The Lanka Academic

 
OCTOBER 27, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 205

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Court Steps in as Governance Falters
IPS, Oct 28. COLOMBO, Oct 27 (IPS) - Finding themselves up against corrupt politicians and indifferent governance, Sri Lankans are increasingly turning to the country's Supreme Court for relief, even for solutions to everyday issues.

A landmark judgment earlier this month against former president Chandrika Kumaratunga in a land acquisition case has been cheered by all quarters, reflecting the increasing trust that the public is placing in the courts. The public's dependence on the judiciary now threatens a confrontation with the legislature.

The apex court said Kumaratunga, who was president from 1995-2005, had "grossly abused her power and betrayed the trust of the people" in acquiring land for public purpose and then handing it over to a private developer for a golf course. The 140-acre property, an identified wetland near the country's parliament, was turned into a golf course fringed by posh apartments and sold to the rich and influential.

While this is a high profile case and the first time a former president has been indicted for being involved in a corrupt deal, the Supreme Court has over the past few years ruled on a range of issues from simple administrative matters such as school admissions and traffic congestion to abuse of power by the executive.

Well-known human rights lawyer J.C. Weliamuna who successfully prosecuted the Kumaratunga case for the two main petitioners -- two ordinary Sri Lankan citizens -- says the courts are the last bastion of hope for the people.

"The executive and various arms of government have failed the people. Even the main opposition is inept, and thus the people have no choice other than to seek justice from the courts," Weliamuna told IPS. More...Discuss this story
Published: Mon Oct 27 22:23:32 EDT 2008


DMK, Congress playing politics: CPI, BJP
ENS, oct 28. CHENNAI: The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday assailed External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for allegedly using the plight of the suffering Tamil minority in Sri Lanka for political ends.

"The discussions between Karunanidhi and Mukherjee (Sunday) were centred round the crisis that could have arisen due to the resignation of (16) DMK MPs from parliament. Later, for appearances' sake, the duo merely issued open-ended statements around probabilities of the Sri Lankan military establishment's future stoppage of assaults on innocent Tamil civilians and nothing more," CPI state secretary D. Pandian said. More...Discuss this story
Published: Mon Oct 27 21:48:00 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lankan military captures more rebel positions
Associated Press, Mon October 27, 2008 03:10 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured and destroyed more Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers in fierce fighting across the embattled northern region, the military said Monday.

The new fighting came as soldiers are reportedly closing in on the rebels' administrative capital of Kilinochchi in a campaign aimed at routing the guerrillas and ending a 25-year-old war that has killed more than 70,000 people.

In the latest fighting Sunday, the army captured and destroyed several rebel bunkers in ``massive'' attacks, the military said in a statement.

Soldiers captured three rebel bunkers and three trenches in the village of Andankulam in Mullaitivu and several more bunkers in other areas, it said.

A bunker in the village of Kokkavil was destroyed, as was another in Nachchikuda village near Kilinochchi, the military said.

It said soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on the Tamil Tigers in all the attacks, but did not give casualty details in line with a new government policy.

It is not possible to obtain independent accounts of clashes because movements by journalists in the war zone are restricted. Rebel spokesmen could not be reached because many communication lines have been severed.

Government troops have made dramatic progress in recent months, seizing a series of rebel bases and chunks of land, but the rebels have put up stiff resistance.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils who have suffered marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese.
Published: Mon Oct 27 04:48:56 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Muslim eviction from the north marked
BBC Sinhala.com, 27 October, 2008. Muslim refugees in Sri Lanka have marked the 18 anniversary of the eviction by Tamil Tigers from the north... Back to the top

We can’t push Lanka: Pranab
ens, Oct 27. CHENNAI: Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, emerging out of a meeting he had with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on yesterday, said that the talks they had over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue had been satisfactory and it had brought enough hope to the people of Tamil Nadu on the ethnic issue... Back to the top

TN sets up Sri Lanka Tamils relief fund
com, Monday, 27 October , 2008. Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday set up a separate 'Sri Lankan Tamils relief fund' to mitigate the sufferings of Tamils in the island nation... Back to the top

Cloud of threat to UPA Govt from DMK lifted
Zee, Oct 27. Chennai/New Delhi, Oct 26: The cloud of threat to UPA government from DMK over Sri Lankan Tamils issue lifted on Sunday as Chief Minister M Karunanidhi assured External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that he would not create any problem for the ruling alliance even as Sri Lanka assured India that safety of Tamilians in that country was being taken care of... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says troops push into rebel areas
Associated Press, Sun October 26, 2008 14:01 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - soldiers pushed forward into rebel territory, causing heavy damage to the insurgents, destroying their bunkers and capturing an underground hospital, the military said Sunday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Will Ensure Safety of Tamils, Envoy Says
Boolmberg, Oct 27. Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka will ensure the safety of Tamils and will allow Indian aid to reach the affected civilians amid an army offensive against rebels, an envoy of the South Asian nation said. ``We will look at the humanitarian needs and every assurance has been given'' to India, Basil Rajapaksa, senior adviser to Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters in New Delhi in a televised address after meeting with India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee... Back to the top

Pact with Sri Lanka the first of its kind
hindu.com, Oct 27, 2008. New Delhi: Describing Sunday’s agreement between India and Sri Lanka on fishing as highly significant, a senior Indian official said this was the first time the two countries had come up with a way of dealing with what happens when fisherfolk cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)... Back to the top

Centre not extending military help to Sri Lanka: FM
PTI, Oct 27. Karaikudi (PTI): Denying that the Union Government was extending any military help to Sri Lanka, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said that the Centre only wanted Tamils in Sri Lanka to get equal opportunities... Back to the top

Tamil Nadu should not attempt to rescue LTTE: Karuna
IANS, Oct 27. Colombo, Oct 26 (IANS) Holding a protest rally in the east against the perceived efforts by some political parties in Tamil Nadu to stop the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers in the north, renegade rebel leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, known as Karuna Amman, Sunday said ‘there should be no attempt from Tamil Nadu to rescue LTTE’... Back to the top

Fishermen row: India, Sri Lanka agree on practical arrangements
iANS, oct 27. New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) With growing concern in India over the harassment and killing of its fishermen, India and Sri Lanka Sunday agreed on practical arrangements to address the issue that included Colombo designating sensitive areas in which Indian vessels will not intrude... Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops push ahead in LTTE stronghold: army
hindu.com, Sunday, October 26, 2008 . Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka troops fought pitched battle with the LTTE and captured an underground bunker suspected to have been a medical centre of the militants as it pushed ahead in the rebel-held territory to wrest control of Tamil Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi, officials said on Sunday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Will Ensure Safety of Tamils, Envoy Says (Update1)
bloomberg.com, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka will ensure the safety of Tamils and may allow Indian aid to reach the affected civilians amid an army offensive against rebels, an envoy of the South Asian nation said.

``We will look at the humanitarian needs and every assurance has been given'' to India, Basil Rajapaksa, senior adviser to Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters in New Delhi in a televised address after meeting with India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee... Back to the top


Talks move a ploy: Sri Lanka MPs
ENS, Oct 27. CHENNAI: Sri Lankan MPs Sivajilingam and Srikantha on Saturday urged India to intervene to put an end to the war between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Government in order to save Tamils in that country from elimination... Back to the top

Cricket-Indian board withdraws financial help for Sri Lanka
reuters, Oct 27. KARACHI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The Indian cricket board has withdrawn the offer of a financial package to help neighbours Sri Lanka in a row between the two countries, according to a report... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says troops attack rebels on 2 fronts
Associated Press, Sun October 26, 2008 01:10 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - says its soldiers have pushed forward into rebel territory on two fronts, causing heavy damage to the insurgents and capturing an underground hospital... Back to the top

Four deaths, over 136,000 displaced in floods in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sun October 26, 2008 06:10 EDT . - - Colombo (dpa) - At least four people drowned and some 136,000 have been displaced in floods sweeping areas of Sri Lanka - over the past five days, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said Sunday... Back to the top

India to send supplies to Vanni
BBC News - Sinhala, 26 October, 2008 . India has informed a senior envoy of Sri Lankan president that it will send 800 tonnes of relief to war affected Tamil civilians in the north of the country... Back to the top

India should lift ban on LTTE, says Prabhakaran
ptinews.com, Sunday, Oct 26, 2008. Colombo, Oct 26 (PTI) LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran has asked India to lift the ban on his outfit in order to "fulfil the aspirations of Tamil people," while admitting that Lankan forces have made inroads into the Tiger areas and were at the doorstep of their key town Kilinochchi... Back to the top

LTTE issue: Jaya demands Karuna s arrest, assembly dissolution
ptinews.com, oct 26. Chennai, Oct 25 (PTI) Stepping up her attack against the DMK Government on the LTTE issue, AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa today demanded dissolution of the Tamil Nadu Assembly besides arrest of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for allegedly eulogising late LTTE leaders S Tamilselvan and Anton Balasingam... Back to the top

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