The Lanka Academic

 
MAY 15, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 40
 

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2544th Vesak anniversary: 5/17
Let there be peace in Sri Lanka, soon!
Tamils Wait and Worry
Washington Post, May 15. In a sparse, dollar-a-night rooming house in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo last week, a dozen Tamil refugees waited anxiously for word from their families stranded in the northern city of Jaffna. Fighting between Tamil rebels and army troops has been escalating near the city for days, but all telephone lines have been cut and virtually all news blacked out by the government.

"I have four daughters back home in Jaffna, and I am dead scared for them," said Arul Seeli, 56, who was interviewed Friday in Colombo. "I sent my other children abroad to save them from all this. I talked to them on the phone from Germany this morning, but they were afraid to tell me what they've heard, because they don't want to frighten me even more." More.. 4


Vaiko denies seeking arms for LTTE
Pioneer, May 15. Mr Vaiko said at the public forum all he said was since Sri Lanka was being provided with arms and ammunitions from 30 countries, as a supporter of the LTTE's cause for the Tamils rights: "I am tempted to seek the support from the Government." But I have never demanded nor stated that "Indian Government should supply arms to LTTE. I am aware of Government's policy and respect their decision of territorial unity and integrity in Sri Lanka. More..


Common man unperturbed by Jaffna war
The Straits Times. The conflict between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tigers fails to find its echo in Colombo, where people are not bothered which side will triumph

In Colombo, it seems that most of the people The Straits Times spoke to actually do not really care anymore.

At the Galle Face Green, an open plot of land facing the Indian Ocean, the young and the not so young converge every evening for a game of cricket or just to enjoy the breeze the ocean brings.

To them, life goes on. More..


Civilians killed in Jaffna shelling
BBC, Monday, 15 May, 2000, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK. Aid agencies in Sri Lanka say that mortar fire has killed four civilians in the northern town of Jaffna.

The government blamed the rebel Tamil Tigers for the shelling but there has been no independent confirmation of this. The shells, which were fired into the Gurunagar area in the south-east of the town, injured nine people. More..


Facing reality - An Editorial from Sunday Times
Sunday Times, May 14. For all his pious talk of eliminating cross border terrorism vis-a–vis Kashmir, Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee has been unable to respond to the needs of this country today, which trace back to a brand of cross border terrorism spawned by India several years back. All the raucous tub thumping Bharathiya jingoism aside, Vajpayee is today surrounded by a cabal of political forces comprising those such as George Fernandez, his Defence Minister, who was, if not still is, a known supporter of Velupillai Prabhakaran's LTTE, and others. More..


Jaffna editor threatened for publishing reports without censorship clearance
JAL News, May 15. The Sri Lanka army in Jaffna reprimanded and warned senior Jaffna journalist C.N Vithyatharan on Sunday for publishing in his paper published from Jaffna a story about the Sri Lankan President breaking into tears during her meeting with Indian Air Force chief A.Y Tipnis last week.

The Sri Lanka Air Force on Friday claimed that it had bombed the LTTE's supply point to the peninsula at the Sangupiddy jetty on Friday, 12 May.

The Uthayan paper, however, said in its columns on Sunday that the SLAF had bombed Pallikudah, a coastal hamlet in the Pooneryn sector, and published the list of civilians who were killed in the Kfir bombing on Friday. More..


Chandrika calls all-party meet
Times of India, May 16. Quick repartee and a candid manner seemed to work in President Chandrika Kumaratunge's favor as she sailed through contentious issues during an all-party meeting convened by her to discuss the war situation Monday.

TULF leader, V.Anandsangari told TOINS, ``Once again, her resolve to solve the problem through constitutional means was very clear.'' The UNP, is also scheduled to meet other smaller parties separately to discuss the war scenario. More..


Lanka intensifies attacks on LTTE targets
Times Of India, May 15. Backed by air cover, Sri Lankan troops on Monday continuously bombarded LTTE positions and reported a "drastic drop" in the intensity of the rebels' attacks on the embattled town of Jaffna even as 15 guerrillas and three security personnel were killed in the fighting.

The escalation in fighting at Nagerkovil, which was located on the East coast of Jaffna, has added a new dimension as it was still not clear whether the LTTE was attempting to shift its fighting units to open a new front to enter the peninsula, analysts said. More..


Monks Become New Line of Offense Against Rebels
LA Times, May 16. As the Sri Lankan army reels before an onslaught of rebel fighters, the people urging it to fight harder are the men in the saffron robes.

Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy, long an influential force in national politics, are stepping forward to rally the nation in its darkest hour. The string of defeats suffered by the army at the hands of separatist rebels, which has stunned and demoralized this island nation, has also drawn the monks out of their temples to try to hold the country together. More..


Leftists protest presidential delay in Sri Lanka crisis meet
Yahoo-AFP, Monday, May 15 9:26 PM SGT. Sri Lanka's main Marxist group Monday walked out of an all-party crisis meeting accusing President Chandrika Kumaratunga of holding up politicians for nearly two hours.

The People's Liberation Front (JVP) said that after waiting nearly two hours for Kumaratunga, they decided to table their proposals for ending the country's drawn out Tamil separatist conflict and walk away.

"The government did not even have the decency to explain or apologise for the president's delay at a meeting that was supposed to be of high national importance and urgency," the JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva said. More..


Sri Lanka rushes hundreds of commandos to Jaffna
Yahoo, May 16. The war in northern Sri Lanka has taken a new twist with the government rushing hundreds of highly trained anti-terrorist commandos to Jaffna.

The aim is to 'flush out' Tamil Tiger rebels, who may have 'infiltrated' the besieged city and the army fears they may be there for purposes of sabotage. More.. l


Lanka fighting poised for unexpected turns
Hindu, May 16. With the Tigers gaining on three sectors - the Nagar Kovil, Kilali and at Ariyalai, east of Jaffna town - the options are now wide open for the rebels to move in several directions towards the northern Palaly airbase, which is still seen as a vital rebel target. A move along the fifth direction - westwards from Ariyalai - could sever military supply lines to Jaffna. More..


India to tread cautiously
Hindu, May 15. As the Government endures the competing pressures on its policy towards the Sri Lankan crisis, there is a strong determination here that India should not rush into the conflict with ill- conceived military or diplomatic initiatives. The Government has already declared that preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, securing the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people within a united Sri Lankan nation, and avoiding a military intervention are the principal objectives of India. It has also emphasised that a solution to the civil war will have to be found by the Sinhala and Tamil communities themselves. More..


Chandrika buoyant after air strikes
Hindu, May 16. Politics overtook warfare in Sri Lanka today as the nation's leaders - the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the Opposition Leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, - held separate all-party confabulations on the unfolding military scenario in the northern peninsula.

Skimpy details of the offensive reaching here indicated continued offensive between the Tigers and the Government troops on the fringes of Jaffna town. Ground troops, backed by the limited air attacks by the Air Force, have, for the moment, checked rebel advances, which have not seen any major shift in the territorial balance during the past few days. More..


Sharp differences among Sri Lankan political parties on Jaffna crisis
NDTV, May 15. Sharp differences have emerged among Sri Lanka's political parties on Kuamaratunga government's handling of the crisis on the island. The opposition United National Party (UNP) has attacked the government for what it calls an internationalization of the conflict.

Unanimous domestic support could be a difficult objective, especially since the opposition UNP is now engaged in a political counter-offensive. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe spent the afternoon trying to convince leaders who had met the President not to support the government's efforts, which he says are leading Sri Lanka to ruin. More..


Six killed, 18 hurt in LTTE firing: Govt.
Hindu, May 15. The Sri Lankan Government said today that six civilians have been killed and 18 others wounded when LTTE rebels today fired artillery shells at Gurunagar, one of the suburbs of Jaffna town.

It said that the civilian casualties took place when the LTTE fired artillery shells into Gurunagar from the rebel controlled areas in Pooneryn, situated across the Jaffna lagoon. More..


Norway minister sees no quick end to Sri Lanka war
MSNBC, May 15. Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland on Monday said he saw no quick solution to the ethnic war in Sri Lanka, where Oslo is trying to broker peace.

Norway has offered to host talks between the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and has appointed Erik Solheim as an envoy to try and find a way to end the 17-year war. More..


UNP claim on fall of Jaffna denied
The Tribune, May 14. The official television, in its news broadcast tonight first aired a brief interview of Mr Wickramasinghe to BBC followed by comments from Media Minister Managgala Samaraweera, who accused the UNP leader of "committing treason" by making false statements. More..


Colombo conundrum -Oped
Daily Pioneer, May 15. There is no ambiguity regarding the fact that any break-up of Sri Lanka would be detrimental to the interests of India. New Delhi has consistently asserted its commitment to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. On several occasions in the past, the LTTE has used a ceasefire or a talk offer only to regroup and gain an advantage. But it is for the Sinhalese people and the Sri Lankan government to realise that a lasting solution to the ethnic problem has to come from within the country. More..


Sri Lankan economy likely to take a plunge.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.24, SLT Monday.. Amidst reports that government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were gearing for a massive showdown in northern Jaffna peninsula, the country's economy is most likely to bear the brunt in defence spending.

Last Thursday, Parliament approved an additional 12 billon for defence expenditure. This increased the defence spending to 64 billion from last year's spending of 54 billion. That's not at all: The government' s all time borrowings increased to Rs 20 billion.

Economists say that increase in the defence spending is likely to create pressure on interest rates and inflation. There were also speculations that Sri Lankan currency rupee is likely to depreciate against dollar.


Chief censor agitated.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.30 SLT, Monday.. A tabloid newspaper editor furious over government's blanket censorship sent a copy of a news story of a brothel-house being raided to the chief of the censor board. But the man with the pen sent the copy back hastily replying "these are not copies that should be sent to the censor board".

That's was not all: The chief, the director of government's information ministry later lodged a complaint with his minister who pacified him saying this "they are only testing your patience". The war has a funny side too.


Government says intensity of fighting has dropped.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.35, SLT Monday.. Government of Sri Lanka in a news release said that intensity of fighting in northern Jaffna peninsula dropped drastically during the past 72 hours.

"Terrorists appear to be in a state of disarray presumably due to large number of casualties they suffered during the earlier confrontations", the release from government's special media information center said.

Meanwhile during a confrontation in eastern Trincomalee two police constables were killed and five others wounded when Tiger rebels carried out a raid on a police checkpoint.


S.Lanka's aerial bombing a danger to civilians-MSF
MSNBC, May 15. A humanitarian agency said on Monday it was deeply concerned that civilians could become the victims of the Sri Lankan air force's plan to step up the pace of aerial attacks on Tamil Tiger rebels. More..


Sri Lankan court upholds censorship of war reports
MSNBC, May 15. Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a legal challenge to censorship of media reports on the war raging with Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country, the government said. More..


Sri Lankan government meets on war
MSNBC, May 15. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga began an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss the war in the northern Jaffna peninsula after the government said it had blunted an offensive by Tamil Tiger rebels. More..


Kumaratunga briefs political parties about Jaffna crisis
NDTV, May 15. The Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, met the leaders of all political parties to brief them about the situation in Jaffna and the steps taken by the government to protect civilians in the war zone. Her People's Alliance government has criticized Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe's statement that the LTTE had entered Jaffna. More.. 5


Lankan forces intensifies attacks on LTTE targets
Indian Express, May 15. Sri Lankan troops, backed by Airforce cover, today relentlessly bombarded LTTE positions and reported "drastic drop" in the intensity of rebels' attacks on the embattled Jaffna town even as 15 guerrillas and three security personnel were killed in the fighting. More..


India ignored early warnings on Sri Lankan crisis
Hindu, May 15. Mr. Prabhakaran has never once said he will settle for less than Eelam and has at least once annually, on the LTTE's `Martyrs Day' in November, reiterated his commitment to an independent Tamil nation. What he was waiting for between 1990 to 1995, and will be prepared to wait for again, is for world opinion to turn in his favour, or at least, for the international community to learn to live with him at the head of an independent Eelam. More..


Lankans disillusioned by India's response
Times of India, May15. The Sunday Times, a prominent week-end newspaper carried a scathing editorial on what it considers Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's inability to respond to cross border terrorism, which his country spawned several years back. The editorial ends on a bitter note: "The fact is that India has changed to our detriment. The sooner we square with that reality, the better it is for all of us". More..


Karunanidhi lashes out at LTTE
Times of India, May 15. Denying that the DMK was supporting the Tamil Tigers, Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi asserted in the state assembly that the DMK had "distanced" itself from the LTTE after it murdered important leaders of the Tamil Eelam movement, A Amirthalingam (TULF), Sri Sabarathinam (TELO), K Padmanabha (EPRLF) and Umamaheswaran of the PLOTE. More..


Senior Tamil journalist warned by military
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.45 p.m. SLT Monday May 15 . Tamil news services Sunday said the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna has warned a senior Jaffna journalist Mr.C.N Vithyatharan for publishing in his newspaper, Uthayan, a story about Sri Lanka Airforce jets bombing Pooneryn Friday, and killing five civilians including two children. The Jaffna media man has also been reprimanded for allowing a story saying that Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge broke into tears when meeting with Indian Air Force chief A.Y Tipnis last week.


Supreme Court says o.k. to censorship
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m SLT Monday May 15 . The Supreme Court ruled today that the present military censorship imposed by the government is not a violation of Fundamental Rights. The decision was made by a three bench judge, on a petition filed by Sunila Abeysekera on behalf of a large number of representative Non Governmental Organizations.


Fighting in Jaffna has dropped says CA
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 15. The special media information centre of the government said today that the intensity of fighting in the northern peninsula has dropped today in view of the Tamil Tigers being in disarray. The Competent Authority said that 15 Tigers and 5 soldiers were killed in confrontations at Colombuthurai.


President summons trade unions
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.10 pm. SLT Monday May 15. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge will meet representatives of all government and other trade union bodies tomorrow May 16, in order to brief unionists on the country's present military situation.


Tamil Nadu gives the nod to renewal of LTTE ban
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.15 p.m. SLT Monday May 15. Tamil Nadu politicians today said they will not oppose a renewal of a ban on the LTTE effected yesterday by India's Central Government. Political analysts have been quoted as saying that this move will strengthen the hand of India's premier Atal Behari Vajpayee in dealing with Sri Lanka's present conflict.


ICRC says they have not been consulted
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Monday May 15. Harsha Gunawardena, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombo said today that the organization has not been asked by the government to intervene with Tiger rebels to stop firing heavy artillery into Jaffna town. The ICRC countered a claim by the government yesterday which said it had sought the assistance of the human rights organization to stop the Tigers from harming a large number of civilians caught in rebel cross fire.


LTTE claims to prepare for final thrust on Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. The combat units of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Friday claimed to be consolidating their newly secured positions along the coastal belt of the Jaffna city preparing for the final assault on the heart of the capital.

In a press release issued from the Tiger's international secretariat in London they said, "Strategically important city outskirts of Ariyalai, Manianthodam, Columbuthurai, sections of Passaiyur, Pungankulam, Nedunkulam, have already fallen to the Tigers making the city centre vulnerable to LTTE assault."

"Heavily armed Tamil Tiger troop formations who have moved in large numbers from LTTE bases in Vanni into the Jaffna theatre of war are gearing up for the decisive battle."

The Tiger press statement further claimed that despite a curfew imposed by the military in Jaffna, civilians are moving out of the battle zones into safer areas.

The LTTE also alleged that "Israeli built Kifir fighter-bombers have launched blind and indiscriminate bombing on civilian areas in the Jaffna peninsula and in Poonagarin. Five civilians, including two children, were killed and ten seriously injured when Israeli combat aircrafts bombed a fishing village at Pallikuda in the Poonagarin area around 5.30p.m. Friday May 12, 2000."

The statement by the Tigers is followed by the government today moving in thousands of ground troops to help armed forces bases in Jaffna. The government also claims that planes have been successful in holding back rebel advances towards Jaffna.


Indian navy increases surveillance on Sri Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. Indian naval vessels today increased their surveillance on Sri Lanka's Northern coastline introducing markers between Talaimannar in Sri Lanka's North and Danushkoti in India's Southern waters. The move has been initiated to prevent Indian fishermen from straying into Sri Lankan waters. India, further maintains that its Navy will not allow any rebel cadres from Sri Lanka to infiltrate into Southern India using this sea route.


Indian navy on guard to stop Sri Lankan refugees
MSNBC, May14. The Indian Navy has stepped up its patrols along the country's southern coast across from Sri Lanka to prevent an anticipated flow of refugees from the war-torn island nation.

Gun-toting commandos stand on guard with whirring helicopters above them and naval boats cruise the Palk Straits near the coastal town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu state, just an 18-km (11-mile) boat ride from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. More..


Sri Lanka government tightens security in Colombo
NDTV, Monday, M. On the streets of Colombo the most common sight seems to be of military policemen. Around the clock, a force of nearly 40,000 security personnel guards the city, which the local people now call "Fortress Colombo".

As fighting in the north of the country escalates, Colombo's residents seem to have a cause for greater concern. The last thing they want is for the war to spill over again into the guarded peace in "Fortress Colombo". More..


Thousands of troops being sent to Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.05 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. The Sri Lanka Army today is sending thousands of troops to Jaffna where renewed attacks by the rebels to gain ground is being fought by Lankan troops. As planes pounded rebel bases, reinforcements in the way of ground troops are being sent to help boost soldiers already based at the military's forward defence lines.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge meanwhile has reiterated that she will not allow for some half a million people in Jaffna to come under rebel rule.


Amnesty calls for Sri Lanka to protect civilians
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.30 a.m.SLT Monday May 15. Amnesty International (AI) today called upon the warring factions in the country's northern peninsula to respect some half a million civilians caught between Lankan troops and rebel forces. As heavy fighting continues to rage close to Jaffna, the international human rights watch asked that the lives of civilians and all wounded military personnel be respected. AI reiterated that Sri Lanka should make every endeavour to safeguard the rights of those caught in the war as in the past the country has been accused of being guilty of gross human rights violations, each time fighting between the LTTE and soldiers has escalated.


President summons all political parties
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.35 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge today summoned representatives of all political parties to discuss the present military situation in the country's northern peninsula. The President in her capacity as Commander for the Armed Forces is scheduled to brief Sri Lanka's political parties on what measures her government has adopted to meet the country's present military crisis. Her call comes two days after Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader, for the main opposition United National Party, requested the government to summon an emergency meeting to discuss the plight of soldiers and civilians in the north.

The military meanwhile reiterates that fierce rebel onslaughts have been repulsed. The government while admitting that fighting continues to rage in the area of Colombuthurai, said that troops fought back attempts by the LTTE to breach its defences. The rebels launched fresh attacks beginning Friday on the Elluthumaduval-Kilali road which is situated north of Elephant Pass.

Meanwhile additional reinforcements are being sent to the area. Major General Janaka Perera Thursday flew to Colombo to brief the President on the situation in the north.


CIVILIAN-ATTACK CHARGE ON DEFENSIVE TIGERS
may 15. The Sri Lankan government today accused the Tamil Tiger guerrillas of firing artillery and mortars into densely-populated areas of Jaffna after air force raids blocked their final assault to retake their former capital.

But three days after claiming that Jaffna was "as good as gone", the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to be at the doorstep of the city and failed to break through the defences mounted by the air force.

Neither Sinhalese nor Tamil commentators could come up with any convincing explanation for the continuing lull. More..


Has Karunanidhi lost his marbles????
15 May 2000. Karunanidhi cannot be unaware that the concept of Tamil Eelam is not limited to Sri Lanka; if he has any doubts on the subject he can ask the Tamil Tigers. They will want a slice of Tamil Nadu itself, probably the whole of it, to make Eelam viable. Or does he imagine that Pirabhakaran will be content to act as his Viceroy in northern Sri Lanka?

At one stroke, Karunanidhi has lent credibility to the charges that Sri Lanka has been making over the years that the Tigers have been supported from India with money and materials, given refuge, trained in special camps set up for the purpose, (against the advice of successive chiefs of army staff, I might add), all to make life more difficult for the Sri Lankan government. More..


Pilgrims to Rameswaram undeterred by fighting in Lanka
The Pioneer, May 15. The raging war across the sea in nearby Sri Lanka and the prospect of a huge influx of Tamil refugees fleeing the fighting in the island nation have not affected the flow of pilgrims to this temple town in Tamil Nadu.

The temple's sanctum sanctorum is believed to have been built by Parakrama Bahu, the King of Ceylon, in the 12th century A.D. More..


They died fighting someone else's war, only families remember them
Indian Express, May 15. I again request you not to worry about me. Nothing will happen to me. I am not the only one in this situation," wrote Major Dr Ashwani Kanva on October 31, three day before he was shot dead by LTTE snipers in Jaffna. More..


Sri Lankans feel India has stabbed them in the back
Hindustan Times, May 14. The vocal Sinhala majority opinion is that the Vajpayee government has stabbed Sri Lanka in the back, only to please its coalition partners from Tamil Nadu. The Sunday Time edit today dubs the latter as a pro-LTTE cabal and wonders why Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee could not extend his known antipathy towards cross border terrorism to Tamil Nadu's support for the LTTE in Sri Lanka. More..


Sri Lanka to swap POWs with Tamil Tigers
Hindu, May 14. President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she had asked the authorities to prepare a list of detainees believed to be members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who could be freed in a prisoner swap. More..


Sri Lanka against UN intervention
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 14. THE SRI Lankan government will not accept any UN intervention to help solve the ethnic conflict in the island, but might agree to mediation by India if New Delhi officially offered to do so.

On the controversial question of whether India was asked to help fight the LTTE, Mr Kadirgamar said the Sri Lankan government had conveyed such a request to the Indian government through the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Mr Shivshankar Menon. More..


Air force strikes rebel targets
The Hindu, May 14. With ``sporadic mortar and artillery fire'' by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) marking the fighting in Sri Lanka's northern region, the island's air force ``engaged identified'' rebel targets at positions east and south of Jaffna town. More..


Waiting for Delhi's word: Kadirgamar
The Hindu, May 15. As Sri Lankan soldiers continue to battle rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula, creating the setting for a possible Indian role in resolving the conflict, the Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, has said they would wait for an ``official intimation'' from the Government of India while continuing to keep the recently-commenced Norwegian initiative on board. More..

Air raids stall Tigers' Jaffna juggernaut
Times of India, May 14. A series of bombing raids by the Sri Lankan Air Force on Sunday slowed down the Tamil Tigers' march towards Jaffna, even as Colombo offered to exchange prisoners with the rebels, reports from Colombo said. More..

Sri Lanka needs Israeli military help to beat Tamil Tigers: minister
May 14. Sri Lanka has sought Israeli help to fight Tamil rebels who are threatening to retake their former stronghold of Jaffna, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said in remarks published Sunday. More.. l


Sri Lanka at war: worst of times, best of times
May 14. Sri Lanka is officially on a "war footing." News is censored. Public meetings are banned, but life in the capital is as lively as ever and the only tension appears to be among visiting foreign journalists. Restaurants in the capital were full on Saturday, like most weekends with tension only palpable among those diners seeking a table or a convenient parking spot. "Every time I smoke or drink, I feel like a patriot," Perera said. "We are used to the check points and seeing a lot of soldiers on the road, we don't mind that. It is a way of life." More..


Sri Lanka pours in troops to defend Jaffna amid aerial bombings
Sunday, May 14 7:41 PM SGT. Sri Lanka was pouring hundreds of soldiers to defend the northern town of Jaffna as aircraft pounded Tamil Tiger positions near the region, official sources here said Sunday.

"It is not just new weapons and ammunition that is being sent up north, but also troops reinforcements to ensure that the Tigers are resisted," a military official said. More.. l


Amnesty urges Tigers to spare injured soldiers
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. Human rights group Amnesty International has urged Tamil Tiger rebels not to kill wounded soldiers or those who have given up arms, its officials said Sunday.

The human rights group said it was the responsibility of both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE to adhere to international humanitarian laws related to war. More..


Tigers 'shell' Jaffna
BBC, Sunday 14. The Sri Lankan Government says Tamil Tiger rebels have fired artillery and mortar rounds at "densely populated locations in the Jaffna town area". "Security forces are taking all possible measures to protect the populace of the Jaffna town," the government said. More..

Shhhh! Sri Lanka government nips rumours amid war
MSNBC, May 14. The rumour mill always churns thick and fast in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, but a fierce offensive by Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north and a censorship clampdown have put it into overdrive. More..


Kadirgamar flays Govt. censorship
The Hindu, May 14. A senior Sri Lankan Minister has slammed Government censorship as `counter-productive' and called for its immediate removal. ``Speaking for myself, I would like to see the end for censorship without delay,'' he said. More..


Colombo seeks Red Cross intervention
The Hindu, Colombo, May 14. The Sri Lankan Army has requested the International Red Cross Committee to advise the advancing Tamil rebels against shelling civilian localities in the besieged town of Jaffna. More..

Sri Lanka's Jaffna Under Fire, But Rebels Stalled
Yahoo-Reuters, Sunday May 14 8:57 AM ET. Sri Lankan air force raids and heavy rebel casualties stalled a push by Tamil Tiger rebels to recapture their former stronghold of Jaffna town, military officials said on Sunday.

A government statement issued in Colombo said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were firing artillery and mortars at densely populated locations of Jaffna town, the cultural capital of their would-be homeland. More..


Vaiko reiterates demand on arms for LTTE
The Hindu, Sunday May 14. Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko has reiterated his demand that the Indian Government should give arms supply to the LTTE, if the Sri Lankan Government continues to get arms from foreign countries to fight the Tamil militants. More..


Tigers' assault on Jaffna halted: Lankan Army
Times of India, May 14. A slew of bombing raids by Sri Lankan warplanes has halted the advance of Tamil Tiger rebels toward their former capital Jaffna, the Air Force said Sunday. More..


Lanka mulling $800m arms purchase: Report
Times of India, Sunday May 14. Sri Lanka may have to pay $800 million in new arms and ammunition to fight Tamil rebels threatening to retake their former stronghold of Jaffna, the foreign minister was quoted as saying Sunday. Kadirgamar denied reports that New Delhi had played a role in Sri Lanka reestablishing diplomatic relations with Israel, severed in 1970.

"That's pie in the sky. There was no such axis," he said. "As a sovereign state we don't require the help or permission of any other state to establish relations with another state." More..


Ban on LTTE extended by two years: Advani
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. The Centre has extended the ban on the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam by two years, Union Home Minister LK Advani announced here on Sunday. The ban was extended on the basis of documents that suggested that the concept of Eelam, a separate homeland for Tamils, being pursued by LTTE could become a threat to India too.

"The ban on LTTE was to expire on Sunday and the government has extended it for another two years", Advani told reporters here. More..


500,000 under siege as Tamil Tigers encircle Jaffna
May14. Troops with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, fighting for an independent state for minority Tamils since 1983, entered their cultural capital and met little resistance from government soldiers. Sources in Colombo, the capital, said perhaps as few as 200 Tigers moved into the city after crossing the shallow lagoon that separates the Jaffna peninsula from the rest of the island.

"We have reliable reports that the Tigers are inside Jaffna," a Western diplomat who requested anonymity said on Friday. "But this is nowhere near over." More..


President under siege, says Sri Lanka opposition
The Straits Times, May 14. The government, which has grown increasingly sensitive on the state of affairs in the north, has warned citizens against "rumour mongering" and arrested three people. The result is a population which is confused and cynical, and despite the censorship -- or because of it -- believes the Sri Lankan military is losing in the north. More..


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