The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 122

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Malaysian News. LABUNORUWA, Sri Lanka, Aug 1 (Bernama) - The dusty track in this village is like another village path in Sri Lanka's harsh dry zone except that the nameboard has some unique features unlike normal nameboards and bears some unusual names. "Our young are just dying away in the war," laments rice farmer Heen Appuhamy, who himself lost a son in the war. If losing their sons or husbands is enough grief to the village, it is worst when government compensation schemes don't reach them. More...
US State Department. Colombo, 4 August 2000 - The U.S. State Department announced on July 31 that the mail-in period for the next U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2002) will run from noon, October 2, through noon, November 1, 2000. There is no application fee and no special application form is required. The application with the necessary information can simply be typed on a blank sheet of paper. More...
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka fighting kills 41, August 5. Sri Lankan troops killed 39 Tamil Tiger rebels in a fresh offensive and separate clashes in the island's north, while a government soldier and a civilian died in other fighting, the government said Saturday. Troops pounded rebel bunker lines in Omanathai in the Jaffna peninsula Friday, killing 20 members of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and wounding several others, the government's Special Media Information Centre said. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 13:17:37 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
39 LTTE rebels, soldier killed in Lanka  - HT

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Sri Lankan MPs lodged in hotels, safe houses
The Hindu, Saturdday Aug 5, 18:42:30. COLOMBO, AUG. 5. As the numbers game intensified for the parliamentary vote on Sri Lanka's controversial Constitution Bill, the ruling People's Alliance (PA) tried to secure its strength in the House by sequestering its MPs in five-star hotels and other safe houses in and around the capital. One PA parliamentarian was reported to have resigned on Friday due to his reservations about the proposed new Constitution. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 18:36:30 EDT 2000

Senior police officer arrested over killing-fields murders
123India, Saturdday Aug 5, 08:46:30. COLOMBO, Aug 5 (AFP) - A senior Sri Lankan police officer has been arrested in connection with extra judicial killings carried out during a leftist uprising 12 years ago, state-run media reported Saturday. Police arrested superintendent Douglas Peiris as he returned to the country on Thursday and was under interrogation, the Daily News said, linking the officer to opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:41:40 EDT 2000

Peaceful Protest
AsianAge, Saturday, 5 August. Thousands of people, including Buddhist monks, took to the streets in protest against the introduction of the new Constitution. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:16:17 EDT 2000

National Sangha Convention in support of new Constitution
Daily News, Saturday, 5 August. A group of the Maha Sangha led by Ven.Prof.Kumburugamuwe Vajira Nayake Thera will hold a National Sangha Convention to pledge the support of Buddhist clergy for new Constitution. They informed Buddhasasana Cultural and Religious Affairs Minister Lakshman Jayakody yesterday at his office in Colombo that they will elaborate on certain controversial issues including the status of Buddhism, land ownership and the protection of the majority Sinhalese under the new Constitution during the sessions at the BMICH on August 8. Ven Prof.Vajira Thera said that rights of the Sinhalese are protected and Buddhism is safeguarded while the just rights of the minorities have also been assured under the new Constitution. Some prejudices created by false propaganda of certain political forces will be corrected to convince the Maha Sangha during this Convention, Ven.Thera said. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:24:41 EDT 2000

New electoral system to be introduced
AsianAge, Saturday, 5 August. A new electoral system will be introduced in Sri Lanka and if the Parliament approves the legislation in the current session, the strength of the next house will go up to 298 from the present 225.The cabinet at a special meeting on Thursday approved the electoral reforms increasing the number of seats with a combination of the proportional representation system and the first-past-the-post system. According to the new system, the country will have 160 members of Parliament as provided for under the 1972 Constitution with eight multi-member seats. Another 100 more members will be elected under the district proportional representative system, while 30 members will be nominated on the national list as prescribed under the 1978 Constitution. The bill, known as 17th amendment to the present Constitution will be sent to the Supreme Court for its jurisdiction.(UNI) More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:13:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan government seeking constitutional victory
Asiaweek, Saturday, 5 August. The Sri Lankan government is confident of mustering enough votes in parliament to push through its new constitution, which is aimed at ending the nation's ethnic war, even without support from the main opposition United National Party. "We have the numbers and there is no way the constitution is not going to be passed in the house next week," a senior minister told Reuters on Friday. The minister, who declined to be identified, said the UNP's full support was not needed in next week's vote as several of its lawmakers were ready to break away and back the government. The new constitution aims to devolve powers to the regions, including one administered by minority Tamils in an effort to give them a political alternative to the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebel group. The LTTE have been fighting for a homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling People's Alliance needs 150 votes in the 225-member parliament. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:39:30 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Chandrika confident new statute bill will be passed  - AsianAge

Sri Lankan MP quits protesting new Statute
The Hindu, Saturday, 5 August. Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance Government has suffered a jolt with one of its lawmakers resigning in protest against the Constitution Bill, media reports said today. Jayasena Rajalkaruna of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party, quit after expressing reservations over the new Bill and its provisions to devolve powers to the Tamil- dominated north-eastern province. Rajalkaruna is the first ruling party MP to resign following policy differences with the Government which has been banking on mass defections from the Opposition United National Party to get two-thirds majority in Parliament for the passage of the Bill. But his resignation is not a set back to the Government as under the rules, the ruling alliance can nominate another member in his place, party leaders said, adding that a new member from the Kurunegala district, from where Jayasena was elected, would be nominated to fill the vacancy. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:19:15 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan constitution plans: MP resigns  - BBC

Sri Lankan general protests innocence
BBC, Saturday, 5 August. A Sri Lankan general who faces allegations of murder and torture during a left-wing uprising in the late 1980s has strenuously protested his innocence. In an interview with the BBC, Major General Ananda Weerasekera said accusations that he had presided over a spate of disappearances in between 1987 and 1990 were a shocking distortion of the truth. The general said that he never resorted to extra judicial means to suppress the uprising, during which he ran numerous detention centres for captured rebels near the central town of Anuradhapura. More...
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:04:54 EDT 2000

Controversial package will be debated on Tuesday.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 16: 51 Saturday.. Sri Lankan government's controversial devolution package will be debated at the parliament on Tuesday August-8 as scheduled amidst opposition from the leftist and right wing political parties, who accused the government for betraying the Sinhala nation.

Last week, the Buddhist monks rejected the package and threatened to block all roads leading to the parliament on Tuesday. The leftist Nava Sama Samaja Party's (NSSP) general secretary Dr. Vickrmabahu Karunarthna in a statement said that package do not offer anything to the Tamils and the proposals were "humbug" to divert attention from the rising cost of living.

On Thursday, the main opposition party, the UNP accused the government for "buying" its members to vote in favour of the package that needs 2/3 majorities in the parliament. But the government denied such claims and stated that the members of the opposition were "crossing over" to the PA government due to a rift within the UNP.

However, sources said that 40 double-rooms have been booked at a five-star hotel in Colombo to house the defectors. But a government official denying such allegations said rooms have been booked for ruling party members for security reasons. "The opposition to the package is so severe that government fears attacks on its members", the official said.

The controversial package has come under severe criticism even by the Tamil political parties. President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to hold talks with the Tamil political parties on Monday to coax them to vote in favour of the package.

Last week, when the package was tabled at parliament, the opposition party members threw paper balls and set fire to official documents as a sign of protest. The behavior of the opposition party members at the supreme political institution of the country came under severe criticism from the public who claimed that members behaved like a "bunch of kids".

Meanwhile police assisted by troops threw a tight security in and around Colombo and established snap roadblocks along the highways leading to the parliament in an attempt to prevent any untoward incident on Tuesday.
Published: Sat Aug 5 08:01:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Constitution Rejected
Yahoo/AP, Friday August 4 6:41 AM ET. Sri Lanka's main opposition party said Friday it would not support a proposed constitution giving autonomy to minority Tamils, dampening the president's hopes of mustering the votes needed for parliamentary approval. Kumaratunga's People's Alliance has a one-vote majority in the 225-seat Parliament. Seven opposition lawmakers have defected to her side, and she says the new constitution will get the backing of the needed 150 lawmakers. The opposition, however, says the government is short by at least 16 votes. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that if Parliament passes the constitution, the government would still be required to present it to the nation for a referendum. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 20:08:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Electoral system to be changed  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Sri Lanka peace bid bogged down in numbers game  - HT
Sri Lanka Cabinet refers Reforms Bill to SC  - The Hindu
Chandrika for protection of minorities  - PTI
Ranil looses control over party  - PRIU
New, Tamil-Friendly Constitution for Sri Lanka?  - New York Times
Buddhism can't be preserved without protecting minority rights  - PTI/Yahoo
UNP rejects new constitution  - The Times of India
Sri Lanka Constitution Rejected  - NorthernLight
Chandrika's bid to woo UNP MPs  - The Hindu
Sri Lanka to amend election laws  - AsiaGateway
Sri Lanka to expand parliament ahead of polls  - 123India

Country will not be divided: Chandrika
AsianAge, Friday Aug 4, 01:48:12. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Thursday told Parliament that the country would never be divided on ethnic basis and her government would never attempt to do so. The government fully understands the problem of Tamils. There was clear distinction between the war unleashed by the LTTE and the problems being faced by the Tamils. She said her government never attempted to hold secret talks with the LTTE, and denied allegations that she was in hurry to get the bill passed without proper discussion with the Buddhist clergy. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 01:43:46 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka parties rush to court to stop electoral changes ahead of poll  - 123India-AFP
Sri Lanka drops democracy, socialism from new statute  - 123India-AFP

Sri Lanka's Endemic Mangroves Face Extinction
AsiaGateway, Friday, Aug. 4. Rizophora, a mangrove species endemic to Sri Lanka, is on the verge of extinction, according to a latest report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The report said Rizophora on the southwestern coat of Sri Lanka has almost disappeared due to the clearance of mangrove areas to make ponds to raise fish and prawns."Mangrove forests have been cut for fodder, timber, firewood, production of charcoal, cultivation and land reclamation. These have attributed to their alarming reduction," it said. The report noted that about a million hectares of mangrove forests have been converted to aquaculture ponds all over the world and the genus Rizophora is becoming rare on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka and the eastern coast of Australia. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 13:28:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka fighting claims nine Tamil guerrillas
123India, Friday Aug 4, 14:55:01. COLOMBO, Aug 4 (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops killed eight Tamil rebels in the north of the country, while another killed himself with a bomb as he was about to be arrested, the government said Friday. It also said seven government soldiers were wounded when the rebels ambushed a military vehicle in the east of the country on Thursday. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 14:49:42 EDT 2000

Ex DIG nabbed at BIA
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Friday August 4. Former Deputy Inspector General of Police Douglas Peiris was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport today. Peiris fled the country in 1995 after investigations found that he was the mastermind behind the Batalanda torture cases. Sources said, that Peiris has been brought to Colombo by a Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer to give evidence against the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremasinghe, before the country faces its next polls. Before his arrest today, Pieris had been domiciled in Switzerland.
Published: Fri Aug 4 04:13:58 EDT 2000

Terrorist smuggling medicine stock to Tiger hospital killed
PRIU, Friday Aug 4, 10:32:12. An LTTE terrorist with a large stock of medicine ready to be transported to a Tiger hospital was killed by the Special Task Force on patrol duty in Kalawanchikudy, Batticaloa, when he was attempting to flee the scene, military sources revealed. These varieties of medicine there had been a cyanide capsule, hand grenades and a T56 gun. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 10:27:06 EDT 2000

Rs 131 cr. Sri Lankan export order for BHEL
The Hindu, Friday, 4 Aug. . Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., (BHEL) has procured a Rs 131 crore export order from Sri Lanka for manufacturing and supplying equipments to a private Kelanitisa power project. ``With this the company has achieved a breakthrough in the overseas private power plant market segment by securing the first ever export order for an Independent Power Project (IPP) in Sri Lanka,'' Bhel said in a statement here. Under the contract, BHEL would manufacture and supply gas turbine generating equipment (124 Mw) along with associated auxiliaries and spares for this gas-based power project being set up by AES. Besides, supervision of erection and commissioning of the equipment would be undertaken by BHEL. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 10:25:20 EDT 2000

Suicide bomber blows himself up in S.Lanka's Jaffna
ABC, Friday Aug 4, 10:18:20. COLOMBO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew himself up at a security check point in Sri Lanka"s northern Jaffna town, the government said on Friday. The bomber detonated his explosives when he was stopped by security forces on Thursday, the government said in a statement. It did not say if anybody else was killed or wounded. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 10:12:12 EDT 2000

Susanthika not too confident
HT, Friday, 4 Aug. . Controversial sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe is Sri Lanka's best hope of an Olympic medal in 52 years. But the usually gung-ho athlete is not so confident about her prospects. Jayasinghe, 24, qualified to enter the country's Asian track and field and Olympic squad last month. But her times were disappointing and she is nursing a swelling of the left knee which has hampered her training. "I will certainly give my best, " Jayasinghe said during a break from training. "I know the competition I will face has been training very well, but I can't say the same about myself." She said she had to take part in Grand Prix events to earn her upkeep in the US where she underwent training last year. Jayasinghe left Sri Lanka early last year after serious differences with local sports officials whom she accused of trying to ruin her career. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 04:48:00 EDT 2000

South Asians among top criminals in UK
Indiaabroad, Friday, 4 Aug. . South Asian criminals are among the best in Britain and easily hold their own against criminals from other ethnic backgrounds, according to a newly published review by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). Gangsters from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are active in the wholesale trafficking of drugs. They are also widely involved in making and distributing counterfeit clothing, large-scale mortgage fraud and the cloning of mobile telephones. When it comes to trade in heroin, South Asians are surpassed only by ethnic Turkish organizations. Cocaine is the monopoly of well-organized Colombian and West Indian criminals. The NCIS report, entitled 'The Threat from Serious and Organised Crime', says the trade in illegal immigrants and drugs, as well as Internet fraud has noticeably increased. It adds that the rise in organized crime is worth billions of pounds a year and affects everything from small rural communities to the stability of the money market. NCIS director general John Abbot said, "It worms its way into our profession - our lawyers, our accountants, our bankers are susceptible. It is creeping its way into the new and exciting IT (information technology) and is creating miserable victims out of its promises of a better life." More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 04:43:02 EDT 2000

Misuse of food funds to the North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Friday August 4. Sources revealed that there has been a serious misconduct in sending food items to hospitals in the North. Government auditors have found that a misuse of funds has taken place when transporting food to the hospitals, whereby it has been discovered that suppliers have demanded upto Rs. 170/- per kilo of sugar.

This, auditors say has resulted in a gross misuse of monies totalling upto over rupees nine hundred thousand, (Rs. 900,000/=) for this item of food only. The fraud has occured with items of food being transported to hospitals in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Killinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Government sources said that the Health Ministry has been informed of the findings and investigations are underway to determine how many suppliers have been involved in the fraud.
Published: Fri Aug 4 04:13:59 EDT 2000

Speaker announces SC's determination to Parliament
AsiaGateway, Friday Aug 4, 02:27:25. Speaker K. B. Ratnayake yesterday announced Wednesday's the determination of the Supreme Court which held that the SC had no jurisdiction to examine the present Draft Bill in relation to any inconsistency with the Constitution. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 02:21:14 EDT 2000

It's talks or war, Chandrika tells LTTE
TOI, Friday, 4 Aug. . Having scored a historic first in Sri Lankan history by presenting one of the most liberal offers of devolution to the minority community, President Kumaratunga on Thursday offered to discuss the package with the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).The proposals which constitute a significant part of the newly drafted Constitution, were presented in Parliament on Thursday. The new Constitution will now be studied by members and debated over the next week. The crucial counting of votes which will decide whether the Constitution gets implemented or remains a white paper, will take place on August 9.In a nearly two-hour speech in Parliament, President Kumaratunga said "the government is ready to discuss it with the LTTE. If they reject these proposals, we will continue the war. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 04:53:00 EDT 2000

Human Rights Donor Co-ordination Group pledges support
AsiaGateway, Friday Aug 4, 01:54: 11. The representatives of the Human Rights Donor Co-ordination Group, who recently had a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka pledged support towards implementing its programs. Senior officials representing the European Union, USAID, Asia Foundation, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP and Colombo based diplomatic missions of Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and Norway attended the meeting held at the UN compound in Colombo. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 01:48:23 EDT 2000

Susanthika not too confident
HT, Friday Aug 4, 01:43:20. Controversial sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe is Sri Lanka's best hope of an Olympic medal in 52 years. But the usually gung-ho athlete is not so confident about her prospects. Jayasinghe, 24, qualified to enter the country's Asian track and field and Olympic squad last month. But her times were disappointing and she is nursing a swelling of the left knee which has hampered her training. Jayasinghe took part in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta but pulled out from her event because of a hamstring injury. Since winning silver at the 1997 World Championship 200 m in Athens, Jayasinghe has remained Sri Lanka's best Olympic medal. More...
Published: Fri Aug 4 01:38:19 EDT 2000

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