The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 170

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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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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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Election Commissioner meets reps of all political parties today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo. Dayananda Dissanayake, Elections Commissioner today met withrepresentatives of all political parties to discuss modalities which willensure a free and fair election on October 10. The Commissioner informed the political parties that a sticker which hesecretly ordered pasted on polling cards has gone out as planned despitehis secret plan being busted on the 8th of this month.

The Commissioner has also detailed a plan to paste a sticker on ballotboxes in order to prevent tampering with the boxes that will carry thepolling cards.
Published: Fri Sep 22 11:36:49 EDT 2000

Ask Mangala Answers 1-37 Now Available. Q&A ends: September 24th. Hurry! Send questions to the H.C. of Sri Lanka to the UK, H.E. Mangala Moonesinghe and receive answers.
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S. Akileswaran who is serving a prisonsentence is nominated for Batticaloa District
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, September 22. The newly formed National Unity Alliance (NUA) founded by the late MinisterM. H. .M Ashraff and now headed by co-leader Rauf Hakeem, have nominatedfor the Batticaloa District S. Akileswaran, who is serving a prisonsentence and is the LTTE backed ex-Chairman of the Pattippalai PradeshiyaSabha. Akileswaran was arrested at Kandy in 1997 and is being held atthe Mahara high security prison. Akileswaran was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) by theCriminal Investigation Department (CID) , purportedly in connection withthe LTTE bomb attack on the Dalada Maligawa at Kandy. Akileswaran was nabbed in Kandy soon after the bomb blast when the CID received information that the suicide bomber who carried the explosives to the temple had stayed with Akileswaran in Batticaloa and they both traveled together to Kandy. Akileswaran was handed over to the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) forinterrogation and is being held indefinitely under the laws of the PTA while investigations into the attack are not yet closed. Highly placed sources within the NUA said that the late Minister M. H. M.Ashraff believed that fielding Akileswaran as a candidate would help securevotes from Batticaloa's uncleared areas. Irrespective whether thecandidate is in prison, out of the country or has not lent his or herconsent. The name is being used to secure a vote base for Ashraff'snewly formed party in order to gather adequate votes for an extra seat.Even if this means using the name of an LTTE suspect, in prison for hislinks with the dreaded rebel force, it is the means that serves theend, and no doubt both Ashraff and SLMC strongman Hisbullahwere of the opinion that this time the NUA must secure not only the Muslimvote but as many Tamil votes as well.
Published: Fri Sep 22 11:59:03 EDT 2000

Ranil challenges Chandrika
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, September 22. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramesinghe today challenged President ChandrikaKumaratunge to put aside her nursery book on economic management and comefor a live debate with him over Television and make her stand clear. The President recently over state television said the UNP promises are allfalse. Wickramesinghe has replied that the sad faces of the peopletell a tale of disillusionment and has challenged the President to proveotherwise on a TV debate with him.
Published: Fri Sep 22 11:52:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka"s olympic medal hope wins her 100 meter heat
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 0900 SLT 22 Sep 2000. Susanthika Jayasinghe Sri Lanka's medal hope at the Sydney Olympics won her heat in the 100 meters with a timing of 11.15 seconds
Published: Thu Sep 21 23:13:27 EDT 2000

Susanthika goes yellow in Sydney for free and fair elections
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.00 a.m September 22. Sri Lanka's best medal hope Susanthika Jayasinghe who won the 100 meters heats at the Sydney Olympics this morning delivered a message to the world and to her country by running with a yellow arm band and a yellow head band. It was her support for the campaign for a free and fair election in the country.

People here are delighted and expressed happiness that Jayasinghe had the guts and courage to do it. The yellow ribbon campaign is organized by the Alliance for Democracy in Sri Lanka, demanding a free and fair election.

When Lacnet spoke to a representative of the Alliance he refused to comment whether they made a request to Susanthika to wear a yellow band to support their campaign. He said " No. I don't want to talk about it" . However Jayasinghe has gone on record saying that the decision to wear a yellow band was her own decision.
Published: Fri Sep 22 01:18:47 EDT 2000

New Lankan envoy for better ties with India
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 22. THE JUST-APPOINTED Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Professor Senake Dias Bandaranayake, plans to add new dimensions to the relationship between India and Sri Lanka. By this he plans to help strengthen the already close ties between them. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 18:18:36 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's ruling party wants national government
ABC News, 09/22/2000 07:33:00 ET. COLOMBO, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka"s ruling People"s Alliance (PA) party, in its manifesto for the forthcoming parliamentary poll, has pledged to form a national government and push through a new constitution. "Our government"s main task will be to enlist the support of all political parties, religious denominations and numerous other social groups to install a national government," said the manifesto, seen by Reuters on Friday. The PA also said it would push through a new constitution if re-elected to power at the October 10 polls, "with provision to abolish the executive presidency and devolve power to the periphery." More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 10:38:29 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka manifesto unveiled  - BBC South Asia
Manifesto promises to defeat LTTE PA to enlist support for National Govt.  - Island

Sri Lanka turns tables against LTTE in Jaffna
Yahoo, September 22. Colombo, Sept 22 (PTI) After a five-month-long hold on the northern Jaffna, the 40,000-strong Sri Lankan army, which was on the verge of collapse in April this year in the face of LTTE's counter offensive, has finally turned the tables on the rebels by recapturing a vast territory including the peninsula's second biggest town, Chavakachcheri. By recapturing Chavakachcheri, an entry point to the densely populated Jaffna and surrounding small towns, the army made the airport and the harbour operational and provided a safe 15 km of buffer zone to defend Jaffna town. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 13:50:17 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Seven LTTE men killed  - The Hindu NUS
Sporadic fighting in Sri Lanka's Jaffna  -
Success spurs the enthusiasm of Sri Lanka's army  - MSNBC
Bombs, bloodshed scar Jaffna ahead of polls  - Times of India
26 killed in stepped-up violence  - The Hindu NUS
Jaffna soaked in blood and tears  - Deccan Herald
Severe casualties to Tigers in Colombuthurai, Chemmani, Ponnar and Arialai  - PRIU
Northern commander says no threat to Jaffna.  - Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna

US gifts 45,000 tonnes of wheat to Sri Lanka, Sep 22 2000 16:11 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 22 (AFP) - The United States Friday announced it would donate 45,000 tonnes of wheat worth 5.4 million dollars to Sri Lanka, the US embassy here said. An agreement was signed between the two countries Thursday for the US to gift the wheat, the embassy said in a statement. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 07:16:50 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Tourist Arrivals Down in 1st 7 Months
XINHUA, September 22. Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals have dropped 2.9 percent in the first seven months of this year to 238,846 from the same period last year, according to the Tourist Board's latest statistical bulletin. However, Chairman of the Tourist Board H.M.S. Samaranayake has expressed confidence that tourist arrivals will pick up despite the country being placed on a war footing. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 07:23:14 EDT 2000

EU election observers arrive in Sri Lanka
Virtual New York, Friday, 22 September 2000 3:14 (ET). A team of observers from the European Union arrived in Sri Lanka to monitor the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections, but refused to seek security despite mounting pre-poll violence. "We have neither asked nor have been given state security," John Cushnahan, a member of the European Parliament and head of the observers' delegation said. "We are not going to be led by our noses. We will not accept any security either." The 74-member observers' team will visit as many polling centers of some 9,500 on Oct. 10, when Sri Lankans will exercise their democratic franchise to elect the new parliament. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 05:02:26 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
EU deplores violence, intimidation in S.Lanka poll  - Reuters
EU to monitor and prevent rigging at Lankan polls  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Elections at the time of war
The Hindu (International), Friday, September 22, 2000. JAFFNA, SEPT. 21. There is a smell of death in the air. It is the smell of decomposing flesh and it is coming from the town's main hospital where 38 bodies of LTTE fighters from the Chavakachcheri battle are being transferred from the mortuary to an army vehicle for a mass funeral. The bodies should have been returned to the LTTE three days ago, but the International Committee of the Red Cross, through which it is done, abandoned the process after giving back just 10 bodies because of the ``prevailing tense situation'' in the Kaithady area where the handing over was taking place. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 16:25:53 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
''LTTE permits UNP, bans PA''  - The Hindu NUS

Monkey politics
Weekend Express - Info Labs Spotlight on Sri Lanka, September 16. In Sinhala folklore there is the story of a monkey who tried to consume 'lattu'- a sticky substance - and found itself in a quandary. The animal could neither push the matter down its throat nor throw it out. The substance had got stuck in its throat.No sooner the matter of the election security stickers came to light they cried out for Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake's blood. The man should be sacked, they howled. This hue and cry was raised despite PA General Secretary D. M. Jayaratne himself saying that the Elections Chief cannot be removed without parliamentary approval.The erosion of Sri Lankan democracy which began nearly three decades ago has presently reached a crisis point. Today, elections are no longer a matter of voting a party into power but whether democracy itself will survive after the polls. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 12:50:59 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan teenager gets death penalty for murder
MSNBC, September 22, 2000. COLOMBO, Sept. 22 A Sri Lankan teenager has been sentenced to death by hanging for the abduction and murder of a eight-year-old boy, lawyers said on Friday. They said a special three-judge bench of the High Court had on Thursday sentenced the 19-year-old boy, who in October 1999 kidnapped the child for a 2.5 million rupee ($31,500) ransom, before murdering him. More...
Published: Fri Sep 22 05:07:42 EDT 2000

502 incidents of election related violence
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Thursday September 21. A total of 502 incidents of election related violence have been recorded by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence as of 20 September 2000. Of these 296 or 59% have been classified as Major Offences and 206 or 41% as Minor Offences. The highest number of Major Offences continue to be reported from the North Western Province - 57 incidents or 19% of the total number of incidents recorded in this category. The PA is allegedly responsible for 54% of the incidents in the Major Offences category and the UNP for 25%. Twenty one percent (21%) of all incidents reported (502) involve the use of firearms. Of these the PA is allegedly responsible for 63% of the incidents and the UNP for 13%. In another 21% of the incidents the party affiliation of the alleged perpetrators has not been identified.
Published: Thu Sep 21 09:59:53 EDT 2000

Polling cards to be distributed today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.45 a.m. SLT Thursday September 21. The Elections Department has handed over polling cards to the Postal Department who will begin distributing the cards to all eligible voters today.

The polling cards carry a sticker pasted at the Elections Department to ensure the authenticity of the card. The Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake said however that any eligible voter who does not have a polling card can still exercise his franchise by producing identification at the relevant polling booth.
Published: Thu Sep 21 09:59:51 EDT 2000

Civil war turns thriving Sri Lanka town into no man's land
MSNBC, Sri Lanka, Sept. 20. A sign welcomes visitors to Chavakachcheri. A few yards away, a mortar has left a crater five feet wide. Two-story buildings barely stand, their ceilings caved in. Nearby,another sign: ''This is your city, keep it clean.'' A bumpy and dusty bus ride between abandoned paddy fields brought reporters to Chavakachcheri, the second-largest city in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna Peninsula and a place that once thrived with 100,000 people. Today it feels like a no man's land. ''I have eaten from that restaurant in the past,'' said Capt. P. Liyanage, pointing to a building that looked as if it had crumbled in an earthquake. Power lines lay entangled in the debris, and soldiers maneuver around them while walking to their front lines just outside town. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 02:37:38 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Civil war Devastates Sri Lanka Town  - By DILSHIKA JAYAMAHA, Associated Press Writer
Sri Lanka troops hold grimly on to ghost town  - MSNBC

Government bans its MP's from appearing on private TV
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.30 a.m. SLT Thursday September 21. The Government today issued a ban to all its members including top rung Ministers to not appear on private TV channels for talks shows.

Minister S. B. Dissanayake, General Secretary for the SLFP, acting on a directive by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, in a letter to all government members has said that none of them should accept initiations from private TV stations without his prior permission. Dissanayake has alleged that the TV stations are using government members to embarrass the State weeks before the Peoples Alliance goes to polls.

One of the most popular Sinhala talk shows 'Jana Handa' aired over Teleshan Networks Limited (TNL) is on air daily for three hours with a four member panel of state, opposition and various media personalities. The show goes on 'live' every night and is a hit, as a telephone line allows the public to phone in and question members on the panel on different issues. Needless to say government MP's are the most sought after on this show.

TNL is owned by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramesinghe's brother, Shan Wickramesinghe, who has on more than one occasion been accused by the government for bias towards his brothers politics.

Last night's program on TNL had Dallas Allahapperuma, PA MP, who could not forcefully defend a query made by a listener who phoned in and asked why the President has imported two super luxury cars worth Rs. 40 million each, and another six worth Rs. 18 million each for top rung VVIP's, when thousands in the country can barely survive to eat three meals a day.

Meanwhile election related violence has killed 8 persons up to now and injured many more as the dust rises and the October 10 hustings draw near.
Published: Thu Sep 21 09:59:50 EDT 2000

Two die - 12,000 evacuated due to floods
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Thursday September 21. Two persons have died while another 12,000 have been evacuated due to floods in Sri Lanka's southern belt, as incessant rains over the last two days has caused the Ghing Ganga to break its banks and overflow.

Mr. S. J. Pathiraga, Director Social Services said that Rs. 1.3 million has been allocated to provide immediate relief to families dislocated as a result of the bad weather conditions.

The worst affected areas are the Galle, Kalutara and Matara districts. Police in the Matara district said the heavy rains have caused havoc to families living on Sri Lanka's coastal belt. Areas in Colombo too flooded yesterday as the rains fell down during most of the morning and afternoon and continued into the night.
Published: Thu Sep 21 09:59:50 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lankan navy rescues flood victims  - Virtual New York By RAVI R. PRASAD
Thousands left homeless from floods  - PRIU

Susanthika out of 4x100m relay?
CDN, Thursday, 21 September. Sydney, Wednesday - Sri Lanka selectors here are likely to drop sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe from the 4x100m women's relay team for the XXVIth Olympic Games here after failing to turn up for practices for the third successive day today. But her personal coach Tony Campbell, vowed that the 25-year-old outspoken sprinter is ready to prove herself in the two short sprints. Chef-de-mission of the Sri Lanka contingent, Sunil Gunawardena looked a worried man after Jayasinghe did not join Pradeepa Herath, Nimmi de Soysa and Damayanthi Darsha for the relay team practices this morning. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 06:20:09 EDT 2000

"No place for LTTE in govt until it gives up terrorism", Thursday,September21,2000. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan prime minister Ratnasri Wickramanayake today said if the People's Alliance (PA) comes to power, it would Redraft the controversial reforms bill and ruled out the possibility of ltte joining the government until the militant outfit gave up arms,reports PTI. Releasing PA's manifesto for the crucial October 10 parliamentary polls today, Wickramanayake said his government would continue its campaign against Tamil rebels but at the same time negotiate with minorities to grant necessary political and administrative rights. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 10:35:45 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Pledge to crush Tamil Tigers  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan government to present new constitution after polls  - Virtual New York
Lanka to revise peace plan ahead of polls  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lankan leaders to revise peace plan ahead of polls  -

Darsha among 42 athletes vying for a place in IOC Athletes Commission
CDN, Thursday, 21 September. SYDNEY, Wednesday - The overall captain of the Sri Lanka contingent, Damayanthi Darsha is among 42 athletes nominated to contest for 12 seats in the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s Athletes Commission. The IOC Athletes Commission today urged all athletes taking part at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games to vote in the elections for members on the commission. Biographics on all nominees, including Darsha, are available through the local INFO system as well as the IOC web site so that nearly 11,000 More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 06:22:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka urges curbs on separatists' funding
CNN/AsiaNow, Thursday Sep. 21, 07:43:23. UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Sri Lanka's foreign minister called on Wednesday for concerted global action to curb funding for separatist movements, which, in his country, he said, abducted children to use as soldiers. Lakshman Kadirgamar said his government was fighting separatist rebels who abducted children and brainwashed them into killers trained to commit suicide if caught. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 07:49:20 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Plantation Workers Suspend Strike - Union
Finance- News,Yahoo, Wednesday, September 20 3:53 PM SGT . R. Yogarajan, a spokesman for the Ceylon Workers Congress, said the unions have decided to suspend the strike with immediate effect, following favorable discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunga earlier in the day. "We have suspended the strike pending a final decision on our demand," he said, adding that all plantation workers will report to work as usual Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 05:12:32 EDT 2000

Jaffna is getting ready for elections
PRIU, Thursday Sep. 21, 07:52:16. The Government Agent R. Sanmuganathan said yesterday that more than 300,000 out of 4,18,000 registered voters in the Jaffna would cast their votes in the forthcoming general elections. It was also revealed that out of 468 polling stations in Jaffna 214 were to be located in areas abandoned by the villagers. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 07:58:54 EDT 2000

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