The Lanka Academic

 
JANUARY 19, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 288

ELECTION RESULTS

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HL:Internal email shows Tories trying to placate Tamil supporters
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 17:45 EST . Bruce Cheadle

OTTAWA (CP) _An internal party email obtained by The Canadian Press indicates the Conservatives moved to placate Tamil voters around Toronto on Thursday after an ill-timed reminder of the party's tough line on the Tamil Tigers organization.

The missive makes it clear the Conservatives are learning the hard lessons of ethnic politics in this country.

The email says Tory candidates in Toronto's east end complained after Deputy Leader Peter MacKay publicly reiterated a proposed ban on Tigers _ apparently not realizing the Conservatives had agreed not to discuss the ban during the election.

Late Thursday, the party released a statement saying it wanted to improve the targeting of Canadian aid to Tamil communities in Sri Lanka and to get more involved in the Norway-brokered peace process.

It's a direct response to a newspaper interview MacKay granted earlier this week.

According to a party email circulating Thursday, MacKay's comments ``have caused trouble for the seven candidates with sizeable Tamil support in and around Scarborough.''

The Conservatives and their foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day have long argued that Canada should place the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, on its list of banned terrorist entities, in keeping with a recommendation from the national spy service.

But with the world's largest Tamil expatriot community centred around Toronto, successive Liberal governments have refused to tackle the issue for obvious electoral reasons.

The email from party official Sandra Buckler to a group of senior strategists, obtained by The Canadian Press, peels back the campaign machinations revolving around the ethnic vote.

``(MacKay) said exactly what Stock said about 18 months (ago),'' Buckler wrote, ``only Peter didn't know that Stock had promised not to talk about the issue during the election _ yikes.''

Conservative MP Jason Kenney denied in interview there was any gag order on discussing the LTTE ban.

``Mr. Day has had ongoing contact with members of the Tamil community, particularly in eastern Toronto and Scarborough,'' said Kenney.

He also denied the Tories have issues with Tamil voters, noting the party has a Tamil candidate in Scarborough-Agincourt. Banning the LTTE is not one of the Conservatives' top priorities, Kenney added, nor is it a significant election issue.

``I think most Canadian voters vote on domestic issues _ bread and butter issues _ and not conflicts 15,000 kilometres away,'' he said.

Nonetheless, the party did have a statement on the issue.

``The Conservative government would not be a passive bystander in the Sri Lankan peace process as the current government has been,'' Kenney said in the interview.

Earlier this week, MacKay told the National Post ``we would list them (the LTTE) if the government changed on Monday.''

``I think we have to be definitive in saying that we certainly support the Tamil community,'' said MacKay. ``But there is a very clear and distinct line that has to be drawn when it comes to terrorist fundraising that we feel is happening in Canada right now, based on CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) reports.''

His comments were picked up Thursday by news organizations in Thailand and Colombo.

Candidates in Toronto's eastern suburbs immediately complained they were getting grief from their large Tamil constituencies, including party workers.

The Conservative campaign reticence is not suprising, but may be somewhat hypocritical.

For years the Tories have accused the Liberals of refusing to ban the Tigers for electoral reasons.

Paul Martin, then the Liberal finance minister, was roundly criticized for attending Tamil events that CSIS said served as LTTE fund raisers.

But with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper set to visit the heavily ethnic riding of candidate Pauline Browes on Saturday, the party is looking for a way to soften MacKay's comments.

According to Buckler's internal e-mail, Browes asked the campaign head office to ``issue a statement confirming our party's support for the peace process in Norway, and that we would ensure Canadian aid reaches Tamil communities.

``This general statement from the central campaign would go to workers, and the local Tamil media.''

By the end of the day, the party brass had complied.

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Published: Thu Jan 19 18:48:39 EST 2006


Sri Lankan parties for resumption of talks
Hindu, january 20. COLOMBO: An all-party meeting convened by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday evening unanimously decided that steps should be taken to resume "immediate talks" between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"The parties agreed that there was a need to resume talks immediately and that steps should be taken to that effect," a senior presidential aide told The Hindu .

The all-party meeting was called by Mr. Rajapakse as part of his efforts to work towards a southern consensus on resuming the stalled peace talks with the LTTE.

Key political leaders including Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of Opposition and former Prime Minister; Somawanse Amarasinghe, leader of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna; G.L. Peiris, former chief negotiator; and leaders from other political parties participated in the meeting. More...

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Published: Thu Jan 19 18:51:24 EST 2006 Back to the top


Two mine blasts kill four, injure 25 in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 06:57 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded anti-personnel mines twice in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing four people and injuring 25 others, the Defense Ministry said.

Twenty soldiers and police and one civilian were injured when suspected Tigers triggered a mine against their truck in Batticaloa, 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of capital, Colombo, the military media unit said. Three police died in the attack, as did one civilian.

Separately, three sailors and a police officer were injured in a suspected rebel mine attack in the eastern town of Trincomalee, 230 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of Colombo, navy spokesman Cmdr. D.K.P Dassanayake said.

Both Trincomalee and Batticaloa fall within the rebels' envisaged homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority.

The attacks came as the Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday extended a state of emergency as continuing separatist violence threatened to plunge the ethnically riven tropical island back into civil war.

Sri Lanka has renewed the state of emergency, which gives police and the military special powers, every month since the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August.

Trincomalee, which serves as a major base for the Sri Lankan navy, has been hit hard by violence blamed on the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who run a de facto state in parts of the north and east of the island. They routinely deny any role in such attacks.

Batticaloa has also been a hotbed of violence, most of it blamed on the Tigers. The area has also seen several tit-for-tat killings between the Tigers and a breakaway faction.

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Published: Thu Jan 19 07:58:50 EST 2006 Back to the top


Students, Parents frustrated with LTTE's attempts to close Jaffna University.
K.S. Rajkumar reporting from Jaffna, January 20. Thousands of students of the University of Jaffna are reportedly angry over LTTE's moves to close down the University... Back to the top

LTTE readying for war against govt
Dawn, January 19, 2006 - 12:09. The time is 7.30 pm. It is an evening with a cup of tea and the television... Back to the top

Tories would list tigers as terrorists
National Post, January 18, 2006. TORONTO - A Conservative government would add the Tamil Tigers to Canada's list of outlawed terrorist groups, deputy leader and public safety critic Peter MacKay said yesterday... Back to the top

Norwegian peace meditator downplays hopes before Sri Lanka visit
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 06:35 EST . OSLO, Norway (AP) Norwegian aid minister and Sri Lanka - peace mediator Erik Solheim downplayed hopes of a breakthrough when he visits the island next week in ending separatist violence threatening to plunge the country back into civil war... Back to the top

Accept devolution , US tells LTTE
newkerala.com, January 19, 2006 - 08:05. Colombo: The US has made it clear to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas that the only way to end the ethnic conflict is to accept devolution of power in the island nation... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president takes first significant step to resume peace talks with Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 02:59 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan president was to plead with opposition parties Thursday to support a resumption of peace talks with the Tamil rebels, officials said, as the country slides closer to civil war amid spiraling violence... Back to the top

Charity match didn t help Sri Lanka, bowler claims
smh.com.au, January 19, 2006 - 12:09. SRI LANKAN bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has accused the charity organisation World Vision of failing to pass on more than $14 million in donations raised at last year's tsunami match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground... Back to the top

Sri Lanka awaits positive outcome about peace efforts
xinhuanet.com, January 19, 2006 - 12:09. COLOMBO, Jan. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- The Sri Lankan government said that it awaits a positive outcome from the forthcoming peace moves with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Nimal Siripala De Silva, minister of health and government spokesman, said "the government will have a positive approach" about a scheduled visit next week by Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim... Back to the top

Parliament extends state of emergency as violence continues in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 03:47 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday extended a state of emergency as continuing separatist violence threatens to plunge the ethnically-riven tropical island back into civil war... Back to the top

Lanka welcomes Balasingham s visit to Wanni to break deadlock
newkerala.com, January 19, 2006 - 08:05. Colombo: The Lankan government today welcomed the coming visit by LTTE's London-based chief negotiator and political advisor Anton Balasingham to Wanni, as a positive move to break the prolonged deadlock between the parties and to advance the Norwegian-brokered peace process... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to stick to one China policy : spokesman
xinhuanet.com, January 19, 2006 - 12:09. COLOMBO, Jan... Back to the top

Sri Lanka aims to raise US$100 mln by selling bonds to citizens ...
people.com.cn, January 19, 2006 - 08:05. The Sri Lankan government aims to raise 100 million US dollars by selling three-year bonds to nonresident Sri Lankan next month, local media said Thursday... Back to the top

Suspected Tamil rebels attack air force vehicle, checkpoint in Trincomalee
Associated Press, Thu January 19, 2006 00:14 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil rebels attacked a vehicle carrying Sri Lankan airmen and threw a hand grenade at a police foot patrol in separate attacks, wounding two security officers and two civilians, the Defense Ministry and police said Thursday... Back to the top

LTTE 'killed one per day'
BBC, 18 Jan 2006. Human Rights Watch (HRW) say that Tamil Tiger killings of political opponents reached the rate of one per day by June 2005... Back to the top

Sri Lanka enacts tough law to stop rebels from laundering money
Associated Press, Wed January 18, 2006 05:40 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's parliament on Wednesday enacted a tough new law against money laundering to fight crimes like terrorism and drug trafficking and to help track Tamil Tiger rebel finances a government spokesman said... Back to the top

Ex-IRA negotiator sees N.Ireland parallels in S.Lanka
reuters.co.uk, January 18, 2006 - 11:43 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka can learn from the Northern Irish peace process as it tries to avoid a return to civil war, former senior IRA member and Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness said on Wednesday... Back to the top

Analysis: Tamil rebels keep pressure on Sri Lankan president amid ...
reliefweb.int, 18 Jan 2006. Colombo_(dpa) _ After four years of peace, the fear of renewed civil war has gripped Sri Lankans again, with escalating violence in the north and eastern parts of the country prompting some residents to flee their homes to safer areas... Back to the top

Wijesoma no more
BBC, Janaury 18, 2006. Wijesoma who was serving the Upali newspaper group immortalised the cartoon character "Punchisingho"... Back to the top

Sri Lanka sends more troops north
aljazeera.net, Wednesday 18 January 2006. Sri Lanka has deployed more troops in Trincomalee fearing further rebel attacks as Scandinavian monitors pulled out of the area... Back to the top

Sri Lanka deploy more troops in restive Trincomalee, one soldier wounded in grenade attack
Associated Press, Wed January 18, 2006 04:17 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan military deployed more troops in the strategic port city of Trincomalee on Wednesday, a day after European cease-fire monitors suspended operations there, local residents said... Back to the top

Lanka set to make Indian Vanaspati Industry extinct
newkerala.com, January 18, 2006 - 11:43 EDT. By Sudhakar, New Delhi: The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement signed in 2000 is taking toll on the health of the Indian Vanaspati industry... Back to the top

Nordic countries condemn attack on Sri Lanka peace monitors+
Associated Press, Wed January 18, 2006 05:28 EST . - - Unknown attackers detonated explosives under a vehicle parked on the premises of the Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission's office in Batticaloa, damaging four vehicles but causing no injuries... Back to the top

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