The Lanka Academic

MAY 24, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 49

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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
No immediate need for evacuation: Lanka
Asian Age, May24. Sri Lankan deputy foreign minister Lakshman Kiriella on Wednesday said though Indian help was welcome, there was no immediate need for evacuation of troops from Jaffna.

“If such a situation arises and India could help us, we will welcome it. More..
Published: Wed May 24 23:14:00 EDT 2000

Gopal Gandhi to go as envoy after crisis ends
Asian Age, May24. Mr Gopal Gandhi, secretary to the President of India, is slated to be appointed Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka.The appointment, though cleared at the highest level,

is being held in abeyance due to the current turmoil in Sri

Lanka. Mr Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, had served a successful tenure as high commissioner to South Africa before his current assignment in Rashtrapati Bhavan

Published: Wed May 24 23:08:48 EDT 2000

CBI knock at Dr Subramanian Swamy's door
JAL News, May24. Janata Party leader Dr Subramanian Swamy's controversial book on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has landed him in the lap of the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) investigatingt the conspiracy angle to the ghastly murder. The Jain Inquiry Commission had already pointed the needle of suspicion on Dr Swamy besides tantrik Chandraswami and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and the MDMA was constituted basically for the follow-up action. More...
Published: Wed May 24 23:00:27 EDT 2000

India will wait for Jaffna to fall
Asian Age, New Delhi, May 24. India has virtually decided to wait for Jaffna to fall to the

LTTE before moving in with its “humanitarian aid” package, which could include the evacuation of stranded Sri Lankan troops and civilians caught in the cross-fighting.Reports from Colombo quote an unidentified government official as expressing unhappiness about the plans being made by India for the evacuation of troops. He pointed out to news agencies that his government had not given up the fight for Jaffna and had taken the Indian position amiss More..
Published: Wed May 24 22:57:59 EDT 2000

LTTE claims to have shot down Airforce Helicopter
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.45 a.m. SLT Thursday May 25. The LTTE in a press release issued last night claimed to have shot down the M1- 24 Airforce helicopter killing to gunners. The rebel statement says, "Soviet built MI24 helicopter gunship was shot down this evening (may 24) at Manthuvil in the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula as fierce fighting broke out between the LTTE combat units and the Sri Lankan government troops. Two pilots and a gunner were killed in the incident."

The Government however asserts that the pilots were rescued though two gunners were killed as a result of the crash.

The LTTE further claims that the Tigers suppported by heavy artillery and mortar fire, have launched a new offensive thrust yesterday and are advancing towards Meesalai, a small town situated along the A9 highway between Chavakachcheri and Kodigamam.
Published: Wed May 24 22:53:54 EDT 2000

Vaiko against extending help to Lanka
Asian Age, May24. “It is their internal problem. If Sri Lankan government cannot protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of that country, it is their problem. Why should we extend any military assistance?” asked the firebrand MP. Even the issue of humanitarian help could be dicey as it had a wide scope for

interpretation, he added.He also denied the allegation made by the Lankan President that many South Indians were being recruited by the LTTE to carry on the fight. “It is a baseless, malicious and most vicious accusation against India. This is nothing but falsehood,” Mr Vaiko said.

Published: Wed May 24 22:52:40 EDT 2000

Grenade thrown at Norwegian Mission
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Thursday May 25. A hand grenade was lobbed outside the Norwegian embassy in Colombo last night at around 8.45 p.m. SLT. The grenade hit the embassy wall, bounced off, and exploded in the compound next door. There were no casualties.

Jon Westborg, Ambassador for Norway in Colombo said the attack is probably to protest against a Norwegian effort to broker peace to Sri Lanka's conflict. The attack came soon after a Norwegian delegation left Colombo and flew to New Delhi to build diplomatic momentum to end fighting in Sri Lanka.
Published: Wed May 24 22:43:18 EDT 2000

Helicopter gunship goes down in the North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.25 a.m. SLT Thursday May 25. A Mi - 24 helicopter gunship went down in the Thenamarachi division last night as heavy fighting broke out again between Lankan troops and the LTTE in the Thenamarachi division. Two gunners were killed, but the pilots were rescued soon after the chopper crashed.

The reasons for the chopper going down are not yet clear. Reports however state that the rear cabin of the helicopter caught fire at the time of emergency landing. Meanwhile the LTTE are reported to be keeping up a fierce and steady attack on troops bases in West Sarasalai in the Thenamarachi division.
Published: Wed May 24 22:43:18 EDT 2000

US Under Secretary of State to discuss Lankan crisis with Indians
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.30 a.m. SLT Thursday May 25. Speculation is rife that the visit of Thomas Pickering, US under secretary of state to New Delhi this week is to pressure India to take action in helping resolve Sri Lanka's deepening crisis.

Pickering, is reported to hold official discussions with Indian Defence Minister, George Fernandes, Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and National Security Advisor Brajesh Misha this week.

New Delhi has been reticent in making any committment to helping Sri Lanka militarily, but has also made it clear that it will not allow any other country to interfer in the region.
Published: Wed May 24 22:43:19 EDT 2000

President tells Hindu why she cannot let Jaffna go
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.35 a.m. SLT Thursday May 25. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in her interview with the Indian Hindu newspaper this week, spelt out why she cannot let Jaffna fall to the rebels. Among the reasons given are: The Government cannot let down the people of Jaffna, who fear the LTTE; No self-respecting government can allow a bunch of terrorists (LTTE) to exercise authority over any part of the country; Destabilisation of the plantation sector by the LTTE has to be prevented and; The LTTE must be prevented from destabilising the region.
Published: Wed May 24 22:43:19 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka does not ask for Indian help
NDTV. May 24

Sri Lanka stated on Wednesday that it had no immediate plans of asking for Indian help to evacuate its troops from the Jaffna peninsula. In Chennai, the Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kiriella, confirmed that Sri Lanka was not keen on India evacuating its troops from Jaffna just yet. He said, "If the situation arises, we welcome it. But I do not know whether the ground condition really calls for this." More..
Published: Wed May 24 22:11:09 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka turns to diplomacy to try end Tamil offensive
MSNBC, May 24. With the Tamil rebels pressing their attack on the key northern peninsula of Jaffna, Sri Lanka's president is appealing to India to help bring the separatists to the peace table, an Indian newspaper reported Wednesday.Admitting India has turned down a request for ''urgent military assistance,'' Chandrika Kumaratunga openly sought negotiations in an interview published in The Hindu newspaper. More..
Published: Wed May 24 22:05:35 EDT 2000

Needed, a dose of realism - AN OpEd
Hindu, May25. New Delhi, therefore, needs to inject a dose of realism into its strategy towards Sri Lanka. The best outcome by far would be if the SLA were able to check the LTTE's advances on its own. Since the SLA is inducting the arms and aircraft it needs to do this, New Delhi may be spared the need to offer military equipment. But the least it can do is to stop repeating, ad nauseam, that it will not under any circumstances whatsoever, use military force against the LTTE. This can only demoralise the SLA, embolden the LTTE and earn India fresh enmity among the Sinhala chauvinists who have begun to uncover old grievances against India in the South.

Published: Wed May 24 20:19:56 EDT 2000

Time for a ceasefire - An OpEd
Hindu, May25. The disappointment and frustration of the island's President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, in her interview to this newspaper is understandable. She must realise that without a professional armed force, a thinking leadership and motivated soldiers, it is difficult to prosecute a war for two decades on the run. The continuing desertions in the ranks and frequent changes at the top confirm this malaise. More..
Published: Wed May 24 20:12:51 EDT 2000

Moslems, the forgotten victims of Sri Lanka's war
Financial Times, 24 May 2000 13:44GMT. PUTTALAM, Sri Lanka, One evening in October 1990, Ismath Indon was suddenly faced with a choice between life or death. He had two hours to close his thriving meat shop, and leave Jaffna city with his wife, five children and a few armfuls of belongings -- or be shot by separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas. Before Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict took off in 1983, some 750,000 Tamils, Moslems and Sinhalese lived side by side in the Jaffna peninsula, a flat and arid spur of land at the northern tip of the Indian Ocean island. But after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) seized Jaffna from government troops in 1990, the population shrank to around 500,000 as non-Tamils were sent packing. Few hesitate to dub it ethnic cleansing. More..
Published: Wed May 24 19:52:38 EDT 2000

Tamil refugees await Jaffna's fall
Rediff, May24. Karunan Shivappa, a Sri Lankan Tamil at the Gumudipoondi refugee camp, is on a fund collection drive. He managed to collect Rs 500, with which he and his friends recently purchased some firecrackers. Though mired in poverty, Shivappa and his ilk are preserving them for the Big Day, when Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka will fall to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. "Jaffna will fall soon. We are overjoyed with the LTTE's success. Eelam zindabad," Shivappa shouts as a host of malnourished children from the refugee camp touch and smell the crackers. More..
Published: Wed May 24 19:48:47 EDT 2000

The Telegraph, May24. The Norwegians, who wield considerable influence over the LTTE leadership, spent some time in Delhi briefing the Indian establishment on their talks in Colombo. The terms they had put forward on behalf of the LTTE to Kumaratunga were not found entirely acceptable by the Lanka government. The Tigers are also believed to be preparing ground for a final blitzkrieg on military positions north of Jaffna as they realise that all overtures for negotiations are being snubbed by Colombo. More..
Published: Wed May 24 19:28:37 EDT 2000

Delhi help offer irks Colombo
The Statesman, May24. India’s declaration that it was prepared to help evacuate troops from northern Jaffna in fact appeared to have irked the Lankan government. A Colombo mandarin criticised the statement as a blow to the morale of Lankan troops. “We have asked for help, not to withdraw from Jaffna,” he reportedly said while running down the Indian statement. More..
Published: Wed May 24 18:39:00 EDT 2000

No breakthrough on Lanka ceasefire
Deccan Herald, NEW DELHI, May 24. The Norwegian diplomatic efforts to bring about a ceasefire between the Lankan Troops and LTTE appeared to have so far made no progress even as India and the United States today reiterated that there existed no military solution to the island state`s ethnic problem. Following Norwegian chief ''facilitator`` of a renewed peace process in Lanka Mr Erik Solheim`s consultations with senior Indian officials here today, it appeared that the Sri Lankan Government remained reluctant to accept the LTTE`s offer of a ''conditional`` ceasefire despite the current grim scenario on the battle front in the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:26:51 EDT 2000

Govt's humanitarian help may extend to refugee relocation
Pioneer, May25. The Vajpayee Government's position that it is prepared for a "humanitarian" intervention in Sri Lanka could extend to addressing an increased flow of refugees in the event of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam gaining decisive victories in the next few days. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:23:16 EDT 2000

Attack against the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo
Reporter Mariann Nordstroem, AFTENPOSTEN, 24-May-2000 21:45. No one was injured when an unknown man on a motocycle threw an explosive to the norwegian embassy building in Sri Lanka wednesday night.

The explosive item went over the roof of the norwegian embassy and landed on the garden of a neighbouring uninhabited house, where it exploded, Victor Roenneberg, the acting spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said to Aftenposten.

The attack took place around 2100 local time, and there were only the security personnel at the building. According to the ambassador Jon Westborg, no one was injured, but a number of windows was broken. No one has taken the responsibility for the attack which came the day after Foreign Ministry's special advicer Erik Solheim and the state scretary Raymond Johansen visited the country to discuss Norway's role in the peace process, with the President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

"It is not unthinkable that the attack has a connection with the Norwegian roll in the peace endevours," Roenneberg said.

He informs that the police is actively carrying out investigations. The foreign ministry has considered the safety of all personnel of the embassy many times over the last few months. All suggested security measures have been implemented and vi think that these are adequate. If the local police or the embassy thinks further measure should be considered, then that will surely be done, he said.

According to the latest investigations that were carried out after the attack, the device could not have been as poweful as a grenade.

Erik Solheim, who was in New Delhi in India, said to TV2 that there are forces in Sri Lanka who want to stop the peace process.

- We are for the moment very optimistic. If we didn't believe in a peaceful solution, no norwegian political would have engaged in this, he said. More...
Published: Wed May 24 17:00:28 EDT 2000

US warns against a "humanitarian catastrophe in war-torn Sri Lanka
NEW DELHI, May 24 (AFP). The United States on Wednesday called for a peaceful solution to end the military crisis in Sri Lanka and urged all parties to avert a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the war-torn island. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:09:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka sets up crisis centre amid Jaffna battles
COLOMBO, May 24 (AFP). Sri Lanka announced a crisis management centre for government soldiers as they traded artillery and mortar bomb attacks with Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the northern peninsula of Jaffna. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:09:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka stung by Indian withdrawal offer
COLOMBO, May 24 (AFP) . Sri Lanka was mulling Wednesday how to react to a surprise offer by India to help evacuate thousands of troops defending the northern peninsula of Jaffna against a Tamil rebel offensive. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:09:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka shelling amid diplomatic peace moves
COLOMBO, May 24 (AFP). Government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels exchanged artillery fire and mortar bomb attacks in the northern peninsula of Jaffna amid diplomatic moves to bring about peace talks, officials said Wednesday. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:09:54 EDT 2000

Grenade thrown at Norwegian embassy in Colombo
NEW DELHI, May 24 (AFP). The Norwegian embassy in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo came under a grenade attack Wednesday, diplomatic sources here said, adding that there were no casualties. More..
Published: Wed May 24 17:09:54 EDT 2000

Bomb blast at Norwegian embassy amid Sri Lanka peace moves
Yahoo!-Asia, COLOMBO, May 24 (AFP). A bomb exploded outside the Norwegian embassy here Wednesday hours after Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen left Sri Lanka amid diplomatic moves to end the island's separatist bloodshed. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:56:39 EDT 2000

India, U.S. rule out support to Eelam
Hindu, May25. India today said that it was withholding any fresh initiative for ending the strife in Sri Lanka even as New Delhi and Washington reiterated their rejection for an independent Tamil State. While endorsing this view, Mr. Pickering made four additional points while indicating the U.S. approach to the crisis. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:45:23 EDT 2000

Fighting spreads to Sri Lanka's east
CNN, May 24, 2000. Sri Lanka's civil war spread east Wednesday as the nation's air force attacked rebel positions following shelling at a government army camp and air base. There was no report of damage. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said the government was considering creating a third-party group of nations to help resolve the conflict. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:42:02 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka political talks postponed; president ill
Orientation, COLOMBO, May 24. Talks between Sri Lanka's main opposition and the government were put off Wednesday as President Chandrika Kumaratunga was ill, the opposition said. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said they were at Kumaratunga's tightly-guarded Temple Trees residence for 45 minutes Wednesday before they were told that she was unable to attend a scheduled meeting. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:37:53 EDT 2000

Why India cannot be indifferent to the Lanka crisis - A Commentry
Rediff, May24. I must have been rather balanced in my column on Jaffna, 'Damned if we do, damned if we don't' about India's impossible dilemma in the current crisis. I received peeved mail from all parties to the conflict -- Tamil Sri Lankans accused me of ignoring human rights violations; Sinhalese Sri Lankans accused me of not supporting their nation's territorial integrity; and Tamil Indians accused me of not sympathising with their island cousins or even impugning their patriotism. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:34:31 EDT 2000

Tigers tell Sri Lankan army to surrender by Friday
MSNBC, LONDON, May 24. Tamil Tiger rebels gave Sri Lankan government troops bottled up in the northern Jaffna peninsula until Friday to surrender and said they had launched a thrust on a highway linking two key towns. The clandestine Voice of the Tigers radio (VOT) advised government troops to raise white flags to signify their surrender and added that they would be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law. More..
Published: Wed May 24 16:32:32 EDT 2000

India, US not to support 'Tamil State' in Lanka
Hindu, May 24.. India and the United States today ruled out support to any independent Tamil State carved out of Sri Lanka and said there was no military solution possible to the ethnic strife on the island nation. "The US does not support any kind of independent State in Sri Lanka," US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering asserted and was joined by Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh who said "that remains our position too." More..
Published: Wed May 24 14:02:37 EDT 2000

Lanka: Self immolation bid foiled
ChennaiOnline, May 24:. Two youth today attempted to set themselves ablaze to urge the Centre not to send the Indian Army to assist the Sri Lankan troops. More..
Published: Wed May 24 13:53:04 EDT 2000

U.S. backs Norway, India in S.Lanka peace role
MSNBC, May24. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering, reiterated Washington's opposition to Tamil separatism and said a military solution was not feasible. ''We remain and believe that a military solution to Sri Lanka is not possible,'' he said. ''We are supportive of the Norwegian initiative. More..
Published: Wed May 24 13:29:26 EDT 2000

Daily Press Briefing,
US State Department, Tuesday, May 23, 2000. QUESTION: You don't have any announcements about travel by Pickering?

MR. REEKER: I don't have an announcement about travel by Pickering. I will try to get more details. But I do understand that Pickering is in the South Asia area - More...
Published: Wed May 24 13:19:17 EDT 2000

Bomb rips through Norwegian embassy in Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, May 24. A blast ripped through the Norwegian embassy here Wednesday hours after Norway's deputy foreign minister Raymond Johansen left the island after a peace mission, officials said.The explosion was heard within several blocks of the fashionable Cinnamon Gardens diplomatic quarter of the capital Colombo and shattered windows at the chancery but there were no casualties, officials said. More..
Published: Wed May 24 12:56:18 EDT 2000

Helicopter gun ships crashes in Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, May 24. A helicopter gun ship crashed in northern Sri Lanka Wednesday during an anti-guerrilla operation, killing two gunners, but two pilots were rescued, the government said. The Mi-24 gun ship went down while providing cover to ground troops in the Thenmarachchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula, the government said in a statement. More..
Published: Wed May 24 12:52:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan rebels take war to east - Helicopter shot down.
MSNBC. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels diverted attention from the main theatre of war in the northern Jaffna peninsula, shelling an army camp and air base in the east, military officials said on Wednesday. The guerrillas shot down an airforce Mi24 gunship killing two crew on the peninsula, military officials said. More..
Published: Wed May 24 11:30:00 EDT 2000

385 Lankan jail birds abroad
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. A survey conducted by six foreign missions has found that some 385 Sri Lankans are serving jail terms in foreign nations, namely Singapore and the Middle East. The Lankans, being held by foreign governments, have been apprehended for robberies, drug abuse, forged travel documents and violation of road rules.
Published: Wed May 24 11:16:04 EDT 2000

US Under Secretary of State holds talks with Lalit Mansingh
NDTV, May24. Prominent among them is the initiation of the Asian Security dialogue in which Sri Lanka is reported to have figured. The US apparently wants India to play a constructive role in resolving the conflict in its neighbouring country. More..
Published: Wed May 24 10:57:58 EDT 2000

I don't see why Jaffna should fall at all
May24. It will be a long drawn out fight unless Sri Lankan forces give way for one reason or another. And whether there will be a ceasefire or not is a question that also depends on the make-up of Prabhakaran's mind. Prabhakaran has promised he will take Jaffna. Given the kind of person he is, I don't think he'll have a ceasefire before he takes Jaffna=97or not, one way or the other. He is saying all sorts of things, that you (Sri Lankan forces) leave Jaffna, we will give you safe passage. This is all towards that psychological warfare of not having to fight for Jaffna, or further reduce moral and fighting spirit of Sri Lankan forces. More..
Published: Wed May 24 10:12:37 EDT 2000

Many Sri Lankans fear rebel takeover
CBS, May24. Residents of Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula hoping that the international community, especially India, would come to bail them out as they do not want to live under the control of the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas. "People in Jaffna are wary of Tigers because of their experience with the merciless militants. They certainly don't want the Tigers to capture the peninsula as it would mean a spate of lamp-post killings. Many will be thrown into the torture chambers," Suresh Premachandran, secretary general of the Eelam People's Liberation Front, told the United Press International. More..
Published: Wed May 24 10:01:01 EDT 2000

'The LTTE has killed more Tamils than the Lankan army'
Rediff, May24. As the battle for Jaffna intensifies, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga told Aaj Tak that though she understood India's problem in providing military support to her country, the people expected a lot of support from India.I know of no other armed force which has have killed so many of its own people -- who they say they are fighting to liberate. There are more Tamil civilians killed by the LTTE than by Sri Lankan governments." More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:55:51 EDT 2000

Is Sri Lanka displeased with Indian offer?
Pioneer, May24. In an apparent expression of displeasure over India's offer to evacuate trapped troops from Jaffna peninsula, Sri Lanka today said the announcement could affect the morale of its soldiers fighting Tamil rebels.

"We have asked for help, but not to withdraw from Jaffna," a senior government official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said reacting to New Delhi's decision that it was prepared to evacuate the troops provided Sri Lanka formally asked for it and proper conditions existed. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:52:02 EDT 2000

Literary & books: For writers seeking a peaceful retreat
Yahoo, May24. IN a world where everyone wants a piece of him, finding a place to work is no longer the least of the writer's problems. Bearing in mind the need for peace and tranquillity to ease the creative process, Dr Brendon Gooneratne has set up Pemberley House, an international study centre which offers residential and research facilities for local and international scholars. Pemberley House, situated in Haputale, Sri Lanka, blends function with beauty. Nestled in 4.8 hectares of landscaped gardens 1,300 metres above sea level, this colonial bungalow underwent four years of renovation to equip it for modern living. (Please read the full article for application details -Editor TLA) More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:17:24 EDT 2000

Tigers open new front in Batticaloa
Times of India, May24. LONDON: Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels diverted attention from the main theatre of war in the northern Jaffna peninsula by shelling an army camp near Batticaloa in the east, military officials said on Wednesday. Only sporadic fighting was reported in Jaffna, the former rebel stronghold where 30,000 government troops are under attack from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:07:28 EDT 2000

Lanka welcomes India's offer to evacuate troops
Times of India, May24. "If the situation arises and India can help, we will welcome it, but I don't know if the ground situation is such that we need to evacuate the troops immediately," Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella told reporters on Wednesday morning, a day after India made the offer. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:07:28 EDT 2000

Vaiko fears Lanka sanctions on Tamils
Times of India, May24. Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko, a staunch supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), on Wendesday said he feared the Sri Lankan government would impose economic blockades to subjugate the Tamils in Jaffna once the troops trapped there were evacuated. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:07:28 EDT 2000

India, US discuss Lanka
Times of India, May24. India and the U S on Wednesday held talks on Asian security, including the evolving situation in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula.He would fly to Pakistan tomorrow evening and then travel to Colombo for talks with the Sri Lanka authorities. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:07:28 EDT 2000

Southern Air Command on alert
Times of India, May24. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Southern Air Command is on full alert and preparedness to meet any eventuality arising out of the Sri Lankan crisis, Air Force sources said on Wednesday. They said here that preparations were in full swing as Sri Lanka was barely 30 minutes by air from Thiruvananthapuram. More..
Published: Wed May 24 09:07:28 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Sees Room for India in Talks to End War
yahoo, May24. Sri Lanka is considering the establishment of a third-party group of mediating countries -- which could include India -- to end the ethnic war on the island, its president said in an interview published on Wednesday. Chandrika Kumaratunga told The Hindu newspaper the arrival of new weapons had aided the Sri Lankan military to gain the upper hand in recent fighting with the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the northern Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Wed May 24 08:57:50 EDT 2000

Psychological support unit for Lankan soldiers
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. A new facility for crisis intervention has been established by President Chandrika Kumaratunge with effect from today. A press release from the Special Media Information Centre states that the facility will provide psychological support to service personnel for copying with disability and dysfunction. It will also provide emotional assistance to dependents during times of grief as well as lend assistance to dependents in helping trace soldiers injured, missing and killed in action.

Meanwhile a special committee of parliamentarians the government says, is working at the level of each electorate and attending to the problems related to service personnel. This committee is operating from the Presidential Secretariat.
Published: Wed May 24 07:51:14 EDT 2000

Week long call for Army deserters to return expires
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.20 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. A week long call for army deserters to return to the force expired today. Military sources however have been unable to confirm how many ex soldiers came back. The call was made in view of Sri Lanka's escalating war in the country's North. It was promised that deserters would not be punished in the event they returned to take up their tour of duty.
Published: Wed May 24 07:51:14 EDT 2000

Lankan President disappointed at India's refusal to lend military assistance
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.25 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in an interview with the Indian Hindu newspaper has voiced disappointment that India is reticent about providing Sri Lanka with military assistance in her hour of crisis. The President says that while she can understand India's hesitancy in responding postively to providing armed strength to help Lanka's war stricken soldiers, India, however, she says, does hold the responsibility to help Sri Lanka solve her bloody war.
Published: Wed May 24 07:51:14 EDT 2000

Selfish interests colour Sri Lanka's ethnic war
The Straits Times, May 24, 2000. By Nirmal Ghosh, India correspondent, New Delhi. Politicians are using the conflict to further their own aims, and with elections in August, the outcome of the war will be felt in the results. Honesty, good faith in short supply in Sri Lanka's ethnic politics.

There is support on the ground for a negotiated political solution. But there is also cynicism because most Sri Lankans believe the conflict is used by politicians to further their own short-term agendas. In this context, a general election to Parliament is scheduled for August; the outcome of the war and of any negotiation will definitely colour the results. More...
Published: Wed May 24 02:46:00 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace-broker to brief India on Sri Lankan conflict
Yahoo-AFP, Tuesday, May 23 11:47 PM SGT. 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. "There has been talks yesterday and today in Colombo between Sri Lanka and Norway and Solheim will come to New Delhi tomorrow to brief us of the talks," Mishra told reporters after a special meeting of Prime Minister Atal Behari's cabinet on the Sri Lankan crisis. The Norwegian initiative is believed to be backed by the United States, diplomats say. More...
Published: Wed May 24 02:19:32 EDT 2000

Leftist political party to stage a massive demonstration in Colombo.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 11.35 am Wednesday.. Leftist political party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will stage a massive demonstration in Colombo tomorrow to protest the closure of the pro-opposition English weekly newspaper, The Sunday Leader.

The newspaper's printing press located just out of Colombo was sealed by the government on Monday after it published a story titled "war in fantasy land-Palaly not under attack".

A spokesman for the party said that demonstration would be held at Lipton circus to protest government's decision to close the newspaper by the elected government. But a spokesman for police headquarters said that the party had not asked for permission to hold the demonstration.

Under the new Public Security Act, which came into effect on May 3, holding demonstrations is banned, the spokesman added. With news trickling that JVP will hold the demonstrations as planned, police headquarters planned to throw a tight security at the venue, the spokesman added.

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna's presidential candidate secured three per cent of votes at the last year's presidential election in which president Chandrika Kumaratunge was re-elected for second term in office.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Leader newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrmatunge said that his company lawyers would file legal action against the government for sealing the printing press.

Director of information Ariya Rubasinghe in a letter to Wickrmatunge said that the news item "war in fantasy land-Palaly not under attack" was prejudicial to the interest of national security and the preservation of public order.
Published: Wed May 24 02:16:17 EDT 2000

Fighting erupts in Sri Lanka's East
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.20 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. Heavy fighting is reported to have erupted in Batticaloa situated in Eastern Sri Lanka. Tiger rebels are reported to have shelled the Sri Lanka Army camp situated four kilometers out of Batticaloa town.

Tamil news services said last evening that the town is tense following the bombarding and counter shelling. The Tigers fired mortars on the SLAF base, the Vavunathivu camp and the 23-3 brigade headquarters in Batticaloa town last night. Mi -24 helicopters of the Sri Lanka Airforce are reported to have bombed Tiger positions situated across the lagoon at Batticaloa.
Published: Wed May 24 01:23:11 EDT 2000

Indian Navy on Alert as India considers more dominant role in ending Sri Lanka's conflict
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.35 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. India yesterday discussed the crisis in Sri Lanka as its Navy stood on alert in case thousands of Lankan troops in the Island's northern peninsula need to be evacuated as the war with Tamil Tiger rebels esclates. India however has reiterated that there has been no official request yet from the Sri Lankan government for its Navy to help evacuate Lankan troops from the country's embattled north.

Earlier this week the LTTE offered to stop their fire if Lankan soldiers would surrender in order "to avoid a bloodbath" the Tigers said as they geared to take Jaffna. The rebel offer stated that all soldiers would be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) within 24 hours of their laying down of arms.

The military however have ruled out all possibility of a surrender. Brigadier Palitha Fernando speaking to Lacnet this week asserted firmly " We will not surrender. We will fight to hold Jaffna."

Meanwhile Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, at a cabinet meeting in New Delhi last evening, discussed Sri Lanka's crisis situation while a Norwegian delegation took wing for India to hold talks on brokering a possible peace initiative between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. The Norwegians just completed a two day stay in the Island after meeting with the Lankan President, Foreign Minister, Opposition Leader and other local officials with a view to ending Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war.

The Indian press today reported that India will not agree to a secessionist movement devide Sri Lanka. However, India's Home Minister L. K. Advani has been quoted as saying India, would like to see that all Sri Lankan Tamils share the right to self determination and equal governance.
Published: Wed May 24 01:14:56 EDT 2000

President calls for unity as the country faces its most decisive moment in history
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.55 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 24. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in a message to the nation yesterday called for austerity and public donations to the national defence fund to ensure a military battle.

Saying the nation is facing its most decisive moment in history she said, " The whole nation is facing a grave crisis as regards national security. We have to face the battle of protecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the country and safeguarding the people."

"Our heroic brothers in the security forces are leading the forefront of this battle with the blessings of all the people. Our heroic soldiers are engaging in battle in a fearless and courageous manner to prevent a division of our country. They have a deep resolve to achieve victory."

The President reiterated that it is morally wrong for people on other areas to conduct various celebrations and rejoince while soldiers are sacrificing their lives on the battlefield. She requested the nation to make sacrifices and join hands with the war heroes to share their happiness and grief.
Published: Wed May 24 01:14:56 EDT 2000

UNICEF concerned over Lankan children forced to feel the heat of battle
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.05 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 24. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director for UNICEF has expressed concern that Sri Lankan children "are being forced to feel the heat of battle" where fighting for the town of Jaffna has been putting children and women at enormous risk.

Bellamy has appealed to leaders on all sides of the conflict to view children as "zones of peace" and take precautionary measures to protect them from the effects of war.

Bellamy reiterated that despite commitments by the LTTE not to recruit child soldiers "the practice appeared to be continuing. It's a shame that we see these violations continuing just when the world is pushing the end the practice of using children to fight wars."
Published: Wed May 24 01:14:56 EDT 2000

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..
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

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