The Lanka Academic

JULY 27, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 113

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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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Sri Lanka's Tigers wary of cricket
Buisnessday, july 26. THE domination of Sri Lanka's headlines by reports of the cricket team's fortunes against the touring South Africans and Pakistanis says more for that country's passion for the game than it does about the news judgment of its editors. On the cricket-mad island, where the smallest clearing in the jungle becomes a pitch, it is understandable that the nation's sporting heroes make page one on a daily basis. But should they take precedence over the civil strife that has cost more than 60000 lives in the past 17 years? There has been a lull in the onslaught by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It might allow the Sri Lankan people to concentrate on beating Pakistan and SA on the cricket field, but it might also just be the calm before a new storm. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 21:05:36 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka editors want censorship removed
AsianAge, july 25. Sri Lankan editors have called for the removal of censorship ahead of the parliamentary election, campaigning for which is expected to get increasingly acrimonious.At a meeting with editors, government censor Ariya Rubasinghe was bombarded with requests for the curbs on local media to be lifted, saying it was not in the national interest, the Island newspaper said on Tuesday. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 20:56:41 EDT 2000

Stalemate in Lanka Constitution talks
TOI, july 26. Saying that the mood of the country was against reforms and that there would be widespread rebellion if the reforms were pushed at this stage, the UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwukku said that, "We cannot raise our hands in the present circumstances". The 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.Karunasena Kodituwakku told reporters here that there were serious discrepancies in statements made by President Kumaratunga and her constitutional affairs minister, G. L.Peiris, over the proposed reforms. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 20:37:17 EDT 2000

UNP distancing itself from reforms?
hindu, july 26. After reaching an agreement with the Sri Lankan Government on many of the key provisions in the proposed new Constitution, the Opposition United National Party (UNP) is now seeking to distance itself from the document. The party spokesman, Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, was today quoted by local media as saying that the party would not support the proposed Constitution in Parliament if the Government tried to rush it through.The UNP members are angry that the Government did not concede the party's demand for setting up an independent election commission before the next general election and instead was trying to push electoral reforms to change the present proportional representation system. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 20:25:17 EDT 2000

Sri Lankans appealed to join hands to avert a major confrontation.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 15 :38 Wednesday.. A local non-governmental organisation appealed to the Sri Lankan public to join hands to avert a major blood shed in northern Jaffna peninsula following reports that separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government troops were gearing for a massive confrontation.

The NGO, National Peace council's in a statement released to the media on Wednesday said that…

"Much public attention these days is focused on the prospects of a bipartisan consensus regarding constitutional reforms. However, a major military confrontation with prospects for great violence and bloodshed looms on the national horizon".

In Jaffna, the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE are reportedly gathering their strength for a do-or-die battle for control of the city. For the past three months the situation of the civilian population in Jaffna, a large number of who have been displaced, have been living in anguish and under fear.

Despite the social and human tragedy that could unfold in the weeks ahead, there appears to be a general acquiescence that little can be done to avert the worst-case scenario that is building up. There is a disturbing passivity at all levels of society in which people appear to have surrendered their sovereignty to apparently unreachable decision-makers on the two sides. Nevertheless, the National Peace Council believes that if certain measures are agreed to by these elite decision-makers, a more positive scenario can emerge that could spare the country of brutal and wasteful violence.

With regard to the situation in Jaffna, we appeal to the international community to do their utmost to assist the conflicting parties, namely the government and LTTE, find non-military ways to ensure the democratic right of the people to govern themselves without destroying the city of Jaffna and its people. We also appeal to the political parties, and in particular to the ruling PA and opposition UNP, to de-politicise the search for a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

The National Peace Council is concerned that with the approach of the general elections the political parties are entering into their customary confrontational mode that bodes ill for both consensuses on political reforms And a peaceful poll. We ask that in the context of the bipartisan consensus presently arrived at, the ethnic conflict be taken outside the area of party political debate at the forthcoming general elections. Such an agreement could lead to a joint political effort to avert the impending tragedy in Jaffna.

"We believe that in the midst of the powerful forces of violence they are unable to decisively influence at this time, the vast majority of people aspire for peace and ethnic harmony. We take encouragement in the work of civic organisations, such as those monitoring elections and campaigning on behalf of missing persons, as they have built up large networks of public minded citizens to press for accountability and responsiveness on the part of those in positions of power. Such work which many civic organisations have already commenced needs to be done with even more dedication and creativity, even in the emerging scenario, in the faith that it will provide the basis for peace through people's power in the future". the statement said.
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:03:23 EDT 2000

Northern Sri Lankan military command structure changed.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 15: 52. Wednesday.. Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunge withdrew two of her top military officers from northern Sri Lanka amidst reports that separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is planning for major assault on the government troops deployed in the region.

On Tuesday, the army command in Colombo sent out two separate letters to Major General Janaka Perera, the overall commander of northern security forces and Major General Sarath Fonseka, the commander of Jaffna security forces to relinquish their duties and return to Colombo.

"They were asked to come to Colombo since the situation in Jaffna peninsula has stabilized", a senior military officer in Colombo said. But military observers said that they were surprise by the move especially when intelligence agencies have warned the government of possible strikes by the LTTE.

At the time of writing both officials were unavailable for a comment.
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:03:23 EDT 2000

Lankan Army regains territory from Tigers
TOI, july 26. Government soldiers captured some territory from Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula after hours of artillery and mortar attacks, a government spokesman said Wednesday.Troops assaulted some rebel positions in Sarasalai early Tuesday in retaliation to a rebel attack on their defenses in the area, said Ariya Rubasinghe, the government spokesman. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 20:34:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Overnight Repo Rate Up 150 Basis Pts To 11.0%
AsiaGateway, Wednesday July 26, 17:34:20. Traders said this week's decline in the call rate was caused by state bank borrowings from the one-month term window instead of the one-week window. This led to increased liquidity in the system and pushed short term rates down, traders said. "The overnight repurchase rate adjustment is a big one, but the central bank also is concerned about the dollar," said Harsha Jayatunge, a senior trader at Standard Chartered Bank. At 0515 GMT (1:15 a.m. EDT), the dollar was quoted at LKR78.44, down from LKR78.58 at Tuesday's close. The call rate was quoted at 12.0%, up from 11.75% Tuesday. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 17:45:47 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Plans State Funeral for Deceased Minister
AsiaGateway, Wednesday July 26, 11:01:21. COLOMBO (July 26)- The Sri Lankan government has planned to hold a state sponsored funeral for Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake who passed away two days ago, an official statement said Wednesday. The statement said the funeral will be held Saturday at the Independence Square in Colombo. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 11:10:05 EDT 2000

Screening of film on Sri Lanka war deferred
hindu, july 26. A coffin arrives at the home of an old man. He is told it contains the remains of his son, a soldier in the Sri Lankan Army who was killed in action. The distraught man refuses to believe his son is dead. The entire village wants him to accept the death because it has a vested interest in the compensation that is to be paid out to the bereaved family. This is an everyday occurrence in rural Sri Lanka, and it has been poignantly brought out in an internationally acclaimed film ``Death on a Full Moon Day'', by a young Sri Lankan film maker, Mr. Prasanna Vithanage. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 20:29:22 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

Related News Stories
Controversy over Sri Lanka film  - BBC

Lankan PoWs’ kin threaten hunger strike
India Abroad, July 26. Over 1,500 families of servicemen held by Tamil Tiger rebels will launch a hunger strike if President Chandrika Kumaratunga does not allow them to cross military-occupied zones and visit the prisoners, a representative said on Tuesday. The relatives have twice earlier sought permission and will give Kumaratunga three weeks before marching to the northern Vanni district and beginning a fast, said E.P. Nanayakkara, president of the Association of Families of Servicemen Missing in Action (AFSMIA). More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:11:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka president goes abroad for treatment
MSNBC-Reuters, July 26. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has gone abroad for a medical check up, state media said on Wednesday. The Daily News said Kumaratunga, who was injured in her right eye in an assassination attempt last December, would complete medical checks which had been interrupted in April when she returned home following an escalation in fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:07:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka troops launch fresh attack on rebels
MSNBC-Reuters, July 26. Sri Lankan troops have wrested some territory from Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula after launching an attack on the guerrilla defence lines, a government statement said on Wednesday. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fired mortar bombs at troops manning defences in the Sarasalai area of the peninsula late on Monday, the statement said. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:02:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka recalls general who defended Jaffna
123India-AFP, July 26. The Sri Lankan military has recalled the top army general who defended Jaffna against a massive Tamil Tiger offensive in April, officials here said Wednesday.

Major General Janaka Perera returned to his post as chief of staff, or number two in the army, officials said, adding that the move followed an improvement in the security situation in Jaffna. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 05:59:18 EDT 2000

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

UNP not to support new Constitution
hindu, july 26. Talks on Sri Lanka's draft new Constitution, which envisages devolution of powers to the Tamil- dominated north and east, have reached a stalemate with the main opposition United National Party (UNP) saying it will not support the draft in Parliament. UNP spokesman Karunasena Koduthawakku said yesterday that the party had decided not to support the new Constitution as the ``majority of the country has refused the reforms and if it is implemented the country would rise against it.'' More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 10:26:24 EDT 2000
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Lanka opposition may withhold peace plan  - AsiaGateway

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
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Monks ask MPs to vote out devolution package  - HT

Peradeniya Engineering Faculty celebrates glorious half-century
Daily News, July 26. The inaugural ceremony was graced by the presence of Chief Guest, Borje Mattsson, Charge d' Affaires of Sweden and Mrs. Mattsson, the Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya and Dean of the Faculty. This was followed by the Keynote Session based on the theme of the congress, addressed by Prof. Chandana Wirasinghe, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Calgary, Canada and Prof. C.L.V. Jayatilleke, Chairman, National Education Commission. The plenary session "Engineering Education and Education for Engineering" in the afternoon provided the forum for a thorough discussion of matters relating to the training of engineers, with talk by seven specialists followed by a panel discussion. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 06:13:46 EDT 2000

Iran, Sri Lanka sign economic cooperation agreements
IRNA, july 26. Iran and Sri Lanka on Tuesday signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) at the end of their Sixth Joint Economic Commission session on Wednesday on removal of double taxation and encouraging foreign investment. Minister of Economy and Finance Hossein Namazi in his capacity as Iranian head of the commission said the MoUs have been signed to pave the way for more activities of the private sector. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 21:10:47 EDT 2000

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

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

Down memory lane - July 25, '83 - before and after - A feature Article
CDN, july 26. In a country where one had grown up for over seven decades now and more, it has never been easy to forget the splendour and beauties of this land, or the goodness of our people, with whom we grew up, mixed and moved, in the days of our studies, in playing fields, in our work and in the performances of our public duties, or in our aspirations. Life for my generation started in the early '20s, for me in Kandy, and even remained as still the loyal old boy of my school, still the best of them all, St. Anthony's, where silently the Mahaweli flowed - "the school by the river" I would always say. There, we all had a fine mix and fine sense of belonging, in our multiple ethnicities and our collective consciousness. I would personally joke with my colleagues after I had grown up, and the country was still in a stage of sanity during the '40s when I was a young officer, that even while in the South, I had gone back to Jaffna, to be born! and not at any hospital, nor such contraption. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 21:29:09 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

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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

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
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Organic Farming Revives Barren Land  - ips-orientation

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
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Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake passes away  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Sri Lankan Minister dead  - Hindu

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
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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

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
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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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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

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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