The Lanka Academic

JUNE 2, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 58

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Press council attacks lesbianism
BBC, June 2. Sri Lanka's Press Council has come out in support of a letter in a newspaper, urging that convicted rapists should be unleashed on lesbians. The Council said the letter, in the Island newspaper, was published in the interest of the community. It also imposed a fine of $28 on the man who brought the complaint, Sherman de Rose. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 22:39:04 EDT 2000

Over a lakh displaced in Jaffna in Lankan conflict
NDTV, June 3. In the bloody war in Sri Lanka, what's often forgotten is a huge human crisis--a crisis that's been buried under the daily reports on military successes and defeats. More than 1,20,000 people have been driven out of their homes in the Jaffna peninsula because of the fighting between the LTTE and Sri Lankan Army. They have nowhere to go because the peninsula is completely sealed off from the rest of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.

Leela and her family are from Ariyali, on the outskirts of Jaffna city and one of worst areas of fighting. Now, in the humid heat of summer, they live in a school building in Kokuvil, west of Jaffna. "We are all suffering because of the war. All of us--husbands, brothers and wives. We want a peaceful solution. Sons without fathers, mothers without sons. I too have lost a son.We want peace. We do not want war, we want peace." These are the desperate voices of the Tamils of Jaffna--voices that are heard again and again. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 21:47:34 EDT 2000

Karunanidhi denies permission for rally in support of LTTE
NDTV, June 3. It is a decision that could mean trouble between the DMK and its ally in Tamil Nadu, the MDMK. The Karunaidhi government in the state has not given permission to the MDMK to hold a rally in support of a separate state of Eelam in Sri Lanka. However, the MDMK has so far not reacted to this decision. Placards are being prepared for the MDMK's rally in support of Eelam for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Even as preparations for the rally continue in full swing, opposition parties have demanded that permission be denied to the MDMK for holding the rally. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 21:43:31 EDT 2000

Obit- U.S. Buddhism Leader Havanpola Ratanasara Dies
LA Times , June 2. The Venerable Havanpola Ratanasara, a monk who strove to build an American style of Buddhism and led Buddhists, Catholics and other denominations in interfaith dialogues, has died. At 80, Ratanasara was believed to be the oldest Buddhist monk in Southern California. He suffered from diabetes and heart problems and died in his sleep last Friday surrounded by monks in his apartment at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles.Ratanasara was a native of Sri Lanka who immigrated to the United States in 1980 and became a U.S. citizen. After undergraduate work in Sri Lanka, he earned a master's degree at Columbia University and a PhD in education at the University of London. In addition to holding university positions in Sri Lanka, he was a United Nations delegate for that country in 1957. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 21:38:51 EDT 2000

Indian armed forces and Sri Lanka
Hindu, June 3. Grappling with the complexity of the Sri Lankan situation, a section of the security establishment outside the armed forces is of the view that any Indian initiative in Sri Lanka must have the LTTE on board. Not surprisingly, a message has been sent to the Tigers ``loud and clear'' that creation of a Tamil Eelam is out of the question, but genuine autonomy which met Tamil aspirations could always be considered. Given the LTTE's rigid hierarchy, reaching out to the LTTE supremo V.Prabhakaran is becoming inevitable. The message which may have to be delivered to Prabhakaran is that he has a chance to emerge a ``statesman'' if he accepts the demand for ``seamless autonomy'' within the ambit of a united Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 21:29:57 EDT 2000

LTTE spreads message via Web
Asian Age, June 3. The Internet and the Tamil diaspora have emerged as key weapons for the Tamil Tigers in their war against Colombo. The World Wide Web has helped the Tigers to mobilise support in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, which now stretches from Canada to Australia.The only way we can return to our land and families is with the creation of Eelam. Ours is a very close-knit community and we do our bit to help the LTTE in whatever way we can,” said a leading light of the Tamil community in Britain, who did not wish to be identified.“Sixty per cent of the Tamils live peacefully side-by-side with Sinhalese, Muslims and others in Sri Lanka. The 150,000 Tamils in Canada or the 100,000 Tamils in Australia are keen to keep this war going because its in their interest. Most of these people do not plan to go back even if there is an Eelam,” said Dr Samarasingha president of the International Federation of Sri Lankans. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 21:25:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka focuses on a political solution
Asian Age, June 3. The recent military debacles in the north and the involvement of Norway as a facilitator to bring the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the negotiating table and international pressure, including from India and the United States, have added a new urgency for the government and the UNP to arrive at a consensus

Published: Fri Jun 2 21:20:19 EDT 2000

Colombo boosts troops' morale
Star Online, June 3. A shake-up in Sri Lanka's field commanders and new weapons have boosted morale and reversed the "withdrawal mentality'' of 30,000 troops defending the key northern town of Jaffna, a senior minister said.n remarks published yesterday, Energy Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte admitted that soldiers in the northern peninsula of Jaffna had been trying to withdraw in the face of heavy Tamil rebel attacks until he flew there on May 18.I noticed that the morale was low and they were also suffering from a withdrawal syndrome,'' he said in an interview published in the state media yesterday. "They were drawing lines behind the front line so that they could withdraw,'' Ratwatte said. "I told them, in future there will be no drawing lines behind you. "You only go forward,'' he added. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 20:48:51 EDT 2000

‘Confederation’ move divides Sri Lankans on ethnic lines
Hindustan Times, June 3. THE SRI Lankans are divided on ethnic lines over an American suggestion to replace the present unitary Sri Lanka by a “loose confederation” comprising two autonomous units, one a predominantly Tamil unit and the other a predominantly Sinhala unit, to bring an end to the war and the ethnic conflict.“Confederation is not possible at all. Confederations have been tried out before and have never worked. Libya and Egypt broke off. So did Malaya and Singapore,” argued Mr Tilak Karunaratne of the Sinhala Urumaya.But Tamil analysts think that a confederation is not only a good idea but practicable too. According to Mr Kethesh Loganathan of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a system of substantial devolution to the Tamil North East coupled with a significant minority representation with veto power in a bicameral legislature at the Centre, may be described as a loose confederation.The idea of a confederation was thrown up by a former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ms Teresita Schaffer, in an article in the latest issue of the South Asia Monitor, a publication of the Washington think-tank, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 20:29:40 EDT 2000

India ready for role in Lanka, says Jaswant:
Rediff, June 2. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh reiterated Friday that New Delhi was prepared to evacuate embattled Sri Lankan troops pinned down in the northern Jaffna peninsula, but only at Colombo's request. "We cannot independently assume the role in Sri Lanka," he said after a talk on security issues in Asia organised by the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore. "We have always said that the best result is if all aspirations of the people in Sri Lanka are fully met," added Singh, who arrived here Thursday for a two-day visit. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 20:21:16 EDT 2000

DMK in a fix over MDMK rally
Rediff, June 2. The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazagham is in a dilemma whether to grant permission to a Marumalarchi DMK rally on Monday on the Sri Lankan crisis. Both parties are partners in the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. A DMK politician said, "If we grant permission, we may be identified with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, since the MDMK is known for its soft corner for the outfit. If we refuse permission, we will be seen as anti-Tamil. Either way, it could hurt." The DMK is seen as the parent pan-Tamil party, but the changing voter mood, and Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, changed all that. Even last month, party supremo and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi openly welcomed the extension of the ban on the LTTE by the Centre. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 20:18:41 EDT 2000

Canadian funds back terrorism: CSIS chief
National Post, June 2. Canada's most senior intelligence officer is warning that the country faces serious problems unless it cracks down on terrorist groups and their supporters who are openly organizing and raising funds here to finance political violence abroad.

Ward Elcock, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said terrorist organizations such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are exploiting Canada's wealth to finance bloodshed around the world. "If you tolerate these activities, you can run into problems," he said.

"People think that the LTTE is or isn't a terrorist organization because they happen to like the goals or believe more in the goals, for any number of reasons.

In the House of Commons yesterday, the Liberals faced yet more questions about why two cabinet ministers, Paul Martin and Maria Minna, attended a $60-a-plate dinner last month for an organization that has been branded a front for the Tamil Tigers. But Monte Solberg, a Canadian Alliance MP, said a report published by CSIS called the organizers of the dinner, the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils, "one of the more active fronts for the Sri Lankan group, the Tamil Tigers," which assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian prime minister. "FACT is a fundraising organization for the Tamil Tigers, that's well-established," Mr. Solberg said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 19:56:12 EDT 2000

Lesbians are 'sadists' in Sri Lanka
IOL News, June 2. Sri Lanka's Press Council has ruled that lesbianism is an "act of sadism" and that a letter in a newspaper calling for convicted rapists to be unleashed on lesbians was published in the interest of the community. The council, in a ruling published on Friday, said that a gay rights activist, Sherman de Rose, who objected to a letter published in The Island newspaper had no standing in the case as he was a male.De Rose's Companions on a Journey gay rights movement complained to the Press Council that the letter published in August last year was promoting violence and hatred of lesbians. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 19:45:17 EDT 2000

UNP has nexus with LTTE, says Lanka minister
Deccan Herald, Colombo, June 2. In a devastating attack on the opposition United National Party at a time when the Chandrika Kumaratunga administration is seeking to reach a consensus with it on the devolution package, Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera has accused that party of having an unholy alliance with the LTTE and promoting a defeatist mentality at a critical period in the country`s history.

He said the need of the hour was to free the people from the LTTEs murder machine and it was the bounden duty of the UNP to extend unstinted cooperation to President Kumaratunga to usher in peace. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 19:34:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan cricket in new crisis
BBC, Friday, 2 June, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK. Sri Lankan cricket is in fresh crisis after the interim committee managing its board resigned after problems with sports authorities. It is the second time the committee have resigned en masse in four months - they wanted to go in February but were persuaded to stay until an audit report was completed. "We are concerned the authorities appear to be taking Sri Lankan cricket down the path of destruction," said interim chairman Rienzi Wijetilleke. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 19:30:22 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers raising funds in Phuket
Straits Times Interactive, June 2, 2000. Supporters of the Sri Lankan rebels have set up front companies on the Thai island to raise funds for buying weapons for their struggle. According to a Bangkok-based analyst, Sri Lankan Tamil businessmen have over the past year set up fishery, finance, and shipping companies in the southern Thai island as a cover for their activities. The Thai government said it was aware of the rebels' presence in Phuket and was monitoring their activities closely. Army commander General Surayud Chulanont was reported by the Bangkok Post this week as saying that the rebels had moved theiroperations from Myanmar to Phuket, apparently because of the Sri Lankan government's pressure on Yangon. He also denied allegations of the Thai military's involvement in arms shipments to the LTTE. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 17:26:21 EDT 2000

15 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees arrive
The Hindu, June 2 . 15 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees arrive Rameswaram, June 2. (UNI): Fifteen Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, including eight women and three children, arrived here from Jaffna yesterday. The refugees, who were ferried reportedly by the LTTE boat agents, landed on the shores near the Kothandaramar temple here. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:44:23 EDT 2000

TAMIL TIGERS: Mini submersible surfaces in southern shipyard; Discovery sinks rebel separatists' intrigue
Bangkok Post, Friday, June 2 2000. Thai authorities have stumbled on a half-built submersible thought to have been ordered for use by the Tamil Tigers at a shipyard in Phuket province. Well-informed government sources said yesterday the vessel, which is about 10m long, could accommodate 2-3 people. Found at a shipyard on Koh Si-lae, the submersible was of the same type the vessel Sri lankan government forces seized in Mullaitive City, southeast of Jaffna, the sources said. The shipyard was partly owned by a Tamil separatist sympathiser. It was possible the guerrillas had ordered the vessel for surprise raids or laying mines. The half-built vessel was not impounded. Its being built here was not a violation of Thai law, the sources said. However, the shipyard was now under close watch to prevent the submersible being being moved. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:44:04 EDT 2000

Indian fishermen `tortured' by Lanka navy
Times of India, June 3 . THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After nearly four months in captivity in Sri Lanka, seven of the 17 Indian fishermen returned home on Friday and alleged they were tortured by the Lankan navy leading to the death of a fisherman.The fishermen, who arrived here by an Indian Airlines flight, said they were "brutally tortured" by the Lankan navy due to which 38-year-old Raviraja from Madurai died. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:41:33 EDT 2000

Spotlight on devolution in Lanka
Times of India, June 3. A senior minister said it took an appeal by him to their sense of pride and the prospects of going back to their villages in shame to make the Sri Lankan soldiers stand and fight against marauding Tamil Tiger rebels in Jaffna peninsula and turn around a precarious military situation. Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte, who spent 12 days on the battlefront in the peninsula, said his talks with the soldiers and the infusion of new weapons helped stall the attempt by the LTTE to capture Jaffna town, their former bastion. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:36:11 EDT 2000

Red Cross asks Lankan Army to follow war rules
Times of India, June 3. The International Committee of the Red Cross has asked the Sri Lankan Army to follow the rules of combat during battles with the Tamil Tiger rebels. The ICRC's Sri Lanka chief, Isabelle Barras, met the chief of staff, Major-General Lionel Balagalle, on Thursday and handed over 20,000 booklets and 6,000 posters depicting basic rules for behavior in combat, spokesman Harsha Gunawardene said. The ICRC regularly meets with Tamil rebels and hold discussions on the same subjects with them, Gunawardene said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:33:08 EDT 2000

'India must support Tamils, not Lanka govt'
Rediff, June 2. Dr Krishnaswamy of the Puthiya Thamizhagam had been a very vocal supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He was from the pro-LTTE camp. But, when he spoke to Shobha Warrier, he tried a different line. "Let us not focus on any organisation. What is more important is the welfare of the people," he said. He suggested that we not differentiate between the people and any organisation fighting for their cause.

It was a difficult to pin him down, as he has been traveling from one district to another, holding meetings to garner support for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Excerpts from the interview: More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 16:15:44 EDT 2000

Hatares Square: Sri Lanka's most wanted last post
Yahoo-afp, June 2. At the last checkpost about 60 kilometres (36 miles) before Trincomolee on Sri Lanka's northeast coast, S.P. Somadasa sits in his squalid shop and weighs-up his options."Go or stay. We are frightened of the Tamils. We are really frightened if they come and capture us," he says on behalf of his wife and five children.One trooper says there are no Tigers here now, earning a scowl from his superior and laughs from the ranks. "Well maybe," he adds.Somadasa says he's not so sure. "The Tamils (Tigers) say they will come and that's their word."

Published: Fri Jun 2 16:01:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka ruling seen shelving phosphate mine
MSNBC-Reuters, June 2. Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a plan by a U.S.-Japanese consortium to mine a phosphate deposit in the country's north-central province threatened to violate the rights of local residents. The head of an environmental group which funded a legal challenge by seven residents of the Eppawela area where the deposit is located, said the court ruling effectively shelved plans by the consortium to open a mine to produce diammonium phosphate, a high-quality fertiliser, for export. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 15:58:17 EDT 2000

Who Speaks for Peace?
JUNE 5, 2000. As the brutal leader of the Tigers silences all critics, Sri Lanka's moderate Tamils find they have no voice. Sporting an honorific normally accorded to parliamentarians and judges, "The Hon." Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the world's most successful terrorist group, has emerged from the seclusion of the Sri Lankan jungle and onto the Internet. As his Tamil Tiger insurgents tighten their grip around Jaffna town, Prabhakaran, supreme leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is taking his struggle online.

Published: Fri Jun 2 14:39:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Jaffna's Curfew Relaxed, Schools Reopen - Govt
Yahoo-ap, June 2. Sri Lanka's military Friday reduced curfew hours in the northern city of Jaffna to allow schools to reopen after four weeks of war raging on the city's outskirts, a government spokesman said. "The reopening of the schools is the first definite sign that things are really improving up there," said Ariya Rubasinghe, the chief government spokesman and censor. His comments couldn't be verified because journalists are forbidden in Jaffna and the government censors all reports about the war situation.

Published: Fri Jun 2 14:21:19 EDT 2000

Lankans protest spiralling prices
ChennaiOnline, June 2. Public protest in Sri Lanka is mounting over the hike in LPG prices and electricity and telecom rates. The authorities are hard put to explain why these increases had to be imposed. The people, recovering from the hikes announced on Thursday, were in for another blow – a hike in water rates. A 12.5 kg domestic gas cylinder now costs Rs 470 as against Rs 365 earlier (30 per cent). Electricity charges went up by five to 10 per cent. The Sri Lankan telecom has also announced an upward revision of its rates in both local and international calls.

Published: Fri Jun 2 13:53:58 EDT 2000

CM asks Vaiko to desist from rally
ChennaiOnline, June 2. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asked MDMK leader Vaiko to desist from conducting the controversial rally in support of the LTTE on June 5. "It would be better if he did not hold this rally as it appears to be a controversial subject," he said and asked Vaiko to treat it as "his birthday message." The CM celebrates his 77th birthday tomorrrow. The problem is that two Tamil Nadu parties, MDMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi, have both been making strident noises in support of the LTTE, an outfit that has been banned in India and one that is guilty of murdering a former prime minister.

Published: Fri Jun 2 11:49:40 EDT 2000

Money, guns and bombs: Washington frets for India in Sri Lanka
Yahoo-afp, June 2. Washington's rejection of Tiger Tamil claims for an independent homeland in Sri Lanka stem more from trade ties with India than concern for the country's future, analysts said Friday. But they that added with four billion dollars of deals signed between Indian and US business interests in March, it was only natural for Washington to act out of self-interest.Prabhakarana, who deploys guerrilla tactics and has reared a squad of suicide bombers, has also claimed one third of Sri Lanka's land and two thirds of the country's entire coastline as Eelam.Prabhakaran is not fighting to be a provincial chief. He is fighting to be prime minister of Eelam and he won't budge," the analyst said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 10:13:07 EDT 2000

15 LTTE rebels killed in renewed fighting
Hindu, June 2. Fifteen Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem (LTTE) rebels have been killed in renewed fighting in Chavakachcheri in northern Jaffna even as security forces in the area came under heavy mortar fire from the LTTE.The spokesman said the LTTE had forced 10,000 civilians in eastern Batticaloa to vacate their houses to launch an attack at the Vavunativu Army camp a few days ago. However, the LTTE could not achieve their aim as troops stood ground courageously amidst the LTTE mortar fire. Due to pressure from the displaced civilians for disrupting their normality, the LTTE is reported to have withdrawn most of their cadres and mortars.

Published: Fri Jun 2 09:25:47 EDT 2000

The Balancing Factor
Outlook , June 2. The LTTE has given sufficient hint through Norwegians that it would observe total cease-fire to facilitate evacuation of the Sri Lankan soldiers. But an LTTE source in Paris also made it clear that the organisation would permit soldiers to leave the peninsula only with their personal belongings and there was no question of removing arms, ammunitions and military hardware from Jaffna. "We accept that rescuing soldiers is an humanitarian aid. But the movement of tanks, artillery guns and rocket launchers, by no stretch of imagination, can be construed as humanitarian aid," the source observed. T More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 09:05:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Claims Rebel Reversals
Yahoo-AP, June 2. Using newly acquired weapons including Israeli warplanes, Sri Lanka's military halted the Tamil rebels one mile from Jaffna, the government said Thursday.It said the government forces were gaining the upper hand and had killed three guerrillas in a clash near Sarasalai, a village in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, where fighting was raging.Small groups of Tamil Tiger rebels came as close as one mile from the city center, but they were driven back, the military said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 08:55:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Jan-Apr 2000 trade gap up sharply
Reuters, 3:30 SLT Friday June 2 . COLOMBO, June 2 (Reuters) - A sharp rise in imports saw Sri Lanka's trade gap in the first four months of this year widening to a provisional $746.5 million against $410.1 million a year earlier, the Central Bank said on Friday. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 07:06:41 EDT 2000

Star wars over battle for Jaffna
India Today,By L.R. Jagadheesan, SLT Friday June 2. Star wars over battle for Jaffna While the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE guerillas are fighting a fierce battle in the jungles of Jaffna, their well-wishers are busy seeking divine aid in India. Interestingly, both sides have got positive predictions for themselves from two different Indian astrologers. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 06:10:56 EDT 2000

Troops, Rebels Clash in Sri Lanka's Jaffna
Reuters, 2.20 p.m. SLT Friday June 2. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan troops exchanged mortar fire Friday in the country's far northern Jaffna peninsula, a government statement said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 05:42:46 EDT 2000

Cricket-Itinerary for Pakistan, Safrica teams in Sri Lanka
Reuters, SLT Friday June 2. COLOMBO, June 2 (Reuters) - Final schedule for Pakistan's tour to Sri Lanka and the triangular series involving South Africa. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 05:37:27 EDT 2000

Cricket-Sri Lanka interim board resigns ahead of elections
Reuters, SLT Friday June 2. COLOMBO, June 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan cricket plunged into a fresh crisis on Friday as the interim committee managing the board resigned after new frictions with the sports authorities, days before elections are to be held for new officials. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 05:33:27 EDT 2000

India rules out U.N. role in Sri Lanka
Reuters, Friday June 2. SINGAPORE, June 2 (Reuters) - Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh on Friday ruled out a role for the United Nations in war-torn Sri Lanka and reiterated that New Delhi would only get involved in the conflict there if asked by Colombo. ``I personally do not see a role for the United Nations as such,'' Singh said at a question-and-answer session after a speech on India and regional security in Singapore. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 05:31:29 EDT 2000

Soldiers in withdrawal syndrome, says Lanka
Asian Age/PTI/UNI, Colombo, June 1. The Sri Lankan government has said that a series of military setbacks against the LTTE, coupled with the “acquisition of a high degree” of firepower by the rebels, have caused mental depression among Lankan soldiers, forcing them to slip into withdrawal syndrome.

Gen. Ratwatte said he noticed that mental depression was prevalent among certain sections of soldiers, adding that another reason for the withdrawal syndrome among the soldiers was the setback they had suffered in northern Vanni last November. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 02:27:41 EDT 2000

IT visas get German Cabinet's okay
The Straits Times, June 2, 2000. The German Cabinet has approved a controversial plan to offer up to 20,000 visas to foreign computer experts, to boost its software industry. The Chancellor revealed that 10,000 five-year visas, so-called green cards, for foreign computer-experts and their families would be offered, with the number to rise to 20,000 if necessary. He said the visa's five-year period could be extended.

He said this need was true for other countries too, such as the United States, whose economic boom of the last decade he largely attributed to settlers arriving from abroad. More...
Published: Fri Jun 2 02:01:18 EDT 2000

US think tank moots confederal Sri Lanka
Daccan Herald/PTI, Washington, June 1. Well-known US-based think tank, 'South Asia Monitor` has suggested a confederal Sri Lanka as a way out to bring peace to the island in the ongoing crisis. ''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 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: Fri Jun 2 01:56:10 EDT 2000

Lanka to hold talks with India soon: Kadirgamar
India Today, June 1, 2000. Sri Lanka will start talks with India "very soon" to explore the possibility of involving New Delhi in negotiations with LTTE to find an amicable solution to the ethnic conflict in Jaffna peninsula. "The LTTE track record is not very good. In respect of the settlement, this (enforcement) is very big question. How far India wishes to go and the position India like to be in. The extent of the India involvement should be decided by India itself, the parameters and implications," he said. More... [Watch in Hindi]
Published: Fri Jun 2 01:42:14 EDT 2000

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

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