The Lanka Academic

MARCH 15, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 344


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka bombs rebels, 29 killed in fighting: ministry, 2008-03-15. Sri Lankan government jets bombed a Tamil Tiger training base as fighting across the northern region claimed at least another 29 lives, the defence ministry said Saturday.

Air force planes conducted bombing raids against a Tiger rebel base in Mullaittivu in the northeast early Saturday, leaving the training facility in ruins, the ministry said.

"The enemy target had been under constant surveillance and latest air reconnaissance information has revealed intensified terrorist activity in the area," the statement said.

Security forces also destroyed five rebel bunkers and killed at least 29 Tigers during confrontations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Weli Oya on Friday, the ministry said, putting government losses at seven soldiers injured.

There was no immediate comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils since 1972.

The latest defence ministry figures place the number of rebels said to have been killed by security forces since the start of the year to 2,095, against the loss of 123 government soldiers. More...
Published: Sat Mar 15 10:21:11 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka summons US envoy over rights report, 15 March 2008. .
COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka summoned US ambassador Robert Blake to denounce Washington's criticism of Colombo's human rights record in an escalating ethnic conflict wracking the island.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called Blake to the foreign ministry office to "strongly protest" the State Department's human rights report, a government statement said.

The report is a "litany of unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo and vituperative exaggerations ... and has thrown a lifeline" to the rebel Tamil Tigers, the statement said.

The annual US report issued earlier this week said more than 1,000 civilians had been killed in Sri Lanka last year as the government stepped up attacks against the Tigers, who have been fighting for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority since 1972.

The United States also blamed the government for making slow progress in investigating alleged serious human rights abuses.

The US embassy in a statement said it stood by the report and did not make further comment.

Last December, Sri Lanka summoned a number of Colombo-based Western and Asian diplomats and faulted them for criticising the country's human rights record.

The government has in the past accused international diplomats who raised rights concerns of being "terrorists" and supporters of the rebels.

Sri Lanka has also resisted calls for UN monitoring of the human rights situation.

Earlier this month, a team of top foreign judicial and forensic experts said it was quitting Sri Lanka because Colombo had failed to seriously probe a string of high-profile cases, including the massacre of aid workers. More...
Published: Sat Mar 15 07:53:11 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan military says 5 Tamil rebels, 3 soldiers killed in fighting in the north
Associated Press, Sat March 15, 2008 08:02 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Clashes in Sri Lanka - 's embattled north killed five Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers, while air force jets bombed a rebel training camp, the military said Saturday.

The combatants were killed Friday in four separate clashes in the Jaffna, Mannar and Welioya regions, the military said in a statement.

On Saturday, fighter jets bombed a rebel training camp near their de facto capital of Kilinochchi, the statement said. It did not give details on any damage or casualties.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

It was not possible to obtain independent accounts of the battles because reporters have been barred from the war zone. Each side often exaggerates the other's casualty figures while underreporting its own.

Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent state in the island's north and east for ethnic minority Tamils who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Sat Mar 15 08:46:49 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka: U.S. throws lifeline to Tamil Tigers, march 15. COLOMBO, March 15 (Reuters) - Smarting at mounting criticism of its human rights record amid escalating civil war, Sri Lanka's government has accused the United States of throwing a lifeline to the widely banned Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

JVP's anti-India moves will not be tolerated: Sri Lanka
pti, march 15. Colombo, Mar 14 (PTI) Sri Lankan government has insisted that it will not tolerate any campaign against the interest of India in the island nation and cautioned the Marxist JVP party to keep itself away from any such moves... Back to the top

Sri Lanka sets an example by fighting terrorism: PM, Marchy 15, 2008. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka has set an example to the whole world by fighting terrorism and establishing democracy in the war-ravaged Eastern part of the country, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka has said... Back to the top

Lanka to impose fuel surcharge on power rates
Khaleej Times Online, march 15. COLOMBO - Sri Lanka, which gets two-thirds of its electricity from oil-fired plants, will impose a fuel surcharge on power rates as record oil prices increase costs... Back to the top

Sri Lankan TV stops live telecasts protesting violence
ians, march 15. Colombo, March 14 (IANS) Employees of a Sri Lanka’s state-run television network Rupavahini Friday stopped all live telecast except news in protest against a series of violent assaults against them in the past two months... Back to the top

Jayasuriya denies having met the Prez
rediff, march 15. Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya on Friday denied having sought Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's intervention for his inclusion in the ODI team to the West Indies... Back to the top

PCB confident Ranatunga will accept ODI proposal
news, march 15. KARACHI: National cricket bosses will host Sri Lanka’s board chief Arjuna Ranatunga next week in Lahore to discuss a number of issues ranging from this summer’s Asia Cup to be a proposed one-day series between the two countries, writes Khalid Hussain... Back to the top

Sri Lanka protests US report on human rights, saying it presents 'distorted view'
Associated Press, Fri March 14, 2008 12:14 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - summoned the U... Back to the top

Sri Lanka nears MiG-29 purchase, 14 March 2008. Sri Lanka is in advanced talks with Russia over the procurement of five MiG-29 fighter aircraft, the head of the country's state-owned procurement agency has said... Back to the top

Military: Fighting across northern Sri Lanka kills 28 Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Fri March 14, 2008 02:12 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Gunbattles between government soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels across Sri Lanka - 's embattled north killed 28 guerrillas, the military said Friday... Back to the top

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