The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 226


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We have lost a great mathe- matician, engineer, scientist, an old timer of SLNet/LAcNet and a former LAcNet director. Pubudu Dayawansa (Daya) was instrumental in carrying out many LAcNet projects. He was responsible in setting up "Colombo Calling" a website that was designed to carry weekly articles from Sri Lankan Academic community and Human Rights activists. [ More...]
Headline Summary
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Truckloads of food meant for Tamil refugees robbed in eastern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat November 18, 2006 11:00 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS

Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Hundreds of Sri Lankans Saturday overran a government convoy of food trucks, seizing supplies meant for tens of thousands of displaced ethnic Tamils in the country's rebel-controlled east, witnesses and the rebels said.

More than 40,000 people displaced in August by fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels are living in schools and temporary shelters in the rebel-held village of Vakarai, in eastern Batticaloa district.

They have faced an acute shortage of food since the main access road was closed last month after clashes intensified in the area.

The government sent eight truckloads of food to Vakarai, but the convoy was stopped by a mob, and five trucks were stripped of their cargo at Mankerni, the last government-controlled village before entering rebel territory, an eyewitness who traveled with the convoy told The Associated Press.

The remaining three trucks were able to reverse and returned to Batticaloa, the witness said, requesting anonymity for fear of retribution.

The witness said he believed ethnic Tamils from nearby displacement camps had robbed the trucks, but it was impossible to immediately confirm this.

An official at the government's Media Center for National Security said he had no information about the ambush.

A statement by the rebel's peace coordination agency said a Sinhalese mob had stolen the food and accused the Sri Lankan military _ the vast majority of whom are also Sinhalese _ of complicity in the ambush.

The ``Sri Lankan military and paramilitary stood guard as the Sinhala mobs looted the food,'' the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said in a statement e-mailed to the media.

Ethnic Sinhalese make up about 74 percent of Sri Lanka's 19 million people and dominate the government and armed forces.

Recent fighting between Tamil Tigers and government forces in eastern Sri Lanka has left scores of people dead, including at least 23 civilians who had sought shelter at a school on Nov. 8.

The Tigers have fought the government since 1983 demanding a self-ruled homeland for ethnic minority Tamils citing decades of discrimination by majority Sinhalese.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before a 2002 Norway-brokered cease-fire, that now appears on the verge of collapse amid near daily fighting.

Even though the two side claim to honor the truce, more than 3,200 combatants and civilians have been killed since December. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Nov 18 18:37:04 EST 2006

Sri Lankan navy says two rebel boats destroyed in sea battle, estimates 15 rebels killed
Associated Press, Fri November 17, 2006 23:13 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's navy and air force on Saturday destroyed three Tamil Tiger gunboats off the country's northwestern coast, killing at least 15 rebels, the military said, but the rebels claimed to have sunk two navy boats, killing 10 sailors.

``Our radars detected two Tiger (rebel) boats approaching our shores and we dispatched navy boats to confront them,'' navy spokesman, Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said of the sea battle that started just after dawn Saturday.

As the navy boats drew closer, seven more boats from the Tamil Tigers' sea wing, the Sea Tigers, entered the fray, Dassanayake said.

``Our sailors managed to completely destroy two Tiger boats and we estimate that 15 men would have been on board and killed,'' Dassanayake said. Four Sri Lankan sailors were also wounded, Dassanayake said.

Air force planes destroyed a third boat, Dassanayake said. He had no details of casualties in the third attack.

Tamil Tigers' military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said Sea Tigers destroyed navy's two fast attack crafts killing 10 sailors. He denied military claims of inflicting heavy casualties on the rebels and said only three guerrillas were wounded in the battle.

It is impossible to reconcile the death toll or independently verify claims from the two sides. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Nov 18 00:59:17 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka says sinks 3 rebel boats in sea battle  - Reuters
S.Lanka rebels may have sunk navy boat in battle  -

Sri Lanka battles rebels at sea, troops ambushed, Saturday November 18, 2006 - 09:55 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's navy clashed with Tamil Tiger rebels at sea on Saturday, each claiming to have sunk the other's vessels, while police said a rebel ambush on land killed five soldiers and four civilians died in ensuing gunfire.

The navy said it sank three Tiger boats off the northwestern Mannar peninsula, while the rebels said they sank two navy boats and killed 10 sailors in the incident.

Published: Sat Nov 18 09:56:55 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
23 killed in Sri Lanka violence, officials say  - Associated Press

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Blast and gunfire kill eight in northern Sri Lanka , police and military say
Associated Press, Sat November 18, 2006 02:18 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A bomb blast and subsequent gunfire killed eight in northern Sri Lanka - on Saturday, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military says 27 Tamil rebels killed, president asks rebels to give up weapons
Associated Press, Thu November 16, 2006 23:07 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The military said Friday its soldiers killed 27 Tamil Tiger rebels in eastern Sri Lanka - , as the island nation's president urged the separatist insurgents to lay down their weapons and help end decades of bloodshed... Back to the top

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UN: Sri Lanka using child soldiers, Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 09:50 EDT. The Sri Lankan military and government have been trying to cobble together a diplomatic response to charges they have collaborated with a breakaway rebel faction in forcibly recruiting children as soldiers... Back to the top

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India not to provide lethal military hardware to S Lanka: PM, Saturday November 18, 2006 - 09:55 EDT. India-S Lanka arms-PM Allaying apprehensions expressed by political parties in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday assured that the Centre will not provide Sri Lanka with "lethal offensive military hardware, especially those which could be used against the Tamil population" there... Back to the top

Tamil employee of Scotland-based international demining group abducted in northern Jaffna
Associated Press, Fri November 17, 2006 05:48 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Tamil employee of a Scotland-based international demining group has been abducted from his home in northern Sri Lanka - , the group said Friday... Back to the top

Lanka to borrow heavily as deficit reaches $2.18bn, 18th November 2006. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka is set to borrow heavily abroad and at home in a bid to finance a record $2.18 billion budget deficit next year as defence spending jumps 45 per cent, official figures showed yesterday... Back to the top

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Tamil rebels label call from Sri Lanka 's president to surrender weapons a joke
Associated Press, Fri November 17, 2006 02:02 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil rebels on Friday rejected a call from Sri Lanka - 's president to surrender their arms, as the military announced it killed 27 insurgents... Back to the top

Arms on menu as S.Lanka defence spending rises 28 pct, Friday November 17, 2006 - 07:10 EDT. COLOMBO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government plans to use a budgeted 28 percent increase in defence spending for 2007 to help beef up the military as it battles Tamil Tiger rebels amid renewed civil war, officials said on Friday... Back to the top

Interfax: Russia to scrap tea import duty under WTO agreement with Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri November 17, 2006 06:28 EST . MOSCOW (AP) Russia will scrap its 5 percent import duty on loose tea within two years after it joins the World Trade Organization under an agreement reached during successful talks with Sri Lanka - on Moscow's WTO bid, the Interfax news agency reported Friday... Back to the top

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