The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 26, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 142

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Police thwart major attack on Sri Lankan capital, explosion kills 6 in the north
Associated Press, Sat August 26, 2006 07:50 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Police on Saturday found a large weapons cache hidden in a house on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital, and arrested 17 people suspected of planning a major attack.

The weapons haul came as the government carried out a third day of airstrikes on rebel positions in northern Jaffna Peninsula and six soldiers died in a mine blast blamed on separatist Tamil insurgents.

The peninsula has seen some of the fiercest fighting in years since the Tamil Tigers began a major push in mid-August to recapture the government-held region, which is dear to the ethnic minority.

Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled heavy shelling along the de facto border separating rebel and government-controlled territory in Jaffna.

A passenger ferry was expected Saturday to evacuate about 160 foreign passport holders who have been trapped by the fighting.

In the capital Colombo, police said they foiled a major attack on the city.

Officers from the police's elite special task force, acting on a tip, raided a house in Pamunugama, a coastal town close to the country's international airport on Saturday morning, seizing weapons and explosives, police said.

The haul included eight hand grenades, two roadside bombs, an assault rifle, ammunition and detonators, police officer S. A. Jeewahasta told The Associated Press.

The officer said 17 suspects, including two women, were detained for questioning.

The suspects are all from Kokkadicholai, a village in the northeast controlled by Tamil Tiger insurgents, Jeewahasta said.

Most have been living on the outskirts of Colombo for nearly 15 years and were preparing a major attack, an investigating officer told the AP, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the press. He declined to give further information.

Roadside bombs that fire hundreds of steel balls propelled by plastic explosives are among the rebels' preferred weapons.

On Tuesday, police discovered and defused a powerful bomb planted on a bicycle in a busy shopping district in Colombo.

The Tigers have been fighting for more than 20 years on behalf of the island nation's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils, who have suffered decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

A 2002 cease-fire brought a halt to large-scale hostilities, but the truce is endangered by the fighting in Jaffna as well as clashes in eastern Trincomalee over water supply.

The United Nations refugee agency estimates that over 200,000 people have fled their homes in the two regions, and the international community has urged the two sides to return to peace negotiations.

On Saturday, the rebels released a policeman they had held for over 11 months as a ``goodwill gesture,'' European monitors overseeing the cease-fire said.

Associated Press writer Cassie Biggs contributed to this report. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 26 12:08:55 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
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6 soldiers killed, 4 wounded in blast in northern Sri Lanka  - Associated Press
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Police find explosives, weapons in house near Sri Lankan capital; 17 arrested  - Associated Press

Sri Lanka envoy defends stance
The Gazette (Montreal) 2006, August 26, 2006 . Sri Lanka's high commissioner in Ottawa yesterday denied he's spreading "dirty propaganda" by saying charitable fundraising by Canadian Tamils ends up supporting terrorism back home by the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"There are funds generated through contributions, donations and also money obtained through extortion," W.J.S. Karunaratne said in an interview from his downtown Ottawa office. "It's very necessary to take action against this."

"The LTTE has so many (bank) accounts all over the world," and they're partly filled with money raised through "various front organizations" of refugee and relief charities supported by Canadian Tamils, he said.

"This is not propaganda by the Sri Lankan high commission. This has been going on for the last 20 years. That is actually the truth."

He was responding to a charge by a prominent Montreal Tamil community leader that the Sri Lankan government has been orchestrating a "dirty propaganda" campaign against Tamils in Canada in order to cut the flow of charity money raised here.

In an interview, Ramani Balendra commented on arrests this week of two ex-Montreal Tamil brothers in the United States on immigration bribery charges, in which tens of thousands of dollars were allegedly to be funnelled from Montreal to help Tamils illegally enter the U.S.

Balendra said the allegations could be part of a Sri Lankan government plan to discredit legitimate Tamil fundraising efforts here and cut the purse-strings of the Tamil diaspora that helps civilian victims of Sri Lanka's 20-year-old civil war. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 26 16:12:50 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Sri Lanka 's Tamil Tigers release policeman held captive for 11 months
Associated Press, Sat August 26, 2006 00:52 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday released a policeman held for over 10 months in northern Sri Lanka - as a ``goodwill gesture,'' monitors of Sri Lanka - 's crumbling four-year-old cease-fire said.

The officer, B.W. Bopetigoda, was handed over to monitors during a ceremony on Saturday morning, spokesman for the Nordic mission, Thorfinnur Omarsson, said.

Bopetigoda was one of three officers arrested by the insurgents in rebel-administered territory in the north in September 2005. Two other officers have already been released.

Omarsson said the decision to release the policeman came during a meeting of the Tiger leadership and the outgoing head of the monitoring mission, Ulf Henricsson.

Henricsson had asked the Tigers to make a ``goodwill gesture'' to the Sri Lankan government, with whom it has been locked in fierce fighting in recent months, Omarsson said.

Bopetigoda, and the two other officers were arrested by the rebels as they pursued a suspected British pedophile near Mannar on the northwestern coast. They were charged by the insurgents with trespassing on rebel-held territory.

Under the terms of the cease-fire, both sides must seek permission to enter the other's territory.

The pro-rebel Web site TamilNet said Bopetigoda's case had been going through Tiger-administered courts in Kilinochchi, the insurgent's de facto capital in the north, where they control wide swaths of territory.

Henricsson had traveled up to Kilinochchi on Friday with the incoming head of the monitoring team, Lars Solvberg, to meet with the rebels' political chief, S.P. Tamilselvan, and discuss the peace-process.

The Tigers have been battling the government for over 20 years for a separate state for the island nation's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils who suffered decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

The cease-fire brought a halt to large-scale hostilities, although random shootings and mine attacks happened sporadically.

But the violence has escalated in the last few months with a ground battle in eastern Trincomalee over water supply, and more recently, intense shelling in the north for control of the strategic Jaffna Peninsula.

The United Nations refugee agency estimates that over 200,000 people have fled their homes amid heavy shelling in the north and east.

The government was not immediately available for comment.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 26 02:08:04 EDT 2006 Back to the top


RCMP officers followed suspect to wedding 'Procurement cell'
National Post, August 26. Last Saturday evening, hours after the FBI arrested several Canadians allegedly trying to buy anti-aircraft missiles in New York, Suresh Sriskandarajah attended a wedding in Scarborough, Ont... Back to the top

Besieged Sri Lanka enclave sees business as usual
Reuters, Sunday, August 26, 2006 - 11:10 EDT. By Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Being cut off by heavy fighting is nothing new for residents of Sri Lanka's besieged northern Jaffna peninsula... Back to the top

Pakistan 'guiding' Sri Lanka's war: Indian expert
IRNA, August 26. A group of Pakistan Air Force officers stationed in Colombo have been guiding the Sri Lankan military in carrying out air-mounted operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a former counter-terrorism chief of India's external intelligence, B Raman, says... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers and the Canadian connection
Globe and Mail, August 26. It's an American-led investigation, but nine of the arrested suspects are now known to have links to Canada... Back to the top

Sri Lanka President gets parties' boost amid war with rebels
People's Daily of China, Sunday, August 26, 2006 - 00:20 EDT. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is facing aggression from the rebels, is presented with a parliamentary boost from two Tamil minority parties, according to parliamentary officials on Friday... Back to the top

World Food program: 204,000 people displaced in Sri Lanka , food stocks running low
Associated Press, Fri August 25, 2006 12:42 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Fighting between Sri Lanka - 's Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces has forced at least 204,000 people from their homes in the eastern and northern parts of the country, the U... Back to the top

Waterloo connection
The Record, August 26. An alleged terrorist supporter from Waterloo vowed to work toward a free Tamil nation and posted photographs of rebel soldiers on his website... Back to the top

S.Lanka's Jaffna gets aid, rebels release prisoner
Reuters, August 26. JAFFNA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Officials distributed aid on Sri Lanka's besieged Jaffna peninsula on Saturday and foreign nationals were being evacuated as two Red Cross vessels docked there after weeks of fighting cut off the region... Back to the top

Sri Lanka evacuates foreign nationals
Reuters, Friday, August 25, 2006 - 23:14 EDT. The first aid ship to break a two-week siege of Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula has started to unload, while another Red Cross-flagged vessel headed in to evacuate foreign nationals... Back to the top

Aid workers, civilians register to leave Jaffna
DailyIndia, august 25. Colombo, Aug 25 (DPA) An estimated 8,000 civilians and aid workers registered with state authorities in the northern Jaffna peninsula to leave the conflict-torn area as Sri Lanka Air Force jets conducted air strikes on Tamil rebel targets, reports from the north said Friday... Back to the top

Gunfight in eastern Sri Lanka kills 5, as ferry set to leave for besieged north
Associated Press, Fri August 25, 2006 01:12 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A gunfight between Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces in eastern Sri Lanka - killed five insurgents and left one police officer wounded, the military said Friday... Back to the top

'India can make or break peace in Sri Lanka'
rediff news, Friday, August 25, 2006 - 22:40 EDT. August 25, 2006 In the second part of his interview, Jayadeva Uyangoda, Professor and Head, Department of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Colombo and Founder-Director of the Centre for Policy Research and Analysis, explains to Managing Editor Sheela Bhatt why he thinks the ethnic conflict will take time to resolve, and the role India can play... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Builds Software and Organizations at ApacheCon Asia
3, August 25. The Apache Software Foundation works on the principle that a good community will make good software... Back to the top

Nabbing Tigers - Editorial
The Washington Times, Friday, August 25, 2006 - 22:40 EDT. The arrests in the past week of supporters of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers is the kind of crackdown needed to bring the separatist rebels back to the negotiating table... Back to the top

FBI probes Israeli newspaper report that the fugitive CEO of Comverse is in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri August 25, 2006 09:29 EDT . - - JERUSALEM (AP) The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a report that the fugitive former chief executive of Comverse Technology Inc... Back to the top

Bribe money in Tamil terror case originated from Montreal, FBI allege
National Post, August 25. TORONTO - Money to bribe a U.S. official - traced during an international anti-terrorism probe aimed at the Tamil Tigers - came from Montreal, the FBI said Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan air force strikes rebel base in north as truce monitors head there for talks
Associated Press, Fri August 25, 2006 04:34 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets on Friday bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel base in the north, the military said, as the new chief of European monitors overseeing the country's crumbling cease-fire headed for talks with the rebel leadership there... Back to the top

Rebels, police trade fire in eastern Sri Lanka , 5 dead: military
Associated Press, Thu August 24, 2006 23:06 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A gunfight between Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces in eastern Sri Lanka - killed five insurgents and left one police officer wounded, the military said Friday... Back to the top

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