The Lanka Academic

 
DECEMBER 1, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 239

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IN MEMORIAM

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...]
TLA FEATURE CORNER
Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka defense secretary escapes suicide attack; three dead, 14 wounded
Associated Press, Fri December 1, 2006 06:41 EST . By DILIP GANGULY

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - A suicide bomber targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying Sri Lanka's defence secretary and other security officials in the capital Friday, killing himself, two soldiers and wounding 14 others, the military said.

Soon after the blast, police and other security men opened fire. The body of an unidentified man lay at the scene with gunshot wounds. A car caught fire as a result of the blast, an AP photographer at the scene said.

The government blamed the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels for the attack which appeared to target the island's defence secretary, who is also the president's brother, and who escaped unhurt.

"Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse escaped unharmed when an LTTE suicide killer, targeted the convoy of vehicles in which he was travelling," a government statement said, using the acronym for the rebels' official name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the bomber triggered the explosives as the five-car convoy of vehicles was passing. Samarasinghe confirmed that Rajapakse, who is the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, was in one of the cars.

"He is safe, no harm has come to him," Samarasinghe said. Minutes after the blast, the government released photographs of the president hugging his brother, who in another photo showed photographers the blood spatters on his white shirt.

Military said two soldiers died while nine others and five civilians were hospitalized with varying degree of injuries.

The suicide bomber apparently approached on a motorized rickshaw from the opposite direction and targeted the convoy, said Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jayantha Wickremeratne.

Rajapakse, a retired military colonel, was in a bulletproof car, which was flanked by two motorcycle escorts.

At the blast site, a popular thoroughfare, there was the stench of human flesh and blood was splattered over the area, suggesting some of the wounded may have been badly hurt.

Meanwhile, the United States condemned Friday's blast, which it said bore "all the hallmarks" of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

"We once again call on the LTTE to renounce terrorism, to give up violence and to join in negotiating a peaceful solution to Sri Lankas conflict," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Colombo has been under tight security for several months over fears of possible attacks by the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

Separately, a roadside bomb blast killed two police in northern Jaffna peninsula, an official at the Media Centre for National Security said.

President Rajapakse appointed his brother to the post after coming to power last year.

Secretary Rajapakse provided the Sri Lankan army with new weapons to help their fight against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Suicide bombings are a hallmark of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who say they are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority.

The Tigers have been fighting for over 20 years, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

The government says it is willing to give autonomy to areas where Tamils are in the majority, but the rebels insist on sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty.

The latest round of peace talks held in Switzerland in October failed to make any progress in resolving the issue and relations between the two sides have since deteriorated.

A sharp spike in violence this year has killed at least 3,500 fighters and civilians, imperiled a 2002 ceasefire and threatened to return the country to all-out war.

The Tiger's top leader earlier this week called the Oslo-brokered ceasefire "defunct," but the rebels later clarified they would abide by the truce.

Distributed by the Associated Press Discuss this story
Published: Fri Dec 1 09:18:03 EST 2006

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka Defense Chief Dodges Attack  - Associated Press
·
2ND LD: Sri Lanka president's brother targeted in Colombo bomb blast+  - Associated Press
·
Suicide bomber targets military vehicles in Colombo, 14 wounded  - Associated Press
·
Sri Lankan defense secretary escapes suicide attack; 14 wounded, 1 dead  - Associated Press

Norwegian peace envoy begins talks with Sri Lankan officials on moribund peace process
Associated Press, Thu November 30, 2006 07:56 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A Norwegian peace envoy on Thursday began talks with Sri Lankan government representatives on ways to save the island's moribund peace process with Tamil Tiger guerrillas, an official said.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer, who arrived earlier Thursday, met with the government's chief peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva, a close aide of the Sri Lankan official said.

He said de Silva discussed ways to restart the stalled peace talks with the rebels.

A round of talks held in Switzerland late last month failed when the rebels insisted that a key highway linking the Tamil-majority Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country be reopened, a request the government flatly rejected.

Jaffna residents face acute shortages of food and medicine because of the road's closure since August because of heavy fighting.

The rebels want the road reopened immediately to send essentials, while the government says it can send the goods by sea or through an alternate land route. The government maintains the rebels could use the highway to transport fighters and weapons and extort money from motorists.

Some 500,000 people are trapped in the Jaffna peninsula while another 36,000 people are isolated in Vaharai village in eastern Batticaloa district, because access roads are closed.

Hanssen-Bauer's visit comes amid escalating violence between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that has imperiled a 2002 cease-fire and threatened to return the country to all-out war.

The Tiger's top leader earlier this week called the Oslo-brokered cease-fire ``defunct,'' but the rebels later clarified they would abide by the truce.

Tamil Tiger spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, said Hanssen-Bauer was scheduled to meet with the rebel leadership on Dec. 4 and that political wing chief, Suppiah Thamilselvan, would explain the rebels' aims.

Ilanthirayan, meanwhile, accused Sri Lanka's navy of attacking a unit from the rebels' sea wing off the northwest coast, wounding one fighter. ``We retaliated to the navy attack causing damages to their boats,'' he said.

The navy, however, denied the attack occurred, and claimed the Tigers shot dead a local fishermen at sea and wounded another.

``They fled the scene when navy boats approached and no gunbattle took place,'' said a navy official on condition of anonymity, as he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.

Also on Thursday, army seized two explosives-laden jackets from an abandoned house in northern Jaffna peninsula.

Spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said besides the jackets, the military also found two rocket propelled grenades and two T-56 automatic weapons and ammunition during the search late Wednesday.

``We got a tip-off and found the explosives which were to be used against us,'' Samarasinghe said.

Suicide attacks are the hallmark of the rebels, who are fighting the Sri Lankan government to create a separate homeland for the country's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority.

Sri Lanka's open civil war stopped after the 2002 truce, but since a spike in violence this year the agreement now only exists on paper, with more than 3,500 fighters and civilians killed in assassinations, mine blasts, suicide attacks, artillery exchanges, sea battles and airstrikes, according to government figures.

The government says it is willing to give autonomy to areas where Tamils are in the majority, but rebels insist on sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Nov 30 11:16:25 EST 2006 Back to the top


Norwegian peace envoy arrives, scheduled to meet government, Tamil leaders
Associated Press, Thu November 30, 2006 00:30 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A Norwegian peace envoy arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday for talks with government and rebel officials that would include the island's moribund peace process, a spokesman for the Norwegian embassy said.

Jon Hanssen-Bauer ``is here on a routine visit,'' embassy spokesman, Erik Nurnberg, said. ``Naturally, he will be discussing all the issues.''

Hanssen-Bauer's visit comes amid escalating violence between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that has imperiled a 2002 cease-fire and threatened to return the country to all-out war.

The Tiger's top leader earlier this week called the Oslo-brokered cease-fire ``defunct,'' but the rebels later clarified they would abide by the truce.

Hanssen-Bauer would travel to the rebels' northern stronghold early next week, Nurnberg said.

Tiger spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, said Hanssen-Bauer was scheduled to meet with the rebel leadership on Dec. 4 and that political wing chief, Suppiah Thamilselvan, would explain the rebels' aims.

Separately, the Sri Lankan military said Thursday they seized two explosive-laden jackets from an abandoned house in northern Jaffna peninsula.

Spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said besides the jackets, the military also found two rocket propelled grenades and two T-56 automatic weapons and ammunition during the search late Wednesday.

``We got a tip-off and found the explosives which were to be used against us,'' Samarasinghe said, blaming Tamil Tiger rebels for hiding the explosives.

Suicide attacks are the hallmark of the rebels, who are fighting the Sri Lankan government to create a separate homeland for the country's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority.

Sri Lanka's open civil war stopped after the 2002 truce, but since a spike in violence this year the agreement now only exists on paper, with more than 3,500 fighters and civilians killed in assassinations, mine blasts, suicide attacks, artillery exchanges, sea battles and air strikes, according to government figures.

The government says it is willing to give autonomy to areas where Tamils are in the majority, but rebels insist on sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Nov 30 04:03:10 EST 2006 Back to the top


Press freedom struggles in Sri Lanka
Excalibur Online, December 1. "Damn shame, off target again!" It was the bold headline of a special feature dedicated to the latest bombings in several regions of Sri Lanka, simply printed beneath the red logo for The Saturday Review, a publication based in Jaffna, Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s truce monitors call for peace after attack
xinhuanet.com, Dec. 1. COLOMBO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Nordic truce monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), on Friday urged Sri Lanka's warring parties to respect the ceasefire agreement and to give up violence following an assassination attempt on a high-ranking government official by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels. The SLMM said in a statement that it "is deeply concerned over the attack on defense secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse in the heart of Colombo, Friday... Back to the top

NTPC likely to set up 500 mw coal-based plant in Sri Lanka
myiris.com, 30 November 2006. NTPC is all set to venture overseas. It will be setting up a 500 mw coal-based plant in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Clinton asks Lanka and LTTE to choose politics over violence
zeenews.com, Dec 01. Cuddalore (TN), Dec 01: Equating the Sri Lankan crisis with that in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, former US President Bill Clinton today advised Colombo and the LTTE to "choose politics over violence"... Back to the top

Tough regulations stifling satellite tv growth in Sri Lanka, but ...
lankabusinessonline.com, 01 December 2006 16:59:46. November 30, 2006 (LBO) – Tough regulations are stifling growth of Sri Lanka's cable and satellite television industry, a local research firm says, but is poised to take off as new and larger players' lower costs and improve choice... Back to the top

Cambodian leader pledges to prevent flow of arms to Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu November 30, 2006 03:19 EST . - - PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) The Cambodian government will not allow any weapons to be smuggled out of the country to Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for an independent homeland in Sri Lanka - , an official said Thursday... Back to the top

Freelance Tamil journalist arrested
CPJ, December 1. New York, November 30, 2006—Sri Lankan authorities should either charge or release a freelance Tamil journalist detained for nearly a week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today... Back to the top

France warns nationals against Sri Lanka visits
alertnet.org, Thu Nov 30 20:20:25 2006. PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - France warned its nationals against making non-essential visits to Sri Lanka on Thursday because of an increase in violence and suicide attacks... Back to the top

ULFA linked to LTTE: Assam police
ndtv.com, November 30, 2006 . The banned ULFA has established links with the LTTE but there is no evidence that it is receiving arms supplies from the Sri Lankan rebel group, a top Assam Police official has said... Back to the top

AS-GEN--Sri Lanka-Train Accident
Associated Press, Thu November 30, 2006 04:26 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Three policemen and two army soldiers were killed Thursday when the vehicle they were traveling in was crushed by a train at a crossing, police said... Back to the top

Sri Lankan premier arrives in Cambodia on official visit+
Associated Press, Wed November 29, 2006 08:47 EST . - - Government sources said a key topic in talks with Hun Sen will be the prevention of possible smuggling of weapons to Sri Lanka - 's Tamil rebels... Back to the top

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