The Lanka Academic

APRIL 20, 2000 PST
VOL. 1, NO. 15

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New European satellite dedicated to Arthur C. Clark

The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT) has dedicated its latest communication satellite to Sir Arthur C. Clark in recognition of his visionary theories and pioneering role in the development of global network communications.

Launched on the night of April 18, the 'Clark Satellite' now 36,000 kilometers above the Earth will go into service in June this year. The satellites 18 Ku-band transponders will be used for a full range of services including data and video broadcasting, internet backbone connections, high speed internet access, distance learning and transfer of software. A press release said that it will also be used for messaging and positioning services for mobile telephones.

Heavy fighting in northern Jaffna.

At least 20 soldiers including two officers were killed and over 200 wounded when heavy fighting erupted in northern Jaffna today between the government troops and the Tiger rebels.

Fresh fighting erupted when Tiger rebels thrust towards Iyakachi, a sleepy farming village located north of Elephant Pass. The main objective of the rebel action is to isolate the camp and mount pincer-attacks. The complex is houses two military divisions.

On Thursday afternoon there were speculations in the military circles that the government may withdraw its soldiers from the military complex to avoid losing men and material. The camp had been under attack since March 28 by the Tigers, who unleashed a fresh offensive code-named "Unceasing Waves-111 to re-capture Jaffna".

LTTE continues fighting as key highway remains blocked

Tiger rebels say they initiated a fierce battle against government forces and blocked a key highway Wednesday April 19. The day is significant in that it marks the fifth anniversary of Eelam War III when the LTTE broke a 100 day truce on April 19, 1995.

The LTTE claimed that they captured a four-mile stretch along the strategic A-9 highway in the Jaffna peninsula where intense fighting has continued over the last three days.

A statement from the LTTE's London office said the Tigers scored a major military victory when several security forces camps in Massar and Soranpattu area were overrun. The LTTE further claimed that the battle left "scores of dead soldiers and huge quantities of modern weapons." The Tigers however did not reveal rebel casualty figures.

However, the rebels clandestine Voice of Tigers radio, said 26 Tiger cadres had been killed in clashes in the northern peninsula since fighting erupted on Tuesday.

The defense ministry claims, that 12 government soldiers were killed and 43 wounded repulsing the rebel onslaught which began on Tuesday. The ministry said the rebels also suffered heavy casualties.

India to support a united Sri Lanka

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in New Delhi April 19, that India fully supports a united Sri Lanka. The United National Party said in a statement issued on Mr. Wickremasinghe's visit to India that Indian leaders while stressing on the need for consensus before devolving power had however stated India is totally opposed to any division in Sri Lanka.

A new political party to protect the rights of the Sinhalese

A new political party 'Sihala Urumaya' (meaning the heritage of this Island) was formed today, April 20, with the prime objective of protecting the lost rights of the Sinhalese. President of the newly formed party S. L. Gunasekera refuted charges that the party has been formed with racist policies.

Mr. Gunasekera also an eminent Attorney-at-Law says, that despite the fact two of Sri Lanka's main political parties are Sinhala dominated, "there are none in parliament today willing to stand up and defend the rights of the Sinhalese." Mr. Gunasekera asserted the party membership is open to all casts, creed and races which will include Muslims, Burghers and Tamils if they wish to join. Asked if Tamils too have lost rights which need defending, Mr Gunasekera answered firmly "No."

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