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Sri Lankan government soldiers seized the last remaining coastal stretch under the control of Tamil Tiger rebels, the Ministry of Defense said Saturday, marking a possible end to a quarter-century-long fight in the island nation.
The seizure marks the total capture of coastline territory previously controlled by the rebels, the government said, after army divisions advanced from the north and south to link up.
Sri Lanka's rupee
However, the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters the views expressed by individuals were political speculation.
"A 31-year-old local worker was killed this afternoon inside the conflict zone by shelling. His mother was also killed," ICRC spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said. The ICRC is the only international aid agency working inside the war zone.
Wijeratne did not say who fired the shells.
The only hospital in Sri Lanka's war zone was shelled Wednesday for the second time in two days in an attack that killed at least 15 people, including a volunteer health worker, and wounded 40 others, a doctor at the facility said.
The military has denied firing heavy weapons in recent weeks as it pushes to finish off the Tamil Tiger rebels, though human rights groups and international officials say the government has continued artillery attacks.
"Recent satellite photos and witness accounts show the brutal shelling of civilians in the conflict area goes on," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
When Israeli forces killed women and children in their assault on Gaza in January, there were was a public outcry in Britain, the liberal left and anti-Zionist movements staged protests, and Israeli writers too registered their public disgust.
But when allegations of civilians being killed in a so-called ‘no fire zone’ by the Sri Lankan army surfaced last month, the response of the world’s public was considerably more muted.
Two days of heavy shelling of a supposed safe haven inside Sri Lanka’s war zone has killed at least 430 civilians — and possibly as many as 1,000 — a government doctor in the area said today.
The United Nations described the bombardment as a bloodbath, saying that it had killed more than 100 children, but stopped short of apportioning blame for what would be one of the worst atrocities of the war between the Government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
After two days of constitutional and political crisis, the politics of Nepal took another twist when prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ("Prachanda') announced on the afternoon of 4 May 2009 that he would resign from leadership of the government. Towards the end of a fourteen-minute speech full of tirades against political opponents and pot-shots directed at New Delhi, Dahal suddenly announced that he was leaving his post.
Nepal’s prime minister resigned on Monday amid a power struggle over his firing of the army chief, saying he was stepping down to salvage democracy in the country and the peace process that brought the Himalayan nation out of a bloody decade-long civil war.
Prachanda’s party entered into competitive politics after signing a peace deal in 2006, ending a decade-long Maoist rebellion. He became prime minister in August after four months of political wrangling; in May, the nation’s elected constituent assembly declared the nation a federal republic, ending 239 years of Hindu monarchy.
The delusional fantasies of Varun Gandhi, the controversial BJP nominee from Pilibhit, came to the fore on Wednesday when he called himself "Shri Rama" in Aligarh. "I am Shri Rama," he said during an election rally at HB Inter College in Aligarh, when the people requested him to raise the BJP's slogan of "Jai Shri Rama".
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's three-month old government has appointed a former bureaucrat as the new chief of the independent Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) nearly a month after resignation of former army chief Hassan Mashhud Chowdhury.
A government statement last night announced appointment of former secretary to the government Ghulam Rahman, currently serving as the chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission.
The government also downgraded the status of the ACC chairman to a Supreme Court judge from the status of a minister, which was being enjoyed by General Chowdhury.
Bangladesh has decided not to make fresh recruitment against the 10 per cent vacant posts in government sector to curtail public spending in view of the global recession.
"The government takes the decision on jobs cut prompted by the logic of saving the public resources," Finance Minister AMA Muhith said at a function yesterday, a day after a government circular disclosed the plan.
Ethnic violence broke out in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi Wednesday, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
Karachi, Pakistan's commercial hub and the capital of southern Sindh province, has a long history of ethnic, religious and sectarian violence but the sprawling city has been relatively peaceful in recent years.
U.N. Security Council members see no point withholding an IMF loan or taking other steps to punish Sri Lanka, the council's president said, the same day Sri Lanka's president rejected international calls for a ceasefire with rebels.
"I have not heard anyone suggesting that," Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, president of the 15-nation council, told reporters on Thursday after an informal session on Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has denied reports that a proposed loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being delayed by the US, officials say.
American officials said the move was aimed at putting pressure on Colombo to do more to help civilians caught up in the fighting in the north.
But a senior Sri Lankan official says the talks are on schedule.
Sri Lanka has been holding talks with the IMF for a loan of nearly a $2bn to weather the global economic crisis.
Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya ordered the release of the Tamil-language Sudar Oli newspaper editor after police investigations found no evidence to charge him, the journalist's attorney K.V. Thavarasha said.
Police arrested Nadesapillai Vidyadaran on Feb. 26, six days after Tamil Tiger rebels sent a pair of light aircraft packed with explosives on a suicide mission to attack two air force bases in the Colombo area. The planes were shot down before reaching their targets and four people were killed, including the two pilots and two civilians who were hit by anti-aircraft fire.
From U.S. government funded news service:
Rebels in Sri Lanka claim some 150,000 people are on the brink of starvation in the territory held by the Tamil Tigers in the northeast. The Sri Lankan government says the rebels are to blame for the plight of the civilians in the remaining area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The accusations come amid rising international concern over mass civilian suffering in the dwindling war zone.
In Swat, some residents celebrated in the streets, hoping the law would herald a return of peace to the violence-ridden valley, home to a ski resort and a one-time honeymooners' favourite. But that outcome was far from certain.
Human rights activists condemned the law, worrying it would presage the spread of Taliban rule to other parts of Pakistan. "I don't think this law is going to appease the Taliban. It's just going to give them a taste of victory," said Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on religious freedoms.
Sri Lanka pleaded for international help Thursday in what it called an "emergency humanitarian situation," after a medical relief warned that civilian casualties are rising rapidly in the country's war zone despite the exodus of more than 100,000 in recent days...
"Our friends in the international community are most welcome to provide emergency relief assistance by way of semi-permanent shelter, water purification plants, sanitation facilities and medical assistance," [Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama] told reporters.
In an attempt to save Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi from a possible shoe attack, a net was put up on the stage from where Modi
addressed a public meeting on Friday.
About two feet plastic net was put up in front of the stage of the chief minister Narendra Modi where he addressed a rally tonight.
The general strike called by ruling DMK on Thursday on the Lankan Tamils issue has evoked a mixed response with its allies including Congress backing it but AIADMK and its partners refusing to take part, slamming it as a "farce".
Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, under mounting pressure ahead of the Lok Sabha polls for not doing enough on the Lankan issue, last night gave the strike call to protest the 'killings of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka' and to demand immediate steps for a ceasefire.
Sri Lankan troops broke through earthen barriers used by Tamil separatist fighters on Monday, opening a breach that the government said was then crossed by some 30,000 people escaping the fighting inside a no-fire zone originally intended as a haven.
As the crowds tried to flee the safe zone, in what the Defense Ministry called “the world’s largest hostage rescue mission,” three Tamil Tiger suicide bombers detonated explosive vests, killing dozens of civilians, the government said.
Around 180 people were arrested and four injured in Paris on Monday during an unauthorised protest by Tamils that turned violent, a police spokesman said.
Expatriate Tamils have been demonstrating around the world against the Sri Lankan government's conduct of the war against Tamil Tiger rebels. London has been a focus as many Tamils blame Britain, the former colonial power, for denying them a homeland.
The Congress on Tuesday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka.
Asked to react on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s demand that the Centre issue an ultimatum to Sri Lanka to declare an “immediate and permanent ceasefire,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said: “We are demanding cessation of hostilities.”
When queried persistently whether the Congress agreed with Mr. Karunanidhi’s demand for a ceasefire, Ms. Natarajan insisted on using the formulation “cessation of hostilities” instead.
The past few months have been one of the most challenging times to report from Sri Lanka, but this has never been a particularly easy war to cover.
The Tamil Tigers have now been pushed into a tiny corner of the country. But they have always ruled any areas under their control with an iron hand.
Dissent has never been accepted - and many Tamil critics of the LTTE have been murdered over the years.