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MAY 26, 2000 EST, USA
 
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VOL. 1, NO. 51
 

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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...
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LTTE to observe 12 hour ceasefire today to enable civlians to leave Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement issued from its London office last night said that it will observe a temporary cessation of hostilities today (27.5.00) between 10a.m and 10p.m to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the battle zones of the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula to safe areas.

The Tiger statement said that "Ever since the offensive campaign began for the liberation of Jaffna, the Tamil Tigers have been advising the Tamil civilian masses in the combat zones to move to secure areas to avoid being caught in the crossfire."

The LTTE claim that it has also approached the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organisations in the peninsula to help to evacuate civilians to safe areas.

At the time of filing this report the ICRC could not confirm if indeed it had received such a request from the Tigers.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:26 EDT 2000


President rules out troop withdrawal in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday told an Indian TV network that she would not withdraw some 30,000 troops from Sri Lanka's war stricken North. The President was responding to a question on if she would take up India's offer to help evacuate Lankan troops from Jaffna, as fierce fighting continues to rage between government armed forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The President however reiterated that in the event the ground situation in Jaffna were to deteriorate, she could not let the LTTE hack to death nearly 30,000 soldiers. In which case, the government would make the necessary decision to meet such an eventuality, she said.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:27 EDT 2000


Tamil political parties ask President to postpone discussion
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), in a letter to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday, asked that the meeting with Tamil political party representatives scheduled for Monday May 29, be postponed in view of the current security situation in the country.

V. Anandasagari, Secretary for the TULF has asked that the discussion with the President on proposed constitutional reforms be put on hold until the current crisis in the northern peninsula improves. The joint discussion scheduled last Thursday May 25, was postponed for Monday as the President was unwell.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:27 EDT 2000


SRI LANKA: SUICIDE BOMBERS: Ultimate Sacrifice
Far Eastern Economic Review, June 1, 2000. 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.

In six months' time, the boy will leave his home province of Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka and travel out, perhaps to Colombo. There, he will strap a belt filled with explosives across his slight body and walk steadily toward a congested traffic light or a public meeting somewhere in the city. When he reaches his destination, Vasantha will press a button attached to his belt and instantly detonate an explosion that will kill him and possibly dozens of those around him. More...
Published: Fri May 26 22:45:33 EDT 2000


Creation of Eelam not a threat to India
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Saturday, May 27, 2000. Though maintaining that India was committed to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, the BJP senior vice president, Jana Krishnamurthy, said on Friday that the creation of Eelam was not a threat to India. The BJP leader made these remarks, responding to a query, whether the formation of Eelam would affect India. The BJP leader also stated that people in Tamil Nadu were patriotic and fully committed to India. "Creation of Eelam is no threat to India", Mr Krishnamurthy said. Even as he dismissed the formation of the separate State immediately. More...
Published: Fri May 26 21:58:31 EDT 2000

Battle reaches a plateau
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Saturday, May 27, 2000. Defying the 1800 hrs deadline set by the LTTE for surrender of 40,000 soldiers, the Lankan troops on Friday advanced towards enemy positions with new weapons, inflicting heavy casualties.

Latest reports said that 14 of the LTTE were killed in Nagarkovil, Navatkuli and other areas, even as the LTTE continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on defences manned by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) troops in Chavakachcheri. More...
Published: Fri May 26 21:56:50 EDT 2000


US Fifth Fleet moves into south Arabian Sea
File photo of USS Elliot, a Destroyer in 5th fleet
Deccan Herald, NEW DELHI, May 26 (DHNS) The United States has moved elements of its Manama-based Fifth Fleet into the south Arabian Sea, from where they can reach the Sri Lankan shores within 24 hours. Confirming this here today, foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh told newsmen that he had taken up the matter with US under secretary of state for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering two days ago. The show of strength by the US close to Sri Lankan shores is interpreted here to be a symbolic act by the Clinton administration to express solidarity with Colombo.

According to well-placed sources here the Fifth Fleet consists of three to four ships, including a guided missile destroyer, a frigate and support ships. The sources said these ships are likely to move around in the south Arabian Sea from where the US can monitor developments in the conflict zone. More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:33:05 EDT 2000


'Be Jaffna CM, stop war'
The Hindu, NEW DELHI, MAY 26. The Sri Lankan President offered the LTTE chief, Mr. Velupillai Prabhakaran, chief ministership of the Jaffna province if he gave up his policy of terrorism and joined the democratic process in the country's political life. The President, who was replying to a question on the Norwegian mediation efforts said her Government had conveyed to Mr. Prabhakaran that ``he could even be the leader or Chief Minister of the devolved unit - perhaps even for a certain period without elections - if he gave up his ghoulish politics of murder and terror and came into democratic stream.'' More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:06:50 EDT 2000

War drives out one-third of Jaffna's population
The Indian Express, COLOMBO, MAY 26. Though the Tamil Nadu coast has seen only a trickle of refugees from Jaffna so far, the war there has made tens of thousands of people flee their homes. Aid agencies say that about 1.5 lakh people -- that is over a third of the peninsula's five lakh population -- have been displaced. Jaffna town is the worst hit. As the fighting gets closer, the town is virtually emptying itself out. Seventy per cent of the one lakh people who lived within Jaffna's municipal limits have fled, mostly to the Valigamam sector in the peninsula. More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:05:30 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rejects Jaffna pullout, troops, Tigers trade fire
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga ruled out withdrawing troops from the northern peninsula of Jaffna as a deadline set by the guerrillas for an evacuation passed Friday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

UNHCR evacuates Sri Lankans from shelled school
Orientation-AFP,GENEVA, May 26 . More than 200 Sri Lankans were evacuated by UN refugee agency officials from a bombed-out school in the north of the country, an agency spokesman said Friday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan women's group urges legal abortions
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. A Sri Lankan women's umbrella group on Friday urged lawmakers to legalize abortion, claiming that 1,000 pregnancies are terminated in the country every day, often under dangerous conditions. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka sets up another crisis centre for troops
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. Sri Lanka Friday announced plans for a "Special Human Intervention Facility" providing emotional support and welfare to families of soldiers battling Tamil Tiger rebels. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Tigers call ceasefire
BBC, May 26. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have called a 12-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The ceasefire announcement, to run from 1000 local time (0400GMT) on Saturday, came after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for the safety of civilians - numbering nearly 500,000 on the peninsula - and for humanitarian workers to have safe passage.. More..
Published: Fri May 26 16:56:43 EDT 2000


'You Will Have to Die': The man behind the Tamil Tigers' new offensive
Ian MacKinnon, Newsweek International, May 29, 2000. It's dangerous to get on the wrong side of the Tamil Tigers. On a quiet street in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, a wary eye peers from a spy-hole in the 10-foot-high steel gate. It opens to reveal a shoeless guard carrying an AK-47 rifle and pistol. Inside, Douglas Devananda, a legislator, greets visitors in a windowless room behind a reinforced remote-controlled door. As a former guerrilla who 13 years ago abandoned the fight for an independent Tamil state, Devananda is on the watch for assassins. He has survived two attempts on his life. Other Tamil leaders who've defected have been killed by the henchmen of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the separatist movement's leader. "We're seen as traitors," says Devananda. "[Prabhakaran] is ruthless." More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:58:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka, India Aim To Boost Trade Ties With Exhibition
Asia Gateway, Friday, May 26 4:02 PM SGT. COLOMBO (Dow Jones)--A three-day joint trade exhibition aimed at boosting commercial ties and increasing business opportunities between Sri Lanka and India opened Friday. The event follows the implementation of a landmark free trade agreement between India and Sri Lanka in March. The deal, which was signed on a visit to India by Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in December 1998, will eliminate customs duties between the two countries over the next several years. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:38:03 EDT 2000

UNHCR concerned about the plight of civilians in Jaffna
Lisa Schlein, VOA News, Geneva, May 26, 2000. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, is voicing continued concern about the plight of civilians in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the agency says thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes because of fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. The U-N refugee agency says its aid workers evacuated more than 200 of the 350 Sri Lankans who were living in a school in Varani, about 200 kilometers northeast of Jaffna city. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:34:50 EDT 2000

LTTE declares truce as deadline expires
Press Trust of India, London,Friday, May 26, 2000. The LTTE tonight declared a 12-hour ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 AM tomorrow to enable the civilians to move to safer places raising fear of intensified assault against government troops in Jaffna peninsula. Reports from Sri Lanka's war-zone quoting clandestine rebels' radio said Tigers have declared unilateral ceasefire and have asked the people to leave the area between 10 AM to 10 PM and International Red Cross has been informed accordingly. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:23:51 EDT 2000

'Give Norway a chance'
The Hindu, Friday, May 26, 2000. CHENNAI, MAY 25. The United Kingdom believes that the Norwegian initiative to settle the Sri Lankan crisis should be given a chance, in view of Norway's record of neutrality and negotiating skills, the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Rob Young, said here today. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:00:18 EDT 2000

LTTE regrouping its guerillas
The Indian Express, Friday, May 26, 2000. NEW DELHI: The lull of the past three days has been utilised by LTTE to regroup its guerillas and the next three to five days could be crucial to decide the fate of Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated northern Jaffna province, according to defence sources here. Highly placed navy sources said the India's Eastern Naval Flotilla, conducting exercises in the Bay of Bengal off Jaffna's coast, was on six to 12 hours alert for undertaking, if required, a humanitarian evacuation from Jaffna. Besides a large number of Mager Class landing ships, they said the navy had hired a large number of merchant ships to carry out, if directed, evacuation of nearly 45,000 Sri Lankan troops and civilians from Jaffna. More...
Published: Fri May 26 14:50:31 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Air Force Bombs Rebels
AP, Friday May 26 10:50 AM ET. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - Sri Lanka's air force bombed rebel positions today, ignoring a deadline set by Tamil separatists for the surrender of nearly 40,000 government troops defending northern Jaffna Peninsula. Just before the 6 p.m. deadline expired, the rebels' clandestine Voice of Tiger radio repeated the call to the troops to give up or face a blood bath. ``The road, sea and air links to Jaffna have been cut,'' said the broadcast, monitored in the government-controlled town of Vavuniya. ``Come out waving a white flag. If you do that within 24 hours, according to the war rules, we will free you through the Red Cross.'' More...
Published: Fri May 26 14:47:10 EDT 2000

A necessary intervention - A Commentry
Indian Express, May26. The LTTE equates itself with Tamil interests. It has mentally cloned a Tamil Eelam of its own taste. While in truth, the Tamil interests require a proper institutional mechanism. No organisation or individual can substitute such an institutional safeguard. The LTTE lacks the wisdom and maturity to work out an institutional mechanism and to lead a people. Being a mixture of crime and despotism, the LTTE is today as much the problem for Lankan Tamils as the Sri Lankan government. So the LTTE is inherently disabled to solve the problem. More..
Published: Fri May 26 13:14:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels in 12-hour ceasefire for civilians
ABC-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, who had given government troops until Friday to surrender, said they would hold fire for 12 hours to allow civilians to move out of the combat zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement from their London office announced a temporary ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from battle zones on the Thenmarachchi division of the peninsula. More..
Published: Fri May 26 13:04:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka defies ultimatum, attacks Tamil rebels near Jaffna
CNN, May 26, 2000. Defying the Tamil Tiger rebels' threat of a "bloodbath" if they refused to surrender by Friday evening, government troops in northern Sri Lanka launched

heavy artillery fire at rebel positions. The artillery attacks came in retaliation for sporadic rebel shelling and mortar attacks on army defenses in the Chavakachcheri area north of Jaffna, Sri Lankan spokesman and chief government censor Ariya Rubasinghe said Thursday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:40:07 EDT 2000


US not to take any action in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May26. The United States has conveyed to India that it does not intend to take any action in Sri Lanka, Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh said today on reports that American warships had been moved from the Gulf and might be anchored west of the island nation. Washington had conveyed that: "US does not intend to take any action in Sri Lanka," he said. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:34:23 EDT 2000

LTTE deadline lapses; troops advance
Hindu, May 26.. Defying the 1800 hrs deadline set by the LTTE for surrender of 40,000 soldiers, the Lankan troops today advanced towards enemy positions with new weapons, inflicting heavy casualties. Latest reports said that 14 terrorists were killed in Nagarkovil, Navatkuli and other areas, even as the rebels continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on defences manned by troops in Chavakachcheri. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:34:23 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan President says Jaffna evacuation is "a last resort"
Yahoo-afp, May26. The humanitarian assistance they have offered is for evacuation and that kind of thing, but that comes in only if we lost the war, but that is a last resort thing which we would certainly use if the need arises, but we hope we won't," she told India's NDTV network.We cannot have 25,000 to 30,000 of our troops getting hacked to death by the LTTE. If it reaches a situation like that on the ground we will take the necessary decisions." More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:06:14 EDT 2000

Arthur C Clarke knighted
BBC, Friday, 26 May, 2000. The science fiction writer, Arthur C Clarke, has been knighted, more than two years after the title was conferred on him. UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Linda Duffield, presented the "award of Knight Bachelor" to the novelist at a ceremony in Colombo, where he resides. More...
Published: Fri May 26 11:25:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka army seeks recruits
BBC, Friday, 26 May, 2000, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK. The Sri Lankan Government has called for new recruits as the army and Tamil Tiger rebels continue to battle for control of the northern Jaffna peninsula. A government statement appealed directly to the country's youth to join up, and urged retired officers to come back for six months to serve in non-operational areas. More...
Published: Fri May 26 11:19:21 EDT 2000

FEATURE-Ruthless supremo keeps Tamil Tigers Inc. roaring
ABC-Reuters, May26. They are backed by millions of dollars, pounds and francs from Tamils around the globe, a shadowy underworld of extortion, drug smuggling and forgery, and a slick propaganda machine. The Tigers have been sustained by the many tentacles -- including shipping companies and registered charities -- of an organisation one former Tamil militant likened to a "multinational corporation." The LTTE's international wing operates from London and Paris. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:28:24 EDT 2000

S.Lanka views surcharge, power cuts to face crisis
ABC-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka may be forced to demand surcharges and enforce power cuts to face an electricity crisis if hydro-catchment areas do not receive adequate rain by next week, officials said on Friday. "We might have to take harsh measures like power cuts and surcharges...," Ananda Gunasekera, acting secretary of the ministry of Irrigation and Power, told a news conference. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:22:55 EDT 2000

Vaiko visits Prabhakaran's mother in hospital
IndiaTimes, May26. TIRUCHIRAPALLI: Marumalarchi DMK(MDNK) general-secretary Vaiko on Friday called on Mrs Parvathy, mother of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Prabhakaran, at a private hospital at Musiri near here.Vaiko spent about 30 minutes at the hospital and enquired about her health. He also spoke to the doctors about the nature of treatment given to her. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:19:53 EDT 2000

`No contradiction in Indian position on Lanka'
Times of India, May26. Officials stressed there was no contradiction in getting a terrorist group and the Sri Lankan government to talk. ``India is certainly not going to side with the LTTE,'' an official said. ``We want to ensure that Sri Lanka remains one country. We believe this can be done when the rights of the Tamil minorities are adequately safeguarded,'' he said. ``New Delhi doesn't want an independent Tamil nation so near its borders, a country capable of spreading terrorism.'' ``We are siding with the Lankan President,'' an MEA official said. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:15:26 EDT 2000

19 more Lankan refugees reach TN
Times of India, May26. CHENNAI: Nineteen more refugees arrived from Sri Lanka on Thursday morning at the Palk Straits and waited till the afternoon before they were rescued by the officials of the fisheries department under the guidance of the Navy. They were taken to the Mandapam camp for checking and registration. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:15:26 EDT 2000

Tamil Tiger deadline nears
BBC, May26. Army troops patrol the northern town of Vavuniya Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka say they will begin killing about 30,000 government troops trapped in northern Jaffna if they do not surrender on Friday. The deadline is set for 1800 local time (1200 GMT) and was announced on the clandestine Voice of Tigers radio. But the government appeared to ignore the warning and launched artillery attacks on rebel positions. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:03:32 EDT 2000

Ruling to come on deporting suspects who face torture
National Post, May26. The Supreme Court will decide whether Canada should be prevented from deporting suspected terrorists if they are likely to face torture in their native country. The court announced yesterday it would hear the appeals of Manickavasagam Suresh, a suspected fundraiser for the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization fighting for an ethnic state in Sri Lanka, and Mansour Ahani, a suspected Iranian assassin. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:29:22 EDT 2000

The man behind the Tamil Tigers' new offensive
Newsweek, May26. To many impoverished Tamils in the northeast, Prabhakaran is a savior. The families of recruits get $40 a month and food rations. Young Tamils are sometimes forced to join, according to the Colombo-based University Teachers for Human Rights. "One day you will have to die," recruiters told a group of youths recently, according to a report by the group. "If you die fighting, it will be a hero's death. But if you die a natural death it will be a coward'.Some of Prabhakaran's bloodiest ideas seem to come from the movies. Tamil suicide bombers, called Black Tigers, wear explosive-packed jackets that Prabhakaran devised after seeing "Death Wish II." (In the film, a woman blows herself up killing a world leader.) More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:13:53 EDT 2000

'India has big role to play' - Interview with Lakshman Kirelale
Rediff, May26. For the Deputy Foreign Minister of a nation at war, Lakshman Kirelale looks evenly poised. Yet, the jovial face expresses concern and every word is weighed before being uttered. It could not have been otherwise, as in Madras he is a host of India and the government he represents expects India to play an important role in ending not just the war but also the long-term ethnic problem in the island nation. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

'Indians must celebrate if Jaffna falls' - An Interview with Vaiko
Rediff, May26. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief V Gopalasamy, better known as Vaiko, is the rabble-rouser of Tamil Nadupolitics. Vaiko's support crossed the limits of provocation last month, when he allegedly hailed the Tigers' attempts to assassinate Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

JNU student from TN harassed in Lanka
Rediff. When some academics and students from India decided to travel to Colombo in the last week of April, while the war between government troops and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres was raging, they did not expect everything to be peaceful. It was not. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka issues call to arms for old soldiers - US Denies Reports of War Ships
AltaVista-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka urged retired officers to rejoin the armed forces as troops in northern Jaffna braced for the intensified attacks Tamil Tiger rebels threatened if government forces there did not surrender by Friday. A U.S. diplomat in Colombo said there were no U.S. ships on their way to Sri Lanka, nor were there plans to send any. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:57:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan government asks retired officers to re-enlist
NDTV, May 26. The Sri Lankan government has called upon retired officers to re-enlist for six months of voluntary service. In a statement today, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry appealed to the country's youth to assist the armed forces and said that retired officers will be posted in non-operational areas. This will enable the government to shift the soldiers on security duty to combat zones. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:52:07 EDT 2000

13 LTTE rebels killed in Lanka fighting
Hindu, May 26.. The Sri Lankan Army stepped up ground attacks on various rebel positions, killing 13 Tamil guerrillas in the face of a renewed LTTE ultimatum to trapped 30,000 Government troops to surrender by this evening. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:49:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Troops Defy Surrender Call, Attack Rebels
Yahoo, May26. -Government troops launched heavy artillery attacks on rebel positions Friday, defying a Tamil Tiger call to surrender the northern city of Jaffna or face a blood bath. The artillery attack was in retaliation to sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on army defenses in the Chavakachecheri area on the periphery of northern city of Jaffna. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Troops, Tigers trade artillery fire in Jaffna
Yahoo, May 26. Government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels traded artillery fire and mortar bombs in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula Friday, after separate fighting left 13 rebels dead, military sources said. Nine members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in the Jaffna peninsula while four more were shot dead in the northern mainland at Wanni, the government said in a statement. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka War Hits Tourism Industry - Industry Officials
Yahoo, May26. Sri Lanka's tourism industry will face a difficult year as a raging civil war in the north of the country prompts travelers to switch to alternative destinations, crimping arrivals from last year's all-time record level, industry officials and analysts say. "Summer bookings will suffer by about 15% to 20% (on year), as the country's current situation doesn't look very encouraging," said Vasantha Leelananda, managing director of Walkers Tours Ltd., a major tour operator in the country. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Lull in fighting in Jaffna peninsula as rebel deadline nears.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.20 SL time 26.05.00. The Special media Information centre of the government said today that rebels continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on army defences in the Chavakachcheri are. The new release said the "army retaliated with heavy artillery attacks on likely LTTE artillery and mortar positions. The lull in the fighting comes as the deadline for the rebels latest ceasefire offer nears. The LTTE offered a ceasefire for the Army to withdraw from Jaffna and said they would launch fresh offensives if there were no response by Friday might.
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

Main Opposition Party launches protest procession to protest against the new draconian regulations limiting freedom of expression and other political rights.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.25 SL time 26.05.00. The main Opposition United National Party (UNP) launched a Ratha Yatra from Colombo today to protest against the draconian new regulations imposed by the government three weeks ago placing severe restrictions on freedom of expression the other political rights. Nearly 400 vehicles left Colombo on a three day 250 kilo meter journey to Kataragama. The motorcade was publisiced as religious procession to overcome the ban on political protests. UNP leader Ranil Wickramesinghe said the procession was to pray for the unity of the country and to demand that the draconian regulations are lifted. The procession was to hold religious ceremonies in all important religious places on route and end in Kataragama on Sunday.
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

President establishes a special human intervention facility to provide emotional support armed forces personnel.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.30 SL time 26.05.00. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has established a special Human Intervention facility to facilitate the provisions of emotional support for personnel of the armed forces police and their families aimed at coping with their grief after the loss of a loved one, a media communique issued by the Special media information unit said.Ther communique said this special unit will come under the Presidential secretariat and will fa ciliate the administrative procedures for these people. " The President has established this facility under own wing(sic) as a matter of utmost national priority" the statement said. end
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops in northern Jaffna placed on red alert.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT 11.45am Friday.. Government of Sri Lanka placed its troops on red alert as the deadline issued by separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to withdraw the soldiers from embattled northern Jaffna peninsula expires at local time 6.00pm.

Military officials in Colombo said that there were no reports of fighting in Jaffna peninsula on Friday morning, but expected large-scale attacks on government forces as the deadline to withdraw was closing-in.

On Wednesday, Tamil rebels appealed in their clandestine radio, the Voice of Tigers, to all soldiers in northern Jaffna peninsula to withdraw by Friday if not face the bloodiest consequences in the 18 years of war.

President Chandrika Kumaratunge responding to the appeal said in an interview with Hindu newspaper it was a "joke". But the military officials said that all troops in the peninsula were put on alert and in a pre-emptive action, ground attack air crafts known as Kfirs were strafing LTTE artillery positions along the highway, that links Jaffna and Vavuniya.

Amidst fears of heavy fighting, the US and French naval ships were anchored off the coast of Sri Lanka to monitor the situation. Tamil Tiger rebels are fighting to create an independent homeland for minority Tamils for the past 18 years which had left over 75,000 people killed.
Published: Fri May 26 02:40:21 EDT 2000


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

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



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