The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 236


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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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Judge strikes president's authority to designate terrorist groups
Associated Press, Tue November 28, 2006 18:33 EST . Judge strikes president's authority to designate terrorist groups


AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled that a portion of a post-Sept. 11 executive order allowing President Bush to create a list of specially designated global terrorist groups is unconstitutionally vague.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins, in a Nov. 21 ruling released Tuesday, struck down the provision and enjoined the government from blocking the assets of two foreign groups which were placed on the list.

The ruling was praised by David Cole, a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Constitutional Rights.

``This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists,'' he said. ``It was reminiscent of the McCarthy era.''

Charles Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said, ``We are currently reviewing the decision and we have made no determination what the government's next step will be.''

The judge's ruling was a reversal of her own tentative findings last July in which she indicated she would uphold wide powers asserted by Bush under an anti-terror financing law. She delayed her ruling then to allow more legal briefs to be filed.

The long-running litigation has centered on two groups, the Liberation Tigers, which seeks a separate homeland for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, and Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan, a political organization representing the interests of Kurds in Turkey.

Both groups have been designated by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations.

The judge's 45-page ruling granted in part and denied in part a legal challenge brought by the Humanitarian Law Project, which seeks to provide training to the groups in human rights advocacy and provide them with humanitarian aid.

The judge outlined the history of Bush's Executive Order 13224 issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He declared then that the ``grave acts of terrorism'' and the ``continuing and immediate threat of future attacks'' constituted a national emergency.

He blocked all property and interests in property of 27 groups or individuals named as ``specially designated global terrorists (SDGT).'' Bush also authorized the secretary of the treasury to designate anyone who ``assists, sponsors or provides services to'' or is ``otherwise associated with'' a designated group.

Collins found that Bush's authority to designate SDGTs is ``unconstitutionally vague on its face.'' She also found that the provision involving those ``otherwise associated with'' the groups is vague and overbroad and could impinge on First Amendment rights of free association. She struck down both provisions.

However, she let stand sections of the order that would penalize those who provide ``services'' to designated terrorist groups. She said such services would include the humanitarian aid and rights training proposed by the plaintiffs.

Cole said the Humanitarian Law Project will appeal those portions of the executive order which were allowed to stand. He said the judge's ruling does not invalidate the hundreds of SDGT designations already made but ``calls them into question.''

Cole said the value of the decision is it ``says that even in fighting terrorism the president cannot be given a blank check to blacklist anyone he considers a bad guy or a bad group and you can't imply guilt by association.'' Discuss this story
Published: Tue Nov 28 20:40:27 EST 2006

Food convoy fails to reach Sri Lanka s rebel controlled area, November 29, 2006. More than 100 vehicles loaded with food failed to reach a Tamil Tiger controlled area in Sri Lanka's east on Tuesday due to the exchange of fire between the rebels and the government forces, said the military.

The Media Center for National Security (MCNS) said in a statement that the food convoy consisted around 115 vehicles with 600 tons of food items had to turn back at 3:00 p.m. (0930 GMT) after reaching Mankerni Entry Exit point in the morning.

The food convoy was organized by international and local organizations such as the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), the UNICEF (United Nations International and Emergency Children's Fund) and the World Food Program for the besieged civilians at Vakarai area, said the statement. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Nov 28 20:41:11 EST 2006 Back to the top

Outrage over child soldiers in Sri Lanka, November 29. VAVUNIYA, SRI LANKA The Tamil Tiger rebels have long been known to use child soldiers in their extended campaign against the Sri Lankan government. The average age of the Tigers' child soldiers, according to UNICEF, is 16 years old. But the disappearance of three children in this frontier town two weeks ago near a Tamil Tiger rebel stronghold has sparked a different kind of outrage. As large-scale hostilities return to this island nation, international human rights observers are now accusing the Sri Lankan Army of helping a militia group enlist children in fighting the Tamil rebels. More...
Published: Tue Nov 28 20:42:53 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka wants to know if Tamil Tigers have withdrawn from 4-year-old cease-fire
Associated Press, Tue November 28, 2006 02:56 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's government said on Tuesday it has asked peace broker Norway and European cease-fire monitors to find out if Tamil Tiger rebels have officially withdrawn from a four-year-old cease-fire, after their top leader called the pact ``defunct... Back to the top

Sri Lanka military, rebels battle in east after Tiger leader hints at renewed war
Associated Press, Tue November 28, 2006 04:44 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan troops traded fire Tuesday, the military said, a day after the top rebel leader declared a 2002 cease-fire ``defunct,'' suggesting the insurgents would renew their violent struggle for an independent Tamil homeland... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Stop Child Abductions by Karuna Group, November 28. (New York, November 28, 2006) � The Sri Lankan security forces must immediately stop assisting abductions of boys and young men by the Karuna group and help those abducted return safely to their families, Human Rights Watch said today... Back to the top

LTTE Sri Lanka must end use of force: Burns, 2006-11-28 . As Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse continues his visit to India, the United States is calling on both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government to give up the use of force... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s ethnic conflict has no effect on Kandy: Mayor, Nov 28 . Dehradun, Nov 28 (IANS) Inviting Indian tourists to visit Kandy, that has the tooth of the Buddha as its most sacred relic, the city's visiting mayor said here that his country's ethnic conflict has had no direct effect on its functioning... Back to the top

Sri Lanka President rejects rebel war threat, November 28. The President of Sri Lanka has dismissed a threat by separatist rebels to renew their fight for an independent Tamil state... Back to the top

Sri Lankan government ridicules top Tamil rebel leader after he calls cease-fire defunct
Associated Press, Mon November 27, 2006 23:01 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's government on Tuesday ridiculed the top Tamil Tiger leader, saying he has lost touch with reality, after the separatist rebel urged the international community to recognize the bloody insurgency as a ``freedom struggle... Back to the top

Trelleborg Invests in Increased Capacity in Sri Lanka, Transfers Production from North America, November 28. Trelleborg (STO:TRELB) is consolidating its industrial tireproduction to Sri Lanka and will invest in increased productioncapacity at one of Trelleborg Wheel Systems' plants in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka navy destroys suspected rebel boat; 6 believed killed
Associated Press, Mon November 27, 2006 03:07 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's navy on Monday destroyed a boat suspected of ferrying arms for Tamil Tiger rebels off the island's west coast, killing six, the military said, as the rebels marked their annual ``Martyrs' Day... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's reclusive top Tamil Tiger leader to make annual speech amid an undeclared war
Associated Press, Sun November 26, 2006 22:42 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tigers and bereaved families lit lamps and garlanded portraits of fallen fighters in rebel-held parts of Sri Lanka - to mark the end of ``Hero's Week'' Monday, as the rebels' reclusive leader prepared to make his annual policy speech... Back to the top

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