The Lanka Academic

 
JANUARY 9, 2010 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 10, NO. 278

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SRI LANKA: Country Heads Into Decisive Elections
IPS, jan 9. On Jan. 1, millions of mobile users in Sri Lanka got an unusual text message amid the flood of New Year’s wishes. The sender’s name read simply as ‘President’. This was no joke by a prankster; it was a message by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It wished millions of Sri Lankans the very best for the new year, adding he had kept his promises to the nation.

Rajapaksa is heading into three pivotal weeks of his long political career, spanning over four decades. He will battle his former army commander, retired general Sarath Fonseka, at the Jan. 26 presidential elections.

The erstwhile comrades who were credited with defeating the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) only eight months back have turned bitter political rivals, making the upcoming election one of the most keenly contested since Sri Lanka gained independence in 1947.

Rajapaksa is seeking re-election on the track record of his first term, claiming he has been instrumental in ending the LTTE insurgency. Vying for another term, he said he has the chance to develop the economy.

Fonseka, on the other hand, hopes to be the first military officer to hold the highest elective post in the country on the strength of his military record. He has also been critical of the incumbent president, alleging that the country was sliding toward nepotism under his watch. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jan 9 19:55:48 EST 2010


Sri Lanka rejects UN execution video report
HT, Jan 8. Sri Lanka on Friday rejected as inconsistent the findings of a trio of UN-appointed investigators who said they doubted a video showing apparent executions by Sri Lankan soldiers was a fake.

The reaction came after Philip Alston, UN special reporter on extrajudicial executions, on Thursday urged an independent probe after a forensic pathologist, a forensic video analyst and a firearms expert concluded the video was likely real.

Britain's Channel 4 television aired a video last year that it said shows government troops killing unarmed, naked, bound and blindfolded men during the army's final assault to smash the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The government immediately rejected it as a fraud perpetrated by Tamil Tiger supporters angry the separatist group had been defeated, and said its own investigation, using Sri Lankan civilian and military experts, had found it was doctored.

"We reject these allegations," Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. "In light of those continued contradictory findings, we can't accept it." More...Discuss this story
Published: Fri Jan 8 09:33:46 EST 2010 Back to the top


Sri Lanka seeks full inquiry into maid’s murder
Gulf Times, Jan 9. RIYADH: The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is asking Riyadh to conduct a full inquiry into the murder of Balakrishnan Dharshani, 26, a maid from Kandy who was working in Hofuf, Eastern Province.

The events that led authorities to the body on Dec. 19 are unknown, but an anonymous official of the Lankan Embassy told Arab News on Saturday that the body had burn marks and that the sponsor is in custody.

“We have to wait for the police and medical reports for the mission to issue a no-objection letter to clear the body for repatriation,” said the official. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jan 9 19:52:41 EST 2010 Back to the top


Sri Lanka Tamil detainees continue hunger strike
Xinhua, Jan. 9 . COLOMBO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- A group of detainees from Sri Lanka's Tamil minority held for suspected links with Tamil Tiger rebels continued their hunger strike on Saturday, prison officials said. Kenneth Fernando, a prison superintendent in the capital Colombo said 96 Tamil prisoners held in the New Magazine prison in Colombo have been on a hunger strike for nearly a week... Back to the top

SLanka frees over 700 ex-militants
afp, jan 9. COLOMBO:Sri Lanka on Saturday released more than 700 former Tamil Tiger fighters from military custody following a rehabilitation program, an official said... Back to the top

A Sri Lankan Underdog Battles Global Tea Giants
NYT, Jan 9. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Merrill J. Fernando’s eyes lit up one recent morning when his son Dilhan handed him a box of Twinings Pure White Tea... Back to the top

Funeral of Prabhakaran's father to be held on Monday
toi, jan 9. COLOMBO: The funeral of Thiruvengadam Velupillai, father of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, will be held on Monday in Sri Lanka's Jaffna The remains of Velupillai, who died over seven months after Prabhakaran's was killed in a military offensive in northern Sri Lanka, were handed by the army from its protection to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and an independent Presidential candidate K Sivajilingam on Friday... Back to the top

Prabhakaran's father against son fighting IPKF
ENS, 09 Jan . COLOMBO: Thiruvengadam Velupillai, the late lamented father of the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, was “furious” with his son for deciding to fight the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in October 1987 and take his Homeland back to a full scale war, says the noted Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, D... Back to the top

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