The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 22, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 139


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ROUNDUP: Government troops take two towns in northern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri August 22, 2008 10:43 EDT . Colombo (dpa) - Government troops backed by air support captured two strategic towns in northern Sri Lanka - Friday, military officials said. Sri Lanka - took control of the Eastern Province earlier this year and aims to take back the last remaining rebel stronghold in the north by the end of 2008.

Provincial elections are scheduled Saturday for two of the country's nine provinces.

The government has called on voters in the North-Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces to elect the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to support the ongoing military offensives against the rebels.

The military has claimed more than 10,000 rebels killed since April 2006, losing 1,900 security personnel. The figures have not been independently confirmed. dpa ad rpmDiscuss this story
Published: Fri Aug 22 11:58:08 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka says closing in on rebel capital after fall of key towns, Aug 22, 2008. OLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lankan troops on Friday captured two strategic towns from Tamil Tigers as they closed in on the rebels' political capital, the defence ministry said.

With the fall of Thunukkai and Uyilankulam, the military was just 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) south of Kilinochchi, the centre of the de facto state run by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the ministry said in a statement.

"At present, troops are deployed at Akkarayankulam, 12 kilometres south of the Kilinochchi town," the statement said. "Heavy clashes occurred throughout past few days and the LTTE are fleeing from the area as they are unable to withstand the advancing troops." More...Discuss this story
Published: Fri Aug 22 11:59:15 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka fighting kills 24 rebels, 4 soldiers
Associated Press, Fri August 22, 2008 05:52 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Soldiers captured a strategic town held by Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka - on Friday, while renewed infantry clashes elsewhere in the region killed 24 rebels and four soldiers, the military said.

Separately, war planes pounded a Tamil Tiger supply facility in the north.

Fighting has escalated in recent weeks in the Indian Ocean island, with the military capturing a series of rebel bases and large chunks of territory and government officials reiterating their pledge to crush the rebel group by the end of the year.

Army troops captured rebel-held Tunukkai town in the Mullaitivu district Friday, after nearly one month of fighting, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. He said the town is strategically important because it lies on a key supply route in the war-torn region.

Also Friday, soldiers took control of Uyilankulam a rebel-held village, about five miles (eight kilometers) north of Tunukkai, he said.

Nanayakkara said details of casualties were not available immediately.

Separately Friday, air force fighter jets bombed a Tamil Tiger supply facility deep in the jungle in Mullaitivu, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara.

He said details of the bombing raid's casualties and damage were not immediately available but that the pilots had confirmed they ``hit the target accurately.''

Hours later, in nearby Kilinochchi district, helicopter gunships attacked a rebel bunker line in support of troops fighting on the ground, Nanayakkara said.

On Thursday, a series of ground battles took place in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Welioya, Jaffna and Vavuniya regions, said Nanayakkara, the military spokesman.

Army troops killed six guerrillas in separate clashes in Kilinochchi and lost two soldiers, he said.

Seven insurgents and a soldier died in several confrontations in Mullaitivu, he said.

Scattered battles in other parts killed 11 rebels and a soldier, the military spokesman said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment on the military's claims.

Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own. Independent verification of the fighting is not possible because most journalists are barred from the war zone.

International aid groups say the new fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. The groups say the government has cut off most phone service to rebel areas in recent weeks, a charge the military denies.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Fri Aug 22 07:15:13 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka provincial poll to test support for military campaign
Associated Press, Fri August 22, 2008 06:37 EDT . Colombo (dpa) - Sri Lanka - is set for a crucial provincial election in two of its nine provinces where the government is to test its support for the military campaign against Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country... Back to the top

Twin Citians plotting hospital in Sri Lanka
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, Friday, August 22, 2008. A St. Paul businessman who emigrated from Sri Lanka decades ago is developing a $125 million health care facility in his home country with the help of several Twin Cities professionals... Back to the top

Umpire Hair resigns from ICC to take coaching job
Associated Press, Fri August 22, 2008 14:05 EDT . LONDON (AP) _ Darrell Hair, the most contentious cricket umpire in recent decades, has resigned from the ICC's elite umpire's panel to take on a teaching role in Australia... Back to the top

Sri Lanka helicopters bomb rebels, fighting kills 40
Reuters, august 21. COLOMBO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan attack helicopters pounded Tamil Tiger positions on Thursday and troops killed 33 rebels in the latest bout of an eight-month onslaught to corner the separatist group, the military said... Back to the top

Call of the Conscience” A landmark exhibition on Sri Lanka to be held in Toronto, Canada.
Roy Edwards from Toronto., august 22. The International forum for peace and justice in Sri Lanka is organizing an exhibition of photographs and documentary films describing the historical suffering of Sri Lankans due to the ethnic conflict in the island nation... Back to the top

Mendis can get 500 wickets says Bedi
Associated Press, Fri August 22, 2008 02:20 EDT . SANDEEP NAKAI - AP Sports Writer - NEW DELHI (AP) Former India spin great Bishan Bedi says Sri Lanka - 's Ajantha Mendis has the potential to claim 500 career wickets, and is excited by the way the baffling bowler has invigorated the art of spin... Back to the top

Army deployed as pre-poll violence increases in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu August 21, 2008 05:52 EDT . - - Colombo (dpa) - The army has been deployed in two Sri Lankan provinces where elections are scheduled Saturday after a spate of pre-poll violence, including shootings and the burnings of vehicles and buildings... Back to the top

Student shot dead at university in eastern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu August 21, 2008 13:52 EDT . Colombo (dpa) - A student belonging to the majority Sinhala community was shot dead at an university in predominantly Tamil minority eastern Sri Lanka - by unidentified persons on Thursday night, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said... Back to the top

Norway-LTTE ties sour over theft of NGO vehicles, august 21. New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Norway’s decision not to hail a truce the Tamil Tigers declared before the SAARC summit this month seems to have fuelled a crisis that has for the first time soured ties between the rebels and Oslo, the peace facilitator in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

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