The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 291


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Powerful explosion rocks eastern Batticaloa
Shimali Senanayake, January 23rd, 2006, 8:00 am SLT. A claymore mine explosion shook Batticaloa on Monday, just as the Tamil Tigers chief negotiator boarded a government helicopter to the rebel capital of Kilinochchi.

At least three soldiers were killed and two injured in the blast in Urani, about three kilometers from the town, said Rohan Abeywardene, police chief in the area.

He said the soldiers were on a foot patrol when the explosion occurred. Clearing operations were in progress.

Anton Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue arrived from London early Monday, and headed to Kilinoochchi at the break of light.

He was accompanied by representatives from the Norwegian embassy and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission amid fears that the air force helicopter may be shot down on its return.

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Published: Sun Jan 22 23:01:26 EST 2006

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New suspected rebel attack kills 3 S.Lanka soldiers  -

Top Norwegian peace broker arrives amid efforts to save Sri Lanka from plunging back to war
Shimali Senanayake, January 23rd, 2006, 7:00 am SLT. Norway's top peace broker arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday, for crucial talks with the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels aimed at halting weeks of deadly violence and an imminent outbreak of war.

Norway's development minister Erik Solheim, will try to break a deadlock between the parties on where to hold the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides in nearly three years.

President Mahinda Rajapakse has already informed the peace brokers that the government is willing to hold talks in "any destination," other than the Norwegian capital Oslo.

The government earlier conveyed its flexibility over a venue for talks by agreeing to move out of Sri Lanka to an Asian destination. But the rebels have continued to stick to their guns and insisted that any meeting had to take place in Oslo.

Colombo now hopes that the Tigers will be agreeable to any other European destination with the exception of Oslo and the 25 European Union nations where there's a travel restriction on the rebels.

The government also hopes that Solheim will be able to impress upon the rebels the need to end the surge of violence that has killed more than 100 people in seven weeks, mostly security forces in deadly claymore mine attacks. The Tigers have consistently denied involvement.

Solheim is scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera later Monday, ahead of a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday. He will meet LTTE supreme Velupillai Prabhakaran for a decisive meeting on Wednesday, in the rebel-capital of Kilinochchi.

The rebels' chief negotiator Anton Balasingham arrived in the island just hours before Solheim, and spent about three hours in a hotel close to the air port before being whisked to Kilinochchi in a Sri Lankan air force helicopter, along with his Australian-born wife Adele. Representatives of Norwegian embassy, truce monitors and the government's peace secretariat accompanied the couple for security assurances amid fears of rebel attacks on the air craft's return.

The main objective of his visit is to play a vital role during talks between Solheim and Prabhakaran, whom he's set to meet later Monday for closed-door sessions. Balasingham's input is expected to infuse some moderation into the Tigers stand and push for the revival of negotiations with the Sri Lankan government.

U.S. State Department No: 3 Nicholas Burns, who arrived in the island on Sunday is also expected to press the parties for an early resumption of talks.

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 to carve out an independent homeland for the island's 3.2 million Tamil minority, who claim discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The fighting killed nearly 65,000 before Norway brokered a cease-fire in February 2002. But subsequent peace talks collapsed in April 2003 amid rebel demands for wide autonomy in the Tamil-dominated north and east. Despite international pressure, efforts to revive the talks have failed, and the unprecedented violence in recent weeks has prompted European truce monitors to warn that an outbreak of war was not far off.

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Published: Sun Jan 22 22:49:57 EST 2006 Back to the top

UN worried over Sri Lankan Tamil refugees fleeing to India, Jan. 22. Expressing concern over Sri Lankan Tamil refugees fleeing to India, the United Nations has said it was a sign of the deteriorating security situation in the island. "Although small, this is the first arrival of refugees at Rameswaram reported since January 2003, and points to a worrisome deterioration of the security situation in the north and east of Sri Lanka," William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said. More...
Published: Sun Jan 22 23:32:57 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's president calls for talks with Tigers; ``Don't take my patience as my weakness''
Associated Press, Sun January 22, 2006 03:47 EST . DILIP GANGULY Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday called for immediate talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels to halt spiraling violence threatening Sri Lanka's four-year-old cease-fire and taking this tropical island again toward the brink of war... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's military says it finds suspected rebel arsenal
Associated Press, Sun January 22, 2006 05:11 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The military has discovered a suspected rebel cache of anti-personnel mines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition hidden in a bush in eastern Sri Lanka, the Defense Ministry said Sunday... Back to the top

S.Lanka army reports mystery blasts in rebel areas, 22 Jan 2006 05:28:00 GMT. COLOMBO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Two blasts rocked rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka's northwest and may have been aimed at a convoy carrying senior guerrilla leaders, newspapers and military officials said on Sunday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan President offers venues other than Oslo for talks, Jan 22, IRNA. Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapakse has offered five countries, other than the Norwegian capital, as an lternative venue for fresh dialogue... Back to the top

Senior US official arrives in Sri Lanka, Jan. 22. COLOMBO, Jan. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Nicholas Burns, a top U.S. State Department official has arrived in Sri Lanka to push forward the country's peace process, airport officials said Sunday... Back to the top

Canadian Tiger supporters in quandry as Conservative party turns against LTTE.
Roy Edwards reporting from Toronto, January 21. LTTE front organizations in Toronto are ina quandry , as the Conservative party deputy leader and public safety critic Peter MacKay said that the 'Conservatives will put LTTE in the list of banned terrorist organization'... Back to the top

Jayasuriya's comeback century gives Sri Lanka 51-run win over Australia
Associated Press, Sun January 22, 2006 06:36 EST . - - SYDNEY, Australia (AP) Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya scored a dashing comeback century Sunday, reviving his flagging career and guiding Sri Lanka - to a 51-run win over Australia in a tri-series limited-overs cricket match... Back to the top

Tamil rebels accuse Sri Lankan military of attempted attack after explosion in rebel area
Associated Press, Sat January 21, 2006 13:23 EST . DILIP GANGULY Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels accused the army on Saturday of sending commandoes to assassinate top guerrilla leaders after an apparent explosion was heard in rebel-controlled territory... Back to the top

Police kill two suspected Tamil guerrillas in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat January 21, 2006 04:31 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two suspected Tamil Tiger rebels were killed and a police officer was injured Saturday in a shootout at a checkpoint in northern Sri Lanka - , the military said... Back to the top

India, wary of LTTE, watches Solheim trip, 22 Jan 2006. By M.R. Narayan Swamy, New Delhi: India will be watching closely as Norwegian facilitator Erik Solheim visits Sri Lanka Monday to try to end a wave of killings that have made a mockery of an already tottering peace process... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: The tsunami legacy One year on... where is the relief?
socialist, January 21. WORKING PEOPLE around the world gave generously in order to support the victims of the 2004 tsunami - well before their respective governments began to release their statements of sympathy... Back to the top

FEATURE-S.Lanka s Tamil tea workers head for new pastures, 22 Jan 2006 00:59:49 GM. NUWARA ELIYA, Sri Lanka, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Manickam Paneerselbam doesn't know how many generations ago the British brought his family from India to labour on Sri Lanka's tea plantations, but he vows to be the last of them to work there... Back to the top

Rajapaksa rules out war, but rejects Oslo as talks venue
Hindustan Times, January 21. The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out a return to war even as he categorically rejected the LTTE's demand that the first round of talks be held in the Norwegian capital of Oslo... Back to the top

Learning to Listen: Technology And Poor Communities, January 21. Bernadine Dias a Sri Lankan-born scientist based at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), United States, admits she "wears many hats"... Back to the top

S.Lanka war inevitable if no progress-senior rebel
Reuters, 21 Jan 2006 04:15:00 GMT.
By Peter Apps SAMPOOR, Sri Lanka, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will return to war unless progress is made soon in the island's deadlocked peace process, a senior rebel said just days ahead of a visit by Norwegian peace broker Erik Solheim... Back to the top

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