The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 216

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November 3, 2000, Colombo. Those interested in watching live coverage of the returns from the American presidential elections are welcome to the American Center at 44 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka, from 7:00 a.m. on 8 November. In addition to the results from the Presidential race the Center will also be screening videotapes of the recently televised presidential debates, the conventions, and other election issues such as The Women's Vote, Campaign Finance, The Election Process and Political Volunteers. A poster display, a book exhibit and brief presentations on the Electoral College and other topics will be added attractions. The event will continue until a winner is declared.
Ask Karu! session has ended. Answers to your questions to Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the spokesperson of the United National Party, are here.
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The Lanka Academic carried an online "Question and Answer" sessions with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe from September 1, 2000 through September 24, 2000. You can view the questions from visitors like you and the answers by Mr. Moonesinghe here.
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Bandula Jayasekera in Colombo. I was at Ranavirusevana in Ragama, house of Sri Lanka's disabled soldiers. A young Spanish dancer was performing for them. She danced among the soldiers trying to cheer them up. But, most of them were unmoved. Seated next to me on a wheel chair was a soldier in his regulation-striped sarong and short sleeved shirt. He looked blank. He was that Unknown Soldier until he started to speak. Jayatissa is 28 years old. He hailed from a traditional family in Embilipitiya, third of five boys and girls. More...
Bandula Jayasekera in Colombo. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam too have commenced a recruitment drive after the army launched their Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam carry out their recruitment drive. At present both the army and the LTTE are facing a severe man power shortage to continue with the war. Sri Lankan army is trying to reach out to the youth with a mass scale publicity campaign in the national media. It is interesting to find out how the LTTE is carrying out their recruitment drive. More...
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Batticaloa TULF member of parliament killed
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 10.00 p.m November 7. Tamil United Liberation Front MP Nimalan Saundranayagam was killed at 6.20 this evening by four unknown gunmen while he was traveling on a bicycle with his body guard. Saundranyagam had been riding between Sandaweli and Kiran with his bodyguard ,on the pillion of the motorcycle when two cyclists who approached from a by road shot him military sources in Batticaloa told The Lanka Academic. The MP had been killed on the spot and his body guard admitted to Batticaloa hospital.
Published: Tue Nov 7 11:15:57 EST 2000
Related News Stories
TULF MP shot  - The Hindu (International)
Moderate Tamil lawmaker slain in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York

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Batticaloa MP shot dead
TamilNet, 08 November 2000. Mr.Aslie Nimalan Soundaranayagam (45), a Member of Parliament of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was shot dead Tuesday at 6pm at Kiran in the eastern province while he was travelling on a motor cycle with one of his party supporters, said sources.The shooting took place opposite the Co-operative Stores in Kiran, located 28 km north of Batticaloa town. He was returning to his house at Valaichenai at the time of incident. The supporter who was traveling with him was not hurt, sources said.Mr.Soundaranayagam, a retired principal, was elected MP for Batticaloa electorate during the Parliamentary polls on October 10 securing over 17,000 preferential votes. More...
Published: Tue Nov 7 21:32:48 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Newly elected Tamil MP shot dead in Sri Lanka  -
Gunmen kill Tamil lawmaker in eastern Sri Lanka  - ABC News

Two Sinhala films in London Festival
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 07 November 1820 GMT. Regus London Film Festival will be screening two Sinhala films on 12th November. London Film Festival which started on first November with Cameron Crowe’s "Almost Famous" screens Somaratne Dissanayake’s "Saroja" at 1300 GMT and Asoka Handagama’s "ME Mage Sandai" at 1600 GMT on Sunday. " Me Mage Sandai" will again be screened Tuesday the 14th and "Saroja" the next day. Several leading figures in film industry including Sanath Gunathilake are expected to participate in the event.

Both films try to explore the seventeen year long civil war in the island nation, which is estimated to have consumed more than sixty thousand human lives. Handagama’s " Me Mage Sandai" is a controversial film which features a raped Tamil woman by a soldier come to a Sinhalese village following the very soldier who raped her. But the soldier and the woman were not welcomed by the villagers and leads to violence in the village.

London Film Festival last year accommodated Prasanna Vithanage’s award winning "Purahanda Kaluwara", which is now banned in Sri Lanka by the government.
Published: Tue Nov 7 13:21:34 EST 2000

Sports minister Kiriella says that he wants proof on match fixing accusations
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, ST 10. 55 p.m November 7. Sri Lanka's new minister of sports Lakshman Kiriella said today that it is rather premature to come to any conclusion regarding the match fixing accusation leveled against Sri Lanka's world cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunge and his deputy Aravinda de Silva.

Kiriella told 'The Lanka Academic' " You must be very clear on this. Accusations could be made but, there must be proof. Take for example the case of former Indian skipper Kapil Dev. He was accused and that nearly ruined his carrier and we find in the latest report that he has been exonerated. Present information we have on these accusations are very scanty. It is the word of a bookie against our national players. Lets remember that too"
Published: Tue Nov 7 11:57:18 EST 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka launch inquiry  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan Cricket Board appoints lawyer to investigate match fixing charges  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
Lankan board appoints lawyer to probe match-fixing  - Times of India (Breaking News)

K.D.K Passes Away
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 07 November 1700. Veteran Sri Lankan journalist and popular lyricist K.D.K. Dharmawardhana passed away in Dubai. Known to friends as well as fans as K.D.K, he started his career in journalism as a radio broadcaster joining to Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 1967. He became very popular among Sri Lankan fans as a radio presenter and a able lyrics writer. Veteran musicians including Pandith W.D. Amaradeva, Victor Rathnayake and late Milton Mallawarachchi were among many others who gained much from his lyrics.

K.D.K left Sri Lanka for the Middle East in mid- nineties and was content for working by Community Radio in Dubai. Elmo Fernando, a contemporary with him in SLBC told "The Lanka Academic" that he had to leave Sri Lanka as he was quite unhappy with the way he was treated both by SLBC authorities and the government.
Published: Tue Nov 7 11:57:15 EST 2000

Government hopes to end the war by the end of this year
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday November 7. Senior PA sources said today that the government is anticipating to end Sri Lanka's bloody conflict by the end of this year. The government will introduce a new political solution to end the war and bring peace to the country's strife torn north and east. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge will make a special announcement in Parliament on Thursday regarding the end of the war and the outcome of talks beween Norway and the LTTE.
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:05:41 EST 2000

An expatriate to head Sri Lanka's BOC
India Abroad, Nov 7, 2000 15:30 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka's largest commercial bank -- the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) -- will break with tradition and appoint an expatriate to a top executive post in a major shake-up aimed at increasing its market share, bank officials said. Saddled with a massive Rs. 13 billion in non-performing assets, the fully state- owned BOC will embark on a restructuring program with a foreign national heading its financial operations with particular emphasis on risk management. Bank chairman Dayani de Silva declined to name the expatriate chief financial officer or say what his nationality is, but said that he would take over in January. More...
Published: Tue Nov 7 07:04:54 EST 2000

Jaffna civilian flights restored
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 15:12 GMT . The Sri Lankan authorities have announced that civilian flights to the northern Jaffna peninsula will resume after an eight-month suspension. The army says that a Ukrainian passenger aircraft will begin a service to Jaffna in two weeks' time. Because the land route to the peninsula is controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels, it is only accessible to the rest of government controlled areas of Sri Lanka by air and sea. More...
Published: Tue Nov 7 11:30:33 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka to resume civilian flights to Jaffna  - ABC News
Sri Lankan air force to resume commercial flights to Jaffna  -

18 police personnel in the Puttalam district transferred
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday November 7. Eighteen police personnel alleged to have not carried out their duties during the last general election campaign in the Puttalam district, today received transfer orders from the Deputy Inspector General of Police for the North East.

Two of the eighteen are sub-inspectors while the rest are police constables. The cops who are being moved, are from police stations at Chilaw and Anamaduwa, the strongholds of PA MP D. M. Dassanayake. The latter took oaths last week as the new Deputy Minister for Agriculture.

Dassanayake is feared by both the police and civilians in the area and has no less than 40 court cases filed by the UNP on various counts of harrassment, intimidation and murder.
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:05:41 EST 2000

Police say 15 most wanted criminals escape abroad
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Tuesday November 7. The police say that 15 of the most wanted underworld gangsters have fled the country. Colombo DIG Bodhi Liyanage claimed today that many of the underworld kingpins have fled to countries like India, Italy, France and the Middle East. The police, he said, have stepped up a crackdown on hardcore criminals in the country and have netted 108 gangsters recently who are now serving time in police remand prisons.

Meanwhile, in yet another police shake-up, senior cop Gamini Seneviratne will head the Crime Detective Bureau (CDB) which was formerly under the stewardship of controversial police sleuth, Bandula 'Show' Wickramasinghe. The latter has been transferred to police headquarters after it was alleged last week that he had seriously assaulted a woman suspect.

The CDB repeatedly and valiantly attempted to net underworld charachters and bring down the high incidents of crime in and around the city and her suburbs.
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:05:41 EST 2000

Lack of office rooms in Parliament for 44 ministers
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10 a.m. SLT Tuesday November 7. Member of Parliament Al Haj Azwar said today that due to the distended number of ministers in Sri Lanka's 11th Parliament there aren't enough office rooms to accommodate them all. At present there are only 30 office rooms within the parliamentary complex. Azwar says that in the event any structural changes are to be made it should be done with the full concurrence of the other members of the house and only after the Speaker too has been consulted and granted permission.

Former President J. R. Jayewardena who personally overlooked the construction of the present Parliament has in writing indicated that in the event renovations are deemed necessary to the main structure, it should be done only with advice and consultation with architect Geoffrey Bawa who designed the present structure.
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:05:41 EST 2000

First Sri Lankan Academician in Australia
Island, Tuesday, 7 November. Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya an expatriate Sri Lankan who held the Foundation Chair of Social Work at the University of Western Australia until his retirement in 1992, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences.The other two Academies are the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.It is a high honour to be elected as a Fellow of one of the Academies.Professor Jayasuriya is one of nineteen new Fellow elected to the Academy of Social Sciences this year. He is the first expatriate Sri Lankan to be elected as a Fellow of an Australian cademy.Currently Hon Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Perth Professor Jayasuriya obtained a BA with first class honours and gold medal from the University of Sydney in 1954 and five years later obtained a Ph.D from the University of London. More...
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:59:26 EST 2000

One man commission appointed to probe match fixing charges
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday November 7. Desmond Fernando, a leading human rights lawyer and former President to the Sri Lanka Bar Association has been appointed by the Sri Lanka Board of Control for Cricket to probe match-fixing charges against the country's two leading cricketing stars.

Former captain Arjuna Ranatunge and star batsman Aravinda de Silva who were named by an Indian bookie as having accepted money to lose matches have already vehemently denied the allegations claiming they are innocent.

Cricket Board President, Thilanga Sumathipala says that Desmond Fernando will be allowed unlimited access to India and other parts of the world in order to gather as much evidence as possible to ascertain if indeed the allegations hold water. The report by Fernando is expected to be concluded in 30 days, after which it will be handed over to Sports Minister, Lakshman Kiriella, who will at that point decide its fate.
Published: Tue Nov 7 03:05:41 EST 2000

Sri Lankan, Indian leaders discuss Tamil peace bid, Monday,November 6,2000. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has discussed efforts to resolve the country's separatist bloodshed with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, official sources said Saturday. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues by telephone Saturday, an Indian high commission press release here said. Official sources said the conversation included recent moves to resolve the conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 21:06:34 EST 2000

UNP to move no-confidence motion against Government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Monday November 6. The United National Party is to move a no-confidence motion against the government when Parliament meets for its second session on Wednesday, November 8. The UNP says it will move the motion as the government has abused the parliamentary system and acted irresponsibly in appointing 79 of its MP's as Ministers and Deputy Ministers, breaking a promise to the people that the state would bring down the number of portfolios. The motion will be moved by Chief Opposition Whip, W. J. M. Lokubandara.

A private members motion will be moved by Ravi Karunanayake, UNP MP, calling for the abolishment of the pension scheme for all parliamentarians. Karunanayake maintains that all public service officers are entitled to a pension only after 30 years of service. A Member of Parliament however is entitled to a pension after completing a mere 5 years in parliament.

sMeanwhile, Sarath Ekanayake took oaths as the Chief Minister of the Central Province today. This post fell vacant when Nanda Mithra Ekanayake was appointed a Minister last month.
Published: Mon Nov 6 10:25:14 EST 2000

Army Officers arrested over "Ragging"
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 06 November 1930. Military Police today arrested two officers in Saliya Pura Army Camp over brutal attacks on another officer, Army Spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne told BBC's Sandeshaya today. Brigadier Karunaratne admitted it was Sandeshaya who broke the news of the attack on second lieutenant R.K.P. Dingiri Banda, from Bakamoona, Polonnaruwa , who is now in intensive care at the Kandy hospital. Two suspected Captains have been handed over to the police for further investigations, he added.
Published: Mon Nov 6 14:46:15 EST 2000

Ranatunge shows displeasure over Dambulla stadium
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.00 p.m November 6. Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunge showed his displeasure over the proposed new cricket stadium in Dambulla. In an interview with a private television channel today , the world cup winning Sri Lankan skipper said that a stadium at Dambulla was not necessary to develop cricket in the country.

He said "We have plenty of test playing venues in the island. What is required, is to develop the game in the outstations by providing better facilities to the players" This is the first time Ranatunge has come out openly against the stadium in Dambulla.

Dambulla cricket stadium is being constructed at a cost of over 500 million rupees. Many cricket lovers have questioned the need for a new stadium in Dambulla when the Welagedara stadium in Kurunegala could be developed at a cost of 70 million rupees. Critics say that Dambulla has more monkeys than people.

The new minister of sports Lakshman Kiriella too has questioned the need for a stadium in Dambulla.
Published: Mon Nov 6 11:57:13 EST 2000

Sri Lankans in London Hospital after nightclub attack Monday 06 November 1620 GMT
Saroj Pathirana in London. Four Sri Lankans remained in hospital today after a violent attack outside a nightclub in West London, in which one man had his nose cut off and another received a gunshot wound.The four, all in their twenties were hurt when a fight erupted outside at Mystique nightclub in Hounslow, west London, on Saturday night.

Several men armed with swords, knives and a gun were involved in the incident.One man was slashed across the face and his nose was cut off. Two other men were stabbed in the chest and a fourth man was shot in the head. All four are in a serious but stable condition in hospital.Detectives investigating the attack recovered a sword from the scene.Six men have been arrested in connection with the attack and are being questioned.
Published: Mon Nov 6 11:21:17 EST 2000

Sihala Urumaya is a party of strange bedfellows - A feature article
CDN, November 7. When a critic raised the issue of accountability of funds being diverted to a terrorist organization after NMAT members manhandled a 72 year old professor A.D.V de.S. Indraratne, and his feeble wife to pressurize the veteran university teacher to toe the line of the NMAT, an apparently furious SPUR official, Ranjith Soysa questioned the critic, "Who are you to question (our ) accontability?" He said the critic's "vendetta against Champika" is puerile. But Champika failed to espouse such loyalty among all supporters of the Sihala Urumaya in all foreign capitals. A generous contributor in Texas USA to the SU cause, Sarath Edissuriya furiously called him names and assured that he was going to demand back all the money their group contributed to the Sihala Urumaya from Thilak Karunarathne. Another disgruntled supporter from London, Dr. Ivan Amarasinghe said it definitely, " a bye bye SU, after that savage attack on the old couple. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 19:00:53 EST 2000

A formula for a political solution - A feature Article
Island, November 7. The demand of the Tamil community to create a single Tamil speaking region by merging the Northern and Eastern Provinces resulted in the 13th amendment. This amendment caused the Province to be recognized as the unit of regional power. Since then, the Province as the regional unit has come to be accepted as being intractable, and all attention is focused on the powers that are to be assigned, in particular, to the merged unit. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 19:32:31 EST 2000

Tamil parties kicked by LTTE offer
ChennaiOnline, November 6. Members of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) and the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRLF) said they were surprised to hear about the offer of peace talks extended by LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran himself.Batticaloa district TULF parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham holds the view that the problem should be settled only through direct discussions with the LTTE. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 22:31:13 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Solheim puts Colombo on the spot  - The Hindustan Times

UPF leader released
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Monday November 6. Leader of the Upcountry Peoples Front, P. Chandrasekeran was released today after being produced before the Fort magistrate. Police officers of the Criminal Investigation Department admitted in court that the evidence they had against Chandrasekeran was inconclusive and that the police could no longer detain the UPF leader.

Arrested on allegations of being involved in race riots upcountry, the UPF leader soon after his release met with UNP Chief, Ranil Wickremesinghe. General Secretary for the UPF, M. Sivalingam arrested today was also released after being produced in the N'Eliya magistrate's court.
Published: Mon Nov 6 10:25:14 EST 2000

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka releases lawmaker detained over riots  - ABC News

Sri Lanka Rebels Say 2 Top Fighters Killed In Port Attack
Yahoo Asia, Monday, November 6 4:05 PM SGT . Tamil Tiger rebels confirmed Monday their earlier attack on a strategic seaport in the northeast was thwarted by the Sri Lankan navy and said two top rebel combatants were killed. "Two of our valiant fighters were killed when the Sinhala navy fired at them. Their mission didn't succeed due to such firing," said Voice of Tigers radio, monitored in Vavuniya, the last government-held town before the northern war front.The rebels killed were Lt. Col. N. Premakumar and Maj. S. Sridharan, the Tamil-language broadcast said. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 11:39:47 EST 2000

Lankan tea exports set for record 300 million kg
India Abroad, Nov 06, 2000 11:00 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka is set to maintain its status as the world's largest tea exporter in the year 2000, with production poised to touch an all-time high of 320 million kg, much of which may be directed to ‘big potential buyers’ like India and China. With the increase in production, exports too are expected to hit the 300 million kg mark for the first time, with domestic consumption usually not exceeding 25 million kg. In 1999 production had reached a new high of 283 million kg, of which 263 million kg was exported. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 21:07:12 EST 2000

Cricket Board expect US $25 Million from TV rights for the next three years
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1950 SLT 6.11.00. The Sri Lankan cricket Board expect to earn US $ 25 Million by selling TV rights for the next three years. " We have short listed two companies and are finalising the deal" Thilanga Sumathipala the President of the Cricket Board said.The two companies short listed are World Sports and Trans World Group.

Published: Mon Nov 6 09:02:03 EST 2000

President to make special announcement regarding peace moves in Parliament Thursday
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.10 p.m. SLT Monday November 6. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge will at the ceremonial opening of Parliament on Thursday November 9, make a special announcement with regard to a Norwegian peace effort to end the war and support a peace process between the government and the LTTE.

The President will make this announcement after meeting with senior leaders of the PA government this week, where they will all be briefed on the talks held last week between rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and Norwegian special envoy Eric Solheim, Norway's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jon Westborg and Ms. Kjersti Tromsdal an executive officer in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:08 EST 2000

Related News Stories
All-party meet likely on peace offer  - The Hindu (International)

Secretary of the Upcountry Peoples Front arrested
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.15 p.m. SLT Monday November 6. Mr. Murugan Sivalingam, Secretary to the Upcountry Peoples Front (UPF) was taken in for questioning by the Talawekelle police last evening. Sivalingam was taken in by police after he held a press conference demanding the release of UPF Leader P. Chandrasekeran, who is still being held by the Criminal Investigations Department following communal riots in the hill country last week.

Chandrasekeran was arrested by a special police team at his residence upcountry, on allegations by the police that he was instrumental in instigating Tamil mobs to go on the rampage, following the massacre of 26 Tamil detainees at Bindunuwewa, Bandarawela.

Despite repeated requests by both the United National Party and a statement issued by Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon yesterday, claiming that Chandrasekeran should be released, he continues to be held under tough laws of the Prevention for Terrorism Act. Sivalingam meanwhile is also now being held by the Talawakelle police.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:08 EST 2000

Tamil gang warfare erupts in Canada
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Monday November 6. Toronto police have begun investigations into the activities of two rival Tamil gangs in Canada. The police probe started after two Tamil teenagers were shot dead last weekend as they drove into a car park close to a Toronto suburb. A hand-grenade was also thrown in the attack. Toronto police say the feud between the two teenage gangs has been a longstanding one.

The incident comes in the wake of an official Canadian report which asserts that Tamil gang warfare in Toronto is on the decline. Over 200,000 Sri Lankan Tamils are resident in Canada.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:08 EST 2000

107 missing school children found at Balangoda
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Monday November 6. 107 school children who went on a school camping trip to Balanagoda last morning and were since reported missing were found at around 10.30 a.m. this morning in the Hituwela area at Balangoda. The children, from five schools at Balangoda in the Ratnapura district went missing after having been taken on a campiing tour by their respective teachers. Heavy rains, fog and mist had prevented the children and their teachers from finding their way back off a hill they had climbed at Hituwela.

Frantic parents had joined the Balangoda police together with army and air force teams who flew a special helicopter on the orders of the Prime Minister in a search for the children. Bad weather prevented special police teams yesterday from finding the kids who today were found in an exhausted state and were being administered with immediate medical attention.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:07 EST 2000

Navy foils yet another suicide attack on Trinco port 9.20 a.m. SLT Monday November 6
Frederica Jansz in Colombo. Tiger boats were forced to abort another suicide attack on Trincomalee port Saturday night when the Sri Lanka Navy fired upon the flotilla of four boats, destroying two. The incident on the high seas of Sri Lanka is the second since October 23, when the Navy fired upon LTTE boats off the coast of Mullaitivu and destroyed two.

The foiled attempt was made in the wake of the Norwegian visit to the Vanni last Tuesday where LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is perceived by Norway, to have accepted, that a peace process maybe possible with the government.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:07 EST 2000

President discusses Norway-LTTE peace talks with Indian PM
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.05 a.m. SLT Monday November 6 . President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge on Saturday held a telephone conversation with Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee and informed him of Norwegian Special Envoy Eric Solheim's meeting with Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, and the content of the discussions held between the foreign delegation and the rebel leader. Both Kumaratunge and Vajpayee discussed by telephone the outcome of this meeting and also discussed the willingness of Prabhakaran to hold unconditional peace talks with the government.

Eric Solheim last Thursday at a media briefing said Prabhakaran had not laid down any pre-conditions for talks. His claim was however contrary to an LTTE statement issued on Wednesday which claimed that Prabhakaran had in fact laid down three demands as a pre-requisite for peace talks. According to the LTTE, the rebel leader had told the Norwegian delegation that a ceasefire, lifiting of an economic embargo to the North and the withdrawal of troops from the peninsula should be a basis from which negotiations could perhaps begin to end Sri Lanka's bloody 17 year old war.

Kumaratunge's phone call to India was made after Solheim had briefed both the Sri Lankan President and India's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, of his meeting with the rebel leader last week.

Solheim last week told local and foreign journalists that a future peace process between the government and the LTTE would not exclude India.

While the Norwegians maintain their meeting last week with Prabhakaran was a major breakthrough, political analysts note that Kumaratunge's phone call to the Indian Premier soon after, is much more significant.
Published: Mon Nov 6 03:16:07 EST 2000

Lions maul Sri Lankan man offering alms
ABC News, 11/06/2000 02:14:00 ET. COLOMBO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan man was seriously injured when he jumped naked into a lions" den at the national zoo, apparently offering himself up as a feast for the big cats, officials said on Monday. "The man...had written a letter before jumping into the enclosure saying he wanted to give "alms" to the lions," said Senarath Gunasena, director of the National Zoological Gardens in the Colombo suburb of Dehiwala. The man survived but the three lions in the den bit off parts of his arms, legs, chest and groin area. The incident occurred on Sunday when the zoo was full of visitors. The man was rescued by zoo staff and onlookers who beat garbage cans to frighten the lions away and took him to a nearby hospital where he was in intensive care. Sri Lanka"s majority Buddhist population believes that giving alms can earn merit for future incarnations. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 04:15:31 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Man tries to feed himself to lions  -

Sri Lankan army chief rallies support
BBC South Asia, Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 21:59 GMT . The commander of the Sri Lankan army, General Lionel Balagalle, has called on the people of Sri Lanka to support the war effort against Tamil Tiger rebels operating in the north and east of the country. In an interview with the Sunday Times of Sri Lanka, General Balagalle said the recent purchase of weapons and equipment by the military had meant that the battle against the rebels was now turning in the military's favour. More...
Published: Mon Nov 6 04:14:26 EST 2000

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