The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 31, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 148

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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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Kumaratunga's brother says Sri Lanka president behaving childishly, Aug 31 2000 16:54 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 31 (AFP) - Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's charge that the opposition was aware of plans to assassinate her attracted rebuke Thursday from her brother who accused her of behaving childishly. "The UNP kindly requests the president not to insult and belittle the dignity of the public of this country by resorting to this kind of childish behaviour," Bandaranaike said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 09:14:13 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Kumaratunga behaving childishly, says brother  - Times of India
UNP denies knowing plot to kill Kumaratunga  - Times of India
Sri Lanka president says opposition knew of murder bid  - MSNBC
Kumaratunga attacks opposition ahead of election  - BBC South Asia
UNP denies knowledge of Kumaratunga assassination plot  - India Abroad

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Solheim makes low-key visit to Sri Lanka
The Hindu (International), Friday, September 01, 2000. COLOMBO, AUG. 31. In an indication that Norway is still trying to bring the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government to the negotiating table, the Norwegian special envoy, Mr. Erik Solheim, was here on a quiet three-day visit, which ended on Wednesday. He met representatives of the government, opposition and Tamil political parties while he was here. ``From what I could gather from my discussion with him, there seems to be a window still open for talks between the two, but only after the elections,'' said a politician who met the Norwegian interlocutor. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 16:36:15 EDT 2000

SLMC to continue to support PA
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Thursday August 31. The Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) M. H. M. Ashraff pledged to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday that his party will continue to support the Peoples Alliance at the forthcoming General Elections. He however stated that the SLMC will contest alone in four districts under its newly formed National Unity Alliance, (NUA). The NUA will contest the Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Vanni and Puttalam seats separately from the PA.

Rauf Hakeem, appointed yesterday as Deputy Leader for the NUA told Lacnet that the reason behind this was because the PA have consistently lost these seats to the UNP. However Hakeem claims that if the NUA were to contest alone it was confident it would make a dent in the UNP vote bank in these areas and be able to secure a bonus seat for the PA.

The rift between the SLMC and the PA began when another Muslim Minister in the PA government challenged the SLMC Leader and Minister for Ports and Shipping M. H. M. Ashraff stating the latter could not visit his own electorate minus his security and cabinet portfolio.

A furious Ashraff resigned from office soon after and dispensed with his security and other government perks. Ashraff has called upon the President to sack Minister Fowzie from her cabinet. The row has somewhat abated after the meeting with the President last night.

It is rumoured that the President has promised the SLMC Leader two cabinet portfolios including the post of two deputy ministers in the event the PA is returned to power.

Rauf Hakeem meanwhile reiterated that the SLMC is confident Minister Fowzie will not be returned to cabinet in the event the PA is again voted into power. "The President is exasperated and very bitter with him and his constant tantrum's and it is a foregone conclusion that he will not be returned to her cabinet again," he said.

The NUA will hand in their nominations on Friday September 1, after attending Jumma prayers.The SLMC will contest on the Peoples Alliance list in Ampara, Batticaloa and other areas except for Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Puttalam and the Vanni.
Published: Thu Aug 31 03:38:54 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Lanka's ruling party mends fences with Muslim ally  - Times of India
Political storm in Sri Lanka blows off  - The Hindu NUS
Muslim ally returns to Chandrika's fold  - India Abroad
Lanka's 'kingmakers' headed for trouble  - India Abroad
Muslim Congress goes for secular identity  - The Hindu (International)
Ashraff undecided on maintaining alliance  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Ashraff dismisses MSD, bullet-proof vehicle PA-SLMC rift widens  - AsiaGateway
President rejects Ashraff's resignation  - AsiaGateway

Sri Lanka's ruling party gains and loses allies ahead of polls, Aug 31 2000 18:49 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 31 (AFP) - An estranged Muslim ally of the Sri Lankan government resolved its differences Thursday with the ruling coalition, but another partner suddenly quit, officials said. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) held lengthy talks till early Thursday with President Chandrika Kumaratunga to agree on their electoral arrangements for the October 10 elections, party officials said. However, another ally of Kumaratunga, the minor United Lalith Frontabruptly withdrew from the ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition following differences over lists of candidates to contest the elections.Neither the ULF nor the PA gave details, but political sources said the crisis was over including ULF leader Srimani Athulathmudali in what is known as a "national list" where candidates do not face a direct election. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 10:15:10 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Kumaratunga firms up alliance with Muslim Congress  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Sri Lanka rebels continue shelling in Jaffna, Aug 31 2000 14:25 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 31 (AFP) - Tamil Tiger rebels kept up shell attacks in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, wounding at least one soldier as troops killed eight guerrillas elsewhere, the government said Thursday. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fired mortar bombs at army positions in Columbuthurai in the peninsula on Wednesday, the government's Special Media Information Centre said in a statement. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 06:13:36 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Rebels attack Lankan defences, 22 injured  - Times of India
Troops kill 10 more rebels in the north  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
LTTE wounds 22 soldiers in Jaffna  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

UNP to abolish executive system of governance
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Thursday August 31. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in a press release has stated today that if the UNP is voted into power he will abolish the executive system of government and pass the new constitutional proposal with a 2/3rd majority in Parliament after having sought the approval of the people in a referendum.

The UNP is expected to hand in nominations for the October 10 General Elections by Friday September 1, before the deadline expires on Monday at 12 noon.
Published: Thu Aug 31 03:38:53 EDT 2000

We didn’t know of plot to kill Chandrika: UNP
The Asian Age. By Sugeeswara Senadhira Colombo, Aug. 31

Sri Lankan Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has denied President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s allegation that he had prior information about the Tamil rebel assassination attempt on her in December 1999. “That’s utter rubbish and as a law abiding citizen I would have informed police as well as Chandrika if I had the slightest information on the dastardly bomb attack,” Mr Wickremesinghe told his colleagues when he came to know about Kumaratunga’s accusation on Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 19:14:15 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
President challenges Opposition Leader to clear his name  - PRIU
UNP leader aware of LTTE's assassination bid on me: Chandrika  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka says opposition aware of assassination bid  -

Ranil optimistic of victory UNP’s primary aim — overhauling the stagnant economy
Island, Aug 31 2000 11:55 IST. The current six-year term of parliament will be reduced by one year when the United National Party (UNP) comes to power, UNP Leader and the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing a press conference to reveal the UNP manifesto for the forthcoming elections, he also said "The executive presidency will be abolished and the head of the state will be the Prime Minister elected by the people. Wickremesinghe added that from October 12, President Kumaratunga will to have work under the directions of a UNP parliament."From October 12, the President will have to work under our direction because there will be a parliament with a UNP majority", he said flanked by senior UNP members Gamini Atukorala, Karu Jayasuriya, W. J. M. Lokubandara, Karunasena Kodituwakku and Anura Bandaranaike. Asked how the UNP could direct the Executive President, the Opposition Leader said that the present constitution has the necessary powers to do it. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 04:40:51 EDT 2000

PA confident of defeating UNP in a free and fair election, says Mahinda
Island, Aug 31 2000 11:55 IST. Minister Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday said that the PA is confident of defeating the UNP in a free and fair general election on October 10. Rajapakse, who leads the PA’s list of candidates contesting the Hambantota district, said that the UNP will never be able to challenge the Alliance in the south or anywhere else. There was no evidence to suggest that the UNP has succeeded in winning the confidence of the masses, Rajapakse said pointing out that contrary to reports, speculation and claims, the SLFP and the constituent parties of the PA remained confident of routing the UNP.Rajapakse was in Colombo on Tuesday to sign the district nomination papers. Referring to the ongoing clash between ministers M. H. M. Fowzie and A. H. M. Ashraff, Rajapakse said that whatever the differences, the PA’s polls-related work will not be affected. "The campaign is underway in all parts of the country," Rajapakse said stressing the PA will not allow ‘internal’ problems to affect the general election campaign. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 04:42:59 EDT 2000

Police to educate politicians on election laws
UPI, 31 August. Sri Lanka police have decided to give a course to politicians on elections laws to curb pre-poll violence ahead of the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections.The inspector general of police Lucky Koditawakku instructed district police chiefs to have classes on election laws for all politicians contesting the parliamentary elections.= More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 10:10:09 EDT 2000

US-funded drug meet ends with greater cooperation call, Aug 31 2000 19:36 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 31 (AFP) - A South Asian meeting of drug enforcement officials and US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) personnel ended here Thursday with calls for greater cooperation and further training, officials said. Thirty eight people from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Maldives participated in the two-week seminar which was also addressed by six DEA officials, the US embassy here said in a statement. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 16:39:00 EDT 2000

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
Sri Lanka Main Opposition Favors Curbing Exec Powers  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka Opposition Plans to Clip President's Wings  - AsiaGateway
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  -

Constitutional reforms stand out as best ever presented - PLOTE leader Siddarthan
AsiaGateway, Thursday Aug 31, 07:42:15. Of all the pacts and constitutional reforms drawn up by the previous governments, the devolution proposals of President Chandrika Kumaratunga stands out as the best. She had withstood the challenges of the extremists and presented the constitutional reforms in Parliament and she deserves the praise of the people," said PLOTE leader Dharmalingaham Siddarthan in Jaffna. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 07:47:45 EDT 2000

Darsha sets new Asian record in winning gold
PRIU, Thursday Aug 31, 07:45:32. Damayanthi Darsha, Sri Lanka's 400 metre sprint specialist set a new Asian championship record by winning a gold medal in the women's 400 metres final at the Asian Track and Field meet in Jakarta yesterday. More...
Published: Thu Aug 31 07:50:46 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

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

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

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

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka bans liquor for polls officials  - 123India

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
Fear of rebels looms over Sri Lanka elections  - AsiaGateway

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