The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 9, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 126
 

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A BILL
The Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka
(The proposed new constitution)
 
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TRADITIONAL DANCES OF SRI LANKA
A classical and folk dance concert at San Jose Stage Theater, San Jose, California on August 13, 2000 at 4:00pm, featuring Heshma Melvani, Keshini Samerawickreme, Mangala Jayatilake, Piyumi Ahangama and the Sri Lankan Women's Dance Troupe of New York. For tickets click here.
WEATHER CENTRAL
Current Colombo weather
CNN Colombo forcast
Satellite pix (visible)
Satellite pix (infrared)
Where is MIR today?
 
SRI LANKAN WAR WIDOWS LOST BUREAUCRATIC MAZE
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 GREEN CARD LOTTERY
DV-2002
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
Parliament to be dissolved this week
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 9. The government which was unable to pass the proposed new draft constitution is planning to dissolve parliament this week.  Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake met with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge today to discuss the possibility of dissolving Parliament two weeks before its term is scheduled to end on August 24. Reportedly a decision to dissolve Parliament has been taken after this meeting. 

The Special Media Information Center (SMIC) however in a press release said that the Government has decided to re-activate the debate on the proposed draft constitution.  The SMIC said the government will recommence the debate on the draft on a nearby date and conclude with a vote before August 23.  The government is expecting to muster the support of more members of the United National Party (UNP) in order to secure a 2/3rd majority.  The Government was forced to postpone the vote today as it did not have the required number of votes to pass the new Bill.
Published: Wed Aug 9 11:43:16 EDT 2000


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 Lanka to pursue peace effort
BBC South Asia, August 9. The Sri Lankan Government has pledged to pursue efforts to end the 17-year war with the Tamil Tiger rebels. The statement comes a day after it was forced by parliament to postpone a proposal to reform the constitution, which would have devolved greater powers to Tamils in the north and east. The defeat embarrassed the government which is now conducting a post mortem into why it failed to attract enough support."Thousands of people took to the streets of Colombo on Wednesday celebrating the government's failure."We will ensure the constitution is withdrawn even if we have to shed blood," one placard held by a protester read. support. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 16:29:58 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka may rue scuttling of Constitutional Bill: TULF  - HT
·
Lanka govt to present reform bill again  - Times of India

Maha Sangha says two PA Minister are national traitors
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.20 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 9. The Maha Sangha have described two Ministers of the Peoples Alliance as "national traitors" saying that the two Ministers made derogatory statements against the Maha Sangha during the Parliamentary debate yesterday. The two Ministers, S. B. Dissanayake and Sarath Amunugama the Maha Sangha say, said in Parliament that the Sangha are uneducated and do not understand the contents of the proposed new draft constitution. Meanwhile a fast unto death by the Ven. Hendigalla Wimalasara Thero ended this morning. The monk was rushed to a private hospital as he had taken a turn for the worse due to being weak after beginning his fast yesterday. The Sihala Urumaya said the fast was cancelled following the postponement of the draft constitution.
Published: Wed Aug 9 11:43:16 EDT 2000

NPC appeals for an ethical political process for peace
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 9. The National Peace Council in a statement released yesterday said  government’s decision to postpone the debate on the constitutional bill provides a new space to defuse growing political tensions in the country and accommodate the demand for a greater dialogue on the proposed reforms.

The draft constitution presently put before Parliament by the government is a document that has been produced during a time of  severe ethnic conflict, polarization, erosion of democratic values and war.  Despite the efforts to reach a balance of interests, it is incomplete and controversial, failing to address many of the fears both real and perceived of the ethnic communities inhabiting this  country.  

The National Peace Council views the decision of the UNP to cease to positively engage in the bipartisan constitutional reform process in Parliament at this time and the government's plans to proceed unilaterally with the passage of the draft constitution as having been major setbacks to a consensual peace process. Without cooperation, there can never be a "win-win" outcome in which all communities feel that they have gained.

The present initiative which may or may not recommence soon has been  an attempt to gain majority support within Parliament.  The NPC believes that the framing of the permanent constitution with full people's participation can only commence when a socio-political environment conducive for all major actors in the conflict to negotiate with parity of status is created.  

The NPC appeals to the political parties to use the time and space made available by the postponement to join hands to work out an ethical political process for the future using the constitution-making process that has been initiated.  This should be directed to finding a negotiated solution to the ethnic conflict.
Published: Wed Aug 9 11:43:16 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
·
Kadirgamar appeals for consensus  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
·
Sri Lankan reform shelved, but not dead yet  - MSNBC

UNP raps India for ?interfering? in Sri Lanka
HT, August 9. FORMER DEPUTY Foreign Minister and United National Party (UNP) MP Tyronne Fernando has said India should stop trying to influence Sri Lankans to accept President Chandrika Kumaratunga?s devolution package. Earlier, India had supported the terrorists and kept denying it had terrorist training camps in its territory. Then, it failed to disarm the terrorists under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. And now it?s doing this,? Mr Fernando charged. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 17:12:29 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Indian diplomats back Chandrika  - The Asian Age

10 military personnel killed at Vavuniya this morning
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 9. One officer and 9 other military personnel were killed at Vavuniya at around 6 a.m. this morning when attacked by the LTTE. At least 8 other military men are reported injured in the attack. The incident happened after a week and a half when there were no major confrontations.

The army personnel were attacked while on a routine patrol on Forward Defence Lines at Thirimanakulam, Vavuniya. LTTE casualties are not known.
Published: Wed Aug 9 11:43:16 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
·
13 killed in LTTE attacks  - The Hindu (International)
·
Sri Lankan Rebels Launch Attacks  - Reuters
·
At Least 30 Wounded in Sri Lanka Rebel Mine Blast  - ABC-Reuters
·
Sri Lanka Attacks Leave Seven Dead  - AP
·
11 killed, 40 injured in rebel attacks in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York
·
Tiger rebels stepped up attacks  - Deutsche Welle
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Tigers attack bus carrying soldiers; 1 dead, 32 wounded  - Times of India
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At least 30 wounded in Lanka rebel mine blast  - ExpressIndia
·
Tigers ambush military bus in Sri Lanka  - 123India.com

Ranil says he will not support constitution minus a consensus
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.05 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 9. Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe today said he will not support the new draft constitution until the Government has secured the necessary consensus from all sections of society.  He said, that moves are already underway threatening members of the United National Party and attempting to "buy them over" in order to muster the required number of votes needed to pass the constitution. 

Mr. Wickremasinghe said he will join other organizations in a bid to prevent the draft being brought again to Parliament before August 24. Meanwhile the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) this evening held a mass protest meeting at Borella junction in Colombo 8, against the draft constitution.  General Secretary of the party, Tilvin Silva, addressing the one hour meeting said that the JVP  had successfully defeated the government's decision to split Sri Lanka. The Democratic United National Front (DUNF) also in a statement said today that the postponement of the draft constitution is a "massive defeat to the government." The DUNF said that all democratic forces must unite and destroy the proposed new draft constitution.
Published: Wed Aug 9 11:43:16 EDT 2000


Oppn, Buddhist monks turn the heat on Chandrika
Times of India, AUgust 9. Sri Lanka's main opposition and the powerful Buddhist clergy have turned the heat on President Chandrika Kumaratunga, calling for her government's resignation and the complete withdrawal of the contentious draft constitution. Hours after the government announced indefinite postponement of a vote on the draft statute in Parliament on Tuesday, opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe demanded that the People's Alliance (PA) step down as it had suffered a 'constitutional defeat'. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 16:25:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Monks want Reform Bill withdrawn  - Hindu
·
Monks warn Kumaratunga not to restore Sri Lanka reform bill  - 123India.com

S.Lanka says rebels fire missiles at airforce jets
ABC News, Wednesday, 9 August. Sri Lanka said on Wednesday Tamil Tiger rebels fired surface-to-air missiles at its newly acquired airforce jets when they attacked the rebels" main sea base on the northern coast, but the aircraft escaped damage. It did not say what jets carried out Tuesday"s strike, but military officials have said the Sri Lanka Air Force has recently acquired at least four new Mig-27s from a former Soviet republic, besides several Israeli-built Kfirs. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 08:47:20 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka jets smash rebel sea-base  - 123India.com

Sri Lankan parliament extends emergency powers
123India.com, August 9. Sri Lanka's parliament Wednesday approved an extension of emergency laws in the assembly's final debate on the draconian regulations. There was also intense speculation among legislators Wednesday that the assembly could be dissolved any time, even before the weekend. The parliament is due to end its six-year term on August 24. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 09:21:31 EDT 2000

TRC alleges nexus between Veerappan and LTTE
Pioneer, august 9. Tamizhga Rajiv Congress (TRC) on Wednesday alleged a nexus between fugitive Veerappan and international terrorist organisations like the LTTE, giving him access to modern weapons.TRC president and former Union Minister Vazhapadi K Ramamurthy told reporters that the volunteers of Tamil Nadu Retrieval Troop (TNRT) who were with Veerappan now, had got arms from the LTTE, before the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. TNRT leaders were also patronised by the Pattali Makkal Katchi, he alleged. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 17:20:24 EDT 2000

Analysis: A setback for peace?
BBC, August 9. The postponement of the constitution reform bill is a serious blow to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's pledge to end the fighting. The postponement of the constitution reform bill is a serious blow to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's pledge to end the fighting. She has consistently said that her proposals for constitutional reform are the best hope for ending the long-running war. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 06:12:50 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka raises defence budget by more than 50 percent  - 123India.com

Bill will be back, says govt.
NDTV/MSNBC, Tuesday, August 8 (Colombo). The Sri Lankan government had planned to pass a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament tomorrow. But the attempt to give the Tamil regions in the country more autonomy has failed, at least for now. Tomorrow's vote has been postponed because according to the government, 10 members of the opposition in Parliament had been kidnapped and taken out of country just to stop them from backing the government. But the government made it clear this evening that the Constitution Reform Bill would be brought back to Parliament for a vote during this session. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 20:30:12 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka postpones vote on key reform bill  - Yahoo
·
Lanka govt to present new draft of constitution  - Times of India
·
Sri Lanka government performs about face  - Virtual New York

UNP threatens mass agitation
The Hindu (International), August 8. The UNP leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, today threatened to join hands with other opponents of the proposed new Constitution and launch a mass agitation if the Government persisted in its attempts to push it through in the Parliament. ``If they think they can do so by taking away members from us or any other opposition party, then I would tell them, you will not get 150 members. If they want to continue on this course of confrontation, then the UNP will resort to a mass agitation in the coming weeks together with all and any organisation that is opposed to this piece of legislation,'' Mr. Wickremesinghe told reporters. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 18:39:13 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Mahanayake Theras warn MPs not to vote new Constitution  - PRIU
·
Monks keep up death fast alive as Sri Lanka puts reforms on hold  - 123India.com
·
Sri Lanka government asked to resign over vote debacle  - 123India.com

Defeat for Sri Lanka peace plan
The Guardian, August 9. Disgruntled ministers allege that the reason they were forced to postpone the vote was because 10 opposition members who favoured the new constitution were flown out of the country by their party to prevent them from voting. "It looks as if the opposition has won this battle of the backroom negotiations." a government minister said. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 21:12:37 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Lanka postpones crucial vote on Constitution Bill  - HindustanTimes
·
Sri Lankan government crisis deepens as Kumaratunga "postpones" constitutional reform bill  - WSWS
·
Plan for Pro-Tamil Constitution Stalls in Sri Lanka  - NY Times
·
Vote on Sri Lankan statute put off  - Hindu
·
Lanka's ruling party embarrassed  - Times of India
·
Sri Lankan Govt. defers vote on reform Bill  - Hindu
·
Setback for Sri Lanka peace hopes  - BBC
·
Bribes, pleas and uproar as Sri Lankan parliament debates new constitution  - WSWS
·
Sri Lankan President tries to push through anti-democratic constitution  - WSWS
·
Sri Lanka President suffers setback ahead of polls  - AsiaGateway

Electoral Reforms Bill withdrawn
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.55 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 8. Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe told Lacnet today that the Government has decided to withdraw the new Electoral Reforms Bill.

The Bill was approved by Cabinet on Thursday August 3 and approved the introduction of a new electoral system replacing the present proportional representation system.

The Cabinet last week decided to present this new electoral reform proposal as the 17th Amendment to the present constitution and to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court for its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile as speculation was rife that more Members of Parliament from both the PA and UNP would cross over to either side, Ven. Hendigalle Wimalasara Thero began a fast unto death in Pettah yesterday.

The Buddhist priest, a supporter of the 'Sihala Urumaya' and an Executive member of the National Sangha Council said he would "sacrifice himself to save the unitary charachter of Sri Lanka."
Published: Tue Aug 8 03:10:25 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka rolls back reform bill amid opposition  - 123India.com

Lankan MPs for sale?
Times of India, august 8. "What is the going rate for an MP?" That, rather than the provisions of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sweeping reforms proposals, has been the question exercising the minds of the Sri Lankans in the past few days.Political sources confirmed that Rs 20 million was the offer for any opposition lawmaker, who was willing to cross over and vote with the government for the new constitution.Countering the charges of bribery against the government, the state owned Daily News said in a front-page story on Tuesday that the LTTE had sent emissaries to Colombo to offer "large sums of monies amounting to fat fortunes" to any government member who was willing to vote against the bill. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 18:44:53 EDT 2000

Conspiracy theory as vote adjourned
TamilNet, August 8. Two Ministers Sarath Amunugama and Mahinda Wijesekara raising a point of order told Parliament today that there was a conspiracy to prevent Parliamentarians from voting for the Draft Constitution Bill. They informed the Speaker K.B.Ratnayake that some parliamentarians were sent abroad. According to reports, Mr.Dixon Perera who resigned from the Peoples Alliance on Monday, was sent to England Tuesday. Parliamentarians Upali Amarasiri, V.Puthirasignamany, V.G.Gunadasa, Ali Zahir Moulana, U.L.Mohamed, Mahinda Samarasinghe and Ms Rajamanohary Pulendran have been sent to Singapore. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 20:18:10 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka Min: Deputies' Abduction Forced Vote Suspension  - Yahoo

Vote on Constitution Bill delayed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.20 a.m. SLT Tuesday August 8. The vote on the government's new constitutional reforms will not take place tomorrow Wednesday August 9. Instead, the Government took a decision today to adjourn the parliamentary debate on the new constitutional reforms at the end of the day. Sittings will be adjourned indefinitely. Leader of the House Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe this morning that a vote on the new draft constitution will not take place tomorrow Wednesday, August 9.

Instead, further debate on the issue will be suspended at the end of today's parliamentary debate. The Opposition meanwhile assert that it has been more or less confirmed the government will withdraw the contentious new Bill. As fierce arguments erupted again in Parliament this morning, the government took this decision a day before it expected to pass new reforms on devolution and other constitutional amendements. Ravi Karunanayake UNP MP, told Lacnet that the Government had taken this decision in view of the fact that it lacks adequate numbers to pass the bill tomorrow Wednesday August 9. The government last week was short of 19 votes to pass the new draft when President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge presented the new constitution to Parliament on August 3.

Fierce debates in Parliament which began yesterday erupted into a fight this morning between Opposition and Government benches. Speaker K. B. Ratnayake at around 11.15 a.m. this morning suspended parliamentary sittings as both sides became unruly, during the speech of Mervyn De Silva, PA MP. Sittings were resumed at around 11.45 a.m. when further brick bats were hurled, as members ignored appeals by both Speaker K. B. Ratnayake and Deputy Chairman of Committees Rauf Hakeem to maintain order.
Published: Tue Aug 8 02:40:34 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka freezes constitutional reforms  - AltaVista
·
Sri Lanka Constitution Vote Delayed  - AP
·
Protests mount against new constitution in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York
·
Sri Lanka government defers constitutional reforms  - Virtual New York
·
Crucial measures abandoned in Sri Lanka  - BBC South Asia
·
Sri Lanka tension mounts as reform vote delayed  - 123India.com
·
Sri Lanka tension mounts as reform vote heads for key test  - 123India.com
·
Sri Lanka govt postpones crucial reform vote  - 123India.com

Final test heading for a draw as rain washes out play
Yahoo-afp, August 9. Rain washed out the final session's play of the fourth day leaving little chance of either Sri Lanka or South Africa forcing a winning result in the third and final cricket Test played at the Sinhalese SC ground here Wednesday.South Africa who resumed the day at 27 for no loss had made 157 for five wickets at tea -- an overall lead of 178, but heavy rain which lashed the ground during the interval left virtually no chance of the game continuing for the day. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 10:14:18 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Under-15 cricket: India vs Sri Lanka in plate final  - The Hindu NUS
·
South Africa take slender lead  - BBC

Computer Associates Has New CEO
Yahoo-AP, August 8. Computer Associates, based in Islandia, N.Y., has 20,000 employees and more than $6 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31, placing it behind Microsoft and Oracle in the independent software business. Charles Wang, the country's highest-paid executive last year, stepped down Monday as chief executive of Computer Associates International Inc. (NYSE:CA - news), the world's third-largest software company.Wang, who will remain chairman, wants to focus on improving the company's pummeled share price, said chief operating officer Sanjay Kumar, a software developer by education, immigrated from Sri Lanka in 1976. He has been at Computer Associates since 1987. Kumar, who took over as CEO. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 10:50:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's June Tourist Arrivals Down 16.6% On Year
DowJones, August 9. Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka fell 16.6% to 21,825 in June from 26,184 in the same month a year earlier, the Ceylon Tourist Board said. According to industry officials, the sharp decline in holidaymakers to the island in the period under review was mainly due to intensified fighting in the north between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. More...
Published: Wed Aug 9 09:09:47 EDT 2000

Army deserters _ Sri Lankan army's big problem
AsiaGateway, Tuesday Aug 8, 08:18:10. PIMBURA, Sri Lanka, Aug 08, 2000 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- Fighting Tamil Tiger rebels isn't the Sri Lankan army's only problem. The 100,000-strong military is struggling to stop its soldiers from deserting the ranks. It's gotten to the point that police have been ordered to search homes for deserters working as domestic help. Security agencies have been told that their licenses will be suspended if they employ deserters. More...
Published: Tue Aug 8 08:15:55 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka Army Deals With Desertion  - AP

Douglas Peiris in remand
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Tuesday August 8. Former SSP Douglas Peiris, a key figure in the Batalanda torture allegations, after being arrested on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport last Friday, was produced on Monday August 7, before the Fort Magistrate and remanded for a further five days. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is handling the investigations. Peiris is reported to be wanted by the Batalanda Commission for testimony on incidents of torture. It has been speculated that Peiris was brought back into the country to give evidence against Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in the now infamous Batalanda case.
Published: Tue Aug 8 02:40:34 EDT 2000

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