The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 158

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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 24th, 2000.
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Where is MIR today?
Chulie Kirtisinghe de Silva, LAcNet. This story relates the realization of a dream of a dedicated virtual community of globally dispersed volunteer Sri Lankan academics, who mobilized Sri Lankan Diaspora for funding; and then formed horizontal partnerships with local and international agencies to set up a computer center in rural Sri Lanka. It also relates the metamorphosis of an out of work teacher to be the Digital Ambassador for Sri Lanka through training and empowerment. It is the story of two communities coming together; one virtual in cyberspace, the other a land based poor rural community; one the haves, and the other the have nots; - the empowered, empowering and bridging the digital divide. More...
Kesara Ratnatunga, The Sunday Times, Colombo. The computer screen was their window to the rest of the world and they were having a field day. Exploring with wide-eyed wonder what lay beyond their horizons, were the grade seven and eight students of Nivaththaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya, Anuradhapura, the first beneficiaries of the Lanka Academic Network's (LAcNet) 'Computers for Sri Lankan Schools' project. More...
Bob Murray, University of Liverpool, UK. Increasing world population combined with enhanced living standards across the globe will raise energy demands by about a factor of three over the next 50 years. This can only be acceptable in environmental terms if at least half of it is supplied by clean renewable energy sources says Dharme (Dr.I M Dharmadasa) who recently presented the annual International Lecture - 2000 at Sheffield Hallam University. 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...
 The Lanka Academic News stories are provided by independent correspondents. Views expressed are not necessarily those of LAcNet. Updates are triggered by events, 24hrs a day. Funding is provided by LAcNet. Redistribution is strictly prohibited. To ensure our continued existence, please support LAcNet.
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75 rebels reported killed in fierce fighting in Jaffna
MSNBC, september 10. Fierce fighting erupted in the northern Jaffna peninsula Sunday as Sri Lankan troops launched their second offensive in a week to recapture territory lost to Tamil Tiger rebels. A military statement said around 75 rebels and 12 soldiers had been killed in four hours of fighting. It said 62 soldiers were wounded half of them seriously.“WE’VE GIVEN them a beating this time,” military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne told Reuters in Colombo by phone. Karunaratne said the military had captured two miles of territory at Ariyalai — a strategic tongue of land just south of Jaffna city. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 20:35:17 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Fresh fighting as Sri Lanka troops launch new push  - ABC News
Military offensive leaves 85 dead in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York
New Sri Lanka battle kills 98, generals under fire  -

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LTTE kills two ruling party candidates
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 10. Two Tamil candidates of the ruling Peoples' Alliance in Batticaloa district, Sezhian Perinbanayagam and Manoharan Pillai, were shot dead allegedly by the LTTE in Pandiruppu on the Battcaloa-Kalmunai border today, a report from Batticaloa said. Perinbanayagam was a former mayor of Batticaloa town and Pillai was the PA organiser for Batticaloa district. They were out campaigning this morning when a two-wheeler borne LTTE pistol group shot them dead at point blank. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 18:06:45 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka candidate shot dead  - The Asian Age
Candidate assassinated in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York
Sri Lanka government candidate, supporter shot dead  - India Abroad
Ruling party candidate killed in Sri Lanka  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Violence governs Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections, two politicians shot dead  - NDTV/MSNBC
Two PA supporters killed in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu NUS
Ruling party candidate killed in eastern Sri Lanka  - ABC News
Candidate gunned down in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo
Lanka ruling party candidate shot dead  - India Abroad
Candidate gunned down in Sri Lanka's blood-stained election run-up  -

Lanka goes hi-tech for polls; ex-mayor killed
Times of India, 11 September 2000 . COLOMBO: E-mail has become the latest mode of campaigning for the October 10 elections in Sri Lanka with several cabinet ministers and senior party leaders sending E-mails to voters in order to woo them. Although the E-mail facility is available mostly to the wealthier classes, political parties are fast using this facility in their campaigns. Ministers G P Peiris, Mangala Samaraweera and Kingsley T Wickremaratne are just a few who are using E-mail at present while many more candidates are likely to follow the practice. People's Alliance media campaign chief Sripathi Sooriyachi said ``it is a very effective method and the cost has to be borne by the candidate. However, it is mainly used in Colombo.'' UNP spokesperson Karunasena Kodithuwakku said that using E-mail is effective for candidates with a professional background. ``We used fax and telephone during the last presidential election. This is a new method and very effective,'' he said. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 16:19:28 EDT 2000

Lankans want free and fair polls
India Abroad, Sept. 10, 2000 19:21 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: A Sri Lankan organization, comprising 60 trade unions and other groups, will launch a massive "yellow band" campaign tomorrow across the island as an expression of the people's desire for free and fair parliamentary elections on October 10. The organization, Alliance for Democracy, hopes to encourage an estimated one million adults throughout this country of 18-odd million to sport a single yellow band to express the nation's desire for "peaceful elections, in keeping with pure democratic traditions," a spokesman for the group said. The program will be launched from the capital's Elphinstone Theatre, a landmark in the heart of the city, and representatives from all sides of the political and ethnic divide are scheduled to participate, said Bandula Padma Kumara, the former editor of Lakbima, a Sinhalese-language weekly. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 12:23:08 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Yellow ribbon campaign for free and fair polls  - The Hindu NUS

Sri Lanka Army launches second operation against rebels
Virtual New York, Sunday Sep. 10, 09:43:12. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Sept 10 (UPI) - The Sri Lankan armed forces Sunday launched massive operation in the northern Jaffna peninsula to flush out separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas ahead of parliamentary elections in the country. The operation, second in the past eight days, began early Sunday with troops moving out of the defenses southeast of Jaffna town attacking rebel positions with multi-barrel rocket launchers and heavy artillery. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 09:50:46 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan government launches a major military offensive to boost its electoral prospects - News Analysis  - World Socialist Web Site
Army launches fresh offensive against LTTE  - The Hindu NUS
Army chief predicts Jaffna fighting  - BBC

Generals under fire in Sri Lanka over bloodbath offensive
Yahoo, Sunday Sep 10, 09:19:20. COLOMBO, Sept 10 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's military commanders have come under severe criticism for their latest anti-rebel drive that cost the lives of 360, but with little military gain, officials said Sunday. The political leadership raised questions about responsibility for the debacle last week when thousands of government troops tried to recapture territory from Tamil Tiger rebels but were stopped by intense resistance. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 09:25:59 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lankan generals under fire over failed offensive  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka's top general offers to step down  - Virtual New York

Executive presidency may go as Sri Lanka parties vow reforms, Sep 10 2000 09:50 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 10 (AFP) - Whatever the outcome of Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections next month, the all-powerful executive presidency may give way to a prime ministerial system, analysts say. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) has vowed to scrap the executive presidency and adopt a new constitution within two months if it wins a second six-year term in the October 10 poll. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says Kumaratunga will have to learn to live with an opposition-led parliament which will restore the supremacy of the legislature using existing constitutional provisions."From the 11th of October, we will ensure that Chandrika will only be a nominal president," Wickremesinghe said, referring to the October 10 elections. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 12:39:27 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Executive presidency may go as Sri Lanka parties vow reforms  - Yahoo

Lanka Army chief offers to step down
The Asian Age, September 10 . Sri Lankan soldiers carry out a search operation in the Jaffna peninsula, which saw the fiercest fighting earlier.(AP) For the second time in a week, Sri Lankan Army has launched a fresh offensive in the outskirts of Jaffna town to push back the LTTE rebels, even as reports said that chief of defence staff Lt. Gen. Rohan Daluwatte has offered to resign owning responsibility for the last week’s aborted operation in which 125 soldiers were killed and over 800 injured. Army spokesman Brig. Sarath Karunaratne told reporters here on Sunday that the Army has launched a new limited operations at Navatkuli in the outskirts of Jaffna on Sunday to consolidate its defences. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 21:52:16 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lankan general offers to quit for military fiasco  - India Abroad
Gen. Daluwatte offers to quit: media report  - The Hindu NUS

EU prepares for Sri Lanka poll monitoring bid
123India, Sunday Sep.10, 09:29:10. COLOMBO, Sept 10 (AFP) - The European Union (EU) was finalising plans to send an independent mission to monitor the October parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, diplomats here said Sunday. The 15-member European grouping was already carrying out technical work to assemble a team of 88 monitors to observer the October 10 parliamentary elections at the invitation of Sri Lankan authorities, the diplomats said. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 09:38:39 EDT 2000

Lankan MPs to be disarmed on poll eve
India Abroad, Sept 10, 2000 19:25 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Both government and opposition legislators are to be disarmed on the eve of the October 10 parliamentary polls, a senior police official said. Under the election laws, Members of Parliament (MPs) should have returned the arms issued by the government soon after the House was dissolved. Their police bodyguards were also to be withdrawn. But this was not done as Parliament has to be summoned again before October 10 for an extraordinary session to approve the extension of the state of emergency by another month and this gave the MPs the right to retain their weapons. Consequently, the MPs will practically campaign armed to the teeth and along with their police bodyguards. Each MP is assigned four police guards. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 12:49:01 EDT 2000

'LTTE needs to be challenged politically', 10th Sept 2000 13.05 IST . The Sri Lankan government needs to pose a political challenge to the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Elam (LTTE) rather than seek a military solution to its nagging ethnic strife and Colombo's initiatives on this leave much to be desired, says a latest book. One positive outcome of the recent crisis is the insistence by the international community, underlined by New Delhi, that the island nation must forge a political consensus on devolution of political power to the Tamil-dominated region, says Apratim Mukarji in his book ''The War in Sri Lanka: Unending Conflict''. He laments India's inadequate, belated and disappointing response is leaving an impression that domestic politics had replaced security concerns and national interests as prime determinants in formulating foreign policy.It showed that India's foreign policy formulations are yet to strike a balance between its strategic and foreign policy requirements and the compulsions of domestic politics linked to the very survival of the NDA government, the author says. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 12:43:44 EDT 2000

Record number of poll aspirants in Jaffna despite LTTE threat, Sunday,September10,2000. COLOMBO: Despite artillery shells and tracer fire lighting up the Jaffna skyline at night in the war like situation over the northern peninsula,political activity is picking up ahead of the October 10 elections,reports UNI. Fourteen political parties and six independent groups have put up a record number of 240 candidates for Tamil dominated Jaffna district 's nine parliamentary constituencies. Not a single supporter of the political parties and independent groups contesting the election was present at the premises of the Jaffna secretariat at the time of filing nominations for the elections which are being boycotted by the Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 17:43:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Despite war, Jaffna has 240 poll candidates  - The Asian Age

Sri Lankan Youngsters See Death
Guardian, UK, Saturday, 09 September. Overlooking vast tea gardens and flower farms, a tin-roofed building on a small hill echoes with the laughter of boys playing an unusual game of charades. One gestures as if plowing a rice field. Another playmate hazards a guess: ``He is digging a mass grave.'' ``No,'' says another. ``He is bayoneting a half-dead soldier,'' The boys are former Tamil Tiger child soldiers who have either surrendered or been captured in the civil war that has savaged parts of Sri Lanka for 17 years. To an Associated Press reporter and photographer who were allowed by the Sri Lankan military to visit the rehabilitation camp, the youngsters tell of being lured into action by videos depicting Tamil heroism, of planting mines and of going on reconnaissance missions. One boy speaks of missing his mother's cooking. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 13:08:31 EDT 2000

Lanka to seek fishermen’s release
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 9. WITH PARLIAMENTARY elections due on October 10, the ruling Peoples' Alliance has woken up to the question of 134 Sri Lankan fishermen languishing in Indian jails for a year or more. A high-level delegation, led by a Cabinet minister and two deputy ministers, is to leave for India on Sept.12 to persuade New Delhi to release the fishermen. Minister for Plan Implementation Jayaraj Fernandopulle said here on Saturday that apart from him, the delegation would include Deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Deputy Minister Milroy S. Fernando and director general of fisheries K.Nagodavithana. More...
Published: Sun Sep 10 12:51:30 EDT 2000

Left with little choice
Deccan Herald, september 9. Gone are the days when politicians were devoted to their parties, their party leadership and the country. They were, in the past loyal to their parties under any circumstances but todays politics is all about opportunism and political somersaults have become the common thing. In other words political pole-vaulters are the great achievers. They cross over for any thing beginning from money to vehicles and houses. That is the fate of todays politics in Sri Lanka.Most Sri Lankans have already decided to spoil their votes. They do not have any confidence in either the ruling PA or the UNP. But there isnt another strong political force for the people to consider as an alternative. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 12:45:24 EDT 2000

Media group welcomes easing of censorship in Lanka
Times of India, 10 September 2000 . COLOMBO: The committee to protect censorship, a US-based media watchdog group, on Saturday welcomed Sri Lankan government's decision to ease censorship restrictions, but expressed regret that Tamil separatist war-related news was still under censorship rules. "We do not think that censorship is ever an appropriate means to handle a national crisis, but we are particularly concerned about the implications of having a censored press during the run-up to the October 10 parliamentary elections," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper in a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 22:33:51 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka censorship ease welcomed  - The Asian Age

Susantika dropped from Lanka relay team
Times of India (Breaking News), 9 September 2000 . COLOMBO: A woman sprinter who became embroiled in controversy over alleged sexual advances and other harassment by powerful politicians, has been dropped from Sri Lanka's 4 x 100 metre relay team for the Sydney Games, news reports said Saturday. Susantika Jayasinghe, a 200-meter silver medalist at the World Track Championships in Athens, was dropped because she "evaded baton-changing practice with the national team," The Island newspaper reported. Jayasinghe also did not accompany the Sri Lankan team to Sydney. Instead flew to Tokyo, saying she needed to see a physician before going on to Sydney. Jayasinghe was not reachable for comment, but the Island paper said officials were upset with her even before the Sydney Games have started. The paper did not elaborate. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 17:39:35 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Jayasinghe and Thompson enjoy double sprint victories  - yahoo
Susantika dropped from Lanka relay team  - Times of India (Breaking News)

LTTE threatens to kill poll candidates
The Hindu, Saturday, September 09, 2000. The Inspector General of Police, Mr.Lucky Kodituwakku, and senior officials met the Ministers recently and informed about the threat to their lives. The IGP told the Ministers that according to available Intelligence information, LTTE operatives had visited residences of several key Ministers in the past few months as part of their efforts to gather information on VIPs. A top Minister was informed of at least three attempts to assassinate him. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:13:10 EDT 2000

Hardliner group to woo Jaffna's displaced Sinhalas
India Abroad, September 09, 2000 15:25 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: A Sinhalese hardliner group, which raised eyebrows by fielding candidates in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula for the October parliamentary polls, says it is wooing thousands of displaced Sinhalese who once lived there. The Sihala Urumaya (SU), or Sinhala Heritage, which has a bow and arrow as its election symbol, is setting its sights on the votes of several thousands of majority community Sinhalese who were driven out of the peninsula in the early eighties, a party spokesman said. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:23:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Poll aspirants unfazed by LTTE threat  - The Hindu NUS
Election campaign hotting up in Jaffna  -

Gopalan Trophy tournament advanced by two days
The Hindu NUS, 22.30 hrs (IST) on September 9, 2000. Chennai, Sept. 9. (PTI): The Gopalan trophy cricket tournament between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, revived after 17 years and scheduled for September 22, has been advanced by two days. This to enable the six Tamil Nadu probables, who are among the 23 players for the ICC's Nairobi tournament, to play in the match in Colombo. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 13:38:03 EDT 2000

Lanka relaxes censorship for polls
India Abroad, Sept 09, 2000 03:20 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has relaxed media censorship ahead of the October 10 parliamentary polls in the face of strong protests from foreign and local media organizations. The censorship regulations will, however, remain in force for news related to the military's operations in the island's north and east, where Tamil Tiger separatists are battling government troops to set up an independent homeland, director of information and chief censor Ariya Rubasinghe said. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:18:38 EDT 2000

Lanka counts 360 dead from heavy fighting
India Abroad, September 05, 2000 14:20 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday counted the dead after two days of fierce fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula left at least 360 combatants dead. The military said it had lost some 132 soldiers, including eight officers, in the massive air and land offensive launched against rebel strongholds on Sunday while 766 had been wounded. The pirate rebel radio station, the Voice of Tigers (VOT), announced on Tuesday that guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had killed over 100 soldiers and claimed they had 50 bodies in their possession. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:21:15 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Withdraws Censorship
Yahoo, September 10. Sri Lanka's government temporarily withdrew parts of its tough censorship regulations Friday but retained a media ban on reporting military operations, a government spokesman said. Until the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections, journalists will not be subject to restrictions on stories related to ``national security and public interest'' if they are not linked to military operations, said chief government spokesman and censor Ariya Rubasinghe. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:05:30 EDT 2000

Environmentalists warn of imbalance in Sri Lanka
Virtual New York, Saturday, 9 September 2000 6:02 (ET). Environmentalists in Sri Lanka have cautioned political parties that the election campaign could lead to serious ecological imbalance in the country. According to ecologists, the political parties have begun using material that is not biodegradable for propaganda purposes. These would add to existing non-biodegradable substances already in circulation in the country. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:03:35 EDT 2000

S.Lanka Tamil party says disarm rivals for polls
ABC News, 09/09/2000 02:34:00 ET. COLOMBO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka"s main moderate Tamil party demanded on Saturday the government disarm rival minority parties saying it could not contest next month"s general election in the face of armed opposition. "We do not carry arms and therefore cannot take part in an election in which our opponents are armed," Mavai Senathirajah, parliamentarian of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), told Reuters. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:02:47 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka gays mark five years of protest in drag, Sep 09 2000 13:59 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 9 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's hidden gay community paraded in a fashion show and danced till dawn Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of the country's leading gay rights group. Gays from Companions on a Journey were invited to "strut your stuff in drag ... move to the beat in friendly rivalry ... be there or be oblong." More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:27:40 EDT 2000

Abducted Lankan poll candidate found with injuries
Deccan Herald, COLOMBO, Sept 8 (UNI). The abducted candidate of the Left and Democratic alliance K G Jayantha was found early on Thursday with injuries on his body and is now being treated at a hospital, police said. Mr Jayantha said he was allegedly assaulted and abducted by a gang near the Horana hospital where he had gone with his family on Tuesday night. He said he was held and threatened by the gang who told him to withdraw his nomination for the general election. More...
Published: Sat Sep 9 11:06:47 EDT 2000

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