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2008 Assessment
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SRI LANKA 2008 - AT A GLANCE

Chronology of Important Events of 2008

January 2008

January 1 - United Nationalist Party MP T Maheswaran who was known for his anti-government stand against war on terror allegedly killed by the LTTE

January 2 - Mahinda Rajapaksa led government announced the unilateral abrogation of the Norway Brokered Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the LTTE due to its violations by both the sides

January 8 - Sri Lankan Freedom Alliance MP D M Dassanayake killed

January 16 - CFA was officially revoked

January 25 - Lal Hemantha Mawalage, a producer in the news division of the state-controlled Rupavahini Corporation was injured in a knife attack

January 27 - LTTE's strategically important X-Ray base captured by the Sri Lankan army

January 31 - Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama went to Pakistan on a two-day state visit

February

February 3 - India TV Network Times Now reported the presence of Prabhakaran's wife Mathivathini in Kerala

February 4 - Sri Lanka celebrated its 60th anniversary of independence amidst explosions that rocked the Colombo city. LTTE celebrated '60 years of oppression'

February 9 - Gampaha district MP and a critic of Mahinda Rajapaksa led administration former Port Development Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi died in an accident

February 23 - Sri Lanka's longest tunnel opened at Ramboda by President Rajapaksa. The 225 metre long Ramboda tunnel was constructed at the cost of Rs 2 billion

March

March - Floods triggered by torrential rains displaced more then 7000 people in the East

March 2 - Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka visited India to buy support and weapons

March 6 - Lax security arrangements for the politicians resulted in the death of another MP from Jaffna K Sivanesan allegedly by the LTTE

March 10 - Elections were held in Batticaloa Municipal Council and eight other local government bodies in the district in which SLFP-led Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal emerged victorious. The victory set the stage for the ultimate win in the Eastern Provincial Council elections for the TMVP

March 11 - Sri Lanka government decided to shift the venue of the upcoming SAARC summit from Kandy to Colombo owing to security concerns and lack of infrastructural facilities

March 16 - Brother of Chandrika Kumaratunge and an SLFP MP Anura Bandaranaike died of a prolonged illness

March 19 - US Department of States Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance donated approximately $220,000 worth of equipment to the Sri Lankan National Police

March 19 - Internationally renowned science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke died of illness in his adopted country of Sri Lanka

March 21 - Ultra-nationalist leftist Janata Vimukti Peramuna relieved its Propaganda Secretary MP Wimal Weerawansa of all his duties

March 25 - The 325-metre long flyover in Kelaniya got completed in just 60 days setting the world record for itself.

Earlier world record for the fastest construction was held by the Philippines. The Rs 2.1 billion flyover was expected to ease congestion along the Colombo-Kandy road.

March 31 - United Arab Emirates refused to renew its stakes in Mihin Lanka, a state run Airlines passing the control effectively in the hands of Sri Lankan Government.

April

April 2 - Sri Lanka faced the risk of getting poorer both in the short and long term, said Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

April 3 - UNESCO has accepted that not a single journalist had been killed in Sri Lanka in 2007 April 6 - Chief SLFP Whip MP Jeyaraj Fernandopulle killed by the LTTE

April 26 - Two LTTE aircrafts dropped three bombs on military installations falling in the High Security Zone of Weli-Oya. No damage was however, reported

Key places liberated - Madhu Church (57 Division)

May

May 10 - Eastern Provincial Council Elections held after it was liberated from the 20-years of LTTE control. Former child soldier of the LTTE Pillaiyan became the first Tamil Chief Minister of the country.

May 14 - Expelled JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa came up with another political party Janata Nidhas Peramuna closely aligned with the ruling SLFA

May 25 - Despite getting a backing from India, China and Japan, Sri Lanka failed to retain its non-permanent seat in the UN Human Security Council

Key places liberated - Adampan (58 Div.), Palampiddi, Mudumurippu (57 Div.), Munagam Base (59 Div.)

June

Torrential rains continued to unleash its fury killing 20 people and displacing about 200,000 in all the major province of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has once again been included in the Failed States Index at No. 20 in a list of 60 states by the Foreign Policy and the fund for Peace which ranks the countries where state collapse may be just one disaster away.

June 17 - Sri Lankan Army formed a new Task Force II under Col. Ralph Nugera after whom its command was handed over to Brig. Rohana Bandara

June 24 - Indian delegation led by National Security Advisor M K Narayanan arrived in Sri Lanka expressing Indian opposition to the Military solution of the ethnic conflict

Key places liberated - Periyamadhu (57 Div.), Minnaniranchan, Mannar 'Rice Bowl' (58 Div.),

July

July 3 - TMVP leader Karuna Amman arrived in the country after being released from detention in the UK

July 3 - Sri Lanka ranked 96th out of 180 countries in the world's Corruption Perception Index prepared by the Transparency International

July 21 - Supreme Court orderered Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera to pay Rs 500,000 as a highest-ever compensation in the Fundamental Rights Case after finding him guilty of concealing facts from the cabinet and being a party in the act of massive corruption

Key places liberated - Michael base (59 Div.), Naddankandal (57 Div.), Navvi Village (Task Force II), Vidattalthivu, Iluppalkkadavai (58 Div.), Sugandan Base (59 Div.)

August

August 1- Two day 15th SAARC Summit started in the capital city of Colombo

August 4 - LTTE revoked its unilaterally declared ceasefire which was in place from 26th July onwards to facilitate the smooth conduct of SAARC activities

August 23 - Provincial elections were held in the North Central and Sabaragamuva provinces of Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa led United People's Freedom Alliance won the absolute majority in the elections

August 26 - LTTE aircraft dropped bombs on a naval base at Trincomalee killing 4 Sri Lankan Navy sailors and wounding 35 others.

Key places liberated - Vellankulan, Mullankavil (58 Div.), Kalvilan (57 Div.), Jeevan Base, West of Nayuru lagoon (59 Div.), Nachchikuda (58 div.), Thunukkai (57 Div.), Palamoddai (Task Force II)

September

English tutor turned financial company operator Sakvithi Ranasinghe swindled unsuspecting depositors of over Rs 1000 billion and fled the country

September 9 - In its first ever Air to Air strike, Sri Lankan Air Force downed one of the LTTE aircraft when it was trying to flee after hitting Vavuniya air force base? Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi visited Sri Lanka and signed various agreements with the island country

September 18 - Sea Tigers launched a cluster of attack craft to confront the units of Navy's Special Boat Squadron and Rapid Action Boat Squadron which were patrolling west of Walaipadu. The Sea Tigers suffered a defeat Key places liberated - Mallavi, Panikankkulam 'LLTE air strip' (57 Div.)

October

October 6 - UNP Provincial Council member and chief ministerial candidate Major General Janaka Perara killed by the LTTE suicide bomber

October 7 - Former LTTEer and TMVP leader Karuna Amman took oath as a UPFA National list MP

October 8 - Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment against the illegal allocation of the state land to a private golf course project - Water's Edge - and fined former president Chandrika Kumaratunge Rs 3 million for her involvement in the deal.

October 22 - Supreme Court ordered the Ceylon Electricity Board to reduce electricity rates from November

October 22 - Navy foiled an LTTE suicide attempt on two merchant ships carrying humanitarian assistance to the North

October 28 - Two LTTE aircraft carried out two air strikes at separate locations for the first time. The first air strike hit the Thalladi military base in Mannar and the second one hit the Kelanitissa power station. However the extent of damage was minimal

Key places liberated - Maniyankulam, Vannerikkulam (58 Div.), Gajabapura (59 Div.), Nochchimodai, Jeyapuram (58 Div.), Akkarayankulam (57 Div.)

November

November 1 - Supreme Court suspended the three environmental levies imposed on telecommunications towers, bulbs of more then 40 watts and the vehicles operating in the Western province

November 3 - Task Force III was formed under the leadership of Brig. Sathyapriya Liyanage

November 4 - Media rights group condemned censoring a Live TV Interview program on government owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation whilst it was broadcasting a discussion on recently proposed regulations on private TV stations

November 8 - Rs 1.19 trillion (US $ 10.8 billion) nationalist budget unveiled with an 8% increase in defence expenditure

November 18 - Task Force IV became operational under the leadership of Col. Nishantha Waniarachchi

November 20 - 1650 tonnes of relief material sent by India for suffering Tamilians in the North arrived in Sri Lanka

November 27 - LTTE chief Prabhakaran cancelled his 54th birthday celebrations

Key places liberated - Kiranchi, Palavi (58 Div.), Kumulamunai (59 Div.), Vallaipadu, Devil's Point, Pooneryn, Nallur (58 Div.), Mankulama (Task Force III), Pooneryn-Paranthan Road 'LTTE Air Strip' (58 Div.), Olumadu Village (Task Force III), Otiyamalai (59 Div.)

December

December 8 - Government dissolved the North Western and Central provinces for the elections scheduled in 2009

December 10 - Former deputy leader of the opposition UNP Karu Jayasuriya resigned from his post to rejoin SLFA

December 16 - Supreme Court suspended the Election Commissioner's decision to exclude UNP national organizer's name from the electoral register

December 17 - Supreme Court ordered the Central government to reduce the prices of petrol from Rs 122 to Rs 100 in accordance with the international rates. Refusal of the government to do so resulted in a row between the executive and the judiciary

December 20 - Navy detected and destroyed a medium-sized LTTE logistics vessel carrying war-like material 70 nautical miles North East of Mullaitheevu

December 28 - Breakaway faction of JVP, JNP signed an agreement with the ruling SLFA to contest future elections together

December 28 - Navy destroyed an LTTE logistic boat killing all the 4 LTTEers in the Northern seas.

Large scale Golden Key credit card fraud came into limelight when the Chairman of the Ceylinco group of which the former was the unregistered company admitted that a top official has been suspended over the issue.

Internal succession struggle erupted within the LTTE with the head of the LTTE Intelligence Unit and that of Black Tigers Pottu Amman being removed by Prabhakaran and replaced by Prabhakaran's personal security in-charge Ratnam Master

98% war with the Tamil Tigers over as the year ended with the entry of the state armed forces in the so-called capital of the LTTE Kilinochchi

Key places liberated - Puliyankulam, Kanakarayankulam (Task Force II), Ampakamam (Task Force III), Nedunkeni (Task Force IV), Sinna-Paranthan (58 Div.), LTTE airstrip 'North of Amkamam (Task Force III), Mulliyawalai (59 Div.), Paranthan (58 Div.)