The Lanka Academic

 
MARCH 12, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 340

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Police step up probe into human smuggling scandal
GulfNews, March 13. Colombo: Police detectives in Sri Lanka are to record a statement from Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Jeevan Kumaratunga over a multi-billion dollar forged passport scandal involving a group of supporters of the minister and Nigerians who provided the forged visas to them.

The move follows revelations made by some of the suspects now in custody in connection with the racket which involved the issue of forged United States visas for jobs in Alaska.

The office of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs was used as the headquarters for the human smuggling operation. It came to light after Criminal Investigations Department (CID) detectives arrested eight Sri Lankan nationals heading for Alaska with forged visas. More...

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Published: Sun Mar 12 19:32:01 EST 2006


Child recruitment by the Tamil Tiger rebels to re-emerge at next Geneva par ley
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, March 12th, 2006, 8:00 am. The government plans to revisit child recruitment issues in the wake of the latest accusations of conscription by the Tamil Tigers, senior government officials said.

The talks on child conscription are also expected to pave the way for discussions on human rights, the officials said, about the April 19-21 meeting in Geneva.

The rebels still hold as many as 1,358 child soldiers in their custody, despite repeated pledges to free all underage combatants, the United Nations children' agency said in a statement.

The UNICEF report same just days after two teenage would-be rebel fighters who escaped from the guerrillas revealed that the Tigers were still abducting children from Sri Lanka's north and east.

Speaking to reporters after they sought refuge with the Sri Lanka navy, the two boys aged 15 and 17 said more than 100 children _ some as young as 12 _ were receiving weapons training at a camp identified as "Three Two Base," in northeastern Trincomalee.

UNICEF said the Tigers have recruited at least 5,368 child soldiers since the Feb 22, 2002 cease-fire, some of whom the Tigers have freed. Child soldiers was one of the two main topics discussed at the Feb. 22-23 t alks.

The issue _ a major irritant for the rebels _ has ignited strong criticism against the LTTE globally.

At last months' talks, the Tigers' chief negotiator Anton Balasingham vowed to halt all child conscription.

"We have given a solemn pledge that we will abstain from recruiting underage children," he told reporters. But he argued that most of the children joined the LTTE for socio-economic reasons. Balasingham however, made a similar pledge after the second round of talks in Thailand in October, 2003.

Subsequently, there were no plans to revisit the topic _ at least this soon _ following the Tigers' pledge but that had now changed, the officials said.

They stressed that a major drawback of the truce agreement is that human rights issues like child recruitment have not been woven into the pact.

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Published: Sun Mar 12 02:37:04 EST 2006 Back to the top


Tigers accuse Sri Lanka gov't of launching new attack+
Associated Press, Sun March 12, 2006 05:52 EST . COLOMBO, March 12 (Kyodo) _ Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels accused the government Sunday of launching an attack against them, the second since the sides held face-to-face talks on peace in Switzerland.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said about 30 men from the Sri Lankan army together with paramilitary personnel attacked their checkpoint at Vakarai in the east of the island Friday night.

The Tigers did not say if there were any casualties. The attack came a week after a similar clash in which two Tiger rebels were killed.

There was no immediate reaction from the Defense Ministry, which has maintained its forces had nothing to do with attacks against the rebels.

The latest report came as the ministry announced an easing of fishing restrictions off the island's northern Jaffna Peninsula.

The ministry said President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also defense minister, ordered the easing of restrictions imposed after an upsurge in violence between December and January.

More than 150 people were killed during the two months before both sides agreed to meet in Switzerland and talk about implementing their troubled truce.

The sides are due to meet again April 19, but truce monitors have warned that fresh violence could jeopardize the entire peace process.

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Published: Sun Mar 12 12:34:52 EST 2006 Back to the top


Sri Lanka May Keep Key Interest Rate Unchanged for Third Month
bloomberg.com, March 13. March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's central bank will probably keep interest rates unchanged for a third month to spur economic growth after four rises in 2005 helped slow inflation... Back to the top

Turning a blind eye
National Post, March 13. On Feb. 28, the Fraser Institute published Canada's Inadequate Response to Terrorism: The Need for Policy Reform, a report authored by former Canadian diplomat Martin Collacott. This week, the National Post is publishing three edited excerpts from that report... Back to the top

Sri Lanka local election turns violent: election watchdog
xinhuanet.com, March 12. COLOMBO, March 12 (Xinhuanet) -- An independent election watchdog in Sri Lanka said on Sunday that this month's local election campaign has turned relatively violent... Back to the top

Petition on JSC resignations
bbc, March 12. Senior lawyers in Sri Lanka have urged a parliamentary probe on the recent resignations of two members of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)... Back to the top

Government eases fishing restrictions in troubled northern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sun March 12, 2006 12:20 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's government on Sunday announced it has relaxed fishing restrictions imposed on the island's troubled northern region after a rebel boat laden with explosives rammed a naval vessel, killing 13 sailors... Back to the top

Six Indian fishermen held in Sri Lanka
indiatimes.com, March 12. COLOMBO: Six Indian fishermen who strayed into Sri Lankan waters on Sunday are being held by locals who have refused to hand them over to the navy, media reports said... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

LTTE could gain from Tamil Nadu realignments
newkerala.com, 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... Back to the top

Sri Lanka lifts fishing restrictions in northern coast
xinhuanet.com, 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
cnn.com, 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

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
xinhuanet.com, 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
xinhuanet.com, 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 promulgates Lands Act
hindu.com, Saturday, Mar 11, 2006. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has promulgated a "Tamil Eelam Lands Act" covering land administration in rebel-held northern and eastern Sri Lanka, a media report said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka recall Arnold for Pakistan series
reuters.co.uk, 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

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