The Lanka Academic

MARCH 16, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 345


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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 LANKA: Journalists Fight a Separate War
IPS, march 17. COLOMBO, Mar 17 (IPS) - While Sri Lanka’s armed forces battle Tamil Tiger rebels in the north, sections of the country’s media are embroiled in a war of a different kind -- a fight to pursue their mission as journalists.

Three unrelated events involving men and women working for television, print and an on-line publication have brought this dire situation into sharp focus. In all cases, spread over the past two weeks, media practioners have been under fire, triggering outrage from local and international media rights groups.

The attacks that have attracted the widest attention here are those on media workers attached to Rupavahini, the government-owned TV channel that has the widest coverage in the South Asian island-nation. On Mar.14 morning, Anurasiri Hettige, an employee of the state television corporation, was attacked with an iron club as he waited for a bus in a Colombo suburb.

He was the fifth employee of the channel to be attacked or threatened in the last three months. Media rights groups say that the attacks are linked to an incident on Dec. 27 last year, when government minister Mervyn Silva stormed into Rupavahini and abused senior staff over a news programme. Silva was assaulted and daubed in paint by angry Rupavahini employees as he was escorted out under military protection. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sun Mar 16 23:53:04 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka Military: Fighting Kills 30
Associated Press, march 17. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Suspected separatist Tamil rebels killed a police officer and a soldier in separate attacks in northern Sri Lanka on Sunday, the military said, taking the death toll from two days of violence to 30.

Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a motorized rickshaw with a roadside bomb in Vavuniya district, killing one soldier and wounding four others, the military said in a statement.

Also Sunday, guerrillas shot dead a police officer in northern Mannar district, the statement said.

Seven other soldiers and 21 Tamil rebels have been killed in clashes across Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya regions since late Friday, the military said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

However, the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site said the rebels beat back advancing troops Friday on three fronts in Mannar and Welioya regions, killing 22 soldiers.

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

The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalization by governments controlled by majority Sinhalese.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Mar 16 23:49:41 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Anura Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka 's famous political dynasty dies at 59
Associated Press, Sun March 16, 2008 08:41 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Anura Bandaranaike, a former Sri Lankan foreign minister and member of the country's famous Bandaranaike political dynasty, died Sunday after an illness, a government spokesman said. He was 59.

Both his parents and his sister led Sri Lanka, but Bandaranaike's own political ambitions were frustrated by political battles within his family.

Bandaranaike was first elected to parliament in 1977 and served as minister of higher education, speaker of parliament and opposition leader, but he was never able to rise to the highest office in this Indian Ocean island nation.

He died Sunday, said government spokesman Anusha Pelpita.

Bandaranaike was appointed foreign minister after his predecessor Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated in 2005. He lost the post in a Cabinet reshuffle a few months later, however.

Just a few months before his death, Bandaranaike quit the Cabinet and joined the opposition over differences with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Bandaranaike's father, Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, founded the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and served as prime minister from 1956 until his assassination three years later. His mother took office soon after her husband's killing and ruled for a total of 12 years.

His mother chose his sister, Chandrika Kumaratunga, as her political heir instead of him and she ruled the country from 1994 to 2005.

Sunethra, the eldest Bandaranaike sibling, did not take part in politics.

Bandaranaike was born on Feb. 15, 1949. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Mar 16 10:49:41 EDT 2008 Back to the top

LTTE ready for talks if Lankan govt halts attacks, March 16, 2008. COLOMBO: The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka have expressed readiness to hold talks with the government in Colombo if it halted the military operations against them, but warned that the offer should not be seen as "any desperation" on their part to stop the war... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's military says 30 killed in recent fighting in the north
Associated Press, Sun March 16, 2008 05:53 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a roadside bomb Sunday in northern Sri Lanka - , killing one soldier, while a police officer was fatally shot elsewhere taking the death toll from two days of violence to 30, the military said... Back to the top

srilankan airlines carried 3.2 million passengers last year
albawaba, march 16. SriLankan Airlines carried 3.2 million passengers around its global network in 2007, an increase of more than 100,000 over the previous year... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Bombs Tamil Tigers Training Base Amid Gun Battles, March 16, 2008, 07:56 EDT. March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan fighter jets destroyed a training base of the Tamil Tigers as both rebels and soldiers died in three gun battles fought over the weekend in the country's north, the government and a pro-rebel group said... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

TN, Kerala have LTTE pockets: MK Narayanan, March 16, 2008. Alappuzha (Ker) (PTI): Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been asked to closely monitor the activities of Tamil Tigers as both states had "presence of small LTTE pockets", National Security Adviser M K Naryanan said on Sunday... Back to the top

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... 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... 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

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

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