The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 2, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 119
 

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FIRST E-BOOK ON
LANKAN HISTORY

Lakdiva. The resplendent and ever beautiful isle we know as Sri Lanka has a rich historical record. The Divapvamsa an Pali chronical in verse was compiled in 4th century A.D. It was the source for the Mahavamsa composed by a Buddhist monk at the Maha Vihara in Anuradhapura around the 6th century A.D. The Pali text of the epic is available today in the form of a commentary written from about the 12th century A.D which continued the record in the Culavamsa till 1815 on Ola manuscripts. We felt there was an urgent need to post on the world wide web a more detailed history of ancient Lanka. It is useful to select a more readable modern text than the original Mahavamsa but an interpretation old enough to be unbiased by the unfortunate turmoil of the recent past. We have selected the Short history of Ceylon by H. W. Codrington, B.A. (Oxon.) F.R.N.S. of the Ceylon Civil Service published in 1929 since it gives the history till 1833 in about 50,000 words. This E-book was translated to HTML by Rhajiv Ratnatunga in the summer of 2000. More...
THE SUN GOD'S CHILIDREN & THE BIG LIE
Information Bulletin No 23, The University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR). Elephant Pass fell to the LTTE on 21st April 2000 and there followed a month of grave anxiety when the fall of the entire Jaffna peninsula seemed imminent. The January-February issue of 'Liberation Tigers' published in the Vanni asked in its lead item, 'What is Next? War or Peace!' It had a picture of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran pointing at Jaffna on a map of Tamil Eelam with his left forefinger. Beneath it was the verse, "Where Sooriya Thevan (Sun God) points with his finger, thither the sun rays will hasten, to enfold Thamil Eelam in the brightness of his glory!" There was a far greater tragedy that lay unseen and was carefully suppressed. The sunrays that do the Sun God's bidding are today mainly children, often 14 or 15 years old, and increasingly girls. More...
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Numbers game on as deadline nears
Nirupama Subramanian, COLOMBO, AUGUST 1. Pocket calculators are out as politicians in Sri Lanka frantically add and subtract numbers to determine whether the ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition has the numbers to push through Parliament the Constitutional Reforms Bill, on the fate of which rests the future course of the long-drawn-out ethnic conflict. The passage of the Bill requires the support of 150 of the 225 members. The PA alliance, to begin with, had 113 members.Later, two of its parliamentarians aligned themselves with the opposition United National Party (UNP). Tamil leaders who met Mrs. Kumaratunga yesterday and last week, said she appeared confident. ``She seemed positively buoyant,'' said a Tamil politician. If she is unable to gather 150 votes, the Bill may not come to the voting stage, predict both ruling and Opposition politicians. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 23:59:50 EDT 2000

Rebels using civilians as human shields: Lankan govt
TOI, August 1. Tamil Tiger rebels are moving large numbers of civilians from their villages and relocating them close to rebel camps in the north and northeast to guard against air force strikes, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

The rebels moved the people closer to their camps in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Pooneryn and Elephant Pass "as in the past to tarnish the image of the security forces and gain international sympathy," said government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe, who did not explain how he got the information. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:12:41 EDT 2000


Chandrika trying to win over key monks on reforms
TOI, August 1. President Chandrika Kumaratunga tried to win over two key Buddhist monks on Tuesday as more than 1,000 members of the clergy staged a protest meeting against her proposed constitutional reforms.

The protesting monks threatened to organise a grassroots campaign to oppose Kumaratunga's controversial bid to end the ethnic war saying that it would lead to the division of the country and "dilute its Sinhala heritage." More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:15:38 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka president preaches peace to monks on war path  - 123India

Tribunal sends notice to LTTE
Hindu, CHENNAI, AUGUST 1.. The Tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, to adjudicate the ban order against the LTTE, has sent a showcause notice to the rebels.The Tigers' London office had received the notice and has reportedly sent it to a lawyer in Chennai, who will represent the organisation before the Tribunal. The outfit was declared a banned organisation in India in 1992. The ban has been extended periodically every two years, with the latest notification being issued by the Union Home Ministry on May 11 this year.The LTTE, has sent a `vakkalat' naming the advocate, Mr. N.Chandrasekaran, to appear before the Tribunal on its behalf. The advocate had represented the Tigers the last time around too. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 19:56:19 EDT 2000

Tigers issue may dominate Lanka polls
TOI, August 1. Tamil Tigers could be the theme song for Sri Lanka's upcoming parliamentary elections, with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her main rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe, accusing each other of holding secret talks with the separatists.

The first shots in what promises to be an acrimonious campaign were fired by the state-run media, which accused Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), of having held a two-hour meeting with an alleged arms procurer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Singapore last month. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:10:19 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka polls to be held in early November  - 123India

Big pro-government demo in Colombo
BBC, august 1. Thousands of pro-government demonstrators brought the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, to a halt on Tuesday in support of efforts by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to implement a constitutional settlement which they say could end the country's 17-year old civil war. President Kumaratunga will be submitting the new constitution to parliament on Thursday, where she needs a two-thirds majority if it is to be accepted. Many of the demonstrators were trade unionists who had been specially brought in by the government from outside Colombo to take part in the protest. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 12:18:15 EDT 2000

Chandrika may get wide support for new constitution; parties cautious
HT, August 1. Political observers expect the Sri Lankan President, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga, to get a wide measure of support, if not a two-thirds majority, for her Constitution Bill which is to be placed in Parliament on Thursday.

Though most parties have chosen to tread very warily on the plea that they have not seen the Bill yet, many of them are expected to jump on to her bandwagon eventually. The President herself is reported to be "very confident" of getting the 150 votes needed to give her a two-thirds majority in a House of 225. The present strength of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) and its fellow travellers is 138. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:27:47 EDT 2000

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Sri Lanka reform bill goes to Supreme Court  - 123India

Monks protest against new Constitution
Hindu, august 1. Hundreds of saffron clad monks gathered at the National Youth Centre Auditorium near here under the leadership of Amarapura Nikya Mahanayaka Madihe Pannaseela Thera. The National Sangha convention hosted by the National Joint Council urged all Sinhala Parliamentarians not to support the proposed Reform Bill in Parliament. ``Most of them (Parliamentarians) had been sent to Parliament by votes of the Sinhala people and therefore they are bound to safeguard the interests of the silent majority,'' they said. Their main fear is that the new Constitution would sell out to the `Tamils and the LTTE who wanted a separate homeland. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 09:33:10 EDT 2000
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Colombo ignores monks protest, sends statute Bill to SC  - Nirupama Subramanian

Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy take onto the streets.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 16: 44 Tuesday.. Sri Lankan government's proposal for constitutional reform ran into further trouble on Tuesday when thousands of Buddhist clergy took to the streets just out side of commercial Colombo city.

The demonstration was organized by Jathika Sangha Sabaha (national congress of mahasangha) against the package that is expected to be tabled before the parliament on Thursday.

Last week, the Mahasangha formally rejected president Chandrika Kumaratunge's devolution proposal citing the proposals are betrayal of the Sinhala nation. Prior to Mahasangha's rejection, seven Tamil political parties rejected the proposals stating that the proposals fell short of the aspirations of minority Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

"Now with Tamil political parties, the Mahasangha and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rejecting the proposals the only option this government has is, to defeat the Tamil Tigers militarily", a western diplomat in commercial city of Colombo said.

Last week, the Mahasangha not only rejected the proposals but also urged the government to re-instate Major General Janaka Perera, the former overall military commander for northern province. He was removed from his post by president Kumaratunge due to a rift with his deputy military commander Major General Sarath Fonseka.

A government source said that proposed constitutional reforms would be placed before the parliament as planned on August 3.

Tuesday's demonstrations were held at Maharagama, a town located three Kilo meters from Colombo. More than 3,000 monks partcipated in the peaceful demonstrations.
Published: Tue Aug 1 07:26:27 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
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Lanka monks call for protest meeting  - IndiaAbroad
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Monks on war path as Sri Lanka pushes reform plan  - 123India

Ronnie - Sri Lanka's new Minister for Industries
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.20 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 1. Former UNP stalwart and Finance Minister during the regime of the United National Party, Ronnie De Mel, will be sworn in as the PA government's new Minister for Industrial Development.

Speculation was fuelled last month that Ronnie De Mel would cross over to the Peoples Alliance when he voted against the UNP in Parliament on the extention of the emergency. Mr. De Mel left soon after for the UK and will take over his new post weeks before the PA faces a General Election later this year.

Sources revealed that Mr De Mel will also lend his backing to the government's draft constitution which will be placed before Parliament on Thursday August 3. The entire House is expected to vote on the new reforms by August 24.
Published: Tue Aug 1 03:29:32 EDT 2000


Sri Lankan government acquires four more fighter planes.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 16: 09 Tuesday.. Sri Lankan government purchased four more fighter planes to fight the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now attempting to launch a massive assault against government troops in northern Jaffna peninsula.

The Ukraine built Mig-27 fighter planes arrived in Colombo on Monday and the planes are expected to be inducted to the Sri Lankan air force fighter jets squadron within the day or a two, an air force official said.

The planes fitted with 23mm guns and missile delivery system were purchased from Ukraine, when the government went on a shopping spree last month, just a few weeks after the Elephant Pass reversal, a reversal described as the "worst" in the 17 years of blood-letting.

The Sri Lankan government is also expected to receive another batch of fighter jets within the next few weeks, the air force official said.

The induction of the Migs came just 24 hours before the government's plan to table the constitutional reforms before the parliament. Tamil political parties and the Maha Sangha have already rejected the package.
Published: Tue Aug 1 06:27:59 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
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Army boost firepower to crush Tiger offensive  - AsiaGateway

Sri Lanka's shell-shocked economy
AsiaGateway, Tuesday Aug 01, 08:13: 10 . COLOMBO - The good news for Sri Lanka is that economic growth is on track despite the ongoing ethnic conflict. The bad news is that its growth rate would have doubled without the war, say the country's top economic officials. The economy will grow faster this year, although the escalation in the battle between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels is draining government funds, says central bank governor A Jayawardene. The war is expected to push up defense spending by up to 62 billion rupees (US$805 million) in 2000, up from 49 billion rupees in 1999. This would exceed the government's earlier spending target of 52 billion rupees for this year. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 08:07:57 EDT 2000

13 new private hospitals
Daily News, Tuesday, 1 Aug.. Thirteen new private hospitals with an investment of over Rs. 9 billion will be in operation under the Board of Investment (BOI) flagship in Colombo and outstation shortly. Presently work on 109-room Methsuwa hospital at Nugegoda has just been completed. Work on Ruhunu hospital in Galle and the Indian Hospital Corp. Ltd are in progress, Dr. A. Harsha de Silva, Director of Private Health Sector Development, Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine told the Daily News. Among the other hospital projects, work on nine are awaiting the wrapping up of documentation, while the other is about to take off the ground. Dr. de Silva explained that four of these hospitals are to be set up with on 100 per cent foreign investment, while the others are to be joint ventures with collaboration from countries such as India, Australia, Germany and Singapore. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 07:12:34 EDT 2000

NDA partner visualises Republic for Tamils
Indian Express, august 1. After the National Conference, another National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner is making noises over autonomy. Pattali Makkal Katchi has in fact gone a step ahead and is talking about a Republic for Tamils.The PMK, which has two ministers in the Vajpayee Government, feels that Indian nationalism was about Brahmin autocracy and Hindi imperialism. ``Therefore, we should throw out Indian nationalism and the Tamil nationalism is the only answer.'' A secret paper circulated among the hard-core group of orators that the PMK is training said: ``India should be declared as a Federation of Independent Sovereign Republics of National Races. The right to secede through self-determination from such a federation should be given legally to such national races. India being called as Bharat and the National Racial Republics being called as states should be abolished'' More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 13:28:26 EDT 2000

South Africa struggle against Sri Lanka to save Kandy Test
123India, August 1. A superb knock of 87 from Jacques Kallis could not stop South Africa from a second innings collapse here Tuesday to leave Sri Lanka in a strong position at close on the third day of the second Test. South Africa finished the day teetering at 192 for eight wickets, 137 runs ahead of the hosts with two days left at the Asgiriya International Stadium. Kallis single-handedly battled Sri Lanka's spinners, staying at the crease for 237 minutes and hitting one six and six fours off 208 balls.But he headed back to the dressing room after a lapse of concentration off a delivery from Muttiah Muralitharan attempting a pull shot. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 09:18:08 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka press for victory  - BBC
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Atapattu century puts Sri Lanka in command over South Africa  - 123India
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Pollock burst boosts South Africa  - BBC

Four shot dead in Lanka hospital
The Statesman, Tuesday, 1 Aug.. A gunman believed to be a member of an underworld crime syndicate walked into the Matara Base Hospital, 160 km south of the capital Colombo. Going straight to ward 18 he shot dead a patient at point blank range and three of his attendants, the local police chief, Mr Lucky Jayawardena, said today. — ap More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 04:36:58 EDT 2000

Lankan House to meet in emergency session
Indoa Abroad, August 01. 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: Tue Aug 1 06:07:46 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
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Chandrika to present Constitution Bill on August 3  - HT

Sri Lankans among Italian boat people
Daily News, Tuesday, 1 Aug.. Sri Lankans were among 418 people detained by Italian coast guards on Sunday for illegally entering the country on a motorboat, amid angry reactions by the Interior Ministry for a perceived lack of international cooperation in the fight against human trafficking. Early reports had said 367 immigrants were on the 50-meter (150-foot) vessel, Kalsit, which was spotted in the early morning north of Crotone, within a few dozen meters (yards) of the coast. The boat was flying the Greek flag but investigators suspected it of being registered in Turkey. It was escorted by a coast guard vessel and a helicopter to the Calabrian port for identification. Police detained the suspected five-member crew for suspected human trafficking, the Italian interior ministry said. The men, all Turks, aroused the suspicion of police near Crotone after they were seen overnight wearing wet clothes. They were also carrying cellular telephones and a large number of dollar and Turkish pound bills. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 05:27:25 EDT 2000

LTTE conscripting child soldiers for last 10-15 years
AsiaGateway, Tuesday Aug 01, 08:33:11. Mrs. Jayantha Gnanakone in an interview published in yesterday's edition of the Sunday Times has stated that the LTTE has conscripted children for the last 10-15 years, from the age of 10 years. And those children are now 25 years and they know that this war has to continue for the next 50 years. Asked whether it is all right to use children in this war, Mrs. Gnanakone said, 'That is the only way. We have to sacrifice five to six generations for this war." More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 08:29:06 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
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Sri Lanka President denies talks with Tiger leader  - 123India

Sri Lanka President in Talks with Tiger leader: report
Yahoo-afp, July 31. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga held secret talks with a London-based leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels who are blamed for an assassination attempt against her, the opposition said Monday.Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in a statement said that Kumaratunga held talks with Anton Balasingham, the main ideologue of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in London.He did no say when the talks were held, but Kumaratunga returned Friday after a week's private visit during which the Indian Press reported speculation that she was meeting with Balasingham.Opposition leader Wickremesinghe said he was not seeking political capital out of Kumaratunga's meet with Balasingham and drew a contrast to a state media campaign that has sought to link him to the Tamil Tigers.The state media Monday used an interview with a sister-in-law of the man Wickremesinghe has met in Singapore to purportedly link Wickremesinghe to the Tamil Tigers.However, Wickremesinghe shot back Monday saying that the woman, Shyamalee Gnanakoon, who had made it clear that she was strongly sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers, was in fact closely related to a personal friend of the President. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 10:44:31 EDT 2000

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
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UNP to oppose Constitutional Bill  - The Hindu
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Sri Lankan peace plan push  - BBC
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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

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
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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
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Sri Lanka troops kill eight Tamil rebels: government  - 123India-AFP
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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

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LEAD: Sri Lankan cabinet to propose draft constitution  - AsiaGateway
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Cabinet nod for Lankan Constitution reforms  - Deccan Chronicle
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Lanka cabinet okays reform bill  - TOI
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Sri Lanka's cabinet has approves Reforms  - VOA

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
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Rongji meets Lankan Presidential envoy  - Hindu
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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
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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
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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

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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

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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
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Despite Chandrika’s threat, room exists for compromise  - HT
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Uncertainty over reforms package  - Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu
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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
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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
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Monks blast PA-UNP agreement  - hindu
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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

Kandy test keenly poised
IndianExpress, july 31. The second test match between Sri Lanka and South Africa was keenly poised when bad light stopped play on the second day at Kandy on July 31. At close Sri Lanka were 260/4 with Marvan Atapattu on 107 and Arjuna Ranatunga on 34. South Africa scored 253 runs in their first innings. More...
Published: Mon Jul 31 11:02:57 EDT 2000
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Cricket-Sri Lanka v South Africa second test scoreboard LATEST SCORES  - yahoo-sports
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Brave Klusener watches wickets fall  - BBC
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Klusener rescues South Africa with unbeaten century  - yahoo-afp
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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

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Sri Lanka opposition deals blow to devolution plans  - CNN-Reuters
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UNP seeks white paper on reforms  - TOI
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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
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Growth is on Track Despite War  - IPS
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World Bank says Sri Lanka's economic growth on a slide  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

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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Opposition accuses government of planning vote-rigging  - BBC

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

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