The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 162

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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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Anura says his sister is a "failed general"
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.50 a.m September 15. Anura Bandaranaiake brother of President Chandrika Kumaratunge yesterday referred to his sister as a "failed amateur general". Speaking at a United National Party press conference, Bandaranaiake said that no significant victory has been achieved in the war front in the last six years despite the huge defense budget. He said that the UNP left the war for generals to fight but, the People's Alliance government of President Kumaratunge is trying to put politics into the war.

He charged that the government removed Generals Janaka Perera and Sarath Fonseka from Jaffna because they were supposedly UNP supporters. "They might be that but what is it got to do with the military plans?" he questioned.

Bandaranaiake also said that the President and General Ratwatte are setting impossible time frames and starting badly planned operations with fancy names while soldiers continue to die.
Published: Thu Sep 14 21:05:37 EDT 2000

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Opposition threatens stir if Lanka poll chief is removed
India Abroad, Sept.14, 2000 22:36 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Opposition parties in Sri Lanka vowed on Thursday to abandon campaigning for the October polls and take to the streets in protest if President Chandrika Kumaratunga removed the controversial Elections Commissioner. Two key parties, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and the radical left-wing Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), said they were not carrying a personal brief for polls chief Dayananda Dissanayake, but supported his plan to prevent fake votes at the October 10 parliamentary elections. Dissanayake came under a scathing attack from the government earlier this week and was reported to Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission for ordering special security stickers to be affixed to ballot papers. Party spokesman Anura Bandaranaike, estranged brother of Kumaratunga, said the People's Alliance (PA) government had sought legal advice to fire the Commissioner but was advised against the move. "If they had gone ahead, it would have been like committing suicide before the (PA's) funeral on October 10." More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 14:38:54 EDT 2000

Free and fair polls, main election issue
The Hindu (International), Friday, September 15, 2000. COLOMBO, SEPT. 14. The demand for a fraud-free election has eclipsed all other issues in the run-up to Sri Lanka's parliamentary polls with the Government casting aspersions on the country's Election Commissioner, and the opposition parties, Buddhist monks and representatives of civil society raising fears of State-backed violence and malpractice . Both the United National Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Perumena (JVP) have threatened mass agitations if the Government took action against the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 19:15:29 EDT 2000

Lanka EC rejects Buddhists' plea
Times of India, 15 September 2000 . The Election Commission has rejected the plea by Buddhist monks to function as election monitors during the October 10 parliamentary polls. ``No Buddhist monk or representatives of election monitoring organisations will be allowed to enter polling booths to monitor the general elections without prior permission obtained from the comissioner,'' an EC official said. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 16:26:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka police seize explosives-packed three-wheel taxi, Sep 14 2000 18:16 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 14 (AFP) - Sri Lankan police have seized a three-wheel taxi packed with explosives in the east of the country, officials here said Thursday. About 20 kilos (44 pounds) of plastics explosives were found packed under the mud guards of the three-wheel taxi when the vehicle was subjected to a routine check at a police post at Munmunai, officials said. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 09:18:48 EDT 2000

The foreign minister of Sri Lanka is a marked man.
The Washington Times, September 12. "One day peace will come, and these children will be walking time bombs and a threat to the society in which they live." Mr. Kadirgamar said he has heard reports of children as young as 7 serving with the Tigers, although most are in their early teens. After his Washington visit, he will travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to deliver a speech at a conference on children in conflict. "The children are constantly brainwashed. They are easily influenced and easily frightened," Mr. Kadirgamar said. "In a horrible kind of way, they are very useful to those people." Mr. Kadirgamar worries about their future. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 10:27:57 EDT 2000

Internal and External displacement of voters
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.55 p.m. SLT Thursday September 14. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in a special report on the Jaffna District says that the latest available figures indicate that 246,775 persons have been displaced due to the latest phase of the conflict since March 2000. Of these, only 141,897 (58%) are currently living within the peninsula. Of the approximately 612,770 voters (Total Registered for 1999 Presidential Election) in the Jaffna District, only 117,549 ((19.18%) voted at the Presidential election.

Based on discussions with relevant officials in the area, CMEV estimates that the resident voter strength in the peninsula at present is between 200,000 and 250,000.

To consider a typical example, it is estimated that only approximately 200 people are currently living on the island of Mandaitivu which has 2,861 registered voters. It is not known how many of these nearly 3000 voters are displaced within the peninsula. The situation in the other 10 island areas which come under the Kayts electoral division is similar, raising concerns as to the credibility of an election which is being held in the area under these circumstances. The Returning Officer for the district, the Government Agent, Jaffna assured CMEV that public transport will be arranged on election day to assist displaced voters from the region to reach their respective polling centres. However, in the absence of any systematic verification of identity, such a situation lends itself to impersonation on an organized scale on the one hand, while depriving hundreds of legitimate voters who have no physical access to any polling centre on the other.

CMEV understands that ad hoc polling centres will be established within the "cleared" areas of the Jaffna peninsula to accommodate voters living in "uncleared" regions as well as those displaced due to the recent offensive. In addition, similar polling centres located in Vavuniya and Colombo may be set up as on previous occasions for the same purpose. However, this measure does not provide any real relief to the voter who is currently resident in "uncleared" areas, nor does it provide any safeguards against voting under the same name in more than one such centre.

Meanwhile the real and perceived threat of the LTTE provides the alibi and justification for militant groups to conduct their election campaigns in the peninsula while carrying automatic weapons. Party offices in the region resemble war camps, and there is a pragmatic sense in which it is foolish to expect otherwise. Yet, this scenario does not allow for the unfettered exercise of the public franchise, and it is all the more problematic when not all candidates are equally equipped with arms.
Published: Thu Sep 14 04:02:39 EDT 2000

Controversy over polls Chief continues
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.40 p.m. SLT Thursday September 14. The controversy over the actions of Dayananda Dissanayake, Elections Commissioner, continues as the UNP and JVP maintain that the Government is trying to force the Commissioner to resign.

Almost all Opposition parties have backed the Commissioner's move to secretly insert stickers on all polling cards in order to ensure a free and fair election.

In a letter to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has accused the President of achieving nothing during her six year term of governance and has also warned that there will be stern repercussions if the Government attempts to intimidate the Commissioner into resigning.
Published: Thu Sep 14 04:02:39 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Opposition backs Sri Lanka's besieged polls chief  - 123India
Printing of stickers - violation of fundamental rights?  - AsiaGateway
Nine parties pledge support for Election Commissioner  - Island
Sri Lankan elections official under fire for anti-vote rigging plan  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka poll chief seeks protection  - Virtual New York
Elections Chief to use special sticker on poll cards  - AsiaGateway

Chandrika challenged to TV debate
The Asian Age, Colombo, Sept. 14 . Sri Lanka’s main Opposition on Thursday challenged President Chandrika Kumaratunga to a live television debate as campaigning for next month’s poll became more violent and acrimonious. Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called on Ms Kumaratunga to “put up or shut up” over allegations he was linked to extra-judicial killings during a crackdown against leftist rebels between 1988 and 1990. “If there is any substance to your accusations, then the police will question and if necessary arrest me,” Mr Wickremesinghe said in a two-page letter which called on her to defend her accusations on TV. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 19:24:14 EDT 2000

Mob surrounds Elections Commissioners house
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.20 a.m. SLT Wednesday September 13. For the first time in Sri Lanka's political history the Commissioner for Elections has come under fire and is the victim of organized thuggery and victimization. In an explosive turn of events, since it was discovered that Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake, was attempting to hold a free and fair election by inserting stickers on polling cards without the knowledge of political parties, events took a turn for the worse when on Tuesday September 12, a mob of around 150 persons surrounded the residence of Mr. Dissanayake at Talawatugoda and refused to allow him to leave his house.

The mob strangely enough fell in line with government thinking and demanded the resignation of the Polls Commissioner for secretly printing election security stickers.

At loggerheads with the Government for privately printing the stickers, the polls chief has locked horns with his namesake S. B. Dissanayake, who as General Secretary for the SLFP and a powerful minister in Kumaratunge's cabinet has openly criticized the Commissioner for his actions. S. B. Dissanayake has insinuated that Dayananda Dissanayake should resign from his post. The trouble-shooting Minister has stopped short of calling for the Commissioner to be removed, which can only take place by a Parliamentary vote.

The Inspector General of Police, Lucky Kodittuwakku has ordered tight security measures for the polls chief following reports of the Commissioner having received telephone threats and unidentified men have been spotted roaming around his residence.

Meanwhile almost all other political parties in the fray for the October 10 polls, have in a statement, declared solidarity and support for the Elections Commissioner who they say is being unfairly castigated by the Government.
Published: Wed Sep 13 09:36:42 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Elections Commissioner ensures free and fair elections  - PRIU
Polls chief becomes Lanka's blue-eyed boy  - Times of India
Sri Lankan CEC's house 'sieged'  - The Hindu NUS

Tereshkova invites Jayakody to Russia
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 8.10 p.m September 14. Valentina Tereshkova world's first female cosmonaut has extended an invitation to Minister of Buddhasana and Cultural affairs Lakshman Jayakody to attend the international meeting in Moscow under the theme "Peace in 21st century".

The international meeting is scheduled to take place from 27th to 29th September. and organized to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Russian Association of International cooperation. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to address the meeting where ministers and leaders from over 120 countries have confirmed their participation.

Tereshkova who is the President of the Presidium of Russian Association of international cooperation has said in her letter that Jayakody' s visit to Moscow will help to strengthen the friendly ties between the two countries.

The invitation from Tereshkova has come at a time when Lakshman Jayakody a popular minister and an old SLFP stalwart has been discarded from the party by President Kumaratunge.
Published: Thu Sep 14 10:11:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's polls chief accused of "violating human rights"
Yahoo, September 14. Sri Lanka's elections chief may find himself in the unusual situation of being hauled up for "violating human rights" because he tried to prevent fraud at the October 10 parliamentary polls. In a bizarre turn of events, Elections Commissioner Dayanada Dissanayake has been reported to Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission by a ruling party official for trying to deter the forging of votes by secretly ordering printing of special security stickers which were to be affixed to ballot papers. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 08:01:26 EDT 2000

Election Commissioner has acted in the best interests of voters to ensure free, fair election
AsiaGateway, Thursday Sep. 14, 08:11:09. The action taken by the Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake to have stickers affixed to polling cards prior to issuing them to the postal authorities for distribution has caused a lot of excitement in the ranks of the People’s Alliance, states a news release from the Left and Democratic Alliance. It further states: "We have studied the press release issued by the Elections Commissioner in this connection and our party is satisfied that the Elections Commissioner has acted in the best interests of the voters to ensure a free and fair election." More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 08:18:54 EDT 2000

LTTE and Government troops exchange fire
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.30 p.m. SLT Thursday September 14. Lankan troops and the LTTE are reported to have exchanged fire yesterday using long range missiles. The Government meanwhile maintains that it remains in control of the area around Sarasalai, Ariyalai and Chavakachcheri and have consolidated positions on the Jaffna - Kandy road. The military claim to have killed seven Tigers in yesterday's confrontation.

As the war raised alarming heights last week, Parliament was reconvened today for an extraordinary session to renew the state of emergency for a further one month.

Deputy Minister for Defence Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte, told the House that strict regulations under the Emergency had been lifted in view of the forthcoming parliamentary polls. For example the restriction on holding public meetings and demonstrations had been lifted while the media censorship was confined only to war related news.
Published: Thu Sep 14 04:02:39 EDT 2000

EU to send observer mission for Sri Lankan elections, Sep 14 2000 17:34 IST. BRUSSELS, Sept 14 (AFP) - Irish Euro MP John Cushnahan will head a European Union observation mission to Sri Lanka's legislative elections on October 10, the European Commission announced Thursday. He will lead a basic team of six observers. Another 28 will help monitor the run up to the polls in Colombo and other main towns before being joined by a further 40 monitors for the final stages of the election. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 09:34:44 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Election Watchdog: Oct 10 Poll May Be Flawed  - Yahoo

Lankan Parliament extends emergency
India Abroad, September 14, 2000 22:55 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka's dissolved Parliament reconvened Thursday to extend the state of emergency in the country for another month ahead of the October parliamentary polls. The motion to keep the tough regulations in place was passed by 101 legislators voting for it while five opposed it. The main opposition United National Party abstained from voting. Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since May 1983 when it was imposed to deal with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has been fighting for a separate state in the north and east of the island. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 19:03:03 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka Parliament reconvened for voting on emergency  - Times of India
Dissolved Sri Lanka parliament meets  - Virtual New York
S.Lanka's reconvened parliament approves emergency  - MSNBC
Parliament reconvenes for approving Emergency  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lanka assembly recalled to extend emergency ahead of polls  -

Colombo going yellow today
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 8.10 a.m September 14. The campaign to tie one million yellow ribbons towards a free and fair election will begin in Colombo today. The campaign is organized by the Alliance for Democracy. Members of the Alliance will first tie yellow ribbons on their colleagues and then take positions at all main junctions in Colombo. The Alliance will also hold a peaceful demonstration near the Fort railway station and the Pettah bus stand in the morning to create awareness among the general public about the present situation in the country .

Election related violence are on the increase in Sri Lanka. The Alliance for Democracy is a non political movement and their sole objective is to promote a violence -free election.

The Police election secretariat had received 190 complains about election -related incidents upto yesterday.
Published: Wed Sep 13 22:32:31 EDT 2000

Ongoing operations have tightened Army's hold on Jaffna - Army Chief
PRIU, Thursday Sep. 14, 07:42:14. Army Commander Lieutenant General Lionel Balagalle said yesterday that the ongoing military operations in Colombothurai have helped to strengthen army's hold on Jaffna and also to expand the forward defence lines. The Army Chief returned from Jaffna on Tuesday after security forces successfully carried out a four-hour operation further consolidating their positions outside the town. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:49:23 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
9 rebels killed in clashes with Lanka troops  - The Asian Age
Sri Lanka troops kill seven more Tiger rebels  - 123Inida

Sri Lanka opposition unites to block vote rigging, Sep 14 2000 15:23 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 14 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main opposition parties Thursday shed their sharp ideological differences to unite against vote rigging at next month's parliamentary elections as the government continued to lock horns with the country's election chief. The Marxist JVP, or the People's Liberation Front, said they were willing to join any party, including the main right-wing United National Party (UNP), to support polls chief Dayananda Dissanayake's bid to eliminate fraud. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:29:30 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's war used for political end-opposition
ABC News, 09/14/2000 06:50:00 ET. COLOMBO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka"s main opposition party said on Thursday the government was using the country"s ethnic war to push its political agenda ahead of next month"s general elections. "The entire war effort has been politicised and military offensives are planned to satisfy the government"s political agenda," Anura Bandaranaike, a lawmaker of the United National Party (UNP), told a news conference in the capital Colombo. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:34:39 EDT 2000

LTTE spies in the guise of beggars
PRIU, Thursday Sep. 11, 07:47:34. Forty-seven suspected Tiger cadres operating as LTTE spies in the guise of beggars were arrested by Pettah police on Monday. According to a news report on The Island today, the police have revealed that many of the arrested beggars were Tamils. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:54:09 EDT 2000

There is remarkable support for the UNP throughout the country - Anura
AsiaGateway, Wednesday Sep. 13, 08:24:13. "No force in this country can go against the advice of the Maha Sangha. It goes on record the steps taken by the Mahanayake Theros of the three Nikayas led by the Mahanayake Theros of Malwatte and Asgiriya raising an undivided voice against the PA government’s constitutional reforms, observed the former UNP Member of the Parliament (MP) Anura Bandaranaike in Kandy yesterday (11). More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 08:36:24 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Ranil to Chandrika: "The tactics you use to win elections"  - AsiaGateway

Controversial runner back on Lanka relay team
Times of India (Breaking News), 14 September 2000 . SYDNEY, Australia: World Championship silver medalist Susantika Jayasinghe, dropped from Sri Lanka's 4x100-meter Olympic relay team for skipping practice, is back in the lineup, an official said Thursday. Jayasinghe, second in the 200 meters at the 1997 track World Championships, is seen as her country's only medal hope at the Sydney Games. She left a relay practice session at home, however, leaving the team short on baton-passing experience, and was dropped from the quartet. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:32:28 EDT 2000

Family invades Ajith Kumara's press conference
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 8.25 p.m September 13. A press conference held by disgruntled JVP member Ajith Kumara was invaded today by his mother, sister and brother-in law. Ajith Kumara was accusing the JVP (Peoples Liberation Front) leadership of trying to be dictatorial and misleading the youth when his family members invaded the press conference. The press conference was held in Colombo. Kumara's mother said that JVP had done no wrong to his son and his son is trying to defect to another party because of his greed for money. An angry Ajith Kumara said that it had nothing to do with his family and challenged either General Secretary Tilvin Silva or Publicity Secretary Vimal Weerawansa for a public debate.

Earlier in the week there were reports that Ajith Kumara is likely to cross over to the People's Alliance led by president Chandrika Kumaratunge.

Ajith Kumara an active member of the JVP for over twenty one years rose to fame as the first suspect of the parliament hand grenade case in 1987. He had lobbed a hand grenade at the UNP parliamentary group meeting chaired by late president J.R Jayawardane . It killed Matara district UNP member of parliament Keerthi Abeywickrema and seriously injured National Security Minister late Lalith Athulathmudali.

However Ajith Kumara was acquitted due to lack of evidence
Published: Wed Sep 13 10:49:28 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Marxist defector faces family wrath in cross-over bid  -
Bomber in PA for mess of pottage- mother  - TamilNet

Rights panel backs Sri Lanka's beseiged polls chief, Sep 13 2000 11:59 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 13 (AFP) - A media rights group Wednesday announced plans to defend Sri Lanka's chief elections commissioner who is under mounting pressure from the ruling party to resign over his attempts to prevent rigging. The Free Media Movement (FMM) said it hoped to stage demonstrations to express solidarity with commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake whose plan to prevent fraud has attracted the wrath of the government."This is a very dangerous trend," said FMM leader Victor Ivan. "We must show that people who want free and fair elections support the actions of the elections commissioner." More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 03:16:43 EDT 2000

Human rights group condemns Sri Lanka election violence and calls on Government to lift expression restrictions
Article 19, September 13. ARTICLE 19 today condemned the escalating number of killings and physical attacks apparently connected to October?s parliamentary elections and called upon the Sri Lankan government to widen the space for peaceful political debate. The organisation cited three issues under official control as particularly likely to affect the conduct of the election campaign and the fairness of the process:

1.the bid to continue nationwide emergency regulations during the election period1

2.continued restrictions on reporting anything which may be viewed by the authorities as damaging to national security2 and

3.chilling? effect caused by the suspended jail sentence handed down to editor Lasantha Wickrematunga by the Sri Lankan High Court on 5 September 2000. More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 12:36:25 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Human rights group condemns election violence, censorship in Sri Lanka  - CNN/ AsiaNow
Rights group condemns poll violence in Lanka  - Times of India

G. L. Peiris initiates high tech electioneering
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Wednesday September 13. Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister G. L. Pieris has initiated a high tech election campaign with giant screens, e-mail and Internet used to maximum in order to convince a passive Lankan public that he is the man for the job.

One of the first to resort to pasting his poster all over Colombo and her suburbs, the Minister lost face when Police pulled down a majority of the placards and cut-outs.

Not to be outdone, the Minister has now resorted to Information Technology in a bid to boost his image to a public saturated with the names and faces of over 5000 election candidates and political parties.
Published: Wed Sep 13 09:36:42 EDT 2000

Conversations: 'A Separate State for Sri Lanka's Tamils is the Only Solution'
CNN, September 12. Vaiko Gopalasamy, leader of the Tamil Nadu political party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), is a prominent member of India's Parliament and a close ally of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. But he is most often in the news for his vocal support for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority and their calls for a separate state. Vaiko spoke to Time Asia contributor Maseeh Rahman in New Delhi recently. Edited excerpts: More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 20:01:33 EDT 2000

Ranil challenges Chandrika for a debate
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.00 p.m September 13. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe today challenged President Chandrika Kumaratunge for a public debate on television. In a letter addressed to the president , the opposition leader said Kumaratunge is trying to portray that the UNP and the LTTE have formed an alliance and she is trying to stop as many Sinhalese from voting with the UNP.

Wickremasinghe further states " We both know that no such alliance exists between the UNP and the LTTE. But, the inclusion of Vartharaja Perumal on the PA national list (a former chief minister and the only individual to have attempted to have declared a separate state of Eelam during his tenure) makes mockery of your commitment to a united Sri Lanka. I challenge you to debate all this with me in public on Television"

But, in the same letter the opposition leader expressed his doubts as to whether Kumaratunge would accept his challenge for a public debate. He went on to say that she will wriggle her way out of every attempt in meeting with him as she did during the presidential election campaign.
Published: Wed Sep 13 08:34:44 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka president challenged to TV duel  -

Lanka team to visit India to negotiate release of fishermen
The Asian Age, Colombo, Sept. 13 . The Sri Lankan government is sending a high-level delegation to New Delhi to negotiate the release of some 130 fishermen. The Lankan fishermen, along with some 30 boats, were taken into custody by Indian authorities for allegedly trespassing into India?s territorial waters over the past some months. More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 16:24:50 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lankan envoy visiting India to seek fishermens' release  - The Hindu NUS

'Israel providing valuable intelligence, arms to Lanka'
India Abroad, September 13, 2000 19:40 Hrs(IST) . Washington: The recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Israel has helped Colombo gain significant advantages in the form of intelligence and access to sophisticated Israeli weapons systems, according to Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. "I mean, all these years, we've been buying arms from them. Commercially, we were buying arms, but there were other things - intelligence and also speeding up supplies which they have done" - after the establishment of diplomatic relations, Kadirgamar told IANS in an interview. The decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel was certainly "triggered by, I would say, the crisis we were going through," he acknowledged, referring to the onslaught by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on northern Jaffna town. More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 13:36:14 EDT 2000

Plot to assassinate Chandrika unearthed
PTI, Wednesday, 13 September. Sri Lankan police has claimed to have unearthed a plot to assassinate President Chandrika Kumaratunga and some other leaders ahead of the October 10 polls and arrested seven hardcore LTTE militants in this connection.The seven arrested LTTE cadres were plotting to assassinate Chandrika and Deputy Defence Minister Gen Anurudha Ratwatte during campaigning for elections, a media report said. The LTTE men were arrested from Colombo, Batticaloa, Negambo, and Pussellawa, 'The Island' daily reported.Meanwhile,Chandrika has ordered a probe into the controversial order by Chief Election Commissioner More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 05:17:15 EDT 2000

Foundation stone laying for New Cyber Campus at Malabe
Daily News, Thursday 14, September 2000. The foundation stone would be laid for the building complex of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology's Cyber Campus at Malabe in Kaduwela today (14). One nine storeyed and two other buildings will make up the nucleus around which the new campus will grow. It is estimated to cost Rs. 500 millionand the major share is being contributed by the Mahapola Trust funds. The 10-hectare (25 acre) site is a Mahapola Trust Fund land that has been made available to 'grow' South Asia's first information and communications technology campus. It is hoped to develop it into a benchmark for IT education in Sri Lanka with links already established with the prestigious Uppasala University in Sweden and Curtin University in Australia, global IT gaint, IBM, and with Microsoft, to ensure the highest standards of professional excellence. This institution, according to SLIIT chairperson, Professor Sam Karunaratne, would be: "a big leap in the education and training of IT professionals." More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 19:03:04 EDT 2000

Discontent in Sri Lankan tea estates
The Hindu (International), Thursday, September 14, 2000. NUWARA ELIYA, SEPT. 13. With his secondary education, 29-year-old Rajamurthy once considered himself overqualified to follow in the footsteps of his parents and grandparents and become a tea plucker. He never did find other employment, and is now desperate for any job, but can only find casual work on a tea estate. Rajamurthy is an Indian Tamil, the ethnic community, distinct from the Sri Lankan Tamils of the north-east, that has lived and worked in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka since the 19th century. More...
Published: Wed Sep 13 16:14:50 EDT 2000

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