The Lanka Academic

MARCH 11, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 6, NO. 339


Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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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
UN Tsunami Envoy Chides Sri Lankans, Praises India for Response to Disaster
VOA, March 11. A United Nations tsunami recovery envoy calls it "unfortunate" that Sri Lankan leaders did not rise above their political differences to seize the opportunity for peace after the December 2004 tragedy ravaged the country. But, Eric Shwartz praised India's government for its efforts to rebuild following the disaster.

When the Indian Ocean tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, Sri Lanka had been mired in more than 20 years of fighting between the government and the Tamil Tiger guerrilla group, which wants greater rights for the country's ethnic Tamil minority. Peace talks supervised by Norwegian mediators had ground to a virtual halt.

The deadly waters killed more than 30,000 people in Sri Lanka and devastated thousands of towns and villages. But within days of the disaster, attention shifted to the question of whether some good could come of the tragedy.

The international community pledged some $5 billion in assistance to Sri Lanka alone, raising hopes that talks between the government and the rebels over aid distribution could restart the stalled peace process. More... [Listen]

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Published: Sat Mar 11 14:42:56 EST 2006

LTTE could gain from Tamil Nadu realignments, 11 Mar 2006. By M.R. Narayan Swamy, New Delhi: Tamil Nadu's close race for power might prove a mixed bag for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas, rather than the windfall it could have been for the insurgent group outlawed in India.

The moves by Vaiko's MDMK and T. Tirumavalavan's Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) to contest the May assembly elections with Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK may provide the Tigers political access to Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha they lacked - if she retains power.

But if India's ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ousts the MDMK for aligning with its foe in Tamil Nadu, it could be a setback for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) whose cause Vaiko advocated with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

At the same time, the Tigers will be aiming at a favourable political climate in Tamil Nadu, something they have lacked since they assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. More...

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Published: Sat Mar 11 01:45:56 EST 2006 Back to the top

UNICEF says Sri Lanka 's Tamil Tiger rebels still holding up to 1,358 underage combatants
Associated Press, Fri March 10, 2006 03:46 EST . DILIP GANGULY Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels still hold as many as 1,358 child soldiers, despite pledges by the guerrillas to free all underage combatants, the U.N. children's agency said Friday.

The issue of child soldiers has come under renewed focus since Wednesday, when the government went on a publicity blitz by inviting newspapers to photograph two underage combatants who fled from rebel camps and took shelter with the Sri Lankan navy earlier in the week.

Their accounts of being kidnapped and held by the rebels contradicted pledges made by the guerrillas to U.N. agencies that they had stopped recruiting children.

UNICEF said the Tamil Tigers are known to have recruited 5,368 child soldiers since 2002, when the rebels and the government signed a cease-fire agreement brokered by Norway.

Yasmin Haque, a UNICEF official, said the rebels have made several releases of child soldiers, and there also have been many cases of children escaping. But UNICEF's database shows that 1,358 child combatants are still with the rebels, he said.

Haque said the government's media blitz was regretful, with photographs of the two teenagers _ aged 15 and 17 _ printed on the front pages of several newspapers.

The two boys escaped from two different camps in northeastern Trincomalee and eastern Batticaloa, military spokesman Brig. Sudhir Samarasinghe said.

They were flown to Colombo on Wednesday and made to pose for the media. Asked by military officials, the two teenagers displayed their weapons skills, including handling automatic rifles.

A top rebel leader, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, expressed surprise at the case and said they were reviewing the issue of child soldiers again.

``We have freed many such underage people, but it is a difficult job, as they often lie to join our movement, and there are no proper birth certificates to establish their correct ages,'' he said.

The two boys were abducted from their homes in Trincomalee on March 1-2 by the rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the military said in a statement. They fled from the camp on Tuesday and took shelter at a naval camp in Trincomalee that night.

``These escapees have told naval troops that more than 100 children of the same age range are receiving LTTE weapon training,'' the statement said.

Samarasinghe said another teenager who fled from a rebel camp in Batticaloa on March 4 and reported to police in Batticaloa on Tuesday had revealed that ``there are around 70 combatants under training whom he thought were of his age.'' The 15-year-old will be handed over to his parents, Samarasinghe said.

The rebels began fighting in 1983, claiming discrimination against Sri Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority by the 14 million Sinhalese majority.

The 2002 cease-fire halted the fighting, but a recent spike in violence has threatened to plunge the country back into civil war.

Rebel and government negotiators plan to hold a second round of talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 19-21 in an attempt to salvage the truce.

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Published: Fri Mar 10 08:56:35 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka lifts fishing restrictions in northern coast, March 11. COLOMBO, March 11 (Xinhuanet) -- The Sri Lankan government said here Saturday that fishing restrictions imposed for fishermen along the northern coast has been lifted... Back to the top

Sri Lanka wrap up 2nd Test victory, Saturday, March 11, 2006. Sri Lanka beat hosts Bangladesh by 10 wickets on the fourth day of their second and final Test on Saturday, to win the series 2-0... Back to the top

The British Model of Devolution - A Feature
Nisala Rodrigo, March 10. Having noted the 8 February declaration at the National Symposium at BMICH made by a thousand participants representing twenty-five organizations calling for a federal solution to solve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, followed by Pres... Back to the top

US slams police, Karuna and LTTE
bbc, March 10. The United States has strongly criticised the human rights violations by the Sri Lanka police, paramilitaries and the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tamil party wants elections postponed in Tamil regions, March 11. A Tamil Tiger proxy political party has called for the postponement of the planned elections to appoint new local administrative councils in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Practical problems in Sri Lanka truce can be sorted out: monitors, March 11, 2006. Practical problems concerning Sri Lanka's troubled truce agreement with the Tamil Tiger rebels can be sorted out at the next round of talks in Geneva, an international truce monitoring group said... Back to the top

LTTE enforces its own land laws in Sri Lanka, March 10. The LTTE has announced laws to govern land rights and land distribution in the areas under its control in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Colombo to retain Norwegian truce maker, March 10. Sri Lanka has said it is against replacing Norway as its truce facilitator... Back to the top

Sri Lankan poultry farmers campaign to convince consumers to eat chicken amid fear of bird flu
Associated Press, Fri March 10, 2006 04:07 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lankan poultry farmers are putting up posters and airing radio and television programs to persuade reluctant consumers to eat chicken as sales slide amid fears of bird flu, an official said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka recall Arnold for Pakistan series, Sat Mar 11, 2006 . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 11 March (Reuters) - Sri Lanka have recalled middle order batsman Russel Arnold for the three-match ODI series against Pakistan this month... Back to the top

Sri Lanka backs electronic transactions with legal muscle, 10 March 2006 . Mar. 10 (LBO) -- Sri Lanka cleared the way for safer e-commerce this week by passing a new law that strengthened the legal validity of electronic transactions. "It will provide a firm foundation for e-commerce transactions and give formal recognition to e-mail communications," says Jayantha Fernando, legal advisor of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Muralitharan's 600th wicket brings Sri Lanka to brink of victory in second test
Associated Press, Fri March 10, 2006 06:37 EST . NILOY ROY - Associated Press Writer - BOGRA, Bangladesh (AP) Muttiah Muralitharan snared his 600th test wicket as Sri Lanka - ended Friday just 43 runs from winning the second and final cricket test against Bangladesh... Back to the top

Sri Lankan FM Goes to Europe to Salvage Peace Process, 09 March 2006. Sri Lanka's foreign minister has gone to Europe to discuss the ongoing peace process with Tamil rebels, as new violence threatens to derail a fragile four-year-old ceasefire... Back to the top

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