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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

Week of December 15, 1995

TIGERS HIT BACK

Its main forces hav ing abandoned Jaffna to Sri Lankan troops, separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas still managed to blow up the main government building in the northwestern city and carry out a truck-bomb attack in Batticaloa on the eastern coast. The army was celebrating its victory when the explosions went off.


Week of December 8, 1995

SLAMMED SHUT

The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Velupillai Prabhakaran, made it clear: "As long as Sri Lankan armed forces remain in Jaffna, the door for peace talks will remain shut tight." Meanwhile, government troops pushed deeper into the Tigers' stronghold, slowly tightening a circle around trapped LTTE guerrillas.


Week of November 17, 1995

Other news from Sri Lanka this week:

  • Sri Lanka: As the army prepares to take Jaffna City, hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the area

Week of November 10, 1995

TAMIL EVACUATION

Tens of thousands of civilians fled the Tamil rebel stronghold of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka before advancing government troops, officials said. The exodus marked a turning point in the army's biggest campaign yet to recapture Jaffna peninsula, where the guerrillas run a virtual mini-republic. The rebels seek a Tamil state.


Week of October 27, 1995

NEW OFFENSIVE

A week-long lull in fighting in Sri Lanka ended when government troops launched "Operation Sunshine". This latest offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels began at Palaly, in the north of the Tiger-held Jaffna peninsula. Meanwhile, rebel frogmen killed at least nine sailors in a limpet-mine attack on a navy supply ship in the port of Trincomalee.


Week of October 20, 1995

TIGERS 'DEFEATED'

The Sri Lankan army claimed to have captured 25 sq km of Jaffna peninsula in a major offensive against the Tamil Tigers. The army said it had killed 149 rebels in "Operation Thunderstrike," in which infantry were supported by armor and air strikes. The defeat was described as the Tigers' biggest setback in their northern stronghold.


Week of October 13, 1995

DEATH COUNT

Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam claimed, in a radio broadcast, to have killed nearly 1,400 security personnel and downed three army aircraft since the latest round of fighting started nearly six months ago. The report gave no figures for the Tigers' own losses, but the military says it has killed 1,500 LTTE cadres over the same period.


Week of September 15, 1995

THREAT FROM WITHIN

The latest plan to end Sri Lanka's civil war has run up against unexpected opposition from inside the government, delaying it several months. "At least three ministers have made suggestions to water down the proposals," says a source. Buddhist leaders also oppose the plan, demanding the government beat the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam before implementing reforms.


Week of September 8, 1995

ESCALATION

The Sri Lankan government is planning a major campaign against Tamil separatists before October. It seems the shooting has already begun. Troops killed 57 guerrillas from Aug. 26-27, while police said they shot 22 rebels. The Tamil Tigers are also on the move - on Aug. 29, they claimed the lives of 17 police officers near Trincomalee and assaulted two navy gunboats, killing 12.


Week of September 1, 1995

FLOW STAUNCHED?

Sri Lankan police raided an office in Colombo they claim was the financial center for the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Although the LTTE collects taxes in the regions it holds, it depends on contributions and extortions from businessmen and expatriate Tamils. Authorities detained the LTTE's alleged funds manager and seized a "couple of million rupees."

Other news from Sri Lanka this week


Week of August 18, 1995

FULL BLASTS

Sri Lanka's grisly tally: two days, two bombs, 26 killed, scores wounded. On Aug. 7, a suspected separatist Tamil guerrilla detonated a blast in front of Colombo's Independence Memorial Hall. Police believe the bomb was meant to harm the president or a senior minister. The day after, another bomb ripped through a market in Batticaloa, east of the capital.


Week of August 11, 1995

PEACE UNLIKELY

Hopes that a major battlefield victory by Sri Lankan military forces over Tamil Tiger rebels would be a prod to peace evaporated quickly last week. Sri Lanka claimed it killed 300 rebels - the Tigers said 180 - in repelling a rebel offensive. But the Tigers responded to their defeat by blowing up a Sri Lankan Senior Brigadier with a land mine.


Week of July 28, 1995

KILLER BLAST

A truck filled with explosives destined for a suicide mission exploded prematurely at a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam base in Sri Lanka. It set off a nearby ammunition dump, and the resulting blast killed more than 200 civilians and guerrillas. Thousands of Tamils are streaming out of the northern war zone in the face of a large government offensive.


Week of July 21, 1995

BIG OFFENSIVE

Sri Lanka's army high command had warned the Tamil Tigers that they would show their teeth. This week they did, opening a major offensive from their base at Palali on the Jaffna Peninsula. Colombo said that more than 10,000 troops, supported by the navy and air force, attacked rebel positions in the largest operation since the cease-fire broke down in April.


Week of July 14, 1995

FIERY PROTEST

In opposition, the People's Alliance campaigned against a new Voice of America radio station in northwest Sri Lanka. But in power, the government granted the station a licence. Since then there have been continuing demonstrations against the project, most recently in front of the embassy where protesters torched a U.S. flag.


Week of July 07, 1995

WELCOME BACK

Many of the estimated 26,000 Sri Lankans who deserted from the armed forces over the past 15 years have returned under a government offer of delayed punishment. The nation's glutted labor market also may be encouraging a return to the army. But what the government is taking in through one door, it may lose through another: scores of policemen have deserted.


Week of June 23, 1995

PRIVATE MATTER

Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea are leaping aboard the privatization bandwagon. Both governments recently announced broad plans to divest themselves of commercial enterprises. National airlines are slated to be among the first to go. The countries are hardly on the movement's leading edge. For years, Asian national airlines were points of pride, almost more symbol than going concern. But lately, nations have turned to privatization as a way to inject life and capital into the companies. Sri Lanka plans to divest itself of public utilities after it spins off AirLanka. Papua New Guinea wants to contract out postal services.

CLASHES RESUME

A week-long lull in fighting between the government and Tamil rebels was shattered as the rebels shelled a new army jungle base in eastern Sri Lanka. The attack came as the nation readied to celebrate the festival of Poson marking the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. But renewed attacks and an abortive airport bombing discouraged holiday travel.


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