The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 30

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 The Lanka Academic News stories are provided by independent correspondents. Views expressed are not necessarily those of LAcNet. Updates are triggered by events, 24hrs a day. Funding is provided by LAcNet. Redistribution is strictly prohibited. To ensure our continued existence, please support LAcNet.
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Sri Lanka seeks arms as Tamils close in

Telegraph , Saturday May6. SRI LANKA was awaiting urgent arms shipments from Israel last night to try to head off the worst defeat in its 17-year civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels, More..

India, U.S. in touch over Sri Lanka

The Hindu, NEW DELHI, MAY 5.. Diplomatic sources here say the Clinton administration is seriously concerned about the developments in Sri Lanka, and, like India, is closely monitoring the military dynamics in Jaffna. More..

DMK gives PM free hand on Lanka

The Times of India, May 6 New Delhi. Forsaking for the moment the emotive pull of ethnic solidarity with the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Dravidian stalwart M Karunanidhi on Friday said seri, or OK, to the Centre's request for a free hand to deal with the emerging crisis in the island state.


Norwegian facilitators are still hopeful

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 5 22:00 IST . DESPITE THE dismal news emanating from Jaffna, the Norwegian facilitators have not given up trying. They are hopeful of an eventual reconciliation and a peaceful settlement to the war in Sri Lanka More

Sri Lanka confident of tackling situation

The Hindu, Colombo, May 5. The Sri Lankan Government is confident that the situation will not arise when some 28,000 soldiers serving in Jaffna will have to be evacuated fearing the onslaught of the LTTE. More..

It's cricket as usual in Lanka

The Times of India, Friday 5 May 2000 . "The government will not object to the matches being played. These tours are a commercial venture," said Rienzie Wijetilleke, chairman of the country's cricket board. More...

Daily press briefing

US State Dept.. QUESTION: Do you have any response to the Draconian measures imposed by the Sri Lankan Government, including censorship of the media - foreign media and local media - in response to the war with the Tamil Tigers? More...

Sri Lankan troops prepare to defend Jaffna against fresh LTTE attacks

NDTV , Friday, May 5 (Colombo):. Thousands of Sri Lankan troops have begun gathering at a defence line to protect Jaffna. So far, there have been no new rebel moves to breach the line. More..

Sri Lankan government panics as fight for Jaffna reaches endgame

The Guardian, Friday May 5, 2000 . They advanced silently across fields of waving coconut palms, to within a few hundred yards of where Captain Bandara Anussha was sheltering in a trench. More..

Sri Lanka Troops Regroup

LATIMES, Friday, May 5, 2000 . Thousands of Sri Lankan troops regrouped today to protect their hold on the former rebel capital, More...

Karunanidhi meets PM, cautions Centre on Lanka

The Indian Express, Friday, May 5, 2000. Tamil Nadu government today said the Centre was free to take "any appropriate action" with regard to the situation in Sri Lanka, More..

Sri Lanka resumes diplomatic relations with Israel

Jerusalam Post, JERUSALEM (May 5). Sri Lanka yesterday announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel and Foreign Minister David Levy welcomed the decision. More...

DMK won't tie up Centre over Lanka, says Maran

Rediff , UNI May 5. In a significant development, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam today made it clear that it did not intend to tie up the Centre while dealing with developments in Sri Lanka. More....

Northern passenger vessel stopped

Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Friday May 5. The passenger vessel that operates between Trincomalee and Jaffna was stopped with effect from today. The government has decided that in view of the prevailing security situation in the northern peninsula it is not possible to operate the passenger vessel. Some 4000 civilians waiting to get to Jaffna are stranded as a result in Trincomalee.

Two days ago the Commissioner for Essential Services, Brigadier Sarath Munasinghe, promised that the vessel would be in operation. The Brigadier was responding to a large number of civilians demonstrating against the disruption of the service outside his office in Colombo.

Army fights back

Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.45 p.m. SLT Friday May 5. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) reported today that troops in the northern peninsula have effectively thwarted attempts by the LTTE to take Jaffna. According to the state news broadcast, troops have fortified Forward Defence Lines and are reported to have killed over 400 Tiger cadres of which 116 are leaders of the LTTE. The government maintains that troops continue to attack the LTTE with mortar fire and it will soon not be possible for the LTTE to hold Elephant Pass and Pallai.

Some 9000 civilians living in Pallai have been moved to safer destinations state news said today.

According to the government life in Jaffna has returned to normal. Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte today appealed to all civilians to forget petty differences and unite to contribute towards the National Defence Fund.

Tamil political parties meanwhile have requested a meeting with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge to discuss the present security situation and are expecting a favourable response.

Free Media objects strongly to government gazette

Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4 p.m. SLT Friday May 5. The Free Media Movement has objected strongly to the government gazette notification made public two days ago which seriously curbs media freedom in the country.

Following is the full text of the statement:

"Free Media Movement is perturbed by the imposition of a new set of rules and regulations to curb freedom of expression under the pretext of combating the developing war situation in Jaffna. The Government has declared that its aim is to mobilize the country on a war footing.

"According to these rules and regulations, which were announced by state electronic media, not only war-related news but also news and comments on the government, the president, the judiciary and the constitution has been brought under the censorship regulations.

"Free Media Movement cannot understand how and why these subjects are related to the developing war situation.

"Just because government forces, which are fighting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, are in a difficult situation in Jaffna, censoring the right to criticize the government's political activities cannot be justified.

"This declaration of war will be in force for the coming three months. Sri Lanka will have general elections in August, i.e., in the next three months.

"In such a decisive situation, violating people's right to be informed is, in FMM's opinion, an unhealthy development.

"Furthermore these rules and regulations can be used to ban trade union action as well as public meetings and campaigns. That could lead to more restrictions on freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.

"The main reason given by the government to explain the imposition of war news censorship is to prevent war secrets from being published and to thereby help government forces to win the war. But since last December, government forces have suffered a series of defeats in spite of the censorship of war news.

"It was FMM's opinion from the beginning that war news censorship has nothing to do with the actual war situation but is instead a part of the government's political project.

"FMM also views the declaration of war at this time as an expansion of the government's repressive political project. New censorship regulations clearly cover non-military matters to a great extent.

"They allow the government to ban media institutions and imprison journalists who will not comply with these anti-democratic regulations.

"FMM expresses its apprehension and notes that curtailing the political democracy and taking away people's fundamental rights through these actions may lead to a more authoritarian state in Sri Lanka."

News Photos

Yahoo! News. An army medic treats an injured soldiers at the army hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka Thursday, May 4 , 2000. After putting the nation on war status, the Sri Lankan government Thursday gave sweeping powers to the military, police and administration to deal with the Tamil rebel threat to split the country. More...

Consult all parties on Sri Lankan issue: BJP

The Hindu, New Delhi, May 4. The BJP today said any solution to the Sri Lankan ethnic problem should be arrived at within the framework of the nation's Constitution. More...

Karunanidhi to discuss stand on Sri Lanka with the PM

NDTV, Friday, May 5 (New Delhi):. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, will meet with Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee today to discuss the issue of aid to Sri Lanka. In a meeting with the government's Tamil Nadu allies on Thursday, the Prime Minister rejected the possibility of India selling or supplying arms or dispatching troops to Sri Lanka to help evacuate troops stranded in Jaffna.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also sought Pakistan's help against the LTTE. Pakistan has however said that it will not give military support to Sri Lanka though it will continue to provide political support to the Sri Lankan government.

The Prime Minister has clarified that India's help to Sri Lanka will only take the form of humanitarian assistance. But the allies are asking for a clearer definition of what humanitarian assistance would entail, though they have admitted that even this support is unfair to the Tamils in India. "We do not know what humanitarian help is and to whom help is going to be given. We will wait and see," remarked Mr. Murasoli Maran, Commerce and Industries Minister.

The Vajpayee government's decision on aid to Sri Lanka will have to be a careful one. It cannot afford to antagonize its Tamil Nadu allies or make a decision without involving them. The Centre will have to clearly specify what the stand of humanitarian assistance implies and what would be its mode of implementation for the same. More...

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