The Lanka Academic

VOL. 8, NO. 277


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Blast in Sri Lanka capital, no one hurt-Official
Reuters, jan 8. COLOMBO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A bomb exploded in a phone booth in a block of flats in the business area of the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday evening, but there were no immediate reports of any casualties, the government said.

The blast came hours after suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed a government minister with a roadside bomb between Colombo and the island's international airport.

"It was an explosive. They have put a bomb inside a telephone booth in a block in Regent's flats," said Lakshman Hulugalle, director general of the Media Centre for National Security, referring to a building on a roundabout near the Hilton hotel in the city's business district. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Jan 8 10:36:31 EST 2008

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Blast in Sri Lanka capital: police  - afp
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Bomb blamed on rebels kills Sri Lankan minister, wounds 10 others, military says
Associated Press, Tue January 8, 2008 03:31 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A Sri Lankan government minister was killed Tuesday in a roadside bombing blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels, the first successful assassination of a top Sri Lankan official in 19 months.

The bomb tore through the car carrying Nation Building Minister D.M. Dassanayake as he traveled through the Ja-Ela area, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital, Colombo, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara.

Another man who had not yet been identified was also killed in the explosion, said Dharmawardena Guruge, a physician in the hospital where Dassanayake was taken.

``The minister was critically injured and was in a very serious condition even when he was brought here,'' Guruge told an Associated Press photographer.

Guruge said that doctors immediately took Dassanayake in for surgery, but that the minister died.

Dassanayake, who was not a member of the Cabinet, suffered head injuries and wounds ``all over the body,'' the doctor said.

The blast, which came days after the government officially pulled out of a cease-fire with the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels, also wounded 10 others. A security guard and a driver were also in the car, but it was not clear if either was killed or wounded.

``This is a very brutal assassination and we are saddened, we are quite sure that it was done by the terrorists,'' Media Minister Anura Yapa said, referring to the Tamil Tiger rebels.

``The government is doing its best to protect the civilians, their properties and also parliamentarians,'' Yapa said.

He did not say why Dassanayake might have been targeted.

The killing was almost certain to intensify the raging civil war between military forces and rebel fighters in the north.

``We have still not arrested anybody, but the suspicion is on the LTTE,'' Nanayakkara said, referring to the Tamil Tigers by the initials of their formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls seeking comment.

The rebels routinely target government ministers and senior military officials for assassination, but often fail to kill their heavily protected targets.

A suicide bomber killed an aide to Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda in November in a failed assassination that was recorded by security cameras. Bombing attacks in 2006 also failed to kill Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The last successful assassination took place in June 2006, when the rebels killed Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, the country's third-highest-ranking military officer.

The rebels have been blamed for an increase in attacks in the Colombo area in recent months. Last Wednesday, suspected rebels set off a bomb near a bus transporting wounded soldiers through the heart of the capital. The blast killed four people _ a soldier and three civilian bystanders.

Soon after, Sri Lanka's Cabinet decided to officially withdraw from a 2002 truce that had all but collapsed over the past two years as escalating violence killed about 5,000 people.

In the four days since the withdrawal, a new wave of violence across the main battle zone in the north killed 85 people, according to the military.

Senior government officials have vowed to dismantle the rebels' de facto state in parts of the north and to crush the Tamil Tigers.

The EU has expressed regret at Sri Lanka's decision to leave the cease-fire, saying it would ``further deteriorate the country's already difficult situation, including the humanitarian and human rights situation.''

According to military figures, 81 rebels and four soldiers were killed since the government pulled out of the cease-fire.

More than 70,000 people have been killed since the rebels began fighting in 1983 for an independent state for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority, claiming discrimination by the Sinhalese majority.Discuss this story
Published: Tue Jan 8 05:02:10 EST 2008 Back to the top

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In pictures: Sri Lanka bombing  -
Sri Lanka Minister, 6 Civilians Injured in Bomb Blast (Update1)  -
Sri Lankan minister dies after bombing: Reuter+  - Associated Press
Sri Lanka roadside blast targets minister's car  - reuters
Minister admitted to Hospital after Blast  - TLA

Sri Lankan military: 10 Tamil rebels killed in fighting in embattled north
Associated Press, Tue January 8, 2008 07:41 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers clashed with separatist Tamil Tigers in the embattled north Tuesday, killing 10 insurgents, the military said.

Army troops fought two separate gunbattles along the front lines in the northern Vavuniya district, killing 10 rebels, a Defense Ministry statement said. Soldiers suffered no casualties.
Published: Tue Jan 8 08:46:42 EST 2008 Back to the top

Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 85 in 4 days, military says
Associated Press, Mon January 7, 2008 22:43 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Intensifying violence in Sri Lanka - 's embattled north pushed the death toll from four days of fighting to 85, the military said Tuesday, as the European Union warned of rising human rights violations after the government withdrew from a 2002 cease-fire... Back to the top

LTTE won t agree for talks during Prabhakaran s time: Minister, January 8. Colombo (PTI): The LTTE would not agree for talks with the government during the lifetime of its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, a Sri Lankan Minister and Tamil politician, who has escaped several assassination attempts by the rebels, has said... Back to the top

Road side blast on VIP convoy
TLA, jan 8. Wire services report of a road side blast on a VIP convoy... Back to the top

Maldives president escapes assassination attempt with help of boy scout
Associated Press, Tue January 8, 2008 06:39 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Maldives president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, survived an assassination attempt Tuesday when a boy scout grabbed the knife of an attacker who jumped out of a crowd of people greeting the president, a government spokesman said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Is Eradicating Terrorism in the North, Rajapaksa Says, jan 8. an. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka is eradicating terrorism in the northern region after driving the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from the east, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. ``There are two challenges before us,'' Rajapaksa said in a speech yesterday, according to the government's Web site... Back to the top

Emirates puts its stake in SriLankan Airlines on the market
etravel, jan 8. Following the termination of its management contract, Emirates Airlines has publicly announced that it is willing to sell all or part of its near 44 per cent stake in SriLankan Airlines, which Emirates’ president has valued at USD $150 million... Back to the top

We have all killed the peace deal! -Opinion
khaleej Times, jan 8. THE ceasefire had been a dead-letter since December 2005 when violence escalated in the absence of any confidence-building measures by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)... Back to the top

LTTE link in city credit card fraud
TOI, jan 8. BANGALORE: The police seem to have stumbled upon an interesting link after the Saturday arrest of suspected LTTE men in Mangalore... Back to the top

Job prospects for Lankans get a boost
GulfNews, jan 8. SRI LANKAN workers are likely to get over 50,000 jobs in Qatar in about a year with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Doha and Colombo in the island nation tomorrow, according to reports published in a Sri Lankan newspaper... Back to the top

Sri Lanka court limits government cordon-and-search security efforts
jurist, jan 8. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka [official website] Monday ordered the country's government to stop cordon-and-search security operations, in which security forces cut off access to a populated area before searching and arresting residents within... Back to the top

Sri Lankan fighting kills 81 after government's formal withdrawal from cease-fire accord
Associated Press, Mon January 7, 2008 05:53 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Gunbattles between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels brought the death toll for four days of fighting to 81, according to military figures Monday, as violence intensified following the government's announcement that it would formally withdraw from a 2002 cease-fire accord... Back to the top

Sri Lanka slams Nordic nations over truce remarks, Jan 07, 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka took exception to a statement by Nordic nations which voiced distress over the situation in the Indian ocean island, where the government abrogated an Oslo-arranged truce... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military: Fighting kills 23 rebels, 1 soldier in embattled north
Associated Press, Mon January 7, 2008 04:50 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Gunbattles between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels killed 23 insurgents and one soldier in intensifying violence in Sri Lanka - 's embattled north, bringing the death toll for three days of fighting to 72, the military said Monday... Back to the top

Scrapping of ceasefire has weakened Lanka s position, 6 jan. Colombo (PTI): Accusing the government of "war-mongering", Sri Lanka's main opposition party on Monday claimed the decision to scarp the ceasefire had benefitted LTTE's aspirations for a separate state, weakened the country and "disappointed" the international community, including India... Back to the top

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