The Lanka Academic

JULY 31, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 117

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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 President denies talks with Tiger leader
123India, july 31. Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga denied secret talks with a London-based leader of the Tamil Tigers who are blamed for an assassination attempt against her, state television said Monday. State-run Rupavahini station quoted Kumaratunga as saying that her visit to London last week was for a medical check up and denying meeting Anton Balasingham, the ideologue of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).The reaction came following a statement by Sri Lanka's main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe saying that Kumaratunga held talks with Balasingham in London, but adding he did not want to make it an issue. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 19:42:22 EDT 2000

Did Chandrika meet LTTE leader in London?
TOI, july 31. Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga met top Tiger theoretician Anton Balasingham in London and had talks with him, Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged on Monday."I could have engaged in a smear campaign when the President met the theoretician of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) Dr. Anton Balasingham in London and held talks with him," Wickremesinghe said in a statement released here.In his statement, Wickremesinghe said "the President has a right to talk to Dr. Balasingham because she has already started discussions with the LTTE."Wickremesinghe alleged that the government was conducting a "venomous and third grade campaign" against him and pointed out that Sharmalee Gnankoon was in fact the niece of a close associate of the president, Ronnie Pieris. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 19:05:21 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka President in Talks with Tiger leader: report  - Yahoo-afp

Lankan Parliament to meet in emergency session
TOI, july 31. Sri Lanka's Parliament will meet in an emergency session on Thursday when President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to place her controversial peace package before it, officials said on Monday. They said the country's 225 legislators have been summoned for the critical session, five days before Parliament meets usually for its monthly session every second Tuesday. The parliamentarians have less than a month before the term of the present house is up, and it is unclear if they will actually debate the draft constitution, envisaging far-reaching reforms to devolve power to the minorities. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 19:12:52 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan peace plan push  - BBC
Emergency session in Sri Lanka to push ethnic peace bid  - 123India

Sri Lankan Bill seeks to solve ethnic crisis
Hindu, july 31. Sri Lanka's Cabinet today approved a draft new Constitution Bill that seeks to resolve the country's protracted ethnic conflict and is to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday, a full five years after the President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, first proposed constitutional reforms to address minority aspirations. The proposed new Constitution, in which devolution of powers to Tamil and Muslim minorities forms the crucial centrepiece, is to be brought to Parliament as a Bill urgent in the national interest. To ensure there will be no legal challenges to it, the Government is expected to send it to the Supreme Court for a final clearance before tabling it. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 19:25:55 EDT 2000

Chandrika to present Constitution Bill on August 3
HT, july 31. The move reflects Mrs Kumaratunga’s impatience with the UNP, which has been sending out strong signals that it will thwart her move to get the constitution passed before the dissolution of parliament on August 24. The UNP has been accusing her of trying to rush it through, by-passing the on-going bi-partisan talks, the Buddhist clergy and the LTTE. Mr Weerakoon said that Mrs Kumaratunga should remain Executive President for an "open ended" transitional period, even though the draft constitution is a Westminster style parliamentary one. The term of the Executive Presidency would depend on need, and could be either a full six year term or less. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 19:35:00 EDT 2000

Civil war has stripped Lanka of Rs 1,183 b
AsiaGateway, Monday July 31, 11:42:10. Sri Lanka's protracted civil war has cost the country a staggering Rs 1183 billion between 1984 and 1996, a World Bank report says. The 1999 Central Bank annual report had calculated that the conflict had reduced Sri Lanka's economic growth by 2 to 3 percentage points a year. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 11:36:55 EDT 2000

Lanka gets new jets, brace for fresh fighting
IndiaAbroad, july 31. Sri Lanka is taking delivery of more jets and helicopter gunships to boost its battle against Tamil rebels amid an uneasy calm in the northern Jaffna peninsula, officials here said on Monday.The Sri Lankan Army is banking on recently acquired multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRL) while the air force has pressed into service four new MiG-27 aircraft that have blunted a rebel advance, officials said.They said the air force has yet to take delivery of a fleet of Israeli-built Kfir fighter jets that were ordered in May when the military went on massive arms shopping spree, but the Ukrainian MiG-27s were already being deployed on bombing missions. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 11:09:34 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Refurbished Sri Lankan military braced for showdown with rebels  - 123India

At least 19 killed in Sri Lanka clashes
MSNBC, july 31. At least 19 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed and five soldiers wounded in various clashes between the guerrillas and the Sri Lanka army in the country's north and east on the weekend, the government said on Monday.It said in a statement that five Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas were killed when government troops attacked rebel bunkers south of Kilali on the northern Jaffna peninsula on Saturday. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 09:51:47 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka troops kill eight Tamil rebels: government  - 123India-AFP
Two killed as Sri Lanka army convoy hits rebel mine  - MSNBC

Draft constitution in Parliament on August 3
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.10 p.m. SLT Monday July 31. A special cabinet meeting summoned by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge decided today to present the draft constitutional proposals to Parliament on Thursday August 3, 2000.

Despite some concerns voiced by senior ministers as to the timing of the package, the President today received the backing of her Cabinet to go ahead and present the draft package before a vote. Members of Parliament will be called upon to vote on the new reforms before August 24.

A special parliamentary ceremony will take place when the power sharing package expected to end Sri Lanka's 17 year old war is placed before the House.
Published: Mon Jul 31 08:20:22 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's cabinet has approves Reforms  - VOA
Chandrika to present peace plan by August 4  - TOI
'Chandrika will present peace plan soon'  - The Hindu,

Lanka monks call for protest meeting
IndiaAbroad, july 31. Sri Lanka's powerful Buddhist clergy has once again raised the bogey of division of this predominantly Buddhist nation in a bid to stall President Chandrika Kumaratunga's proposed constitutional reforms aimed at ending the country's ethnic conflict.Encouraged by the publicity they received for a sit-down protest at the capital's Vihara Maha Devi park on Saturday, the monks have called for another protest meeting on Tuesday, two days before Kumaratunga plans to place her reforms package before Parliament. Some 3,000 members of the clergy and some 2,000 others have been invited for the meeting, according to press reports. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 11:00:41 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka cabinet approves reforms to end war
MSNBC, Monday July 31, 08:07:10. COLOMBO, July 31 — Sri Lanka's cabinet on Monday approved a set of constitutional reforms aimed at ending the country's long-running ethnic war, government officials said. They said a special session of parliament was to be summoned on August 3 to table the constitutional bill. A debate on the bill is expected to commence when parliament meets for its scheduled monthly session from August 8. The radical package aims to devolve powers to regions, including one administered by Tamils, in an attempt to offer the ethnic minority a political alternative to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 08:01:02 EDT 2000

China for strengthening ties with Sri Lanka
Hindu, july 28. China today said it wants to strengthen bilateral ties with Sri Lanka on the basis of five principles of "Panchsheel". "Over the 40 years since diplomatic ties were forged between China and Sri Lanka, the two countries have supported and cooperated closely with each other," Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji said during a meeting here with visiting Sri Lankan presidential envoy D M Jayaratne here. More...
Published: Fri Jul 28 15:15:12 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Rongji meets Lankan Presidential envoy  - Hindu
China, Sri Lanka pledge to improve ties  - HINDU

Better India than Norway
TOI, July 31. Catching the tiger by its tail is no joke. Warding it off is easier. But that's temporary. A permanent end to this threat requires help. And that, says Charu Lata Joshi, is what Lankans want from India. You walk into a Colombo 7* cocktail setting, replete with white wines, low necklines, dollar-powered millionaires and the usual crowd of bureaucrats, bankers and politicians. ``Ah, let's ask an Indian journalist. How are you Indians going to help Sri Lanka?'' a well-known face on the right turns to you. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 06:33:23 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
India could help Sri Lanka, If all want it to  - AsiaGateway

Terms worked out for disbursement of Lanka credit
TOI, July 31. India and Sri Lanka have finalised modalities of disbursement of the $100 million credit line offered by India last month to help the Lankan government recover from economic crisis triggered off by escalation of war with the LTTE during the past four months.

Confirming media reports, Indian high commission officials said that the modalities were finalised during week-long meetings between a high-level Sri Lankan delegation of officials and their Indian counterparts in New Delhi early this month.

The offer to provide hefty credit for humanitarian assistance was made last month by external affairs minister Jaswant Singh during his visit to Colombo. Singh had announced the credit facility as an immediate humanitarian asistance with the possibilities of Sri Lanka purchasing wheat, rice and sugar on counter trade basis from India. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 06:30:21 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka parliament in emergency meet to push peace bid
123India-AFP, July 31. Sri Lanka Monday called an emergency session of parliament for Thursday when the government will present a controversial bid to end decades of ethnic bloodshed, officials said. The parliament was being called five days ahead of its scheduled meeting for the ruling People's Alliance to present proposals to turn the country into a de facto federal state in all but name, they said. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 06:09:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan general too ill for trial
BBC, july 31. A retired general accused of torture and murder in Sri Lanka has been unable to attend court proceedings on Monday because of ill health. Lawyers acting on behalf of Major-General Ananda Weerasekera failed to win bail for their client, who is accused of presiding over a spate of disappearances during the army's suppression of a left-wing uprising in the late 1980s. Heavy security surrounded the magistrates' court in Anuradapura, where General Weerasekera was due to face charges of murder and torture. The court was so crowded that the public was forced to view the proceedings through open windows. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 10:47:34 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka general locked up again over killing-fields murders  - 123India-AFP

UNDP conducts anti-landmine seminars
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.05 p.m. SLT Monday July 31. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said today that it has begun to conduct an awareness program on landmines in the North Eastern province.

The UNDP says it has already put up warning signs marking 75% of areas in this region which are believed to hold land mines. The program will be conducted in three refugee camps in the province and will lend detailed instructions on the methods of recognizing danger zones.
Published: Mon Jul 31 03:26:09 EDT 2000

Bomb defused at Bambalapitiya
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.45 a.m. SLT Monday July 31. A bomb weighing 400 grms was defused last morning when a police patrol discovered the explosive attached to a section of the rail track at Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4.

The police officers who were on a routine patrol said the bomb was probably meant for the southern train travelling from Galle to Colombo. In the event it had exploded the bomb squad said that it would have caused considerable damage to at least two railway carriages and the engine. It is not yet known who was responsible for the planting of the deadly device.
Published: Mon Jul 31 03:26:09 EDT 2000

Constitutional reforms to be pushed despite opposition
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.30 a.m. SLT Monday July 31. Government law makers said today that President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge is determined to present the draft constitutional reforms to Parliament before the government's six year term of office ends on August 24.

The President, sources said, has summoned a special cabinet meeting today to discuss and decide on the new constitutional reforms.

Government ministers though not opposed to the constitutional reforms have voiced concern at the timing in which the package, aimed at resolving Sri Lanka's ethnic war, is to be presented.

The proposals which is expected to devolve wide ranging powers to the regions, has already come in for considerable opposition from the country's main opposition political parties and civil rights organizations who say that some of the key provisions in the package fall far short of expectations. In fact, these groups assert that the draft constitution is a diluted version of the October 1997 constitution.

The United National Party (UNP) meanwhile has sought a further meeting with the President in order to discuss three contentious issues before the proposals are put before Parliament. The issues are, the abolishment of the Executive Presidency, the Tamil parties demand for Sri Lanka to be described as a Union of Regions and the right to refuse any future amendments to proposed devolved powers.

Dr. Rohan Edrisinha, Director to the Center for Policy Alternatives reiterated that "one cannot be too enthusiastic about the PA-UNP consensus because they have diluted the sections on devolution even further than the provisions contained in the October 1997 draft. Dr. Edrisinha added that "as a result the gulf between what the PA and the UNP is offering, and what the LTTE might be considering as an alternative to a separate state is huge. So therefore one has to be aware of the limitations of this consensus reached between the two political parties."

He added that apart from the sections on devolution even other non controversial positions in the draft constitution falls short of internationally accepted standards.

The reforms are expected to be placed before Parliament on August 4.
Published: Mon Jul 31 03:26:09 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Statute for approval next week  - Deaccan

Ranil's friend a traitor
Deccan, July 31. Leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition United National Party Ranil Wickramasinghe on Sunday suffered a major embarrassment as a close relative of a Tamil businessman, whom he met in Singapore recently, admitted that her family was a prominent overseas supporter of the LTTE.

In an interview to Sunday Times newspaper, Sharmalee Gnanakone, sister-in-law of Tamil shipping magnet Charles Gnanakone settled in Singapore, said her husband Jayantha Gnanakone was indirectly in contact with LTTE and supplied medicines and essential food supplies to the Tamils living in rebel-controlled areas. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 06:18:34 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Tamil businessman's relative admits links with LTTE  - TOI

Chandrika faces tough task on reforms
Asian Age, Colombo, July 30 . The Sri Lankan President is determined to introduce her devolution proposals to Parliament this week, but is likely to face stiff resistance from within her coalition and lack necessary support from the main Opposition. “She seems pretty determined. Most senior ministers are not opposed to the devolution package as such, but some are questioning the timing,” one senior legislator, who declined to be identified, said.The LTTE, who have been fighting for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka’s north and east since 1983, have already rejected the package.Ms Kumaratunga met leaders of two mainstream Tamil political parties last Friday to seek support for the reforms after the UNP said it would not back the move until it had been discussed with the people and the influential Buddhistclergy. Media reports said Ms Kumaratunga has to worry about, but that she would also have to take care of some off her ministers. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 03:43:07 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Despite Chandrika’s threat, room exists for compromise  - HT
Uncertainty over reforms package  - Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu
Chandrika seeks support for bill  - TOI

Sri Lanka at political cross-roads as monks mount pressure
yahoo-afp, july 30. Sri Lanka's political reforms aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed are set to enter a crucial parliamentary test as the influential Buddhist clergy steps up protests, analysts said Sunday.President Chandrika Kumaratunga's decision to press ahead with plans to turn the country into a de facto federal state in exchange for ethnic peace has attracted a determined opposition from the monks.Hundreds of saffron-robed Buddhist monks held a meeting here Saturday to protest the political package which Kumaratunga says will be presented in the 225-member parliament on Thursday.The monks will hold another meeting Tuesday to escalate protests against the reforms, shortly before parliament completes its six-year term on August More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 15:15:41 EDT 2000

Four killed by gunman in hospital
Sarath Malalasekera, Daily News (SL), Monday 31, July 2000. Four persons including a patient were killed in a dawn attack by an unidentified gunman who stormed ward 18 of the Matara Base Hospital yesterday. According to investigations directed by DIG Southern Range Lucky Jayawardena the gunman entered ward 18 around 5a.m. and fired at the patient and three others who were with the patient. The patient had been warded following a shooting incident at Beliatta Police division a few days ago, where one person was killed, the Police said. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 20:28:54 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting kills 11 in Sri Lanka, rail track bomb defused
orientation-afp, july 30. Sri Lanka troops defused a powerful bomb planted on the main railway track in Colombo Sunday as the military reported the death of three soldiers and killing eight Tiger rebels in fresh violence.Bomb disposal experts defused the explosives, attached to the railway track in Colombo's Bambalapitiya area, police said, adding that they managed to avert a major catastrophe thanks to the early detection of the device."The bomb itself could not have caused much damage, but it had the potential to derail a train and cause havoc," a police officer said as the bomb was defused.Meanwhile, the government's Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) said two government soldiers had been killed and eight others injured when Tamil Tiger guerrillas ambushed a military bus in the island's east Saturday. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 15:45:36 EDT 2000

Eight killed in Sri Lanka road accident
123India -afp, july 31. At least eight people were killed and another 30 injured when a bus and a van collided head-on in southern Sri Lanka Sunday, police said. The crash occurred at Waskaduwa, 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital Colombo More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 18:37:36 EDT 2000

Chandrika confident of getting peace plan through Parliament
AsianAge, july 30. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will present her controversial peace proposals to legislators next week, confident that she can muster enough votes to see them through, Tamil party officials said.President Kumaratunga told two moderate Tamil parties on Friday that she will go ahead with her bid to end the ethnic war despite the main Opposition United National Party saying it would not lend support if it is hurried through the Parliament. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 02:07:25 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka president faces tough task on reforms  - MSNBC

Constitution: Chandrika loses faith in UNP
HT, july 30. The President told the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the Peoples' Liberation Orgainsation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) soon after her return from the UK, that the UNP seemed to be backing out even from those aspects of the draft constitution which they agreed to in the last five months. She was of the opinion that the UNP's latest demand that the draft constitution be shown to the Buddhist Mahasangha and the LTTE before being presented to Parliament, was only a way of scuttling the process. A Tamil MP, who was part of the delegation which met the President, told The Hindustan Times today that she was confident of getting the 150 votes needed to give the bill two-thirds majorty. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 01:59:16 EDT 2000

Buddhist monks oppose Lanka's constitutional changes
TOI, july 30. The monks say the proposed constitutional changes give too many concessions to the Tamils, who make up 3.2 million of the country's 18.6 million people. The rebels are fighting to carve out Eelam, a homeland where they say the Tamils will not be discriminated against by the Sinhalese.The public meeting was held a day after President Chandrika Kumaratunga met with Tamil party leaders and pledged to push through the constitutional amendments in Parliament next month. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 18:46:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Monks blast PA-UNP agreement  - hindu
Buddhist monks protest new Constitution  - Hindu

Switzerland continues repatriating asylum seekers to Sri Lanka
IRNA, july 30. The Swiss government has decided to continue forcibly repatriating asylum seekers from Sri Lanka despite pleas from the Swiss Refugee Council to postpone the programme until the civil war on the island cools down, according to Swiss Radio International.On Wednesday, the Refugee Council urged authorities to allow Tamils to stay on in Switzerland because of a drastic deterioration in the country's human rights situation. However, the Federal Office for Refugees said asylum seekers would be returned to the capital, Colombo, rather than to regions in the northeast which are embroiled in the fighting between the army and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 15:39:39 EDT 2000

Atapattu century puts Sri Lanka in command over South Africa
123India, july 31. Vice captain Marvan Atapattu hit a characteristic century, his fifth in Test cricket to put Sri Lanka in command of the second cricket test against South Africa here Monday. Atapattu was unbeaten on 107 as Sri Lanka finished the second day strongly placed at 260 for four wickets in reply to South Africa's 253. Play ended 48 minutes ahead of schedule because of bad light.The final session was dominated by Atapattu who completed his century by pulling a short delivery from Nantie Hayward through mid wicket for his 12th boundary. The century came up in 327 minutes and he faced 264 balls. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 11:11:33 EDT 2000
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Kandy test keenly poised  - IndianExpress
Cricket-Sri Lanka v South Africa second test scoreboard LATEST SCORES  - yahoo-sports
Brave Klusener watches wickets fall  - BBC
Klusener rescues South Africa with unbeaten century  - yahoo-afp
Cricket Live Scorecard from Cricinfo.  - Cricinfo.

Chandrika woos Tamil groups to get statute ratified
TOI, july 29. With Sri Lanka's main opposition party UNP deciding not to back the new draft constitution, President Chandrika Kumaratunga is wooing moderate Tamil parties for their support before she unveils her bid in parliament next week to end country's ethnic conflict.Chandrika, after returning from London on Friday, met with the leaders of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Peoples Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) to get the proposals approved. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 12:16:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka to push ethnic peace plan ahead of parliament dissolution
123India-AFP, July 29. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga is set to unveil in parliament Thursday her radical bid to end ethnic bloodshed despite a conditional withdrawal of support by the opposition.

Tamil legislators said Kumaratunga told them that she will have a draft constitution presented to the 225-member legislative assembly on August 3, the fifth anniversary of announcing a "political package" in 1995. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 11:06:06 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opposition deals blow to devolution plans  - CNN-Reuters
UNP seeks white paper on reforms  - TOI
Sri Lankan president starts peace plan countdown  - 123india

‘Civil war has stripped Lanka of Rs 1,183 b’
ExpressIndia, july 30. Sri Lanka's protracted civil war has cost the country a staggering Rs 1183 billion between 1984 and 1996, a World Bank report says.The report titled ''Sri Lanka capturing missed opportunities'' says that the present value cost of the conflict during the 12 year period is nearly 170 per cent of the country's GDP at 1996 which was Rs 695.934 million. The World Bank has sourced the calculation to a study conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 19:01:12 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Growth is on Track Despite War  - IPS
Sri Lanka falling far short of economic potential: World Bank  - 123India
Why Sri Lanka is not an Asian tiger  - EconomicTimes
World Bank says Sri Lanka's economic growth on a slide  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

21 Lankans drowned in attempt to cross to India
TOI, July 29. At least 21 Sri Lankans are believed to have been drowned while attempting to cross over to neighbouring India via the Palk Straits which divide the two countries, a local radio station said on Friday.

The bodies of 21 persons had been washed ashore off Mannar, 312 km north of the capital and had been detected by the villagers on Thursday, the state-run Lakhanda radio reported. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 11:22:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka telecom launches fibre optic ring
Buisness Recorder, july 28. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) on Friday launched its first 1.5 billion rupees inter-province fibre optic ring connecting 15 major cities and urban centres and said it would further upgrade its network using new technology.Officials of SLT, partly owned and managed by Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, said four more optic fibre rings would be set up connecting the suburbs of Colombo."These rings will be in place by the end of the year," S. Amarasinghe, SLT's director, network planning and construction said at the inaugural ceremony. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 12:36:04 EDT 2000

Five die in grenade attack
BBC news, Friday, 28 July. Friday, 28 July, 2000, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK Five die in grenade attack

At least five people have been killed in a grenade attack in the garrison town of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

Two of the dead were children.

The grenade was thrown at police officers who opened fire in retaliation. More...
Published: Fri Jul 28 13:51:45 EDT 2000

Lanka urges UK to ban Tamil Tigers
TOI, july 30. Sri Lanka renewed its appeal to have the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) banned just as the British Parliament passed a Terrorism Bill which outlaws "all forms of terrorism, whether Irish, international or domestic perpetrated on British soil," the foreign ministry said.Two weeks ago, the British High Commissioner in Colombo Linda Duffield told a meeting of local businessmen here that the new legislation would come into force in August and it would make it difficult for the LTTE to continue its operations there. More...
Published: Sat Jul 29 18:55:19 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka says UK to consider banning Tamil rebels  - TOI
Sri Lanka urges Tiger ban  - BBC
Britain may ban LTTE  - hindu
Sri Lanka formally asks Britain to ban LTTE  - Reuters-MSNBC
Sri Lanka demands British ban on Tamil Tigers  - 123India

Tribal hunters turn wildlife protectors - by hunting again
Environmental News Network, july 28. Uruwarige Kenda stood in the middle of a small clearing in the harsh scrub jungle of Dambana in eastern Sri Lanka. He proudly drew back the string on his hand-carved bow, demonstrating his hunting skills. The aim of the bearded, loin-clothed hunter was on target, evidence that Kenda once had lots of practice even though hunting in the area has been banned for more than a decade. More...
Published: Fri Jul 28 11:03:40 EDT 2000

Media group condemns "treason" allegations about Sri Lanka journalists
orientation-afp, july 30. nternational media rights group, RSF -- reporters without borders -- has expressed concern over allegations of "treason" and "spying" levelled by Sri Lanka's pro-government media against local reporters. The RSF said it had asked Sri Lanka's media minister Mangala Samaraweera in a letter to ensure "this intimidation campaign against opposition journalists stops."The Paris-based RSF, in a copy of the letter made available to reporters here Sunday, urged the government to take action aginst those responsible for the threats.The journalists named were Roy Denish, correspondent on military issues with opposition weekly The Sunday Leader, Saman Wagaarachchi, editor of Irida Peramuna (the Sinhala edition of The Sunday Leader), P. Sivaram, columnist with the Daily Mirror, and P. Seevagan, a reporter with the Tamil service of the BBC. More...
Published: Sun Jul 30 16:00:27 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka: Journalists accused of "treason" by a pro-government newspaper  - Roy Denish in Colombo

Sri Lanka Opposition Accuses Govt Of Election Corruption
yahoo-ap, July 28. The main opposition accused the government of corruption Friday and called for international observers for parliamentary elections in November. "In view of what we feel are definite government plans to rig the forthcoming elections, we demand the participation of observers, particularly from the Carter Foundation and the European Union," said United National Party Secretary Gamini Atukorale. Sri Lanka, which has a history of election fraud and poll rigging, invited foreign observers from 15 countries for the presidential elections last December. The UNP said the government printing department was illegally releasing polling cards to supporters of the ruling People's Alliance coalition. Polling cards, used as voter identification, are distributed only after the election date and nominations are announced. Neither has been done. "These cards are made by the government printing department under strict security," Atukorale said, waving a sheaf of the polling cards at a news conference. "However, a large quantity of them are already in circulation and are being distributed among government supporters." More...
Published: Fri Jul 28 09:12:47 EDT 2000
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Vote rigging fears in Sri Lanka  - BBC News
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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
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UNP will not support constitutional reforms  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Sri Lanka's peace bid set to collapse  - 123India
Lanka talks on new statute deadlocked  - Deccan Herald/PTI
Sri Lankan parties criticised  - BBC
Statute talks run into fresh trouble in Lanka  - AsianAge
Lanka govt rules out Constitution draft preview  - Times of India

The face of terror that only zealots see
Sydny Morning Herald, july 22. Few have seen him, but a nation fears him.He learned military strategy from West Point manuals, at secret Indian training camps and from Clint Eastwood videos. He cultivated savage endurance by poking pins under his nails, and schooled himself to be merciless by torturing insects to death with needles.He commands cultish devotion from followers, although most have never met him. Their reward for accepting a suicide mission is a first and last supper with the man they call Thavalar, or The Leader."Prabhakaran is single-minded, like a horse with blinders on. He cares more about the Tigers than about the Tamil cause," Dharmalingam Sithadthan, the president of the Peoples' Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam, said. A former Tamil militant who joined the democratic opposition, Sithadthan is on the Tigers' hit list, he said, "because anyone who opposes the LTTE is considered a traitor to the Tamil cause". More...
Published: Fri Jul 28 09:31:06 EDT 2000

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

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

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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