The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 163

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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...
The Ordeal of Civilians in Thenmaratchy
September 7, 2000 University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) People from all communities and from all parts of the country have been through many horrors and ordeals from the time the flames of conflict engulfed this country in July 1983. But seldom has anything been so prolonged and full of constant terror and anxiety as what several thousands of people in Thenmaratchy, the south-eastern sector of the Jaffna peninsula with Chavakacheri as its main town, endured for three weeks and more. 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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Sihala Urumaya to launch Jaffna campaign
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.40 a.m September 16. The Sihala Urumaya party led by lawyer S.L. Gunasekara will launch their election campaign in Jaffna on September 23. Twelve candidates , all Sinhalese are contesting from the new political party in the forthcoming elections.

All their candidates will have to seek the support of the Tamil citizens in the area as there are no Sinhalese and Muslim residents in Jaffna. Upul Gunewardane leader of the Sihala Urumaya contesting Jaffna has told a weekend paper that the Tamil residents welcomed the group with a spirit of solidarity when they visited Jaffna to hand over their nominations.

The General Secretary of the Party Tilak Karunaratne said last week that Sihala Urumaya will fight for the lost rights of the Sinhalese while ensuring and guaranteeing equality before the law to all citizens of the country. He also said that his party is committed to uphold the unitary state of Sri Lanka and vowed to crush the Northern terrorism militarily.
Published: Fri Sep 15 22:07:21 EDT 2000

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Tigers threaten to annihilate ex-Tamil militant groups
HindustanTimes, september 16. THE SANGILIYAN Padai (Sangilian Army), believed to be an arm of the LTTE, has dubbed the ex-Tamil militant groups, now in the electoral fray in Jaffna, as traitors. It warned that these groups will be annihilated and advised people in Jaffna to stay away from such groups, as they may become unintended victims in an attack. In a written communication widely circulated in Jaffna, the Sangiliyan Padai pointed out that the former militant groups had not bothered to visit the people of Jaffna when they were displaced, deprived and starving after the war but were now seeking votes from them. These groups had begun as freedom fighters but, at a time when the liberation struggle was about to succeed, had become "traitors" to the Tamil cause. They supported the national emergency only to get money from the Sri Lankan Government, the communique said. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 20:24:35 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
LTTE front organisation issues threat in Jaffna  - The Hindu (International)

Author says ban on his book is baseless
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.20 a.m September 16. Manjula Wediwardane, the author of 'Mary named Mariah' asked the Colombo district court yesterday to lift the ban on his book as the book was a high quality publication on literature.Publication of Wediwardane's book was restrained on an appeal made by a Catholic priest . Filing answers before Additional District Judge P. Wijesinghe ,Wediwardane said that the banned short story was published in the Sinhala 'Ravaya' newspaper earlier and thus the ban was baseless. The author stated in his answer that he too was a catholic and though the plaintiff Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, President of the National Catholic Mass Media Center was a Catholic, he had no right to speak on behalf of the Catholics and asked the courts to dismiss the action.

In this case , plaintiff priest Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando said that Wediwardane's book containing a series of short stories had certain defamatory statements. He said that the stories were abusive and brought humiliation on the exemplary life of mother Mary and the life of Jesus Christ.

Court put off the decision on extending the enjoining order which restrained the publication of the book until September 27
Published: Fri Sep 15 21:29:13 EDT 2000

Twenty three suicide bombers in Colombo
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 p.m September 15. Bodhi Liyanage , deputy inspector general in charge of Colombo said today that twenty three LTTE suicide bombers have already entered Colombo. He requested the people to be extra vigilant. Liyanage also said that police will tighten security in and out of Colombo.

He said that the police will not allow any political meetings to be held in Colombo and appealed to all candidates contesting from Colombo district to cooperate with the police.
Published: Fri Sep 15 09:22:39 EDT 2000

Reserve police constable Nelson's final moment.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 5.30 p.m September 15. Reserve police constable Nelson hailed from Anuradapura. He was only 28 years old. He was poor. Nelson's police uniform displayed the number 27550. But, today in Colombo at 10.00 a.m , when the security staff at the eye hospital informed him about a suspicious man Nelson would have thought it was going to be one of those routine checks.

It was not to be. He tried to inspect the suspicious man. But, only an explosion was heard. Nelson was gone. His body parts were all over. Nelson's legs were on the spot where the bomb exploded, his heart on the center of the road and his head on the opposite side of the road , near Jayasiri florist at Deans road.

Bodhi Liyanage, DIG , Colombo said that Nelson will be promoted posthumously. His family compensated and continue to receive his salary. The DIG was saddened. He said "This is the life of a policemen in Sri Lanka today"
Published: Fri Sep 15 07:35:04 EDT 2000

Minister escapes bid on life: 7 killed in LTTE attack
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 15. A senior Sri Lankan minister escaped a possible assassination attempt in an LTTE suicide attack that left seven persons dead and 28 injured in central Colombo this morning. The bomber, who was lurking at the main gates of a hospital trggered a powerful explosion minutes after the convoy of minister for helath Nirmal Siripala De Silva, entered the compound of his office located a few yards away from the hospital, eye witnesses said. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 09:24:15 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Five killed in Colombo blast  - India Abroad
8 killed, 21 hurt in suicide bombing in Sri Lanka's capital  - Yahoo
Seven killed in suicide bombing outside Colombo hospital complex  -
Suicide bomber brings carnage to hospital doorstep  -

Jaffna children suffer trauma
BBC South Asia, Friday, 15 September, 2000, 19:19 GMT 20:19 U. The most worrying aspect of the fighting for local people in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula is the traumatic effect it has on children. The incessant shelling and bombing of Tamil Tiger positions by helicopters and aircraft can be heard even in the relative safety of Jaffna town - still held by the government. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 18:53:46 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rounds up beggars to prevent bomb blasts, Sep 15 2000 17:44 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 15 (AFP) - Sri Lanka police rounded up at least 75 urchins from the capital Colombo during a two-day operation aimed at preventing Tamil Tiger rebels using them as look outs, police said Friday. The operation ended Thursday, but in less than 24 hours, a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber staged a devastating attack outside the main Eye hospital here Friday, killing himself and six others. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 09:19:33 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
LTTE spies in the guise of beggars  - PRIU

Pictures from Site of Explosion
AP-Yahoo, september 15. An armed soldier stands guard at the site of the bomb blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Sept.15, 2000. A suspected Tamil rebel suicide bomber set off explosives strapped to his body, killing himself and five others when police tried to check him outside an eye hospital in the capital. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 13:14:18 EDT 2000

At Least Six Killed in Sri Lanka Suicide Blast
Yahoo, Friday September 15 8:54 AM LOMBO, Sri Lanka . A suspected Tamil Tiger rebel suicide bomb attack killed six people in the Sri Lankan capital Friday as fresh clashes broke out between government forces and the separatist guerrillas in the north of the country.The bomb attack outside a government hospital came as the country prepares for October 10 parliamentary elections.Hospital officials said 28 people were wounded in the explosion, including six hospital staff. Six of the wounded were in a serious condition. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 19:28:00 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
At Least Six Killed in Sri Lanka Suicide Blast  - Yahoo
At Least Six Killed in Sri Lanka Suicide Blast  - Yahoo
Suicide-bomber kills 7 in Colombo  - The Hindu (International)
Six Killed in Sri Lanka Suicide Bomb Attack  - ABC News
Bomb in Colombo  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Sri Lanka anti-rigging bid enters human rights row, Sep 15 2000 19:04 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 15 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's opposition Friday petitioned the the country's Human Rights Commission to stop police interfering with an anti-rigging plan hwich is opposed by the ruling party. The opposition United National Party (UNP) complained to the rights panel that the police and the government were trying to sabotage the holding of free and fair parliamentary elections on October 10.The UNP action was in response to a complaint by the media co-ordinator of the ruling People's Alliance (PA), Ananda Goonatilleke, that his human rights were violated by the election chief's plan to minimise vote rigging.A journalist from a local newspaper Friday raised preliminary objections saying that because both Goonetilleke and a member of the Human Rights Commission were ruling party candidates in the election the commission could not be expected to be independent in this case. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 10:21:27 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Opposition threatens stir if Lanka poll chief is removed  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka opposition unites to block vote rigging  -
Election Commissioner has acted in the best interests of voters to ensure free, fair election  - AsiaGateway
Sri Lanka's polls chief accused of "violating human rights"  - Yahoo
JVP invites all parties to defeat PA attempt for poll rigging  - PRIU
Elections Commissioner ensures free and fair elections  - PRIU

Suicide bomber kills himself, six others in Sri Lankan capital
ABC News, 09/15/2000 12:46:00 ET. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A suicide bomber triggered an explosion Friday outside an eye hospital in central Colombo, killing himself and six others a few minutes after the health minister and World Health Organization officials had driven by. No one claimed for responsibility for the blast, which injured 24 people, four critically. But police blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebel group, which has a suicide squad and often carries out such bombings. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 18:44:26 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Suicide bomb attack in Colombo  - Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo

Muslim minister in hot water over liquor licence, Sep 15 2000 19:17 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 15 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main Muslim political party Friday took disciplinary action against the deputy Posts and Telecommunications Minister for allegedly recommending a liquor licence for a constituent. Ports Minister M.H.M. Ashraff said he was "reluctantly compelled" to dismiss junior minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah for issuing a letter recommending the alcohol sales permit. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 10:18:30 EDT 2000

5 killed in Colombo blast
India Abroad, Sept 15, 2000 11:00 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Five people were killed and 20 injured in a powerful explosion set off by a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber outside a hospital in central Colombo on Friday morning, police said. The LTTE suicide bomber was blown to smithereens in the blast, which took place around 9.30, am when an army jeep approached the eye hospital at ward place. The victims included a constable. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 02:24:37 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Six dead in suicide bombing outside Sri Lanka hospital  -
Five dead as suicide bomber stages attack in Sri Lankan capital  -
Blast rocks Sri Lankan capital  - BBC
Suicide bomber stages attack in Sri Lanka capital  - 123India
Suicide bomb attack in Colombo  - 123India

Chronology of Sri Lankan suicide bomb attacks, Sep 15 2000 10:31 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 15 (AFP) - The suicide bomb attack just outside Sri Lanka's main eye hospital Friday came even as security forces remained on alert for just such an attack ahead of the October 10 parliamentary polls. At least four others died when a man believed to be a member of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) detonated explosives strapped to his body, witnesses said. Following are the major suicide bombings blamed on the rebels: Sept 15, 2000: Suicide bomber detonates explosives strapped to his body, killing himself and four others outside the main Eye Hospital in the capital Colombo. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 01:52:01 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Suicide bomber kills himself, four others in Sri Lankan capital  - ABC News
Suicide bomber kills self, 4 others in Colombo  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Human rights group condemns election violence, censorship in Sri Lanka
CNN/ AsiaNow, Thursday Sep. 14, 07:35:23. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- A London-based human rights group on Wednesday condemned the escalation of election-related violence in Sri Lanka and asked the government to lift restrictions on the news media before next month's parliamentary polls. "The government has an obligation to ensure that elections take place in an atmosphere where a wide range of opinions may be expressed peacefully," said a statement by Andrew Puddephatt, executive director of Article 19. More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 07:43:06 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
213 complaints to police  - AsiaGateway

Olympics-Sri Lanka's Jayasinghe says she is a threat again
Altavista, Friday Sep. 15, 08:01:24. SYDNEY, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Controversial Sri Lankan sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe says drug scandal and injury worries are behind her and feels she can repeat her surprise silver medal performance in the world championships three years ago. Jayasinghe shocked the athletics world and became a national hero when she finished second in the 200 metres at the world championships in Athens. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 08:07:26 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Controversial runner back on Lanka relay team  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Families of S.Lanka missing to march to war zone
Altavista, Friday Sep. 15, 08:03:23. COLOMBO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Families of missing Sri Lankan servicemen said on Friday they planned to march to the country's northern war zone to free relatives held by Tamil Tiger rebels. ``We have definitely decided to go,'' E.P. Nanayakkara, president of the Association of Relatives of Servicemen Missing in Action, told Reuters. He said the group had given up lobbying the government to take up the cause. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 08:09:58 EDT 2000

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

Ranil tells CBK to hold fair polls or be shunned
AsiaGateway, Friday Sep. 15, 08:20:24. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday requested President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the government to join hands with all political parties and democratic forces in the country to hold a free and fair election on October 10 or get shunned by the people.He said it was only the PA that was working against a fair election this time while all other parties whatever ideological differences they have are together on this issue. "Chandrika is so desperate today that she even wants to stop her brother from doing politics," he said. More...
Published: Fri Sep 15 08:26:51 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Free and fair polls, main election issue  - The Hindu (International)

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

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

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

Related News Stories
Ongoing operations have tightened Army's hold on Jaffna - Army Chief  - PRIU

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

Chandrika first President to use special parliamentary provision
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.20 p.m. SLT Friday September 15. Legal sources are puzzled over President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge using a constitutional provision which allows for Parliament to be reconvened after it is dissolved to review the state of emergency.

The first Head of State to have done so, Dr. Rohan Edrisinha, Constitutional Law Lecturer at Colombo University said that what is unusual is that the provision within the constitution allows for Parliament to remain in session until the conclusion of the General Election or the end of the State of Emergency. Which ever is sooner.

This is unusual and worrying," Dr. Edrisinha asserted, adding that the provision in the constitution probably intended that Parliament should be reconvened after it is dissolved only to review the emergency. However, once reconvened, Parliament can technically discuss other matters as well and remain in session until the polls are concluded or the State of Emergency is lifted.

Section 7 of Article 70 of the Sri Lankan constitution provides for the President to convene Parliament after its dissolution. According to this section - "If at any date after the dissolution of Parliament the President is satisfied that an emergency has arisen of such nature that an earlier meeting of Parliament is necessary, he may by proclamation summon the Parliament which has been dissolved to meet on a date not less than three days from the date of such proclamation and such Parliament shall stand dissolved upon the termination of the emergency or the conclusion of the General Election, whichever is earlier"

Dr. Edrisinha claimed that this provision lent speculation that when Parliament was reconvened on Thursday September 14,the House would discuss the recent controversy surrounding the Elections Commissioner. Dr. Edrisinha noted that "this would have been highly improper, despite the fact the constitution technically allows for such a provision."

According to Section 5 Article 155 of the constitution, emergency regulations proclaimed by the President will be in operation for one month from the date of the proclamation.

Dr. Edrisinha however pointed out that according to Section 6 of Article 155, the Presidential proclamation of the regulations under the Public Security Ordinance will end in two weeks if not approved by Parliament by a simple majority.

Section 6 (a) of Article 155 makes provision to keep emergency regulations in operation in a situation where the Parliament is dissolved and canot meet within 14 days to approve the proclamation of the regulations.

According to Section 6 (a) of Article 155, "if Parliament stands dissolved at the date of making such proclamation then such proclamation shall expire at the end of 10 days after the date on which Parliament shall next meet and sit..."
Published: Fri Sep 15 10:14:37 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Lanka Parliament reconvened for voting on emergency  - Times of India
Lankan Parliament extends emergency  - India Abroad
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  -

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

Ranil to Chandrika: "The tactics you use to win elections"
AsiaGateway, Thursday Sep. 14, 08:07:40. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has sent the following letter yesterday to President Chandrika Kumaratunga: "I write at the start of a general election that will decide the future course of the people of Sri Lanka. Following the dirty tactics of the Presidential election campaign when you used the state media to slur my name and falsify statistics about our economy I felt it would be useful for the people of Sri Lanka to see the tactics you use to win elections. Below are some of my thoughts."... More...
Published: Thu Sep 14 08:14:46 EDT 2000

Explosives discovered in Trishaw
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.35 p.m. SLT Friday September 15. Police in Batticaloa yesterday discovered a Trishaw (a three-wheeler scooter taxi) laden with explosives. It is not yet clear where or for whom the explosives were bound.Nevertheless, twenty four hours after this discovery, a human bomb exploded at Colombo's busy Eye Hospital Junction at around 10.15 a.m. today.

The bomb killed 8 and injured 29 leaving five critically wounded.A policeman who had stopped the suicide killer and was in the process of questioning him was also killed when the bomb was detonated.

It is not clear who or what was the intended target of the suicide bomber. It has been speculated that the killer may have been waiting for a military vehicle which passed by at the time and was also damaged in the attack.

The dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have consistently used male and female suicide bombers to kill Heads of State, politicians and destroy key government installations in Sri Lanka.
Published: Fri Sep 15 10:14:37 EDT 2000

'Jaya Gold' takes over humanitarian task of the ICRC
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.30 p.m. SLT Friday September 15. The 'MV Jaya Gold' a ship chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) has replaced the 'MV Jaya Gulf' which after three years of service sailed back to Singapore early this month.

Harsha Gunawardena, Spokesman for the ICRC said that from the 1990's due to the depleted health facilities in the Northern Peninsula,the ICRC began a humanitarian service which has remained the only one of its kind to transport patients who are in need of further specialized treatment to Trincomalee and thereafter overland to hospitals in Colombo. "The ship remains a humanitarian link between the South and the Jaffna Peninsula," Gunawardena said.

The ICRC he reiterated has received guarantees from both the Government and the LTTE that the humanitarian ship will at all times receive safe passage.The ship which operates once a week carries 35 to 50 patients on each voyage.The vessel berthed at Trincomalee harbour left Tuesday September 12, for Jaffna carrying 27 passengers on board including 16 patients and medical supplies for the strife torn northern peninsula.

The ship is used by all other Non Governmental Organizations working in Jaffna which include the UNHCR,CARE and GTZ.The vessel is used to transfer personnel and goods including medical personnel and drugs and diplomats on special trips to the war torn area.

In fact, the ship carries drug supplies for the entire health network in Jaffna.Government departments and schools too are dependent on its service for the transportation of laboratory goods and other essential items.

The ICRC chartered vessel costs USD 3500 per day to maintain and runs up a fuel bill of USD 60,000 every three months.From January to August this year the ICRC transferred 1241 patients up and down and about 200 metric tons of drugs and medical equipment to all government hospitals in the peninsula.
Published: Fri Sep 15 10:14:37 EDT 2000

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