The Lanka Academic

 
JULY 26, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 112
 

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LANKAN HISTORY

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...
THE SUN GOD'S CHILIDREN & THE BIG LIE
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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Fresh clashes recrudesce in Jaffna
Deccan Herald/Reuters, July, 26. ri Lanka troops and Tamil Tiger rebels exchanged artillery and mortar bomb fire in the northern Jaffna peninsula after launching attacks on each other`s positions, a government statement said today. It said troops mounted an attack on Sunday using rocket-propelled grenades and mortar bombs on LTTE lines in the Colombuthurai area, killing at least three rebels. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 21:11:19 EDT 2000

Lankan Buddhists divided on proposed constitutional reforms
IndiaToday, july 25. Like the Tamil parties, the Buddhist clergy is also a divided lot with one section backing the proposed constitutional changes while the other planning to launch a campaign against it. Brushing aside criticism of certain individuals who allege that the clause safeguarding Buddhism had been removed from the new draft constitution, the Sangha said people should not believe this without ascertaining real facts. Their reaction followed statements by Mahanayakas of the Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters urging parliamentarians not to vote for the proposed constitution since the majority community has not been consulted and their rights not properly safeguarded under the new reforms. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 19:51:28 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Monks ask MPs to vote out devolution package  - HT
·
Buddhist monks oppose Chandrika's autonomy plan  - Times of India

No confidence motion against speaker by UNP
TamilNet, Tuesday July 25, 18:59:01 . The no-confidence motion brought against the Speaker, Mr.K.B.Ratnayakae, by the United National Party has been included in the order book. The date for the debate on the motion will be decided at the party leaders' meeting to be held on the 10th of next month. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 20:07:16 EDT 2000

Lanka Oppn demands draft statute be made public
TOI, july 25. The main opposition party said on Tuesday it would not support a draft constitution that seeks to end the 17-year civil war unless it is made public before presentation to Parliament.President Chandrika Kumaratunga has met with leaders of most political parties to reach a consensus on the draft before Parliament adjourns August 24."We can't make a commitment, as passing a constitution in such a hurry is not right," Karunasena Kodituwakku, a spokesman for the main opposition United National Party (UNP), said Tuesday. "A national dialogue on it is necessary." More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 19:38:29 EDT 2000

UNP ready for trade off on Executive Presidency
HT, july 25. A member of the UNP's delegation to the talks told The Hindustan Times here today that if the government were to scale down the time allotted for the transitional Executive Presidency from six years to, say, three years, and if it accepted the demand for the establishment of an Independent Election Comm-ission to conduct the November parliamentary elections, his party would agree to drop its demand for the total and immediate abolition of the Executive Presidency. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 19:25:31 EDT 2000

TROOPS ATTACK A TERRORIST BUNKERLINE NORTH OF COLOMBUTURAI
Emb., Tuesday July 25, 16:47:30. Troops operating ahead of defences in general areas North of Colombuturai, attacked a terrorist bunkerline with RPGs, machine guns and mortars on Sunday. A Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) release on Tuesday said the Sri Lankan army artillery engaged identified terrorist targets. Meanwhile terrorists engaged the forward defended localities in general area Sarasalai with mortars during the night of 24th July. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 17:02:23 EDT 2000

RRI urged to focus on commercially oriented research
AsiaGateway, Tuesday July 25, 17:21:10. The rubber industry has called upon the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) to focus more on commercially oriented research. This will help producers cut costs and raise productivity and to do more research to develop products with high value addition, W. T. Ellawala, Chairman of the Colombo Rubber Traders' Association (CRTA) said. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 17:31:04 EDT 2000

Human smuggling racket in Lanka
IndiaToday, july 25. Authorities in northern Sri Lanka have uncovered a racket by local and Indian agents who are tempting hundreds of terrified Tamil civilians to flee fighting in the region through a safe passage across the Palk Strait which divides the two countries. Senior officials in Mannar, 350 kilometers from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, said a groups of Indians with the help of their Sri Lankan counterparts were behind the 'human smuggling' operations between the northern coast of Sri Lanka and the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 20:02:36 EDT 2000

July 1983: unanswered questions
CDN, july 26. Sathyaseelan (alias Charles Antony) and Sellakili (alias Chelvanayakam), two well known leaders of the Tiger movement, had unleashed a spectacular series of attacks. A Sandhurst trained Brigadier, Commander of the security forces in the North, launched a counter-offensive and killed Sathyaseelan on July 15, 1983. The loss of Sathyaseelan, the leader of the military wing of the Tamil Tigers, was a severe blow and the leaders of the Tiger movement planned retaliatory action. It is much more likely that this event, rather than the raping by the Army of three Tamil girls from the teacher Training School at Palali in the Jaffna peninsula, was responsible for the subsequent Tiger attack on the Army. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 20:08:06 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's opposition pulls the plug on Tamil peace bid
123India, July 25. Sri Lanka's main opposition Tuesday announced a "conditional withdrawal" of support to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial plan aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed. The opposition United National Party (UNP), which holds the balance of power to make or break reforms, said they will not deliver the promised votes in parliament if the government tried to rush through a new statute. UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku told reporters here that there were serious discrepancies in statements made by Kumaratunga and her constitutional affairs minister, G. L. Peiris, over proposed reforms. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 14:11:57 EDT 2000

U.S. - Sri Lanka ties marked with gifts
Press Release, Embassy of the United States of America, 25 July 2000. Colombo - U.S. Ambassador Shaun E. Donnelly and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar yesterday exchanged gifts and donations marking the long history of ties between their two countries. The exchanges preceded a dinner in the American Ambassador's honor hosted by Sri Lanka's top diplomat.

The American Ambassador presented the Foreign Minister with a large world globe and a series of photographs of Sri Lanka taken from U.S. satellites. These will all go on display in a special exhibit area at the Foreign Ministry and are intended, according to Ambassador Donnelly, to commemorate fifty years of U.S. - Sri Lanka diplomatic ties. The U.S. was among the first countries to recognize newly independent Ceylon in 1948.

His second gift, Ambassador Donnelly noted, reflected the United States' long history of association with the Jaffna peninsula through the good work of many 19th-and 20th-century American teachers and missionaries. Among the reference materials lost when the Jaffna Public Library was destroyed by fire in 1981, were its collections of old newspapers, including the Jaffna "Morning Star," published beginning in 1841 by the American Ceylon Mission in Jaffna.

To help make up for this loss of valuable historical reference material, Ambassador Donnelly presented the Foreign Minister, in his capacity as Chairman of the Jaffna Public Library Restoration Committee, with microfilm copies of the entire run of the "Morning Star" (from January 1841 through December 1980) plus other Jaffna-based and Tamil newspapers ("Hindu Organ," "Intusathanam" and "Ilakecari"). This material was obtained from the vast archives of the U.S. Library of Congress. A microfilm reader-printer was included in this donation to the Jaffna Library, while a duplicate set of the rare microfilms will be housed at the National Library in Colombo.

Foreign Minister Kadirgamar accepted both sets of gifts with gratitude -- on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka and the citizens of the Jaffna -- and responded with gifts of his own for the American Ambassador, personal mementoes of Sri Lanka as the U.S. diplomat approaches the end of his tour of duty in Colombo.
Published: Tue Jul 25 12:40:55 EDT 2000


Over 800 Army deserters arrested
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday July 25. Over 800 desertes of the Sri Lanka Army were arrested by police in Sri Lanka's North Central province yesterday.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in May this year made it imperative for all Armed Forces Personnel who have retired or obtained their discharge from their respective Armed Forces to rejoin the Armed service in a voluntary capacity.

A letter from the Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Chandrananda De Silva to all Ministries and government establishments dated June 2, 2000 stated that the President made this appeal for senior retired officers of all the three Armed Forces to come forward in order to "help boost the morale of the soldiers valiantly fighting in the battle front to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka".

This letter drew attention to Section 144 of the Army Act No. 17 of 1949 whereby all employers are bound by the provisions of the law to release the employees in their establishment who have been called upon to join the Volunteer Force or the Volunteer Reserve.

In fact the Defence Ministry has stated in no uncertain terms that "the failure of the part of any employer to comply with Section 144 of the Army Act, will amount to a committing of an offence and is liable to be prosecuted."

A retired senior Army officer requesting anonymity, said that soon after the fall of the strategic Elephant Pass camp and the bloody battle that raged in the Vanni, only 10 percent of a large number of soldiers who got the opportunity of leaving the battle grounds have reported back for duty. Army sources revealed that some 25,000 deserters yet remain at large.
Published: Tue Jul 25 06:55:27 EDT 2000


LTTE plan to bomb Colombo Harbour uncovered 9 a.m. SLT Tuesday July 25
Frederica Jansz in Colombo. Police yesterday arrested a male LTTE suicide bomber who they say had arrived in Colombo on an explosive laden lorry with plans to bomb the Colombo harbour. Police say they recovered various documents which indicated the Colombo port was to be the Tigers next hit.

Police said that the 26 year old human bomber from Jaffna also carried on his person three cyanide capsules. The man was arrested at a lodging in Pettah. It is not yet clear if police have detected the explosive laden lorry.
Published: Tue Jul 25 06:55:27 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
·
Arrested LTTE suicide bomber disclose major attack plan on Colombo Port  - SL Government

SLA artillery suppress Tiger mortars
SL Government, Tuesday July 25, 9:26:23. Terrorists engaged the froward defended localities in general area Sarasalai with mortars during the night on 24 July 2000 and troops retaliated effectively with artillery, said the Special Media Information Centre today. Troops killed four terrorists in confrontations in Nagarkovil, Ponnar and Muhamalai areas during the day. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 09:38:41 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka troops, Tigers trade artillery fire  - 123India-AFP

Fresh fighting in Jaffna
BBC, July 25. The Sri Lankan government says there have been fresh artillery and mortar exchanges between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

Fierce fighting took place in the area earlier this year. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 05:52:59 EDT 2000


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

Organic Farming Revives Barren Land
ips-orientation, july 25. Standing amid the knee-high, lush vegetable crop, Kiribanda points to similar farm plots around him in this hamlet in the hills some 70 km north of the Sri Lankan capital. ''This land was barren and unyielding. There were only a few stunted tea bushes on the hillside when we came here,'' he says.All this costs him little. Unlike entrepreneur farmers elsewhere, those in Galaha do not buy costly fertilisers and pesticides for their fields.It is because they decided not to use chemical nutrients and pest killers that the once harsh terrain now yields bountiful harvests, explains Ranjith de Silva, who brought chemicals-free farming to this area two decades ago. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 08:53:44 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
·
Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake passes away  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
·
Sri Lankan Minister dead  - Hindu

SLA takes action on Tamilnet report
TamilNet, Tuesday July 25, 17:03:19. The Military Police of the Sri Lankan Army arrested a corporal attached to the camp at Kalkudah, 34 kilometers north of Batticaloa, following a report by Tamilnetthat he (the corporal) was forcing civilians in that village to work on the construction of a bulwark. Tamilnet reported that several civilians in Kalkudah had been beaten up by the SLA for not going to work on the bulwark round the Kalkudah army camp last week. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 17:14:05 EDT 2000

Lankan youth arrested at Calcutta airport
toi, july 25. A Sri Lankan youth was arrested at the Calcutta international airport on Monday night on charges of travelling with a forged Indian passport, sources in the police department said. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 14:18:45 EDT 2000

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

Report Says Five Deported in Games Sweep
Reuters, july 25. Five people linked to extremist groups in the Middle East, Europe and Asia have been deported from Australia in a nationwide security sweep ahead of the Sydney Olympics in September, a major newspaper reported on Monday.The newspaper said a total of five illegal immigrants with links to Osama Bin Laden -- accused by the United States of involvement in attacks on American embassies in Africa --, Algeria's Armed Islamic Group, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers and an unnamed central European group, were deported in the past year. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 08:47:18 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 bid to enter politics  - TOI

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

Sri Lanka stocks end bit up, politics cause concern
BuisnessRecorder, july 25. Sri Lankan stocks ended marginally higher on Monday but persistent foreign selling and concerns over a possible stalemate in constitutional reforms to end the island's ethnic war are seen pulling the market lower.The key Colombo all share index ended 0.12 percent, or 0.62 points, higher at 508.80 points."Politics is coming to the attention of foreign funds," said a broker at a foreign-affiliated brokerage, adding that foreign funds would continue to weigh on the sell-side. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 08:42:53 EDT 2000

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 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


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

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'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
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Sri Lankan Buddhists reject draft Constitution  - Hindu

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

Sri Lankan media criticises umpiring
HT, July 25. Australian cricket umpire Daryl Harper and Sri Lanka's Peter Manuel, who officiated in the just concluded first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka, are being criticised in the media for questionable decisions. Sri Lanka defeated South Africa by an innings and 15 runs to mark its first ever Test victory against South Africa. "Umpiring rot mocks victory," said the English language Daily Mirror today .The newspaper said South African skipper Shaun Pollock was a victim of the decisions. Harper had given Pollock, batting on 12, out when repeated television replays showed that the ball had not touched his bat or gloves. "The appeal for the catch by the fielders was clearly halfhearted, which an international umpire of the caliber of Harper had failed to realise," the newspaper said. More...
Published: Tue Jul 25 08:38:18 EDT 2000
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Muralitharan inspires Sri Lanka to emphatic win  - SouthNexus
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Muralitharan forces South Africa to follow-on  - AFP
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South Africa slip towards defeat in first test  - 123India
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Sri Lanka wrap up victory  - 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
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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

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
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Sri Lanka offers concessions, opposition leader quits peace talks  - 123India
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Political bickering hits Sri Lanka peace talks  - 123India
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Opposition leader pulls out of peace talks  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
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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
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Talks to formulate new Lankan constitution break down  - PTI
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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
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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

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

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

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