The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 124

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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 debates key reforms
BBC, August 7. Sri Lanka's opposition leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe, has criticised President Chandrika Kumaratunga's proposals to reform the country's constitution. The changes are aimed at ending the island's long-running separatist war. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 19:02:40 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka Parliament debates new Constitution  - Times of India

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Monks vow to keep up death fast in Sri Lanka, August 7. Buddhist monks prayed outside a sacred tree in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo as a young saffron-robed colleague began a death fast forcing the government to withdraw a radical constitution. Monk Hadigalle Wimalasara, 30, lounged on a mattress kept on a make-shift stage on a highway between the main railway and bus stations in the busy commercial area of Pettah. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 18:55:50 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Monk begins death fast amid Sri Lanka political turmoil  -

Lankan SC hears objections over Electoral Reforms Bill
PTI, Colombo,Monday, August 07, 2000. A five-member bench of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court today heard petitions opposing the proposed new Electoral Reforms Bills, forwarded by the government a few days ago for its urgent consideration. Lawyers of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), the ultra left-wing Janatha Vimuthi Perumuna (JVP)and the right-wing Sinhala Urumaya vehemently opposed the Bill, terming it "illegal" and "unconstitutional". The Bill was forwarded to the court for its opinion about its legality after the cabinet approved it on August three. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 20:03:30 EDT 2000

Chandrika's race for votes slowed by hurdles
Times of India, August 7. A ruling party parliamentarian crossed over to the Opposition and a group of monks launched an indefinite fast on Monday as President Chandrika Kumaratunga frantically tried to muster votes for her controversial draft Constitution in Parliament. "The defection at this stage sends a powerful message to the government. They are probably quite worried if this will start a wave of crossovers," said an Opposition member. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 19:39:17 EDT 2000

Blast and defections mark Lanka constitution making
HT, august 8. A GRENADE attack against a prominent anti-devolution Buddhist monk and defections from both the government and the opposition side marked the controversy over the making of a new quasi-federal constitution for Sri Lanka in the last two days. On Sunday, a gang of three Sinhala men tried to set off a blast at a meeting of the Jathika Sangha Sabhawa (National Sangha Council) in Narahenpita, in south Colombo. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 19:53:24 EDT 2000

Govt. has gone back on its word, says Ranil
The Hindu (International), August 7. The Sri Lankan Parliament today began a politically explosive debate on a proposed new constitution aimed at ending the protracted ethnic conflict, with the Opposition UNP declaring that it would not support it and the Tamil parties describing it as an insufficient final solution but an adequate starting point. Hundreds of Buddhist monks launched a hunger-strike here against the Bill and the Janatha Vimukthi Perumena(JVP) staged a demonstration outside the Supreme Court against the Government's parallel move to change the electoral system. ``Instead of creating a national consensus and evolving a political solution acceptable to all, this procedure will only create a national controversy,'' Mr Wickremesinghe said. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 16:20:01 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Debates for new Lankan constitution begin  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka debates reforms amid protests  - ABC
Sri Lanka debates new constitution, security tight  - Reuters
Heavy security in Colombo ahead of crucial vote  - Times of India
Sri Lanka debates key reforms  - BBC South Asia

'City of Trinco' leaves for Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.25 p.m. SLT Monday August 7. The passenger ferry 'MV City of Trinco' sailed from Trincomalee today at around 5 p.m. under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) transporting civilians to the Jaffna peninsula. A press release from the ICRC said this evening that, in response to a request of the Government of Sri Lanka for the ICRC to protect a vessel for the transportation of civilians to the North of the country, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development of the Northern Region and the ICRC was signed on July 26, 2000 in Colombo.

The vessel clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem and flag, is exclusively meant for the transportation of civilians between Trincomalee and Jaffna. At present, the ports of departure and arrival will be Trincomalee and Point Pedro as agreed upon by the Naval authorities and the ICRC. An ICRC convoyer will always be on board during the voyages and will have overall responsibility on all matters directly related to the protection of the ship.

The ICRC maintains that it has received written security assurances both from the LTTE and the Government for safe passage during the voyages. According to the MOU, military personnel (either in uniform or civvies) are not permitted to travel on the ship. Arms and ammunition on board or escorts by security personnel on board are strictly prohibited and there will be no military escort by the security forces for the ship.

The ICRC states that, the Government through the Ministry of Defence, is fully responsible for providing the necessary clearance to the passengers to travel to and from Jaffna. The Sri Lanka Navy will carry out the relevant security checks of passengers luggage as well as of the ship prior to embarking and disembarking. Since 1989, on invitation by the Government, the ICRC has been active in Sri Lanka in conflict areas, carrying out its traditional humanitarian activities such as the protection of detainees, re-establishing of family ties, providing assistance to the civilian population, dissemination of rules of behaviour in combat and by acting as a neutral intermediary whenever required.
Published: Mon Aug 7 09:59:46 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Red Cross begins mercy ferry service in Sri Lanka  -

Ruling party MP defects to Opposition
Buddhist monk begin a hunger strike to protest against the plan to modify the Constitution.(Reuters)
The Asian Age, August 7. he Sri Lankan Parliament resumed debate on the controversial constitutional bill on Monday amid a surprise defection of a ruling party’s legislator to the Opposition. As the house began discussions on the bill which seeks to turn the country into a de facto federal state, legislator Dixon J. Perera of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party from Colombo, switched sides and sat with the Opposition United National Party. He ironically sat in the same chair earlier occupied by senior UNP leader, Ronnie De Mel, who had crossed over to the government side on August 3, the day the bill was tabled in the House by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. So far, about seven UNP MPs have defected the ruling Peoples Alliance since November last year. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 17:39:32 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
MPs cross over as Lankan Parliament debates Constitution bil  - PTI
Sri Lanka monks begin indefinite fast, reform bill suffers defection  - 123India
Sri Lanka's ruling party suffers first defection ahead of key vote  -
Ruling Party MP defects ahead of key Sri Lanka vote  -
PA politico crosses over to UNP  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

LTTE could be supporting Veerappan, says Swamy
HT, Monday, 7 August. Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy today said the kidnapping of Kannada megastar Rajkumar by brigand Veerappan was a "conspiracy" and the home ministry should find out who all were behind the same.He told reporters here that the government should seek the opinion of the court regarding giving amnesty to Veerappan. He also expressed suspicion that LTTE was giving support to Veerappan, and the Tamil rebels had shifted their base from Chennai to Bangalore. Swamy expressed the hope that a third political front would defenitely come in Tamil Nadu. Though AICC president Sonia Gandhi had said that the alliance with the AIADMK would continue, the Congress president did not make any mention about it at the public meeting held at Coimbatore, he added. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 12:10:17 EDT 2000

Indians push Tamils to support Chandrika
IndiaAbroad, August 7. Indian diplomats were trying to persuade reluctant Tamil parliamentarians to back President Chandrika Kumaratunga's new constitution, which devolved power to the minorities, reports said on Sunday. "The Indian high commission in Colombo is lobbying with Members of Parliament (MPs) of Tamil parties to vote for the draft constitution," the pro-opposition Sunday Leader newspaper reported. Indian diplomats were not immediately available for comment. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 12:21:53 EDT 2000

A constitution via bribes
SundayLeader, August 6. While the president hinged her credibility on getting a 2/3rd majority for the draft constitution, the UNP was fighting a rear guard action to prevent party members from being purchased to vote with the government. It was politics at its worst with the government leaving no stone unturned as they fixed their sights on unprincipled opposition members who could be persuaded to vote for the constitution with the right offers.Having targeted vulnerable members of the opposition, the government has worked on them systematically with the final offering being a change in the electoral system to a first past the post cum PR whereby the MPs who doubt their chances of re-election being assured of seats under the district proportional representation quota of the PA. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 12:05:07 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Main Opposition Against Draft Constitution
XINHUA, August 7. COLOMBO (Aug. 7) XINHUA - Sri Lanka's opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said Monday his party would not extend support for the proposed draft constitution brought forward by the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga because her ruling People's Alliance (PA) has gone back on many issues. In a statement to the parliament, Wickremesinghe of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) cited the issues of the abolition of the Executive Presidency, merger of the north and the east for 5 years instead of 10 years and the powers vested to the independent commissions. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 06:45:26 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Debates Constitution
AP, August 7. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Parliament began a crucial debate Monday on whether to accept a new constitution that the government hopes will end the 17-year Tamil separatist war. To guard against feared rebel attacks, air force helicopters brought Parliament members to the assembly building from hotels, where the legislators had spent the weekend. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 06:43:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka opposition seeks talks with monks, Tigers, Monday, 7 August. Sri Lanka's main opposition Monday called for talks with influential Buddhist monks and Tamil separatists before voting on a bill to turn the country into a federal state. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament his bipartisan talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance could be improved by taking the monks and the rebels onboard.Wickremesinghe said his United National Party (UNP) which holds the balance of power in parliament to make or break reforms will not vote for Kumaratunga's draft bill that is to be put to a vote Wednesday."If the people are kept in the dark about constitutional changes, if their basic rights are curtailed, for whose benefit are we passing this constitution," Wickremesinghe asked. He said agreements reached during talks between his party and Kumaratunga's PA between March 9 and July 7 had not been fully incorporated the draft bill presented in the assembly last week.The former premier Wickremesinghe called for a broader consensus involving the country's influential Buddhist clergy and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).Both the Tigers and the monks have rejected the peace plan, but for different reasons.The monks say too much is offered in the political package that seeks to grant greater autonomy to minority Tamils in exchange for ethnic peace, while the Tigers say too little is being given. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 06:32:57 EDT 2000

UNP says it cannot support constitutional reforms and walk out of Parliament
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1505 07 August 2000. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe told parliament today that the government has gone back on agreements reached at three months of talks and the UNP therefore would not support the Constitutional reforms. He however appealed to the government to continue to discussions to arrive at a consensus on a political solution to the ethnic problem. After his brief address UNP parliamentarians walked out of parliament saying they would not take part in the debate. The UNP is also expected to abstain from voting
Published: Mon Aug 7 05:14:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Religious dignitaries, community leaders say: UNP must not withdraw at this moment  - AsiaGateway

President pins peace hope on constitution vote
SCMP, August 7. Parliament will today debate President Chandrika Kumaratunga's proposals to reform the Sri Lankan constitution in the hope of ending the war with the Tamil Tigers. Mrs Kumaratunga faces a tough challenge if she is to get her proposals through the 225-member House. She needs a two-thirds majority, but the opposition United National Party (UNP) yesterday formally withdrew support for the package More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 10:47:30 EDT 2000

LTTE exploit NGO funded orphanages to supply cadres
PRIU, Monday Aug 7, 05:25:10. Intelligence reports and civilians who are crossing over to the government controlled areas have revealed that the LTTE is now running orphanages known as "Chenchulai" (Red Blossomed Garden) as a stealthy way to recruit children from the scrutiny of foreign countries and human rights organizations, said a press release from the Special Media Information Centre (SMIC).All these so-called orphanages are established to continuously supply recruits to fill LTTE ranks, the release said. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 05:23:01 EDT 2000

Opposition MP cross over to the Government
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1500 SLT 07 August 2000. Harendra Corea member of parliament for the United National Party (UNP) today crossed over to the government ranks. He sat in the government bench in parliament while opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was addressing the house opening the debate for the Opposition on the constitutional reforms.
Published: Mon Aug 7 05:14:54 EDT 2000

Inductions and Sri Lankan military transfers.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 13: 17 Monday.. When the stranger arrived at George R de Silva mawatha, a tree-lined highway in the highly-guarded Kotahena famous for toddy taverns, the authorities paid scant attention to him or his beedi.

The middle aged moustached 25-year-old checked into a rundown lodge in the guise of a businessman. He was small, bald and a chain smoker. At the lodge he mingled frequently with others, gossiping about the killings and other atrocities carried out by government troops.

He was convincing and his speech convinced. But in the evenings he disappeared and often arrived at the lodge late at nights in a three-wheeler. One day he appeared drunk and the lodge owner fearing trouble that his lucrative trade might suffer threatened to have him thrown out. He apologised but his curious routine never stopped.

His disappearances gave rise to the impression that he was meeting old friends at the tavern. But little did the owner know that his enigmatic tenant was holding discussions with his comrades in Colombo and was in the midst of drawing up a blue-print to mount assaults on Colombo harbour.

But the man however had a weakness. After his midnight rendezvous he was seeing a cheap, drunken hooker. She was faithful since he poured in a lot of money for her benefit. The man never did dream that the relationship with the hooker would be his undoing.

The police were sweeping the north Colombo range for hookers on July 25. One of them netted were the mistress of the man. For police nothing appeared unusual in the woman except the jewellery that was wearing. Suspicious, police begun to grill (the grill was not with sweet sauce!). The woman squealed. She admitted to having a midnight rendezvous with a man living in a lodge and he always spoke in support of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

But the police did not proceed to arrest the man on the confession. They only detailed someone to shadow him. On July 14 the man gave the police the slip amidst the shoppers at Pettah. But at dawn on July 15 he appeared from somewhere at gates of the lodge. Policemen lying in ambush pounced and handcuffed him and took him to an undisclosed destination after blindfolding him.

At the undisclosed destination surrounded by plain-clothed policemen and some military officers, he appeared serene and calm. Policemen and military men carefully scrutinized the man's identification papers, but his face and the photograph on the national identity card did not match.

The policemen with the assistance of the terrorist investigations department and national intelligence bureau sleuths begun the rigorous grilling sessions. The man began to spill the beans. The Sunday Leader in the national interest will identify the man only Kugadas, a native of eastern Batticaloa.

Kugadas is a member of the LTTE's spy wing, that comes under the direct purview of Pottu Amman -- the most wanted terrorist by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments for engineering the assassination of former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi.

Kugadas joined the LTTE in 1995. He participated in the attacks of Mankulam, Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass and counter-operations against troops who were involved in operation Rivi Rasa (Sun Rays).

Kugadas had arrived in Colombo on his final mission on July 13 after tampering with someone's identity card. He was dispatched to Colombo by a person named Kroner (Kroner's actual name has been withheld by The Sunday Leader in the national interest). Kugadas said his mission was to observe the security arrangements at the oil-refinery at Modera. But that is not all: He had also been detailed to carryout a thorough observation of the Colombo harbour.

His mission was to observe the security arrangements at both these strategic points and report his observation to the LTTE ring leaders in Colombo. He had been asked to write his observations in small piece of paper and drop off them near shops to be picked by the them. To identify the notes, a piece of brick to be kept of them.

Following the detection and during a high level security council meeting at the Colombo army and navy headquarters, a decision was made to intensify the security at the Colombo port and Modera oil-refinery and also post armed policemen on the "edges" of Galle face. The primary duty of the policemen and women is to observe for any suspicious movements of motor boats attempting to beach in the area.

With threats looming the Sri Lankan navy refused permission for fisher folk of Wattala to fish at Galle Face. The highly agitated fishermen protesting over the red tape demonstrated one day and demanding the navy to allow them to fish at Galle face. But when the stern navy officers refused, the furious fishermen took their tale of woe to John Amaratunge, an opposition party parliamentarian. But discussions on the matter were put-off to find an alternative area for Wattala fisher folk to fish.

The issue of the fisher folk's grievances was not the topic echoing in the corridors of the Sri Lankan navy headquarters at fort, but the recent changes and scrapping of the post of Senior Naval Officer Commanding Northern Area (SNOCNOR). The post was held by Rear admiral L.R.Amraweera. The post was created by the navy commander Vice Admiral Cecil Tissera after the country suffered the worst ever reversal in the hands of the LTTE, when the cadres of the movement walked into the country's highly guarded Elephant Pass complex on April 26 this year signalling the Tigers were gearing to knockout the 40,000 odd troops stationed in northern Jaffna peninsula.

Amraweera, a sailor par excellence was sent to the north after Tissera created the post especially to match the overall commander's post (OOC) created by the Sri Lankan army. The post was handed over to Major General Janka Perera, after government removed Major General Sarath Fonseka as the northern Security Forces Commander (SFC). (see below for the inside story of transfers. Last week, when this newspaper requested permission from the information ministry to spell out the reasons for their transfer, this newspaper was told not to carry it, since it would create divisions within the army. However the public was made aware of the details of this matter in another newspaper).

For Tissera, dispatching a rear admiral was the only solution to north to match Janaka Perera. But for Amraweera's bad luck two Super Dvoras gunboats went down while attempting to cross the northeastern seas. One was sunk by a LTTE missile and the other one was sunk by the Sri lankan air force accidentally. The navy ship was attacked by a SLAF ground attack aircraft was, apparently, piloted by a "westerner". The air force apologized to the SLN for the mishap, but the kith and kin of those officers who perished with the ship are demanding compensation from the defence ministry.

Tissera, after scrapping the post of SNOCNOR, detailed Rear Admiral Amraweera to take up the post as the director, naval administration and to fill the vacuum created by the departing Amaraweera detailed Rear Admiral D.N.Karanagoda to north. But the post was not as SNOCNOR, but as naval Commander-North (Com-North).

Karanagaoda had returned to country after undergoing an year's training at the National Defence College (NDC) in India. Commodore S.P Weerasekera who acted as Amaraweera's deputy during his tenure in north, was transferred to a "desk job" at the navy headquarters at Flag Post avenue as director, naval welfare (DNW). Ttransfer 'demotion' of both these officers has caused a minor earthquake in the navy and it yet to be seen what else Cecil Tissera has up his sleeve to "satisfy" the navy other than posting Karanagoda as Com-North.

Amidst these developments, the navy has also come under severe criticism for acquiring the services of three retired air force pilots to fly two helicopters. A former SLAF wing commander, Sunil Cabral has been brought back as the squadron leader to command the navy's dust-off wing and he will be assisted by Romesh Mendis (a former pilot attached to Sri Lankan airlines formerly known as Air Lanka) and Ranjith Yapa, a former flying officer of the SLAF MI-24 helicopter squadron.

Military observers say that the helicopters based on board ships are specially inducted to carry out quick destroy missions on LTTE targets in the Mullaitivu area and protect the naval and other commercial ships plying between Trincomalee and northern Jaffna port, Kankesanthurai.

While the navy inducted its newest 'toy', the SLAF took possession of the Mig-27 fighter jets from the Ukraine last week. The single seater jets twice as fast as sound are piloted by four 'foreigners' (The Sunday Leader withholds the origin of the foreign pilots due to the censorship). The pilots are paid according to their number of flying hours and the missions carried out on LTTE targets will be on "sortie" basis. The Floggers-J type fitted with 23mm guns and a sophisticated missile delivery system has the capabilities of reaching northern Jaffna peninsula within seven minutes of take-off.

Addition to the induction of the Floggers-J the SLAF is also expected to get another four ground attack aircraft and ten Mike Alphas (Mi-24) helicopter gun ships. These purchases are being made following a advise received a from foreign military experts who had claimed that only way of eradicating the terrorist menace is by "smoking out" the Tango-Four base of Parbhakarn in the Mullaitivu jungles with American built Apache type helicopters. Apaches were used by American forces during the Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf. However the Sri Lanka government did not go in for Apaches, because they were too expensive.

Against the back drop of the new equipment received by the armed forces, the failure of two senior officers to see eye-to-eye during their tenure as Overall Operations Commander (OOC) and security forces commander north respectively, has been reverberating along the corridors of the army headquarters and insiders say the issue will continue even after the incumbent army commander Lieutenant General Sri Lal Weerassoriya steps down from his post. There are signals that Weerassoriya will be asked to retire before December 31 and posted as High Commissioner in Pakistan.

Majors General Janaka Perera and Sarath Fonskea were transferred from their posts also due to an unauthorized operation ordered to be carried out by Sarath Fonseka against Tiger rebels in Thanankillapu, an area located on the axis of A9 highway, a highway dubbed as "highway of hell".

Soon after the operation carried by troops loyal to Fonseka, strong protests were lodged to the army commander. Weerassoriya, astonished, requested Perera to ask for an explanation from Fonseka in writing, but Fonseka refused. As tensions grew between both of them, army commander during a meeting with president Chandrika Kumaratunga briefed her on the issue. Kumaratunga ordered Weerasooriya to summon both officers to the army headquarters on July 13 to patch-up the matters.

Weerasooriya held discussions with both officers for two hours and urged them to "forget their differences" and work together. But both battle-hardened men refused and admancy of both men prompted president to send two letters demanding them to relinquish their duties.

Now, with these developments within the army and present political crisis in the country, the next few weeks or months will be very crucial for the country especially when intelligence wings have warned that large scale offensives are expected from the LTTE.

If the present political climate prolongs, it is definite the Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran will use the situation for his advantage to mount attacks on the government forces. And the government will not be left with any option but of fighting the war to a finish if the proposed constitutional reforms are rejected by the people.

Box Story.

Navy's chief of-staff Daya Sandagiri and Eastern naval commander T.G.Sundaram, both had been served with a letter of termination. Both had been asked to terminate their services on December 31 this year. The letters have been sent through commander Cecil Tissera and copies to the ministry of defence.

Off the Lines.

An Investigation had been launched at the school of artillery after media reports said that two Tiger rebels have had lunched in the officers' mess with the connivance of foot soldiers guarding the third perimeter defence lines.

Preparations are being made at an army cantonment in the outskirts of Colombo to intensify the security, after intelligence warned of the possible presence of some LTTE suicide cadres in the area. The reason is not that the cantonment would be attacked, but because newly purchased military armament supposed to be strewn in the front yard of the cantonment in full view of the public.
Published: Mon Aug 7 03:28:41 EDT 2000

Attempt to cheat Tamils: Vaiko
The-Hindu, Monday, 7 August. The tabling of the new Constitution Bill in Sri Lanka by its President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, was more an attempt to cheat the Tamils, the MDMK general secretary, Mr. Vaiko, told reporters here on Sunday. With the proposed bill being unacceptable to even Tamil groups supporting the Government, the Opposition UNP and Sinhala supporters, it was clear that Mrs. Chandrika had little of substance to offer, he said. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 04:07:49 EDT 2000

Lanka government tries to buy Opposition MPs
AsianAge, Monday, 7 August. Sri Lanka’s People’s Alliance government, short of a two-thirds majority to push the new Constitution through Parliament, is offering Opposition legislators houses and cars to secure their votes, an Opposition leader said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government presented its Constitution aimed at ending the long ethnic war in the house last week. It will be debated from Monday and a vote is due on Wednesday.“Financial stakes are very high. Not only cash, but houses and cars have also been offered,” chairman of the main Opposition United National Party Karu Jayasuriya, said on the weekend. The Constitution proposes to devolve powers to regions, including one administered by Tamils, in an effort to provide the minority a political alternative to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE have been fighting for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka’s north and east since 1983. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 04:03:17 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka parties in court to stop "gerrymandering" bill, August 7. Sri Lanka's minority parties and rights groups on Monday filed a petition with the country's Supreme Court accusing the government of attempting to fix the electoral system in its favour. Ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, thousands of activists from the leftist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, protested outside the court while the petition was presented to Chief Justice Sarath Silva. A draft bill drawn up by the government envisages expanding the number of seats in parliament by 73 to 298. More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 01:49:14 EDT 2000

Parliament begin debate on new constitutional reform amidst growing protests.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1115 SLT 07 August 2000. The Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress A.H.M. Ashraff open the debate in parliament this morning on the new constitutional reforms. The debate is been covered live on national television.The Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe is scheduled to make a statement to parliament and then the party would stage a walk out. The three days debate began amidst growing opposition to the reforms. Thousands of buddhist monks are due hold a sathyagrha opposite the Dalada Maligawa this afternoon and another demonstrations is due to be held in Colombo tuesday morning. The JVP which held a demonstration outside Supreme Court this mon ring to protest against the new electoral reforms is scheduled to hold another demonstration in Fort this afternoon. end
Published: Mon Aug 7 01:26:51 EDT 2000

Security beefed up around Sri Lankan Parliament ahead of crucial vote
Yahoo, Sunday Aug 6, 18:26:10. Colombo, Aug 6 - Security has been beefed up around the Sri Lankan Parliament with debate on President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial political reforms bill due to begin tomorrow. Heavily armed policemen took up positions along the main roads and armed forces were put on alert, officials said. With opposition mounting inside and outside the house, Members of Parliament (MPs) were told by the government to take all precautions and were warned of possible attacks "by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other extremist groups on our families and our homes", the Sunday Times newspaper quoted a ruling People's Alliance (PA) member as saying. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 18:19:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka troops kill nine rebels , Sunday Aug 06 2000 14:31 . COLOMBO, Aug 6 (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops shot dead nine Tamil Tiger rebels in fresh fighting in the island's north while another six guerrillas were either killed or wounded, the government said Sunday. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 05:46:45 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Troops Kill 53 Rebels  - Yahoo
Weekend encounters in Lankan war leave 55 dead  - Times of India

Bombers of Buddhist monks get instant justice
123India-AFP, August 6. Buddhist monks were preaching non-violence and calling for unity in ethnically-fractured Sri Lanka when a powerful blast ripped through the venue in Colombo. An attacker crouched behind a car and aimed at the second floor auditorium, but as he swung his hand to throw the explosives, he hit the car behind him and the bomb went off instantaneously. Three others believed to be accomplices of the attacker were also wounded in the blast as some 200 monks and political activists deliberated on their protest against government plans to vote on a new constitution on Wednesday. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 09:30:15 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Bomb rocks Sri Lanka monks' meet ahead of constitution vote  - Yahoo
Grenade lobbed at anti package meeting  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Bomb rocks Sri Lanka monks' meet ahead of constitution vote  - 123India

Boje baffles Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, August 7. South African spinner Nicky Boje picked up three wickets in nine balls to leave the match intirguingly poised at the end of the second day's play at the Sinhalese Sports Ground. Sri Lanka were 138 for four at the close after earlier dismssing the tourists for 279. All-rounder Lance Klusener made an unbeaten 95 for South Africa, running out of partners when in sight of a second successive Test hundred More...
Published: Mon Aug 7 10:19:14 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka take control  - BBC

Latest Sri Lanka fighting
BBC, August 6. The Sri Lankan government says that its troops killed thirty-nine Tamil Tiger rebels in a new offensive in the north of the country.

The government says troops pounded rebel lines in Omanathai, in the Jaffna peninsula, on Friday, killing twenty Tigers. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 09:20:17 EDT 2000

Blast near Sinhala meeting venue
The Hindu, August 6. On the eve of a crucial parliamentary debate on changing the Constitution, a bomb explosion, at the venue of a meeting of Sinhala nationalist organisations, opposed to the proposed change, injured three people here. The bomb went off on Sunday evening, outside a building where members of the National Joint Committee (NJC), an umbrella organisation of Sinhala nationalist groups, were meeting to chalk out plans for protests over the next three days when the new Constitution would be debated and put to vote. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 19:46:17 EDT 2000

S.Lanka police wounded by rebel landmine
ABC, Sunday Aug 6, 09:03:10. COLOMBO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A landmine laid by Tamil Tiger rebels exploded under a bus in north Sri Lanka on Sunday wounding at least seven policemen, state radio said. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said the police bus was on the outskirts of Vavuniya, 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Colombo, when the mine exploded. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:57:34 EDT 2000

TULF says ‘No’
The Island, Sunday, 6 August. The TULF is not expected to support the government’s constitutional proposals that will be debated in parliament this week despite tremendous pressure being mounted on the party, senior TULF sources said.With six MPs, the TULF’s support or the lack of it can make a vital difference to the required two thirds majority.The single TELO MP, A. Adaikalanathan, said that he would be voting against the bill. But 3 other minority parties - the SLMC (7 MPs), EPDP (9), DPLF (2) and the CWC (8) will be voting with the government."There was intense lobbying to persuade us to vote with the government with several ministers working behind the scene. A big businessman is supposed to be putting up a lot of money,’’ a TULF MP who asked not to be identified, said.He said that the draft now before parliament failed to satisfy the basic aspirations of the Tamil people particularly on three fundamental issues - the structure of the state, the unit of devolution land the question of land."We will therefore vote against the bill. No respectable Tamil can accept these proposals which will enforce majority rule on the minorities,’’ he said. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:04:53 EDT 2000

I am in danger says Vasudeva
Sunday Times, Sunday, 6 August. LSSP rebel Vasudeva Nanayakkara who is opposing the draft constitutional bill said yesterday he had been warned that his life was in danger.

Mr. Nanyakkara told The Sunday Times the threats could be serious but he was not asking for state security.

He said he saw the draft constitution bill as something similar to the dictatorial Jayawardene constitution while he believed the devolution proposals did not address the roots of the conflict. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:10:43 EDT 2000

US training for Lankan armed forces gets underway in South
The Island, Sunday, 6 August. US and Sri Lankan forces have begun a month long training exercise here, highly placed defence sources said yesterday. The exercises began on July 31 under tight security at airforce and naval facilities outside the North and the East.Advisors from different branches of the US forces have been engaged in training exercises with army’s elite 53 Division comprised Commandos, Special Forces and the Air Mobile Brigade and a 40 man group of navy officers and men, the sources said. The exercise was the third and the last of the exercises scheduled for year 2000, the sources said adding that the ongoing "security programmes" will considerably help the Lankan forces.The 53 Division, since it’s establishment in 1995 has been engaged in all major operations, both offensive and defensive including combined offensive, Riviresa that brought the Jaffna peninsula under the government’s control.Four officers were among the almost 100 member strong 53 Division group taking part in the exercises, the sources said adding that Sri Lanka was among several other countries benefited from the Extended Relations Programme [ERP] under which the US provides advance training to forces of friendly countries. The US in 1995 included Sri Lanka in the Pacific Command More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:03:02 EDT 2000

Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena to be elected professor
The Island, Sunday, 6 August. Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena’s name has been forwarded to the Vice Chancellor of the People’s Friendship University of Moscow to be elected as a Professor of the Russian Government University. Dr. Jayawardena has been working as a Senior Consultant to several medical faculties of the State Universities of Russian Federation. He has also been functioning as a Senior Member of the selection boards of Moscow Medical Academy and Russian State University to select Sri Lanka students to these universities. He was honoured by the Russian State Medical University for his excellent contribution in the field of medical education in 1993.

In 1997 Dr. Jayawardena was appointed as a Project Coordinator of Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (Deemed University) of India by its Vice Chancellor. He was appointed to the Visiting Academic staff of Edenlale College of Medical Sciences in South Africa in 1998. He was awarded the Membership in the International Medical Parliamentarian’s Organisation (IMPO) which is affiliated to WHO recently. He is a life member of Sri Lanka Medical Association. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:06:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan MPs lodged in hotels, safe houses
The Hindu, Sunday, 6 August. 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. The PA is expected to nominate a replacement before the Bill is put to vote next Wednesday. The Bill, which the President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, says is the foundation for a lasting peace in Sri Lanka, will be debated for three days beginning Monday, August 7. The Government, on its own, does not have the two- thirds support that is required for the passage of the Bill. The Opposition, United National Party (UNP) has said it will not support it, but a Cabinet Minister told The Hindu earlier this week that several Opposition members were expected to switch sides soon. In order to woo more UNP parliamentarians, the Government has dangled the carrot of an expanded House which will enable the ruling coalition to accommodate UNP defectors in the list for the next general elections without antagonising its own members. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 07:38:01 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka on red alert ahead of constitution vote
123India, Sunday, 6 August. Sri Lanka was placed on red alert amid fears of bloodshed as President Chandrika Kumaratunga tried to rally support for a radical constitution change, officials said Sunday. Security forces and the police were put on maximum alert fearing a backlash against the statute that seeks to turn the country into a de facto federal state in exchange for ethnic peace, officials said.The Buddhist clergy warned they would march to parliament Tuesday, a day before the crucial vote, to protest against Kumaratunga's bill. The main opposition United National party (UNP) has also said it will oppose the bill and is preparing to boycott the debate.Kumaratunga needs a two-thirds majority or 150 votes in the 225-member assembly to pass her bill. She is still 10 votes short of achieving that but the government has said it was confident of engineering at least 20 defections from the UNP opposition, which is equally optimistic that the reforms will fail. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 07:35:41 EDT 2000

S.Lanka gov't said desperate for key charter votes
ABC, Sunday Aug 6, 03:12:13. Colombo, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka"s People"s Alliance government, short of a two-thirds majority to push a new constitution through parliament, is offering opposition lawmakers houses and cars to secure their votes, an opposition leader said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga"s government presented its constitution aimed at ending the long ethnic war in the house last week. It will be debated from Monday and a vote is due on Wednesday. "The government is short by a few votes. Horse trading is on. There is too much at stake here," a diplomat told Reuters. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 03:06:44 EDT 2000
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Sri Lankan Minister flays Electoral Reforms Bill  - The Hindu
Sri Lanka horse-trading escalates ahead of decisive vote  -

Sri Lanka bank on big farewell Ranatunga knock
AsianAge, Sunday Aug 6, 03:01:20. Sri Lanka will look for one last big innings from Arjuna Ranatunga on his Test farewell at his Colombo home-ground in the third and final Test against South Africa starting on Sunday. Ranatunga, 36, is to retire from international cricket after the Test, ending an illustrious 18-year career during which he became Sri Lanka’s most successful captain and the second-highest run-getter after Aravinda de Silva. Ranatunga nearly won the second Test for Sri Lanka with his brilliant 88. On Sunday, he will be playing his 93rd Test match since making his debut at the age of 18 against England in Colombo in 1982. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 02:56:03 EDT 2000
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Farewell to Arjuna  - The Sunday Times

Refurbished Army braced for showdown with Tigers
Island, Sunday, 6 August. Sri Lanka has boosted its firepower with new combat aircraft and field guns ahead of a possible show down with Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, officials said.The military has begun using four MiG-27 ground attack aircraft and the army has deployed multi-barrel rocket launchers to force the rebels to pull back their own long-range guns, which had threatened a strategic airfield, the officials said."The new jets are being fine-tuned for combat operations and more equipment is on the way," a military source here said.The military is awaiting more aircraft and armaments ordered in May after the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) overran the main army garrison guarding the entrance to the Jaffna peninsula.The Tiger rebels then advanced to the outskirts of the town of Jaffna, which security forces wrested from rebel control in December 1995 after dismantling a de facto separately run there by the guerrillas for nearly five years.After ferocious fighting in April and May, a lull in the fighting ensued but analysts see it as simply the calm before the storm."The Tigers have managed to tie down the army along a broad front in the More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 08:01:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka suffers jolt as legislator quits in protest
Asian Age, August 6. Sri Lanka’s ruling People’s Alliance government has suffered a jolt with one of its legislators resigning in protest against the Constitution bill. Mr 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 Tamil-dominated northeastern province.

Mr 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. More...
Published: Sun Aug 6 09:41:27 EDT 2000

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