The Lanka Academic

JULY 18, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 104


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka protesters stop trains to halt evictions
Associated Press, Fri July 18, 2008 13:43 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Angry protesters halted trains and clashed with policemen in Sri Lanka's capital Friday as authorities began demolishing their homes, saying they were unauthorized constructions that encroached on government lands. Sri Lanka is fighting a 25-year civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels who want to carve out an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils in the island's north and east.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Fri Jul 18 17:30:42 EDT 2008

Military: Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 25
Associated Press, Fri July 18, 2008 04:03 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A wave of battles along the front lines of the civil war in northern Sri Lanka killed 20 ethnic Tamil rebels and five soldiers, the military said Friday.

Meanwhile, air force jets bombed a rebel storage facility Friday morning and attacked and destroyed three rebel boats, the military said.

The violence came amid a sharp increase in fighting in recent months, with the government vowing to crush the rebels and seize control of their de facto state in the north.

In the worst fighting Thursday, troops attacked rebel bunkers along the front lines in the Vavuniya area, killing 10 Tamil Tiger fighters, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. Fighting in the area also killed four soldiers, while a fifth soldier was missing in action, he said.

Fighting in Welioya killed nine rebels and one soldier, while another rebel was killed in Jaffna, he said. Nanayakkara had earlier reported 11 rebels were killed in Welioya, but later said that was an error.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.

It was not possible to independently verify the military reports because journalists are banned from the conflict zone. Both sides often exaggerate the losses inflicted on their enemy and underreport their own.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced marginalization by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.

(Military spokesman corrects number of rebels killed to 20)
Published: Fri Jul 18 17:31:54 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Military: Sri Lankan jets bomb rebels as other fighting kills 24 rebels, 3 soldiers  - Associated Press
Sri Lankan army advances against LTTE-held position  -

Media group says Sri Lanka journalists harassed, 2008-07-18. COLOMBO (AFP) Journalists covering Sri Lanka's war with Tamil Tiger rebels are being harassed despite a government pledge to take action to protect the press, a rights group said Friday.

The Free Media Movement (FMM) reported eight incidents of threats and intimidation, just two weeks after a ministerial committee was formed to look at the issue of media rights.

The incidents included verbal death threats, assaults in public places and visits to journalists' homes by people claiming to be from the police, the statement said.

"It is apparent that the cabinet sub-committee... is powerless to foster media freedom and the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, or investigate meaningfully the violence directed at journalists," the FMM said.

The rights group demanded a probe into the recent incidents and asked the committee to tell police to respect journalists. In June, Sri Lanka's hawkish defence ministry published several editorials which labelled journalists and reporters "cowboy defence analysts" and "enemies of the state." The defence ministry presented reporters with a stark choice of being either pro-government or "pro-terrorist" -- sparking renewed alarm among media rights activists about freedom of the press in Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Fri Jul 18 17:33:19 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka gets tough on UN, aid visas, 2008-07-17. COLOMBO (AFP) Sri Lanka's government on Thursday unveiled new restrictions on how long United Nations and other foreign aid staff are allowed to work on the war-torn island... Back to the top

Colombo closes in on victory in Sri Lanka's long civil war, Published: Friday, July 18, 2008. Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun The offensive launched two years ago by Sri Lankan government forces against Tamil Tiger rebels took on new momentum in the past few days with the capture of a key rebel naval base... Back to the top

Court stops UK from returning Tamil to Sri Lanka, Thu Jul 17, 2008. STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that an ethnic Tamil man denied asylum in Britain could not be sent back to his native Sri Lanka because he would be at risk of torture there... Back to the top

Sri Lanka denies firing team manager Hashan Tillakaratne
Associated Press, Thu July 17, 2008 12:13 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka's cricket authority denied Thursday that it had fired team manager Hashan Tillakaratne only two days after appointing him... Back to the top

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