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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Fear of attacks may force Lanka leaders to avoid public meet
HT, july 28. SRI LANKAN political parties are likely to decide not to hold public meetings in the run-up to the parliamentary elections expected to be held in the first week of November, reports indicate. This is attributed to the fact that many Sri Lankan leaders have been killed by terrorists, whether of the Tamil LTTE or the Sinhala Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) variety, during public appearances such as election meetings in the recent past. President Chandrika Kumaratunga had herself been a target of an LTTE human bomb attack on the final day of campaigning for the presidency in December last. UNP's chief defence expert Maj Gen (retd) Lucky Algama, who was campaigning in Ja Ela in the outskirts of Colombo the same evening, was not so lucky. He was blown to bits by an LTTE suicide bomber. In October 1994, UNP presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber at a public meeting in Colombo. On May 1, 1993, President R. Premadasa was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber in the run-up to the provincial council elections. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:50:39 EDT 2000

India juniors rally to beat Sri Lanka
HT, Thursday July 27, 20:47:22. The India under-19 team came back to beat hosts Sri Lanka 2-1 in the opening match of the Group V Asian Youth championship at Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo yesterday. According to reports reaching here, India trailed by a goal at the half time but struck twice in the second half to earn full points. Three teams -- India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan -- are participating in the Group V matches. Bhutan were the fourth team in the group but pulled out at the last moment. Today is a rest day of the tournament. India play Pakistan on July 28. Sri Lanka will take on Pakistan on July 30. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 20:56:21 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers Turned Down for Separate State
AsiaGateway, Thursday July 27, 20:35:11. The opposition, United National Party (UNP) has decided that it will not support Sri Lanka's controversial new constitution draft, which contains a power sharing plan to end 17 years of bloody fighting between government troops and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 20:43:53 EDT 2000

Army cracks the whip on deserters
Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu, JULY 27 2000.. After years of hoping that the army deserters will return to the fold if asked politely, Sri Lanka has finally begun a crackdown to round up as many as possible of about 25,000 runaway soldiers. So far, nearly 5,000 soldiers have been arrested in the operation, among them nine officers of the rank of lieutenant, according to the military spokesman, Brig. Palitha Fernando. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 21:14:20 EDT 2000

Safe passage for Jaffna civilians
BBC, july 27. The International Red Cross in Sri Lanka says that it has secured an agreement to enable the movement of civilians in the northern war zone. It says the government and Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to allow safe passage for a ship transporting civilians to and from the Jaffna peninsula. A Red Cross spokeswoman said that she expected the ship to start operating by next week from the eastern port of Trincomalee. This is one of the few times in recent months that the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers have been able to reach an agreement. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 11:38:45 EDT 2000

12 killed in Lanka as army claims modest success in Jaffna
India Today, July 27, 2000 . The Sri Lankan army said on Thursday that 11 rebels and a police constable were killed in separate skirmishes between troops and the LTTE in the country's north and east. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 21:04:59 EDT 2000

Lanka govt rules out Constitution draft preview
TOI, July 28. The government said on Thursday it would not make public a draft of the new Constitution until it is presented to Parliament on August 4, even though the main Opposition has refused to support it under those circumstances. "We have to rush it to Parliament first," Science and Technology Minister Battie Weerakoon told the Associated Press after the Opposition United National Party called for the draft to be made public."We're still drafting it," said Weerakoon, who took part in negotiations on the Constitution with the Opposition. "Once it is drafted, we will present it to Parliament and then it will be a public document." More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:46:15 EDT 2000

Why Sri Lanka is not an Asian tiger
EconomicTimes, july 27. AMARTYA Sen has long gushed over Sri Lanka’s achievements in attaining near-universal literacy and gender equality, reducing death and fertility rates dramatically, and reducing poverty by constructing deep social safety nets. Its socialist policies till 1997 made rapid growth impossible. But since 1977 Sri Lanka has taken the path of economic liberalisation, and today is the most open economy is South Asia. Why, then, has it failed to become an Asian tiger? The most obvious explanation is the civil war with the Tamil Tigers. But that affects only one-tenth of the population. Colombo is as little affected by militancy in Jaffna as New Delhi is by militancy in Kashmir. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 19:41:32 EDT 2000

India juniors rally to beat Sri Lanka
The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, July 27. The India under-19 team came back to beat hosts Sri Lanka 2-1 in the opening match of the Group V Asian Youth soccer championship at Sugathadasa Stadium,Colombo yesterday. According to reports reaching here, India trailed by a goal at the half time but struck twice in the second half to earn full points. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 20:41:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka falling far short of economic potential: World Bank
123India, july 28. Sri Lanka is falling far short of its economic potential and has been outstripped by regional rivals due to its bloody civil war and inefficient bureaucracy, a World Bank report published Thursday said. The report, released here and in Colombo, said that despite steady macroeconomic performance in the last decade, Sri Lanka had slipped well behind states like Singapore and South Korea, which in the 1960's were its equals in terms of income per capita."Realizing Sri Lanka's enormous potential will first require an end to the conflict and a renewed commitment to key reforms to improve public institutions," said Eric Bell, lead World Bank economist for Sri Lanka.Decades of war with Tamil separatists have sapped the economy and forced the government to raise taxes and prices to fund its purchase of military hardware, triggering recent protests in Colombo. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:54:15 EDT 2000

S.Lanka opposition deals blow to devolution plans
MSNBC, Thursday July 27, 9:16:20. COLOMBO, July 27 — Sri Lanka's main opposition party delivered a crippling blow to government plans to end the ethnic war, saying it would not back them in parliament unless they are first discussed with the people and Buddhist clergy. The United National Party had earlier appeared to arriving at a consensus with the ruling People's Alliance of President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the constitutional reforms which the government wants to push through parliament before its term ends on August 24. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 09:24:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
A consensus in Sri Lanka  - Frontline
Sri Lanka constitution faces Tamil, Sinhala wrath  - Reuters
Sri Lanka's opposition pulls the plug on Tamil peace bid  - 123India
Lanka Oppn demands draft statute be made public  - TOI
Lanka opposition may withhold peace plan  - AsiaGateway
UNP not to support new Constitution  - hindu
UNP distancing itself from reforms?  - hindu
Businessman demands Rs 100m from a Lake House newspaper.  - Roy Denish in Colombo
A government minister condemns moves to link opposition leader with LTTE.  - Roy Denish in Colombo
UNP ready for trade off on Executive Presidency  - HT
Consensus eludes Lanka devolution proposals  - IndiaAbroad
Lanka talks on new statute deadlocked  - Deccan Herald/PTI
Stalemate in Lanka Constitution talks  - TOI

Sri Lanka Govt., UNP meet postponed
Hindu, July 27. Amid speculation of a possible breakdown in the talks on Constitutional proposals, a meeting between the Sri Lankan Government and Opposition scheduled for today has been postponed. While informing the Opposition about the postponement, no reason was given for the sudden decision, party sources said. Informed sources attribute the absence of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who is abroad on a personal visit, for the postponement. She had gone to London for a medical check-up for the injury caused to her eye during an assassination attempt by an LTTE woman suicide- bomber on December 18 last year. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:58:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan parties criticised
BBC, july 27. A leader of the main Tamil party in Sri Lanka has criticised both the governing and opposition parties for failing to move ahead with constitutional reforms aimed at ending the long-running ethnic war. Joseph Pararajasingham of the Tamil United Liberation Front - the TULF - said his party was committed to a negotiated settlement but should perhaps consider reviewing its policies and supporting the Tiger rebels, who are fighting for independence for the minority Tamils. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 11:41:38 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's opposition to block 'rushed' peace bid
123India, July 27. Sri Lanka's main opposition party Thursday conditionally withdrew support to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial plan aimed at politically ending decades of ethnic bloodshed. The opposition United National Party (UNP), which holds the balance of power to make or break reforms, decided unanimously at their highest policy-making "Working Committee" to pull the plug on Kumaratunga's initiative. The UNP said it had decided at the meeting, headed by its leader and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, not to deliver the promised votes in parliament if the government tried to rush a new statute. "We have not completed discussions on several key areas," UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku said. "If the government tries to push this political package through parliament, we will oppose it." More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 09:20:00 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's peace bid set to collapse  - 123India

Chandrika to present peace plan by August 4
TOI, July 27. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will soon present to Parliament her political plan to end the ethnic conflict in the country, one of her Cabinet colleagues has said. "The discordant notes sounded by the Opposition UNP, the powerful Buddhist clergy and minority Muslim and Tamil parties will soon die down and they will all come around, which could be as early as August 4," the Gulf Today daily quoting Kingsly T Wicramaratne, minister for internal and international commerce and food, said here."The Opposition has always been buying time. With or without their support, the President will make peace. She is committed to it and she was re-elected for a second term on the peace plank," the minister, who was on a stopover on his way back from a four-day tour to Iran, said. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 09:29:53 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Chandrika ready with new statute  - Deccan Chronicle
'Chandrika will present peace plan soon'  - The Hindu,

U.N. urged to target those who harm children in war
Aasiagateway, Thursday, 27 July, 09.12 GMT. Those who violate children"s rights in war or collude in such actions should be shamed, disgraced and held accountable, the head of the U.N. Children"s Fund, Carol Bellamy, said on Wednesday. "They must be shamed, disgraced and held accountable for their actions." Some 300,000 children are said to be recruited into armies, mostly by rebel groups, from Sierra Leone to Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 05:11:57 EDT 2000

11 LTTE rebels killed
Hindu, july 27. The Sri Lankan Army today said that 11 rebels and a police constable were killed in separate skirmishes between troops and the LTTE in the country's north and east, an official press release said. Sarsalai along with Chavakachcheri were two semi-urban centres captured by the LTTE during the height of its massive offensive to recapture the Jaffna peninsula in April and May this year. The limited offensive against the rebels at Sarasalai came after the Government made changes in the Army's command structure in Jaffna. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 15:42:14 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka fighting kills another 12  - 123India
Fresh fighting in Jaffna  - BBC
SLA artillery suppress Tiger mortars  - SL Government
Sri Lanka troops, Tigers trade artillery fire  - 123India-AFP

Batty laments govt. unable to fund growth of science and technology
The Island, by Irosha Weththasingha, Thursday 27 July, 08.46 GMT. Minister of Science and Technology Batty Weerakoon said on Tuesday that the funds allocated for science and technology are hardly enough to create the expected growth in the field. He said "with the prevailing war situation the government is unable to allocate more funds for this particular field".

Chairman of the NASTEC Dr. R. O. B. Wijesinghe said that Sri Lanka is facing a huge challenge along with other third world countries to keep up with the rapidly advancing technology. "The gap between rich and poor countries is widening with the effect of globalization".

"In Sri Lanka ideas of scientists doesn’t count when policies are being planned" Prof. Vitarana said stating that most government departments which deals scientific fields doesn’t have a single scientist in the department. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 04:47:54 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
RRI urged to focus on commercially oriented research  - AsiaGateway

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

State funeral on Saturday
Current Affairs, Sri lanka, 26 July 2000. The funeral of Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake will be held on Saturday, June 29 with full state honours at Independence Square at 2.00 pm. The remains of the minister who passed away on Monday was kept at his residence at No 73, castle Street, Borella for the public to pay their last respects until yesterday. It will be brought to the Sri Lanka Freedom party headquarters at Darley Road on Friday afternoon. The remains will be taken to parliament at 1.00 pm on Saturday and 2.00 pm it will be taken to the Independence Square for cremation. More...
Published: Thu Jul 27 02:53:13 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Plans State Funeral for Deceased Minister  - AsiaGateway
Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake passes away  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Sri Lankan Minister dead  - Hindu

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

Related News Stories
Tigers and government troops brace for a massive show down in northern Sri Lanka.  - Roy Denish in Colombo
Fresh clashes recrudesce in Jaffna  - Deccan Herald/Reuters
Lankan PoWs’ kin threaten hunger strike  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka recalls general who defended Jaffna  - 123India-AFP
Sri Lanka troops launch fresh attack on rebels  - MSNBC-Reuters
Lankan Army regains territory from Tigers  - TOI
Northern Sri Lankan military command structure changed.  - Roy Denish in Colombo

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
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Overnight Repo Rate Up 150 Basis Pts To 11.0%  - AsiaGateway

Controversy over Sri Lanka film
BBC, Wednesday July 26, 11:15:05. A Sri Lankan filmmaker has for the first time shown a large audience in this island nation his film on the impact of the civil war. 'Death on a Full Moon Day' tells the story of a Sinhalese father's refusal to accept that his son has been killed while serving in the army against Tamil Tiger rebels. But it is banned in Sri Lanka because the authorities say it undermines the country's war effort. More...
Published: Wed Jul 26 13:44:59 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka blocks war movie seen as security threat  - Reuters
Action to be filed against the Sri Lankan national film corporation.  - Roy Denish in Colombo
Government conflict over Sinhala award winning movie  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Screening of film on Sri Lanka war deferred  - hindu

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
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka president goes abroad for treatment  - MSNBC-Reuters

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
Sri Lanka's Buddhist leaders oppose political peace bid  - 123India
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

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

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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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
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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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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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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

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

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

UNP will not support constitutional reforms
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.20 p.m. SLT Thursday July 27. The United National Party have said they will not support the constitutional reforms if it is presented to Parliament before August 24. The UNP allege that the government is rushing through the new draft constitution in an "ad hoc manner" without reaching a consensus with civil society and minority groups.  The UNP say that "the majority of the country has refused the reforms and if it is implemented the country would rise against it.

A coalition of civil society groups stress that it is important to use this opportunity to recognize the need for strong fundamental rights provisions to help resolve the conflict and reduce tensions over the long term.

Civil society organizations claim that it is unfortunate that the final stages of the constitution making process is taking place behind closed doors.
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:56:06 EDT 2000

Relatives of missing servicemen want to visit Vanni
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 p.m. SLT Thursday July 27. Relatives of servicement missing in action have requested the government to give them permission to visit the Vanni.  The Association of Relatives of Servicemen Missing in Action in a letter to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge has asked her to let them visit servicmen being held captive by the LTTE.

The required consent from the government has not yet been received though the Association maintains that is has received the 'greenlight' from the rebels to visit their near and dear in the Vanni.

The relatives of those missing in action have asked the President to negotiate a release of the servicemen held by the LTTE by exchanging Tiger prisoners being held captive by the Army.
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:56:06 EDT 2000

NPC calls for consensus to avert major bloodshed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7 p.m. SLT Thursday July 27. The National Peace Council on Tuesday July 25, in a press release appealed 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.

The NPC has also appealed 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 peace organization maintains that much public attention these days is focused on the prospects of a bipartisan consensus regarding constitutional reforms. However, the NPC asserts that a major military confrontation with prospects for great violence and bloodshed looms on the national horizon

The organization's statement claims that 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 whom have been displaced, has been an anguished and vulnerable one.

The press release adds that "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.
Published: Thu Jul 27 16:56:05 EDT 2000

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