Blast injures 16 in northern Sri Lanka town

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

VAVUNIYA, Sept 13 (AFP) – A powerful explosion ripped through a chicken market in Sri Lanka’s northern town of Vavuniya on Wednesday, wounding 16 civilians, police and witnesses said.

Police said they believed the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) exploded a grenade inside the market.

“We suspect the Tigers were behind the attack,” a local police official.

Most of the wounded suffered shrapnel injuries.

The attack came as a Sri Lankan official denied a statement by peacebroker Norway that Colombo had agreed to unconditional talks with the rebels, who are fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.

Norway’s international development minister Erik Solheim said Tuesday the two sides had agreed to talks in a bid to halt escalating violence that since December has left over 1,500 people dead. .