The Lanka Academic

JUNE 1, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 57

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India’s Sri Lanka dilemma
MSNBC, June 1. Sri Lankan refugees living in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu say that though the Lankan army’s loss of the crucial Elephant Pass in April this year was a defining moment, “Eelam” — a separate Tamil state — is not imminent.Indeed, geopolitical factors do not favor the Tamil separatists. “Those of us who have been watching this for some time know it for it is ... one more battle in a series of ding dong battles,” said S.C. Chandrahasan, an exiled Sri Lankan Tamil refugee leader. “At the most, the Tamil Tigers have made some territorial gains but Eelam is not just a question of territorial gains.” More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 22:56:04 EDT 2000

Massive hike in Lanka gas, water rates as war escalates
Asian Age, June 1. Sri Lanka announced a sharp increase in the prices of LPG, electricity and communications on Thursday, just three weeks after the Chandrika government raised taxes to finance the escalating battle against the LTTE.Electricity tariff was raised by six per cent from Thursday, together with a 25 per cent surcharge for those who fail to comply with a government requirement to reduce energy consumption by one-fifth. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 22:47:22 EDT 2000

Evacuation out of question, says Lankan Army Commander
June 1:. Sri Lankan Army Commander Sirilal Weerasooriya said he had never thought about evacuation of his men from the battle field in Jaffna as there was no reason for it. “I don't know... The whole world is talking about evacuating us but we never thought about it because there's no reason for it.” Weerasooriya said the LTTE has lost more than 400 of its cadres since Elephant Pass battle in April. We have been repulsing them... And in the last one week or so, I would say they have a fairly large number of casualties... In one day 116 dead and 224 injured. These are the figures given by themselves and I believe that it is the time they start regrouping now.” More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 22:30:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Army Chief: Main strategy is destruction of LTTE forces
NDTV, June 1. As the LTTE's fatalities mount, the Sri Lankan Army Chief, Major General Srilal Weersaurya, says it is part of the army's new strategy in Jaffna. Speaking for the first time since the fighting began, the Army Chief said his soldiers will hold on to their positions, wait for the LTTE to attack and then inflict heavy casualties. General Weerasurya is spending less time in the army headquarters and more time in the Jaffna war zone--a sign of the army's new found confidence. Speaking to NDTV at Palali air base, the General explained the army's new tactics in the fight against the LTTE. He said, "Tactically, what we are trying to do is destroy their fighting forces. That is the main strategy, even more than taking over land." More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 22:23:27 EDT 2000

The Island, June 2 The death occured in Canada on Wednesday of Prof.A.J.Wilson, who once held the Chair of Political Science at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya and later migrated to Canada where he established well recognised credentials as a distinguished academic.Prof. Wilson was consulted by President J. R. Jayewardene in the constitution making process in the post 1977 period. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 21:59:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Tiger's supremo undeterred by international backlash
123India. Jun 1 Sri Lankan Tamil separatist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has been on a roll recently, but his spectacular military gains may have led to a diplomatic backlash led by the United States. Prabhakaran, 45, leads what is widely regarded as the world's deadliest guerrilla movement, aiming to carve out a homeland called Eelam in the island's northeast with the town of Jaffna as the jewel in the separatist crown. The elusive rebel leader had declared 2000 as the year of battle and pushed his combatants to re-take Jaffna where he had run a de facto state for nearly five years till he was dislodged in December 1995. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 21:55:05 EDT 2000

Tigers’ sub found in Thai nook
June 1. Thai security officials have stumbled upon a submarine being built for the LTTE at a private shipyard on an island off Thailand. The “partly-built Tamil Tiger midget submarine” might have been used against Sri Lankan ships or for a suicide attack. Security forces tracked down the 10-metre-long vessel capable of carrying two or three persons, at Silae Island after the arrest of an European national in Bangkok in April.A Tamil Tiger supporter, the European had radar and sonar devices meant for submarines in his speedboat, along with some communication equipment. Sources said the Tigers had moved base from Burma’s Twante Island to southern Thailand. There have been reports of their shipping arms from Racha Island in that area. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 21:35:07 EDT 2000

Tendulkar's 93 in vain as India go down meekly Jayasuriya ton studs Lankan win
Deccan Herald, June 1. Jayasuriya and his team had been at the receiving end the last time the two teams had met (World Cup 99). Revenge may or may have not have been in his mind, but determination there certainly was within him as he gathered a most responsible 105 to which Tendulkar replied with an equally determined 93.It wasnt enough for India though, their bid to overhaul Sri Lankas imposing 276 for eight falling flat mainly because there was no support for Tendulkar whatsoever. Skipper Sourav Ganguly fished at a Chaminda Vaas delivery, Ajay Jadeja (coming in for Hemang Badani) and Robin Singh did likewise against Kaushalya Weeraratne. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 21:20:51 EDT 2000

New weapons boost Sri Lankan army
BBC, Friday, 2 June, 2000, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK. The Sri Lankan Government says new weapons have helped turn the tide against Tamil rebels fighting in the north. Israel and the Czech Republic are reported to be among those countries which sold arms to Sri Lanka.

No details were given of the arms purchases, but multi-barrel rocket launchers and Israeli-built Kfir fighter jets are reported to be among them. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 20:25:15 EDT 2000

The Tigers have suffered a great deal of casualties
Srinivasan Jain, New Delhi TV/BBC, Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK. [Listen]
Published: Thu Jun 1 20:21:53 EDT 2000

A third of the population have moved from their houses
Susannah Price, BBC, Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK. [Watch]
Published: Thu Jun 1 20:19:59 EDT 2000

Between Cocktails and Insurgency An Unreal Port In a Distant Storm
Washington Post, May 28. In Colombo, the Tamil and Sinhalese inhabitants of the city brushed against each other by day without incident--in shops, at schools and on the streets. But at night, while affluent, mostly Sinhalese residents dined on the waterfront or gambled in neon-lit casinos, police fanned out through deserted streets in Tamil neighborhoods, knocking on doors and stopping taxi drivers to check for identification. And even as the guerrilla war was rapidly escalating this month, Sinhalese political leaders spent more time trying to undermine each other than attempting to seek a solution to the conflict, while intellectuals and opinion makers remained trapped in sterile debates on why efforts at reconciliation had failed. As I bided my time in the capital for a week, seething with frustration at not being able to see the war, it seemed that almost everyone around me was trying just as hard not to see it--and instead to impose their own, biased version of history on their opponents while events on the ground were spinning out of everyone's control. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 19:51:03 EDT 2000

No Way Out
Far.Est.Econ.Rev., June 8. Alongside peace initiatives, the Sri Lankan government has also talked of making large-scale military purchases from the United States, suggesting it's preparing for a possible intensification of the war. At the same time, there's also the possibility that diplomatic efforts will be complicated by a mass retreat by sea of trapped Sri Lankan forces, carried out with the help of the Indian Navy, whose southern command is on the alert for relief operations. Even as Sri Lanka welcomes the sudden spurt of international attention, moreover, issues of national sovereignty versus the role of international bodies are starting to surface. Controversy erupted into the open when the European Parliament recently called on European members of the United Nations to bring the situation in Sri Lanka up for discussion before the UN Security Council. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 19:38:55 EDT 2000

‘Morale of Lankan troops high’
Chennaionline, June 1. Talking to a government controlled television channel last night, he said: “Military action is the extension of political decisions in a democracy. Therefore, politicians do have an important role to play in taking certain decisions even in the theatre of war. This does not mean that professional military advice is not heeded.”He said during his 12-day stay in Jaffna, he visited several battalions and went down to bunkers and spoke to soldiers. “I was able to boost their morale. Today, I can say without an iota of doubt that all our soldiers fighting in the north are determined to win back the ground they have lost.” More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 19:19:31 EDT 2000

Jaffna city: Biggest prize of vicious ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka
NDTV, JUne 1. Do the people of Jaffna want their city to be the capital of the LTTE's separate Eelam state or do they want to be part of a devolved autonomous region? These are complex questions to which easy answers could not be found in the short time that the NDTV correspondent spent here. The strongest impression is of a city under a siege. And as long as a solution evades the warring parties, the city will continue to remain under siege, regardless of who wrests it by force from the other.Many have escaped during periods of calm, and the streets of Jaffna are lined with elegant abandoned bungalows. Their owners now live thousands of miles away in the tradional centres of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora--Canada, Australia and Norway--hoping one day to travel back when the war is over. But if pitched battles continue to be fought, they may not have much of a city or a home to return to. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 19:10:01 EDT 2000

Whoa! Is that a sub?
Bangkok Post, June 1. "They have been operating secretly in Phuket for years," said one Bangkok-based spook. "The trend is quite worrying as it seems the government does not have any clear security guidelines on how to deal with the problem."Lloyd's List, the international shipping digest, reported recently that the Tigers had shifted operations to an island off Phuket. A southern intelligence unit said it had recently spotted the guerrillas transferring weapons off Racha island.And police also stumbled upon a Tigers-owned submersible able to accommodate two or three people being built at a shipyard on Si-lae island. The people paid to keep tabs on what's happening including Khachadphai Buruspat, secretary-general of the National Security Council, not surprisingly, expressed some surprise at this discovery. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 19:00:21 EDT 2000

S.Lankan President's Story to Come Alive on Screen
Xinhua, June 1. A movie on the story of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her late husband was finished shooting here Thursday and to be released later this year. The movie titled "The Actor and the President" was directed by award winning Australian cameraman Jeff Burton who is a close friend of Chandrika's late husband Vijaya Kumaratunga, a movie star-turned-politician. Burton is the cameraman of the movie "Sirens" starring British actor Hugh Grant and Australian super model Elle Machperson. He said the movie in the making is a "tribute" to the couple, whom Burton met in 1976. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:56:57 EDT 2000

Martin faces further grilling over Tamil dinner
June 1. Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, faced renewed demands in the House of Commons yesterday to explain why he and other senior Liberals dined recently with an organization identified as a front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It was the third successive day of questioning over mounting evidence that Tamil Tigers supporters have been collecting huge sums in Canada -- over $22-million last year by one estimate -- to finance an ethnic insurgency that has killed thousands in Sri Lanka. More..
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:51:41 EDT 2000

'Colombo to release 7 Indian fishermen tomorrow'
Indian Express, June 1. Seven of the 17 Indian fishermen, languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, would be released tommorow, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister Jenifer Chandran said today. In a statement here, she said the seven were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy on February 19 last, while they were fishing in the high seas. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:46:16 EDT 2000

TMC calls for implementation of 1987 Indo-Lanka pact
Indian Express, June 1. TMC General Secretary Peter Alphonse told reporters here that the accord signed by late Rajiv Gandhi and J R Jayawardene alone could provide equal rights for all people in Sri Lanka. The TMC leader said support should not be extended to militant organisations like the LTTE which did not have faith in democracy and killed Tamil leaders in the island nation.However, all humanitarian assistance should be extended to Tamil refugees as well as Tamils living in Jaffna, who were caught in the ongoing war between the Lankan Army and the LTTE. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:44:20 EDT 2000

Two newspapers challenge Sri Lanka's censorship
Indian Express, June 1. He also argued it is illegal to close the papers arbitrarily for six months when Sri Lanka's emergency laws themselves have to be renewed each month by a Parliament vote. "The law has been brought in to penalise us for revealing government corruption," Wickremetunga said, referring to news stories over the years about alleged corruption involving government ministers and officials. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:41:20 EDT 2000

India’s ‘wait and watch’ policy apt: Lankan analysts
Hindustan Times, June 1. According to observers here, the LTTE is happy that India has not interfered so far. The LTTE is currently assembling the necessary manpower and fire power for an offensive. It does not want Big Brother to mess up the preparations. That India has not expressed a desire to bring about a ceasefire and freeze the current situation is appreciated by both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan state because both are preparing for an offensive and an internationally supervised ceasefire could kill the gung ho spirit. The mainstream Sinhala parties are happy that India has decided not to play a pro-active role in working out a system of devolution." More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:38:04 EDT 2000

South Asia Monitor moots `Confederal Sri Lanka'
Times Of India, June 1. South Asia Monitor moots `Confederal Sri Lanka'

WASHINGTON: The US-based think tank, South Asia Monitor, has suggested a ``confederal Sri Lanka'' as a way out to bring peace to the island. "Resolving the problem will require a much more radical approach to power-sharing. This will be very hard to sell to both the Sinhalese political mainstream and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) but it will only get harder with time," South Asia Monitor, issued by the South Asia programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:26:01 EDT 2000

Talks on Indian role soon: Lankan minister
Times of India, June 1. Sri Lanka will start talks with India "very soon" to explore the possibility of involving New Delhi in any negotiations with the LTTE to find an amicable solution to the the ethnic conflict in the Jaffna peninsula. In a wide ranging interview to PTI here on Thursday the Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said though it was some time since external affairs minister Jaswant Singh made the offer to negotiate between the government and the LTTE, New Delhi and Colombo had not yet explored the details of the extent to which India could get involved. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:23:36 EDT 2000

Lankan troops regain confidence with new weapons
Times of India, June 1. Sri Lanka's government Thursday said the new weapons it acquired from the international arms market were giving the military an upper hand against Tamil Tiger rebels in the Jaffna peninsula.During the Elephant Pass setback we did not posses the high degree of firepower that the (Tamil) Tigers had acquired," Defense Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte said on the state-run Rupavahini Television."When I arrived in Jaffna on May 18 unannounced, I had to jump out of the helicopter in the dead of night because the Tigers were shelling the Palali air base with their long range guns," he said. This was the first time the government admitted that rebel fire had reached Palali airport, threatening it's supply line. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:20:38 EDT 2000

The Sri Lanka crisis - Opinion
The News International, June 1. They have joined the United States in unequivocally opposing EELAM. Numerous commentators have suggested that Prabhankar and the LTTE must be regarded as much as enemies of India as they are of the government in Sri Lanka. Other observers have noted that EELAM may give new life to separatist tendencies in Tamil Nadu. And yet the suspicion persists, as apparent from President Kumaratunga's interview quoted above, that some influential voices in the Indian Establishment would welcome Sri Lanka's dismemberment no matter what or because of the consequences this would have in India. For all well wishers of Sri Lanka, and this includes all of us in Pakistan, these are anxious times. To the extent possible we must offer our assistance to the Sri Lankan government in arriving at an internal solution that preserves Sri Lankan unity. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 18:16:05 EDT 2000

Cricket-Sri Lanka beat India by 71 runs in Asia Cup match
Reuters, SLT Thursday June 1. DHAKA, June 1 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka beat India by 71 runs in the third match of the four-nation Asia Cup cricket tournament at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday. Scores: Sri Lanka 276-8 in 50 overs, India 205 all out in 45 overs. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 15:11:13 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says new weapons turn tide against rebels
MSNBC, June 1. New weapons for Sri Lanka's army and a fresh counterattack against Tamil Tiger rebels have given the military the upper hand in northern Jaffna, the deputy defence minister was reported as saying on Thursday. Ratwatte said in recent years the government had focused more on economic development and reduced its defence budget so losing out to the rebels with their better fire power. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 12:57:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says censorship may be lifted in a month
MSNBC, June 1. 'We are in a strong position in the northern war and hopefully I don't think that the censorship will have to be extended for more than one more month if the situation improves,'' the independent Island newspaper quoted Mangala Samaraweera as telling reporters. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 12:54:49 EDT 2000

Posters in city walls demanding the release of mass grave suspects.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 19:35 Thursday.. Hundreds of posters were sprung-up on Colombo city's walls demanding the release of Chemmani mass grave suspects as the magisterial inquiries was shifted to Commercial city of Sri Lanka following the standoff between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in northern Jaffna peninsula.

The posters were prominently displayed in areas densely populated by Tamils. The posters said that suspects who were made scapegoats in the investigations were languishing in state-run prisons without fair and free trials.

At least five soldiers were sentenced to prisons after initial investigations into the mass grave pointed out that the five had-a-hand in murdering at least 17 persons including the 17 year-old-girl Krishanthy Kumaraswamy. The victim was raped and killed by the some soldiers manning a checkpoint a few years ago.

The incident sparked international attention that prompted the government to order investigations immediately.

Initially the magisterial inquiries were conducted in Jaffna, but the case was shifted after the suspects through their lawyers requested the inquiries to be shifted to Colombo, as the climate was not conducive in Jaffna.
Published: Thu Jun 1 10:01:29 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Service Providers Join GRIC Alliance; Deals Extend GRIC's Presence in Global Internet Access Market to 153 Countries
BUSINESS WIRE, Thursday, June 01, 2000. MILPITAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 1, 2000--GRIC Communications,(Nasdaq:GRIC) a leading provider of multiple value-added Internet services for service providers, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet roaming, today announced that four South Asian companies -- Pan Lanka Networking, Lanka Internet Services, Sri Lanka Telecom in Sri Lanka, and Spectra Solutions Limited in Bangladesh -- have joined the GRIC Alliance Network. These service providers can now offer individual and corporate customers the use of GRIC's extensive global network for high-quality, low-cost remote Internet connections. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 09:26:49 EDT 2000

Price hike knock-on to limit Sri Lankan growth
Reuters, Thursday, June 01, 2000. COLOMBO, June 1 (Reuters) - A series of tax and utility hikes coupled with an increase in the defence bill will fuel Sri Lanka's inflation this year and curb its industry-driven growth rebound, economists said on Thursday. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 07:14:50 EDT 2000

NPC calls for ban on censorship
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.25 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. The National Peace Council (NPC) in a press release issued today said that the ban on newspapers should be lifted and draconian laws imposing censorship removed in view of the fact that the security situation in the north has improved since the fall of Elephant Pass.

The NPC says, "that the blanket censorship imposed on the mass media is far in excess of any reasonable need to protect national security interests and inter-ethnic harmony. The opinions and views of intellectuals, civic activists and politicians are being subjected to extensive censorship by bureaucrats and others who are not specialists in the areas which they censor." "In a perverse manner it also appears that peace-oriented writings are often more severely censored than ones that could whip up inter-ethnic hatreds."

The NPC further adds that the original rationale for the imposition of the blanket censorship may have been to preserve social peace and safeguard Tamil civilians in a time of uncertainty. "However, today, with general elections on the near horizon the people will not be convinced that the national security laws are solely intended for that original purpose."
Published: Thu Jun 1 06:08:42 EDT 2000

Arms buried in school at Ampara
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.05 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. A large haul of arms and ammunition buried in a school at Ampara was recovered yesterday by Ampara police. The police made the detection after interrogating an LTTE suicide cadre being held in police custody.

Meanwhile Special Task Force commando's yesterday successfully repulsed an attack on an STF camp in Ampara killing over a dozen women Tiger cadres who according to reports led the offensive.
Published: Thu Jun 1 06:08:42 EDT 2000

SMIC say troops repulsed LTTE attack
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.50 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. The Special Media Information Centre said today that troops effectively repulsed an LTTE attack at Columbuthurai. The Tigers are reported to have launched an offensive on forward defence lines using small arms and artillery fire.

Meanwhile President Chandrika Kumaratunge yesterday directed that 5000 plots of land will be allocated to soldiers fighting Sri Lanka's war. June 7th, has been declared 'Hero's Day' and will commemorate all soldiers who have laid down their lives fighting Sri Lanka's 18 year old war.

Relief is also to be provided by the State to all villages that have been threatned by the LTTE. The Seva Vanitha Unit will be used to facilitate such relief measures.
Published: Thu Jun 1 06:08:42 EDT 2000

Bishops call for peace
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. The Catholic Bishop's Conference in a press release issued today has urged the acceleration of a negotiated settlement to the present crisis. The Bishop's statement has asked that war be rejected and a peaceful solution found to Sri Lanka's 18 year old conflict.
Published: Thu Jun 1 06:08:42 EDT 2000

Israel to introduce modern agricultural methods
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.05 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Israel is to introduce modern agricultural methods to Sri Lanka. The government said today that Israel will help both low country and up country farmers by introducing a system of greater efficiency and production yield, using less water.
Published: Thu Jun 1 06:08:42 EDT 2000

Cricket-Sri Lanka win toss and bat against India
Reuters, Thursday, June 01, 2000. DHAKA, June 1 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka won the toss and batted against India in the third match of the four-nation Asia Cup on Thursday. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 05:10:37 EDT 2000

Uneasy calm in Jaffna
The Hindu,By Nirupama Subramanian, Thursday, June 01, 2000. COLOMBO, MAY 31. An uneasy calm has fallen over the Jaffna peninsula, as the big guns on both sides continue to remain silent. On Wednesday the Sri Lankan Government reported only minor skirmishes between its troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. A Government press release said the LTTE launched an attack with rocket-propelled grenades on Army lines in Chemmani outside the Jaffna municipal area, but that Government troops ``retaliated effectively'', forcing them to withdraw.

The Government said its soldiers had killed seven LTTE cadres in two separate confrontations at Colombuthurai and Chavakachcheri areas. Other confrontations, far from the battlefields of Jaffna, indicated the kind of pressure the security forces are under in the area claimed as a Tamil homeland. More...
Published: Thu Jun 1 05:01:49 EDT 2000

Ratwatte addresses the nation
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.35 a.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Deputy Defence Minister Gen. Anurudha Ratwatte in a television interview on state TV last night said, the situation in Jaffna has improved since the Tigers took Elephant Pass, and that troop morale is high in the peninsula.

Returning to Colombo on Wednesday, after having visited the war torn area, Ratwatte said, that the Tigers had shelled Palaly and are trying to cut off the supply routes used by the armed forces, namely, Kankasanthurai and Palaly, the military's biggest base after Elephant Pass.

He called upon the public to extend their fullest cooperation towards the war effort, and made a special request that all armed forces personnel who have either desertered their post or are on leave to report back for duty.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:03 EDT 2000

Censorship may soon be lifted
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.40 a.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said that in view of the current security situation in Sri Lanka's north having improved, the censorship on all publications and broadcasts could ease in a month's time.

Addressing a press conference the Minister said, "We are in a strong position in the northern war and hoefully I don't think that the censorship will have to be extended for more than one more month if the situation improves."

The censorship, he said was necessary in order to stop rumours and lies from spreading while the war in the north was escalating.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:03 EDT 2000

Sunday Leader sues State for Rs. 50 m
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.45 a.m. SLT Thursday June 1. The Sunday Leader together with its sister paper the 'Irida Peramuna' yesterday instituted a fundamental rights application in the supreme court challenging the decision of the Competent Authority which prohibits the company from printing, publication and distribution.

The Leader Publications is claiming Rs. 50 million in damages. The paper alleges that its article on May 21, 2000 titled 'War in Fantasay Land' was not prejudicial to the interests of national security.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:03 EDT 2000

Police step up on search and cordon operations in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.50 a.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Special police teams have stepped up seach and cordon operations in and around Colombo in an attempt to flush out members of underworld gangs and Tiger cadres hiding in the city.

On Tuesday, special teams rounded up some 30 Tamil youth in Colombo's busy business sector 'Sea Street.' Using informants to help the forces spot possible suspects, the police and army rounded up the young men and women who are believed to be members of the LTTE.

The police say that today too, special teams have been deployed in and around the city in a bid to crack down on mafia type underworld gangs and Tiger sympathizers who have infilterated into Colombo.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:04 EDT 2000

STF repulse Tiger attack at Anuradhapura
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.55 a.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Special Task Force Commandos yesterday repulsed an LTTE attack on their camp at Bandaragama in the Anuradhapura area. The STF say they killed some 26 Tiger cadres of which 18 were women.

The STF claim that the attack by the rebels was unsuccessful as most of the LTTE's key fighters are deployed in Sri Lanka's north to fight security forces determined to hold Jaffna.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:04 EDT 2000

New Sri Lankan Ambassador for India
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Thursday June 1. Senaka Bandaranayake has been appointed as Sri Lanka' s new head of mission for India. Mr. Bandaranayake has been serving as Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Paris.

The Foreign Office said today that Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe, Sri Lanka's present Ambassador in India will leave to take up his new posting in London.
Published: Thu Jun 1 02:17:04 EDT 2000

Lift ban on newspapers and remove censorship
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 10.00am Thursday.. The sense of acute crisis and tension that gripped the country in the Immediate aftermath of the fall of the Elephant Pass military base has perceptibly reduced outside of the north-east.. But despite the restoration of social stability and confidence, the severe public security laws enacted at that time continue to remain in force at the cost of civil liberties and democratic practice, a news release from the National Peace Council said here.

The National Peace Council believes that the blanket censorship imposed on the mass media is far in excess of any reasonable need to protect national Security interests and inter-ethnic harmony. The opinions and views of intellectuals, civic activists and politicians are being subjected to extensive censorship by bureaucrats and others who are not specialists in the areas which they censor. In a perverse manner it also appears that peace-oriented writings are often more severely censored than ones that could whip up inter-ethnic hatreds. The original rationale for the imposition of the blanket censorship may have to been to preserve social peace and safeguard Tamil civilians in a time of uncertainty. However, today, with general elections on the near horizon the people will not be convinced that the national security laws are solely intended for that original purpose.

The National Peace Council calls on the government to immediately lift the blanket censorship and restrict it only to national security issues pertaining to military plans and movements. The NPC also calls on the government to lift the ban on the Sunday Leader (English language), the Irida Peramuna (Sinhala language) and the Uthayan (Tamil language), which are newspapers that have played a very important role in keeping the population well informed and in providing alternative points of view on national issues.

As a civic organisation whose primary objective is empowerment and awareness creation among people, the NPC is very much dependent on the protection of the right of free expression and the right of people to receive information. We hope that the government will revoke the ban on the three newspapers and lift the blanket censorship which cripples the mass media's ability to keep the people abreast of the situation in their country.

The rights to information and to receive information are basic human rights of the people. They are also a vital component of democratic governance. The NPC affirms its conviction that it is only a citizenry that is in full knowledge of the situation in their country who can be supportive of the complex and difficult decisions that have to be taken by the governmental leadership to overcome the prevailing crisis.
Published: Thu Jun 1 00:10:54 EDT 2000

Policy no barrier to gun-runners
Bangkok Post, May 28. A vague security policy toward Tamil rebels allows them to use Thailand as a base to procure arms to fight for an independent state in northern Sri Lanka, an informed security source said yesterday.A number of agents of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been secretly based here and running guns for several years, the source said. One of them is a major in the rebel force.Several small islands near Phuket are being used as delivery points, with weapons being delivered and transferred at sea, outside Thai territorial waters.A military source said army chief Gen Surayud Chulanond was very interested in the rebel group's activities. He had ordered the Fourth Army to keep close tabs on the movements of suspected members operating in the South. More..
Published: Wed May 31 23:31:46 EDT 2000

U.S. Donates Computer equipment to Sarvodaya
The Lanka Academic, Colombo, 31 May 2000. In a small ceremony at the Sarvodaya complex in Moratuwa this morning, U.S. Ambassador Shaun E. Donnelly presented computer equipment to help the renowned social service organization augment its library services. Ambassador Donnelly noted that Sarvodaya's good work over the years had earned it an enviable reputation and that the Embassy was happy to be able to assist.

Sarvodaya President Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne welcomed the U.S. Ambassador and his party and received the equipment with thanks. The new computer equipment, he said, would help the Sarvodaya Central Library offer better services to Moratuwa residents -- university students, schoolchildren, teachers and the general public, adding that such improvements in the field of education are needed to meet the challenges of the new millennium.
Published: Wed May 31 23:20:19 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Airlines and Emirates have jointly launched 'Skywards' - a frequent flyer programme
SLRC, May31. Sri Lankan Air Lines and Emirates have joined hands to confer a host of special privileges to those who use their flights frequently. Under the new programme, passengers will be entitled the privilege of extra baggage, allowance, priority in reservations and check-in and several other benefits as well as upgrading. More..
Published: Wed May 31 23:09:06 EDT 2000

TMC dares PMK, MDMK to quit NDA
The Statesman, May 31. — Mr GK Moopanar’s Tamil Maanila Co. today asked the PMK and MDMK to quit the NDA as their stand on the Sri Lankan crisis was totally different from the government’s. Mr Azhagiri asked Mr M Karunanidhi’s government in Tamil Nadu to ban the “Eelam Tamils’ Supportive Rally” planned by the MDMK in Chennai on 5 June. MDMK chief, Vaiko, was carrying on a campaign for the LTTE under the pretext of organising a rally in support of Eelam Tamils, he alleged. More..
Published: Wed May 31 22:15:25 EDT 2000

Lanka offers LTTE unconditional talks
AsianAge, May31. The Sri Lankan government and the LTTE are now looking at talks, rather than continued military action, as a possible solution to the conflict.The Tigers, who had been resistant to a dialogue, are now reportedly more responsive to President Chandrika Kumara- tunga’s “unconditional” offer of talks. The Sri Lankan President has clearly stated that she is willing to have a dialogue with the LTTE representatives without any conditions. In a recent interview with an Indian television network, Ms Kumaratunga again said that a peaceful settlement was the only way out of the crisis and that the LTTE could hold on to the territory they had acquired and talk from that point onward. More..
Published: Wed May 31 20:20:24 EDT 2000

The Tigers seem to having problems with their supply lines
Amal Jayasinghe, AFP via BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. [Listen]
Published: Wed May 31 19:00:16 EDT 2000

Sporadic clashes have continued on the Jaffna Peninsula
Susannah Price, BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. [Listen]
Published: Wed May 31 18:58:14 EDT 2000

Tiger onslaught 'beaten back'
BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. The Sri Lankan Government says it has beaten back fresh attempts by Tamil Tiger rebels to advance in the northern Jaffna peninsula. An official said seven Tamil Tiger rebels were killed when the army repelled an attack on Chemmani, Columbutharai and Chavakachcheri. All three are on the outskirts of Jaffna town, a one-time Tamil Tiger stronghold which the rebels are trying to retake.

In another development, President Chandrika Kumaratunga ordered all soldiers to wear dog tags so that they could be identified if they were killed or wounded. She said that the bodies of soldiers were sometimes disposed of without being properly identified. More...
Published: Wed May 31 18:53:02 EDT 2000

First-hand account of Lankan war by NDTV correspondent
NDTV, May 31. At Palali air base, the only airfield on the peninsula, the helicopter's cargo is quickly unloaded to make way for soldiers wounded by gunfire and mortar shrapnel. More than 400 soldiers have been killed by the LTTE's unceasing waves since December, and the world is standing by to evacuate troops if necessary. Not a chance says the army, talking a new language of aggression--an aggression fuelled by millions of dollars spent on buying firepower. It is unlikely that these last-minute purchases, like powerful multi-barrel rocket lauchers, will hit the LTTE artillery scattered across the jungle.Lending the edge to the soldiers are not just new guns, but new generals as well. After the humiliating defeats since December, the army sacked the man in charge of Jaffna and brought in Lt. Gen. Janaka Perera. He told NDTV that it is the LTTE that is now getting killed in hundreds. He said, "We have given the soldiers the will to stand and fight. They come in waves, but that is mythical. We intend to turn it around." More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:29:11 EDT 2000

More than tea and sympathy - An Editorial
Hindustan Times, June 1. Yet can we really run away from an old and almost indissoluble tie — a geographical, ethnic, historical, religious, cultural and economic one — that binds India to Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamils? If the linguistic and cultural kinship between the Tamils of India and Sri Lanka is plain, the link between Indians and the Sinhalese is no secret either. The person and legacy of the Buddha and the Pali language bind the two together. Lankan chronicles have been crucial for clarifying Indian history. The Ramayana has imprinted Sri Lanka on the Indian mind. Our cultural and racial ancestry is identical. We are immediate neighbours. A lesson underlined by the Sri Lankan tragedy is the heavy price a nation pays when it delays accommodation. It was the “Sinhala only” cry, triggered as a reaction to the privileged position of English-knowing Sri Lankans, that supplied the opening blow against Sri Lankan unity. More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:22:44 EDT 2000

India must first mediate between PA, UNP
Hindustan Times, June 1. WITH A political role cast on its shoulders, India may have to first mediate between the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA), the Opposition United National Party (UNP) and the Tamil and Muslim parties, before trying to mediate between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, political analysts here say. "It is of critical importance to bring about a southern consensus before opening discussions with the LTTE on a political settlement of the ethnic and constitutional question. More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:22:44 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka launches diplomatic offensive
Times of India, May 31. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has launched a diplomatic offensive to keep the tide of international opinion on its side with its troops seemingly able to withstand Tigers' attempts to retake the northern city of Jaffna. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told heads of missions here that troops have been able to stop the rolling onslaught launched by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in their month-long bid to capture Jaffna, a statement issued late on Tuesday said. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:39:06 EDT 2000

18 women among 26 Tigers killed; 8000 flee Jaffna
Times of India, May 31. COLOMBO: Anti-terrorist commandos and soldiers killed 26 Tamil Tiger rebels in separate gunbattles in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, even as the government admitted Wednesday that the fighting in the Jaffna peninsula had forced 8000 people to flee their homes. At least 14 women fighters were among the 18 rebels killed in Ampara, 200 km east of Colombo. The commandoes retaliated after the rebels attacked their camp with mortars, the state-run radio said. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:39:06 EDT 2000

Uneasy calm in Jaffna
Hindu, May 31. An uneasy calm has fallen over the Jaffna peninsula, as the big guns on both sides continue to remain silent. On Wednesday the Sri Lankan Government reported only minor skirmishes between its troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. A Government press release said the LTTE launched an attack with rocket-propelled grenades on Army lines in Chemmani outside the Jaffna municipal area, but that Government troops ``retaliated effectively'', forcing them to withdraw. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:28:53 EDT 2000

Senaka Bandaranayake new Sri Lankan envoy to India
Hindu, May 31. Sri Lanka's present ambassador to Paris, Dr. Senaka Bandaranayake, is to be the country's next High Commissioner to India. An eminent archaeologist and academic, Dr. Bandaranayake is also a relation of the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga. The appointment will be announced officially soon. He will take charge when Mr Mangala Moonesinghe, the present high commissioner to New Delhi, leaves in June for his next assignment in London. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:28:53 EDT 2000

Tiger tales - An Editorial
National Post, May 31. Perhaps, when Mr. Martin agreed to attend the dinner, he was unaware of FACT's terrorist links. That would have been a fair excuse, but Mr. Martin did not use it and instead sprang to FACT's defence. It is an odd thing to do, given the mounting evidence of alarming activity here in Canada by the Tamil Tigers' supporters. The National Post published an astonishing photograph yesterday in which Tiger supporters, dressed in camouflage uniforms and carrying mock rifles, were shown raising funds in a Toronto school building. Does Mr. Martin regard this as an acceptable cultural activity too?Last year alone they raised an estimated $22-million here. And according to Canada's Federal Court, people who raise funds for terrorists "bear the same guilt and responsibility as those who carry out terrorist acts." More..
Published: Wed May 31 13:56:44 EDT 2000

LTTE attempts daring attack on Army in Chemmani
India-Today, May 31. In a daring attack, the LTTE used Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) at the Army's forward defence localities in Chemmani, while troops destroyed a terrorist bunker in Chavakachcheri killing seven rebels. More...
Published: Wed May 31 11:53:54 EDT 2000

Finance minister dismisses link to Tamil terrorists
Toronto Star, May 31. Finance Minister Paul Martin slammed the Canadian Alliance on Tuesday for claiming a group he has links with is raising money for Tamil terrorists.During Question Period, Alliance MP Ted White reminded the Commons that Martin attended a dinner in early May sponsored by the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils.White said the government should be investigating the federation for alleged terrorist links rather than attending its events. More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:15:05 EDT 2000

Martin comes to Tamils' defence
Toronto Sun, May 31. Finance Minister Paul Martin accused the Canadian Alliance of being "anti-Canadian" by condemning decent, hard-working Tamils living in Toronto.The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and the U.S. State Department say FACT has links to the Tamil Tigers, a separatist rebel group responsible for the deaths of civilians and politicians in its war to win an independent ethnic state."He's trying to print a racist label on us when he can't," said White. "He's the one who made a mistake here. He's been caught donating taxpayers' money, basically, to a front for terrorists." More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:09:49 EDT 2000

Needed, a firm stand - An Editorial
Chennaionline, May 31. One remembers watching a classified film soon after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination showing Vaiko, or Y Gopalaswamy as he was known then, striding through the jungles of Jaffna for an assignation with the LTTE leader, V Prabhakaran (the meeting was before the assassination.Apart from what the politicians feel, public opinion on the matter is getting increasingly agitated. The LTTE might be a banned organisation in India, but Chennai is witnessing rallies in support of the Tigers. More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:04:14 EDT 2000

Veerappan to allies: Don’t back LTTE
Chennaionline, May 31. MGR Kazhagam, an ally of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), today appealed to the MDMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), not to espouse the cause of the LTTE in the present ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka as it would harm India and the alliance in Tamil Nadu. Addressing a press conference party president R M Veerappan said with the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly approaching, opposition parties in the state were already trying to gain political mileage out of the stand being expressed by the MDMK and the PMK on the Lankan issue. They were diverting the people's attention from the objective of protecting the interests of the Tamils in the island nation. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:58:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka bans air conditioners to avert blackout
Orientation-afp, May 31. Sri Lanka has banned the use of air conditioners in a desperate bid to conserve hydro-electricity amid a lack of rain in catchment areas of hydro-electricity reservoirs, officials said Wednesday. The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said it would be an offence to use electricity from the national grid for air conditioners, lighting in shop windows, advertising sign boards and flood lights. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:49:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka battles identity crisis of war victims
Orientation-afp, May 31. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asked field commanders to make it compulsory for soldiers to wear dog tags to ensure the identification of those killed or seriously wounded in battle.Kumaratunga, who is also the commander in chief of armed forces, said that bodies of soldiers were sometimes disposed of without adequate identification because most troopers did not wear identification tags."This has caused severe psychological scars to the members of the family particularly when there is no possibility of definite identification," the government said in a statement. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:48:20 EDT 2000

Pro-Eelam groups protest Gill's Colombo mission
Times of India, May 31. Pro-Eelam organisations in Tamil Nadu are incensed over retired Indian police officer K P S Gill's new role as a security adviser to the Sri Lankan government.Activists of the Ulaga Tamizhaga Peravai (World Tamil Federation), an umbrella organisation of pro-Eelam Tamil groups in India and Sri Lanka, demonstrated before Central government offices here on Monday calling for cancellation of Gill's Lanka mission, without knowing that the celebrated police officer was already back in India after his first visit to Colombo. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:26:09 EDT 2000

Russian tug-ship detained by Lankan warship
TASS, May31. The Russian Embassy in Sri Lanka is looking into circumstances of the detention of the Russian tug-ship Lazurit in neutral waters by a Lankan warship. Russian charge d'affaires in Sri Lanka Sergei Gavrikov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday that the incident occured a week ago, but the tug-ship's crew had not asked the Russian Embassy in Colombo for help thus far. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has not notified the Russian embassy of the Lazurit's detention. Local media are also silent on the incident. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:24:08 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's deep scars
Boston Globe, May 31. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Roshi, a 31-year-old businesswoman, recalls driving along a highway some years ago and noticing two bodies necklaced with flaming tires, burning at the side of the road. Accustomed to violence after years of ethnic warfare, she wove her account matter-of-factly into the conversation. But minutes later, she turned to a friend and remarked sadly:

''Can you imagine what our friends in England and America would think of this? To us, that was just normal. What has happened to us?'' More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:21:32 EDT 2000

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka at stalemate.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 16:57 Wednesday.. Fighting in northern Sri Lanka between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at stalemate with both factions holding their positions.

Military officials said that no heavy fighting was reported from the northern war theatre, but two naval men were killed on late Tuesday night when artillery shells fired by the Tamil Tiger rebels fell into a navy bunker-line at Kankesanthurai, a government's sea port in northern Sri Lanka.

"It's look like calm before storm", a military source said in Colombo. The fighting was at stalemate amid speculations that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was moving his cadres to the war theatre from Wanni.

On Tuesday, government said that its army launched two-pronged attacks in several areas under control by the Tamil Tigers and in the operation at least 100 rebels were killed, but independent sources said that the figure was very much lower, since the army succeeded only a little due to heavy counter offensive actions by the rebels.

Meanwhile, the "city of Trinco", a passenger service inaugurated this month to ferry internally displaced people between Trincomalee and Jafna peninsula arrived at the eastern port city today carrying 250 refugees.

The refugees told local a journalist at Trincomalee that conditions in Jaffna is worst and hundreds of civilians were suffering without adequate food and shelter.

The United States under state secretary of political affairs Thomas Pickering during his visit to Colombo a few a days ago voiced serious concern over the plight of civilians in Jaffna peninsula and urged the government and the LTTE to return to the negotiating tables immediately before a major "human tragedy" occurs.

"We are very much concerned over the civilians in the area", he told a selected group of journalists before flying out of Sri Lanka that had been torn due to 18 years of bloody war.
Published: Wed May 31 07:24:21 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Troops Kill 26 Rebels
By DILIP GANGULY,Associated Press Writer, 06:38 SLT COLOMBO, 31. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lankan commandos retaliated after a Tamil Tiger attack and soldiers raided rebel hide-outs, killing 26 rebels in separate fighting today, the government said.

Meanwhile, the government admitted for the first time today that the war against Tamil rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula has forced more than 8,000 people out of their homes.

The commando assault in Ampara, 125 miles east of Colombo, came after rebels attacked a police camp with mortars, state-run radio said. The radio reported 18 rebels killed, including 14 women. More...
Published: Wed May 31 07:20:55 EDT 2000

Coca-Cola Sri Lanka 3-month loss eases
Reuters, SLT COLOMBO, 31. COLOMBO, May 31 (Reuters) - Three months to March 31. (in millions of rupees unless stated) More...
Published: Wed May 31 07:04:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops seize Tamil Tiger weapons cache
AFP, SLT May 31. COLOMBO,Sri Lankan troops seized a large haul of weapons left behind by fleeing Tamil Tiger rebels, the official Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) said Wednesday.

The SMIC said in a statement the haul included assault rifles, machine guns and 81mm mortar which were captured in Ariyalai and Chavakachcheri on the Jaffna peninsula on the island's northern tip.

On Tuesday the government declared that a major Tamil rebel offensive in Jaffna had been stopped but fighting had left more than 100 combatants dead on both sides. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:34:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says its troops beat back rebels in Jaffna
Reuters, SLT May 31. COLOMBO, May 31 (Reuters) - Lankan troops beat back an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the government said.

A government statement said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) rebels had mounted an attack using rocket propelled grenades on army positions in the Chemmani area, close to Jaffna city, but were forced to withdraw when the troops retaliated. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:23:13 EDT 2000

Attack on CWE outlet
SL Government, SLT May 31. Terrorists attacked the forward defended localities in Chemmani area with rocket propelled grenades. Troops retaliated effectively causing terrorists to withdraw. Troops did not suffer any casualties.

A Security Forces fighting patrol operating ahead of the defences in Colombothurai area confronted a group of terrorists. Two terrorists were killed and two others were wounded. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:16:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka: under siege but intact
SLT WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 2000. Robert Marquand,Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor,

When Tamil Tiger separatists stampeded a Sri Lankan stronghold called Elephant Pass on April 21, most experts wrote the epitaph for the unity of Sri Lanka and its Army. Armed with rocket launchers, 5,000 Tiger soldiers overwhelmed 40,000 Sri Lankan troops and in three days took a position the Army had captured only after 17 painful months.

It seemed only days or hours before the ferocious LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the most feared and efficient guerrilla groups in the world, would roll into Jaffna city. Located near the tip of Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority northern peninsula, Jaffna is considered by Tamils to be the mythic capital of a greatly desired independent Tamil homeland, or "Eelam."

Yet in the past two weeks, the Sri Lankan Army has begun to do what no one expected: They have started to fight back.

Journalists are barred from the fighting areas, but reliable sources report that the military has been rearming. It's using satellite imagery provided by the West to detect guerrilla positions, and it has stalled the Tigers' three-pronged attack in northern Sri Lanka. Early in the week the Army had, at least temporarily, driven the guerrillas from Chavakachcheri, a key city.

Published: Wed May 31 04:52:01 EDT 2000

Norway as peacemaker
SLT WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 2000. You find Norwegians in the most unlikely places. In Sri Lanka, for example, a Norwegian deputy foreign minister is leading efforts to bring the government and Tamil rebels to the negotiating table (related story, page 6).

In Colombia, a Norwegian United Nations official is seeking to cement peace between the Army and Marxist guerrillas.

In Ethiopia and Eritrea, Norwegian church workers are fostering talks between religious leaders on both sides of the war.

"Everywhere there is a crisis, there seems to be a Norwegian," says Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Ever since Norway helped broker the Oslo peace accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993, the Norwegian government has been inundated with requests to help solve conflicts, from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from Cyprus to Guatemala. And wherever it gets involved, Oslo has practiced its unique brand of diplomacy, blending official overtures with freelance initiatives by ambitious private citizens in a way no other country has dared.

Published: Wed May 31 04:44:29 EDT 2000

Taking refuge in Tamil Nadu
BBC, Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK. Every morning, scores of women and men huddle near the highway outside the Mandapam transit camp for refugees in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They wait for labour contractors to take them to construction sites, warehouses and coconut plantations, where they will gladly work for half the local wage. That is because these Sri Lankan Tamils are the poorest of the poor. Here, they may be safe from the bombs and bullets of the war between the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan forces, barely 100km away. More...
Published: Wed May 31 02:38:49 EDT 2000

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