubland is dominated by Eraminia (Ziziphus.sp) and Andara (Dichrostachys cinerea). Sonneratia, Acanthus, Rhizopora and Lumnitzera species dominate the mangrove vegetation.
There is also a substantial elephant population along with spotted deer, sambar, wild buffalo, sloth bear, jackal, mongoose, pangolins and crocodiles. The bird life comprises over 120 species, and ranges from lesser flamingos to Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles, and Black Bitterns. Outside of the park are several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa wetland and Palatupana saltpans. The coastline forms a major nesting ground for marine turtles
All the big game mammals of the country are found within the park. Elephant, Leopard, sloth bear, Spotted Dear, Wild Boar and sambhur. Apart from them small mammals such as Black naped hare, Grey, Ruddy & Striped necked mongoose, Grey Langur & porcupine are common small mammals.
How to get there
You can reach yala from South coast via Tangalla and Hambantota or via Udawalawe from Ratnapura, Haputale or via Bandarawela, Tanamalwila from Nuwaraeliya.
It is possible to take full day jeep safaris or to split your day into morning and afternoon drives. Your best chance to see a leopard is generally early in the morning and then again at dusk. You can stay until just after dark inside the park, thus maximising your chances of a leopard encounter.
The male leopards in Yala are very confident and are often seen walking the tracks during the day. Young males in particular seem to have no fear of the jeep, which can lead to some excellent photographic opportunities. There are similarities between Yala and the best National Parks in India for photographing tigers, in both cases the big cats have become habitualised to the jeeps thus enabling us to enjoy a privileged view of these magnificent animals. Yala is close to Udawalawe national park.

Army captures Mullaitivu

Army captures Mullaitivu

*Ends 13 year LTTE domination

*Puthukuduiruppu to fall soon


The Security Forces now engaged in the final battle against the LTTE in the Mullaitivu district achieved one of the major victories yesterday after 59 Division troops under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta captured Mullaitivu, the LTTE’s most prestigious military stronghold in the Eastern coast by yesterday afternoon, military officials told the Daily News yesterday.

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka announced this victory to the nation yesterday evening in a special message telecast live.

“The Tiger stronghold of Mullaitivu fell under Security Forces control after 13 years with the 59 Division troops under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta entering this strategic stronghold last afternoon”, military officials told the Daily News.

Mullaitivu was among the most prestigious and strategically important townships such as Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Pooneryn and Elephant Pass, the LTTE had controlled during the two and half decades long conflict.

The LTTE has lost all these strongholds within the past two months with the fall of Pooneryn on November 15, 2008.

The Army last controlled this isolated Army camp located in Mullaitivu in 1996 and it was overrun by the LTTE on July 18, 1996 which went down in military history as one of the major debacles losing a large haul of weapons including long range artillery and mortars and more than 1,000 soldiers.

The Security Forces which commenced military operations to liberate the Vanni in February 2007 launched the 59 offensive Division under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta in January 2008 from Weli Oya with the objective of liberating Mullaitivu from the LTTE.

It achieved this major victory after capturing the entire Mullaitivu jungle including the Nithyakaikulam Thanimurkku Kulam LTTE’s 14 Base complex, Nayaru, Kumulamunai, Alampil and Mulliyavali areas.

The 59 Division made a major breakthrough in their battle to capture the Tiger stronghold Mullaitivu on Friday, with the capture of the earth bund located four kilometres south of Mullaitivu centre by Friday morning.

“The LTTE strongly held this defence line in the North of Alampil even after 59 Division troops captured Mulliyavali and Thanniattu towns located on the Mullaitivu- Oddusudan A-35 road”, military officials added.

SLAF fighter jets and MI 24 helicopter gunships gave strong support for the ground troops to capture this earth bund to open the gateway of Mullaitivu.

The 7 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Chaminda Lamahewa, 15 Sri Lanka Light Infantry battalion and 14 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment troops under 593 Brigade commanded by Colonel Jayantha Gunaratne entered the Mullaitivu Tiger stronghold by 1 p.m. yesterday after entering through the Tiger defences which was captured by Friday.

“The troops were engaged in search and clearing operations and consolidating their positions after entering Mullaitivu by yesterday afternoon”, a military official added.

The 591 Brigade under the command of Colonel Aruna Ariyasinghe and 592 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Maneesha Silva attached to the 59 Division were partners to the victory.

“The troops attached to the 59 Division advanced more than four kilometres into the centre of Mullaitivu town by yesterday afternoon after the capture of the Tiger defence line North of Alampil.

“With the fall of the Tiger defence line in the South of Mullaitvu the LTTE had fled the Mullaitivu town fearing that supply routes to Mullaitivu would be cut off from the northern direction too”, military sources added.

With the capture of Mullaitivu which was famous as one of the strongest Sea Tiger bases, the LTTE has now been confined to 280 square Kilometres of territory in the Puthukuduiruppu and Visuamadu general areas which are also under immense pressure of the Security Forces by yesterday evening.

The LTTE is also on the verge of losing Puthukuduiruppu junction and the road stretch of the A-35 between Visuamadu general area and Puthukuduiruppu by yesterday evening as troops attached to Task Force II, Task Force III and Task Force IV were poised to capture the road further confining the Tiger cadres to North of the Puthukuduiruppu and Vishuamadu areas with six offensive Divisions surrounding this territory from the West, South and East as of last evening.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Drink enough Water

Drink enough Water

Health Corner

What do you, the trees, and a hamster have in common? Give up? You all need water. All living things must have water to survive, whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud, or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage.
Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important functions and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.
Water is also in lymph , fluid that is part of your immune system, which helps you fight off illness. You need water to digest your food and get rid of waste, too. Water is needed for digestive juices, urine etc. And you can bet that water is the main ingredient in perspiration, also called sweat.
In addition to being an important part of the fluids in your body, each cell depends on water to function normally.
Your body doesn’t get water only from drinking water. Any fluid you drink will contain water, but water and milk are the best choices. Lots of foods contain water, too. Fruit contains quite a bit of water, which you could probably tell if you’ve ever bitten into a peach or plum and felt the juices dripping down your chin! Vegetables, too, contain a lot of water. Think of slicing into a fat tomato from the garden or crunching into a crisp stalk of celery.

How Much Is Enough?

Since water is so important, you might wonder if you’re drinking enough. There is no magic amount of water that kids need to drink every day. Usually, kids like to drink something with meals and should definitely drink when they are thirsty. But when it’s warm out, or you’re exercising, you’ll need more. Be sure to drink some extra water when you’re out in warm weather, especially while playing sports or exercising.
When you drink is also important. If you’re going to sports practice, a game, or just working out or playing hard, drink water before, during, and after playing. Don’t forget your water bottle. You can’t play your best when you’re thinking about how thirsty you are!
When your body doesn’t have enough water, that’s called being dehydrated. Dehydration also can keep you from being as fast and as sharp as you’d like to be. A bad case of dehydration can make you sick. So keep that water bottle handy when the weather warms up! Not only does water fight dehydration, but it’s awfully refreshing and has no calories.Your body can help you stay properly hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system. The body can hold on to water when you don’t have enough or get rid of it if you have too much.
If your urine is very dark yellow, it’s holding on to water, so it’s probably time to drink up.
You can help your body by drinking when you’re thirsty and drinking extra water when it’s warm out.

-------Lakbima News

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lasantha bids farewell to the nation

Lasantha bids farewell to the nation

By Yohan Perera, Susitha R. Fernando and Dinidu de Alwis

Family, friends, loved ones and colleagues pay their last respects to the slain Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge at the Assembly of God Church yesterday. Pic by Dinuka Liyanawatta

Thousands of people flocked to pay their last respects to the remains of slain Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge yesterday.

Members of the media, various opposition political parties, civic groups, and a large number of people joined in the long walk to his final resting place at the Borella Cemetery.

Following a religious service at the Wickrematunge residence conducted by Colombo’s Bishop Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, the cortege left for the administration of last rites. The cortege left the Assembly of God church at Kirimandala Mawatha, following final rites.

Slogan chanting members belonging to various groups also joined the funeral procession demanding an impartial probe to the gruesome killing.

Leaders of several political parties who were blaming extremist forces for the killing stressed the need for unity to arrest the alarming trend of declining democracy, increasing spate of killings and the violation of human rights.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who made a fiery speech at the funeral called on all forces to join hands to arrest the alarming trend of killings and reclaim democracy.

He predicted that there would be great strides to safeguard human rights and democracy and to prevent a possible military regime. “This was seen in countries such as Pakistan and Maldives where people rose against dictatorships and military regimes and it will be seen in Sri Lanka soon,” he said.

Mr. Wickremesighe also warned of more killings in the future as the killers would become active when the present sense of alarm and shock among the society died down in a few weeks.

“Let us forget differences and make Lasantha’s dream of creating a democratic and corruption free nation a reality,” he pointed out.

SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera said Mr. Wickrematunge had predicted his fate in his last editorial. He said another fear psychosis has been created in the South once again and revealed that at least two leading journalists have left the country during the past week because of threats.

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem who paid tribute to the slain Sunday Leader Editor said there was no other journalist who went to the extent of exposing corruption and racism when those were hidden by the euphoria of victories. “He had his own media standards in engaging in this process,” he said.

Mr. Hakeem declared the time such as this when journalists are killed will be known as the most doomed and darkest time of this nation.

He paid tribute to the late editor saying that he was a journalist who fearlessly used his pen to expose injustice, corruption of the state and others when many of his fellow journalists were fleeing the country.

Quoting Late Martin Luther King he said “in the end what will remain will not be the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends,”

The late Editor’s brother and Leader Publications Chairman Lal Wickrematunge in an emotion-filled address called on all journalists to shed their differences and come together to fulfill Lasantha’s dream of changing the nation.

Lasantha Wickrematunge was shot in broad daylight last Thursday by four unidentified gunmen travelling on unmarked motorbikes. He later succumbed to his injuries t the Kalubowila hospital.

Meanwhile, hundreds of lawyers gathered at the Supreme Court complex at Hulftsdorp yesterday to protest against the brutal killing of their colleague.

A large number of senior attorneys were among the protesters who demanded the government to bring the killers of Lasantha to justice.

Organized by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the protest march was joined by Colombo Law Society, Colombo High Court Lawyers Association and Colombo Magistrate Court Lawyers Association.

The attorneys who gathered at the Superior Court premises marched up to the BASL head office with the placards which read ‘Protect Democracy’, ‘Hands off Lawyers’ and ‘Who is next?’.

Airtel Launched : invests $100m on network in Sri Lanka

Airtel invests $100m on network

Further $ 100 m to expand operations:

Sunil Bharti Mittal

Group Chief Executive officer Singtel Singapore, Chua Sock Koong presents an Airtel connection to Chairman / Managing Director, Hatton National Bank, Rienzie Wijetilike. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe

Bharti Airtel Lanka Limited has invested US $ 100 million to launch its network in Sri Lanka. The company will infuse a further US $ 100 million to expand operations. Chairman and Managing Director, Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, told the launch at the Colombo Hilton that they would also use Sri Lanka, to launch their 3G services in this part of the region.

Sri Lanka’s mobile penetration is at 50 per cent and the Indian Company, which is the third largest mobile operator in the world in terms of serving the population, sees great potential in Sri Lanka.

He said that Sri Lankan expatriate workers remit around Rs. 1 billion annually to Sri Lanka. “These are channelled through banks and we will soon introduce a facility to provide this service to Sri Lanka via Airtel,” he said. Airtel will launch this facility in India by the end of this month.

He said that when one per cent on the mobile penetration increases it has a major positive impact on the economy. Mittal said that with the announcement that Airtel would be launching operations in Sri Lanka there had been a sharp decline in tariffs by other mobile operators. “This is nothing new for us as we have already created a storm. The low tariffs will also contribute to economic prosperity,” he said.

He, however, noted that mobile tariffs in Sri Lanka are high in the region. The average call charge is around Rs. 5 in Sri Lanka and in India its half the price. Due to this, the average talk time in Sri Lanka is around 120 minutes as against 460 minutes in India. “Our aim in Sri Lanka is to offer the lowest call charges which would be as low as Re, 1,” he said.

Mittal, also stressed that customers in Sri Lanka are confused by several packages that are on offer. “We have also simplified this,” he said.

“We will be initially covering 60 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population and thereafter cover the entire island soon,” he said. In India, Airtel adds three million customers and 100 base stations every month.

The new CEO, Amali Nanakyakkara said that Airtel would be bringing many ‘firsts’ to Sri Lanka which include totally incoming free from any network. “In addition Airtel roaming tariffs would be 50 per cent cheaper than other operators,” she said.

Airtel would also bring new technology in Value Added Services (VAS) and also for entertainment and music. “These would be first for Sri Lanka as well,” she said.

Group Chief Executive officer Singtel Singapore, Chua Sock Koong that would be partnering Airtel, said that their international experience too would be an advantage for local Airtel customers. Customers would be able to have 200 roaming countries when they switch to Airtel.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thief robs a temple when Momks Out !

I've captured a photo of a thief, who has stolen from the Mudalinda Temple , hittatiya East, Matara, Sri Lanka. all the monks have gone to a arms giving ceremony at sub mayors house of Matara Municipal Council. And nothing anyone in the temple except a small ones who are not monks. When he was a Coconut tree, I saw him. when he climbed down from that tree, he blame me to do something for my life and take care of your self to me. he didn't afraid to do so and I got a photos while he was blaming me. Here it's. robes

Sundays without Suranimala

Sundays without Suranimala

By Dharisha Bastians
As we waited, breath bated for three hours while doctors attempted to revive Lasantha Wickrematunga from fatal injury he had received last Thursday, there was communal anguish. We wept at the confirmation that he had succumbed to his injuries later that afternoon and as we marched in protest at his brutal murder, the anger and bitterness within the media community was tangible.
The cold blooded killing of The Sunday Leader Editor in Chief, Lasantha Wickrematunga has unleashed a wave of emotions in the Sri Lankan media fraternity over the last 72 hours. Yet, none of the shock nor grief seemed to hit quite so hard as the tragic sense of loss I was to feel at the grim realisation that ‘Suranimala’ would write no more. For those of us who live by what we write, there is no greater loss.

Lasantha first began writing under the nom-de-plume ‘Suranimala’ at the Island newspaper under the legendary Editor Vijitha Yapa. I was too young to have read that political column back then or when it was subsequently published in The Sunday Times in the early days of that newspaper. Yet, ever since print journalism became my career of choice, Politics with Suranimala has become staple Sunday fare. Few other Sunday columnists had the insight, analysis and spicy titbits that made up the Suranimala column and his 3,000 word full page piece would be savoured by both readers that required a healthy dose of political gossip and students of politics alike. The greatest allure was that Suranimala had what no other political columnist could lay claim to – that irresistible fly-on-the-wall perspective, which was possible only for someone with serious access to the corridors of power.

Indeed, Lasantha Wickrematunga was a political animal. But the thing is, he was a brilliant journalist in spite of it. Few could understand or agree with his brand of journalism. It is an anathema for a journalist, and especially one who lays claim to his own newspaper to mix politics with professionalism in the way that he did. Yet, for 14 years, he published a popular, if occasionally partisan, newspaper that the public never really tired of reading. There was space then, in this society for the kind of journalism Lasantha Wickrematunga believed in. Where others would cow down in fear, Lasantha thrived on constant badgering and harassment from the powers that be, fighting back tooth and nail when his press was sealed, his house attacked and his printing press burnt. All this because he believed the people deserved to know and the public devoured it week after week. In his death, it is this right of the people that has been grossly, brutally violated. Whether you agree with his brand of journalism or not, the greatest testimony to Lasantha Wickrematunga’s dissemination of information is the fact that he was killed last Thursday not because of his politics, but because of what he wrote. In Sri Lankan journalism, Lasantha leaves a void that cannot be filled simply because nobody else will even bother to try. It took an individual of extraordinary strength – perhaps even a politically motivated one – to face the fire and be willing to be engulfed in those flames.

I first met Lasantha four years ago, when he hired me to work as a reporter for The Sunday Leader. At the time, he didn’t know whether I could string a sentence together. For my part, I was terrified of seeing what I wrote in print. Yet, Lasantha not only gave me a job, he taught me to be a journalist. Green as I was behind the ears, he sent me out on assignments, to LTTE controlled areas of the north, to the restive east, on investigative assignments that scared the 24-year-old straight out of me. But I will remember him best for being the first of my editors to tell me, with a straight face, when I was overcome with self-doubt, that yes, I could in fact, write. In the year that I worked for Lasantha and The Sunday Leader there was no greater reward than to hear him say, ‘good job.’ I believe these sentiments would hold true for anyone who ever worked for Lasantha. Although I have seen or heard little of him since my tenure at The Sunday Leader, it will take me much longer than four days to come to terms with the fact that he no longer exists in the world. Such is the manner of a colossus; they are not merely individuals but legends that occupy vast spaces in the smallish world we inhabit.

As I pen these lines, I cannot help but think back to a similar piece written not so very long ago, about another editor and colleague. I cannot help but wonder how many more such pieces will have to be written of friends, colleagues and loved ones. How many more untimely deaths will we be called upon to mourn, how many more tales of separation shall we have to endure before the blood letting and senseless violence ceases? Someday soon, the words won’t come and we will have nothing left to say, except what we shall say to Lasantha today: ‘Farewell friend; God speed.’

Peer Tributes

  • Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives

“I think that the intention of the killing of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, the attack on MTV and the attacks on the media over the last three years is to silence dissent. Their intention is to create a dictatorship and I call these acts of violence, out and out terrorism.”
“They are not aiming their attacks on an individual, but the democracy of all people. I think it is time for all those who care about democracy to make sure it stops.”

  • Rajpal Abeynayake- Editor in Chief, Lakbima News

“My initial encounter with Lasantha was when I was working in The Island. We were both very new to the field then but even as a young reporter, he showed much promise. Even at that time, he was showing tendencies of reporting many controversial stories.”
“He was a young man who was very ambitious and energetic. As he was once working as the Private Secretary to Sirimavo Bandaranaike, he had a lot of political contacts and was actively involved in politics. While he was working, he even contested in the elections in Colombo North. As a journalist, he was very much of an inside player and was very popular for his own brand of investigations. Whatever he worked on, he did it with a lot of passion and energy. He brought out a lot of issues and his objective was to expose the misdeeds of the country. His greatest strength as a journalist was the drive which he possessed to go to any length in order to obtain a story.”
“However, I personally do not agree with his idea of journalism because I feel that he was partial and only exposed one side of a story. I would call him more of a politician than a journalist. But there were people who agreed with it and all these things should have space in society.”
“This assassination will certainly have a tremendous negative impact on the field of journalism. First, it was the abduction of Keith Noyhar and this year it’s this assassination; a cold-blooded murder in broad daylight. It is evident that the situation keeps getting worse. After this point, every journalist will certainly think twice about publishing a controversial topic and the news stories would often be censored, after all everyone is concerned about his life.”

  • Manik De Silva – Editor in Chief, The Sunday Island

“I have known Lasantha ever since he was a little boy. His father Harris Wickrematunga was a very good friend of mine so I used to visit them almost every week. So when I visited them, the boys used to be marvellous about my motorcycles. Later, I met him again while I was working in the Sunday Observer and I constantly saw his by-lines in The Sun and The Island.”
“However, later when we were both editors we had contacts on professional matters. I don’t think that anyone else has created more waves in contemporary journalism than him. He attracted a lot of information and I think his legal training as a lawyer also drove him into venturing deep into a story. However there is this perception that he was a politically partial journalist, with which I do not agree since I believe that he was politically neutral.”

“People have always been rising to challenges, so hopefully the traditions that Lasantha set would prevail.”

  • Vijitha Yapa, Former Editor, The Island and Founding Editor, The Sunday Times

“I met Lasantha in 1983 while I was working as the Editor of The Island and he joined us as a reporter. He was a very meticulous worker and was able to get very politically sensitive stories. We always found him to be very reliable and his stories always appeared on page one.”

“In 1987 while I joined The Times, he contacted me and asked whether he could write a political column in the paper under the pseudonym, Suranimala. This became a very popular column in the paper and he was very precise about what he said. He was armed with a lot of political contacts and was always able to obtain very accurate information. Once he was able to get a copy of a letter which President Ranasinghe Premadasa had sent and after we published it, Mr. K.H.J. Wijedasa, the Secretary to the President during those times called me up and inquired where we obtained the letter from. That was the extent that he went to reporting a good story and he always backed it up with documentation.”

“His greatest strengths as a journalist were his political contacts. He was a candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and was once the Private Secretary to Sirimavo Bandaranaike. This gave him a lot of access to a lot of personalities in the political field. He made sure that these contacts he built were used to the maximum. His weakness in the field was that he was always saying things which gave an indication of what he was going to do and this always ended up in the other newspapers carrying write-ups on some of the ideas which he was also working on. I advised him many times regarding this weakness of his but somehow he seemed to continue this habit of his. However he was a very dedicated staff member and his whole world revolved around newspapers.”

“The assassination of Lasantha is not only a loss of a brave journalist to Sri Lanka but also to the world. He was a fearless personality that fought against corruption. What sort of an impact this would create on the rest of the members of the field of media I cannot say. But speaking of what I believe in, these incidents have been occurring worldwide but none of the suppression could stop writers. It always became a symbol of what journalists should try to achieve.”

(Compiled by Lakna Paranamanna)


Lasantha Wickrematunga takes his final journey

Lasantha’s final journey

Former Leader Publications Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunga takes his final journey tomorrow. The cortège will leave the residence at 12 noon and proceed to the Assembly of God, People’s Church down Kirimandala Mawatha in Narahenpita where a one hour service will be conducted from 1p.m. Afterwards the funeral procession will leave the Church to arrive at the General Cemetery, Borella at 4 p.m. and will enter through the main gate. We at The Nation express our condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time. May he rest in peace!


Our Great Leader bids good bye

Our Great Leader bids good bye

'Wifey, I love you'

By Sonali Samarasinghe

The Sunday Leader

It is not immediately apparent that Lasantha is a romantic. He is also incredibly shy for a person so much in the lime light. He would often squirm uncomfortably as scores of people would walk up to him at restaurants, malls, on the street, and admire his life work.

Perhaps in life there is no greater gift than marrying your best friend. And today as I look upon his lifeless frame I feel blessed for that. Little was I to know when we carefully eliminated beef from the modest menu to be served at a small reception for a few relatives and friends that two months to the day my best friend would lay murdered in a pool of blood.

'The trouble with us,' he would often say, 'is that we are both strong personalities.' True. We clashed over everything. He said tomayto I said Tomaato. But in many ways we were much alike. He was the youngest of an amazingly united family of six. Ditto for me. He was left handed. Ditto again. He was a lawyer. Likewise. We both had a passion for writing. We loved kids. We adored animals and yes, we were both bleeding hearts.

And yet, we would sometimes have intense disagreements on a story line, a policy issue at first glance. Ergo the Editor of The Sunday Leader and the Editor of The Morning Leader would have to thrash an issue out in our office and we came to an understanding every time. We always did, but not before some heated words. It was a stimulating journey. Never boring, never predictable.

Lasantha was also an honourable man. Work was work, personal relationship was quite something else. And never the twain did meet. At work we wereÿ neither best friends nor husband and wife. It was this sense of fair play and honour that was to endear him to his staff.

It was this sense of fair play and justice that he would bring to his newspaper and his work.

"Never," a friend told me, "had I seen Lasantha happier than I did at your reception." That was 13 days before he was brutally gunned down. Yes. Come to think of it, I think he may have been. On 31st evening he loudly sang a lengthy medley of songs in a mix of Sinhala and English, some of it quite flat, in the bathroom.

I giggled uncontrollably outside as he warbled on in tremulous tones and quietly reaching for the room phone dialed our best and darling friends Ajita and Khema De Costa to share the moment with them. "He must be happy," whispered Ajita.

It was Ajita and Khema to whom he and I would turn when we were most stressed. It was to their home we would go to relax. To talk of higher things and contemplate on Keats and Byron.

After wedlock it was Ajita who read us a verse from Kalil Gibran on marriage.

"You are a strong woman, don't give up," he would always encourage me when work would sometimes take its toll. Somehow, I don't want to be strong today. I want to think of how kind and gentle he was. How funny and mischievous. How incredibly joyous he could be. Those mushy things he pretended he had no time for.

On January 8, 2009 he and I knew we were being followed. We attended to some other work in the morning he then dropped me home advising me to come to office in my own car as we still had to attend to some domestic matters as he wanted to address the grave situation and also get to office quickly to start on his Suranimala column. I begged him not to go as we had already been alerted about the thugs but to at least allow me to come with him. But he was adamant and determined. Later I got to know he called many people along the way to inform them he was being followed.

It wasn't 10 minutes after we parted that I got the call I had always dreaded. My fingers hurriedly slid over my phone digits as I hastened to call him, more in hope than anything else. In my haste I pressed a wrong button. On the screen appeared a message I had received from Lasantha just hours before.

"Wifey," it said, "I love you."

A deadly drive to work : Lasantha !

A deadly drive to work

At around 8 am on the morning of January 8 Lasantha Wickrematunge was at his residence in Nugegoda when he was to get a call from his wife Sonali Samarasinghe asking him to come to their home in Battaramulla as the domestic assistant there had taken ill.

He had arrived at their Battaramulla home at about 8.20. It was even as he alighted from his car that he was to receive a call from the Sunday Leader office that some people had observed suspicious activity and that he was being followed.

His driver who was at Nugegoda had been warned by one of his friends - a three wheeler driver, that two persons on a motor bike pared at a nearby boutique had acted suspiciously and no sooner than Lasantha had taken off in his car one had been heard to say to the other , Eya pittath wuna (he has left now). At which point one of the two who was smoking had butted out his cigarette and they had been seen following Lasantha's car.

The driver had immediately gone to The Sunday Leader office in Ratmalana but finding that Lasantha had not arrived yet he was to quickly go into the office and call Lasantha on his mobile phone. Lasantha was in Battaramulla at the time. The driver's mobile phone was in Lasantha's car.


Lasantha and Sonali left for a nearby pharmaceutical shop to buy medicines for the servant. Even on their way, Sonali had noticed a motorbike following the car. She however lost sight of it, as a three wheeler had intercepted.

However, once they neared their house, a large black motorbike with two persons had whizzed past the car and had gone into the land next to the house which is a dead end in a suspicious and intimidating way.

Alerted Sonali had first alighted from the car and immediately pulled Lasantha into their house locking the doors. However after some time Lasantha was determined to go to office to commence writing his column and also to take steps against this new threat. Since Sonali had to still see to some domestic matters he said he would go on ahead and that his wife should come in her car. He also said he wanted to investigate the whole motorbike incident and make some calls on the matter.

Wickrematunge, on his way to the office had asked his driver to meet him in Nugegoda. He handed over to him some documents and then proceeded towards office.

Deadly journey

It would turn out to be the deadliest ride to work he would ever take.

His wife meanwhile not 15 minutes after they parted was to hear the dreaded news and quickly rush to the Kalubowila Hospital. The driver too, received the news through an employee at the Leader office.

One of the people, who witnessed the attack on The Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge and volunteered to take him to the Kalubowila Hospital said that he was checking a stock of printing goods prepared for delivery that day when the incident happened.

He (name withheld on request) said he came out of his office on Attidiya Road, upon seeing a lot of activity on the road.

Black bikes

"I saw some motorbikes speeding off and people started to move towards a car that was parked on the other side of the road. I too walked towards the car and saw that the window on one side was smashed with damage to the main windscreen as well," he said.

He had then peered into the vehicle and found a person lying across the two front seats.

"I saw that he was finding it difficult to breathe. Then I called on some of the people standing around to carry him to a van that was there. We carried him into the van. He was bleeding heavily from the head," he said.

The eyewitness said that while Wickrematunge was being taken to hospital, his mobile phone, which he had been holding on to firmly, had started to ring.

Phone call

"The phone rang. Since I was holding the injured person with another, the person on the front passenger seat answered the phone and told the caller that if he knew the owner of the phone, to come to the Kalubowila Hospital immediately," he said.

Amidst all the chaos, it was not till the van reached the hospital that they all realised that the injured man in the vehicle was none other than Lasantha Wickrematunge.

"We have always admired him as a fearless man who stood for the rights of the people. We were all sad to find out that it was this man who was shot," the eyewitness said.

Nadhan, driver of the van that took Wickrematunge to the hospital said that he was on his way to Avissawella for a delivery when the van was held up in a traffic jam in Attidiya.

"We saw people surrounding a car, but they looked afraid to go near. They may have been afraid to get close as it was a shooting incident," he said.

Nadhan said that while most people looked on, vehicles passed by without even stopping to have a second look.

Rushed to hospital

"We stopped to look and when we heard there was an injured person , we allowed the people to carry him to our van. Along with two other people and my sales manager, we drove straight to the Kalubowila Hospital," he said.

Like the other eyewitnesses, Nadhan also recognised the victim only upon reaching the hospital.

"When Wickrematunge's phone rang in the vehicle, we informed the caller of the incident."

One of the others who saw the incident as Wickrematunge was being taken into the van was Lakmal Nanayakkara, who works at Irudina, The Sunday Leader's sister paper. "I was in the bus getting ready to get off when the bus all of sudden got stuck in traffic," he said.

"First I thought it was an accident, then we realised that something else would have happened when we saw a man dressed in dark trouser was taken into a van, injured. I saw his head move inside the car when the people opened the door. I saw the vehicle and called office and asked Mr. Mohan (Lal Piyadasa, editor of the Irudina) whether Mr. Lasantha was in office, whether his car was there. He said no. Then I told him that there was a shooting and Mr. Lasantha was being taken to hospital. I got off the bus and tried to get in the van that was taking him but I could not."

Efforts failed

Director, Colombo South Teaching (Kalubowila) Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that all efforts made by the medical staff at the hospital and the other specialists brought into help Wickrematunge were not fruitful due to the severe injuries sustained by the victim to his head.

After three hours of extensive surgery, Lasantha succumbed to his injuries at around 2.30 p.m. last Thursday (8).

Meanwhile, Police Media Spokesperson, SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told The Sunday Leader that the IGP had assigned four teams to investigate into Wickrematunge's assassination.

He added that the teams have found some clues that would lead to the suspects. However, he said that he had not yet been given a detailed report, as the investigating teams did not want details to be revealed since it would hamper the progress of the investigation.

He said that SSP Mt Lavinia Police was heading the four teams.

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