The Lanka Academic

MARCH 20, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 349


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Numbers game clouds Sri Lankan war
bbc, march 21. Troops and the Tamil Tigers continued to face each other across the front lines that fringe territory held by the separatists in the north.

There were sporadic confrontations and the military said 35 Tiger fighters were killed as well as two soldiers.

But some have doubts about the casualties being reported.

"If you add up all the figures given by the government from the beginning of the separatist war until now, it would have wiped out the population of the north twice over," says Iqbal Athas, consultant editor and defence correspondent of the Colombo Sunday Times and correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly.

"Similarly if one were to adopt the figures put out by the Tamil Tiger rebels, that would have depleted the ranks of the military considerably." More... Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 20 23:48:38 EDT 2008

UN: Civilians at risk in Sri Lanka, MARCH 20, 2008. As fighting intensifies in northern Sri Lanka, the UN and advocacy groups say there is grave concern for the state of human rights in the war-torn country.

A US State Department report issued on March 11 said that in 2007, "The government's respect for human rights continued to decline."

It then cited "numerous reports" that the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups had "participated in armed attacks against civilians and practiced torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity."

Since the 1980s, the conflict between the government and the LTTE, who are fighting for a separate Tamil homeland on the island, has left some 70,000 dead. The fear among many Tamils is that their community is now being targeted by the authorities as part of a 'dirty war' against the LTTE.

Officials in Colombo, however, counter that those alleging government responsibility for violations are ignoring atrocities committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the rebel group fighting against government forces.

They have also rejected the US report for throwing "a lifeline to the LTTE", a group classified as 'terrorist' by the US and the European Union. More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 20 15:58:18 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's military says 25 killed in latest fighting
Associated Press, Thu March 20, 2008 06:04 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Scattered clashes across Sri Lanka - 's north and a battle in the east killed 24 ethnic Tamil rebels and a government police commando, the military said Thursday.

Clashes in which 24 rebels were killed were reported Wednesday in northern Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya districts in the north, the military said in a statement.

Also Wednesday, a police commando was killed in a firefight with rebels in Ampara district in the east, the military said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan's could not be reached for comment.

Each side often exaggerates the other's casualty figures while playing down its own. It was not possible to independently confirm the accounts because reporters have been barred from the war zone.

Government troops have opened up four fronts around the rebels' de facto state in the north after taking control of their eastern strongholds last year. However, the rebels still operate in smaller groups in the east and ambush government forces.

Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the island's ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalization by governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 20 06:45:08 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka rights group says TV being militarised, Thu Mar 20, 2008. The appointment of a retired general to help run a Sri Lankan state television station is a sign of media militarisation not seen for decades, rights watchdogs said on Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka accused of lying over human rights, 20-03-2008. The International Red Cross has angrily accused Sri Lanka's government of releasing confidential communications and manipulating information from the organisation to defend its rights record... Back to the top

Wild elephants fall victim to Sri Lanka war strategy, March 20. PIMBURELLEGAMA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Shaking his head at an elephant carcass rotting by a lush paddy field in north Sri Lanka, park warden J... Back to the top

Lanka agrees to play ODI series, March 20, 2008. Karachi: Sri Lanka has agreed to play an unscheduled five-match one-day series in Pakistan from April 23 to May 5, official sources confirmed here on Thursday... Back to the top

'Secular' funeral for Clarke
gulfnews, March 20. COLOMBO: British-born science fiction guru Arthur C Clarke is likely to be buried at the main cemetery in Colombo at this week at a "strictly secular" funeral, his secretary said... Back to the top

Dilmah aims to reveal tea's health secrets
foodweek, March 20. Tea company Dilmah has comissioned New Zealand's Riddet Institute to examine the impact of tea on health... Back to the top

LTTE told to seek India s help to put off provincial polls, 19 march. Colombo (PTI): Pro-rebel MPs in Sri Lanka have urged the LTTE to seek India's help in "putting off" provincial elections to be held in the island's east on May 10, saying the poll results would not be a true reflection of the people's choice as they would be "rigged"... Back to the top

Arthur C. Clarke's honour delayed by sex claims
times, March 20. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who died on Tuesday at the age of 90, had admirers across the globe but even his most ardent followers were uncomfortable with accusations of paedophilia levelled at him in his adopted home of Sri Lanka... Back to the top

EU warns Sri Lanka trade depends on rights record, 19 march. COLOMBO, March 19 (Reuters) - The European Union has told Sri Lanka it has "very serious concerns" about civil war human rights abuses and that lucrative trade concessions could be at risk if they continue... Back to the top

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