The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 320


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Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Maharaja pressure comes a cropper?
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, February 20, 2006, 11.07 p.m.. All efforts by the Maharajah group and those who pushed for the candidature of B. Sirisena Cooray ended in failure on Thursday when the Elections Secretariat rejected the United National Party's (UNP) nominations list to contest the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) at the March 30th local government elections, a Weekend Tabloid published in Colombo has claimed.

The English language newspaper 'Weekend Standard', also alleged that the Maharajah Group had prevailed over the UNP hierarchy by winning the struggle to make Sirisena Cooray the Colombo Mayoral candidate wiping out all other powerful groups in the party who did their utmost to make their own nominee the Mayoral candidate. Sirisena Cooray submitted his nomination as the CMC Mayoral candidate on Thursday.

"Many powerful groups backed candidates such as Thilanga Sumathipala, Azath Sally, Omar Kamil, Hemasiri Fernando, Bodhi Ranasinghe and Prasanna Gunawardena in addition to Sirisena Cooray who was the nominee of the Maharajah group. Rajah Mahendran aka Killy Maharajah of the Maharajah group openly supported Cooray whose most powerful rival was Thilanga Sumathipala.

"Killy Maharajah, the head of the Sirasa TV, Sirasa Radio, Shakthi TV, Shakthi FM and MTV injected tremendous pressure on the UNP leadership saying that any failure to nominate Cooray as Mayoral candidate would lead to the Maharajah media network ceasing to support the party in the future. He also made use of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and Lankadeepa's Thushara Gunaratne and a correspondent of the said paper Ranjith Ananda Jayasinghe to pressurise the UNP leadership openly.

A curious subject for discussion today is why Killy Maharajah was so interested in making Sirisena Cooray the Mayoral candidate for CMC," the newspaper claimed.

There is a rumour in the UNP inner circles that it was Milinda Moragoda who built up the compromise between Killy Maharajah and Sirisena Cooray.. The UNP leader had to finally bow down to the pressure of Killy Maharajah, Lasantha Wickramatunga, Milinda Moragoda, M.H. Mahroof, Mano Ganesan and the likes who were backed by powerful business institutions of the country.

It is also reported that the attempt made by Cooray's most powerful rival Thilanga Sumathipala to bring a powerful Independent candidate to compete against Cooray had also ended in failure. Thilanga had unsuccessfully done his utmost to persuade widow of President Premadasa, Hema Premadasa to contest against Cooray as an Independent candidate, the Weekend Standard added.

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Published: Mon Feb 20 12:08:12 EST 2006

Ferial to insist on separate Muslim delegation at peace talks
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, February 20, 2006, 11.25 p.m.. National Unity Alliance (NUA) Leader Ferial Ashraff who is part of the Government Delegation at next week's peace talks, will insist upon the need for both parties to ensure the participation of a separate Muslim delegation at any future talks.

Mrs. Ashraff who is also the Minister of Housing and Construction said that although a separate delegation was not accommodated at this round of talks, "it does not mean that we must stay out of the process. We must instead be part of the process and impress upon our needs," she said.

She was however unable to clarify her agenda at the talks. "I cannot make statements saying that I would say this and that at the talks, because we don't know what the process would be like and how it would be conducted after all it is happening after three years. But whenever possible I will highlight the plight of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and will also continue to insist on the separate Muslim delegation," she assured.

Meanwhile, sources also said that several Muslim parties and groups had also proposed the name of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem to take part at talks and represent the community as well, as he has prior experience because he was part of the Government delegation during the LTTE and United National Front regime's peace negotiations. However several Muslim Ministers including A.H.M. Fowzie, who also heads the Muslim Parliamentarian's Forum had shot down the proposal.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) boycotted the special meeting convened by the Muslim Parliamentarians Forum early last week. Citing reasons for their decision, the party's Secretary General M.T. Hasan Ali said that the SLMC took this decision as a mark of protest against President Mahinda Rajapakse who has let down the community by failing to accommodate a separate Muslim delegation at the peace talks

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Published: Mon Feb 20 12:28:35 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to make maximum use of Geneva talks with Tigers ..., February 21. The Sri Lankan government would endeavor to make the full use of the Geneva talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels, the head of the government peace delegation said Monday.

Nimal Siripala De Silva, the minister of health who leads the government team at the Geneva talks, said prior to his departure here, "We are hoping to make the best use of the opportunity in order to try and achieve lasting peace in the country."

He and his team comprising three more cabinet ministers departed for Geneva, where the talks would be held on Feb. 22-23 with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

The talks aimed at strengthening the Norwegian-backed cease- fire will be the first direct talks between the two sides since March 2003.

De Silva said the talks would be approached with an open mind in keeping with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's thinking.

The LTTE, who approaches the talks with a view to getting the government consent to fully comply with the February 2002 accord, needs dismantling of the paramilitary groups who they say are operating in the North and East provinces with the blessings of the government troops.

The government accuses the LTTE of carrying out murders violating the cease-fire and wants the LTTE to stop resorting to violence.

Although the talks would be limited to the truce, the government hopes that the talks would lead the way to direct negotiations toward the ultimate settlement of the drawn out separatist armed conflict that has claimed over 64,000 lives since the 1980s More...
Published: Mon Feb 20 20:22:05 EST 2006 Back to the top

Explosives found inside passenger bus, police detain 47 people
Associated Press, Sun February 19, 2006 23:32 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Police found two powerful anti-personnel mines inside a passenger bus traveling from northern Sri Lanka, which officials said Monday they suspect were being transported to the capital by Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Sri Lanka moots Buddhist pilgrimage trail, Feb 21. CHENNAI: Sri Lanka has mooted the idea of a Buddhist pilgrimage trail to attract tourists from China, Japan and Korea... Back to the top

Trapped in the Claws of the Tigers in Norway
Harald Eraker -Ny Tid, February 18. Outside his home in Oslo, he was threatened by a pistol late one evening... Back to the top

Sri Lanka bans poultry imports from India
com, Monday, 20 February , 2006, 18:21 . Colombo: Sri Lanka has included India into its growing list of banned imports of poultry meat and all its by-products after bird flu was reported in Maharashtra... Back to the top

Renegade Sri Lanka Rebels Won t Disarm Yet, Feb 20. COLOMBO - A breakaway Sri Lankan rebel leader, whose feuding with the Tamil Tigers is threatening a fragile ceasefire and is central to peace talks this week, said on Monday his forces would only disarm if the main group does... Back to the top

Sri Lanka arrests Indonesian trawler, Feb. 20 . COLOMBO, Feb. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- An Indonesian fishing trawler was arrested in southern Sri Lanka, police said Monday. The harbour police in the southern port town of Galle said that the trawler with 16 people on board had been arrested in the seas 50 nautical miles off the Galle coast... Back to the top

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by five wickets
Associated Press, Mon February 20, 2006 08:49 EST . BOGRA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Kumar Sangakkara struck a half century to help Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by five wickets in just 24.1 overs, after the visitors restricted the hosts to 118 all out in their opening one-day international match Monday... Back to the top

London demonstrators call for peace with justice in Sri Lanka
Saman Weragoda in Colombo, SLT 7.45 P.M Monday 20 February 2006. The Tamil Forum for Peace whiich demonstrated in central London on Sunday 19 February called for peace with democracy and justice in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

EPDP wins election in LTTE-held area, feb 20. COLOMBO: The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), which is opposed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has won a symbolically key local body, Puthukudiyiruppu, where the headquarters of LTTE leader V... Back to the top

LTTE team has no mandate to review truce pact, February 20. The LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, has made it clear that his team has no mandate to review or revise the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) at the talks with the Sri Lankan government at Geneva on February 22 and 23... Back to the top

Sri Lankan team suggests changes to ceasefire pact
gulf news, 02/20/2006 . Colombo: The government delegation is set to suggest amendments to the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) at the renewed peace negotiations with Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commencing on Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka in high risk of contracting bird flu, says health official
Associated Press, Mon February 20, 2006 01:51 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan health officials said Monday the country is at high risk for a bird flu outbreak and falls short on resources aimed at prevention... Back to the top

Sri Lanka dismisses Bangladesh on 118
Associated Press, Mon February 20, 2006 06:11 EST . BOGRA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Pacers Ruchira Perera and Farveez Maharoof grabbed three wickets apiece as Sri Lanka dismissed Bangladesh for 118 in their opening one-day international match Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's peace delegates head out for crucial talks with Tamil rebels
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, February 19th, 2006, 9:30 pm. The government's main negotiating team was set to leave for the Swiss capital on Monday, geared for some hard bargaining with the Tamil Tiger rebels in the first meeting between the two sides in nearly three years... Back to the top

LTTE delegation to carry out fundraising campaiign in Switzerland
Saman Weragoda in Colombo, SLT 11.30 A.M Monday 20 February 2006. Reports reaching from Switzerland confirm that LTTE delegation attending ceasefire talks in Switzerland will be giving more importance to its fund raising activities... Back to the top

Tories to follow through on the pledge to ban LTTE in Canada - Stockwell Day
Star Pheonix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Friday February 17, 2006. OTTAWA -- Canada's new Public Safety minister opened the door on Thursday to creating an American-style armed border patrol to stop "bad guys" from entering the country... Back to the top

Lanka to tax Hollywood and Bollywood movies
PTI, Feb 20. Colombo, Feb 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka is planning a controversial tax on imported films -- both from Hollywood and the hugely popular Bollywood -- as well as TV programmes with foreign content, in a bid to fund the development of the island's own industry in dire straits, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka government, rebels, hope to salvage ceasefire at first peace talks in three years
Associated Press, Sun February 19, 2006 04:57 EST . ARTHUR MAX - Associated Press Writer - ``The most likely outcome in Geneva is not going to be war or peace, but another in-between option,'' said Bart Klem, the Dutch co-author of a World Bank-funded report released last month, ``Aid, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

ACT Dateline: Sri Lanka -Jaffna peninsula a symbol of the ravages ..., Date: 17 Feb 2006. Jaffna, Sri Lanka, February 17, 2006 - Just over a year ago, the tsunami killed some 40,000 people in Sri Lanka-a devastating blow to this island nation, and one that exposed the fragility of an uneasy and tenuous cease-fire agreement brokered four years ago... Back to the top

TULF calls for revision of ceasefire pact
Gulf News, February 19. LEADER of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) V Anandasangaree has urged the government and the LTTE to revise the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) on the basis that the LTTE would not engage in any form of violence against civilians or security forces... Back to the top

Mahinda wants more Tamil parties to join peace process, 19 February, 2006. on Friday, said that despite the LTTE being one stake holder in the peace process there should also be room for other movements and parties representing the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people... Back to the top

In Sri Lanka, caste system, prejudices, slowly fading, Feb. 18, 2006, 9:43PM. COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - Every Sunday, newspapers here are filled with classified ads for marriage partners... Back to the top

Navy recovers anti-personnel mines, detonators in northwestern Sri Lanka , military says
Associated Press, Sun February 19, 2006 02:19 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The navy recovered three anti-personnel mines and detonators hidden in northwestern Sri Lanka - on Sunday, a military spokesman said... Back to the top

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