Sri Lanka's president said Wednesday the Tamil Tiger rebels were on the verge of defeat, but dozens of civilians were reported killed as fierce fighting continued in Asia's longest-running civil war. In a national day address, President Mahinda Rajapakse said he was confident the Tigers would be finished within days, even as the United States and Britain called for a ceasefire to get trapped civilians to safety. But the rebels fighting for a separate Tamil homeland battled on, with a UN spokesman saying the heavy shelling had killed more than 50 civilians late Tuesday and forced the evacuation of the only hospital in the battle zone.