The Lanka Academic

 
DECEMBER 12, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 250

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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
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
Sri Lankan air force bombs rebel areas in east; UN, truce monitors voice concerns
Associated Press, Tue December 12, 2006 08:57 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Air force planes pounded Tamil rebel-held areas in eastern Sri Lanka - on Tuesday, the military said, as European truce monitors and the United Nations said spiraling violence in the area has put innocent lives at risk. Earlier Tuesday, the Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission said it is ``deeply concerned over the escalating violence'' in the east.

Continuing violence is endangering the 2002 cease-fire and jeopardizing the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, the monitors said in a statement.

``In this alarming situation, the SLMM reminds the parties that they shall ... abstain from hostile acts against the civilian population,'' the monitors said in a statement.

The statement came hours after the United Nations said it was deeply concerned about the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in the country's east.

An estimated 35,000 civilians are trapped in Batticaloa, where the military and rebels are fighting over territory.

``The critical need of the moment is the protection of these desperate civilians,'' the U.N. said in a statement.

Civilian casualties have mounted in recent clashes between government forces and the guerrillas, but both sides have denied responsibility.

The military said a fierce daylong artillery and mortar battle Monday killed 24 soldiers and 40 rebels in the area. Tamil rebels said 41 displaced Tamils were killed in two days of government shelling.

The government has accused the rebels of holding hundreds of civilians as human shields to protect their artillery positions.

A sharp spike in violence this year has killed at least 3,500 fighters and civilians, leaving the 2002 cease-fire in tatters.

The Tigers have been fighting for more than 20 years for a separate homeland for the island nation's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority, 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 in the north and east, but the rebels want sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty.
Published: Tue Dec 12 10:12:34 EST 2006

Related News Stories
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Air force planes bomb rebel positions in eastern Sri Lanka , military says  - Associated Press

Sri Lanka main left party withdraws from panel on conflict
people.com.cn, 19:01, December 12, 2006. Sri Lanka's main left party Tuesday said that it has decided to withdraw from the advisory panel of the all political party forum to recommend a solution to the country's long drawn out separatist armed conflict.

Somawansa Amerasinghe, the JVP (People's Liberation Front) leader, told reporters that the JVP was unhappy with the announcement of recommendations by a part of the experts panel appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

The experts panel had come out with four reports -- a majority report by 11 members, and a minority report by four members plus two other short reports.

"We have decided to withdraw our member from the advisory panel because we feel that the panel appears to serve the separatist intentions (of the Tamil Tiger rebels)," Amerasinghe said.

He accused Rajapakse of working against the mandate he received at the presidential election where the JVP played a key role in his victory.

The majority report advocates maximum devolution by conferring power on the existing system of provincial councils.

The JVP is opposed to devolution as a solution to the separatist armed conflict and negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels until the group gave up arms.

However, Tissa Vitharana, the minister of Science and Technology who heads the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), said that all four reports would be taken up as discussion papers at the next meeting of the APRC.

The government on Sunday disowned the majority report and said that no finality had been reached on the proceedings.

The all political party panel was appointed by Rajapakse in January aimed at reaching consensus among south based political parties in the island.

The efforts for a negotiated settlement to the conflict have been marred by the escalation of violence since December 2005.

The government early last month said over 3,500 people had been killed in the renewed violence.

Source: Xinhua More...
Published: Tue Dec 12 08:30:05 EST 2006 Back to the top


U.N. says it is ``deeply concerned'' about trapped civilians in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Tue December 12, 2006 01:25 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The United Nations said Tuesday it was ``deeply concerned'' about indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Sri Lanka - 's east where tens of thousands of civilians, most Tamils, are caught in fighting.

An estimated 35,000 civilians are trapped in eastern Batticaloa, as the Sri Lankan military and the rebels fight over territory. On Monday, the military said a fierce daylong artillery and mortar battle in the area had killed 24 soldiers and 40 rebels.

``The critical need of the moment is the protection of these desperate civilians,'' the world body said in a statement. ``The United Nations is deeply concerned about indiscriminate shelling of civilian residential areas, leading to death, injuries and evacuation of communities out of danger zones.''

The International Committee of the Red Cross has said it had evacuated 30 wounded civilians, including seven children, from Vaharai village, the worst hit, in Batticaloa district to hospital in safer areas on Monday.

Civilian casualties have mounted in recent clashes between government forces and guerillas from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, while both sides have denied responsibility.

The government's Media Center for National Security accused rebels of moving their heavy guns into areas where hundreds of civilians are forcibly detained by insurgents.

``Since last Thursday, the LTTE was trying to provoke the army to retaliate toward their gun positions whilst detaining thousands of civilians close to them,'' said the media center, adding that the army had deployed ground forces instead of using artillery attacks to prevent civilian casualties.

A sharp spike in violence this year has killed at least 3,500 fighters and civilians, leaving a 2002 cease-fire in effect only on paper.

The Tigers have been fighting for more than 20 years for a separate homeland for the island nation's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority, 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 in the north and northeast, but the rebels want sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty.

On the net: www.nationalsecurity.lk
Published: Tue Dec 12 08:26:45 EST 2006 Back to the top


European truce monitors call situation in Sri Lanka 's volatile east 'alarming'
Associated Press, Tue December 12, 2006 07:45 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The situation in Sri Lanka - 's volatile east is ``alarming,'' European monitors overseeing the country's fragile truce said Tuesday, and called for an immediate end to the mounting violence... Back to the top

Grieving dad a suspected Tamil Tiger, CSIS says
ctv.ca, Dec. 12 2006. With the grief of losing their young son still fresh, the family of a boy who drowned in a partially frozen Scarborough pond is facing the prospect of being deported to Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Fierce battle in east Sri Lanka kills 64 combatants on both sides, military says
Associated Press, Mon December 11, 2006 05:48 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan troops exchanged artillery and mortar fire during a fierce daylong battle in the country's east that left at least 64 combatants dead, the military said Monday... Back to the top

Rajapakse pledges commitment to protect human rights in Sri Lanka
dailyindia.com, Dec.11. In his message on the occasion of Human Rights Day, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that as the head of state he was fully committed to protecting human rights not only in Sri Lanka, but in other parts of the world... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: ICRC evacuates casualties from Vakarai
alertnet.org, 11 Dec 2006. The ICRC today evacuated 30 injured civilians from Vakarai, in the Batticaloa district of eastern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Lankan bid to capture Vaharai continues
hindustantimes.com, December 10, 2006|18:12 IST. Scores of civilians, government troops and LTTE cadres were killed and many more were injured, as the Sri Lankan offensive to capture the strategic area of Vaharai in Eastern Sri Lanka from the LTTE continued for the second day on Sunday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s powerful treasury secretary resigns, says state paper
lankabusinessonline.com, 11 December 2006. Sri Lanka's powerful treasury secretary P B Jayasundara, has sent in his resignation, the state-run Daily News reported Monday... Back to the top

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