News

    Sri Lanka Rebels Concede Defeat

    Sri Lanka's rebels have announced they would be laying down their guns to prevent what they call further unnecessary slaughter of Tamil civilians by government troops.  The island nation's military says it has defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, ending a long civil war, and has rescued nearly 200,000 trapped civilians. 

    Sri Lanka's government is congratulating itself on a job well done, defeating terrorism and rescuing all civilians from its clutches.

    The country's disaster relief and human rights minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, spoke to reporters in the capital.

    "The military phase is over.  The LTTE has been militarily defeated.  Now the biggest hostage rescue operation in the world has come to a conclusion," Samarasinghe.  "The figure I have here is since 20th of April, 179,000 hostages have been rescued."

    But the Army reports the Tamil Tiger rebels as of Sunday evening still hold an 800-square-meter territory, were continuing to fire on troops and engage in suicide attacks on soldiers.  The military calls this a "mopping up operation" and expresses confidence the entire area will soon be cleared of all rebels.

    No official announcement has been made on what just about everyone in the island nation is wondering.  What is the fate of the LTTE founder and leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran?

    Military officials say they have no conclusive information, but earlier predicted the group's top leaders would likely commit a mass suicide.

    Questions also remain about how many civilians, in recent days, died in the combat zone and who is responsible.

    The government and the LTTE traded accusations the other was deliberately targeting civilians.  Some in the international community are pushing for both sides to face inquiries of possible war crimes.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also warned of "consequences" for Sri Lanka for not halting its offensive to allow humanitarian relief for the trapped Tamils whom the government here contends were "human shields" held by the rebels.

    VOA News asked Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona for a reaction to that diplomatic threat.

    "I would like to see what these consequences are. I believe that it is a legal responsibility of any state to rescue hostages when confronted with such a situation," said Kohona. "The international community itself characterized what prevailed in the north as a hostage situation."

    The top aid of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is in Colombo for talks with government officials on the humanitarian situation in the combat zone.  U.N. officials here acknowledge he arrived too late to make much of a difference.

    U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss tells VOA News the government must allow international agencies unhindered access to the camps set up for a quarter million displaced Tamils to ensure they are being properly sheltered and fed.

    "And, of course, there is a wide range of battlefield injuries amongst the civilian population both inside the camp, at the moment, and among those emerging from the zone," said Weiss.

    Although the final tally is yet to be known, the civil war, which began in 1983, has left at least 70,000 people dead.  The LTTE, a terrorist organization in the eyes of many countries, will apparently leave a legacy of failing to gain an ethnic homeland despite waging decades of guerilla warfare, repeated urban suicide attacks and waves of political assassinations.

      

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora