The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 219

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Where is MIR today?
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...
 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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Environmentalist wins 2000 Rolex award
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 10.00 a.m November 11. One of Sri Lanka's leading nature conservationist Rohan Pethiyagoda has been awarded the Rolex Award for Enterprise 2000 in recognition of his efforts to preserve the islands bio-diversity.

The award bestowed Pethiyagaoda with a Rolex chronometer and a US $ 25,000 grant targeted for his pioneering Agrapatana mini-rain-forest project .

Rohan Pethiyagoda a Bio-Medical Engineer by training was once a top government official. He began writing about environmental problems and set up the Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka in 1989 using the revenue from his publications.
Published: Fri Nov 10 22:56:35 EST 2000

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Report says poor visibility caused helicopter crash
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.00 a.m November 11. An Airforce inquiry committee has reported that the helicopter crash which killed former minister of ports and shipping and leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress M.H.M. Ashraff and 14 others was caused by poor visibility due to the mist in the hilly areas of Aranayake.

The Airforce helicopter crashed on September 17 this year when minister Ashraff was flying to the East to attend an election rally.

The inquiring committee headed by Air force chief of staff Air Vice Marshall Donald Perera in its report said it was was ruling out any explosion on board, technical fault or sabotage.

The Airforce committee was assisted by a team of experts from the US Federal bureau of investigations.
Published: Fri Nov 10 21:43:30 EST 2000

Men jailed in school sex scandal
BBC, November 10. A teacher and a school canteen worker have been given record sentences for paedophile offences in Sri Lanka in what is considered one of the worst ever such cases in the country.H Amaradasa and D Nimal encouraged the 20 victims aged between 12 and 13 to become addicted to heroin. When they could no longer afford to pay for the drug, they were made to take part in filmed sex sessions. Mr Amaradasa was a music teacher at Mahinda College in Galle and Mr Nimal worked in the school's canteen. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 20:01:42 EST 2000

Lanka Oppn wants more talks on reform proposals
Times of India, 11 November . Lanka's main opposition on Friday called for President Chandrika Kumaratunga to discuss her constitutional reform proposals in parliament before she begins peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels.Reacting to Kumaratunga's appeal to opposition parties to support her proposals, which would grant autonomy to Tamils, United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said she should initiate a fresh round of talks with all political parties. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 19:03:23 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Opposition calls for consultation before talks with Tiger rebels  -

Norwegian envoy in Colombo accused of being Tigers' mouthpiece
India Abroad, Nov 11, 2000 02:25 Hrs (IST) . NORWAY'S ambassador to Sri Lanka has come under a scathing attack from a left-wing political party here that claims the envoy has become "a mouthpiece" for Tamil Tiger separatists. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has denounced Oslo's efforts to broker peace between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and threatened to "resist the interference in Sri Lanka's affairs through every peaceful means possible." In a strongly worded letter to Norwegian Ambassador Jon Westborg sent Thursday, the JVP's politburo has upbraided the envoy for having "misled" its members into hurriedly meeting him on October 30, two days before a three-member Norwegian delegation met LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran in a rebel hide-out. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 18:56:25 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka party terms Norwegian envoy Tigers' stooge  - Times of India

Sri Lanka axe de Silva
BBC South Asia, Friday, 10 November, 2000, 13:49 GMT . Sri Lanka have left batsman Aravinda de Silva out of their squad for the forthcoming tour of South Africa.He was recently named in a report into cricket corruption produced by Indian police, but the decision of the selectors was based purely on an assessment of his recent form. De Silva has denied claims that he accepted $15,000 to play badly in a Test match in 1994, although he admits he has been approached by bookmakers in the past. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 12:03:20 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Cricket: De Silva dropped from Sri Lanka tour of South Africa  - NDTV/MSNBC
De Silva omitted from South Africa tour  - The Hindu NUS

Say cheers to Lanka's Palmyrah beer
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.45 p.m November 10. Sri Lankan will be fortunate to taste and enjoy a mug of Palmyrah beer when the Palmyrah Development Board comes out with its Palmyrah beer early next year.

Researchers have found that soft and hard liquor produced out of Palmyrah are harmless and could be produced at a low cost. Palmyrah Development Board will install breweries in selected places where Palmyrah is highly concentrated. However the board is yet to decide on a suitable brand name.

Main supply base of Palmyrah is the North and East where a large number of people depend on the Palmyrah industry. It is expected that the new project will help the people living in the North and East a great deal.
Published: Fri Nov 10 05:48:33 EST 2000

Sri Lanka to make it big at the world travel mart
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.30 p.m November 10. Sri Lanka will make it big at the world travel mart scheduled to be held from 13 to 16 November in London with 24 hotel companies and 23 travel agents representing the country. The country will also have its biggest exhibition space with the national pavilion spanning 165 square metres. This years promotion has been titled as 'The isle of festivals' and the tourist authorities will focus its spotlight on the world famous Kandy Esala Perahera.

The country under a new tourism minister is embarking on an ambitious marketing campaign and will conduct promotional campaigns in selected markets such as Germany, France, Italy and India.
Published: Fri Nov 10 05:03:01 EST 2000

President addresses Lanka's 11th Parliament
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.30 a.m. SLT Thursday November 9. Greeted by her brother and Speaker Anura Bandaranaike and a 21 gun salute, at the ceremonial opening of Parliament today, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge addressed Sri Lanka's 11th Parliament. She began by thanking the nation and her large cabinet of ministers for their support in lending the Peoples Alliance more time to achieve its goals and vision for the nation.

Delivering her government's policy statement Kumaratunge spoke for one hour and ten minutes, reiterating that the PA's policies remain unchanged and will abide by the very pledges it made to the nation before the October 10, general election.

The President revealed that there is still room for the LTTE to enter the democratic process and that the rebel organization should engage with the government in finding a substantive political solution. The LTTE, she said, must agree to the sharing of power in a united country. Kumaratunge asserted the doors are open for this.

Talks with the Tigers however she said will depend on conditions laid down by Norwegian representatives, adding that serious consideration would be given by the government to debate if the LTTE was once more trying to fool the State. Once the government is informed of final conditions laid down by the LTTE, the President maintained that the matter will be discussed with all parties.

She emphasized however that the military campaign would not be disregarded until all parties involved in the peace process reach a consensus on negotations with the LTTE. Kumaratunge claimed the government has not changed its policy to seek a solution for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and that a decentralization of power sharing would be enacted in order to end the war.

She pointed out that it is not possible to solve the ethnic problem through debates and theories but that a practical solution is needed. The country she said, could not wait for everyone to solve the problem. None, she maintained would be allowed to divide the country.

Kumaratunge stood by a former pledge that an interim council for the north and east would soon be established. Democracy she said had been consolidated by moving the terror from the south. Kumaratunge was of the view that a similar solution was needed for the north, and she called upon all members of parliament to work together for the benefit of the country's people.

She asserted that it was sad the country had not yet been able to reach the aspirations of its leaders in finding a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict.

She further emulated that there was a need for change in the present electoral system. She said a study of the present electoral system proved that it was the root cause for violence and distortion of the people's political will. A dialogue in this regard, she said, has emerged in the country to consolidate democratic rights and evolve a new political culture.

She said the people had given their mandate in the last general election to the policies and vision projected by the PA with regard to the economic rights of the nation. She applauded the people for rejecting racism. The President promised to work towards bringing down inflation and reduce the level of unemployment to 4%.

She further said she would appoint an Authority to resolve marketing problems faced by all paddy, fruit and vegetable farmers. She commented that her government would strive to eradicate all social and economic inequality.
Published: Thu Nov 9 03:03:24 EST 2000

Related News Stories
Kumaratunga ready for talks with Tigers  - Times of India
Kumaratunga urges LTTE to set terms for talks  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lankan President to inaugurate new parliament amid tight security  - NDTV/MSNBC
Door not closed to talks with LTTE: Lankan President  -
Sri Lanka president urges Tamil Tigers to spell out terms for talks  -

LTTE loosing its grip on Norwegian media
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 10.30 p.m November 9. There seem to be a change of heart in the Norwegian media over the last year towards the LTTE. It seems very clear that the rebel organization is loosing its grip on the Norwegian media, which once gave prominence to their cause and activities.

Most recent disclosures were from Dagavisen a respected daily paper in Norway with circulation around seventy thousand and Aftenposten Norway’s second largest newspaper. Dagavisen’s senior journalist and diplomatic correspondent Erik Selmer who visited Jaffna and interviewed number of persons gives a first hand account and reveal the truth. Selmer writes “ In May this the LTTE advanced and led a major offensive and the Sri Lankan army nearly lost control. However the army got better weapons, more air support and the soldiers were no longer demoralized. During this time the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam expected an uprising from the people of Jaffna against the government which never took place. LTTE has to recapture Jaffna as their goal but whether they could make it is another question. People in Jaffna do not support any group. They want peace. It is completely wrong to say that all Tamils are tigers. During heavy fighting about 170,000 people fled Jaffna. Most of them went to government controlled area. The local population does not complain over the lack of food, the local authority function very well. It is the general frustration that prevails.”

Gunnar Filseth, Foreign staff reporter and senior journalist of Aftenposten the second largest paper in Norway was in Sri Lanka during the general election gave wide coverage to the events in the island. The writer spent considerable time with Filseth and was in Jaffna along with Filseth on the eve of the general elections. He interviewed foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar both in Colombo and in Oslo. NRK carried the full interview with Kadiragamar during his visit to Norway and on 6 November, NRK the Norwegian broadcasting corporation carried a one-hour tourism programme on Sri Lanka which had been well received by the Norwegian people. Filseth met the captured LTTE child soldier in Jaffna with the help of the ICRC and was dismayed. Immediately after Solheim / Prabhakaran meeting Filseth in a letter said “ Solheim /Prabhakaran meeting did not get much attention in Norway, partly due to the fact that few Norwegians know anything about Prabhakaran”

The LTTE can hardly stomach the change of attitude in the Norwegian media. The writers are getting protest mail regularly. In a recent response to Dagavisen the LTTE sympathizers tried to play the old tune that Jaffna is an occupied territory and the Tamil took up arms only after the seventies etc. The Elephant pass take over was shown on November 5 but it had lost its glamour. Why so late questioned pro LTTEers and said that it could have been shown before. Saroja a film about Sinhala and Tamil unity and a Sinhala and Tamil unity was received better and people applauded the efforts of the director a man hailing from a village in Kurunegala. With the media going against them, fear has crept in to the minds of the LTTE fund collectors. Can Prabhakaran deliver the goods after collecting that extra USD 1000 each from well to do Tamil families in Norway? Prabhakaran seem to have lost control over them too. Because they have no one left in Sri Lanka that the LTTE could threaten and vow to kill if funds were not provided. They are also fast loosing that emotional attachment to their homeland with children growing up as Norwegians.

The LTTE did much work to stage a demonstration after the Bindunuwewa massacre. However moderate Tamils agreed on the condition that the LTTE should not use the demonstration as a propaganda rally for them. The moderate Tamils knew that even moderate and right thinking Sinhalese opposed the massacre. This situation never existed in Norway before and the hardcore LTTE’ers just cannot accept it. Media has turned against them, or they have found the truth and even most Tamils have realized it. Erik Selmer is right ‘All Tamils are not members of LTTE and the Sinhalese too must realize it. It is important.
Published: Thu Nov 9 11:31:00 EST 2000

Kumaratunga ready for peace talks
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 10:30 GMT . But she told the newly-elected parliament that until the Tamil Tigers had spelled out their conditions for peace talks, the government's military offensive would continue. Speaking at the ceremonial opening of parliament following last month's elections, President Kumaratunga said her government was interested only in "substantive political negotiations". More...
Published: Thu Nov 9 07:20:14 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Kumaratunga sends ball back to Tigers court  - India Abroad
Kumaratunga opens new Parliament, ready to talk to Tigers  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka says door not closed to talks with LTTE  - MSNBC
UPDATE 1-Sri Lanka says door open for talks with LTTE  - ABC News
Sri Lanka says door open for talks with LTTE  - MSNBC
Kumaratunga shows the carrot and stick to the Tamil Tigers  -
Sri Lanka ready for talks with Tamil rebels  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka ready for talks with LTTE  - India Abroad
Sr Lanka offer on Tamil talks  - BBC South Asia

Fundamentalists against Norway peace bid in Sri Lanka
Virtual New York, Friday, 10 November 2000 11:26 (ET). Fundamentalist parties and communists said they oppose the Norwegian-led peace initiative efforts to bring the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas to the negotiating table. Sihala Urumaya, a political group of hardliners of the majority Sinhala community, and the People's Liberation Front, a leftist group, have described the Norwegian initiative as "an interference" in Sri Lanka's affairs. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 12:24:20 EST 2000
Related News Stories
JVP denounces Norway's role as peace-broker  - The Hindu NUS
Norway denounced for role in Sri Lanka war talks  -

Business News From The Sri Lankan Press Friday
Yahoo Asia, Friday, November 10 11:20 AM SGT . Suntel Private Ltd., a local telecommunications provider, will open a LKR1.0 billion debenture issue in November to fund itsexpansion plans, the Daily News reports. Suntel is a joint venture between Sweden's Telia Overseas and Sri Lanka's National Development Bank (P.NDB) and the Metropolitan Group. More...
Published: Fri Nov 10 00:40:49 EST 2000

LTTE puts conditions for talks with government, Thursday,November 9,2000. COLOMBO: President Chandrika Kumaratunga today disclosed that the LTTE has put certain conditions for talks with the government adding the Norwegians have not made the conditions clear so far. ''The Norwegian delegation which had met the LTTE leaders have informed us that there are certain conditions that is to be met before the beginning of discussions. However, there is no decision yet on what these conditions are,'' she said. More...
Published: Thu Nov 9 09:39:58 EST 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's president says government will talk to Tamil Tiger rebels  - MSNBC

LTTE attacks EPRLF office
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.05 p.m. SLT Thursday November 9. The LTTE last night attacked an EPRLF office in Valachchenai. Armed EPRLF cadres inside the office at the time had requested for police assistance. In the subsequent retaliatory attack by Valachchenai police two Tigers were believed to have been injured.
Published: Thu Nov 9 03:03:24 EST 2000

President Kumaratunge not sure on LTTE’s condition for peace talks
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.30 a.m. November 9. President Chandrika Kumaratunge told the inaugural session of the Sri Lankan parliament today that the Norwegian’s have informed her about LTTE’s willingness to talk peace with her government ,and laid out few conditions which are still not clear. She said “ We will talk to the LTTE but, we must find out what their conditions are”

She also said that her government will be careful in dealing with the LTTE considering their past record in the guise of peace talks.
Published: Thu Nov 9 00:32:16 EST 2000

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