The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 25, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 142

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CYBERSPACE - Virtual Communities and the "imagi"nation
Thushara Peiris, The Colombo Chronicle. The global system of computer networks that make up the internet have had a profound effect on how diasporic communities relate to each other and their homeland. A typical Sinhalese user of the internet, is Agashan Dias, aged 34 a Supply Chain Manager who lives in Sydney, Australia. He spends about 10 hours each week on the internet and often communicates through email with his family in Sri Lanka as well as other Sri Lankan friends in England and New Zealand. 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
Perk up, general tells Lanka Army
The Asian Age, Colombo, Aug. 25 . Sri Lanka’s new Army commander took office on Friday and told the war-weary Army to improve its discipline and its readiness to do battle with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Lieutenant General Lionel Balagalle said in a speech there was a need to strengthen the Sri Lankan Army’s manpower, modernise weapons and train the soldiers better. “The acquisition of modern equipment is already in progress and will continue with the blessings of the government. Limited training as far as possible is being conducted,” he said. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 21:41:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
New Army Commander Takes office  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
Sri Lankan Army must be 'more professional'  - The Hindu (International)
Lanka's new army chief denies rift  - India Abroad
New army commander says morale high  - BBC South Asia
Intelligence ex-boss is Lanka Army chief  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Ex-military intelligence boss is Sri Lanka's new army chief  - AsiaGateway
New Army Commander assumes duties  - PRIU
Sri Lanka's new army chief plays down dissension, vows offensive  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka army lacks manpower to fight rebels  - Virtual New York
New Sri Lanka army chief tells soldiers to perk up  - ABC News

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Catholic bishops urge politicians to rise above party politics to solve the ethnic crisis and call for free and fair elections.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1735 SLT 25 August 2000. The Catholic bishops conference today urged politicians to rise above party politics and petty differences to find a solution to the Island's ethnic crisis. The bishops said the separatist war has caused death and destruction and millions of people were living in hardship due to the conflict. The bishops also urged that measures be taken for a free and fair General election where people can vote without intimidation.
Published: Fri Aug 25 13:28:43 EDT 2000

Lanka's ruling party ally splits
Times of India, 26 August 2000 . COLOMBO: Another key ally of the Sri Lankan government split on Friday and joined the opposition, plunging the ruling coalition into further trouble ahead of October parliamentary elections, officials said. Five of the eight legislators of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), which was a crucial supporter of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA), defected to the main opposition United National Party (UNP) Friday. The UNP said in a statement that the five CWC men will contest with the UNP at the October 10 elections. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 18:38:03 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's ruling party suffers another setback ahead of polls  -

Sri Lanka's bishops call for end to war
ABC News, 08/25/2000 05:20:00 ET. COLOMBO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka"s Catholic bishops urged politicians on Friday to rise above party politics and seek a lasting solution to the ethnic war. The Catholic Bishops" Conference said in a statement the country was facing an unprecedented crisis due to the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels and October"s elections would give people an opportunity to demand clear policies for peace. General elections are scheduled for October 10. "The prolonged war and efforts to curb violence have resulted in severe economic hardships, human rights violations, corruption and a general weakening of democracy," the statement said, urging an immediate cessation of hostilities. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 07:03:39 EDT 2000

No Tiger attack soon, says new Lankan commander
Times of India (Breaking News), 25 August 2000 . COLOMBO: The new commander of the Sri Lankan army, Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle, said Friday he does not expect a major assault soon by the Tamil Tiger rebels. "It is doubtful that the rebels will go for a major show immediately," Balagalle told a news conference. "They have no answer to our superior firepower yet." The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured large tracts of the northern Jaffna Peninsula in April and May in a series of assaults aimed at retaking the former rebel capital, the city of Jaffna. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 14:11:11 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka 'needs more troops'  - BBC South Asia
Recapturing Elephant Pass a priority for new Lankan army commander  - The Hindustan Times

Post office halts 'vanity stamp' linked to terror group
National Post , august 25. Canada Post has halted production of a batch of personalized postage stamps that seem to bear the likeness of the leader of the Tamil Tigers -- an order apparently placed to augment the terrorist organization's international propaganda campaign.The stamps appear to feature a photograph of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the 45-year-old mastermind behind the notorious Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the terrorist army that has fought a 17-year guerrilla war against the government of Sri Lanka.The publicity opportunities represented by the stamp program appeared to immediately attract Tamil Tigers supporters: An article advertising stamps -- these ones bearing a likeness of Kumar Ponnambalam, a Tamil politician who was assassinated in Colombo last January -- appeared in a recent issue of The Uthayan, a Tamil newspaper based in Toronto.Canada Post has since been unable to locate an order for stamps showing Mr. Ponnambalam, regarded as a martyr by Tiger supporters. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 10:22:46 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Canada clamps down on LTTE stamp racket  - The Island

Third death in election violence as another UNP activist is killed.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1345 SLT 24. August 2000. A second UNP activist has been killed, the third in a week in a election related incident. One of the four UNP activists that were injured in Rabukkana two days ago died in hospital last night. The UNP is reported to be planing a mass funeral as a protest against mounting violence against opposition by the government.
Published: Thu Aug 24 04:02:53 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
JVPer killing under investigation - SSP  - AsiaGateway

Kumaratunga wins support of nationalist party
Times of India, 26 August 2000 . COLOMBO: President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday won the backing of a nationalist party, which earlier opposed her plan to give wide autonomy to the minority Tamil-dominated areas to end the 17-year-old civil war. "We decided to support her (Kumaratunga) because she is the only leader who has made a genuine effort to end the civil war," Dinesh Gunawardena, leader of the United People's Party, told reporters. The UPP will contest the Oct.10 parliamentary elections as a partner of Kumaratunga's People's Alliance. Kumaratunga abandoned efforts to win the parliamentary approval for the autonomy plan earlier this month after she found that the governing alliance was 12 votes short of the required two-thirds majority. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 18:40:53 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
PA welcomes hardline Sinhala party into coalition  - The Hindu (International)

In Sri Lanka's Civil War, a Stately Town Has Already Lost
IHT, august 25. Once a fashion capital where both Tamil and Sinhalese women strolled in the latest saris amid stately colonial-era buildings, Jaffna now has been militarized, polarized and physically flattened by a 17-year civil war.''We were so happy and serene back when it was calm,'' said C. Kuharajan, who like many Sri Lankans prefers to use only an initial as a first name. ''Now even the railway tracks are destroyed, and my youngest daughter has never seen a working train in her life.'' More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 10:37:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's elephant population rising
News24, august 24. Sri Lanka's elephant population is growing, despite the threat of poachers and land mines, officials said on Wednesday. Sri Lanka's elephant population now numbers between 4 000 and 4 500, with nearly 1 500 born in the past five years, the Wildlife Conservation said. The elephants are doing well in the wild, said Nandana Attapattu, the deputy director of Wildlife Conservation. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 15:53:50 EDT 2000

SLMC to contest alone in the General Election
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1350 SLT 23 August 2000. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is to contest alone in the forth coming General elections. A party source said the SLMC leader Ashraff who is on a religious visit to Saudi Arabia has indicated that he had decided to contest under the SLMC banner. The SLMC and the government negotiations for the SLMC to contest under the PA has collapsed after Transport Minister Fawzi in a public statement said that the SLMC cannot win more than five seats if it contested alone. SLMC leader Ashraff is reported to be demanding that either Fawzi issue a public apology or that he is sacked from the SLFP if he is to contest under the PA
Published: Thu Aug 24 04:02:59 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Resignations of Minister Ashraff, two others not accepted  - AsiaGateway
SLMC to go it alone  - The Hindu (International)
Muslim ally plunges Sri Lanka in deeper crisis  -
SLMC will decide today  - PRIU
Peeved Muslim leader stalls talks  - India Abroad

Sri Lankan pop group suffers anti-climax with Viagra, Aug 25 2000 16:42 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 25 (AFP) - A Sri Lankan pop group has suffered an anti-climax after their latest release, Viagra, faces opposition from the US manufacturer of the sexual potency drug of the same name. Pop group Gypsies said Friday that their new album, Viagra, was withdrawn following an objection to the title by drug manufacturer Pfizer. More...
Published: Fri Aug 25 09:24:02 EDT 2000

Buddhist monks warn Lanka govt on poll violence
Times of India (Breaking News), 24 August 2000 . COLOMBO: Four Mahanayaka Theras (Buddhist prelates) issued a warning on Thursday to the government to take necessary steps for holding free and fair elections following increased poll-related violence in several parts of the country recently. Expressing concern over the rising violence in the run up to the october ten parliamentary elections, the Buddhist prelates said it was unfortunate for the entire nation that that the power crazy politicians and their followers did not realise that innocent people are dying. ``We express sorrow and sympathy over the several deaths during the past few days. We urge the president, the caretaker government and all those involved in elections as well state officials and police officers to ensure a peaceful environment for a fair and free state in the country,'' the monks said in a statement issued. More...
Published: Thu Aug 24 08:55:53 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Buddhist chiefs urge violence-free poll  - MSNBC

Sri Lanka fighting kills another eight, Aug 24 2000 15:30 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 24 (AFP) - Security forces shot dead eight Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka in a fresh wave of fighting, the government said in a statement Thursday. The eight members of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamwere killed by troops in the Jaffna peninsula on Wednesday in three clashes, the government's Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 24 08:44:14 EDT 2000

'Asian Wall Street Journal: Sri Lanka fighting war with reason
AsiaGateway, Thursday Aug 24, 10:39:12. Only when Tamils see their future within a united Sri Lanka will the support for the Tigers wither away, says the prestigious 'The Asian Wall Street Journal' in its editorial and opinion page on Tuesday. The Hong Kong based newspaper with a wide circulation in Asia in its leading comment headlined 'Fighting war with reason', hails President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's 'plan' "to offer greater autonomy to Tamils so that they will no longer have an incentive to support the fanatical and ruthless Tigers. In the meantime the Government must maintain a stiff resolve to conduct the war in the Tigers' strongholds in the north of the country." More...
Published: Thu Aug 24 10:45:12 EDT 2000

LTTE not interested in peace, says Kadirgamar
The Asian Age, Colombo, August. 24 . Tamil Tiger rebels are not interested in ending the war despite the government’s efforts to find a political solution, Sri Lanka has told a visiting delegation of US house of representatives staff. Sri Lanka foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told the four-member delegation that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels only understood the language of war, a foreign ministry statement said late on Wednesday. “The minister further explained that the LTTE was not willing to look at any peace proposals at this time and that only the language of battle appealed to them, ”the statement said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 24 20:15:19 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
LTTE not keen on peace, US team told  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lanka to US: Rebels not interested in peace  - Virtual New York
Sri Lanka tells U.S. team rebels not keen on peace  - MSNBC

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