The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 20, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 136


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
Aid workers stopped from leaving S.Lanka rebel base
Reuters, August 20. COLOMBO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Dozens of aid workers have been stopped from trying to leave a stronghold of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, colleagues said on Sunday, as the government prepared to ferry supplies to a northern enclave under siege.

A convoy of vehicles carrying 141 mostly local staff from foreign and local aid agencies was stopped as it tried to leave the Tigers' northern base of Kilinochchi, officials said.

The foes are locked in fierce fighting that many analysts say has effectively collapsed a 2002 truce and reignited a two-decade civil war. Shared borders separating rebel from government territory are shut most of the time, hampering the flow of aid and people.

"They are being stopped from leaving. We are not quite sure who is to blame," said one aid worker on condition of anonymity. "Maybe to have humanitarian aid workers in Kilinochchi is a way to put pressure on the government." More... Discuss this story
Published: Sun Aug 20 16:03:20 EDT 2006

Tamil-language newspaper warehouse razed amid soaring violence in northern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sun August 20, 2006 09:24 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Armed men allegedly burned down the warehouse of a Tamil-language newspaper in northern Sri Lanka - , where government forces are battling to suppress a Tamil separatist movement, a local media monitoring group said Sunday.

The alleged attack comes as an international press watchdog called on all parties in the country's ethnic conflict to stop the brutal targeting and intimidation of minority Tamil newspapers.

``The information we got from the publisher was that their newsprint has been destroyed and they are now having difficulties printing the paper, as supply routes to Jaffna have been cut off due to the ongoing fighting,'' Sunanda Deshapriya, of the Free Media Movement, told The Associated Press.

The Uthayan is an independent newspaper, but is considered to have close links to Tamil Tiger rebels who have stepped up attempts to retake the government-controlled but Tamil-majority Jaffna Peninsula.

In the last week, government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have pounded each other's defense lines in Jaffna, killing hundreds of troops, insurgents and civilians.

Deshapriya said the newspaper's publisher told him that ``four armed paramilitaries'' carried out the alleged arson.

Police in Jaffna said they were investigating. ``We have got a complaint and we are now conducting an investigation, but no arrest has been made so far,'' Erick Perera, a senior police officer said.

Deshapriya claimed there was a campaign against Uthayan. ``It has become a target of the war. It has been attacked by paramilitaries and even security forces have searched the paper's office several times,'' he said.

Last week, a distributor of the newspaper was killed as he made his deliveries, the fourth employee of the paper reportedly to be killed in the recent past.

``Falling security and increased civil violence has lead to an increasingly dangerous environment for journalists to work in,'' Christopher Warren, president of the International Federation of Journalists, said in a statement.

He said the distributor's death was ``indicative of a disturbing trend of relentless targeting of the Tamil media'' and called on all sides to respect the media's independence and the public's right to uncensored information.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have fought the government since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's ethnic Tamils who suffered decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before Norway brokered a cease-fire in 2002, which now appears to be on the verge of collapse amid escalating violence. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Aug 20 12:53:17 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lankan military, rebels trade artillery fire along northern border
Associated Press, Sun August 20, 2006 02:03 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces traded artillery and mortar fire overnight as the insurgents tried to break through government lines and recapture the northern Jaffna Peninsula, the military said Sunday.

Aid agencies, meanwhile, warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in Jaffna, where food and water is running out and all access routes into the peninsula have been cut.

``Consolidation operations are ongoing in Jaffna and Muhammalai,'' the de facto border between government and rebel-held territory in the north, military spokesman Maj. Upali Rajapakse said. ``They are trying to penetrate our defense lines, we are not allowing them to do so.''

Rajapakse said the Tigers were trying to recapture Jaffna town and the peninsula, a Tamil-majority area they lost control of in 1995, but which they see as an integral part of an independent homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils.

He did not say if there were any casualties among rebels or security forces in Saturday's exchange of fire. The military said earlier that more than 80 rebels had been killed in two days of intermittent shelling in Muhammalai.

Also in Jaffna, hundreds of soldiers raided a university, seizing computers and detaining a student leader identified by a pro-rebel Web site as a third-year art major.

Rajapakse said the student group was a front for Tamil Tiger rebel activities, and that soldiers found rebel literature, 15 anti-personnel mines and other equipment used to build anti-tank mines on the campus.

It was not immediately possible to reach the university for comment because the peninsula has been cut off by the military due to the fighting there. Phone service works only intermittently.

The two sides have been heavily shelling each other's positions since Aug. 11, when the rebels made a major push to retake the peninsula, leaving more than 800 rebels and troops dead, according to the military.

Tiger officials were not immediately available to comment on the military's casualty count, but the two sides routinely dispute claims and death tolls offered by the other.

The Tigers, listed in several countries, including the U.S., as a terrorist group, have been battling the government for over 20 years for a separate homeland in the north and east, where they already control wide swaths of territory.

A Norwegian-brokered cease-fire in 2002 was supposed to end the violence, in which as many as 65,000 people were killed, many of them civilians.

But violence surged in December, and both sides have since launched several major offensives in the north and east killing at least 1,500 people, according to international monitors.

Rajapakse said suspected Tigers also fired seven to 10 mortar rounds at a security post in Vavanathivu, in eastern Batticaloa Saturday night. There were no injuries, he said.

The U.N., meanwhile, said only minimal aid has been able to reach tens of thousands of people who have been displaced by weeks of fighting in the north and east of the country. About 40,000 people have fled in Jaffna alone, and many are living in community centers, tents or out in the open in rebel-held territories, aid agencies have said.

``Certainly we are deeply concerned about the water and food and sanitation problem,'' U.N. spokeswoman Orla Clinton said. ``And if we don't get access, then yes, it will be a humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies need unconditional and immediate access.''

On Saturday, the government said it would send 3,800 tons of food and other aid to Jaffna. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Aug 20 02:15:10 EDT 2006 Back to the top

'No formal SL request yet for Indian aid to Jaffna'
Hindustan Times, August 21. India is yet to receive any formal request from the Sri Lankan government for emergency humanitarian assistance for beleaguered Jaffna, according to well placed sources in the Government of India... Back to the top

India to help Lanka resolve political crisis
Indiatimes, August 21. NEW DELHI: With bloody conflict raging in Sri Lanka between the government forces and the LTTE, India has pitched in to help by offering a political formula to resolve the crisis... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president demands media toes the line on the war
WSWS, August 21. Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse held a meeting with editors and heads of media bodies on Wednesday ostensibly to explain the “current situation in the country”... Back to the top

Tending to Sri Lanka
The Washington Times, Sunday August 20, 2006 - 09:05. Violence perpetrated by the separatist rebels known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have beset Sri Lanka since the mid-1980s... Back to the top

Sri Lankan cricketers criticise S Africans for pullout
CricketZone, August 21. Sri Lanka's senior cricketers, including record-breaking bowler Mutiah Muralitharan , today slammed South Africa's decision to pull out of a tri-series citing security concerns... Back to the top

ICC chief hurt at South Africa's withdrawal
Hindu, August 21. Colombo: The International Cricket Council (ICC) president, Percy Sonn, said here on Sunday that he was "deeply disappointed" at South Africa's decision to withdraw from the Unitech tri-nation series... Back to the top

Sri Lankan troops raid university in the north, student detained
Associated Press, Sun August 20, 2006 00:37 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Hundreds of Sri Lankan soldiers raided a university, seizing computers and detaining a student, in the northern Tamil heartland where the government has been battling separatist rebels, the military and a pro-rebel Web site said Sunday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka cancels rain-hit cricket series against India
Associated Press, Sun August 20, 2006 09:11 EDT . SANDEEP NAKAI - Associated Press Writer - ``It's been very frustrating, the weather's not relenting and it's proving terribly expensive for us despite no cricket being played,'' a Sri Lanka - Cricket official said on condition of anonymity as a formal announcement was to be made later Sunday night... Back to the top

Asia's health ministers seek stronger cooperation against deadly diseases
Associated Press, Sun August 20, 2006 03:20 EDT . - - Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia opened the meeting of ministers and representatives from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - , the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, East Timor, Indonesia and South Korea, Bangladeshi Health Minister Khandokar Musharaff Hossain told reporters... Back to the top

'Indian agency blamed for attack on Pakistan envoy' Fresh curbs on Delhi diplomats
gulfnews, August 20. Islamabad: A Pakistani newspaper has blamed Indian intelligence for a bomb attack aimed at Islamabad's envoy in Colombo that killed seven people last week... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Politicians make money from misery
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.11 p.m.. Sri Lanka's politicians are masterminds when it comes to making businesses out of calamities; the tsunami and even the recent eruption in Muttur are just two such examples... Back to the top

Sonn blasts SAfrican pull-out of Lanka
Super Cricket, Sunday August 20, 2006 - 09:40 EDt. Former President of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, Percy Sonn, assuaged the lingering doubts of ICC officials who thought he lacked the tact and political correctness required to be ICC president with a brilliant performance in front of a packed press conference in Colombo on Sunday... Back to the top

Karunanidhi plays with Sri Lanka fire
mumbai mirror, August 20. Chennai: Joining issue with the Sri Lankan government, which had objected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly passing a resolution condemning the aerial bombing of an orphanage in Mullaithivu, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday said photographic evidence proved that the orphanage was bombarded by the Sri Lankan Air Force... Back to the top

Rights fears as SriLanka ceasefire team faces major cut
Yahoo News, Sunday August 20, 2006 - 12:20. A foreign team monitoring Sri Lanka's crumbling ceasefire will be almost halved after Tamil Tiger rebels ordered members from European Union states to leave the country, the group said... Back to the top

80 rebels killed in shelling, Sri Lankan military says; U.N. warns of humanitarian crisis
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 13:45 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two days of heavy artillery and mortar fire killed more than 80 Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka - 's military said Saturday, as the United Nations warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in areas cut off by fierce fighting... Back to the top

Jaffna stares at dwindling supplies, soaring prices and cash shortage
gulfnews, August 20. Colombo: The government-held city of Jaffna, cut off by fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, faced dwindling supplies and soaring prices yesterday... Back to the top

Suicide bombers -- weapon of choice for Sri Lanka rebels
Reuters, August 20. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Long associated with sectarian violence in the Middle East, the suicide attack has been refined by Sri Lanka's secularist Tamil Tiger rebels into a sophisticated weapon of war... Back to the top

MDMK district secretary arrested for pro-LTTE speech
The Hindu, Sunday, August 19, 2006 - 10:30 EDT. Chennai, Aug. 19 (PTI): MDMK's South Chennai district secretary Manimaran was today arrested on the charge of making "an inflammatory speech, in support of the outlawed LTTE".

A police release said Manimaran's speech was in a fashion that could "hinder" the sovereignty and unity of the country... Back to the top

Sri Lankans in California demand UNICEF action against LTTE child conscription
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.10 p.m.. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks, saree-clad women, and men carrying children's coffins were among the hundreds of demonstrators who rallied for two hours recently outside the Federal Building in Westwood, California demanding that UNICEF take action to bring the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges for war crimes against children... Back to the top

Leading Sri Lankan Tamil leader wants good trap laid for LTTE
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.07 p.m.. A senior Tamil leader has called upon the Sri Lankan Government to device a solution to the ethnic conflict which would also be accepted by the International Community and thereby trap the LTTE... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Cricket may seek compensation
The Hindu, Saturday August 19, 2006 - 18:07 EDT. Colombo, Aug. 20 (PTI): Sri Lanka Cricket are likely to ask Cricket South Africa to compensate them for the financial damages incurred following the team's pull out from a tri-nation series here citing security concerns. South Africa refused to play in the series that was scheduled from August 14 to 29 against Sri Lanka and India after a bomb exploded in the vicinity of their hotel on Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan air force says rebel sea base destroyed, some rebels killed
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 02:37 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan air force planes destroyed a strategic Tamil Tiger sea base in the north in overnight strikes, killing a number of insurgents, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

Iceland sends reinforcements to salvage cease-fire monitoring team for Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 02:59 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Iceland is boosting its number of observers in a Nordic monitoring mission for Sri Lanka - 's shaky cease-fire following the pullout of three other countries from the team, an official said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka clashes spur more to flee scenes of war
Boston Globe, Saturday August 19, 2006 - 08:00 EDT. COLOMBO -- Fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tigers has set off a desperate scramble among civilians on the northern Jaffna peninsula, which has been cut off by the rebels, and residents with foreign passports begged their embassies yesterday to get them out... Back to the top

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