The Lanka Academic

MARCH 7, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 6, NO. 335


Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Rajapakse to seek explanation from minister
GulfNews, March 8. Colombo: President Mahinda Rajapakse will seek an explanation from a Cabinet minister who had failed to adhere to instructions given during their visit to Geneva for peace talks.

An explanation is to be sought from Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, as to why he disregarded his instructions and chose to stay at a suite in the Geneva Hilton instead of Chateau de Bossey during talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Rajapakse has already directed that neither the Government nor any of its agencies should meet the bill for his stay, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Rajapakse's move comes in the wake of repeated complaints to him that Bogollagama had chosen to disregard government policy and stayed in expensive hotels during his visits abroad. More...

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Published: Tue Mar 7 19:59:17 EST 2006

Tamil Tiger negotiators return to Sri Lanka
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, March, 7th, 2006, 04:30 pm. UPDATED: A top Tamil Tiger rebel delegation returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesda y, 11 days after they held talks with the Sri Lankan government in Switzerland on how to save the island's fragile cease-fire, officials on both sides said.

The return of the rebel negotiators to the island was delayed due to a seri es of meetings and events the Tigers' participated in Switzerland and Norway following the Feb. 22-23 talks, the first between the two sides in three years, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

On arrival, at the Bandaranaike International Air port, the Tigers' baggage was checked thoroughly for more than 2 1/2 hours, including their hand luggage. Among the items scrutinized were some digital cameras, torches and some catalogues, according to air port officials.

Confusion ensued after the luggage was passed and custom officers recalled the books from the delegation who were to travel by land to the northern rebel-capital of Kilinochchi.

However, the catalogues were subsequently released.

"We have not detained anything," said V.S. Sudasinghe, deputy director, customs. He declined to comment on what the books were about.

The Tigers have been previously accused of smuggling items into the country on their return from overseas trips, a charge they deny.

On Monday, the Marxist People's Liberation Front or JVP, a key ally of President Mahinda Rajapakse, demanded the government take a tougher stand against the rebels and strengthen Sri Lanka's security forces .

"While continuing dialogue with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the government should ramp up its strengthening and training of the armed forces so that the LTTE will realize that going back to war is not an option for them," the Marxist JVP said, "The government of Sri Lanka should speak softly and carry a big stick, which will greatly negate the LTTE threat of a return to hostilities."

"We firmly believe that it is better to walk away from the negotiating table without any progress being made, rather than agree to any conditions that would be detrimental to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka," the JVP said.

The comments were made at a special meeting to brief major political parties on the outcome of the Swiss talks.

The all Buddhist-monk National Heritage Party or JHU, have also accused the government of caving in to rebel demands and urged tougher talks when the parties meet again next month.

However, there was wide consensus that the process of negotiations should continue, including from the main opposition United National Party.

At the Swiss talks, the government pushed for a fresh truce agreement to replace a Feb. 22, 2002 pact with the guerrillas. But the Tigers insisted talks must be confined to the implementation of the existing agreement. After tense discussions, the parties agreed to meet again on April 19.

They also agreed to halt a spate of violence, that had pushed the island to the edge of war. Norwegians peace brokers said the outcome of the talks was better than expected but a lot depended on how the parties implemented their promises before the next meet in Geneva.

Rebel leaders were scheduled to hold talks with Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran later Tuesday, rebel sources said.

Some six members of the rebel group who returned Tuesday were flown by a government helicopter to the northern rebel-held capital of Kilinochchi, while the remainder traveled by road, officials said.

Nearly 65,000 people were killed before Norway brokered a 2002 cease-fire. Subsequent peace talks broke down a year later amid rebel demands for wide autonomy in the island's Tamil-majority north and the ethnically mixed east. Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 7 08:52:33 EST 2006 Back to the top

S.Lanka rebel peace team nabbed with gun catalogues, March 07, 2006, - 07:45 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Tamil Tiger rebels were delayed on their return from peace talks in Europe on Tuesday after airport customs officials in Sri Lanka found gun catalogues in their luggage and briefly confiscated them.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were also forced to pay $380 (218 pounds) in duty on a range of new items including electric razors, head-mounted torches and digital cameras, officials said. The Tigers had no immediate comment.

"There had been some catalogues of small guns and weapons, like shotguns and revolvers," Sarath Jayatilake, Director General of Customs, told Reuters.

"This was taken over by customs, and thereafter they have examined this with the military specialists ... and then finally they have decided there was no offensive More...

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Published: Tue Mar 7 07:44:30 EST 2006 Back to the top

Navy arrests eight men with explosives and detonators in northern Sri Lanka , military says
Associated Press, Tue March 7, 2006 07:57 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's navy on Tuesday arrested eight men who were transporting explosives and detonators off the northern coast, the military said... Back to the top

LTTE ready to resist if war is thrust, March 7. Colombo, March 7: Voicing concern over "conflicting" signals coming from Sri Lankan government after the talks in Switzerland, Tamil Tiger rebels today warned that they were ready to resist if a war was "thrust" on them... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to be free from land mines by 2008, says government official
Associated Press, Tue March 7, 2006 04:26 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - has cleared more than half of the country's estimated 1 million land mines, sown during two decades of civil war, and should be able to complete the task within two years, a government official said Tuesday... Back to the top

LTTE has lost faith in Geneva talks, March 7, 2006. The LTTE has said that the talks with the Sri Lankan government, held in Geneva on February 22 and 23, offer no hope of peace... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Nationalisms at war, March 07, 2006, - 07:45 EDT. Nationalism is a double-edged sword. It is a benign yet potent force when it is expressed as a sense of belonging to a community of people defined by a territory and the history that goes with it... Back to the top

Lankan parties give `go ahead for talks with LTTE, March 07, 2006, - 07:57 EDT. Sri Lankan political parties Tuesday resolved to support President Mahinda Rajapakse in continuing the Norwegian-brokered peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to find a lasting political solution to the ethnic conflict... Back to the top

Lankan Tamils slam Vaiko for joining Jaya, March 07, 2006, - 07:45 EDT. The Sri Lankan Tamil press has slammed Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetera Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko for joining the "anti-LTTE" J Jayalalithaa-led alliance to fight the May 8 Tamil Nadu assembly elections... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president's allies call for strong army to stop rebels returning to war
Associated Press, Mon March 6, 2006 05:40 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two parties aligned with Sri Lanka - 's president urged him on Monday to strengthen the armed forces to deter Tamil Tiger rebels from returning to war, as new violence threatened a four-year-old cease-fire... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to buy over 800 new buses from India, March 07, 2006, - 07:45 EDT. Sri Lanka will buy more than 880 buses from India in six months for its public transport sector, Daily News reported Tuesday... Back to the top

Links with Sri Lanka grow, March 07, 2006, - 07:50 EDT. BUSINESS links between South Australia and Sri Lanka have strengthened, with several of the nation's top politicians visiting SA... Back to the top

UNP calls for direct talks
bbc, March 6. The main opposition in Sri Lanka, United National Party (UNP), has demanded government engage in talks with them parallel to talks with the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

CEAT strikes new wage pact in Sri Lanka
com, March 07, 2006, - 07:45 EDT. Colombo: Indian joint venture associate CEAT Pvt Ltd has struck a three-year Rs 1.75 crore wage deal with its employees under a new collective agreement to head off work stoppages, a top official said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka president hails political party support for peace move, March 06, 2006, - 14:57. COLOMBO, March 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday hailed the support coming from all political parties for his peace moves with the Tamil Tiger rebels, the stateradio said... Back to the top

Two face murder charge for robbery during tsunami - Updated Story
GulfNews, March 6. Colombo: Two youths who grabbed a gold chain from a young woman who was struggling for her life after being caught in the tsunami, are to face murder charges in Sri Lanka as investigators have found video evidence recorded by a journalist, police said... Back to the top

Kumaratunga booed off stage, 6 March. FORMER president Chandrika Kumaratunga, was booed off the stage at a meeting of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at Biyagama last week... Back to the top

Sri Lankan high school students strike over military interference; rebels kill soldier
Associated Press, Mon March 6, 2006 09:03 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) At least tens of thousands of high school pupils in northern Sri Lanka - refused to attend classes Monday, blaming military interference and a ban on students taking part in rebel-related activities, the military and an activist said... Back to the top

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels kill a former Sri Lankan soldier
Associated Press, Mon March 6, 2006 06:20 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot and killed a former Sri Lankan army soldier, the military said Monday, in the latest violence threatening the country's uneasy cease-fire... Back to the top

Lankan’s body to be sent home soon: official, March 06, 2006, - 07:57. THE body of Sri Lankan expatriate Manokaran, who was killed in a clash between two groups in the Industrial Area would be flown home shortly, said a Sri Lankan embassy official... Back to the top

Sri Lanka’s John Keells scouts new Maldivian property, March 06, 2006, - 14:57. Mar. 06 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's largest hotel operator, John Keells Holdings, is in the process of picking up another Maldivian resort to add to their growing hospitality chain, a top official said Monday. JKH, which is splashing billions of rupees to re-brand key properties, has been scouting for a new Maldivian property to replace Validhu Island Resorts... Back to the top

Lanka s masked realities, March 6, 2006. For a poor country Sri Lanka has indeed taken impressive strides in social development... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president summons all parties in effort to save peace process
Associated Press, Mon March 6, 2006 03:53 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president summoned the leaders of all major political parties on Monday in a bid to salvage the country's faltering peace process, threatened by increasing violence as well as by sharp differences among his allies... Back to the top

Sri Lankan oil deposits bidding to open in July, March 06, 2006, - 07:57. The Sri Lankan government has decided to open oil exploration along Sri Lanka's sea belt for bidding in July this year, Daily News reported Monday... Back to the top

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