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MAY 25, 2000 EST, USA
 
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VOL. 1, NO. 50
 

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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
BUY IN UK
Dear Reader: We are pleased to bring to your attention the on-line "chat" India-Today is hosting for Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India. This moderated chat will be conducted on Thursday, May 25, between 1730 and 1830 hours, Sri Lanka Time. Here is a chance to let your thoughts, ideas and concerns be made known to the Prime Minister of India! --Editor
T  A  B  L  E      O  F      C  O  N  T  E  N  T  S
Indian evacuation offer clashes with Chandrika's stand
India Abroad, May 26, 2000, 01:40. Colombo: Sri Lankan soldiers battled on against Tamil separatist guerrillas in the strife-torn Jaffna peninsula as a conditional Indian offer to help evacuate them elicited no formal reaction from Colombo. New Delhi announced, after a special cabinet meeting on Tuesday, that It was willing to evacuate Sri Lankan soldiers from Jaffna if Colombo made a request. The proposal took the Sri Lankan government by surprise against the background of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's many assertions that the army would not be withdrawn from Jaffna. More..
Published: Thu May 25 22:13:09 EDT 2000

USA moves ships to Lanka waters, France may follow
The Statesman, May25. US warships have sailed from the Gulf and may anchor west of Sri Lanka; far enough to be seen as beyond the possible operational zone but near enough to move in quickly should the need arise, say Intelligence reports. The French Navy may join the US ships in Lankan waters, though only the Indian Navy is likely to be tasked with a humanitarian mission.he US Navy had contingency plans which it has reportedly discussed with India. US ships are patrolling Malacca Straits and Hormuz and diverting them towards Sri Lanka in what could be passed off as routine manoeuvres. The French navy has a limited presence in Indian Ocean but may be involved in what seems to be a subtle attempt at gunboat diplomacy, aimed at pressuring LTTE into avoiding action that could cost lives. More..
Published: Thu May 25 21:40:53 EDT 2000

OUTLOOK. Referee’s Count of Ten - A commentry by PREM SHANKAR JHA

Is the LTTE a reasonable organisation? Is it capable of accepting a negotiated solution if it sees that it will not be allowed to score an outright military victory, or will it keep on fighting even when there is no hope of victory in the foreseeable future? For that matter, even if the LTTE is willing to accept a compromise solution, will it last? And will it be willing to subordinate itself to the democratic process, which could very easily throw up a moderate political party to challenge the LTTE’s dominance once peace returns? Unfortunately, nothing in its entire history suggests that the answer to even one of these questions is ‘yes’. Thus, in the longer run, New Delhi must make up its mind that if all else fails, it will come down unequivocally on Colombo’s side. This does not mean that it should send in an IPKF once more. But it must be willing to use its navy and, in extreme circumstances, its air force and enable Sri Lanka to procure the armaments it needs to defeat the LTTE. The fear that such actions could touch off a Tamil nationalist backlash in Tamil Nadu is vastly exaggerated. More..
Published: Thu May 25 21:34:18 EDT 2000


Pickering not visiting to mediate: US
Asian Age, May 25. The United States has said under secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Pickering will not inject Washington into the process to mediate between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil guerrillas. But it acknowledged that Mr Pickering, on reaching Colombo, would be meeting the Norwegian delegation that is attempting to mediate the conflict raging in the island nation’s north. More..
Published: Thu May 25 21:09:24 EDT 2000

BJP’s Lanka handling shabby: Congress
The Asian Age, May25. He said he found the government’s attitude “strange” because India was Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and the government should have taken a proactive stand on the crisis there but it did not for some inexplicable reasons. “So much so that the prime minister has not spoken even once to the President of Sri Lanka,” he said. “In my opinion the Prime Minister should have spoken to her, should have expressed India’s support for Sri Lanka’s unity and sovereignty, should have said that India did not support Eelam. But nothing of this happened which is unfortunate,” he said adding, “They have not come out of it very well.” “Caution is very well but excessive caution is misplaced. Sri Lanka is a friendly neighbour and needs not only our sympathy but also our support and help in practical ways.” Referring to the government's Tamil allies, he says, “It is highly irresponsible of certain Tamil Nadu politicians to support Eelam. More..
Published: Thu May 25 21:04:46 EDT 2000

Pickering rules out lifting of ban on LTTE
Deccan Herald, May25. On the Sri Lankan developments, Mr Pickering said the US supported and respected Norway`s leadership of the ongoing peace efforts. ''Norway has established some good contacts. There is the need to give the Norwegians a chance to work though the fighting on the ground continues. The time has come for a negotiated solution to the Lankan problem,`` he added.At the same time, he made it clear that the US did not support a Tamil Eelam. Also, in the US eyes, the LTTE remained a ''foreign terrorist outfit.`` This position followed clearly from the US law and not out of any political considerations. This legal view of the LTTE will continue despite the present diplomatic initiatives to address the issue. The US was disappointed that the LTTE used the weapon of assassinations for its struggle, he noted. More..
Published: Thu May 25 20:53:56 EDT 2000

Vaiko fears Lanka sanctions on Tamils
Times of India, May 25. CHENNAI: 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: Thu May 25 19:21:00 EDT 2000

Probe underway into Norwegian embassy bomb attack
India Today, Colombo, May 25. Sri Lankan police on Thursday began a probe into the bomb attack against the Norwegian embassy hours after Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister, Raymond Johansen left the island, officials said. More..
Published: Thu May 25 19:07:01 EDT 2000

Norway persists with peace efforts amid fighting
Times of India, May26. As Tamil Tiger guerrillas and Sri Lankan government forces battle on for control of Jaffna town, Norway is persisting with its quiet diplomacy to broker peace between the warring sides."We were requested by the Lankan government and the LTTE to act as facilitators and we will continue to do so as long as both sides want us to," a diplomat in the Norwegian Embassy here told IANS. More..
Published: Thu May 25 18:54:45 EDT 2000

Indian expats fear a backlash in Lanka
Times of India, May26. "Today they have tried to bomb the Norwegian Embassy, it might be the turn of the Indian High Commission tomorrow," said Minoli Saraswat, who works with a MNC in Colombo. Secluded from mainstream, Sri Lankan society and not quite a part of the `white' expatriate community, the Indian corporate and business community in Sri Lanka - curiously, along with the Pakistanis' - are an island into themselves.Topped with an inherent sense of superiority - economic and cultural - the feeling of isolation, is complete. More..
Published: Thu May 25 18:52:03 EDT 2000

India, UK reiterate support to Lanka
Times of India, May26. Britain and India reiterated their commitment to the ``sovereignty and territorial integrity'' of Sri Lanka when the subject was discussed on phone by Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. The British government has considerable interest in Sri Lanka which has been in close touch with Britain where LTTE has an extensive organisation. Sri Lanka has been drawing Britain's attention to the LTTE activities in this country. More..
Published: Thu May 25 18:47:58 EDT 2000

India ready for joint naval, air operation in Lanka
Press Trust of India, Thiruvananthapuram,Thursday, May 25, 2000. A senior naval officer have said preparations were complete for a joint naval and air operation for possible evacuation of the beleaguered Sri Lankan troops out of Jaffna at very short notice. "We will be able to move within half an hour if orders come from Delhi," Rear Admiral Vijay Shankar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, told a private TV channel at Kochi. As per the contingency plan, he said while Eastern Naval Command, Vishakapatnam, would be in charge of any such naval operation, Southern Air Command here would cater to the air operations. More...
Published: Thu May 25 18:34:38 EDT 2000

U.S. moving warships towards Sri Lanka
The Hindu, NEW DELHI, MAY 25.. In an apparent show of solidarity with Sri Lanka, the United States has reportedly moved an element of its naval task force from the Gulf towards the southern Arabian sea, highly-placed sources in the Government have said. The assessment here is that the U.S. warships were being moved towards southern Arabian sea. The warships were possibly being re-located so that they could be moved towards Sri Lanka, if required. By moving its ships towards the Sri Lankan periphery, the U.S. might be sending a powerful message of support to the Sri Lankan forces. The presence of these ships was likely to concretise Washington's verbal support for Sri Lanka's unity and territorial integrity. More...
Published: Thu May 25 18:34:33 EDT 2000

Two Tamil politicians killed in Claymore attack
ExpressIndia, Thursday, May 25. VAVUNIYA: A landmine explosion in a northern Sri Lankan town killed two Tamil politicians today, local police officials said. The victims belonged to the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam, a former militant organisation that gave up violence to join the political mainstream. The group supports the government's plan to grant autonomy to Tamil majority areas in the north and the east where Tamil Tiger rebels are fighting to establish an independent state. More...
Published: Thu May 25 18:29:13 EDT 2000

24 killed as fighting spreads to east, army repulses attack
ExpressIndia, Thursday, May 25. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan army claimed it repulsed two major rebel attacks in the northern Jaffna peninsula even as 24 people, including six civilians, were killed in fighting between government troops and the LTTE on different fronts in the north and east. LTTE rebels attacked Kalladi village, near eastern Batticaloa town, second day in a row, killing six civilians, including two children, and wounding three others, a report here said today. The dead in yesterday's attacks included a 58-year-old woman. More...
Published: Thu May 25 18:29:14 EDT 2000

India urges political solution to end Sri Lanka troubles
Orientation, NEW DELHI, May 25 (AFP). Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Thursday urged a political solution to end the fighting in Sri Lanka between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. More..
Published: Thu May 25 17:28:50 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting erupts in Jaffna as Marxists demonstrate in capital
Orientation, COLOMBO, May 25 (AFP). Ferocious fighting broke out in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna as the overnight death toll rose to 26, the government said, as Marxists took to the streets in the capital, Colombo. More..
Published: Thu May 25 17:28:51 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting erupts in Jaffna amid Norway peace bid
Orientation, COLOMBO, May 25 (AFP). Renewed heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna killed at least eight soldiers and five Tiger rebels as police uncovered more explosives near the capital, officials said. More..
Published: Thu May 25 17:28:51 EDT 2000

Govt. wavering over Lanka issue: CPI
Hindu, May25. The editorial said the Government's stand contradicted the national consensus that India stood for preservation of multi- ethnic character and unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. It warned that the crisis in Sri Lanka had many aspects with far-reaching consequences for India and said the LTTE's links with the separatist groups in different States, particularly with Kashmiri terrorist groups, should sound an alarm bell. More..
Published: Thu May 25 16:25:16 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Opposition decries Press censorship
Hindu, May25. `At a time of national crises, the Government should be acting to bring diverse opinion together,'' Wickremesinghe said. ``On the contrary, the Government is taking extreme measures to suppress views opposed to the Government, thereby making a mockery of its commitment that emergency regulations will not encroach on the day-to-day political life.'' More..
Published: Thu May 25 16:16:51 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting erupts in Jaffna as Marxists demonstrate in capital
May25. Ferocious fighting broke out in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna as the overnight death toll rose to 26, the government said, as Marxists took to the streets in the capital, Colombo. Aircraft and artillery were deployed to pound positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) when the rebels attacked military defences at Sarasalai in the Jaffna peninsula, the government said.Police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse some 2,000 demonstrators at Lipton Circus in Colombo, where the protestors accused the government of using emergency laws to oppress the population in the name of national security. More..
Published: Thu May 25 15:07:29 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan police seize "suicide jacket"
May25. Sri Lankan police have discovered a large haul of explosives and weapons, including a "suicide jacket" commonly used by Tamil Tiger guerrillas during their bomb attacks, officials said Thursday. Among the items recovered was a jacket filled with plastic explosives used by suicide bombers, police said, adding that they found six other bombs with 300 grams (10 ounces) of explosives in each.One week ago police recovered 120 kilograms (264 pounds) of explosives and arrested the 12 suspected Tamil Tiger rebels allegedly linked to an assassination plot. More..
Published: Thu May 25 15:07:30 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers urge Jaffna's surrender, threaten 'bloodbath'
CNN, May 25, 2000. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Tamil Tiger insurgents have promised a "bloodbath" if the Sri Lankan government does not pull its nearly 40,000 troops off the Jaffna peninsula by Friday. More..
Published: Thu May 25 14:59:44 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers may be smuggling arms through Thailand: Thai government
Orientation-afp, May 25. The Tamil Tiger rebels, who are engaged in a fierce civil war with the Sri Lankan military, may be smuggling arms through Thailand, the Thai government said Thursday. "It is possible that there is arms smuggling" to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) through Thailand, Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai told reporters. However Chuan denied that the Tigers had set up bases in Thailand to run arms, and possibly drugs. More..
Published: Thu May 25 14:49:05 EDT 2000

Tamil diaspora surfs for news
BBC, May25. The ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka is being closely followed by the substantial Tamil diaspora thousands of miles away in Europe and North America. Many of them fled the fighting in their homeland and are anxious to get news about their family and community. With the blanket censorship imposed by the Sri Lankan Government information is scarce, and many overseas Tamils are turning to the radio and the internet for news. More..
Published: Thu May 25 14:44:38 EDT 2000

The Cost of War
Far Eastern Economic Rev., May25. Deputy Finance Minister G.L. Peiris told parliament on May 11 that the government will require an additional 12 billion rupees ($161 million) for the war effort. Peiris announced an increase in the defence levy--a tax on goods and services to support the defence budget--to 6.5% from 5.5%, which along with a tax rise on cigarettes and liquor is expected to generate as much as 42% of the goal. More..
Published: Thu May 25 14:31:22 EDT 2000

LTTE is interested only in itself- An interview with R Umanath Communist Pary of India
Rediff. It is only interested in itself. It has killed so many Lankan Tamils who had the confidence of various sections of Tamil society, like Amrithalingam and Padmanabha. The latest is the murder of the Jaffna mayor. The people of Jaffna elected a mayor but she was murdered. Four months later, the other person elected was also murdered. The LTTE has no respect for elected representatives of Lankan Tamils. Which liberation movement kills its people? As a policy, it finishes off all who do not agree with it. More..
Published: Thu May 25 14:08:53 EDT 2000

Ultimate Sacrifice-SRI LANKA: SUICIDE BOMBERS
Far Eastern Economic Rev., May25. HE LOOKS LIKE any other 18-year-old Tamil boy. Average height, lithe frame, coal-dark eyes--features that make Vasantharaja almost indistinguishable from any of his high-school friends. But Vasantha is different. Vasantha will soon be dead. More..
Published: Thu May 25 13:32:52 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan opposition attacks press censorship
MSNBC, May25. Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party, told parliament the ban on the newspapers should be revoked as they had not undermined Sri Lanka's territorial integrity, its democratic process or promoted communal tensions. ''At a time of national crises the government should be acting to bring diverse opinion together,'' Wickremesinghe said. More..
Published: Thu May 25 11:05:28 EDT 2000

Evacuation of troops not on cards: Lanka
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 24. QUASHING PERSISTENT reports in the media about the imminent possibility of evacuating Sri Lankan troops from the Jaffna peninsula, Lankan High Commissioner in India Mangala Moonesinghe said that evacuation was not on the cards now.Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, Deputy Director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, said that helping Sri Lanka evacuate its troops could not be a preferred option if India was thinking of being a mediator in negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. "Evacuation will weaken the Sri Lankan Government at the negotiating table," he told The Hindustan Times. More..
Published: Thu May 25 10:37:35 EDT 2000

Anti-LTTE group claims responsibility for attack on Norwegian mission in Sri Lanka.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 19.05 Thursday.. A group calling itself as national front against Tigers (NFAT) claimed responsibility for the grenade attacks on Norwegian mission on Wednesday, in the highly guarded commercial capital city of Sri Lanka.

The group in a statement faxed to the newspaper offices in Colombo said that Norwegian government is the "international agent" of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now involved in bloody battles with government troops at the doorstep of northern Jaffna peninsula.

The Norwegian mission located at a posh Colombo residential area was attacked with two hand grenades at local time 8.35 pm Wednesday. The building suffered minor damages in the attack.

"We will take serious actions against all those "agents" who pose a threat to Sri Lankan state", the statement read. The Norwegian mission was attacked just 24 hours after a high level Norwegian delegation left the country after holding discussions with president Chandrika Kumaratunge and opposition leader Ranil Wickrmasinghe.

The government of Norway agreed to mediate between LTTE and government in an attempt to bring the 18 years of bloody war that had claimed the lives of over 75,000 people.

Meanwhile, the government today blamed LTTE for the attack on a civilian target, late Wednesday night in which six civilians including two children were killed in eastern province.

The government said that civilians were killed when an artillery shell aimed at the Kalady military camp fell short of its target killing the civilians.
Published: Thu May 25 10:34:51 EDT 2000


`US, EU want India to shoulder regional burdens'
Times of India, May25. India and the US remained on opposite poles in Sri Lanka through the mid-1980s. While India armed and trained the LTTE and other Tamil militant groups, the US expressed concern for the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. It was only after India came around to the view that any solution to the Tamil issue had to be within the bounds of a united Sri Lanka, that things changed. More..
Published: Thu May 25 09:30:23 EDT 2000

24 killed in Sri Lanka as fighting spreads to east
Hindu, Colombo, May 25.. The Sri Lankan Army claimed it repulsed two major rebel attacks in the northern Jaffna peninsula even as 24 people, including six civilians, were killed in fighting between Government troops and the LTTE on different fronts in the north and east. LTTE rebels attacked Kalladi village, near eastern Batticaloa town, second day in a row, killing six civilians, including two children, and wounding three others, a report here said today. The dead in yesterday's attacks included a 58-year-old woman. More..
Published: Thu May 25 09:19:26 EDT 2000

Police break up Sri Lanka rally
BBC, May25. Police in Sri Lanka have used teargas and water cannon to break up an anti-government rally in the capital, Colombo. Witnesses say the police dealt with around two thousand demonstrators led by the Marxist People's Liberation Front who had gathered in a city square to shout anti-government slogans. More..
Published: Thu May 25 09:12:28 EDT 2000

Battle for Jaffna: Sri Lankan Army to hold out or opt for evacuation?
NDTV, May25:. Lt. Gen. A S Kalkat, former army commander and Commander of IPKF

With the Tamil Tigers rapidly closing in on Jaffna, the rebels look all set to recapture their former capital. To discuss the possible tactics the LTTE could use to achieve its ends and find out if the Sri Lankan Army will fight to the last man or evacuate its troops before the fall of Jaffna, NDTV spoke to Lt. Gen. A S Kalkat. He is a former army commander and was Commander of IPKF--the peacekeeping force sent by India in October 1988 to assist the Sri Lankan government in its fight against the Tamil guerrillas. More..
Published: Thu May 25 09:07:49 EDT 2000


'It Will Be A Curse Upon The Tamil People' - Lakshman Kadirgamar
Time, May25. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar speaks out on Tamil Tigers, Jaffna and peace Confronted with the possibility of military defeat in Jaffna, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is confident this latest crisis in the long and exhausting war with Tamil secessionists will end in genuine peace talks and a possible settlement. Speaking to TIME's New Delhi bureau chief Michael Fathers, Kadirgamar said the Tamil Tiger guerrillas would not be able to sustain their claim to a separate homeland in the face of intense international pressure. The Oxford-educated lawyer, himself a Tamil, is at the top of the Tigers' assassination list for opposing a separate state, which he says would be a curse on the Tamil people. More..
Published: Thu May 25 08:59:06 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers Demand Sri Lankan Troop Surrender By Friday
Yahoo-DowJones, May25. NEW DELHI (AP)--Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels set a deadline of Friday for an estimated 40,000 government troops defending the northern Jaffna peninsula to surrender or face a "bloodbath." The Voice of Tigers radio, monitored in Sri Lanka's northern city of Vavuniya, said Thursday that the rebels were poised for the final assault on Jaffna city and wanted to give government troops a last chance to surrender. More..
Published: Thu May 25 08:52:10 EDT 2000

Land Mine Kills Two Tamil Politicians In Sri Lanka
May25. NEW DELHI A land mine explosion in Vavuniya killed two Tamil politicians Thursday, local police officials said. The victims belonged to the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam, a former militant organization that gave up violence to join the political mainstream. More..
Published: Thu May 25 08:47:00 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting erupts in Jaffna amid Norway peace bid
COLOMBO, May 25. Renewed heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna killed at least eight soldiers and five Tiger rebels as police uncovered more explosives near the capital, officials said. Ground attack aircraft and artillery were deployed to pound positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) when the rebels mounted an attack against military defences at Sarasalai, the government said.Meanwhile, the police in the capital Colombo discovered a large haul of explosives and weapons, including a "suicide jacket" commonly used by Tamil Tiger guerrillas during their bomb attacks, officials said. More..
Published: Thu May 25 08:44:04 EDT 2000

Opposition leader condemns sealing of newspapers
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.10 p.m. SLT Thursday May 25. Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe, in Parliament today, condemned the sealing of three national newspapers, 'The Sunday Leader' its sister paper 'The Irida Peramuna' and 'The Uthayan' in Jaffna. Mr. Wickremasinghe said, the Government is abusing its powers under Section 14 of the present Emregency Regulations to suppress the freedom of expression and democratic principles.

Mr. Wickremasinghe further added that when the UNP voted in favour of extending the present emergency regulations it was on a guarantee made by the government that it would amend certain sections which come under draconian laws imposed by President Chandrika Kumaratunge a month ago.
Published: Thu May 25 04:23:26 EDT 2000


6 civilians killed in Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.15 p.m. SLT Thursday May 25. Six civilians including two children were killed last night at Kallady in Eastern Batticaloa when a shell fell on their house. Two other children were wounded and are receiving treatment at the Batticaloa hospital.

A press release from the Media Information Centre has blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the incident. The LTTE since Tuesday this week has launched sporadic attacks on armed force bases situated in Sri Lanka's east, mainly the Sri Lanka Army base at eastern Vavunathivu and 23- 3 brigade headquarters at Batticaloa.
Published: Thu May 25 04:23:26 EDT 2000


BJP rules out a fall out with Tamil Nadu
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Thursday May 25. India's ruling Bharata Janatha Party (BJP) has ruled out any negative response from its compatriots in Tamil Nadu in the event India is to broker a resolution to Sri Lanka's crisis. BJP parliamentarians are reported today to have said that India does not want to see a separate state in Sri Lanka as such a division and rule by the LTTE will not augur well for the Indians.

India, meanwhile say they have not yet been formally asked by the Lankan government and the LTTE to serve as mediators and help stop the war. Political analysts have noted, that in the event such a request is made, it will strengthen India's role as a superpower in the region.
Published: Thu May 25 04:23:27 EDT 2000


Tamil political party meeting with President postponed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Thursday May 25. A meeting scheduled today with Tamil political party representatives and President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge has been postponed as the President is sick with influenza. The meeting has been re-scheduled for Monday May 29.

The President is expected to brief Tamil party members on the devolution proposals, new constitutional reform changes and the progress made by both the UNP and PA, in joint discussions, on the proposed peace package.
Published: Thu May 25 04:23:27 EDT 2000


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 More..
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. More..
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.

More..
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

CEASEFIRE PRESSURE ON LANKA
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



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