The Lanka Academic

MAY 11, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 36

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Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka say advance units are near Jaffna
Australian Broadcasting Corp, May 12. Tamil Tiger forces are only a few kilometres from Jaffna town, the government says it's not under siege and has halted what the rebels called, a lightning offensive. Adding to the exchange of claim and counter-claim, the defence ministry's released a video showing life on Jaffna's streets continuing as normal. Other reports say tensions are rising in the town. More..

Sri Lanka: The Hidden War, May 11, 2000. In the beautiful tropical island nation of Sri Lanka, off the southern tip of India, thousands of people are dying in a vicious civil war -- many of them teens. At first glance, Sri Lanka looks like an island paradise. But a long-running ethnic war -- like the ones that have torn apart Chechnya, Bosnia and Kosovo -- is taking place in the northern and eastern parts of the country. And the foot soldiers in this war are young boys and girls, ready and willing to die at any moment.

Fighting nears Jaffna
BBC, Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK. With the battle for Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka intensifying, the International Committee of the Red Cross has called on both sides to protect civilians.

Civilians have been moving into Jaffna town from outlying areas to escape the fighting and movement in the city is restricted, including access to the local hospital. More..

A peace that neither side in Lanka wants
The Times of India, May 12. The Tigers realise that before serious negotiations begin they need to prove their military superiority. ``The LTTE knows they can get concessions from Colombo only when they talk from a position of strength,'' a source close to the Tigers said. For President Kumaratunga it is equally important to do the same.``A country cannot make peace on bended knees,'' a senior Lankan official said, echoing the general consensus in government circles. More..

LTTE positions pummelled
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 11. SRI LANKAN troops bombarded suspected Tamil rebel positions today as fighting near the town of Jaffna killed at least 131 people on both sides, the government said. More..

Israeli jets for Sri Lanka
The Hindu, Friday, May 12, 2000. While the LTTE continues its ``all-out'' offensive on Jaffna, Sri Lanka has acquired new fighter jets from Israel and is awaiting a shipload of arms from Pakistan, highly placed Government sources here said. Sources pointed out that seven Israeli Kfir fighter jets had already arrived in Sri Lanka. Besides, Israel has also landed 24 containers of arms and equipment in Colombo. More..

Solheim meets Indian Minister
The Hindu, 20.00 hrs (IST) on May 11, 2000. While reiterating offer to mediate between the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE if approached, India today said there is general appreciation that any solution to the ethnic crisis would require New Delhi's support. More..

Lankan Tamils get ready to flee war zone
Times of India, 12 May 2000. Rameshwaram and other coastal towns bordering Tamil Nadu may soon become home to many of the 500,000 Tamilians settled in Jaffna.

Sources said the constant booming of artillery and mortar within a five km range around Chundukulai, Pasaiyur and Ariyali had sent panic signals among the local people, who were now getting ready to sail to India. More..

Sri Lanka seeks foreign mediation to bring Tigers to the table
AFP-Yahoo, Thursday, May 11 8:28 PM SGT. Sri Lanka Thursday said it was ready to accept foreign help to end the Tamil separatist war as parliament was told the country's sovereignty was threatened by the ongoing heavy fighting.

Acting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga was prepared to consider help, including from neighbouring India, but there was no formal offer.

"If any country is willing to mediate to bring the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to the negotiating table, we welcome it," Kiriella told parliament.

UNP legislator Karunasena Kodituwakku said the country had reached a decisive stage with Tamil Tiger guerrillas increasing pressure on government troops in the northern peninsula of Jaffna.

"We are at a critical stage when the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity is challenged," Kodituwakku said adding in parliament that the government must seek a peaceful end to the conflict without further bloodshed. More..

Tamil rebels give ultimatum to soldiers
HongKong Standard, May 11. TAMIL Tiger rebels making fierce assaults on Sri Lankan forces as they close in on the northern city of Jaffna warned the soldiers yesterday to surrender or withdraw.

``Sri Lankan soldiers, you are occupying our land,'' the Voice of Tigers radio said in a broadcast in Sinhala, the language of Sri Lanka's majority ethnic group and most of the country's soldiers. More..

Sri Lankan Rebels Storm Into Jaffna Town
Thursday May 11 3:12 PM ET. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels closed in on the heart of their former stronghold of Jaffna town on Thursday after a lightning strike against government troops, the rebels said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement from their office in London that they were only half a mile from the administrative center of the city, hub of the battle-scarred Jaffna peninsula. More..

Indian role in Lanka vital--Norway
Times of India, May 11. Eric Solheim, on Thursday held discussions with external affairs minister Jaswant Singh on the situation in the island and later said no solution to the ethnic conflict was possible without India's "positive role".

"In no way can the problem be solved without India playing a positive role," he told reporters after the meeting but parried queries on what specific role New Delhi should play to end the crisis in Jaffna.

Solheim, who has been trying to facilitate a dialogue between Sri Lankan government and LTTE, was here on a day's visit to discuss with India the situation arising out of the ethnic conflict. He also held a meeting with foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh. More..

BBC Sinhala & Tamil service suspended
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Thursday May 11. The Government today suspended its contract with the BBC's Sinhala Sandeshaya Service and its Tamil News Service which is broadcast over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The Government also detailed that under Section 14 of the present Emergency Regulations all night radio and TV broadcasts are to be suspended with immediate effect.

The government Information Department further stated today that all computer, audio and visual reports being sent abroad are to be first presented to the Government Competent Authority for censorship before such reports are sent out of the country. The State further ordered that all TV programs including chat shows which fall under regulations of the present emergency are to be sent to the Competent Authority before being telecast.

India rules out policy change if Jaffna falls
Times of India, May 11. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday ruled out any change in India's policy in the event of fall of Jaffna to LTTE, which has launched an all out offensive against Sri Lankan troops to wrest control of the northern Sri Lankan peninsula.

"If Jaffna falls to LTTE it will not be the first time (such a development would take place)," Vajpayee said in an informal chat with newspersons here. More..

Tigers say they are about to take Jaffna
The Times of India, Thursday 11 May 2000. Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday said they were ready for a final assault on Jaffna after seizing a vital bridge five km (three miles) outside the city, but the government said its soldiers fought back repeated rebel attempts to capture the bridge.

The rebels said they were now "posing a serious threat to government troops occupying Jaffna Peninsula."

However, government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe said in a statement received in New Delhi, "Troops in strength continue to hold the bridge at Navatkuli. Troops have repulsed many attempts of the terrorists to get closer to the bridge." More..

Many takers for Indian peace bid
Asia Times, May 11, 2000. A section of political observers agreed that New Delhi's offer, made Monday, had opened a ''window'' of opportunity for ending the bloody conflict in northern Sri Lanka that has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1983. ''There is a window of hope. The situation is not bad after all,'' noted one of them, adding that the offer was likely to get broad support. ''This is a very good offer and we support it,'' said member of parliament Joseph Pararajasingham of the moderate Tamil United Liberation Front. More..

Sri Lanka volunteers outgunned in rebel onslaught
Electronic Telegraph, May 11. When senior officers and politicians visit the wounded soldiers, they sing in chorus "we will take back Elephant Pass". When alone, some have a different story to tell. They speak of ammunition shortages, lack of air support and most of the army's heavy armour being rendered useless by a shortage of batteries and parts. More..

Norwegian Envoy Talks Sri Lanka Peace in India
AFP-Yahoo, Thursday May 11 4:50 AM ET. A Norwegian envoy, hoping to help broker a peace deal for war-torn Sri Lanka, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday and said his country would assist in finding a solution to the conflict.

Domestic news agencies quoted Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee as reiterating that India could intervene only if both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) pressed for it.

Vajpayee ruled out any change in the Indian government's policy if Jaffna town fell to the LTTE. More..

Sri Lanka fighting near Jaffna kills 104
AFP-Yahoo, Thursday, May 11 3:59 PM SGT. Israeli-built Kfir jets were bombing bunkers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam at Ariyalai, Thanankilappu and Pooneryn from dawn Thursday, the government said in a statement.

"The pilots confirm that the terrorists bunker line at Ariyalai was completely destroyed," the statement said. Ariyalai is located just five kilometres away from the strategically important Jaffna town. More..

12 billion needed to bridge government's war effort
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.40 p.m. SLT Thursday May 11. Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs today told parliament that an additional Rs. 12 billion is required to bridge the government's defence deficit. Rs. 6 billion will be taken from monies allocated for various development projects which are not "top priority" while 2.5 billion will be gathered from the government having increased taxes on cigarettes and liquor. This week the price of a cigarette went up by .50 cents each and a bottle of liquor by Rs. 10/=. The government will further raise its defence levy by 1 percent. Prof. Peiris said that the Goods & Services Tax (GST) on all food and other essential items will not be raised. Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, MP for the United National Party addressing the Minister in parliament said that while he agrees certain measures have to be adopted in order to meet the present military expenditure "the people should not be taxed as a result," he said.

India receives hijack threat as crisis in Sri Lanka escalates
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.30 p.m. SLT Thursday May 11. The Aviation Commodore at India's southern based airport in Trichy today received a letter from an organization calling itself the Tamil Nadu Liberation Front threatening to hijack a plane travelling from Trichy to Colombo. The letter stated that the hijack would be carried out if India continued with lending Sri Lanka assistance to resolve its bloody war. Security has been beefed up as a result at Trichy airport and all passengers are being heavily scrutinized.

Foreign arms aid for Lankan Troops
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Thursday May 11. Indian news reports today claim that Lankan troops fighting Tiger rebels in the Islands northern peninsula are now being boosted by a fresh supply of arms sent from Pakistan, Israel, and South Africa. In view of the fresh arms supply, reports suggest, that it will not be possible for the rebels to gain ground. Soldiers suffered heavy setbacks recently after facing fierce onslaughts by the LTTE and lost a large number of armaments to Tiger rebels who overran key base camps of the Sri Lanka Army.

In addition to the renewed supply of arms, It is believed that troop morale will be strengthened by the fact that Indian naval vessels are reported to be keeping a discreet surveillance on Sri Lanka's northern coastline.

LTTE press release claims to advance towards Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.45 a.m. SLT Thursday May 11. An LTTE press release issued late last night claimed that the Tigers in a meticulously planned offensive operation captured vital strategic locations in the proximity of the Jaffna town Wednesday.

The LTTE statement says, "In a multi-pronged offensive thrust the Tamil Tiger commando units stormed into the Sri Lankan army’s defence positions in the early hours of the morning at Navatkuli, Ariyalai and Thanankillapu villages in the outskirts of the Jaffna town inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy forces. A two-kilometre stretch of A9 highway (Kandy Road) inclusive of the strategically important Navatkuli bridge has come under the control of the LTTE fighters. At Thanankillappu, the LTTE fighting units have advanced 2 kilometres interior and have launched a massive assault on the main Sri Lankan military base at Kovilkandy junction. At Ariyalai the advancing Tiger troops have occupied Maniyanthoddan after chasing away a detachment of government troops stationed there."

The government denies that the Tigers captured the Navatkuli bridge.

The Tigers further claim to have called upon the Tamil civilians residing close to battle areas to move to safer areas and that the people are responding.

The army meanwhile has moved in reinforcements and heavy fighting continues to rage in this area.

An Information Department press release also issued late last night said that "Around 3 a.m. on May 10, 2000 terrorists in large numbers launched a major attack on the troops manning defences at Ariyalai and Thanankillapu salients in Jaffna."

"Terrorists continue to fire a heavy volume of artillery and mortars. Troops fought back effectively repulsing a number of human waves of the attackers. Although there were a large number of casualties among the attackers, LTTE human waves continued to assault without any respect for the lives of junior LTTE cadres."

The Government statement maintains that ground troops are supported effectively by the Sri Lanka Air force. The official release admits that casualties are heavy on both sides as a result of the fighting.

An Interview
India Today. Listen to the Media Minister, Mr. Mangala Samaraweera and Mr. Iqbal Athas. (in Hindi and English)

US worried about restrictions in Sri Lanka
Times of India, May 11. State department spokesman Philip Reeker said yesterday, "it really remains vital that press freedoms be preserved to the greatest extent possible, consistent, obviously, with the need to protect the security of military operations."

"As with the issue of censorship, while we understand the seriousness of the crisis that Sri Lanka faces, we call on the government to avoid restrictions of civil liberties that could undermine the country's democratic institutions," he added. More..

In Sri Lanka, an Empty — but Expensive — Threat
Time Magazine, Wednesday, May. 10, 2000. The Sri Lankan army pays out a lifetime's salary to the families of its slain soldiers — and right now that policy may be set to place new strains on the defense budget. Tamil Tiger rebel forces reportedly broke through government lines near the town of Jaffna Wednesday, two days after President Chandrika Kumaratunga rejected a rebel truce offer allowing her troops safe passage out of the beleaguered Jaffna peninsula, vowing instead to defend the territory to the last man. More..

Lift ban on LTTE, says PMK leader
The Asian Age. India should first lift the ban on the LTTE before starting any peace initiative in Sri Lanka, Dr S. Ramdoss, president of Pattali Makkal Katchi, one of the NDA constituents said on Wednesday.

Only India had the "moral right" to intervene in the ethnic conflict in Lanka and other countries such as the USA, Israel and Pakistan should not be allowed to enter the scene, Dr Ramdoss said. More..

Lankan Govt denies LTTE claim
The Herald Deccan, May 10. Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Rupavahini Television tonight that there was no truth in the claim made by the LTTE and said the Navatkuli bridge, which is just three km from the town on the Jaffna- Kandy A9 highway, ''is intact.`` More..

India to continue ban on LTTE
JAL News, May 10. The Vajpayee Government is reimposing ban for another two years on activities of the Sri Lanka-based Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in India that expires this Saturday even as at least four partners in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -- Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, MDMK and PMK -- publicly call for lifting the ban.

LTTE'S PLEA TO PM: Even the LTTE has faxed a letter from its international headquarters in London, urging Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to "kindly lift the ban so that we can talk to you." More..

Arms arriving for Sri Lanka
The Hindu, May 10. Despite their military gains, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may now encounter tougher resistance from the Sri Lankan troops who are now getting fresh arms supplies from abroad, highly-placed sources in the Government said. Key players who are involved in the transfer of arms are Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and North Korea. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard are planning a limited exercise near the coast. This exercise, in which a detachment of the naval aircraft is also likely to be involved, is expected to send a ``graduated message'' of ``operational readiness'' to the LTTE.Conversely, these manoeuvres are meant to boost the morale of the Sri lankan forces. More..

Battles on Jaffna doorstep
The Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 10. Pitched battles raged on the doorstep of Jaffna town today, with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam denting Sri Lankan Army defences close to the town. Curfew was imposed in Jaffna, which is home to about five lakh civilians.

While the Tigers claimed to have taken control over sections of the Navatkuli bridge, sources in the Sri Lankan army refuted it this evening saying that while there were ``gaps in the Navatkuli-Ariyalai sector, the bridge is still with us''. More..

The Eelam factor - Editorial from HT
Hindustan Times, May 10. While Bal Thackeray's endorsement of the LTTE's cause can be ignored, it is not possible to overlook the sudden outpouring of sympathy for the "struggle" of the Sri Lankan Tamils by some allies of the Vajpayee government in Tamil Nadu.

As long as the LTTE was suffering reverses, these parties and individuals had maintained a low profile. More..

BJP opposes creation of separate homeland for Tamils in Lanka
The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 10. NOTWITHSTANDING THE stand of some of its allies, the BJP today said it is opposed to creation of Eelam -- a separate homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Instead, it fully supports the Vajpayee Government's stand for a settlement to the island's ethnic crisis within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. More..

Ferocious Tigers set to take Jaffna
The Hindustan Times, 01:30 IST | Thursday, May 11. The LTTE simultaneously launched major pre-dawn attacks on Ariyalai and Thanankilappu towns, located on the banks of a lagoon close to Jaffna, a government press release said, adding that troops held on to Thanan-kilappu, repulsing all attacks by the guerrillas. More..

Government holding on to key bridge.
15:14 EST. According to wire service reports The Sri Lanka government troops are still defending the Navatkuli bridge with casualties mounting on both sides.-- Editor

Sri Lankan crisis intensifies as LTTE launches fresh attacks
NDTV, May 10. If the LTTE had taken Kilali and moved ahead, they would have been able to strike the Palali airbase in the north with artillery fire. Instead, the Tamil Tigers seem to have opened a new front today by diverting their attacks south-east on either side of the lagoon. More..

Sri Lanka rebels advance to outskirts of Jaffna
CNN, May 10 1452 GMT. Tamil rebels launched a series of pre-dawn attacks on government troops on Wednesday, and pushed to within 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) of Jaffna. Sources told CNN that the rebels had attacked by land and sea, and that they had seized part of the main highway and sections of Ariyalai town. The fighting began at 3 a.m. More..

48 hour curfew in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 p.m. SLT Wednesday may 10. A forty eight hour curfew has been imposed in Jaffna today by the security forces as fierce fighting continues between Lankan troops and Tiger rebels at Ariyalai, Navatkuli and Thanankillapu on the main Kandy - Jaffna A9 highway.

Norwegian team heads for India
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Foreign news agencies today said that a Norwegian team is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss with India a possible joint effort to help resolve Sri Lanka's present conflict. Reports state that India will also consult with officials from the United States to help bring about a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka's bloody war. News agencies Tuesday quoted India's External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh as saying that India will help Sri Lanka mediate a negotiated solution only if invited to do so by both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

British MP's call for a halt on Sri Lanka's draconian law
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Six British Parliamentarians today presented a resolution in the House of Commons calling for Sri Lanka to ease on legislation effected recently under emergency regulations, which imposed a strict media censorship and banned all public meetings in the Island.

Tigers breach Jaffna defence, renew ceasefire offer
Times of India, Wednesday 10 May 2000. Tamil Tiger rebels have "breached a few gaps in the army defences at Ariyalai", about 10 km southeast of Jaffna, Sri Lankan Information Director Ariya Rubasinghe said in a fax statement. The rebels also renewed the temporary ceasefire offer to avoid ``a bloodbath'' around the city of 500,000 people. More..

Rebels Make Advances in Sri Lanka
Yahoo-AP, Wednesday May 10 9:11 AM ET. Human waves of Tamil Tiger rebels attacked Sri Lankan army positions in fierce fighting today along three fronts outside the northern city of Jaffna, both sides reported.

Reports of the fighting were delayed in Sri Lanka, where the government has used wartime powers to impose censorship on news reports and prohibit news organizations from gathering information in some cases. More..

Sri Lanka rebels launch fresh assault Tigers breach army defenses in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 10. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday breached the army's defenses in some places in the northern Jaffna peninsula after launching a huge pre-dawn attack on the military, a government statement said. More..

Tax on cigarettes, liquor to fund Army campaign
The Times of India, May 10. The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday raised cigarette and liquor prices by 5-10 per cent to raise funds to finance the battle against the LTTE. More..

China against outside intervention in Lanka
Times of India, May 10. Expressing concern over the battle in Jaffna between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said China was of the view that Sri Lankans should handle the situation themselves. More..

Lankan monks bury past, seek Indian help
May 10. Sorbitha was in no mood to talk, insisting he spoke only to the local media. However, he clarified that he was never opposed to India. "The Buddha was born there, so we can never be anti-Indian. Our friendship with India is not something recent, but goes back to over a 1,000 years.'' More..

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers breach Jaffna defences
Yahoo-AFP, Wednesday, May 10 3:40 PM SGT. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) broke through military lines at Ariyalai, just five kilometers (three miles) from the strategically important Jaffna town. More.. l

Heavy fighting 10 kilo meters south of Jaffna Town
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1430 Sri Lanka Time Breaking news. The Tamil rebels have launched a major attack on army positions in Ariyalai/Tanakilappu sector just 10 kilo meters south of Jaffna Town. A media release by the newly formed Special media Information Centre said " terrorists in large numbers launched a major attack on the troops manning defences at Ariyalai and Tanakillappu salterns". Rebels were firing heavy volumes of artillery and mortar fire. The communique said the troops fought back effectively repulsing a number of human waves of the attackers. The communique admitted that the rebels had breached a few gaps in the army defences in Ariyalai. " At present intense fighting continues in Ariyalai sector" the communique said. The army claims that the rebels had suffered heavy casualties admitting that the troops have also suffered casualties " due to intense fighting". No casualty figures were available and the rebels have not issued any information on the fighting in this sector.

LTTE claims to take strategic bridge as heavy fighting continues on the A9
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday, May 10. Tamil Tiger rebels in a press release issued from their office in London today claimed to have taken the strategic Navatkuli bridge which is just 3 kilometeres off Jaffna town. This follows a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence today which admitted that Tiger rebels have broken through Sri Lanka Army defences at Ariyalai.

The Tigers, in their statement say that commando units of the LTTE "in a dramatic offensive push took control of a section of the strategic Navatkuli bridge barely 3 kilometres from Jaffna town today and cut-off the A9 highway in that sector."

The rebels claim that fierce fighting erupted close to the vicinity of Jaffna town when "the combat formations of the Tamil Tigers launched a massive offensive assault on three fronts in the early hours of the morning today." The LTTE claims that Sri Lankan military bases at Thanankilappu, Ariyalai and Navatkuli came under intense fire as the Tigers opened up heavy artillery and mortar bombardment.

The LTTE say that the offensive, code named "Unceasing Waves 3" resumed today after the Government rejected an offer from the rebels for a ceasefire. The LTTE two days ago, offered to hold their fire until soldiers were withdrawn from the peninsula. The government rejected the offer reiterating that Lankan troops would stay and fight until the last man to hold Jaffna.

Indian politicos ask India to say no to Lankan refugees
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.00 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10 . Indian politicians today asked the Indian Central Government to send back Sri Lankan refugees to the Island. The call came amidst news reports in India, that the central government was tightening security on its Southern Coast to prevent Lankan refugees from entering Tamil Nadu since fresh fighting broke our between Tamil Tigers rebels and Lankan troops in the Islands northern peninsula. India, already holds some 100,000 Lankan refugees who have been seeking asylum, since the Sri Lankan conflict escalated in 1983.

Kofi Anan calls for Sri Lanka to Negotiate
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Kofi Anan, Secretary General of the United Nations yesterday called for negotiations in Sri Lanka in order to avoid heavy civilian casualties as the country stepped up its military battle against the LTTE in the northern peninsula. Kofi Anan has requested the Sri Lankan Government to use Norway as a facilitator in order to initiate peace talks with rebel forces in the country's north. The UN Chief's call came on the heels of Sri Lanka's Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte reiterating in Parliament yesterday that Lankan troops would fight to the last man to hold Jaffna.

"Our soldiers will fight to the last man. We will recapture Elephant Pass," the tought talking General Ratwatte told Parliament when he opened the debate on the motion for the extension of emergency.

Giving casualty figures, the General said that 358 troops including 21 officers were killed while 2,368 including 128 officers were wounded during the Elephant Pass and Pallai battles. A total of 349 troops including three officers were missing in action.

The extension of the emergency was approved with 118 voting for and seven against. The UNP abstained from voting while the TULF, the UPF and the Progressive Front voted against.

Heavy fighting again in Kilali
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.40 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Tamil media reports quoting the Voice of Tigers yesterday said fighting has resumed in Kilali between the Tiger rebels and government troops. The reports claim that fighting began at 5.30 a.m. Tuesday and is continuing.

Meanwhile a government press release issued yesterday said, "during the early hours of the morning today terrorists in large numbers launched two consecutive attacks on the troops manning defences north of Pallai."

"Troops fought back valiantly replusing both assualta of the terrorists. Terrorists were compelled to withdraw southwards with their casualties."

"The first assualt lasted for approximately thrity minutes while the second assault was repulsed within about fifteen minutes."

"Troops continue to dominate areas ahead of the Forward Defence localities and improve the defences."

Deputy Defence Minister asks for 100 youth from each MP
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.50 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Anurudha Ratwatte, Deputy Defence Minister in Parliament yesterday asked each Member of Parliament to provide 100 youth to help strengthen the security forces for the present war effort.

Winding up yesterday's emergency debate Minister Ratwatte said "I only ask each member to provide 100 youth to the security forces," in view of both the opposition and government members calling for united support for the war.

German Paedophile nabbed at Colombo suburb
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. A German national living in Sri Lanka for a decade was arrested Monday at Mount Lavinia in the company of a 16 year old local boy who later confessed that both he and the foreigner were guilty of immoral activity. The German was arrested by police who caught him in the act with a local boy and took in a number of video's which contained visuals of 101 Lankan youth in various stages of pornography.

Premila Divakara, Head of the Police Children and Women's Department told Lacnet that the foreigner had been evading arrest for a long period of time by masquerading as a social worker for locals living in and around the area.

Ms. Divakara said a statement given to police by the local youth "is damning." She reiterated that the German national will be held in remand till the 22nd of this month before being produced for trial. In the event he is deported he will stand trial in Germany on the new laws that are now in effect to counter child abuse in Sri Lanka.

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