The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 30, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 147

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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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Opposition threat to clip Chandrika's wings
India Abroad, Aug. 30, 2000 19:50 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition Wednesday announced plans to clip President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sweeping executive powers and restore them to Parliament if they were elected in the October general election. The United National Party (UNP) said it would limit the powers of the executive president and make Kumaratunga a "nominal head of state" by using the provisions of the existing Constitution. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said he hoped to adopt a new Constitution that would reduce the term of Parliament by a year from the present six-year period and have an executive prime minister answerable to the House. Even though the presidency is all-powerful, Kumaratunga must depend on Parliament to provide financial allocations for her to function. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 13:30:37 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka`s Oppositionn party outlines agenda  - Deccan Herald
UNP for pruning Chandrika's powers  - Times of India (Breaking News)
''UNP will abolish executive presidency''  - The Hindu NUS
UNP to curb Chandrika's powers as president  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka opposition vows to scrap presidency  -

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Ashraff undecided on maintaining alliance
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Wednesday August 30. Minister M. H. M. Ashraff has asked the Government for 24 hours in which he will decide if the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress will contest the forthcoming General Election together with the Peoples Alliance.

The Minister who yesterday returned from a pilgrimage to Medina in Saudi Arabia met last evening with two senior Ministers of the Peoples Alliance, S. B. Dissanayake who is also General Secretary for the SLFP and D. M. Jayaratne. Ashraff meanwhile has written a 50 page letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunge stating his reasons on why he is considering breaking his alliance with the PA.

Speculation is rife that Ashraff is considering forming a coalition together with former UNP strongman Sirisena Cooray and his party the Puravasi Peramuna.

Connern however is now being expressed within the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress that many senior members of the party are being axed due to Ashraff's dictatorial leadership. Earlier this week both Rauf Hakeem, General Secretary of the party and M. L. M. Hisbullah, Secretary of the SLMC led National Unity Alliance, NUA, were asked to resign from their posts within the SLMC. An order which both senior members complied with immediately.

A party statement claimed that Hakeem and Hisbullah were told to step down so they would be elevated to higher positions and be made vice-presidents of the NUA in a possible alliance with Cooray's Puravasi Peramuna.

Senior members of the SLMC say however that this is all eyewash and are concerned over what they say is Ashraff's dictatorial leadership. A politbureau meeting of the SLMC is scheduled to be held today.

Minister Ashraff also handed in his resignation as Minister for Ports and Shipping soon after he objected to certain remarks made against the SLMC by Minister A. H. M. Fowzie. The President meanwhile has not yet intervened between the two feuding ministers and agreed to Ashraff's demand that Fowzie be removed from his cabinet portfolio. Ashraff maintains that only if Fowzie is sacked as Minister will he continue to lend his support to the Peoples Alliance.

The President meanwhile in a letter to the angry SLMC Leader yesterday requested Ashraff to continue with the PA, promising that concerns raised by the Minister would be resolved at SLFP party level.
Published: Wed Aug 30 03:25:28 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Muslim partners of Kumaratunga's ruling alliance resigned  -
Ashraff dismisses MSD, bullet-proof vehicle PA-SLMC rift widens  - AsiaGateway
President rejects Ashraff's resignation  - AsiaGateway

Muslim Congress goes for secular identity
The Hindu (International), Thursday, August 31, 2000. COLOMBO, AUG. 30. In an attempt to give itself a national identity to broaden its support base, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to fight the October 10 general elections as the National Unity Alliance (NUA). The decision was endorsed at a SLMC convention presided over by its leader, Mr. M. H. M. Ashraff, who returned yesterday from a pilgrimage to Mecca, amid speculation that he would rejoin the ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition. `The decision to contest as NUA would give us a different image among the people, and eventually help us to play a more decisive role in the national arena,'' said Mr. Rauff Hakeem, who was today appointed deputy leader of the SLMC. According to the party's calculations, it could obtain more than 10 seats in Parliament if it could woo just two per cent of the non-Muslim vote over to its side. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 17:27:46 EDT 2000

Rebels attack Lankan defences, 22 injured
Times of India, 31 August 2000 . COLOMBO: Tamil Tiger rebels attacked government defences twice in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, wounding at least 22 soldiers, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. Troops manning the defences at Meesalai South, 20 km east of Jaffna city, retaliated with artillery fire on Tuesday, said Ariya Rubasinghe, the spokesman. Also Tuesday, government soldiers killed four rebels during encounters in Muhamalai in the Jaffna Peninsula and in Vedukkannary, a village in Welioya, 220 km northeast of Colombo. At least 20 government soldiers were wounded when the rebels fired artillery shells at their camp on Tuesday in Uylankulam area in Mannar, 220 km north of Colombo, the spokesman said. Another two soldiers were wounded in the second attack in Muhamalai area. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 16:30:03 EDT 2000

UNP leader?s defection a boost to Chandrika?s party
The Hindustan Times, Colombo August 30. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Peoples' Alliance (PA) got a further boost ahead of the Oct 10 parliamentary elections when a United National Party (UNP) leader and member of the dissolved parliament Sarath Kongahage resigned from it on Tuesday accusing the party leadership of being in cahoots with the LTTE. "You have advocated a very lenient policy towards the fascist LTTE murderers, who killed President Premadasa, other leaders of the country and simple civilians. I could never approve of your actions in this regard. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 15:10:23 EDT 2000

Hardships of Sri Lanka's Indian Tamils
BBC South Asia, Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 18:34 GMT 19:34 U. Tamils of Indian origin in Sri Lanka have often been described as the most discriminated section of society. Constituting around 5% of the island's population, their ancestors were brought to Sri Lanka by the British as manual labourers at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Ever since then the bulk of the community - which is distinct ethnically from the island's indigenous Tamils - have worked in tea estates in central Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 18:46:43 EDT 2000

Lanka's 'kingmakers' headed for trouble
India Abroad, Aug 30, 2000 13:15 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: Power struggles within Sri Lanka's small political parties have splintered them and appear to have crushed their plans of becoming the "kingmakers" after the polls. Two parties representing minority interests, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), have split vertically, with top party officials abandoning their leaders to forge their own alliances. At the other end of the political spectrum, a right-wing party, the Sinhala Urumaya (SU), failed in its attempt to pull together small nationalist groups, including the vocal Sri Lanka Bhumiputra Party (SLBP), ahead of the October 10 polls. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 08:55:36 EDT 2000

Media slams censorship during poll campaign
India Abroad, Aug 30, 2000 17:40 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: A Sri Lankan newspaper has strongly criticized the government for prolonging the censorship on the media despite earlier promises to lift it ahead of campaigning for the October polls. In a strongly worded editorial, The Island newspaper on Wednesday said that during an election campaign "the public cannot have their ears plugged and their eyes blindfolded by emergency regulations." The newspaper protested that without the freedom to discuss the government's military strategy against the separatist Tamil rebels in the island's north and east, the election could not be said to be free and fair. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 12:20:25 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan media warned  - BBC South Asia
Lanka tightens censorship ahead of polls  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka gags press over military squabbles  -
Sri Lankan Govt warns press for reporting dissensions in Army  - The Hindustan Times

Women to play major role in Lankan poll propaganda, 30th Aug 2000 15.24 IST . As the elections approach, women may not get many chances to contest as candidates, but they are already gearing up as canvassers and organizers to mobilize people to come to polls on the election day. The ruling Peoples' Alliance will launch a phone-in election campaign to bolster its image among mothers and wives. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 08:56:59 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Parties Urged to Increase Women in Next Parliament  - Northern Light
Sri Lanka calls for more women in parliament  - ABC News

India, Lanka to undertake joint marketing abroad
India Abroad, Aug 31, 2000 01:35 Hrs (IST) . New Delhi: Close on the heels of the launching of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka, the private sectors of the two countries are to embark on an ambitious program to jointly promote their products and services in third countries. This is one of the objectives of the Economic Cooperation Agreement signed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) here on Wednesday, CCC past president Mano Selvanathan said. "This agreement will consolidate economic cooperation between our two countries. There will be exchange of CEOs, joint marketing trips overseas, promoting India and Sri Lanka together. This is the first step by us towards working together globally," Selvanathan said before he and CII's Subash Bhargava signed the agreement in the presence of Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Omar Abdullah and Sri Lanka's Acting High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 17:30:28 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Indian Government: Indo-Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement provides US$6 billion market for India; Sri Lanka a priority destination for Indian investment, says Omar Abdullah  - AsiaGateway

US cautions its citizens in Sri Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 29. The United States in a public announcement yesterday cautioned its citizens residing in Sri Lanka to be security concious and careful of the forthcoming parliamentary polls scheduled for October 10.

The US State Department has warned its citizens to stay away from political rallies, military and government installations, all of which have previously been targetted by the LTTE in a run up to polls.

The US maintains that it is necessary to warn its citizens on the security situation in the country since all previous elections in the Island nation have been marred by violence.
Published: Wed Aug 30 03:25:31 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
United States cautions citizens in Sri Lanka  -

Olympic row in Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 12:47 GMT 13:47 U. A senior Sri Lankan general has taken legal action against a decision to exclude his daughter from the Sydney Olympics. Chief of defence staff, General Rohan Dalwatte, says his daughter should be part of the country's Olympic swimming team. Even before the team was selected, some sportsmen and women complained that there are as many officials going to Sydney as there are athletes. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 09:26:02 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan general wants daughter on Olympic team  - Virtual New York

IGP to impose strict security measures before elections
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 30. Inspector General of Police, Lukcy Kodituwakku has instructed all senior police officers to increase police mobile patrols and road blocks in all 22 electorates of the country in a bid to prevent armed gangs from freely roaming these areas.

M. B. Raban, Director, for the Special Elections Secretariat set up at Police Headquarters in Colombo said that all possible precautionary measures are being adopted by the police to prevent an outbreak of pre election violence. He said that the police have already begun taking action against the pasting of election posters on city walls. The putting up of posters is banned under the Elections Act. This however has never served as a deterrent for political parties including the ruling party who continue to flout this law. Colombo and her suburbs is already full to capacity with the faces of different contestants pasted to almost every public wall and lamp post.
Published: Wed Aug 30 03:25:30 EDT 2000

First nomination from Jaffna handed in today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Wednesday August 29. The first nomination from Sri Lanka's war torn north was handed in today. Mr. K. Senthivelavar representing the Democratic Left Alliance handed in his deposit to the Returning Officer in the Jaffna District. Mr.Kasippillai Senthivelavar, has promised that the DLF will agitate for an immediate cease-fire and emphasise the right of self determination of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. His comments come in the wake of fresh fighting between government troops and the LTTE in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Other Tamil political parties, the EPDP, PLOTE and TELO have already begun campaigning in the Jaffna district. Four minor political parties have todate completed their nominations and handed in their deposits to contest all 22 electorates in the country.

Some of Sri Lanka's major political parties including the ruling Peoples Alliance have not yet handed in their nominations for the October 10 polls.
Published: Wed Aug 30 03:25:29 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Parties gearing up for October 10 poll in Lanka  - Deccan Herald

Troops kill 10 more rebels in the north
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Wednesday August 30. The Special Media Information Center said today that government troops killed 10 more rebels in five different confrontations in the North as fresh fighting broke out between the LTTE and government security forces.

The military say that the Tigers again shelled Jaffna yesterday which resulted in more civilians being injured as the rebels used long range missiles to fire the main northern town.

The LTTE on Sunday August 27, fired its first salvo on Jaffna on the town of Puttur, using Long Range Missiles which the military say caused injury to civilians living in and around the area. The LTTE, according to the military, since initiating an attack on Jaffna last Sunday, have continued to target military installations in Sri Lanka's strife torn north.
Published: Wed Aug 30 03:25:28 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Tigers attack military camp in northern Lanka  - Times of India
Sri Lanka troops kill 10 rebels in fresh clashes  -

Sri Lanka bans liquor for polls officials
123India, Wednesday Aug 30, 07:34:12. COLOMBO, Aug 30 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's election chief has asked local officials not to offer liquor to members of his staff deployed to conduct the October parliamentary elections, officials said Wednesday. The elections chief, in a circular to village-level officials, said they will be paid an advance of 2,000 rupees (25 dollars) to host officials travelling to provinces to conduct the October 10 polls. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 07:39:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka polls: Fear keeps away potential candidates
The Hindu (International), Wednesday, August 30, 2000. COLOMBO, AUG. 29. Tamil political parties contesting the October 10 parliamentary elections from Jaffna are scouring the peninsula for prominent citizens to include in their nomination lists, but the fear of getting killed is keeping many potential candidates away. ``We have asked some people to be on our lists. At first they agree, but when they go home, their wives and children cry, and they change their minds,'' the leader of one political party, now camping in Jaffna, told The Hindu over the telephone. ``After seeing what happened to Sarojini Yogeswaran and Dr. Neelan, very few outsiders want to enter politics.'' More...
Published: Tue Aug 29 16:36:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Fear of rebels looms over Sri Lanka elections  - AsiaGateway

Two Red Cross workers freed
The Hindu NUS, 18.00 hrs (IST) on August 30, 2000. Colombo, Aug. 30. (DPA): Two Red Cross workers charged with aiding and abetting Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka have been freed after the Government decided to withdraw the charges against them, a local newspaper said today. The two workers were arrested early last year in Vavuniya, 254 km north of the capital, on allegations that they were helping rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to transport certain banned items into rebel territory. More...
Published: Wed Aug 30 09:23:44 EDT 2000

7 more independent groups hand in nominations
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 29. Seven more made deposits for nominations for the upcoming general elections was made today by independent political groups.

These groups will contest six electorates which include Dimbulagala, Colombo, Kegalle and Matara. All nominations are expected to be handed over by 12 noon on Monday September 4.

Meanwhile the Democratic Left Alliance led by Vasudeva Nanayakkara and the New Leftist Alliance led by Dr W. Wickremabahu have formed an alliance and will jointly contest the forthcoming polls.

Sources have further revealed that parties which have aligned themselves with the Peoples Alliance are facing some problems in nominating members due to the fact that some senior PA members are of the opinion that only Sri Lanka Freedom Party members should contest key electorates.

It is rumored that one senior PA Minister for the Badulla district has already voiced objection in this regard saying that only SLFP members should be nominated on the PA ticket to contest Badulla.
Published: Tue Aug 29 11:27:06 EDT 2000

House of UNP activist comes under attack
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.55 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 29. The home of George Milton, a United National Party activist in Puttalam came under attack at around 12.30 p.m. today. No one was hurt in the attack. However there was some damage to the house.

Police say that around 16 empty cartridges were found inside the house soon after the attack. The main suspect at present is a politico of the area. Police in Puttalam are conducting further investigations.

Last Wednesday August 23, a UNP activist 20-year-old Chathura Saman Kumara was killed by a rival group while putting up election posters at Molagoda in Kegalle.

Since Parliament was dissolved two weeks ago, three persons have been killed in pre polls violence.
Published: Tue Aug 29 11:27:06 EDT 2000

Chandrika not to attend public rallies
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on August 29, 2000. Colombo, Aug. 29. (UNI): President Chandrika Kumaratunga would not attend public rallies due to security constraints. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake would attend all rallies on her behalf. Kumaratunga would attend district conferences of her Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the ruling Peoples' Alliance, the party's General Secretary D M Jayaratne was quoted by the local media as saying. More...
Published: Tue Aug 29 12:19:53 EDT 2000

Police jeep attacked with grenade in Sri Lanka capital
Yahoo, Tuesday, August 29 4:03 PM SGT . A police jeep was attacked with a hand-grenade in the Sri Lanka capital Colombo Tuesday, leaving at least one constable wounded, police said. A police emergency unit said it was alerted to a "hand-grenade attack" at Colombo's Dickman's Road area and found that one of its own vehicles had been the target. More...
Published: Tue Aug 29 07:09:40 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Grenade lobbed at police in Colombo 4  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Police jeep bombed in Sri Lanka capital  -
Bomb attack in Sri Lanka capital  -
Policeman injured in Lankan grenade attack  - The Hindu NUS
Policeman hurt in Sri Lanka grenade attack  - ABC News

General writes account of Sri Lankan battle with rebels
Virtual New York, Tuesday, 29 August 2000 1:09 (ET). A former Sri Lankan general has written a detailed account of his experience as an officer in the army, a tale that spares no one. In the first book written by an army officer on the ethnic conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives in the past 17 years, Maj. Gen. Sarath Munasinghe has neither spared the politicians nor his colleagues and superiors for the setbacks suffered by the army. More...
Published: Tue Aug 29 03:47:43 EDT 2000

S.Lanka hijacker to contest polls under plane symbol
ABC News, 08/29/2000 04:32:00 ET. COLOMBO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan man jailed in the 1980s for hijacking a plane will contest October"s general election as a candidate for a party which has an aeroplane as its symbol. Harishchandra Wijetunge, leader of the nationalist Sinhalaye Mahasammata Bhumiputra Party, told Reuters that Sepala Ekanayake would stand as a candidate from southern Hambantota. "The legality will be decided by a court if somebody challenges the nomination. As far as the party is concerned, we want him to contest," Wijetunge said. More...
Published: Tue Aug 29 07:05:38 EDT 2000

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