The Lanka Academic

APRIL 22, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 17


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Headline Summary
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US urges Sri Lanka progress on human rights
newkerala, April 23, 2008. By P. Karunakharan, Colombo, April 22 : A top US official Tuesday urged the Sri Lankan government to “progress on human rights” and hold “free and fair election for the Eastern provincial council” scheduled for early next month, a US embassy statement here said.

According to the statement, he US's principal deputy assistant secretary for south and central Asian affairs Don Camp made these remarks after holding talks with the government ministers, officials, leading political figures, civil society leaders, and business representatives during his two-day stay in Colombo.

“Many of the issues we discussed are difficult ones, particularly on human rights and the resolution of the conflict, but the US will remain engaged in the hope of seeing progress,” Camp was quoted as saying.

Claiming that the US values the dialogue with Sri Lanka, as well as the lines of communication it maintains with Sri Lankan political, business, and civil society leaders, the visiting US official described his meetings as “useful and frank, in the way of long-time friends”. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Apr 22 22:51:20 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka ethical trade deal at risk
FT, April 23, 2008. Accusations of human rights abuses by Sri Lanka’s government against ethnic Tamil separatists are jeopardising a special European Union ethical trade deal that has helped its garment industry survive competition from China.

Sri Lankan ministers and clothing industry executives have been trying to persuade Brussels not to withdraw duty-free access to the EU market, a privilege that comes up for renewal this year. But EU officials have criticised the government’s conduct of the war with the Tamil rebels, which has generated many reports of killings and abductions.The episode underlines the hazards of relying on preferential trade deals linked to non-trade issues such as human rights.

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, which provides about half the country’s exports and makes up 10 per cent of its economy, has successfully kept Chinese competition at bay by specialising in high value-added products that are attractive to ethically minded consumers.

Ajith Dias, director of the garment company Brandix Lanka in Colombo and chairman of the country’s apparel industry association, said that the industry had grown by 10 per cent since a global system of textile quotas was abolished in 2005, allowing hyper-competitive Chinese manufacturers a free run at the world market. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Apr 22 22:46:25 EDT 2008 Back to the top

SRI LANKA: IDPs continue to flee fighting in northwest
alertnet, April 23, 2008. COLOMBO, 22 April 2008 (IRIN) - Intensified fighting in recent months in Sri Lanka's restive northwestern Mannar District has forced more than 16,000 people to flee to safe areas within the region.

In light of this, A Nicholasspillai, the government agent for Mannar, told IRIN he had made contingency plans for up to 25,000 additional IDPs fleeing the clashes between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the district, while government military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara also expected additional civilians to flee to government-controlled areas in the district.

"There are 40,000 people registered as living in the Manthai West division [an LTTE-controlled area] where fighting is intense," Nicholasspillai told IRIN. "Most of them have already moved out of the [immediate] areas where the fighting is taking place, but if the clashes continue and they move further north, they will have no other option but to flee to government areas." More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Apr 22 22:55:27 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Human rights panel denies int'l plot to discredit Sri Lanka
xinhua, April 23, 2008. An international human rights panel invited by the Sri Lankan government to monitor the island's rights probe said Tuesday that it was not part to an alleged plot by the international community to discredit the government's human rights record... Back to the top

Sri Lankan official accuses international panel of conspiring against the government
Associated Press, Tue April 22, 2008 09:03 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's attorney general harshly criticized an international advisory panel Tuesday, saying its resignation from a human rights inquiry appeared part of a conspiracy to force the country to accept U... Back to the top

Tamils claim destroyed tank, say Sri Lankan jets bombed church, April 23, 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) — Tamil separatists destroyed an army tank after Sri Lankan war planes bombed a Roman Catholic church compound killing a man and wounding two children, the rebels said Tuesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's economic downturn hits realty market
IANS, April 22. Colombo, April 22 (IANS) Although the real estate market is up and vibrant in Sri Lanka, property developers have complained that the industry has been badly hit due to 'the downturn in the economy', a media report said Tuesday... Back to the top

25 LTTE cadres killed in fierce Lanka clashes
PTI, April 22. At least 25 LTTE rebels were killed in fierce clashes in the embattled Northern Sri Lanka, officials said here today... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 'ignoring rights abuse'
Al Jazeera, April 22. A team of international legal experts have stepped up criticism of Sri Lanka, saying that repeated calls to improve its human rights record have been ignored... Back to the top

Aid group leaves Sri Lanka , expressing doubts about probe into massacre of its workers
Associated Press, Mon April 21, 2008 11:16 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) International aid group Action Against Hunger has pulled out of Sri Lanka - saying it has no trust in a government investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers nearly two years ago, a spokeswoman said Monday... Back to the top

Military: Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 17 rebels, one soldier
Associated Press, Tue April 22, 2008 03:49 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A series of battles along the front lines of Sri Lanka - 's civil war killed 17 ethnic Tamil rebels and one soldier, the military said Tuesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka threatens to use police against rice hoarders
The News, April 22. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Monday warned it will use security forces and the police to crack down on traders suspected of hoarding rice following government-imposed price controls, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lankan jets destroy three Tamil Tiger boats in air strike, military says
Associated Press, Mon April 21, 2008 05:08 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets attacked the Tamil Tiger naval wing early Monday, destroying three rebel boats as fighting raged between the two sides in the country's civil war, the military said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says kills 47 rebels, destroys boats, April 21, 2008. COLOMBO, April 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan government planes bombed three Tamil Tiger boats off the northern coast on Monday, the military said, after fighting since the weekend left 47 rebels dead... Back to the top

Roadside bomb kills prominent Catholic priest and rights activist in the north, rebels say
Associated Press, Sun April 20, 2008 21:06 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A roadside bomb set off by government soldiers in rebel-held territory killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a human rights activist, the insurgents said... Back to the top

LTTE base falls to army, 23 rebels killed
PTI, April 21. At least 23 Tiger rebels were killed in Sri Lanka's restive north as Army took control of an important LTTE base amidst air attacks on other rebel targets... Back to the top

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