The Lanka Academic

 
JULY 30, 2004 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 5, NO. 116

TLA FEATURE CORNER
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Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan President meets Thai PM Shinawatra
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, July 30, 2004, 02.17 p.m.. President Chandrika Kumaratunga met the Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for bilateral talks in Bangkok today.

The Presidential Secretariat said, “Following the bilateral talks between the two leaders, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and his Thai counterpart Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai signed a treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters. Five more MoUs and bilateral agreements between Sri Lanka and Thailand are due to be signed today.

Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and Thailand will sign an MoU on Bilateral Cooperation on IT, while Sri Lankan Minister of Agriculture Anura Dissanayake and Thailand Agricultural Minister Somsak Thepsuthin are scheduled to sign two MoUs on Agricultural Cooperation and Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Chandresena Wijesinghe and Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, will also sign an agreement on bilateral Cooperation on Fisheries.
Published: Fri Jul 30 04:19:02 EDT 2004


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Tamil Tiger rebels release 34 child soldiers for rehabilitation
Associated Press, Fri July 30, 2004 08:58 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's Tamil Tiger rebels have released 34 child soldiers, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said Friday.

The 21 girls and 13 boys ages 14-17 were released Thursday to a UNICEF-administered transit center in the rebels' northern heartland of Kilinochchi, said Geoffrey Keele, a spokesman for the agency.

``UNICEF welcomes the release of these children'' and ``looks forward to a renewed commitment by the (Tamil Tigers) to cease all child recruitment and to release those children currently in their ranks,'' Keele said.

However, he also sharply castigated the rebels for continuing to conscript child soldiers.

``Over the past three months, recruitment of children by the (Tamil Tigers) has continued despite commitments the organization made to cease all underage conscription,'' he said. ``This is simply unacceptable and all recruitment must cease now.''

More than 1,000 child fighters were freed in April after an unprecedented split in the rebel group.

The guerrillas are believed to have used 4,000 children in their 19-year fight for a separate homeland for the country's minority ethnic Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people died in the fighting.

The government and rebels signed a cease-fire in February 2002, and a year ago the guerrillas vowed to release all child combatants.

International truce monitors have accused the guerillas of violating a 29-month truce nearly 2,500 times, largely through recruiting child soldiers.
Published: Fri Jul 30 11:08:33 EDT 2004 Back to the top


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Tamil politicians welcome Sri Lankan government's compromise
Associated Press, Fri July 30, 2004 01:41 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Tamil Tiger-backed political party on Friday welcomed a government decision to negotiate a power-sharing deal offered by the rebels, in a major compromise that could revive stalled peace talks.

``This is a very welcome step,'' said Kanagalingam Sivajilingam of Tamil National Alliance, whose 22 lawmakers represent Tamil interests in the 225-seat Sri Lankan Parliament.

``Our party will fully back the government in its efforts,'' he said.

The Sri Lankan government on Thursday dropped its long-standing refusal to discuss the rebel proposals to form an autonomous interim authority in the war-affected northeast.

Jayantha Dhanapala, a top official handling the government's peace efforts, said that President Chandrika Kumaratunga was willing to discuss the rebel blueprint, along with the government's own proposals.

Kumaratunga's government had long said that such an autonomy arrangement eventually would lead to secession, and peace talks have been deadlocked over the issue.

Norway, which negotiated a February 2002 cease-fire, warned Wednesday that the long delay in resuming peace talks stalled since April 2003 could push the island nation back into war.

That warning appears to have worried the government.

``Thunder, lightning or rain, we are ready for negotiations,'' the state-run Daily News on Friday quoted government spokesman Mangala Samaraweera as saying.

The Daily News said the government has ``brushed aside speculation that the country was heading for another war and stressed that it was committed to an early resumption of peace talks with the LTT to achieve lasting peace and an end to ethnic strife.''

The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam rebels launched a violent campaign in 1983 to carve out a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, alleging discrimination at the hands of majority Sinhalese. About 65,000 people were killed before the Oslo-brokered truce leading to peace talks.

The Tigers withdrew from the talks in April 2003 demanding broad powers in an administration that could organize rehabilitation of the war-torn northeast, which they said had been neglected by the central government.
Published: Fri Jul 30 05:53:01 EDT 2004 Back to the top


Love of cricket unites Sri Lanka
bbc.co.uk, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Belonging to the minority Tamil community, Pradeep Jayprakash is a promising 19-year-old fast bowler in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

White elephant spotted in Sri Lanka
nature.com, Published online: 30 July 2004;. Albino pachyderm may boost conservation efforts. Helen Pilcher A rare albino elephant has been spotted roaming Sri Lanka's Ruhunu National Park, the first recorded sighting in the country... Back to the top

World News Sri Lanka ruling coalition divided on peace talks:
newkerala.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's efforts to revive peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels on the basis of an interim power sharing proposal have been opposed by one of her main coalition partners, Xinhua reports... Back to the top

Lanka is firm on peace
gulf-daily-news.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Lanka is 'firm on peace' COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's government said yesterday it was doing everything it could to restart talks with Tamil Tiger rebels on ending a civil war, but complained there was no matching commitment by the guerillas... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Opposition Will Support Peace Talks, BBC Reports
bloomberg.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's opposition United National Party said it will support President Chandrika Kumaratunga's efforts to revive peace talks with Tamil rebels, the British Broadcasting Corp... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to set up separate zone for Indian investors
hinduonnet.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Colombo, July 30. (PTI): Sri Lanka will set up a separate industrial zone for Indian investors following a request from the new Congress-led UPA Government, Investment Promotion Minister Anura Bandaranaike said here today... Back to the top

India should mediate between Lankan political parties
hindustantimes.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. A former top official at the Sri Lankan Peace Secretariat, Kalyananda Godage, has suggested that India should mediate between the Chandrika Kumaratunga government and the leader of the Opposition in Sri Lanka, to help them arrive at a "southern consensus" on the ethnic question, the peace process, and talks with the LTTE... Back to the top

Thailand and Sri Lanka set to bolster economic cooperation
vnagency.com.vn, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand is set to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka to increase trade between the two countries... Back to the top

Team morale high after Super League win over Lanka: Dravid
hinduonnet.com, July 30, 2004 09:00 EDT. Colombo, July 30. (PTI): The fight-to-the-end and subsequent win in their last Super League match against Sri Lanka has raised the morale of the team ahead of the Sunday final, says Indian Vice-Captain Rahul Dravid... Back to the top

Hassled by wides and no-balls, coach Woolmer condones Sami's dubious record
Associated Press, Fri July 30, 2004 05:00 EDT . SANDEEP NAKAI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Pakistan paceman Mohammed Sami's dubious distinction of bowling the longest over in one-day cricket has evoked sympathy from coach Bob Woolmer, who says bowlers occasionally suffer such nightmares... Back to the top

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