The Lanka Academic

JULY 24, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 110

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Lakdiva. The resplendent and ever beautiful isle we know as Sri Lanka has a rich historical record. The Divapvamsa an Pali chronical in verse was compiled in 4th century A.D. It was the source for the Mahavamsa composed by a Buddhist monk at the Maha Vihara in Anuradhapura around the 6th century A.D. The Pali text of the epic is available today in the form of a commentary written from about the 12th century A.D which continued the record in the Culavamsa till 1815 on Ola manuscripts. We felt there was an urgent need to post on the world wide web a more detailed history of ancient Lanka. It is useful to select a more readable modern text than the original Mahavamsa but an interpretation old enough to be unbiased by the unfortunate turmoil of the recent past. We have selected the Short history of Ceylon by H. W. Codrington, B.A. (Oxon.) F.R.N.S. of the Ceylon Civil Service published in 1929 since it gives the history till 1833 in about 50,000 words. This E-book was translated to HTML by Rhajiv Ratnatunga in the summer of 2000. More...
Information Bulletin No 23, The University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR). Elephant Pass fell to the LTTE on 21st April 2000 and there followed a month of grave anxiety when the fall of the entire Jaffna peninsula seemed imminent. The January-February issue of 'Liberation Tigers' published in the Vanni asked in its lead item, 'What is Next? War or Peace!' It had a picture of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran pointing at Jaffna on a map of Tamil Eelam with his left forefinger. Beneath it was the verse, "Where Sooriya Thevan (Sun God) points with his finger, thither the sun rays will hasten, to enfold Thamil Eelam in the brightness of his glory!" There was a far greater tragedy that lay unseen and was carefully suppressed. The sunrays that do the Sun God's bidding are today mainly children, often 14 or 15 years old, and increasingly girls. More...
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Sihala Urumaya threatens mass stir against reforms
Hindu, July 25. The Sinhala nationalist group, Sihala Urumaya, today described the proposed constitutional reforms as a ``dark conspiracy'' by the ruling party and the main Opposition, and accusing the Government of plotting to ``sneak'' it into Parliament, threatened a ``mass agitiation'' against it. The president of the recently-formed group, Mr. S. L. Gunasekera, said the Constitution was the basic law of the country that directly affected the lives of people, so every citizen had a right to inspect and debate proposed changes. But, the People's Alliance (PA) and the United National Party (UNP) had kept their recent agreement on the new draft Constitution a secret from the Sinhalese majority so that it could be presented as a ``fait accompli'', he said at a news conference. ``Like a thief sneaking into a house, they want to sneak the basic law of the country into Parliament in the manner of a burglar, rush it through, and present the allegedly sovereign people with a fait accompli.'' More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 16:47:27 EDT 2000

Politicians claim citizenship pact for 2 lakh Tamils
TOI, July 25. Leaders representing Tamils of Indian origin in Sri Lankan on Monday claimed that President Chandrika Kumaratunga has agreed to grant citizenship to over two lakh stateless tea estate labourers, even as a Sinhalese party threatened to launch agitation against the move. R Yogarajan, MP, of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the main trade union and the political party representing over six lakh Indian tea estate labourers, said Chandrika has agreed to include a provision to grant citizenship to over two lakh workers in the draft new Constitution currently being finalised in consensus with the major political parties. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 18:39:39 EDT 2000

China to Assist Sri Lanka in Paddy Cultivation
Northanlight, Monday July 24, 16:51:20. COLOMBO (July 24) XINHUA - The Chinese government will soon send four agricultural scientists to Sri Lanka to assist the island in paddy cultivation, a Chinese diplomat said here Monday.Rice is Sri Lanka's staple diet. However, the country has not been self-sufficient in rice except for a brief period in the 1980s. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 16:59:41 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's tourism minister dies
123India, July 24. Sri Lanka's Aviation and Tourism Minister, Dharmasiri Senanayake, died here Monday following a massive heart attack, a family friend said. Senanayake took ill over the weekend and was rushed to a private hospital where here died Monday after doctors attempted a bypass surgery. He was 67.The bachelor minister was also the powerful general secretary of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the ruling people's Alliance coalition. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 13:57:27 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Minister dead  - Hindu
Unconfirmed report  - SLBC

A consensus in Sri Lanka
Frontline, July 24. The main political formations of Sri Lanka have reached a historic consensus on a new constitutional document. But its passage in Parliament depends on the Tamil parties and the resolution of some outstanding issues raised by the United National Party.IT was by far the single most important development in the political history of Sri Lanka since the Liam Fox Agreement of 1997. But whereas the Fox agreement was an abstract promise of bipartisan cooperation in the unpredictable future, the June 30 agree ment between the ruling People's Alliance (P.A.) coalition and the Opposition United National Party (UNP) is more concrete and has yielded a document that could, with some alterations, be soon adopted as country's new Constitution. The proposals for cons titutional reforms that have been agreed upon include a broad framework for the devolution of powers to the Tamil-dominated northeastern Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:45:02 EDT 2000

Tight security on Tamil riots anniversary
TOI, july 24. Sri Lankans on Sunday marked the 17th anniversary of a massacre of minority Tamils amid tight security and prayers for peace. Human rights groups say that more than 3,000 Tamils were killed in July 1983 by members of the majority Sinhalese community. Sinhalese mobs also looted Tamil homes and businesses.The week of violence, starting July 23, was spurred by an ambush of 13 government soldiers by a fledgling Tamil rebel group in the north. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 19:51:38 EDT 2000

Ranatunga makes bid to enter politics, say party officials
123India, July 24. Sri Lanka's former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, who is due to retire from international cricket shortly, has held talks about joining a new right-wing party and contesting parliamentary polls, officials said Monday. The Sihala Urumaya, or Sinhalese Heritage party, said it had discussions with Ranatunga, 36, about the possibility of his joining the party and running in elections due before November 9.Party general secretary Tilak Karunaratne described Ranatunga as a "like-minded" personality and said the party was waiting to warmly welcome the cricket hero who led the country to World Cup victory in 1996. "He is a great man who stood for the rights of his fellow Tamil cricketer (Muttiah Muralitharan) when he was wrongly called for throwing by an Australian umpire," Karunaratne said. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:28:19 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Ranatunga's retirement gets politicians in a spin  - Yahoo-afp
Ranatunga calls it quits after sharp rise is followed by sharper fall  - Yahoo-afp

Sri Lanka party slams granting citizenship to Indian Tamils
123India, july 24. Sri Lanka's ruling party was accused of vote-buying here Monday over reported plans to grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Indian Tamils before forthcoming elections. The fledgling right-wing Sihala Urumya, or Sinhalese heritage party, said President Chandrika Kumaratunga was preparing to "This is the only country in the world where citizenship is offered to buy votes," Sihala Urumaya President S. L. Gunasekara said, adding that the move was against a bilateral pact with India.Kumaratunga's mother, Sirima Bandaranaike, had entered into an agreement with India in the mid 1960s to repatriate "Tamils of recent Indian origin" who had been brought here as labour by the British colonial rulers. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 08:50:19 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Two lakh Tamils of Indian origin to get Lankan citizenship  - HT

Monks ask MPs to vote out devolution package
HT, july 24. THE MAHANAYAKES of Malwatte and Asgiriya, who together control 10,000 of the 15,000 Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, have written to Sinhala Buddhist MPs asking them to vote against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's devolution package which is likely to be presented in Parliament on August 24.Hearing of the monks' missive to the MPs, President Kumaratunga on Friday dispatched Constitutional Affairs Minister G L Peiris to talk to the two Mahanayakes at the monastries in Kandy. According to Mr Karunaratne, the Mahanayake of Malwatte, Ven.Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi Thero, did not even want to see Peiris. And when he did see the minister finally, he gave him "a dressing down". More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 20:08:40 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Buddhist monks oppose Chandrika's autonomy plan  - Times of India
All-Party Talks on New Constitution to Be Held in Sri Lanka  - XINHUA
TULF backs Govt dialogue with Buddhist monks  - HT
Lanka parties to discuss reforms package  - DECCAN HERALD
Chandrika calls meeting on draft constitution  - TOI
Talks on Sri Lankan reform plans  - BBC

Sri Lanka fighting kills another eight
123India, July 24. Sri Lankan troops gunned down at least seven Tamil Tiger rebels in fresh fighting in the island's north-east, the government said in a statement Monday. Government forces also lost one soldier killed and another wounded in a gun battle in the northern peninsula of Jaffna on Sunday, the Special Media Information centre said in a statement. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 08:51:48 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Fresh Sri Lanka fighting kills 12  - 123India
Fresh Sri Lanka fighting kills 11  - AFP

Consensus eludes Lanka devolution proposals
IndiaAbroad, July 24. Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga may find attempts to link opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe with Tamil Tiger rebels backfiring, with his refusal to attend talks with her on crucial peace proposals. Wikremesinghe stormed out of a meeting between his United National Party (UNP) and the ruling People's Alliance (PA) Friday to iron out last-minute snags in Kumaratunga's plan to end 17 years of ethnic warfare. He said he would not return till investigations into his alleged meeting with the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas in Singapore recently were completed. However, others in the UNP delegation were told by Wickremesinghe to stay on. "The opposition leader said it was unethical for him to be at the talks while he was being investigated by the police," a party official said. Kumaratunga is also faced with moderate Tamil political parties differing on a vital proposal to decide the future of the northeastern province where the LTTE has been battling to establish a separate state. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:35:25 EDT 2000

Government conflict over Sinhala award winning movie
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.15 p.m. SLT Monday July 24. A controversy has arisen over an award winning Sinhala film 'Pura Sanda Kaluwara' when the government took a sudden decision last week to ban the screening of the movie in Sri Lanka.

The decision was taken by Special Assignments Minister, Sarath Amunugama, who directed the National Film Corporation to not screen the movie which he states is in contravention of the present laws to protect the security situation in the country.

The Producer of the film, Prasanna Vithanage said the story is based on the sufferings of parents whose kith and kin are fighting the war against the LTTE in the North. Mr. Vithanage meanwhile is reported to be considering legal action against the NFC for complying with the government decision and agreeing to not exhibit the film.
Published: Mon Jul 24 07:27:01 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan leader leaves talks for London
VirtualNewYork, July 24. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga left Saturday on an unscheduled trip to London, leaving behind crucial talks between the government and other political parties to find a solution to the ethnic conflict.The visit comes close on the heels of statements by some British members of the European Parliament that the peace plan proposed by the government would not work out, and analysts said Kumaratunga probably would meet some senior leaders of the British government to explain her proposals. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:38:28 EDT 2000

Patients in Vanni suffering from Anaemia
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.05 p.m. SLT Monday July 24. Sources at the Vavuniya General Hospital said today that 1/3rd of over 250 patients admitted from areas in the Vanni are suffering from anaemia. Doctors say the patients who are suffering from deficiency in the number of red blood cells is a result of malnutrition.

Both doctors and workers of various aid organizations have repeatedly asserted that there is a serious lack of food, medical and other essential items reaching the civilian population in the Vanni which remains under LTTE control.
Published: Mon Jul 24 07:27:01 EDT 2000

Deputy Minister says LTTE must be consulted
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Monday July 24. Deputy Minister for Posts and Telecommunications M. L. M. Hisbullah is reported to have said that the government must consult the LTTE on proposed new constitutional reforms expected to be placed in Parliament by August this year.

Mr. Hisbullah made these comments last week, asserting that in order to achieve a lasting peace to the Island nations bloody ethnic war, the rebel force must be included in consultations.

Meanwhile while a consensus has been reached between the Peoples Alliance and the United National Party on several key provisions of the draft constitution, a coalition of civil society organizations and groups have expressed concern regarding the lack of transparency and openness in the constitution making process.

The Law & Society Trust and other civil rights groups say that the draft Constitution presented by the government in October 1997 has significant deficiencies relating to fundamental rights.

Therefore, the coalition of civil society groups stress that it is extremely important that this opportunity to strengthen the protection of human rights in Sri Lanka is not wasted. They have voiced concern that the final stages of the Constitution-making process are occurring behind closed doors.

The organizations claim that this lack of transparency and public participation has denied citizens the opportunity to learn about the current state of the draft Constitution and to register their concerns with their representatives.
Published: Mon Jul 24 07:27:01 EDT 2000

Pakistan opposes suggestion on Tamil secession in Sri Lanka
BuisnessRecorder, July 23. Sri Lanka's neighbours in the region, India and Pakistan, are opposed to secession of the Tamil into an independent country, the BBC reported on Saturday.The opposition comes after Sri Lanka voiced concern at a proposal that the United States considers a negotiated Tamil secession as a way to end the island's conflict.A spokesman for the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington said there could never be a negotiated secession for the Tamils, as the government would never enter into such discussions.The suggestion came in a private letter to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from Congressman Ben Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:35:21 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Tamil secession ruled out  - Jeffrey Phillips, BBC, in Washington DC
US should support all options including secession - Ben Gilman  - TamilNet

Panel seeks monitoring of bare-breasted maidens amid fungal fear
123India, July 23. Forensic experts have called for the monitoring of frescoes of bare-breasted maidens at a fifth century rock fortress in Sri Lanka following fears of a fungal attack, a press report said Sunday. A team of chemical experts as well as botanists who studied the reported fungi on the maidens of Sigiriya two months ago had said that the frescoes were free from fungus.However, the panel had recommended long-term monitoring to prevent any damage due possible growth of micro-organisms, the state-run Sunday Observer said. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:27:24 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka out to woo upmarket tourists
IndianExpress, July 23. Sandy beaches, lush green forests and a raging ethnic war. Undaunted, the 'emerald island' -- the erstwhile haven of cash-strapped backpackers -- is now desperately wooing wealthy asians and westerners,reports PTI. Despite the protracted separatist campaign in the Northern Jaffna peninsula, the 274 million dollar Sri Lankan tourism trade, continues to register the highest growth rate in tourist arrivals in South Asia.But gone are the days when Lankans rolled out the red carpet for western economy tourists who enjoyed the island's charms in as little as a dollar a day.Instead the captains of the Sri Lankan tourism industry are now planning a "theoretical shift in perception" to attract upmarket tourists by promoting 'theme tourism' that could double revenue in comiong years. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:52:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Buddhist leaders oppose political peace bid
123India, July 23. Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy formally rejected a political plan aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed as the peace process entered a critical stage, officials said Sunday. The senior-most High Priests appealed to all parliamentarians to defeat President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial plan which seeks to turn the country into a de facto federal state, officials sa id.After making the appeal the monks held a meeting with Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, G. L. Peiris, Saturday and registered their protest, the officials said. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:25:14 EDT 2000

Buddhist sects reject Lanka draft Constitution
TOI, July 23. In a hardening of stance, heads of two influential Buddhist sects in Sri Lanka have rejected President Chandrika Kumaratunga's new draft Constitution."We reject this draft Constitution in toto. We rejected the proposed Constitution from its inception and we continue to reject it," the newspaper quoted one of the priests as saying to minister for justice and constitutional affairs G.L. Peiris. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 13:42:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Buddhists reject draft Constitution  - Hindu
Lanka Oppn wants Buddhist clergy nod on peace plan  - TOI

Police probing Ranil's links with LTTE
IndiaAbroad, July 23. The Sri Lankan police have said they were not probing into alleged links between United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickramasinghe and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), even as a cabinet minister denounced attempts to discredit the opposition leader. A top police official told the local media that police wrongly detained a Colombo-based female relati1ve of an alleged LTTE leader in Singapore, whom the UNP leader reportedly met in June. He said a woman whom the police believed to be the wife of Gnanakoon, a Tamil businessman settled in Singapore, was detained briefly on Friday to inquire about Gnanakoon's business and political contact in Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Mon Jul 24 09:32:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan President on sudden overseas visit: report
AFP, July 23. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has gone abroad on an unannounced visit, a press report here said Sunday. However, there was no word from her office about the trip, which came amid crucial talks between Kumaratunga's ruling party and the main opposition in a bid to hammer out a political consensus on an ethnic peace plan. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 09:08:04 EDT 2000

Muralitharan inspires Sri Lanka to emphatic win
SouthNexus, July 23. Sri Lanka crushed South Africa by an innings and 15 runs in three and half days in the first cricket test to take the lead in the three match series on Sunday. It was South Africa's first ever loss to Sri Lanka and only their third innings defeat since returning to international cricket. South Africa's chief tormentor was off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who finished with match figures of 13 for 171 - the fourth 10-wicket haul of his career. Muralitharan's figures were the best against South Africa since Australian Clarrie Grimmett took 14 for 199 at Adelaide in 1931-32. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:42:35 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Flamboyant Sri Lankans make record total against South Africa  - Yahoo-afp
Sri Lanka 522 all out v South Africa, first test  - Yahoo
Muralitharan forces South Africa to follow-on  - AFP
Pictures from Galle- RSA vs Sri Lanka 1st Test  - Yahoo-ap etc..
South Africa slip towards defeat in first test  - 123India
Sri Lanka wrap up victory  - BBC
Magisterial Jayasuriya gives Sri Lanka early initiative  - Yahoo
Jayasuriya hammers 148 off 156 balls  - Hindu
Cricket-Sri Lanka v South Africa first test scoreboard  - yahoo
Jayasuriya hits form for Sri Lanka  - BBC

Air force jet crashes at Sri Lanka's only international airport
AFP, July 23. A Sri Lankan air force trainer jet crashed at the international airport here Sunday, but the pilot was rescued, officials said adding there were no other casualties. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 09:03:03 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Military flight crashes while landing.  - Roy Denish in Colombo

Sri Lanka constitution faces Tamil, Sinhala wrath
Reuters, Sunday July 23, 6:39:30. COLOMBO, July 23 (Reuters) - President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ambitious draft constitution, touted as the ultimate panacea to Sri Lanka's long ethnic war, seems doomed unless she can quickly pull together divergent public opinion. The constitutional reforms aims to devolve powers to the island's regions, including one administered by Tamils, in an effort to wean the minority away from Tamil Tiger rebels battling for a separate homeland in the north and east since 1983. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 06:47:32 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka blocks war movie seen as security threat
Reuters, Sunday July 23, 6:30:21. COLOMBO, July 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has stopped the screening of an internationally acclaimed Sinhala movie about the country's protracted ethnic war because of national security concerns, the movie's director said on Sunday. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 06:40:57 EDT 2000

10 percent of South Asians affected by heart disease: SAARC
123India, July 23. Heart disease has become a major problem in South Asian nations, an SAARC conference was told here Sunday. The conference was jointly organized by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Cardiac Society and the Cardiac Society of Nepal, and was opened by Queen Aishwarya Sunday state-run radio announced. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:31:07 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka considers Iran as a golden gate for CIS
IRNA, July 22. Sri Lankan minister of Trade, Commerce and Food, Hon Kingsley Wickramaratne here Saturday described the Islamic Republic of Iran as a golden gate for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)and stressed the use of facilities provided by Iran for access to Central Asian markets. Speaking at the opening session of the sixth Iran-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission meeting in Tehran, he voiced his country's readiness to cooperate with Iran to expand trade ties with the CIS. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 14:39:47 EDT 2000

Tigers and government troops brace for a massive show down in northern Sri Lanka.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 10: 55 Sunday.. Separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are making hectic arrangements to launch another massive onslaught against government troops based in northern Jaffna peninsula, reports said.

The Tamil Tigers, described as a ruthless terrorist organization by the west made appeals through its clandestine radio broadcast, the Voice of Tigers (VOT) to men and women in the north and east to join the movement to fight the government troops. The LTTE is fighting the government forces to create an independent homeland for minority Tamils.

The government, following the reports sent reinforcements to northern Sri Lanka to counter attack any moves by the Tamil Tigers. Military observers in commercial city of Colombo said that Tigers might launch a large scale offensive against the troops in a bid to weaken the PA government in the next general elections. For president Chandrika Kumaratunge the out come of the fight will decide her political future, the observers added.
Published: Sun Jul 23 01:54:19 EDT 2000

A government minister condemns moves to link opposition leader with LTTE.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 10: 47 Sunday.. A senior cabinet minister in Sri Lanka's ruling-PA government criticized his government for attempting to link, the opposition leader Ranil Wickrmasinghe with separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Ports and Shipping minister of the government and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader M.H.M.Ashraff told a local weekly newspaper that his government was acting in an "irresponsible" manner at a time when both parties were involved in a dialogue to reach a consensus in view of bringing a solution to the on going 17 years of bloody conflict.

The opposition leader Ranil Wickrmasinhe was accused by the state-run Daily News of holding a secret discussion with the LTTE in Singapore.

On Thursday, the opposition leader visibly shaken over the accusations walked out of a meeting with president Chandrika Kumaratunge demanding her government to hold an inquiry to clear his name. Both Kumaratunge and Wickrmasinghe were involved in a dialogue on constitutional reforms.

Ashraff told The Sunday Leader newspaper that accusations against Wickrmasinghe will "break down" the on going talks. Moderate Tamil political parties said that it was Ranil Wickrmasinghe who acted in an irresponsible manner by staging a walk out at a crucial juncture.
Published: Sun Jul 23 01:54:19 EDT 2000

Businessman demands Rs 100m from a Lake House newspaper.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 10: 45 Sunday.. A leading businessman in Sri Lanka on Friday sent letters of demand to a state-run newspaper after it ran articles allegedly defamatory of him.

The state-run newspaper, The Daily News said on Thursday that the businessman Malik Samarawickrema along with opposition party leader, Ranil Wickrmasinghe held discussions with a separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader in Singapore. Wickrmasinghe denied the claims by the Daily News. On Thursday he walked out of a meeting with president Chandrika Kumaratunge demanding an investigation to clear his name.

Samarawickrema has said that the article titled "Ranil's clandestine meeting with the Tiger leader in Singapore bared " was published on July 18 and in the said article his name was associated with the discussion that was chaired by Wickremasinghe.

Samarawickrema has further stated that the article is" false and is per se defamatory of him and also defamatory of him by innuendo in that it means and was understood to mean that he had associations with a proscribed terrorist organization".
Published: Sun Jul 23 01:54:19 EDT 2000

Action to be filed against the Sri Lankan national film corporation.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 10: 38 Sunday.. An international award winning Sinhala movie producer has directed his lawyers to file action against the national film corporation and a government minister after his movie was suddenly deferred from exhibition.

Prassana Vithangae, the producer of Pora Sanda Kaluwara (death on a full moon day) told the Lacnet on Friday that the movie was deferred from exhibition due to a directive by the special assignments minister Sarath Amunugama.

Amunugama has sent a letter to the corporation, directing them to defer the movie due to the prevailing security situation in the country. The movie script is based on the suffering of parents whose kith and kin are fighting the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Sri Lanka.

Vithange said that he believes his movie was suspended since the NFC is expected to release another movie depicting the mal practices and corruption carried out by the ministers during the former regime in a view to attract voters in the scheduled general elections in October this year.

A copy of the letter obtained by Lacnet stated that suspension ban would be lifted as soon as the security situation of the country improves. The movie was originally scheduled to be released on July 28, this year after the film was given approval by the NFC and censor board.

Vithange said, however he would screen the movie as scheduled on July 28 to the local media personnel at the Russian cultural center on July 28.
Published: Sun Jul 23 01:54:19 EDT 2000

Chandrika ready with new statute
Deccan Chronicle, July 23. Undaunted by walkout by the Opposition United National Party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe from talks on the new draft Constitution, Sri Lankan government on Saturday said it would submit the new Constitution in Parliament in the first week of August.Senior Cabinet Minister Batti Weerakoon was quoted in the State Radio as saying on Saturday that the new draft Constitution would be placed in Parliament in the first week of next month, before it was dissolved on August 24. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 08:59:03 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka offers concessions, opposition leader quits peace talks  - 123India
Political bickering hits Sri Lanka peace talks  - 123India
Opposition leader pulls out of peace talks  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Cracks surface in Sri Lanka peace talks as opposition leader quits  - 123India
Sri Lanka opposition leader pulls out of peace talks  - 123India
Opposition leader walks out of Lanka talks  - TOI

Pessimism Over Ending Sri Lanka War
Reuters, Saturday July 22, 16:29:24. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Minority Tamil and Muslim parties in Sri Lanka said Saturday they no longer have any hope that the government and opposition will agree to constitutional changes aimed at ending the island nation's 17-year civil war. The government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the main opposition United National Party have been trying to reach an accord on clauses to give more autonomy to provinces in a bid to end the ethnic conflict. The plan has already been rejected by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. More...
Published: Sat Jul 22 16:39:04 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Talks to formulate new Lankan constitution break down  - PTI
Reforms process in Sri Lanka facing uncertainty  - Hindu

A decade of confrontation Sri Lanka and India in the 1980s
Island, july 23. Close focus is drawn upon the "how" and the "why" to India’s direct role in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. The author discusses the contradictory policy that the Indian government adopted. On the one hand it provided military training and arms to the Tamil militant groups who then began mounting attacks against Sri Lanka from safe-havens in South India. On the other hand, India initiated a process of mediation to bring about a political solution to the ethnic conflict. This contradictory approach of India ensured that the mediation process lacked transparency. More...
Published: Sat Jul 22 22:32:51 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
India still reaping benefits of 1987 pact, says Lankan expert  - HT

Tigers destroy second school bus
BBC, july 22. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have destroyed a school bus for the second day running near the northern town of Vavuniya.Police said they didn't have a motive but a government spokesman, Ariya Rubasinghe, said the attack had been carried out to force schools to close so that the rebels could recruit children.The Tigers have been criticised by human rights groups for forcibly recruiting children into their ranks, some as young as ten. More...
Published: Sat Jul 22 14:00:38 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
LTTE rebels blast bus  - The Hindu

The free style of favouritism
SundayLeader, July 23. WHILE the very best sportsmen and women from all over the world tone up for the Olympic Games, in Sri Lanka, certain selections are still dogged by controversy with allegations of favouritism being hurled by aggrieved parties.In the category of women's swimming, an allegation has been made that the recommendation of the selection committee has been overridden by a directive from a VVIP - and a swimmer who was not the best to represent Sri Lanka, may well be flying to Sydney, Australia. The matter has ended with 18 year old Theekshana Ratnasekera, a student of Colombo International School who was dropped in favour of a lesser qualified swimmer. More...
Published: Sun Jul 23 02:26:41 EDT 2000

UN recommends measures to curb use of child soldiers and protect children in war
ABS-UN, July, 22. The United Nations outlined recommendations Friday to better protect children caught in war, saying they have increasingly become the "innocent victims of the persistent gap between law and practice." The 55 proposals cover a range of issues confronting children in war zones, including their recruitment into armies, their risk of harm from land mines and their vulnerability to sanctions applied in times of conflict. The United Nations estimates that some 300,000 children have been recruited, mostly by rebel groups, to fight wars from Sierra Leone to Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Sat Jul 22 07:56:45 EDT 2000
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Tamil Tigers Bait Children, Parents  - IPS

Sri Lanka Foils Rebel Attempt to Blow Up Oil Tanks
XINHUA, July 21. COLOMBO (July 21) XINHUA - An attempt by the Tamil Tiger rebels to blow up oil tanks of the Sri Lanka Petroleum Corporation in Colombo has been foiled, the official Daily News reported Friday. A special police team conducting investigations into rebel activities on Thursday arrested a suspected suicide bomber of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who had allegedly come to blow up the oil tanks, said the newspaper. According to a senior investigator the suicide bomber Maheswaran, who had come to Colombo from Mannar in northern Sri Lanka on July 14, had in his possession a forged National Identity Card under the name of Thambimuttu Makillaran. The investigators had also found three cyanide capsules concealed in his travelling bag. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 21:32:18 EDT 2000
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Sri Lankan police arrest suicide bomber: report  - 123-India AFP

Sri Lankan general charged
BBC, Saturday, July 22 10:23: 22. The Sri Lankan Government has defended a decision to bring charges against a retired army general accused of torturing and murdering left-wing rebels. The general, Ananda Weerasekara, is accused of presiding over a spate of disappearances against members of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front). The general, and two army sergeants, are accused of playing a key role in what the government says was the running of a detention camp in which JVP members were tortured and killed. More...
Published: Sat Jul 22 10:34:05 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka killing fields ghosts return ahead of polls  - Yahoo-afp

World Bk: Sri Lanka Econ Hurt By War, Slow Reforms
Yahoo-JowJones, July 21. The World Bank said Friday Sri Lanka's economic development will continue to be held hostage by the country's civil war despite meaningful progress in some key areas. In a comprehensive assessment of Sri Lanka titled "Recapturing Missed Opportunities," the bank also said the country needs to start on the second phase of privatizations and financial and public sector reforms in order to achieve high growth rates and reduce poverty levels. "The biggest concern is the prolonged nature of the civil conflict," said the report, obtained by Dow Jones Newswires Friday. "Realizing Sri Lanka's enormous potential will first require an end to the war," it said, referring to the 17-year-old civil conflict between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military. The bank said the conflict had drained at least two years of gross domestic product growth and caused humanitarian problems of great proportions. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 12:46:29 EDT 2000
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World Bank warns Sri Lanka on continuing civil war  - IndiaToday

S.Lanka Launches Massive Skills Development Project for Youth
XINHUA, July 21. COLOMBO (July 21) XINHUA - The Sri Lankan government has initiated a massive skills development project with the aim to address the issues of skill mismatch and unemployment among urban and rural youth, the Ministry of Vocational Training and Rural Industries said Friday.

"A competency based training system will be introduced by the project to ensure trainees acquire the correct competence needed," said the ministry in a statement, adding nearly 70 percent of training courses offered by vocational training institutions are not up-to-date, resulting in a severe mismatch between the supply of skills by these institutions and the needs in the industry.

The statement said that the project worth some 38.5 million U.S. dollars will extend for a period of six years from 2000 onwards with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, Nordic Development Fund and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 21:40:56 EDT 2000

LTTE steps up fund-raising drive in Paris
India Abroad, July 21, 2000 11:20 Hrs (IST) . Paris: Sri Lanka's rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is reported to have stepped up its fund-raising activities here, faced with the prospect of a prolonged battle for the control of Jaffna town in the northern part of the island nation. Most Tamils regularly contribute a portion of their income to the Tigers every month, with shopkeepers and businessmen donating every week. However, of late, the collection drive has been intensified, admit some grocers in Rue de Faubourg St Denis in central Paris, which is almost entirely a Tamil area or La Petite Eelam. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 15:06:04 EDT 2000
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LTTE steps up fund raising drive in Paris  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

S.Lanka industry chief urges new political culture
Reuters, Fri July 21, 8:54:20. COLOMBO, July 21 (Reuters) - The chief of Sri Lanka's top industry body on Friday blamed politicians for the country's woes, urging them to move quickly to end the island's ethnic war and seek sustained economic growth. Ken Balendra, the outgoing chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, told its annual general meeting that Sri Lanka was plagued by unemployment, lack of infrastructure development, poverty and ethnic conflict. The two parties, along with mainline Tamil groups, are now currently trying to achieve a consensus on constitutional reforms aimed at devolving powers to regions, including one administered by Tamils. The government proposes to bring the draft constitution to parliament before its six-year term ends on August 24. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 09:08:06 EDT 2000

94 human rights abuses in Uva
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Friday July 21. Senaka Dissanayake, Coordinator for the Uva Province said today that 94 cases of human rights abuses have been reported in the Uva Province. Mr. Dissanayake claimed that 70 cases are against government authorities alleging discrimination in the promotion, transfer and granting of employment to certain persons not supportive of the present government.

He said that 11 cases are pertaining to human rights abuses committed by law enforcement officers while 13 complaints have been received against the arbitrary arrests and detention of persons under the present emergency regulations.

Mr. Dissanayake asserted that 64 of these complaints are already being investigated by the Human Rights Commission.
Published: Fri Jul 21 02:13:07 EDT 2000

Swiss consider accession to UN Convention
SL Government, July 21, 2000. With reports of the LTTE shifting its bases to Switzerland, the Swiss government is considering accession to the UN Convention against terrorist financing, sources said.

Two Sri Lankan groups, which met with Swiss Foreign Ministry officials recently were assured of this consideration. The two groups included The Committee for Peace in Sri Lanka and the Committee for a United Sri Lanka, two activists groups in Switzerland. More...
Published: Fri Jul 21 06:29:48 EDT 2000

Chapter on Buddhism to be retained in package
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.05 a.m. SLT Friday July 21. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in a press release issued yesterday stated categorically that the present chapter on Buddhism as defined in the 1997 constitution will be retained with no changes in the new constitutional reforms. The President' s statement came after Buddhist organizations accused the government of ignoring the status of Buddhism in its proposed new legislation.
Published: Fri Jul 21 02:13:08 EDT 2000

AI says increase in human rights abuses in Sri Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m.SLT Friday July 21. Amnesty International in a press statement on Thursday July 20, 2000 said that the present emergency regulations in the country is having a detrimental effect on human rights.

The statement maintains that an increase in torture, "disappearances" and deaths in custody have been reported in Sri Lanka since new emergency regulations were introduced by the President in May 2000. Amnesty International is concerned that wider powers given to the security forces under these emergency regulations may have contributed to the increase. The regulations confer powers of arrest to "any authorized person" in addition to the police and armed forces, and considerably extends their powers to detain.

Amnesty International last Thursday July 20, released a report entitled "Sri Lanka: New emergency regulations -- erosion of human rights protection". In particular, the report highlights the removal of several safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention and the danger this poses for the safety of detainees.

In May this year AI emphasized that civilian life must be protected as fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula escalated. The human rights organization on May 12, appealed to the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to respect international humanitarian law.

AI asserts that previous escalations in this long conflict have brought widespread violations and abuses to the civilian population. "Half a million civilians live in this contested area," Amnesty International said. "Every effort must be made to respect their security."

International humanitarian law lays down clear standards in the conduct of any war, and applies equally to all parties to a conflict. Both the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE have a responsibility to uphold these standards.

In an apparent response to the heightened conflict, the Sri Lankan authorities introduced new Emergency Regulations on 3 May 2000, granting the police and armed forces wide powers of arrest and detention and allowing for restrictions on freedom of assembly, and extensive censorship of the local media. This, AI adds makes assessment of the true situation in the conflict zone all the more difficult.

Amnesty International has reminded the Sri Lankan government of its obligations under international human rights law not to derogate certain fundamental rights, even in a state of emergency.

"Even in a national emergency, some rights are fundamental," Amnesty International said. "No one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment, and the right to life must also be upheld."

In a recent statement welcomed by Amnesty International, the Sri Lankan government said that steps have been taken to protect the lives of ethnic Tamil civilians in the south of the country, against any possible backlash.

Amnesty International takes no position on the causes and nature of the conflict and its appeal is based on humanitarian concerns for the lives and safety of civilians and in view of widespread human rights abuses reported in the context of previous offences.
Published: Fri Jul 21 02:13:07 EDT 2000

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Sri Lanka Rights Violations Cited  - yahoo-ap
Lanka flouting international treaty obligations: Amnesty  - HT

More Sinhalese than thou
Hindu, July 20. The pre-election ``more Sinhalese than thou'' syndrome seems to have gripped the ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the opposition United National Party (UNP) within days of the two agreeing on a document to share power with the Tamil minority. If the UNP leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been denying reports in the state-owned press that he is consorting with the LTTE, the Government is preoccupied with denying rumours that ``safeguards'' to protect the pre-eminent status of Buddhism have been removed from the new draft constitution. More...
Published: Thu Jul 20 16:05:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka’s constitutional problem
Island, July 16. When in early May 2000 Sri Lanka turned to India for help to fight back the LTTE’s menace to the country’s integrity, India’s response was not only to refuse military assistance - none asked for its troops - but to project its own mediation ousting the Norwegian facilitator, loudly offer help in the evacuation of Sri Lanka’s forces - provided they accept a ceasefire to the LTTE’s advantage - and proceed to lecture to Sri Lanka on the dire need for conciliation with the LTTE.In the entire month and a half - May to mid-June 2000 - while Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh lectured to the Sri Lankans — the latter in Colombo itself on June 11 and 12 — not once has either denounced a murderous outfit which assassinated India’s former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and whose leader, V. Prabhakaran’s extradition India was demanding as late as in 1996. The LTTE is a universally acknowledged terrorist organisation. The BJP government spares it from its condemnation of terrorism. Nor would it insist, as it does in the case of the Hurriyat in Kashmir, that it first accept the Sri Lankan constitution or at least the unity of the country as a precondition to parleys. More...
Published: Wed Jul 19 21:56:19 EDT 2000

SL government accuses Tamil rebels of sending elderly to the battlefront.
VOA, July 18, 2000. Government officials say Tamil rebels have pressed elderly civilians into military training. The government says many of them were killed during recent confrontations with security forces in the northern Jaffna region. The government statement says at the time the elderly people enlisted, the rebels promised them that they would be deployed to protect only their own villages. More...
Published: Wed Jul 19 03:00:44 EDT 2000

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