The Lanka Academic

 
FEBRUARY 8, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 308

ELECTION RESULTS

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Sri Lanka 's former president returns lavish land grant+
Associated Press, Wed February 8, 2006 07:59 EST . COLOMBO, Feb. 8 (Kyodo) _ Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said Wednesday she was immediately returning to the state prime urban land granted to her free of charge by the government she headed.

Kumaratunga's office said in a statement that she had by letter dated Tuesday informed the government that she had decided to return the land ''granted to her on a unanimous decision taken by the cabinet of ministers of the previous government.''

The land, conservatively valued at about $3 million, was granted by the Urban Development Authority.

There have been press reports that the attorney general had opposed the gift, arguing that the Urban Development Authority may part with land under its purview only for an ''urban development purpose.''

Victor Ivan, the editor of the Sinhalese-language weekly newspaper Ravaya, has gone to court challenging the land grant as illegal and the case has been listed for hearing.

The statement issued by Kumaratunga's office on the return of the land said the grant was made to her on the basis of her decision to forego several entitlements including a monthly pension, official residence and other perks of a former president.

Critics noted that the land was granted to her freehold whereas all perquisites of a former president were limited to her lifetime.

The government has provided Kumaratunga with a security detail, several official vehicles including armored luxury vehicles, and an office and staff.

Kumaratunga said that she had not claimed compensation from the state for the ''political assassination'' of her film star husband and serious injuries, including the permanent loss of one eye, when the Tamil Tigers attempted to assassinate her during the presidential election campaign in 1999.

In her letter to the urban development minister, Kumaratunga also said her family surrendered thousands of acres to the state under a land-reform law promulgated by the government of her mother, Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike.

The Bandaranaike family, like others who had to give up their land under that law, was compensated by the state.

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Published: Wed Feb 8 09:32:14 EST 2006


Sri Lanka seeks changes to truce with Tigers
zeenews.com, Feb 08, 2006. Sri Lanka will seek to amend the ceasefire agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels during negotiations in Geneva later this month despite opposition from the guerrillas, official sources said today.

President Mahinda Rajapakse told his negotiators to ensure that promises in his election manifesto titled 'Mahinda Chinthana', or Mahinda philosophy, are followed in dealing with the rebels.

"Everyone should take action in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana which was put forward before the people," state television quoted the President as saying while addressing a two-day workshop for his negotiators.

Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday ruled out discussing a political solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict during talks in Geneva later this month and said only their faltering truce should be on the agenda.

But a politician at Rajapakse's meeting in Colombo yesterday said the President was keen for the truce deal to be revisited in a bid to strengthen it and halt violence. More...
Published: Wed Feb 8 16:08:07 EST 2006 Back to the top


LTTE cadres running riot in Qatar, a dissident cadre severely injured
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, February 8, 2006, 1.29 p.m.. The LTTE dissident group led by Karuna today alleged that LTTE Leader Prabhakaran's paramilitary groups are running riot in Qatar, targeting several of their cadres after attempts by the Vanni faction to persuade these cadres to join Prabhakaran's camp once again failed.

The latest victim is 26-year-old Manoharan alias Kuruvi, one of the numerous members of Karuna's faction now working in Qatar.

According to the Faction's political party spokesman Thooyavan, Kuruvi is in a critical condition in the Intensive Unit of Ahamed Hospital, (General Hospital) in Doha Qatar after he was hit on the head with a steel crowbar when he was fast asleep.

"After Col. Karuna dismantled his defense force, Kuruvi was one of the cadres that joined the labour force in Qatar," Thooyavan pointed out.

He is employed as a cleaner in the International Cleaning Company (ICC) in Qatar and was living in one of the two camps of the company located at Sanya 49, Doha, Qatar. It is estimated that over a thousand of Col. Karuna's cadres re-located themselves in Qatar after he dismantled his force. An intelligence squad from the LTTE paramilitary group was dispatched to Qatar to win back Col Karuna's cadres to return to ranks of the LTTE. Tiger's Intelligence chief of the paramilitary group in Batticaloa Keerthi is in command of this operation.

"The intelligence squad from the LTTE paramilitary group, headed by Mathan of Palugamam, met with the members of the Karuna group in the two ICC camps. Their mission was to persuade the members of the Karuna group to abandon Col. Karuna and return to Batticaloa to fight the final battle with the Sri Lanka Government with the LTTE para military group," Thooyavan claimed.

However, the Karuna group in Qatar is reported to have rejected the offers made Mathan. So having failed in his mission, Mathan returned to Sri Lanka to report the stiff resistance he faced from Col. Karuna's group to Keerthi. It was after this that Sukasan, another intelligence agent from Palugamam who is currently working in Qatar, launched his anti-Karuna campaign aggressively in the ICC camps. He is the official representative of LTTE paramilitary group working in the ICC camps.

"On the 3rd February, a group of intelligence cadres led by Sukasan entered the ICC camps and vandalized the photographs of Colonel Karuna which was displayed very prominently in both camps," Thooyavan, spokesman for Karuna's political party," TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal.

"Subsequently on 06 February when Kuruvi was in his camp room, fast asleep, agents of the LTTE paramilitary group, specially sent from Batticaloa entered Kuruvi's room stealthily, and dealt a serious blow with a steel crowbar on his head . The assailants slipped away," he said.

Kuruvi was admitted to the general hospital in Doha Qatar and his condition is still critical. Latest reports from Qatar states that the local police have arrested Sukasan for the alleged attempt on the life of Kuruvi and the investigations are continuing. According to reports from Batticaloa Kuruvi is a handicapped person from Sittandy. He is a member of TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. He left for Qatar in the latter part of May 2004, after the military wing of the TMVP was dismantled by its leader V. Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna.

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Published: Wed Feb 8 02:33:05 EST 2006 Back to the top


Opposition politicians defect to Sri Lanka 's governing party
Associated Press, Wed February 8, 2006 05:57 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Eighteen local opposition politicians joined Sri Lanka's ruling coalition on Wednesday, saying they wanted to strengthen the president's hand to negotiate peace with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to sell $500m bonds to cancel old debt
dailytimes.com.pk, Wed 8th Feb 08:15GMT. Sri Lanka will sell $500 million worth of bonds, probably dollar denominated, on international markets by the end of May to raise funds to cancel out old debt raised in the 1980s and 1990s, the islandís Treasury Secretary said on Monday... Back to the top

LTTE to discuss only CFA at Geneva
hindustantimes.com, February 08 2006, - 07:36 EDT. The LTTE has made it abundantly clear that it will resist attempts by the Sri Lankan government to discuss issues other than the implementation of the existing Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) at the forthcoming talks in Geneva... Back to the top

UN legal expert due on visit
Sassanka Samarakkody, gulf-times.com, Wed 8th Feb 08:15GMT. Chief of the Treaty Section in the United Nations Legal Affairs Office Dr Palitha Kohona is to arrive in Colombo this week on the governmentís invitation to advise President Mahinda Rajapakse on the peace process... Back to the top

TULF refutes LTTE claim
Sassanka Samarakkody, gulf-times.com, Wed 8th Feb 08:15GMT. TAMIL United Liberation Front (TULF) president V Anandasangaree has condemned the claim of an LTTE leader that the claymore mine attack on the military was carried out by civilians, and not by the rebel group... Back to the top

Sri Lanka trains for tough talks with Tamil Tigers
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, February 7th, 2006, 10:00 am. The government's peace team on Tuesday began training in negotiation skills as they braced for tough talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels set for Feb... Back to the top

LTTE not to discuss political solution at Geneva
IRNA, february 7. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said they will not discuss political solution to the island's ethnic conflict during the upcoming talks with Sri Lankan government in Geneva... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels confirm participation of six-member delegation at Geneva talks
Associated Press, Tue February 7, 2006 06:39 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Tamil Tiger rebels said Tuesday they will send six delegates to this month's peace talks in Geneva aimed at enforcing a 2002 cease-fire between the government and guerrillas... Back to the top

Some kids suffering in Sri Lankan children's homes, international agency says
Associated Press, Tue February 7, 2006 05:41 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Some orphans and other children living in Sri Lankan children's homes are forced to sleep on floors, have no place to play, suffer physical abuse, and receive no proper counseling, an international children's agency said in a damning report released Tuesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka beats South Africa by 76 runs to reach tri-series final
Associated Press, Tue February 7, 2006 02:32 EST . HOBART, Australia (AP) - Malinga Bandara took four wickets Tuesday to bowl Sri Lanka to a 76-run win over South Africa and into a place opposite Australia in the tri-series limited overs cricket finals... Back to the top

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