The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 18, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 135

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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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UNP has some explaining to do
The Hindu (International), Saturday, August 19, 2000. COLOMBO, AUG. 18. When the campaign for the general election kicks off in right earnest, the Opposition United National Party will have some serious explaining to do to the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka, who form an ethnic category separate and different from the Tamils of the northeast. They mainly live and work in the tea estates of Central Sri Lanka. This distinct ethnic minority stood to gain immensely from the proposed new Constitution, which addressed one of its long- standing demands for the granting of citizenship. (Indian Tamils are not considered Lankan citizens.) More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 19:27:12 EDT 2000
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Kumaratunga seeks peace mandate  - India Abroad

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JVP to launch its election campaign on Wednesday 23
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.25 p.m. SLT Friday August 18. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will launch its general election campaign on August 23 in Colombo. The party will hold its annual national convention at Hyde Park which will also serve as its first political rally. JVP Media Secretary Vimal Weeravansha said the party will release a booklet elaborating its stance on national issues at the convention. Weeravansha added that they will also reveal who the party's frontrunners will be at the elections. The JVP figured as a third force at the last provincial council elections in Sinhala dominated areas and are expected to poll a higher number of seats at the General Election in October this year.
Published: Fri Aug 18 10:29:17 EDT 2000

Parliament dissolved, Elections Oct. 10
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.45 p.m. SLT Friday August 18. The Government today dissolved Parliament six days before its scheduled date on August 24. The General Elections will be held on October 10, this year. Massive controversy and debate has evolved before the dissolving of Sri Lanka's tenth parliament as a result of the Government attempting to push the new constitutional reforms. President Kumaratunge in a televised interview over State TV this week, vowed she would pass the new constitutional bill two months after her government is re-elected to office this year. A week before the dissolution of Parliament President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge appointed a new Prime Minister and three new cabinet ministers who will handle key portfolios such as Industry, Economic Affairs, Tourism and Aviation.
Published: Fri Aug 18 03:31:05 EDT 2000
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Sri Lankan government schedules new elections  - ABC News
Sri Lanka Schedules New Elections  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka President calls snap polls, scraps gerrymandering bid  -
European Union mulls Sri Lanka poll monitor role  -
Sri Lanka to Elect New Parliament on Oct. 10  - ABC News
Sri Lanka Parliamentary Polls Set for Oct. 10  - ABC News
Sri Lanka to elect new parliament on Oct 10  - MSNBC
Sri Lanka dissolves parliament, sets vote  - Virtual New York
Lankan parliament dissolved, election slated for October 10  -
Lanka House dissolved; polls on October 10  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Lankan Parliament dissolved; polls on Oct. 10  - The Hindu NUS
Lanka House dissolved, polls on Oct 10  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka elections on October 10  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka sets election date  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka announces elections on October 10  -
Sri Lanka parliamentary polls set for Oct 10  - MSNBC
Sri Lanka polls announced  - BBC South Asia
Lankan Parliament dissolved, polls on Oct 10  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lankan president announces elections on October 10  - 123India

Battle hardened general to lead Sri Lanka army
Virtual New York, Friday, 18 August 2000 11:02 (ET). Barely hours after dissolving the parliament and announcing fresh elections, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Friday appointed a new commander of the Sri Lankan army. A battle-hardened Major General Lionel Balagalle has been appointed as the new commander of the army replacing Lieutenant General Srilal Weerasooriya. Gen. Balagalle, who is currently without any designation, was the commander of the security forces in the war-torn Jaffna peninsula and the northern Wanni region. He also served as the director of the Military Intelligence. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 19:36:36 EDT 2000
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New Sri Lankan army commander to take over Aug 24  - MSNBC

Sri Lanka army chief set for Pakistan job, Aug 18 2000 19:36 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 18 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's army chief Srilal Weerasooriya is set to take over as the country's envoy to Pakistan as he retires next week, officials here said Friday. Weerasooriya is to be replaced by his deputy, major general Lionel Balagalle, officials said. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 15:29:10 EDT 2000
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New Army Commander for Sri Lanka  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

U.S. congressional staff to visit Sri Lanka
ABC News, 18th Aug 2000 16.42 IST . A delegation of U.S. House of Representatives staff will visit Sri Lanka next week to discuss economic and investment issues and its ethnic conflict, the U.S. embassy in Colombo said on Friday. "Among the topics of disussion will be possible Congressional action on a proposed World Bank trust fund to combat HIV/AIDS around the world as well as strengthening already strong commercial and financial ties through discussions with local business leaders, including the American Chamber of Commerce," the statement said. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 14:41:54 EDT 2000

Bandaranaike will remain party chief
The Asian Age. Contrary to expectations, Ms Sirima Bandaranaike, the doughty widow who announced her retirement as Prime Minister last week, has refused to give up reins of her Sri Lanka Freedom Party. At a crucial meeting of the SLFP on Thursday, the party’s key post of general secretary was up for grabs and observers expected Bandaranaike, 84, to give up her position as the party’s president. But the wheelchair-ridden Bandaranaike retained the job, although she had said in her August 9 letter of resignation as Prime Minister that ill-health was forcing her to “quietly withdraw from the humdrum of busy political life to a more tranquil and quiet environment.” More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 19:34:48 EDT 2000
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Bandaranaike clings to party reins  - India Abroad

Mass grave at Killinochchi?
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Friday August 18. Civilians in the Vanni district at Killinochchi claim to have found over 45 bodies within the precincts of the former army camp at Killinochchi. A large number of the bodies they say have been found in pits within the forward defence localities of the armed forces camp. The army camp at Killinochchi fell to the LTTE in September 1998. A grave holding two more bodies was discovered Wednesday August 16, by residents in the Killinochchi district. The two skeletons were found dressed in pyjamas and a sarong. One skeleton wore a blue shirt while his hands had been tied with a nylon rope.

Civilians displaced by the war and who are now returning to their homes in the Vanni district at Killinochchi claim to have found the mass graves in and around this area. It is alleged that since fresh hostilities broke out between Lankan security forces and the LTTE this year, at least another 186 persons have gone missing in the northern peninsula.

Since the fall of the Killinochchi army camp residents claim that a large number of civilians had gone missing when the army camp was in existence. The Killinochchi army camp was not a designed camp, which means it concentrated on forward defence localities outside the forward defence lines. The forward defence localities were areas in which the army patrolled ahead of defence lines. This strategy was practised by the armed forces camp at Killinochchi in order to prevent the enemy from dominating areas around the camp. Troops were sent ahead of forward defence lines into these localities to ambush possible LTTE parties and to ensure that the LTTE did not build up in the area ahead of the armed forces camp.

In these forward defence localities the army frequently lay in ambush. Sources in the area say that large numbers of civilians who were displaced due to ongoing fighting however continued to visit these areas. This was due to the fact that many of their households and farms lay in the forward localities used by Army patrols. In fact, in 1997, Rev. Arulbalen a catholic priest was caught and later found dead after attempting to visit a farm that was run by the church in this area. Due to the massive outcry that followed the murder of the priest the armed forces thereafter handed over to the Jaffna police some of the civilians taken in for interrogation. However the number of civilians handed over to the Jaffna police were few and far between. Residents of the area maintain that large numbers of their neighbours continued to simply vanish never to be seen alive thereafter.

The civilians who disappeared were mostly people of upcountry Tamil origin who had settled at Killinochchi after 1977. Many of them are believed to have been caught when they went to pluck coconuts and oversee other functions of their farms and homes. Apart from sources at Killinochchi, humanitarian organizations working in the Vanni district deny any knowledge of the graves.
Published: Fri Aug 18 03:59:28 EDT 2000

Massive rally against LTTE in Switzerland
PRIU, Friday Aug 18, 12:25:14. A massive demonstration was held by hundreds of Sri Lankans living in Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Holland and the United Kingdom together with Buddhist monks in front of the United Nations head office in Geneva, Switzerland last week to urge Swiss authorities to close down LTTE terrorist offices and LTTE fund collections in Switzerland. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 12:30:38 EDT 2000

Sharjah triangular tourney from Oct. 20
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on August 18, 2000. Mumbai, Aug. 18. (PTI): India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will participate in the Coca Cola Cup Triangular Series in Sharjah from October 20 to 29. Coloured clothing, white balls and black sightscreens will be used in the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) organised tournament to be played under lights at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, according to information available here. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 19:26:26 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka "killing fields" probe backfires on ruling party: report, Aug 18 2000 11:17 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 18 (AFP) - A Sri Lankan government campaign to link the main opposition leader to vigilante killings 12 years ago has taken a dramatic turn with ruling party figures also being implicated, a press report said Friday. The Ravaya, or Echo weekly, in its Sunday edition made available Friday, said the arrest of a newspaper columnist in connection with murders that took place in the late 1980s could also reveal the involvement of several government members. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 02:33:10 EDT 2000

RSA Housing Programme successful
PRIU, Friday Aug 18, 12:31:15. The Housing Programme of the Ranaviru Service Authority designed to provide houses to members of the armed forces and the police who had been in active service in the North and East, is being implemented very successfully with the cooperation of the public and private sectors, a Presidential Secretariat Press Release, stated. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 12:36:25 EDT 2000

JVP to internationalize its campaign against the package
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Friday August 18. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is to launch protests against the proposed new constitutional reforms outside all Sri Lankan missions in Europe next Thursday. A spokesman for the party said that the protest campaign is being handled by the international secretariat of the JVP.

Meanwhile both the United National Party and the Sinhala extremist groups yesterday joined forces in a massive demonstration against the new constitution. The protesters met at a mass rally at Borella junction Thursday evening. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe addressed the gathering and vowed to continue the fight against the proposals being passed minus the consent of all sections of Sri Lankan society.
Published: Fri Aug 18 03:59:29 EDT 2000

An unwinnable war?
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK . For some years now, the government of Sri Lanka has tried to bring about a decisive end to the island's long-running civil war. It spends more than $850 m a year on the war effort, and has more than 100,000 troops deployed in the battle against the Tamil Tigers. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 07:54:01 EDT 2000
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The ethnic divide  - BBC South Asia

24 farmers fast unto death
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m SLT Thursday August 17. A fast unto death launched by 24 members of the farmer community at Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa for the past four days took a turn for the worse today when one farmer was rushed to the Polonnaruwa hospital in a serious condition. The farmers will not call of their death fast until the government agrees to meet some 29 requirements of the farmer community. The seriously ill farmer, despite protests, was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the Polonnaruwa hospital today as his condition medical officers said, had seriously deteriorated since Monday, when the farmers began their fast.

Trade establishments at Hingurakgoda town remained closed today as a mark of protest against the government not having acceded to the requests of the farmers. Thousands of other civilians carried out a protest campaign at Hingurakgoda this morning in a show of solidarity with the fasting farmers. Meanwhile Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake met with four members of the farmer community today in Colombo in a bid to stem the escalating crisis situation. The farmers however even after meeting with the Prime Minister have not yet called off their fast.
Published: Thu Aug 17 11:26:33 EDT 2000

Police officers to be transferred
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Thursday August 17. Large numbers of police officers are to be transferred before the upcoming General Elections this year. Sources within the police department said the transfers are not due to administrative reasons but to serve political masters. Two Assistant Superintendents of Police, two Police Inspectors and two Chief Inspectors of Police have already received their transfer orders. Sources revealed that more officers will be transferred before the country goes to polls.
Published: Thu Aug 17 11:26:32 EDT 2000

Sihala Urumaya and MEP to join forces
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Thursday August 17. The Sihala Urumaya and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) are conducting joint discussions with an aim to form an alliance before the upcoming general elections.

Tilak Karunaratne, General Secretary for the Sihala Urumaya said the move was initiated after both parties in one voice opposed the recent new constitutional draft. A joining of forces Mr. Karunaratne said will help bring together Sinhala Buddhists and form a strong united front together with the mahanayake theros.
Published: Thu Aug 17 04:57:18 EDT 2000

Muslim MP's sacked
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.15 a.m. SLT Thursday August 17. Two Parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) have been expelled from the party for not adhering to the constitution of the SLMC.

The two parliamentarians Dr. I. M. S. Illiyas and Mr. S. S. M. Abu Bakr faced a disciplinary inquiry before their expulsion from the party yesterday. Mr. Abu Bakr who at the time was serving as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Social Services was replaced by Mr. U. L. M. Mohideen who is also a member of the SLMC.

Mr. Mohideen took his oaths before the new Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayke in Parliament yesterday together with 40 other MP's who also reaffirmed their oaths before the Prime Minister.
Published: Thu Aug 17 04:57:17 EDT 2000

Lankan Air Force jets pound Tiger positions
Times of India, 18 August 2000 . COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Air Force intensified strikes on rebel bases Thursday following information that the Tamil Tigers were regrouping and would resume their campaign to retake Jaffna, their former capital, military officials said. Newly acquired MiG-27 aircraft carried out a 2-hour bombing mission on suspected rebel bases in the Jaffna Peninsula for the third straight day Thursday. The extent of damage, or the success of the raids, was not immediately known. But military officials on condition of anonymity said pilots saw flames leap out from some of the targeted areas, which suggested that the bases had been hit. Rebel hide-outs are scattered around the northern forests where guerrillas store fuel, weapons and ammunitions. More...
Published: Fri Aug 18 00:50:38 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka fighting kills seven, jets pound rebels  -
Lankan jets strafe bases to stop 2,000 Tigers near Jaffna  - Deccan Chronicle

U.S. Signs Two Aid Agreements With Sri Lanka
XINHUA, August 17. The United States of America has entered into two aid agreements with Sri Lanka, according to the state owned Daily News on Thursday. Under the first agreement the U.S. will make available five million U.S. dollars this year in very low interest loans to allow Sri Lanka to import nearly 40,000 tons of high quality U.S. wheat. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 20:10:08 EDT 2000

Suntel of Sri Lanka selects Airspan Networks to supply residential and business customers with new wireless services
Airspan, August 17. M2 Communications - London -- Airspan Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: AIRN), the provider of fixed wireless telecommunication systems, today announced that Suntel, a leading service provider in Sri Lanka, has selected Airspan's AS4000 wireless fixed access system to provide a new range of voice and data services to small and medium-sized business and to residential customers. Suntel has steadily expanded in Sri Lanka since its launch in 1996. The Airspan system allows Suntel to satisfy the increasing customer demand for high-speed access to the Internet and to public and private data networks. The Airspan terminals will also enable new applications such as ISDN dial backup, video conferencing, wide area LAN connectivity, and support for frame relay overlays. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 20:07:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan President consolidates power
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK. The governing party in Sri Lanka has elected a new general secretary, who is one of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's staunchest supporters. The Sports Minister, S. B. Dissanayake, beat his main rival, Maithripala Sirisena, by sixteen votes to twelve. His election came as a surprise; most party members had expected Mr Sirisena to win before the snap, secret ballot today Thursday. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 13:52:45 EDT 2000

Wickremsinghe’s aide flees Lanka
The Asian Age, Colombo, Aug. 17 . Opposition leader Ranil Wickremsinghe, clashing head on with the Chandrika Kumaratunga government over the new Constitution, now finds himself in an embarrassing situation after his personal assistant Bodhi Ranasinghe fled the country. The state-run Daily News reported that Mr Ranasinghe is the second United National Party man who had left the country after Colombo deputy mayor and party’s central organiser Mohammed Mahroof who said to have gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca last week. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 19:04:07 EDT 2000
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Ranil aide questioned, scribe held  - The Hindu (International)

Sri Lanka opposition protest
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK. The opposition United National Party in Sri Lanka has taken part in a big rally organised by Buddhist monks in protest against proposals by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to alter the constitution. The party fears Mrs Kumaratunga may try and push the plan through parliament, even though the government said earlier this month it had been indefinitely shelved. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 12:16:58 EDT 2000

Government has not abandoned peace efforts, President
PRIU, Thursday Aug 17, 08:30:13. President Chandrika Kumaratunga addressing the business community at a recent meeting stated that the Government has not abandoned peace efforts to solve the ethnic problem and would explore every alternative to establish peace. "We have suffered a temporary setback, but we have several other alternatives. We will continue our mission to solve the ethnic crisis. We have not lost heart, we have not given up hope," President Kumaratunga told the Business Today Top 10 Awards ceremony held in Colombo. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 08:36:07 EDT 2000

LTTE leaders killed in bomb attack
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Thursday August 17. An official state press release said today that the Sri Lanka Air Force yesterday killed four LTTE leaders when the SLAF straffed sea tiger positions north of Mullaitivu in the area of Challai.

A Tiger broadcast also conceded that it had lost a senior cadre and three other junior leaders in the SLAF attack.
Published: Thu Aug 17 04:57:16 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka President tightens grip on ruling party
123India, Thursday Aug 17, 08:27:30. COLOMBO, Aug 17 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's ruling party Thursday elected as its general secretary a man who is staunchly loyal to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, officials said. Until the surprise secret vote called Thursday, most party members had expected Sirisena to become the general secretary who plays a key role in appointing as well as removing legislators. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 08:32:01 EDT 2000

Child dead in another suicide bombing in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, Thursday Aug 17, 08:41:20. Another suicide bomb attack has hit Sri Lanka. This time the suicide bomber killed a child and wounded about five soldiers in Vavuniya. Officials said a man, a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel, ambushed a military van by jumping in front of it and detonated the explosives strapped to his body. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 08:46:28 EDT 2000

Toronto trip for Sri Lanka?
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK. The Sri Lankan cricket board has been informally approached by the tournament organisers with a view to filling the vacancy left by India's withdrawal. India pulled out of the competition citing the recent killings in Kashmir, which the Indian government blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 07:29:50 EDT 2000
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England youngsters thrash Sri Lanka  - BBC South Asia
Lanka may replace India at Sahara Cup  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Depressed economy hits Kentucky fried chicken sales
AsiaGateway, Thursday, 17 August. The Management of Cargills (Ceylon) limited (CCL) said that the reason why fast food businesses such as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) being unsuccessful, is the prevailing depressed economic conditions in the country.The losses from the KFC had affected the performance two of company’s subsidiaries, Cargills Food Processors and Cargills Food Services, which hold the franchise for KFC, CCL said. Despite the setback, CCL had performed impressively to increase its profit over the previous year by 25%. states its annual review had increased to reach Rs.46,804,000/- during the year ending March 31,2000, compared to its previous year’s profit of Rs.37,512,000/-.The company’s turnover had increased by 12% to record. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 04:13:48 EDT 2000

Ranatunga did not let team, fans down
Hindustan Times, August 18. August 10, 2000 was no doubt an emotional day. A great cricketing son of Sri Lanka had played the last time for his country. The gesture on the part of the Cricket Board of Sri Lanka to let people in free after three afternoon only spiced the entire event with almost 5000 to 6000 people for whom Test match is otherwise a luxury turning up. More...
Published: Thu Aug 17 21:35:39 EDT 2000

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