World News Brief, Wednesday May 20

Tamil Tiger leader confirmed dead, civil war ends; ASEAN concern at San Suu Kyi trial; China to subsidise new car buyers; Obama imposes deadline on Iran talks; and more

Top of the Agenda: Sri Lanka Declares War's End

Sri Lanka's government today confirmed the death (Rediff) of the country's longtime Tamil Tiger rebel chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and declared an end to its bloody, decades-long war with the group. Sri Lankan state media, meanwhile, ran pictures (al-Jazeera) of Prabhakaran's dead body after a flurry of speculation yesterday and Tamil media reports denying that the Sri Lankan military had in fact killed the rebel leader. Tamil Tiger leaders conceded defeat (Reuters) in a statement posted online, faulting the international community for not doing more to assist them.

The primary question for policywatchers abroad is whether Prabhakaran's passing will in fact mark the end of the twenty-six year conflict between Sri Lanka's government and separatist Tamil rebels. The Economist says conventional fighting seems to have come to an end, for now, but that Colombo faces a serious challenge reconciling anger, both internally and internationally, over the mass civilian deaths wrought in the military's campaign against the rebels.


- The BBC says Sri Lanka's ability to forcefully put down the Tamil Tigers could encourage other governments to take a more direct military approach to clamping down on separatist movements.

- In a podcast with CFR, South Asia expert Teresita Schaffer looks at what the news from Sri Lanka (alongside India's recent election results) could mean for regional stability.


- CFR's profile of the Tamil Tigers.

- A Backgrounder explaining Sri Lanka's conflict.



The leaders of the southeast Asian states in ASEAN, the regional bloc, expressed "grave concern" (BBC) at Myanmar's decision to try its pro-democracy opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

- This Backgrounder explains Myanmar's politics and looks at hopes that ASEAN might be able to use its sway to bring reform to the country.

CHINA: In an effort to boost domestic consumption and curb pollution, Beijing announced it would subsidize consumers (Xinhua) who sell their automobiles or home appliances for newer, more efficient ones.


Obama gives end-of-year deadline for negotiating with Iran.
Ethiopian troops reportedly reenter Somalia.

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on