The Lanka Academic

MAY 23, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 48

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Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
ANNE-MARIE TOBIN, Associated Press. TORONTO (CP) -- Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka as a schoolboy and settled in Canada almost 40 years ago, but his new novel Anil's Ghost conveys an ache for the people of his troubled homeland. More...
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
Row over Sri Lanka arms deal
BBC, Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK. A British armaments company has confirmed that it is taking legal action against the Sri Lankan Government for what it says is a breach of contract over the supply of bullet-proof vests.The statement also accuses an unnamed agent in Sri Lanka of demanding over $100 commission on each vest to meet what it describes as hidden costs. In an interview with the BBC on Sunday, the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Chandananda Silva, said that he could not comment on the details of the case because of the impending legal action. However, he maintained that the vests were not being used because they were not up to standard. More.. m
Published: Tue May 23 23:17:24 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka in grave security crisis, India offers help
Orientation, COLOMBO, May 23 (AFP). Sri Lanka Tuesday said it faced a grave security crisis and India offered to rescue troops trapped in the island's embattled Jaffna peninsula amid diplomatic moves to bring about a truce. More..
Published: Tue May 23 21:41:59 EDT 2000

Delhi discusses Sri Lankan crisis
BBC, May 23. A Norwegian special envoy is to brief India on the crisis in Sri Lanka amid mounting speculation about Delhi's role.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee cancelled his engagements to hold urgent talks with senior colleagues on the situation. More..

Published: Tue May 23 21:25:48 EDT 2000

India sends letter rogatory to 21 countries on Rajiv murder conspiracy
JAL News, May23. The Multi-Department Monitoring Agency (MDMA) inquiring into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination conspiracy is sending letters of rogatory to 21 countries, seeking all possible information about monetary or logical support that may have been provided to bump off the former prime minister. The letters of rogatory were obtained from a CBI court in Delhi on Monday and they were now being despatched to the Indian embassies and missions in the respective countries for delivery to the governments there, the CBI sources said. The MDMA would wait for three months for response to the letters of rogatory and then a team of senior officers may visit six or seven countries where some kind of information may be available about help obtained by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to conspire and kill the former Prime Minister. More..
Published: Tue May 23 21:23:14 EDT 2000

Embittered Kumaratunga refuses to give in to LTTE
India-Today, May23. Kumarantunga added that she would like foreign governments and their peoples to recognise terror when they see it. ''They don't like it when it happens in their countries. But by their silence, by their tolerance of the most terrifying terrorist group in the world, they are encouraging them to practice all their terror.'' More..
Published: Tue May 23 21:09:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Resumes Air Raids
Yahoo!, May 23. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - Sri Lankan warplanes bombed rebel positions Tuesday, part of a battle the president said was so important that people should cancel ``unnecessary celebrations'' and donate part of their salaries to the war effort instead. More..
Published: Tue May 23 21:09:03 EDT 2000

Tamil Nadu parties are softening their stand towards LTTE
Daily Pioneer, May23. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that has several Tamil groups among its members, finds itself in an unenviable position. Neither it can be seen to be sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) -- whose activists killed former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi -- nor can it ruffle the feathers of its Tamil Nadu allies who have openly backed the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. More..
Published: Tue May 23 20:56:37 EDT 2000

The lure of Lanka --An Essay
May23. But what India needs to decide, once and for all, is the nature of its involvement in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. Between Indira Gandhi's premiership and her son's, New Delhi had swung from one extreme to the other: first arming and training the Liberation Tigers to become death machines, and later fighting them. As India wrestles with the island-nation's problems, the question of involvement can only be looked at through one prism: is a united Sri Lanka in India's strategic, geopolitical interests? Or should India aid the break-up of a sovereign nation citing ties of history, language and culture? More..
Published: Tue May 23 20:29:38 EDT 2000

The Telegraph, May23. India today held back its military power from stepping into the Sri Lankan crisis after the LTTE and the Colombo administration failed to reach an understanding over the Eelam (motherland for Tamils) issue. There was news that the Chandrika Kumaratunga administration had agreed to a ceasefire and it was time for Indian naval personnel to move in and escort the trapped Sinhalese soldiers in Jaffna and move them out to a safer destination.The LTTE was making impossible demands. They were not just demanding Eelam, they were also harping on their rights to weapons and ammunition left by the fleeing Sri Lankan forces. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:55:28 EDT 2000

Global support for India likely
Daily Pioneer, May23. Even if India were to proactively engage the LTTE in the event of the latter continuing its intransigence, it is unlikely that India will invite overwhelmingly negative reactions from major international powers.In Sri Lanka's case, India has made it more than apparent that it has no argument with the Sri Lankan Government on the ethnic issue. In fact, given India's categorical support for Sri Lanka's territorial integrity, an international consensus backing India's efforts towards restoring normalcy would not be difficult to seek. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:45:12 EDT 2000

No operation from TN soil’
The Statesman, May 23.. Mr M Karunanidhi said a firm “no” today with regard to providing any military assistance to the Sri Lankan government using Tamil Nadu soil to avoid any political backlash from the pro-LTTE political outfits here. The Chief Minister is said to have indicated his stand to the Prime Minister who is in constant touch with him considering that the situation has a direct impact on Tamil Nadu.

Published: Tue May 23 19:37:51 EDT 2000

Delhi waits for SOS from Lanka
The Statesman, May23. India is prepared for an operation to evacuate the beleaguered Sri Lankan troops from northern Jaffna provided “proper conditions” are obtained and a formal request is received from Colombo, it was officially stated here tonight.A key element to the equation would be the result of the Norwegian peace moves. Norwegian special envoy, Mr Eric Solheim, reaches here tomorrow from Colombo.The Sri Lankan Deputy-External Affairs Minister, Mr L Kiriella, who arrived in Chennai late last night, failed to get an appointment with Mr M Karunanidhi. Sources said the CM was reluctant to meet without the Centre’s clearance. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:37:51 EDT 2000

`Jaffna's fate remains on how much Censored Censored Censored...'
Indian Express, May 23:. The reader gets a paper full of holes. Or with stories liberally peppered with the word ``Censored'' indicating places where the Competent Authority has wielded the black marker. He goes through the old fill-in-the-blanks school routine. But what sense can they make of The Sunday Times defence column which ends this way: ``The fate of Jaffna now remains on how much Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored how best troops will be able to counter their advance.'' More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:21:02 EDT 2000

Joint India-US-Norway peace efforts possible, says Lanka
Hindustan Times, (Colombo, May 23). The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr Lakshman Kadirga-mar, said today that he saw the possibility of a “joint effort” by Norway, India and the US to bring the government and the LTTE to the negotiating table to solve the ethnic conflict in the country. "At the moment, the only obstacle is fairly and squarely the LTTE. They are being utterly intransigent. They have not been bona fide at all towards the negotiations. The agenda of Prabhakaran has always been something else — a separate state. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:16:41 EDT 2000

Navy, Air Force on standby for evacuation of troops
Times of India, May23. A large naval and air force flotilla is on standby under a contingency plan drawn up by India for undertaking emergency evacuation of Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna if the government takes such a decision at the request of Colombo, highly placed navy sources said on Tuesday.sources said Norwegians mediators were in touch with LTTE for a safe passage. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:09:22 EDT 2000

India under pressure to act Jaffna broker
Times of India, May23. NEW DELHI: India appears to be under increasing US pressure to step in and help end the Jaffna conflict. US under secretary of state Thomas Pickering's sudden arrival on Tuesday has led to speculation that he is here for urgent consultations with Indian leaders on the deepening crisis in Sri Lanka.Speaking on condition of anonymity, Lankan foreign ministry officials said Pickering would take up the task as mediator in case India did not take a more proactive stand within a week. More..
Published: Tue May 23 19:02:35 EDT 2000

Chandrika appeals to people
Hindu, MAY 23.. The President of Sri Lanka, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, went over national television this evening appealing to her people to stand by the country's soldiers as they fought the LTTE in the northern peninsula. Pointing out that the soldiers were engaged in a battle to prevent a ``division'' of the country, she asked the people to make ``some sacrifices'' that would send out a message to the troops that the country was behind them. More..
Published: Tue May 23 18:54:38 EDT 2000

'3 conditions for evacuation'
Hindu, MAY 23.. Highly-placed sources in the Government said that the evacuation option can begin only under three conditions. Jaffna has to fall, the Sri Lankans have to make a formal request for a pullout and the conditions of a ceasefire have to be created on the ground. More..
Published: Tue May 23 18:51:23 EDT 2000

We cannot let down the people of Jaffna: An interview with President Kumaratunge
Hindu, MAY 23.. The following are excerpts from an interview that the President of Sri Lanka, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, gave to The Hindu. I think India has, could have a lot of influence over the LTTE, if they so wish... How one could persuade Prabhakaran I don't know, but I am an eternal optimist. I don't think history can be made to move according to the whims of one individual. There are so many other related forces, internal and external, that come in to change the course of history. More..
Published: Tue May 23 18:45:25 EDT 2000

'India can bring LTTE to the table'
Hindu, MAY 23.. The President of Sri Lanka, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, has expressed disappointment at India's refusal to give her Government military assistance in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and concern at pro-Eelam statements made by political leaders in Tamil Nadu. Ms. Kumaratunga said the ambitions of the LTTE leader, Mr. Velupillai Prabhakaran, did not end at Jaffna. ``He would like to be king of Sri Lanka,'' she said, adding that it would be worse than having ``Hitler and Idi Amin put together'' More..
Published: Tue May 23 18:40:02 EDT 2000

"No talks with Lankan general"
Chennai Online, May 23:. The ministry of defence today denied that Sri Lankan chief of defence staff General Rohan Daluvatte had preliminary discussions in connection with India's intervention in the ongoing fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Tue May 23 16:15:43 EDT 2000

LTTE ban correct, will stay: Thakre
Chennai Online, May 22:. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Kushabhau Thakre today disgreed with Shiv Sena's demand for lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which is engaged in a fierce battle with the Sri Lankan armed forces in Jaffna.Thakre, who arrived here this morning for an interaction with the newly elected office bearers of the Tamil Nadu unit, said “The ban is will continue.” More..
Published: Tue May 23 16:13:20 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan military says rebels repulsed near Jaffna
CNN, May 23, 2000. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Government troops said Tuesday they had repulsed Tamil Tiger rebels from the outskirts of Jaffna, as India prepared to help Sri Lanka evacuate soldiers from the peninsula. More..

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaranatunge spoke with CNN about the war and her personal involvement in the government (Note: Cleared by Sri Lankan censors) [Watch]

India is Seeing an influx of refugees from the war [Watch]
Published: Tue May 23 15:52:56 EDT 2000

Centre will not take the IPKF route: Advani
Hindu, May 23.. Union Home Minister L K Advani today asserted that the Government would not take the ``IPKF route'' in dealing with the developments in Sri Lanka, but would ensure that no other power inimical to India got a foothold in the troubled island. Advani told reporters that India wanted the integrity of Sri Lanka to remain intact and the Tamils to be given respectable position in governance. More..
Published: Tue May 23 15:46:47 EDT 2000

Senior US diplomat to arrive in India amid war in Sri Lanka
Yahoo!, NEW DELHI, May 23 (AFP). US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering will arrive here Wednesday to discuss issues in the South Asian region, including the waris raging in Sri Lanka, officials said Tuesday. More..
Published: Tue May 23 15:30:24 EDT 2000

India against intervention in Sri Lanka, says Jaswant
Hindustan Times, May 23. INDIA IS not going to enter into a "fire-fight" in Sri Lanka while offering humanitarian assistance, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said here today. "India is not going to enter into a fire-fight in Sri Lankan soil if and when it finally has to engage in humanitarian assistance", Singh said when asked about reports that the Indian Navy was on a 72-hour alert and ready to assist in evacuating Sri Lankan troops trapped in Jaffna peninsula in case Colombo called for such help. More..
Published: Tue May 23 15:25:32 EDT 2000

India wants truce before evacuation
Times of India, may23. India on Wednesday was juggling with its options as the countdown for the fall of Jaffna continued. Sources say India is trying to open up channels to the Tigers as well and bring to an end the violence in Jaffna, which it feels could affect India's security. This is a course fraught with danger since LTTE is banned in India and its leader, V Prabhakaran, is wanted for his part in the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi. LTTE would use any opportunity to compel India to reverse this decision and grant the organisation some kind of recognition. More..
Published: Tue May 23 14:15:10 EDT 2000

Lankan refugees seek security of Tamil Nadu
Asian Age, May22. A pregnant woman Thavamani from Jaffna was quoted saying that she was scared of losing her baby because of the big noise caused by the low-flying Lankan aircraft seeking militant targets for bombing. The boom from the exploding shells made her constantly sick and sleepless, she told the officers at Mandapam. More..
Published: Tue May 23 13:14:18 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka leader calls for sacrifices as war rages
MSNBC, May 23. President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday urged Sri Lankans to donate money for the war effort and told them to avoid frivolous celebrations as government troops battled Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula. ''The whole nation is facing a grave crisis as regards national security,'' Kumaratunga said after the government reported only sporadic fighting in Jaffna on Tuesday. Few ordinary Sri Lankans realise the severity of the situation due to the draconian censorship laws invoked earlier this month. More..
Published: Tue May 23 13:05:27 EDT 2000

Police foil assassination attempt on former Sri Lankan lawmaker
MSNBC. May 23 Two suspected Tamil Tiger rebels posing as job seekers tried to assassinate a former Sri Lankan lawmaker in his home today, but guards gunned down one of them and the other later killed himself by setting off a grenade, police said.Police had said in an initial report that the retired member of Parliament, M.K. Gunawardene, had been killed by a female suicide bomber. There was no explanation for the false report. More...
Published: Tue May 23 12:59:47 EDT 2000

'The denial of the right to information is equal to slavery' - An interview with Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka
WSWS, May23. Those interviewed represent a wide cross-section of Sri Lankan people from small shopkeepers and students to plantation workers and filmmakers. All of them speak eloquently and forcefully of their hostility to the emergency powers that not only impose censorship but outlaw all strikes and protests and allow the military to commandeer personnel and equipment for the war. They also voice their desire for an end to the protracted war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a distrust of the entire political establishment and their belief that working people—both Tamil and Sinhalese—share common class interests. More..
Published: Tue May 23 12:31:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka regime under fire for press take over
Orientation-AFP, COLOMBO, May 23 (AFP). Sri Lanka's main opposition Tuesday lambasted President Chandrika Kumaratunga for using tough emergency laws to take over three newspapers. More..
Published: Tue May 23 12:31:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's tea workers announce "prayer strike" for wage increase
Orientation-AFP, COLOMBO, May 23 (AFP). Sri Lanka's most influential trade union Tuesday said tea plantation workers will spend much of their work time offering lengthy prayers for a pay rise after wage talks collapsed, effectively crippling the mainstay of the economy. More..
Published: Tue May 23 12:31:05 EDT 2000

Indian cabinet meets as navy readies to evacuate Lankan troops
Orientation-AFP, NEW DELHI, May 23 (AFP). The Indian Navy is ready to evacuate thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers trapped in the embattled north of the country if ordered, a Defence Ministry spokesman said here Tuesday. The statemen came as the Indian cabinet went into an emergency session on the crisis in its smaller neighbour. More..
Published: Tue May 23 12:31:05 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace-broker to brief India on Sri Lankan conflict
Yahoo! Asia-news, NEW DELHI, May 23 (AFP). Norway's special peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, will arrive here from Colombo on Wednesday to brief the government on the conflict in Sri Lanka, India's National Security Advisory Brajesh Mishra said Tuesday. More..
Published: Tue May 23 12:13:59 EDT 2000

Tigers stage another suicide bombing
Yahoo-afp, May 23. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas Tuesday staged a suicide bomb attack against a regional politician who escaped with minor injuries, police said.The bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body while visiting ruling party politician, M. K. Gunawardena, at his home in the north-eastern town of Kantalai, officials said. More..
Published: Tue May 23 10:25:38 EDT 2000

Eight LTTE rebels killed
Hindu, May 23. Even as a Norwegian peace mission was underway here, eight LTTE rebels were killed in heavy fighting between Sri Lankan troops and the LTTE that has spread to new areas in northern Jaffna peninsula. While heavy fighting continued in Chavakachcheri and Ariyalai sectors, clashes were reported from Chemmani, south-east of Jaffna town, a Government press release said today. More..
Published: Tue May 23 10:18:09 EDT 2000

Vaiko calls on PM, discusses Lankan situation
Hindu, May 23.. MDMK leader Vaiko today called on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and discussed the Sri Lankan situation. "After my discussions, I am thoroughly satisfied with the meticulous and cautious approach of the Indian Government towards the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka," Vaiko told PTI. More..
Published: Tue May 23 10:11:34 EDT 2000

Battle for Jaffna continues
BBC, Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK. Government forces in northern Sri Lanka are continuing their battle against Tamil Tiger rebels for control of the Jaffna peninsula, a day after saying they had repulsed two rebel attacks. The Tigers say they now control the town - but defence officials said intense fighting was continuing and the Tigers had suffered heavy casualties. More...
Published: Tue May 23 10:07:46 EDT 2000

Norwegian Minister briefs Indian envoy in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 23. Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister. Raymond Johansen, trying to broker peace between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, met Indian High Commissioner here last night after declaring that India has an important role to play in bringing peace in the island nation. More..
Published: Tue May 23 09:53:54 EDT 2000

FMM Condemns closure of Newspapers
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 23. The Free Media Movement (FMM) today condemned the closure of two national newspaper 'The Sunday Leader, its sisiter paper 'The Irida Peramuna' and 'The Uthayan' newspaper in Jaffna. The FMM has called upon both the international community and all called upon all democratic forces, "here and abroad, to exert maximum pressure upon the Sri Lankan government to desist from using emergency regulations to restrict the freedom of expression and other democratic rights in Sri Lanka."

Meanwhile 'Reporters Sans Frontiers' an international media organization, also issued a statement today which protested against a Sri Lankan Government decision yesterday to shut down the press of The Sunday Leader and its sister paper.

A staff member of The Sunday Leader told Lacnet the news paper plans to take legal action against the State decision to keep it closed for a period of six months. Similar to 'The Uthayan' newspaper in Jaffna, 'The Sunday Leader' too had about 100 employees on its staff.
Published: Tue May 23 09:52:58 EDT 2000

VoT condemns international military assistance to Lanka's war
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.20 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 23. Tamil news services reported today that the Voice of Tigers in a radio broadcast this morning had said at a meeting held at Mallavi that it condemnd the government for preventing food and medicines from reaching predominantly Tiger territory in the Vanni. The Tigers are also reported to have protested against international military assistance to help Lankan troops battle rebels in Sri Lanka's war stricken north. The rebels have further called for the international community to recognise the call for self determination of all Sri Lankan Tamils.
Published: Tue May 23 09:52:58 EDT 2000

Ceylon Electricity Bd Considers Pwr Cuts If Rains Fail
Yahoo-DowJones, May23. Sri Lanka's state-owned electricity monopoly said Tuesday it will be forced to resort to daily power cuts if seasonal monsoon rains fail, a senior official said. D.G. Wijeratne, Ceylon Electricity Board's additional general manager in charge of transmissions, told Dow Jones Newswires that the board is reviewing the situation on a daily basis. More..
Published: Tue May 23 09:16:21 EDT 2000

Indian Navy ready to evacuate Sri Lankan troops if ordered: official
Yahoo-afp, May 23. The Indian Navy is ready to bring out the thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers trapped in the battlezone of Sri Lanka if ordered, a Defence Ministry spokesman said here Tuesday."The navy is prepared but the government will have to take a view (on any evacuation)," spokesman Pramod Sharan Bhatnagar told AFP. "We will act only if there are no hostilies. It will be only a rescue mission," Bhatnagar said. More..
Published: Tue May 23 09:14:42 EDT 2000

Tamil parties seek Sri Lanka ceasefire
COLOMBO, May 23. Moderate Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka Tuesday called for a ceasefire between warring Tamil Tiger guerrillas and government forces in the northern peninsula of Jaffna.The 10 political parties said in a joint statement that neighbouring India, as well as Norway which is currently moving to bring Tamil Tigers and the Colombo government to the negotiating table, must ensure a lasting political solution to the island's ethnic bloodshed. More..
Published: Tue May 23 09:11:34 EDT 2000

Cabinet committee on security discusses Sri Lanka
May 23. The cabinet committee on security met again this morning and reviewed the Sri Lankan crisis. The National Security Adviser, Mr. Brajesh Mishra said that the government had received no request from Sri Lanka for evacuating troops from the Jaffna peninsula. The military option has already been ruled out. More..
Published: Tue May 23 09:05:10 EDT 2000

India calls urgent cabinet meeting on Sri Lanka
MSNBC, May23. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has called a second cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Sri Lankan crisis, an aide to the leader said.The meeting comes amid speculation in New Delhi that Colombo's government may have sought help in its war against Tamil rebels. More..
Published: Tue May 23 08:52:13 EDT 2000

Sporadic fighting reported in Sri Lanka's Jaffna
MSNBC, May23. Sporadic fighting was reported in Sri Lanka's bloody northern battlefields on Tuesday, a day after the government said it had successfully repulsed attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels on the army's defences. India, meanwhile, put its navy on alert in case Sri Lanka asked for help to evacuate troops from the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Tue May 23 08:50:25 EDT 2000

India to rescue Sri Lankans trapped by Tigers
May 23. India was preparing a large-scale evacuation plan last night to rescue thousands of civilians trapped in the town of Jaffna, and the beleaguered Sri Lankan troops in the town. More..
Published: Tue May 23 03:06:58 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka losing village women
The Straits Times, May 23. Many Sri Lankan villages are losing their men and women -- to the war-front and abroad. These villagers leave to make a living, but the income is often squandered and comes with a heavy price: neglected children and broken families More..
Published: Tue May 23 02:59:53 EDT 2000

Indian troops 'set to move in'
The Straits Times, May 23. London paper reports build-up in Kerala state LONDON -- Against a backdrop of mounting speculation that Indian forces would step in to resolve the crisis in Sri Lanka, Norwegian peace brokers yesterday began talks with leaders in Colombo. The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that 15,000 Indian troops had been moved to Trivandrum in the state of Kerala. More..
Published: Tue May 23 02:59:53 EDT 2000

Service chiefs meet to review Lanka crisis
STATESMAN, May 22. NEW DELHI, May 22. — The Cabinet Committee on Security and the Chiefs of Staff reviewed the Sri Lanka situation this morning. Later in the day, the Chiefs examined various options should India decide to intervene. (The Lankan government today said it would explore “diplomatic means” to invite India to join the mediation process while the visiting Norwegian delegation said India had played a very important role and would continue to do so in reaching a solution. After days of dithering, the Lankan foreign minister today said his ministry was looking for avenues to “approach” India’s offer to mediate, adds PTI from Colombo.) More..
Published: Tue May 23 02:44:48 EDT 2000

President extends ban on public demo's
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.20 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 23. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge last evening extended the ban on all public demonstrations and protest rallies to June 4, 2000. A press release from the Competent Authority stated the President has instructed the Inspector General of Police to strictly enforce the ban. The President is using the powers empowered to her under the present Emergency Regulations and stringent regulations under the Public Ordinance Act promulgated by the President three weeks ago.
Published: Tue May 23 00:32:00 EDT 2000

India may lift its self-imposed restrictions on dealing with Lankan crisis
NDTV, May23. With the LTTE closing in on Jaffna, India could lift its self-imposed restrictions on dealing with the Lankan crisis. The Cabinet Committee on Security met and reportedly took a decision yesterday to put Indian forces on high alert in case the Sri Lankan government asked for help to evacuate Sri Lankan soldiers, fighting Tamil tigers in the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Mon May 22 23:30:38 EDT 2000

Spot Report
India Today. Raj Chengappa reporting from Colombo. [Listen]
Published: Mon May 22 23:05:54 EDT 2000

India Wary Of Big Role In Sri Lanka Civil Conflict
Washington Post, Monday , May 22, 2000. NEW DELHI –– The three-week-old military crisis in Sri Lanka is confronting India with a major foreign policy dilemma: whether to intervene in a conflict that cost India hundreds of lives and led to years of mistrust with its island neighbor the last time it got involved.Sri Lankan authorities, facing an unprecedented onslaught from separatist Tamil guerrillas in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, have been begging India for help--either military aid to quash the rebels or mediation to bring an end to the civil war that has killed 60,000 people since 1983. More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:22:28 EDT 2000

Norwegian Minister meets Lankan President
NDTV, May23. Mr. Robert Johansen met with President Kumaratunga but made it clear that any peace process would have to involve India. State-run newspaper Daily News quoted Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Monday, saying that Sri Lanka had decided to explore diplomatic means to invite India to join the mediation process.With the clock ticking fast in Jaffna, Mr. Johansen rushed through his schedule of meetings in Colombo--first with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Laxman Kadirgamar and later President Kumaratunga. Behind the smiles and handshakes, there is serious concern over the future of the 40,000 Sri Lankan troops battling to prevent an LTTE takeover in Jaffna More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:15:58 EDT 2000

The Tigers Claw Back
Time Magazine, May29. Written off by the Sri Lankan army five years ago as a spent guerrilla force, the Tamil Tigers are close to pulling off their most stunning victory--the military conquest of the Jaffna peninsula. Opening fresh attacks almost daily against government troops positioned on roads around Jaffna City, they are stretching the Sri Lankan force to its limit and blocking all avenues for reinforcement. After months of meticulous planning, extra recruitment and training and the capture of long-range artillery, the Tigers, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (ltte), have shown a new side to their talent for war. More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:06:13 EDT 2000

Lanka evacuation mission
DeccanHerald, May23. According to the sources, the latest military and intelligence assessment, undertaken at the top level of the armed forces and intelligence agencies here this morning, was near-unanimous that the Lankan Army would not be able to hold on to its position in Jaffna town and around for more than a few days, not longer than a week. The assessment was conveyed to the CCS which met later in the day at the prime minister`s official residence. The meeting was attended, among others, by Defence Minister George Fernandes, the prime minister`s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra and the three Service chiefs. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:52:44 EDT 2000

LTTE's political thrusts surprise Lankans
Hindustan Times, May23. Where the LTTE's influence over the European Union was evident was in the latter's singling out the Sri Lankan Government for criticism, while completely ignoring the doings of the LTTE. The European Union had conveniently ignored the fact that the LTTE launched the Wanni offensive and subsequently attacked Elephant Pass and Jaffna, even as the talks about talks were on through the Norwegian facilitator. The latest "declaration" rapped the Sri Lankan Government for clamping Press censorship and outlawing trade union action to meet the grave threat to the integrity of the country. But there was stony silence on the measure's raison d'etre - the war unleashed by the LTTE to dismember the country. The LTTE was able to get Mr Neranjan Devadithya, a former British Conservative MP of Sri Lankan origin, and now a nominated member of the European Parliament, to propose that the European Union Parliament call for United Nation's intervention in Sri Lanka. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:39:32 EDT 2000

Majority of Lankans say no to foreign intervention
Times of India, May22. "Finally, these problems are our own, between the Sinhalese and Tamils, which belong to one country. They are not the concern of foreign powers," asserts S Thavarajah, a member of Parliament from Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). But clearly, as both the ongoing blood-bath in Jaffna and the moves by the Tigers to internationalize the issue show, the LTTE, does not quite agree. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:19:15 EDT 2000

India weighs plans to help evacuate Lanka troops
Times of India, May22. Amid reports that Sri Lankan troops have inflicted heavy casualties on the Tigers, contingency plans to help evacuate nearly 30,000 troops, should Jaffna fall, are understood to have figured at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security here on Monday. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who chaired the meeting and heard the assessment of the three services chiefs, later called on President K.R. Narayanan.So far, only the Indian Navy has acted, detaining about 10 vessels reportedly ferrying weapons and military equipment for LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:11:07 EDT 2000

Lanka cracks the whip on anti government weekly
Times of India, May22. ``This is just a message from the government. The thrust of the laws is to see that the military effort is not jeopardized. What we write is something both the LTTE and the army are aware of, since they are in the center of the war theatre. This is blatantly a political move," Lal Wickermatunge, managing editor of the group said. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:03:49 EDT 2000

Gill's Colombo visit raises little hope
Hindu, MAY 22.. The arrival here of the former chief of the Punjab police, Mr. K. P. S. Gill, has generated some interest but little hope that he can substantively change the course of events in this strife-torn and demoralised country. He is believed to be already in the Sri Lankan capital. In keeping with his ``top secret'' pattern of activity, his whereabouts are known only to a handful of people. Even his arrival was cloaked in secrecy. More..
Published: Mon May 22 18:56:25 EDT 2000

Navy put on 72-hour alert
Hindu, MAY 22.. Apprehending a possible call for evacuating Sri Lankan soldiers stranded in Jaffna, the Indian Navy has been put on a 72-hour alert, highly-placed sources in the Government have said. According to the sources, the security establishment is visualising three possible scenarios. First, the Sri Lankan soldiers, under relentless pressure from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam may make a ``tactical retreat'' to the Palaly airbase, which can be defended far more easily than Jaffna town. However, there are few indications, now, that the Army is considering this option. More..
Published: Mon May 22 18:53:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka -- war without end, peace without hope! --An analysis
Rediff, May22. Indian support to the Tamil militants was good politics, both regionally as well as nationally. This brought the Indian State in direct confrontation with Sinhala nationalism. Being a militarily stronger power, India intervened in Sri Lanka in 1987, initially with the sole aim of saving the Tamils. That subsequently it ended up fighting the Tamils themselves can be only understood to be the result of the naivete of top Indian leaders, of the bungling of an egotist diplomat and the shrewdness of President Jayawardene. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:33:43 EDT 2000

'The LTTE is a freedom movement' -An Interview with P Nedumaran
Rediff, May22. As convenor of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Co-ordination Committee, he had organised a pro-LTTE conference in Chidambaram early this month, but the meeting did not take place as Nedumaran and hundreds of associates were arrested for defying a ban and organising a meeting in support of the LTTE. It was only a temporary ban, he insisted, and was hopeful that the court would permit him to hold the meeting soon. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:30:00 EDT 2000

PM consults Karunanidhi as Jaffna's position becomes precarious
May22. Analysts say that if Sri Lanka frantically seeks India's immediate help, the Vajpayee government can no longer duck its responsibility. "I expect an Indian intervention in Sri Lanka very soon. It could most possibly be the evacuation of the trapped Sri Lankan forces in Jaffna," K V Sathyanarayan, a Madras-based Lanka expert, told frontline ships like landing ship tanks, Kashin-class destroyers and minesweepers have already been positioned along the South Indian coastline. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:27:19 EDT 2000

Persons at "high-level" help LTTE: Swamy
Hindu, May 22.. In a book released today, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy says there is a network of persons at "high-level" in India who have been functioning as facilitators for the LTTE. The network must be exposed in the "national interest." Addressing a press conference Swamy alleged that two Union Ministers and two alliance partners of the NDA Government had links with the LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:28:07 EDT 2000

Norwegian envoys, Sri Lankan leaders talk peace
CNN, May 22. Norwegian envoys and Sri Lankan officials Monday began discussing ways of ending Sri Lanka's 17-year civil war that has claimed more than 62,000 lives. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:25:33 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka likely to seek Indian mediation
Hindu, May 22.. Amid heavy fighting in Jaffna, the Sri Lankan Government today said it had decided to explore ``diplomatic means'' to invite India to join the mediation process toward a negotiated solution of the current crisis, even as the visiting Norwegian delegation began preliminary discussions with leaders of the country. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:18:34 EDT 2000

From Our Correspondent: Censor's Curtain Around Embattled Jaffna
CNN-Asiaweek, May 22. "If Jaffna City suddenly falls to the Tigers, it will be a huge shock to Sri Lankans" For the past month the Sri Lanka Army and the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been locked in battle for Jaffna, the cultural and civilisational capital of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The battle has plunged the country into its worst crisis since Independence 50 years ago, as the rebels fight to recapture the city which they claim as a capital for an independent homeland. Colombo's Army has not capitulated quickly, but has been pushed back incrementally ever closer toward the city. Hundreds of soldiers and rebels have been killed and injured -- but the biggest casualty of all has been the inability for both Sri Lankans and observers around the world to get an accurate picture of what is happening on the battlefield. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:06:13 EDT 2000

Gill arrives in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 22. India's super cop K P S Gill arrived. Sri Lanka's Government on fighting Tamil Tiger secessionists. Gill will meet with Government officials and academics in his personal capacity, a Foreign Ministry official said on conditions of anonymity. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:03:43 EDT 2000

Sigiri paintings hit by fungus
Orientation-afp, May22. Frescoes of bare-breasted maidens at a fifth century rock fortress in central Sri Lanka are threatened by a fungus and a lack of money to protect them, officials said Monday.The world heritage site of Sigiriya does not have enough money to adequately protect the 18 maidens left, out of some 500 originally painted inside the rock fortress, the Lankadeepa newspaper said Monday. More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:28:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Escalating Conflict Won't Hurt '00 GDP-Ctrl Bk
Yahoo-dow jones, May22. While an escalating internal conflict in Sri Lanka will raise inflation and interest rates in the current fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2000, the country's gross domestic product will likely stay on target, the head of the nation's central bank said Monday. "The escalation in fighting is certainly going to have an impact on the economy," said Amarananda Jayawardena, Sri Lanka's central bank governor in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires. However, he added, "I don't expect overall growth to get affected because of the war." More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:16:42 EDT 2000

Ferocious fighting kills 150 in Sri Lanka amid Oslo peace bid
Yahoo-afp, May22. Sri Lankan troops shot dead at least 150 Tamil Tiger rebels in intense face-to-face battles as a Norwegian peace mission got underway in the capital Monday, the government said.Western diplomatic sources in Sri Lanka said the losses were the worst suffered by the LTTE in their latest campaign, aimed at retaking the northern peninsula of Jaffna."In face-to-face fighting the government troops have the advantage and that is what is being seen now," a western diplomat said, adding that the guerrillas' ability to use artillery would be limited as fighting moved into built-up areas. More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:00:08 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace mission arrives in Sri Lanka
The Norway Post, 22 May 2000. A Norwegian team arrived in Colombo Monday, to continue the work of finding a solution to the 17 year old civil war in Sri Lanka. Undersecretary of State, Raymond Johansen, and special envoy Erik Solheim from the Foreign Office, were scheduled to meet with President Chandrika Chumaratunga and the country's foreign minister. More...
Published: Mon May 22 12:00:23 EDT 2000

Solheim på Sri Lanka (Solheim in Sri Lanka)
Aftenposten. Secretary Raymond Johansen and Special Advisor Erik Solheim of the Foreign Department arrived in Colombo on Monday to discuss the (present) military situation of conflict in Sri Lanka. They are to meet , among others, with the Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga.

The three day visit by the norwegian delegation takes place while fierce fighting rages in the Jaffna peninsula in the northern part of Sri Lanka. The LTTE-gerilla, the so-called Tamil tigers, are now fighting to regain lost territory.

The norwegian peace intiative in Sri Lanka, to bring the parties of the confict to the negotiations table, is vinning more and more support from the United Nations, USA and the European Union. Almost 60000 people have lost their lives on the island during the last two decades. More...
Published: Mon May 22 11:58:17 EDT 2000

Close quarter fighting kills 70 in Sri Lanka amid Oslo peace bid
COLOMBO, May 22. At least 70 Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed in intense close quarter fighting with government forces as a Norwegian peace mission got underway in the capital Monday, officials here said. Government troops shot dead over 70 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during a clash at Sarasali in the Thenmarachchi sector of Jaffna in overnight fighting, officials said. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:40:50 EDT 2000

India could evacuate Sri Lankan troops if Jaffna falls
May22. India is ready to evacuate thousands of beleaguered Sri Lankan troops if Jaffna falls to Tamil rebels, but only if both sides announce a ceasefire, senior military sources said here Monday. "Any evacuation will have to happen only under a no-fire condition," a top naval source told AFP, as Indian military planners estimated the fall of the northern Jaffna peninsula to advancing Tamil separatists could happem within 15 days. More...
Published: Mon May 22 11:32:49 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka resists rebel drive as Oslo peace bid gets underway
May 22. Sri Lankan troops resisted a major rebel offensive in the Jaffna peninsula Monday as a Norwegian peace mission arrived here for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, officials said. The air force and artillery were used to neutralise positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Tanankillapu in the Jaffna peninsula, the government said in a statement. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:23:38 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka troops kill 70 Tigers in fresh attack
May22. At least 70 Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed Monday in a face-to-face battle with government troops in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna, officials here said. Officials said government forces shot dead the 70 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during a clash in the Thenmarachchi sector of Jaffna, officials said. They said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been told that the army will return the bodies of 50 Tigers. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:05:44 EDT 2000

Major battle at Sarasalai in Sri Lanka's North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.50 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The military today said a major confrontation between Lankan troops and the rebels broke out in West Sarasalai. The battle which began last night and continued today, Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman said, killed 168 Tigers. He said the military have recovered 68 bodies which will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Brigadier Fernando asserted that Lankan armed forces did not suffer heavy casualties. Harsha Gunawardene, spokesman for the ICRC in Colombo said the military had been in touch with the humanitarian organization to hand over 50 bodies of rebel cadre killed in today's battle. The ICRC, he said, are making the necessary logistical arrangements to hand over the bodies to the LTTE. The LTTE meanwhile in a radio broadcast over the Voice of Tigers claim that military positions in Madduvil Panrithalaichchi Amman Kovil, Kankampuliyadi junction, Madduvil Sivan Kovilady, Sarasalai and Madduvil junction were overrun according to the radio.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

ICRC Ship Prevented from Leaving Trincomalee
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. A ship for seriously ill civilians in Sri Lanka's war torn Northern Peninsula run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) could not leave Eastern Trincomalee today as neither the government nor the LTTE could give any firm security guarantees. The ship usually ferries very sick patients from the Jaffna Teaching Hospital to Trincomalee after which they are brought via land to a Colombo hospital. This evening however the humanitarian aids ship did not leave Trincomalee for Kankasanthurai Harbour (KKS) as both warring factions refused to give any guarantee for the protection of its seriously ill passengers. Harsha Gunawardena, spokesman for the ICRC in Colombo told Lacnet, " the ICRC is very concerned, as this is purely a humanitarian service for patients suffering with cancer and other serious illnesses." Meanwhile the LTTE said over its radio broadcast yesterday that it has moved its field guns closer to the government armed forces biggest military base complex at Palaly and Kankasanthurai Harbour (KKS).
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

15 killed at Home for the Aged in Sri Lanka's North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The government today said 15 persons at a Home for the Aged in Kaithaday were killed as a result of heavy artillery being shelled by the LTTE. 31 others are reported wounded at the home which lies east of Jaffna town. The LTTE meanwhile maintain that it is the Sri Lanka Army who stand accused for the killing, adding that government troops have kept up a steady barrage of mortar and heavy artillery fire on Kaithday since the Tigers overran military deployments at this town on May 17.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

LTTE claim to be gaining ground
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. Tamil news services reported that the LTTE yesterday said fighting continues in the Thenamarachi area while the Tigers claim to have taken control of 13 kilometeres of the A9 highway with government troops being in control of only 6 kilometeres. Chavakacheri which lies 15 kilometeres out of Jaffna city fell to the rebels Saturday May 20.

Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman today denied the Tigers are in control of 13 kilometeres of the A9 highway.

Brigadier Fernando also refuted claims by the rebels last week which alleged they had offered for troops in the North to surrender in order to avoid a bloodbath. The LTTE also claimed that in the event soldiers took the rebels up on their offer they would be safely handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) within 24 hours of a laying down of arms.

Brigadier Fernando said the military was not aware of such an offer being made by the Tigers and in the event it is brought to the armed forces notice there is no way the military will agree to a surrender. "We will fight to hold Jaffna," he said.

Meanwhile the rebels are reported to be making repeated calls over its clandestine radio asking civilians in the Thenamarachi division to move out or construct bunkers to protect themselves from heavy artillery fire by both the Tigers and Government troops.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

Civilians killed as heavy fighting continues between Lankan troops and the LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The Voice of Tigers radio yesterday said that four civilians were killed and eight were wounded due to heavy shelling in the Madduvil sector.

Tamil news services reported that the radio said that another four civilians were killed at Kallikaadu in Kaithady this morning when artillery was fired on the village.

There is no independent confirmation of this report.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

Norwegian delegation meets President, Opposition Leader
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. A three member Norwegian delegation which arrived in Sri Lanka today met with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe to discuss possible peace initiatives that will end Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

Arjun Singh has links with LTTE: Swamy
Times of India, May22. Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy on Monday alleged that senior Congress leader Arjun Singh had links with the LTTE, which, he said, maintains a ''working relationship'' with Pakistan's ISI. He also alleged that two allies of the BJP in the NDA government -- MDMK and PMK -- and Union ministers George Fernandes and Ram Jethmalani are ''sympathisers'' of the LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:59:03 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace team meets Lankan officials
Hindu, May22. As soldiers and rebels fought for control of Sri Lanka's northern city of Jaffna, a Norwegian peace delegation began talks with Sri Lankan officials today in an effort to broker a peace agreement.Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has frequently used backdoor diplomacy to resolve some of the world's most difficult conflicts, including between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) that led to a 1993 peace accord. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:45:02 EDT 2000

Fresh push for Sri Lanka peace
BBC, Monday, 22 May, 2000, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK. A Norwegian peace mission is visiting Sri Lanka as government forces and Tamil Tigers rebels continue to battle for control of the northern Jaffna peninsula. The delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen, is spending three days in the capital, Colombo, to try to arrange talks between the government and the Tigers. More...
Published: Mon May 22 09:44:02 EDT 2000

Norwegian Delegation in Sri Lanka
May22. The Sri Lankan air force attacked Tamil rebel positions today even as a Norwegian delegation met Sri Lanka's foreign minister in an effort to broker a peace agreement.Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen held discussions with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar hours after arriving in the Sri Lankan capital for a three-day visit.A government statement on the latest fighting for control of northern Jaffna Peninsula said the rebels suffered heavy casualties in air force bombings and multiple rocket attacks. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:34:31 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace brokers begin talks in Sri Lanka
MSNBC, May22. Norwegian peace brokers began talks with Sri Lankan leaders on Monday as fighting raged between troops and separatist rebels on the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Daily Mirror said 15,000 Indian troops had been moved to Trivandrum in the southern state of Kerala, and quoted residents in neighbouring Tamil Nadu as saying that there had been nightly movement of aircraft in the Colombo-Trivandrum air corridor. A Reuters correspondent in Trivandrum said there had been no reports of a troop build-up or any unusual flight movements. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:28:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka shuts second newspaper under censor laws
MSNBC, May22. Sri Lanka on Monday banned the printing and publication of The Sunday Leader newspaper for violating the government's censorship laws, the state radio said. The state radio quoted the government censor as saying that group publications had printed stories on the war in a way that ''would have benefited the enemy.'' More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:26:34 EDT 2000

SL government allocates US dollars five million to promote tourism.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, Monday 17.45.. Sri Lankan government involved in bitter fighting with separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Jaffna peninsula has allocated US $ five million to promote tourism.

The funds were given to Tourist Board of Sri Lanka to launch an aggressive marketing campaign aiming at the arrival of 533,000 tourists this year. During the first three months of this year, the arrival of tourists marginally fell by 0.2 percent compared to last year's figures.

The figures fell after separatist Tamil Tigers exploded a series of bombs during rush-hour traffic at Rajagiriya two months ago which claimed the lives of over 22 persons. Just after the explosions, two passenger vessels MB Victoria and MB Oriana carrying 2,750 passengers pulled-out, cutting short of their stay in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Colombo city hotels are preparing to scrape the dregs of the diminishing tourist arrival. The hotels were targeting the visiting foreign journalists in Sri Lanka to cover the ongoing northern battle between government troops and LTTE cadres. Some of the hotels were offering special packages to visiting journalists.

Government sources said that during the past three weeks at least 150 journalists from all over the world had arrived to cover the latest battles.
Published: Mon May 22 09:19:14 EDT 2000

Sunday Leader Offices Sealed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.20 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The newspaper offices of 'The Sunday Leader' was sealed with effect from today. The State today ordered the closure of the newspaper seen to be largely anti-government in its reportage. This is the second newspaper to be sealed since the State introduced draconian laws under Emergency Regulations three weeks ago.

The 'Uthayan' newspaper in Jaffna was sealed last week for not adhering to censorship rules. The Sunday Leader since the censorship was introduced has for the last two weeks shown the Censor, Mr. Ariya Rubesinghe to be acting in a foolish manner. The paper also stated in this article that the present censorship introduced by the government was not to protect national security but to safeguard the government before a parliamentary election is held.

In a second lead story published yesterday the newspaper reported a more or less accurate description of the war this last week, written however in the negative. The report had not been submitted to the Censor.
Published: Mon May 22 08:40:26 EDT 2000

Lanka has no answer to Tiger surprises
Times of India, May22. Recently acquired Pakistani multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) put into use by the Sri Lankan army a couple of days back have not managed to dull the twin-pronged attack by Tamil Tigers in the peninsula. Despite denials by the Ministry of Information, army insiders say that rapid artillery and mortar shelling by the rebels had not only crippled the government's air base at Palaly and sea port at Kankensenthurai (KKS) but also lost the crucial business township of Chavakecheri, located about 30 km from Jaffna. More..
Published: Mon May 22 00:21:22 EDT 2000

LTTE claims control over strategic town of Chavakachcheri
NDTV, May 22. The LTTE claims to have taken a strategic town from government forces in the northern peninsula in their relentless march to regain Jaffna.Chavakachcheri, home to 10,000 people, is about 10 kilometers east of Jaffna. If the rebel claim is true, they now are in control of the entire eastern flank of the peninsula. Military officials admit that with the rebels threatening the area's only airport and harbour, it will be very difficult for the military to maintain supplies for its 40,000 troops. More..
Published: Mon May 22 00:08:51 EDT 2000

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