Prabhakaran alive, claims pro-LTTE website

Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran is “alive and safe”, a website sympathetic to the rebels claimed Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan military Monday said that Prabhakaran was shot dead while fleeing the battle zone in the island’s north.prabakaran

Prabhakaran, the feared leader of Sri Lanka’s ruthless Tamil Tigers, was killed Monday with two top aides, ending one of the world’s longest running insurgencies that bled the island nation for over a quarter century, the military declared.

While rejecting Colombo’s claim of Prabhakaran being killed, and “assuring his safety and well-being”, LTTE’s International Relations Head S. Pathmanathan Tuesday accused Colombo of treachery in the killing of the political wing leaders B. Nadesan and S. Puleedevan.

There was no independent confirmation of the report in the pro-LTTE website TamilNet. Sri Lankan officials have in the past denounced as propaganda similar claims by TamilNet.

Pathmanathan in the statement said: “I wish to inform the global Tamil community distressed witnessing the final events of the war that our beloved leader Velupillai Pirapaharan is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people.”

Categorically rejecting Prabhakaran’s death claims, he asked “the Tamil community to be vigilant and to exercise maximum restraint whilst grieving for the loss of Tamil civilian lives in the barbaric conduct of the final chapters of this battle”.

Prabhakaran’s face apparently caught fire and he breathed his last in a small stretch of land near the coast in Mullaitivu district, an area about 400 km from here which he had made his hideout a long time ago, building seemingly impregnable underground bunkers.

The reported death – which came hours after his elder son Charles Anthony, who headed the group’s IT wing and was being groomed to succeed him, was also killed – marks the collapse of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which Prabhakaran set up in 1976 and which became one of the most well-armed and ruthless insurgent groups in the world with its own army, navy and air force.

It also came three days before the 18th anniversary of the assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was blown up by a woman Tamil Tiger suicide bomber at an election rally near Chennai in India May 21, 1991.

Sri Lankan army chief, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, told state-owned TV: “We have now completed our task of liberating the north and east from terrorists.” Fonseka was badly wounded when an LTTE suicide bomber sneaked into the fortified army headquarters in Colombo and tried to blow him up.

Also reportedly killed Monday with Prabhakaran was Shanmugalingam Shivashankar alias Pottu Amman, the dreaded chief of the intelligence wing that was responsible for all the high profile assassinations the Tigers carried out in its long and murderous history.

Other key LTTE leaders whose bodies were found Monday were Soosai, the LTTE’s naval wing leader, Balasingham Nadesan, who headed its political wing, S. Puleedevan, head of the Peace Secretariat, Ramesh, a military leader, Ilango, chief of the LTTE police, and Kapil Amman from the LTTE intelligence wing.

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Slumdog Child Star’s Home Is Bulldozed

A child star of the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire has had his family home bulldozed by Indian authorities.

slumdog millionaire

Three months ago he was the toast of Tinseltown. Azharrudin Ismail and his fellow child actors were wowing Hollywood and charming the crowds at the Oscars in Los Angeles.

Now, just weeks later, the actor who played Samil is homeless.

TOPSHOTS-INDIA-SLUMDOG-DEMOLITION

The bulldozer arrived at the Garib Nagar slum while Azharrudin was sleeping. He and his family were told to grab what they could and get out.

His mother Samina said the authorities gave no warning.

“They did not inform us. No notice was given to us.” she said.

“They suddenly came and ran the bulldozer on our houses and broke everything in the slum area.”

In the wake of the worldwide success of Slumdog Millionaire, civic authorities in Mumbai had promised the movie’s child stars would be plucked from the slums and given proper new homes, but that promise has gone unfulfilled.

Azharrudin’s humble polythene-covered shack was one of several illegally-built huts which were swept away in the latest public demolition drive.

His father, Ismail Shaikh, is in despair.

“It’s not about Azhar or me. It’s about all the poor people here. They made a movie ‘Slumdog’ and similarly we are living life of a dog here.

“Anybody can come here and run a bulldozer over our houses.”

Slumdog Millionare told the story of a young boy who works his way out of the Mumbai slums and onto a national TV gameshow.

The film-makers say they have given substantial assistance to the child actors, including a trust fund to pay for their education and a financial nest-egg when they graduate.

But it seems even trust funds and Hollywood stardom can’t stop a bulldozer.

95 kids died in US-Taliban clash: Afghan official

Ninety-five Afghan children are among the 140 people said to have died in a recent US-Taliban battle in western Afghanistan, according to a list drawn up by Afghan officials, a lawmaker said on Wednesday. The US military disputed the claim.

us-taliban clash

Afghans blame US airstrikes for the deaths and destruction in the villages of Gerani and Ganjabad in Farah province.

Sixty-five of the reported victims on the list were female, either adults or children, said lawmaker Obaidullah Helali, a lawmaker from Farah and a member of the government’s investigative team. If the Afghan toll is correct, it would be the largest case of civilian deaths since the 2001 US-led invasion to oust the Taliban.

US military spokesman Col Greg Julian said, “There is no physical proof that can substantiate” the Afghan list of victims. The US has refused to release a number of people it thinks died in the May 4-5 clash in Farah’s Bala Baluk district.

Julian said militants are to blame for the deaths because they kept villagers hostage during the fight.

The International Committee of the Red Cross also has said that women and children were among dozens of dead people its teams saw in the two villages, but it did not provide an overall figure.

Ten US banks fail ‘stress tests’

Financial stress testing should establish whether banks have sufficient capital

Ten of America’s largest 19 banks need a combined $74.6bn (£50bn) of extra funds to boost their cash reserves.

That is the main finding of the so-called “stress tests” to see if the banks have sufficient capital to cope should the recession worsen.

Bank of America is the most at risk, needing an additional $33.9bn.

financial crisis

Bank of America – $33.9bn
Wells Fargo – $13.7bn
GMAC – $11.5bn
Citigroup – $5.5bn
Morgan Stanley – $1.8bn
Regions Financial – $2.5bn
SunTrust Banks – $2.2bn
KeyCorp – $1.8bn
Fifth Third Bancorp – $1.1bn
PNC Financial Services – $600m

“Our hope with today’s actions is that banks are going to be able to get back to the business of banking,” said US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Geithner: ‘Back to business of banking’

Other banks that need more money include Wells Fargo, which is said to require $13.7bn, and GMAC, the financial arm of General Motors, which needs $11.5bn.

Citigroup requires an additional $5.5bn of funds, and Morgan Stanley has been told to find $1.8bn.

Some of the banks have already indicated how they intend to raise the money they need by private means such as asset sales, rather than having to secure any additional government loans.

‘No surprises’

The 19 banks that were tested by Treasury Department and Federal Reserve officials account for two-thirds of the total assets of the US banking system, and more than half of the total amount of credit in the US economy.

The banks that require extra capital have been given until 8 June to finalise their plans to do so, and get them approved by regulators.

Mr Geithner said earlier on Thursday that no US bank being screened by regulators was at risk of insolvency, comments echoed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The treasury secretary said he believed that while the majority of the banks would be able to raise any additional money they need from private sources, if they were unable to do so the government may have to provide them with more taxpayer money.

Analysts broadly welcomed the results of the stress tests.

“It seems to be that the leaks were very accurate, so there doesn’t seem to be any major surprises,” said Eric Kuby of North Star Investment Management.

“The fears of nationalisation or of failure have more or less disappeared.”

Asset sale

The other five banks that have been told they require additional capital are Regions Financial ($2.5bn), SunTrust Banks ($2.2bn), KeyCorp ($1.8bn), Fifth Third Bancorp ($1.1bn), and PNC Financial Services ($600m).

Those that do not require extra funds are Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, MetLife, American Express, State Street, BB&T, US Bancorp and Capital One Financial.

Some of the banks that need extra funds have been quick to announce how they intend to do so.

Bank of America said it would raise the $33.9bn it needs through the sale of assets and other measures, while Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo are to issue or exchange shares.

Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit said his bank’s actions would “give it the financial strength to weather an adverse stress scenario”.

Criticism

Some commentators have questioned whether the tests have been strict enough.

Professor Nouriel Roubini and Professor Matthew Richardson of New York University said that the doomsday scenario that the banks’ books have been subjected to is actually no worse than the current economic situation.

And as such, they said “the stress test results will not be credibly interpreted as a sign of of bank health”.

Others say that the tests do not take account of the banks’ varying business models.

Jacob Zuma elected as South Africa’s President

Ruling ANC chief Jacob Zuma, was elected as South Africa’s president by the country’s parliament with a thumping majority, vowed to work quickly to promote friendship, harmony and bolster the nation’s economy.

jacob-zuma

Zuma polled 277 votes as against his opponent Mvume Dandala, who got 47 votes in the parliament, convened for the first time after he led African National Congress (ANC) to a landslide win. Three votes were cancelled.

67-year-old African leader was nominated by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of South Africa’s first democratic president Nelson Mandela.

“I stand before this house and the nation overwhelmed by the task ahead. I am truly humbled to serve as the fourth president of the country,” he told parliament in Cape Town, shortly after lawmakers named him the new president.

“We expect hard work and utmost dedication,” he said.

President-elect Zuma said he will be more accessible and a hands-on president in order to achieve the socio- economic development and upliftment of all people.

South Africa, he said, is a remarkable country with very special people. We normally get caught up with our day to day challenges and forget this fact.

“We made history in 1994 and opted for harmony, peace and stability. We elected our first president, our icon Nelson Mandela whom we all love dearly. Madiba taught us the importance of forgiveness, reconciliation and humility. He made us walk tall and be proud to be South Africans.

“I would do my best to take this country forward toward Madiba’s vision of a people united in diversity. With the support of my organisation as well as all South Africans I will work to promote friendship, co-operation, harmony, unity and faster change,” Zuma said.

“Our people have high expectations. As the executive we will do our best to be more hands and accessible so that we can delver on our commitment,” Zuma said, adding that he would work with the Inkatha Freedom Party to promote reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP.

Zuma, who will be inaugurated as president on May 9, said: “I should be able to produce a team that will work very hard and with the necessary speed. We mean business when we talk about faster change.”

Mexican Swine flu : 149 die in mexico

The Swine Flu, which was first reported in Mexico, now spreads to other parts of the world, faster than expected. At least 149 people have been killed so far by this killer disease in Mexico. In addition, USA, Canada, New Zealand, European countries including Spain, France and UK and Asian countries China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea and Malaysia have raised a Swine Flu alert. Swine Flu, a common disease among the Pings, now spreads to the humans.

swine flu spreads the world

swine flu spreads the world

Canada, Spain and the united states have confirmed the cases of Swine Flu. Mexico’s government has confirmed the death toll at 149 and number of affected people at 1,995. The Swine Flu disease was first reported two weeks ago. All schools in Mexico have been closed till May 6.

While the Bird Flu is found among the poultry products, Swine Flu is found among the pigs. It normally does not affect the humans, but has emerged as a killer disease, for the first time. According to Physicians, cooking pork at an internal temperature of 71 degree Celsius, will kill the Swine Flu virus.Some of the common symptoms of Swine Flu are fever, headache, uneasiness and sore throat. The stocks have plummeted across the world, as the Swine Flu spreads. Travel Industry and Airlines Industries. According to World Bank, the Swine Flu pandemic could cost the world $3 trillion.

The Indian government has issued an advisory, asking its citizens to restrict visits to Mexico, US, Canada, New Zealand and France, which are seen as most affected by Swine Flu outbreak.