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In other news…

June 26, 2009

Guardian – Fears for press freedom in Sri Lanka

BBC – Sri Lankan reporter ‘kidnapped’

The Associated Press – Police arrest Sri Lanka astrologer for prediction

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan police say they have arrested a popular astrologer for publicly predicting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s imminent ouster from office.

Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera confirmed Friday that Chandrasiri Bandara has been arrested so police could investigate the source of his prediction.

Bandara has a popular weekly television show and writes a column for a pro-opposition newspaper. Gunasekera says Bandara told an opposition meeting last week the prime minister would become president in September and the opposition leader would become prime minister.

Rajapaksa’s popularity has grown sharply since the military defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels last month. Media rights groups have complained of a subsequent crackdown on free speech.

CBS –  Rights Groups Want Probe Into Sri Lanka War Abuses

Human rights groups called Thursday for an international investigation into wartime abuses in Sri Lanka, saying the government lacks the political will to investigate the incidents on its own.

Rights groups accused the government of firing heavy weapons into civilian areas in the final months of the island nation’s quarter-century civil war, which ended last month. The Tamil Tigers were accused of holding the civilians as human shields and shooting those who tried to flee. Both sides denied the allegations.

U.N. figures show that more than 7,000 civilians were killed in fighting this year before the war ended.

The Tamil Tigers’ intelligence wing confirmed Thursday that rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was among those killed in the fighting, ending an apparent rift with other rebel officials who announced Prabhakaran’s death last month.

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