The Lanka Academic

MAY 21, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 46


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka, Spain lose UN Rights Council election
Reuters, may 22. UNITED NATIONS, May 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka failed to win a seat on the much-criticized U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday in an election that also saw France and Britain edge out Spain to take two seats reserved for Western countries.

Sri Lanka's defeat was welcomed by human rights campaigners who criticized its record during a 25-year civil war with Tamil rebels, citing torture, attacks on aid workers and other violations of international human rights standards.

The 47-member Geneva-based council was set up two years ago to replace the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which was widely criticized for failing to overcome political alliances and take a strong stand on issues including China's rights record.

But the new council has also been criticized for not taking a strong enough stand against violence in Tibet and Darfur and for singling out Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. More...Discuss this story
Published: Wed May 21 16:33:09 EDT 2008

'I will resign' - Chief Justice
BBC Sinhala News, May 21, 2008. Chief Justice Sarath N De Silva said he will hand in his resignation if the government does not agree to increase the salaries of the High Court and Magistrate Court judges.

The Chief Justice was presiding over a Fundamental Rights petition presented to courts by High court and Magistrate court judges.

Chief Justice said that he would resign from his position, if a new salary structure is not introduced within two weeks.

The petition demands a separate salary structure for the judicial services employees of upper grade, which will not be attached to the salary structure of other government services. More...
Published: Wed May 21 22:54:54 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Military: Helicopter gunships attack Tamil rebels as infantry clashes kill 25 rebels
Associated Press, Wed May 21, 2008 04:57 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's air force launched a strike on Tamil Tiger rebels near the front lines in the war-ravaged northern region while infantry clashes killed 25 rebels, the military said Wednesday.

Air force helicopter gunships attacked a rebel mortar launching point near the front lines in northern Jaffna peninsula early Wednesday, said air force spokesman Wing Cmdr. Andy Wijesuriya.

He said the air attack was carried out in support of army troops fighting the rebels. He did not have details of damage or casualties.

Meanwhile, ground battles throughout Tuesday in the Welioya, Vavuniya and Mannar areas bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north killed 25 rebels, according to the military.

In the worst fighting, soldiers killed 19 rebels in three separate battles in Vavuniya, said the statement, adding that nine soldiers were also wounded in the same clashes.

Scattered battles in Welioya and Mannar killed six rebels and wounded eight soldiers, the statement said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.

It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because the media are banned from the northern jungles where much of the fighting takes place. Both sides commonly exaggerate their enemy's casualties while underplaying their own.

Fighting has escalated along the northern front lines since the government withdrew from a long-ignored cease-fire in January.

The government has pledged to capture the rebels' de facto state in the north and crush them by the end of the year. But diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than expected.

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

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Published: Wed May 21 06:06:37 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Tamil Rebels Say Unit Commander Dies of Heart Attack, 21 may. May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels said a commander of its military forces died of a heart attack, the latest blow to the group as it battles to hold bases in the north, the last area of the South Asian island it controls... Back to the top

Sri Lanka launches attacks after top rebel s death, May 21, 2008, 06:52 EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) Sri Lanka's armed forces launched ground and air attacks in the rebel-held north of the island Wednesday, as the Tigers mourned the death of a top commander, officials said... Back to the top

Military says fighting in Sri Lanka kills 12 rebels, 2 soldiers
Associated Press, Tue May 20, 2008 08:03 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The latest round of fighting in the government's campaign to seize Tamil Tiger rebel strongholds in Sri Lanka - 's volatile north has killed 12 guerrillas and two government soldiers, the military said Tuesday... Back to the top

Decade later, no light on Rajiv Gandhi killing conspiracy (Lead)
IANS, may 21. New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) A decade after it began probing if there was a conspiracy behind the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, an official body tasked with the responsibility is still in the dark... Back to the top

Interpol says 176 terror suspects from Asia, Mideast arrested since 2004, mostly in Europe
Associated Press, Tue May 20, 2008 08:05 EDT . - - rgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - and Nepal... Back to the top

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