The Lanka Academic

APRIL 2, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 362


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka defends lengthy inquiry into the massacre of 17 charity workers
Independent, april 3. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister has strongly defended a commission of inquiry into the massacre of 17 aid workers after an independent human rights group accused senior police officials of a cover-up.

"We want the truth to come out," Rohitha Bogollagama said yesterday. Asked why the commission had still not completed its investigation after 18 months, the Foreign Minister replied: "We can't dictate the course of justice, we can only encourage the process by facilitating its work."

The commission has not completed any of the cases and an international panel of experts appointed as advisers resigned earlier this week, claiming the investigation did not meet internationally-recognised standards. Mr Bogollagama said the panel had failed to make regular visits to Sri Lanka and had got bogged down with "procedural issues". More... Discuss this story
Published: Wed Apr 2 21:34:31 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka military says 13 rebels, 1 soldier killed in northern fighting
Associated Press, Wed April 2, 2008 05:05 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers launched a pre-dawn attack Wednesday on Tamil separatists in the embattled north, triggering a battle that killed 13 rebels and one soldier, while fighter planes bombed a separate guerrilla base, the military said.

Troops pushed into Tamil Tiger rebel-held territory and seized took control of Kalaiadachchan village in Mannar district, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. Twelve other soldiers were wounded in the fighting, he said.

Separately, air force jets pounded a Tamil rebel base in the northern rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu, Nanayakkara said. He gave no details of casualties or damage, but said pilots confirmed the assault was successful.

The battles and air attacks were part of a heavy escalation in fighting in the country's civil war in recent months. The government has vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year, but diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than it expected.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls seeking comment.

Scattered fighting across the north on Tuesday killed 51 rebels and two soldiers, the military said.

It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because journalists are banned from the war zone. Both the government and rebels often exaggerate the other side's casualties and underreport their own.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have been marginalized for decades by successive governments run by majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.

On Tuesday, a human rights group blamed Sri Lankan security forces for the massacre of 17 aid workers 20 months ago, saying police and paramilitary forces shot the victims as they knelt on the ground and begged for their lives.

The killing of the Sri Lankan workers for the French aid agency Action Against Hunger horrified many here. No one has been charged in their deaths, and holding someone accountable is seen as a crucial test of the government's commitment to human rights.

European monitors earlier blamed security forces for the killings. The government denied the allegation and blamed the rebels.

University Teachers for Human Rights, a respected local group, issued a 29-page report Tuesday that claimed to describe the killings of the 17 in the eastern town of Muttur in August 2006, after a fierce battle between troops and Tamil rebels.

The slain workers all but one of whom were members of the ethnic minority Tamil ethnic group were working on tsunami relief projects at the time.

The report said two police officers and a paramilitary home guard accompanied by a team of commandos entered the offices where the aid workers had holed up, accused them of helping the rebels, forced them to kneel down and summarily executed them as they screamed for mercy.

The security forces then covered up their role in the killings, the report said.

A government commission set up 18 months ago has not yet resolved the case, and an international panel of experts appointed to advise the commission has resigned, saying the probe did not meet international standards.Discuss this story
Published: Wed Apr 2 07:44:09 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's main Muslim party leader leaves parliament to take part in election
xinhua, april 2. The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem resigned his seat in the national parliament to contest next month's eastern provincial council election, the SLMC general secretary Hasan Ali said here Wednesday.

Hasan Ali said he and Basheer Segudawood, two other parliamentarians of the SLMC, have also resigned their seats along with Hakeem.

Meanwhile, the government's Muslim allies said that the Muslim community must win the chief ministerial position in the eastern provincial council for their community and it can be achieved only through an alliance with the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. More... Discuss this story
Published: Wed Apr 2 21:32:55 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Intel to target Sri Lanka for investment
digitimes, april 3. Having achieved great results from its investment in China, Intel is planning to next invest Sri Lanka, which has a population of over 20 million, according to Cadol Cheung, managing director at Intel Capital Asia Pacific... Back to the top

Intense Clashes Kill 61 In Sri Lanka, april 2. Colombo, Sri Lanka (AHN) - At least 58 Tamil Tiger rebels and a security personnel were killed in fierce clashes in the country's embattled northern region, officials said on Wednesday... Back to the top

“High-value LTTE base pounded”
hindu, April 02, 2008. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s air force on Tuesday claimed that its fighter jets pounded “an LTTE base of high value” in the general area Teravilkulama in Mullaittivu district... Back to the top

Sri Lankan rights group blames military for deaths of aid workers
Associated Press, Tue April 1, 2008 08:50 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A human rights group blamed Sri Lankan security forces on Tuesday for the massacre of 17 aid workers 20 months ago, saying police and paramilitary forces shot the victims as they knelt on the ground and begged for their lives... Back to the top

Jayawardene says Sri Lanka ready to dull West Indies backlash
Associated Press, Wed April 2, 2008 14:07 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) Sri Lanka - captain Mahela Jayawardene is prepared for a West Indies backlash and conditions more suited to the home team in the second and final cricket test starting on Thursday... Back to the top

35 rebels killed in Sri Lanka fighting, April 02, 2008. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka accused Tamil Tiger rebels of shelling a state-run hospital on Tuesday as fighting across the northern front lines reportedly left at least 35 rebels dead... Back to the top

SRI LANKA: Variable rains and flooding impact on rice harvest, April 02, 2008. COLOMBO, 1 April 2008 (IRIN) - Changing rainfall patterns in Sri Lanka have prompted later paddy planting by farmers and affected the country's overall rice yield, government officials said... Back to the top

S.Lanka central bank defends policy after IMF report, April 02, 2008. COLOMBO, April 1 - A senior central bank official in Sri Lanka defended the authority's policies on Tuesday, arguing that the International Monetary Fund had given a misleading picture of the country's inflation... Back to the top

Japan's NTT sells flagship Sri Lanka investment for 297 mln dlrs
afp, April 02, 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) - Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) said Tuesday that it had sold its 35.2 percent stake in state-owned Sri Lanka Telecom for 297 million dollars... Back to the top

Lightning kills 4 soldiers, wounds 59 in Sri Lanka, Apr 1, 2008, 20:20 . Lightning killed four soldiers and wounded 59 others during military training in north central Sri Lanka, the military said on Tuesday... Back to the top

Voters will reject LTTE: Rajapaksa, Apr 01, 2008. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he had no doubt voters in the east were not “shortsighted” to give the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam an opportunity to make a comeback... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Military Says 678 Rebels Killed in North This Year, Apr 01 18:50. April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's military said its operations this year against the last bases held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north killed 678 rebels... Back to the top

Lets Developers Combine the Best of Apache Axis2 and Spring WSF/Spring 1.0 Brings New Functionality for Building Secure,
Associated Press, Mon March 31, 2008 16:08 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military says 15 Tamil rebels killed in northern fighting
Associated Press, Tue April 1, 2008 04:30 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A fresh round of fighting along the northern front lines of Sri Lanka - 's civil war killed 15 Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said Tuesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's SOS to Pakistan for urgent arms supplies
1, april 3. New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Faced with stiff resistance from Tamil Tiger guerrillas, Sri Lanka has ordered emergency military supplies from Pakistan, according to official sources here... Back to the top

Sri Lanka frees 12 more Indian fishermen
IANS, April 02, 2008. Colombo, April 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka Tuesday freed 12 Indian fishermen who were arrested by its navy while poaching in the island's territorial waters in early March, diplomatic sources here said... Back to the top

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