The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 293


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Five explosions in and around Sri Lankan capital
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 24th, 2006, 9:30 pm. At least five explosions took place in and around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Tuesday, the military and police said.

There were no casualties but police believe the explosions were synchronize d.

"The blasts appear to be organized," said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. "We can't say immediately who is responsible."

One explosion in the heart of the city took place in a garbage dump, he sai d.

Two others in the suburban towns of Mt. Lavinia and Nugegoda were near railway tracks, police in the area said, when contacted by telephone. It was not immediately clear if the explosions damaged the tracks.

The other two blasts were near a bus stand and a fertilizer store. Police had commenced investigations.

The explosions took place hours ahead of Norway's top peace envoy Erik Solheim heading to the rebel capital of Kilinochchi for talks with Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, to save Sri Lanka from sliding back to war.

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Published: Tue Jan 24 11:15:28 EST 2006

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Sri Lankan capital hit by four explosions, police say to create panic  - Associated Press
Small blast in S.Lanka capital, no one hurt-police  - Reuters
Explosion heard in Sri Lankan capital  - Associated Press
Four explosions in and around Sri Lankan capital  - Shimali Senanayake in Colombo

Sri Lanka president pushes for peace talks as violence mounts
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 24th, 2006, 8:00 pm. Three people were shot dead on Tuesday, even as Sri Lanka's president showed flexibility on a venue and pushed for early peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to avert a return to civil war.

President Mahinda Rajapakse held one-on-one talks with peace envoy Erik Solheim for over an hour, officials involved in the peace process said on condition of anonymity.

Rajapakse had indicated that he was willing to move away from his earlier insistence of talks in an Asian destination, the officials said. The government was now willing to hold talks even in Europe other than the Norwegian capital of Oslo, and the European Union nations in which the rebels have been slapped with travel restrictions, they said.

"The venue is not the most important issue here. It's getting the talks started," Nimal Siripala de Silva, Cabinet spokesman said on Tuesday. "We can be flexible, now it's up to the LTTE." However, the rebels have continued to insist that face-to-face talks with the Sri Lankan government cannot take place anywhere else other than Oslo. Norway, which has been pushing for a compromise has said they are willing to facilitate talks "even on the moon." "The key issue is not the venue, but what they discuss when they meet," Solheim told the Foreign Correspondents' Association on Monday. But the parties have been haggling over the venue for months and any consensus will be seen as a positive move toward peace. Meanwhile, violence in Sri Lanka's north and east continued unabated. A provincial reporter for the Tamil language newspaper Sudar Oli was shot dead on his way to work by unknown gunmen, in Sri Lanka's restive port-town of Trincomalee. Hours later two men were gunned down in separate incidents in the north and east. All three men belonged to Sri Lanka's 3.2 Tamil ethnic minority. Police said the assailants in all three incidents had fled the scene but investigations were continuing.

Solheim is set to hold crucial talks with Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on Wednesday, in the rebel-capital Kilinochchi. The rebels chief negotiator Anton Balasingham, who arrived from his London home to Kilinochchi for the meeting said, "These talks will decide the future of the peace process."

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Published: Tue Jan 24 10:12:24 EST 2006 Back to the top

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Sri Lankan leader gives green light to peace talks as Tamil rebels prepare for renewed war  - Associated Press
Norway peace envoy meets with Sri Lankan president as rebels prepare for return to war  - Associated Press

Tamil newspaper journalist shot dead in Sri Lanka’s volatile east
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 24th, 2006, 9:30 am. An unidentified gunman on Tuesday shot and killed a reporter of a Tamil language newspaper in restive eastern Sri Lanka, police said.

“He was shot on his way to work,” said Rohan Abeywardene, police chief of the region. S. S. Rajan, 37, worked for the Sudar Oli newspaper in the port-town of Trincomalee.

“He used to cover news stories and write political columns,” said V. Danaraj, a shocked sub-editor at the newspaper’s head-office in Colombo.

Abeywardene said the assailant had fled the scene but police had commenced investigations.

In August, unidentified attackers hurled a grenade at the Sudar Oli office in Colombo, killing one person and injuring three others.

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Published: Mon Jan 23 23:27:08 EST 2006 Back to the top

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Two Tamils shot dead as Norway pushes S.Lanka peace  -
LTTE condemns Tamil journalist s killing  -

Murali reaches 400 wickets but South Africa upsets Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Tue January 24, 2006 06:54 EST . ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan surpassed 400 wickets in one-day internationals Tuesday but couldn't prevent South Africa from beating Sri Lanka - by nine runs to keep alive its chances of winning cricket's limited-overs tri-series... Back to the top

Blasts in Sri Lanka coincide with peace mission, January 24, 2006 - 16:00 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Five explosions rocked Sri Lanka's capital on Tuesday, injuring no one but panicking the city as Norwegian peace broker Erik Solheim prepared to meet Tamil Tiger rebels in a last-ditch bid to salvage a 2002 truce... Back to the top

Tamil journalist gunned down in Trincomalee after covering paramilitary abuses
RSF, January 24. Reporters Without Borders today condemned the murder of Subramaniyam Sugirdharajan, a correspondent of the Tamil-language daily Sudar Oli in the eastern city of Trincomalee, who was gunned down early this morning after writing yesterday about the abuses committed in his region by Tamil paramilitary groups... Back to the top

Top U.S. envoy blasts Tamil Tiger rebels for mounting violence; urges talks
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 23rd, 2006, 8:00 pm SLT. The United States on Monday called Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels a "reprehensible terrorist group," and warned it will have no relationship with the guerrillas unless it desists from violence... Back to the top

Protests as peace envoy meets Sri Lanka president, 24 January 2006 . COLOMBO - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse met a Norwegian peace broker on Tuesday as diplomats tried to avert a return to civil war, but in the north protesters burnt his effigy and accused the army of killing civilians... Back to the top

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