The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 149

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The Lanka Academic, will carry a series of online "Question and Answer" sessions with prominent Sri Lankan personalities. As the first guest in the series, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe will answer questions submitted by you. A moderator will maintain the decorum of this online forum. While the scope of the questions is wide open, it's expected that the questions submitted would fall within the areas of expertise relevant to Mr.Moonesinghe's background as a politician, scholar and a diplomat. The guidelines and instructions for sending in questions and viewing answer are posted at current issue of The Lanka Academic here. The current Question and Answer session will end on September 17th, 2000.
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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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Mine blast kills 15 airmen in Sri Lanka, Sep 01 2000 17:53 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 1 (AFP) - Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a military vehicle in northern Sri Lanka Friday, killing 15 airmen as government forces killed five guerrillas in a battle elsewhere, the defence ministry said. The powerful landmine attack in the northern district of Vavuniya was aimed at air force men returning home on leave, defence officials said, adding that the victims were travelling in a tractor-trailer. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 14:38:25 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Explosion kills 15 air force men in Lanka  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka rebels continue shelling in Jaffna  -
Bomb blast kills 14 in Sri Lanka  -
LTTE wounds 22 soldiers in Jaffna  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
14 Lankan air force men killed in LTTE attack  - India Abroad
14 Lankan Airforce men killed in LTTE attack  - The Hindustan Times
Tigers attack Lankan air force vehicle, kill 13  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka rebel landmine toll rises to 13  - MSNBC
Sri Lankan air force vehicle attacked, 14 killed  - ABC News

Ask Mangala: Send in your questions to the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe and receive answers.
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Lankan ruling party ally goofs up
Times of India, 2 September 2000 . COLOMBO: The key Muslim party in Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's coalition government suffered an unexpected blow on Friday in the lead up to October parliamentary polls due to a bungling in the presentation of their candidates' nomination papers. Following intense talks between President Kumaratunga and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) they agreed to field their candidates in common lists in most of the districts, but it was observed to have breached the rules. Three key Muslim members were to be included in a list of eight candidates to contest the Batticaloa district where there is a considerable Muslim population.However, the People's Alliance (PA) party leader of the area presented an older list ignoring the electoral pact Kumaratunga had reached with the SLMC, officials said More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 16:49:00 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Muslim ally suffers nominations debacle  -
Kumaratunga firms up alliance with Muslim Congress  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka's ruling party gains and loses allies ahead of polls  -

Norwegian envoy visits Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Friday September 1. In what is seen to be renewed efforts at negotiating a peace settlement to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict Norwegian Special Envoy, Eric Solheim, paid a quiet three day visit to Colombo early this week.

In the city since Monday, Mr. Solheim met with government leaders, the Leader of the main opposition UNP and other Tamil political party representatives.

Meanwhile it is believed that the LTTE will break the military stalemate that has occurred in a bid to wrest Jaffna from government control before the October 10 General Elections. The LTTE are reported to have stated that the rebel group will consider negotiations with the Government only after the fate of Jaffna has been determined.
Published: Fri Sep 1 02:39:56 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Solheim makes low-key visit to Sri Lanka  - The Hindu (International)

CPJ demands end to press censorship ahead of polls
India Abroad, Sept 01, 2000 18:30 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: An international media organization has called for the immediate lifting of press censorship in Sri Lanka and said it was "dismayed? that the government has not kept its promise to revoke it ahead of the October general election. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga said it was impossible to hold free and fair elections when the media is subject to censorship regulations. "It is imperative that all journalists in Sri Lanka are free to comment independently and without fear of reprisal on issues of national importance," the CPJ's executive director, Ann K. Cooper, has said. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 12:03:35 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka asked to lift censorship ahead of polls  -
Media watchdog wants end to S.Lanka censorship  - MSNBC

Sri Lanka opposition leader slams President over Tiger allegations, Sep 01 2000 15:04 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 1 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main opposition Friday accused President Chandrika Kumaratunga of political trickery and hiding behind her political immunity to launch a smear campaign ahead of the October polls. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe accused President Kumaratunga of trying to link him to the December 18 suicide assassination attempt on her blamed on the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 07:09:07 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opposition denies charges on murder bid  - MSNBC
We didn’t know of plot to kill Chandrika: UNP  - The Asian Age
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  -

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

Sri Lanka to buy 350 Indian buses
India Abroad, Sept 01, 2000 19:15 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved the purchase of 350 buses from India, which are to be delivered in the next four months, transport ministry officials said. The latest batch of fully assembled buses are being ordered from Tata and Ashok Leyland, which will send 175 vehicles each. The 32-seat, single door buses will be imported at a cost of $6.2 million under an already existing line of credit given by the Indian government, the officials said. The Sri Lankan cabinet gave the green light to the purchase at its meeting on Thursday, officials said. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 14:39:58 EDT 2000

14 airmen killed in Vavuniya
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Friday September 1. Fourteen airmen were killed today when the tractor they were travelling in at Vavuniya was blown up by a landmine. Seven others are reported to be seriously injured. A search and cordon operation for Tiger rebels has been launched in the Vavuniya district soon after the explosion.

The attack follows two weeks after a suicide bomber attempted to blow up yet another military convoy also at Vavuniya. Both the suicide bomber and a nine year old girl were killed in this attack.
Published: Fri Sep 1 02:39:55 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
At least eight S.Lankan airmen killed in blast  - ABC News

Sri Lankan police arrest writer over semi-nude woman on book cover, Sep 01 2000 18:50 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 1 (AFP) - Sri Lankan police arrested a local author Friday on charges of bringing Christianity into disrepute with his latest novel depicting a semi-nude woman on the cover, officials here said. Police questioned Manjula Wediwardena over his Sinhalese-language novel entitled "Mary, the Maria," and took him before a magistrate who released him on 100,000 rupee (1,280 dollar) surety bail. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 14:38:00 EDT 2000

AI says human rights violations on the rise
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Friday September 1. The human rights watchdog Amnesty International in a statement issued today has maintained that human rights violations in Sri Lanka's North appear to be on the rise. According to AI, nine individuals last seen being arrested by the military in the Vavuniya district, disappeared in August this year.

AI asserts that violations of human rights rose after strict Emergency Regulations were imposed in May this year following a ferocious onslaught by Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula.
Published: Fri Sep 1 02:39:57 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Amnesty slams Lanka over rising disappearances  - India Abroad
Amnesty says disappearances on rise in Sri Lanka  - ABC News

Call for Pakistan Sri Lanka Trade to be Stepped up
Yahoo, Friday, September 1 10:10 AM SGT . He said there is wide potential, adding that Sri Lanka could be the only genuine and ally of Pakistan amongst the SAARC countries. Pervez Hanif, who will take over as Honorary Counsel-General of Sri Lanka, said both countries had no conflict of interest and thus have great potential of development. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 06:57:43 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
India, Sri Lanka to Discuss Tea Trade  - Yahoo

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 win three golds on final day
Daily News, Sep 01 2000 11:21 IST. JAKARTA, Thursday - Sri Lanka's Damayanthi Darsha continued with her record breaking performances establishing a new mark in the women's 200 metres final on the final day of the Asian Track and Field championships at the Madya Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sri Lanka also won two other gold medals bringing their tally for the day to three, when Darsha anchored the women's 4 x 100 metres relay team to victory. The Sri Lanka men's relay team also won a gold when they took the 4 x 400 metres event. Darsha who will be captaining the Sri Lankan team for the forthcoming Sydney Olympic Games won the gold medal with a timing of 22.84 seconds while erasing the previous record of 23.00 seconds held by Susanthika Jayasinghe at the 1995 Asian Track and Field meet. This was in fact the second gold medal for Darsha having on Wednesday won the women's 400 metres final with a new record of 51.05 seconds. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 03:58:27 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Darsha sets new Asian record in winning gold  - PRIU
Susanthika wins a gold in women's 200 metres  - Daily News

England crash to rare defeat
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 31 August, 2000, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK. England lost their first series at Under-19 level for four years when they went down by two wickets to Sri Lanka in a tense finish to the third Test at Worcester. Sri Lanka began the day on 57 for five, chasing 109 to win and claim a 2-1 series victory. More...
Published: Fri Sep 1 17:01:04 EDT 2000

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

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

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

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