The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 271


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka bomb blast kills five, Monday, 2 January 2006. A bomb blast in the eastern Sri Lankan town of Trincomalee has killed five people and wounded two, police say. They said the victims were all young Tamils from the area, about 250km (150 miles) north-east of Colombo. It is the latest in a string of deadly blasts in the north and east linked to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. More than 40 soldiers have died in the violence. The government blames the attacks on Tamil Tiger rebels. A ceasefire between the two sides is under severe strain. More...
Published: Mon Jan 2 14:23:54 EST 2006

Some in Sri Lanka See Civil War on Horizon
Associated Press, Mon January 2, 2006 12:57 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) When the clock strikes midnight, Sri Lanka - 's Tamil Tiger rebels change a note at the top of their Web site. The cease-fire agreement ``enters into 1409 days today,'' it read Monday. What many Sri Lankans are asking, though, is when will the updates stop and the cease-fire end? illion people displaced and large parts of northern and eastern Sri Lanka - under Tiger rule.

But after six rounds of peace talks, negotiations ended in April 2004. An uneasy peace has held ever since.

The last talks failed over the rebel demand for autonomy, which the government believed could be a major step toward dividing the nation of 19 million into one state for majority Sinhalese and another for the minority Tamils. President Mahinda Rajapakse won Nov. 17 elections on a pledge that he would never allow the country to be divided.

The Tigers have already created a de facto state in the island's north and east, home to most of the country's 3.2 million Tamils, complete with their own military, judicial system and even traffic police.

Suddenly, though, many observers are worrying that the Tigers, with the spate of attacks on government forces, may be trying to begin the fight again.

``The LTTE appears intent on forcing a war upon the government'' said Jehan Perera, an independent political analyst. ``The LTTE is making it evident that it is prepared for war.''

The rebels may want war now because they may be ready for it while the government is not.

``The LTTE has tons of money and in the past three years they have regrouped and rearmed with latest weapons smuggled in,'' said Goonetilleke. In the past three years, three rebel ships have been stopped or chased away trying to unload arms.

The rebels have held back from war, at least in part, because of their wish for recognition as a political movement. Many countries, including United States and India, now call them terrorists.

``The LTTE's strong desire for international recognition is a factor that needs to be built into any government strategy'' for talks, said Perera.

The rebels have denied any involvement in recent killings and say they are ready for talks. They accuse the government of trying to isolate them from the international community.

However, the careful planning and execution of recent attacks make the Tigers the main suspects, given their expertise.

The rebels are considered a formidable military machine. They recruit boys as young as 13 and make members wear cyanide capsules around their necks so they can commit suicide if captured. They run training camps and equip their 3,000-4,000 fighters with tiger-striped uniforms and sophisticated arms. And they have tens of thousands of sympathizers.

On the other hand, the Sri Lankan government is cash-starved.

In the 2006 budget, the defense allocation of $892 million has little set aside for new weaponry, said Goonetilleke. The new military commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, admits that much of the military hardware is obsolete.

The rebels draw their funds from an estimated 800,000 Tamil expatriates, including many who fled the country after the 1983 anti-Tamil riots that also saw the beginning of the civil war.

``Like many Sri Lankans, I think we have hope,'' said Sujatha de Silva, a resident of Colombo who is also worried about war breaking out anew.

``But the deaths are scary and may be pointing at something dreadful.''

On the Net:

LTTE site:
Published: Mon Jan 2 14:30:32 EST 2006 Back to the top

New Zealand wins toss, bowls in Sri Lanka one-dayer
Associated Press, Mon January 2, 2006 17:55 EST . - - CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and put Sri Lanka - in to bat Tuesday in the third of five limited-overs cricket internationals at Jade Stadium. ``It's what we've done in the last few games and it's worked pretty well for us. If Sri Lanka - get the sort of total Australia did here then hopefully the result will be the same.''

The first match of the series was played on Dec. 26, 2004, the same day on which the tsunami hit Sri Lanka - , killing more than 31,000 people and forcing the Sri Lankan team's return home.

New Zealand won the second match of the resumed series by seven wickets at Queenstown on Saturday as Sri Lanka - was dismissed for 163.

``That wasn't our prettiest batting performance but it can only improve and we're hoping for a better effort today,'' said captain Marvan Atapattu.

New Zealand named an unchanged team for the match with Nathan Astle again in the super-sub role. Captain Stephen Fleming remains unavailable after the recent birth of his first child but will rejoin the team for the fourth match at Wellington on Friday.

Sri Lanka - made several changes, adding Farveez Maharoof to its staring lineup and omitting Sanath Jayasuriya because of illness. Jehan Mubarak was named super sub.


New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Lou Vincent, Jamie How, Peter Fulton, Hamish Marshall, Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Shane Bond. Super sub: Nathan Astle.

Sri Lanka - : Marvan Atapattu (captain), Chaminda Vaas, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Russel Arnold, Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof. Super sub: Jehan Mubarak.

Umpires: Darrell Hair, Australia, and Gary Baxter, New Zealand; TV umpire: Tony Hill, New Zealand.

Match referee: Alan Hurst, Australia.
Published: Mon Jan 2 19:16:21 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka appoints special panel to probe northern violence, January 02, 2006. A special presidential panel has been appointed to look into the incidents of violence which gripped the country's Northern Province during December, a state television news broadcast here said Sunday... Back to the top

Earthquake on other side of world sparks fear of tsunami in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Mon January 2, 2006 09:57 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) News of an earthquake in the South Atlantic Ocean sent some victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, living on the other side of the world in Sri Lanka - , fleeing inland from their temporary homes on the coast... Back to the top

More than 100 Sri Lankan Tamil families flee to rebel-held areas, fearing violence
Associated Press, Mon January 2, 2006 04:13 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Scores of minority ethnic Tamil families in northern Sri Lanka - have sought refuge in territory controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels, a Web site and the military said Monday, following a spate of violence that threatens the country's cease-fire... Back to the top

South Asia free trade zone takes effect
Associated Press, Sun January 1, 2006 05:25 EST . - - The South Asian Free Trade Area, encompassing India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka - , the Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan, will benefit the region's 1.5 billion people, 60 percent of whom are poor, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said... Back to the top

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels abduct member of rival Tamil group: military
Associated Press, Sun January 1, 2006 01:39 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels abducted a member of a Tamil group that opposes the guerrillas' violent campaign for a separate homeland for the ethnic minority, the military said Sunday... Back to the top

Asia Cup: Indian eves beat Sri Lanka, Sunday, January 1, 2006 . Indian eves trounced Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to continue their unbeaten streak in the Women's Asia Cup at the Gymkhana grounds in Karachi on Sunday... Back to the top

Soldiers injured in Jaffna attack
BBC, 01 January, 2006 . Two Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officers have been injured in a grenade attack in Jaffna... Back to the top

MDMK cautions Centre against defence pact with Sri Lanka, January 01, 2006 7:18:32 PM IST. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) has cautioned the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government against entering into any defence pact with Sri Lanka, saying President Mahinda Rajapakse might "use it to unleash violence against Tamils"... Back to the top

Dateline Colombo: Invitation to Sonia Gandhi, 12/31/2005 3:0:48. President Mahinda Rajapakse has extended an invitation to Congress Leader Sonia Gandhi to attend the first Rajiv Gandhi memorial oration to be held in Sri Lanka next year... Back to the top

Lankan doctors oblivious to a drug's danger
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, January 1, 2006, 10.04 p.m.. Sri Lankan doctors and pharmacies are continuing to prescribe and sell 'Seroxat' (also known as Paroxetine), the anti-depressant, despite its severe implications against one's health, including birth defects in the event pregnant mothers take this tablet... Back to the top

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