The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 285

T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Tamil rebels fire mortar and artillery overnight
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 0924 SLT 17.01.01. Tamil rebels fired heavy volumes of mortar and artillery at troops engaged in a new advance in the Jaffna Peninsula overnight. Casualty figures were not available. Last evening the army advanced two kilo meters south of their forward defense lines. 18 soldiers were killed and 89 were injured in the fighting end
Published: Tue Jan 16 22:32:57 EST 2001

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Army encounter heavy resistance in new operation in Jaffna Peninsula
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1844 SLT 16.01.01. The Sri Lankan army encountered heavy resistance in Northern Jaffna Peninsula today as it launched a fresh offensive against the last major position of the rebels.

Military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratna told Lacnet that 18 soldiers were killed and 89 injured so far in the offensive. Rebel casualties were not known.

The spokesman said the soldiers ran into heavy mortar and artillery fire when they reached the town of Poonar. Poonar town is about 2 kilo meters south of government defenses in the peninsula.Military analysts say the offensive is part of a campaign to re capture Elephant Pass which fell to rebels in May last year.

The offensive was launched despite an unilateral cease fire declared by the rebels to promote peace\talks with the Government. The government rejected the cease fire saying the rebels were trying to buy time to re group, re train and rearm.
Published: Tue Jan 16 09:56:42 EST 2001

Related News Stories
40 killed in Lankan army assault on major Tiger base  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Forty killed in heavy Sri Lanka fighting  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lankan army in major push  - BBC South Asia
Fresh fighting kills 42 in Sri Lanka  -
Fighting rages in northern Sri Lanka  - MSNBC

Lanka military wants to retake Elephant Pass: LTTE
India Abroad, Jan 16, 2001 22:15 Hrs (IST) . SRI Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have complained to Norway that the country's troops, which launched a fresh campaign in the northern Jaffna peninsula Tuesday, are going on an "all-out military offensive" to recapture the strategic Elephant Pass army base. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said its top London-based theoretician Anton Balasingham has told the Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim to "impress upon the Sri Lanka government that such military action will intensify the war and seriously impair the current peace initiatives." In a statement, the LTTE's international secretariat in London said it had made "a calculated strategic withdrawal from areas closer to Jaffna city," because of the constraints of their ongoing unilateral ceasefire and "other logistic problems." More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 14:33:04 EST 2001
Related News Stories
SLA offensive threatens peace process - LTTE  - TamilNet

Confusion over Media Minister
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 16 January 1800. Sri Lanka's Embassy in France has mislead a highly reputed media organisation, The Lanka Academic reliably learns. Paris based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) recently sent a letter of protest to Sri Lanka's media minister asking him to inform the organisation of the reasons for the detention of jaffna based Lake House journalist Nadaraja Thiruchelvam. The organisation had addressed the letter to Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, minister of Post, Telecommunication and Media. When the error was pointed out, RSF was referred to the SL Embassy in France. An Embassy official confirmed to the RSF member that Mr. Mangala Samaraweera still holds the Media portfolio!

Messrs Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and Mangala Samaraweera were sworn in as Media and Urban Development ministers respectively, in Sri Lanka's record breaking biggest ever cabinet on October the 19th, last year. The Embassy officials in France were unaware of the changes, although Minister Samaraweera was in Paris along with the president just three weeks ago. Consequent to this incident the French nationals staffing the RSF have informed the Sri Lankan Embassy the correct name of the country's media minister so that they will not give out inaccurate information to the public in future.
Published: Tue Jan 16 13:03:33 EST 2001

Tigers warn Norway of all out war as fresh fighting kills 42, Jan 16 2001 19:42 IST. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday warned peace-broker Norway of all-out war on the island as the government launched a fresh offensive that left at least 42 people dead. Thousands of soldiers backed by tanks, aircraft and artillery launched the advance into areas held by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Jaffna peninsula, military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said.A Hindu priest also died and another person was wounded when a mortar shell fired by the LTTE hit a temple at Mirusuvil in Jaffna, the government said, adding that another civilian died in the fighting. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 10:20:19 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Tigers say Oslo peace bid threatened as Jaffna battle kills 42  -
Tigers resist Sri Lanka offensive, warn of all-out war  -
New offensive by Sri Lankan troops  - BBC South Asia
40 killed as Sri Lankan government troops launch fresh offensive  -
Sri Lankan Army Starts Assault To Retake Major Rebel Base  - Yahoo India
Lankan army begins assault on major Tiger base  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Rupees 84.5 million bank fraud: CID arrests city SP
CDN, 17 January 2001. Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducting investigations into the Rs.84.5 million bank fraud on Monday took into custody a Superintendent of Police. He was later produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Priyantha Fernando. The Superintendent of Police was granted bail in Rs.1.5 million bond with a surety. Granting bail for the Superintendent, the Judge directed him to appear before court today, January 17. CID told court that the Superintendent of Police is alleged to have used Rs. 1.5 million removed from the bank by one of thesuspects in the case. Earlier the CID took into custody three suspects in connection with the Rs.84.5 million bank fraud involving the Bank of Ceylon Metropolitan Branch. The three suspects are Krishna Gnanasekeram, a Pettah businessman and Leslie Gunawardena and Mahinda Dissanayake, two Bank officials. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 21:02:03 EST 2001

G Wijayasiri, new Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lanka, Jan 16 2001 12:38 IST. Colombo, Jan 16 (UNI) Mr G Wijayasiri has been appointed Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He succeeds Mr Lionel Fernado, who has been appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. The Government has also announced the appointment of Mr Renton de Alwis, as the new Chairman of the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Tourism Board. UNI More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 04:20:02 EST 2001

Sri Lanka moves on last rebel bastion in Jaffna
MSNBC, 16 January 2001. Heavy fighting erupted in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday as government troops launched an offensive against the last major position held by Tamil rebels in the Jaffna peninsula. Military officials said troops backed by tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft were moving towards the rebel-held Elephant Pass, on the isthmus which connects the Jaffna peninsula with the mainland. ''We started moving dawn and have reached the first defence lines of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam),'' military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne told Reuters in Colombo. He said troops ran into heavy mortar and artillery fire after they reached the town of Poonnar, about two km (1 mile) south of government defences at Eluthumadduval. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 23:28:31 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Lankan army launches assault on major Tiger base  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka troops hit Tiger positions  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan government troops launch fresh offensive against Tamils  -
Lanka gears up for new offensive against LTTE  - deccan herlad

Central Bank says trade and balance of payment deficit to narrow this year
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1851 SLT 16.01.01. The Central Bank said today that the country's trade and balance of payments deficits would narrow substantially this year due to sustained export growth and higher foreign direct investment. A central Bank Press release said imports would increase by only three percent due to lower oil prices. The central Bank estimated that improved external trade would help the current account deficit to narrow to $799 million this year, from an estimated deficit of $ 1.1 billion last year.

Published: Tue Jan 16 09:56:42 EST 2001

Smuggler held in Lanka escapes at Madurai
Yahoo India, Tuesday January 16, 2:04 PM. RAMESWARAM: A youth from Ramanathapuram, who was wanted by the Customs on a charge of smuggling, had fled to Sri Lanka where he was arrested by the police and sent back to India. But he made good his escape at Madurai and the police are looking for him. According to officials of the Fisheries Department, Customs officials confiscated Rs.1.5 lakh worth of contraband at Panaikulam in November this year, which was to be smuggled to Tamil militants in Sri Lanka. Customs officials were looking for Moorthy (25) of Panaikulam, a coastal village of Ramanathapruam. But Moorthy had escaped to Sri Lanka in a mechanised boat on Dec. 2 where he was arrested by the Sri Lankan police. This was brought to the notice of Fisheries Department officials in Rameswaram by officials of the Sri Lankanmission in Chennai. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 04:24:47 EST 2001

Murder and mayhem as Army deserters terrorize Lanka
India Abroad, Jan 16, 2001 11:45 Hrs (IST) . HEN a German hotel owner in a small seaside village in southern Sri Lanka was killed by a gang of masked gunmen, police immediately cast a dragnet in the area for two Army deserters. The attackers who shot Uli Hautt, 37, and allowed him to bleed to death just before the New Year, were behind bars 24 hours later. At least two henchmen in the gang, which also raped a guest while keeping others in the beach resort bound and gagged for several hours, were arrested with them. The incident highlights the growing number of crimes being committed by errant soldiers who are using their combat training for violence against ordinary citizens. Law enforcement officials estimate that some 25,000 to 30,000 Sri Lankan Army deserters are on the prowl, either masterminding violent acts themselves or operating as hired hit-men. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 04:22:38 EST 2001

Sri Lanka rupee has no takers within range
Yahoo India, january 16. The Sri Lankan rupee had no takers on Tuesday as dollar positions refused to liquidate within the trading band set by the central bank. "Either there was no market or volumes were very thin and there were simply no sellers even at the bottom of the range," said one bank dealer. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 09:36:34 EST 2001

Photo: Sri Lanka moves on last rebel bastion in Jaffna
Yahoo India, Tuesday January 16, 6:20 AM. A Sri Lankan soldier mans an entry point at Navakudai Bridge in northern Jaffna Peninsula on January 11, 2001. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 00:52:44 EST 2001

Detained journalist not allowed to talk to family members
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 15 January 1830 GMT. A state owned Lake House Journalist taken into custody under the prevention of terrorism act two weeks ago, was not allowed to talk to his family says the Tamil Media Alliance(TMA). In an interview with the BBC Sinhala Service "Sandesaya" TMA Chairman P. Manikkawasagam said that the Jaffna based journalist Nadaraja Thiruchelvam, who is held at the Police Terrorist Intelligence Division in Colombo was not given permission to speak to his wife when visited. She had been told by the Police that they recieved a petition regarding Thiruchelvam. The contents of the petition have not been revealed. The Lanka Academic learns from reliable sources that a powerful cabinet minister who was earlier accused of instigating the assasination of BBC journalist M. Nimalarajan three months ago is behind this arrest.

In a letter to the Media Miniter of Sri Lanka Reporters sans frontières (RSF) asked the minister to inform the organisation of the reasons for the detention. "If this arrest is linked to his journalistic activities, we ask you to ensure that the journalist is released as soon as possible," wrote RSF Scretary-General Robert Ménard. While Thiruchelvam's family say that they have not been informed of the reasons for his arrest, the Police states that his arrest was not due to his journalist activities said the Chairman of the Lakehouse Lucien Rajakarunanayaka.
Published: Mon Jan 15 13:30:16 EST 2001

Related News Stories
Lankan police prevent wife from meeting husband  - Times of India

CBI seeks Pirabhakaran's extradition, sends Letters Rogatory to 17 nations on LTTE funding
Yahoo India, Tuesday January 16, 1:14 AM. A team of the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), set up to follow up findings of the Jain Commission report, recently visited Sri Lanka to seek extradition of LTTE chief Velupillai Pirabhakaran, accused of masterminding the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R.K. Raghavan gave this information to newspersons here today while commenting on the progress of the MDMA's work. He also said that the CBI had sent Letters Rogatory to as many as 17 countries to probe the foreign sources of funds for the LTTE. The countries included Switzerland, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Germany, he said. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 19:55:59 EST 2001

Sri Lanka's growing pains
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 00:04 GMT . But six weeks on, and with defeat in one Test and five one-day internationals behind them, it appears those hopes have faded. The first Test may have ended in a draw - after a day was lost to rain - but in the second game Sri Lanka suffered their heaviest test defeat ever, losing by an innings and 229 runs. More...
Published: Tue Jan 16 04:20:57 EST 2001

Big brother lands in a big mess
Yahoo India, Tuesday January 16, 1:11 AM. Self-righteousness is offensive even in an individual. But it takes the form of jingoism when a nation indulges in it. New Delhi's claim that it hasthe best of relations with its neighbours, except Pakistan, does not tally with facts. There is so much distrust among them vis-a-vis India that even a trace of slight bubbles over into an anti-India spectacle. Disturbances in Nepal are one example. They are a symptom, not the disease. The disease is the deep-rooted suspicion of New Delhi. Whether or not Hrithik Roshan said anything against the Nepalese is not the issue. The real problem is the alienation based on distrust. Again, Colombo found distant Norway to communicate with the LTTE rather than neighbouring India. The feeling that certain influential forces in India are mixed up with them is so strong in the Chandrika Kumaratunga government that it wants New Delhi nowhere near the initiative. There is sufficient reason for this distrust. After all, the LTTE was once trained and armed by India. Colombo wants New Delhi's help but without looking over its shoulders. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 19:58:32 EST 2001

Sri Lanka loses two retired army chiefs on same day, Jan 15 2001 16:56 IST. Two retired military chiefs, including the first Sri Lankan to head the island's army after independence from Britain, died Monday, family sources said. Anton Muthukumaro, who led the army from 1955 to 1959, died in Canberra, Australia after a prolonged illness, sources close to his family said. He was 93.n an unrelated event, former army chief Sepala Attygalle died at a hopspital here. He was 79. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 08:58:02 EST 2001
Related News Stories
First Sri Lankan army chief dies at 93  -

CBI letters-rogatory to 17 nations on LTTE funding
The Hindu NUS, 18.00 hrs (IST) on January 15, 2001. New Delhi, Jan. 15. (PTI): The CBI has sent letters-rogatory to as many as 17 countries to probe the sources of funding by the foreign agencies of LTTE, accused of having masterminded the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, CBI Director R K Raghavan said here today. "We have sent letters-rogatory to 17 countries including Switzerland, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Germany," Raghavan told reporters when asked to comment on progress made by the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), set up to follow up on the findings by the Jain Commission. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 08:59:00 EST 2001

S.Lankan Govt to Ascertain Tamil Rebels' Genuineness for Talks: FM
xinhua, january 14. The Sri Lankan government will first ascertain whether separatist Tamil Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is genuine about his peace overtures before committing itself to direct negotiations, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said. Kadirgamar was quoted Monday by The Island newspaper as saying in recent days that the government was studying leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Prabhakaran at the moment but considering his past record it is not easy to make a speedy assessment of him. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:09:56 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Before committing itself into direct negotiations Govt studying Prabhakaran, says Kadirgamar  - Island

Sri Lanka blames economic down turn on opposition
123India, january 15. The Sri Lankan government blamed an economic downturn on the opposition and accused it of a conspiracy to sabotage efforts to revitalise the country's growth, a state-run daily reported Monday.The government in a statement in the Daily News said the economic woes of the country could be traced back to the policies of the opposition United National Party (UNP) which was voted out in 1994 after 17 years in power. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:15:02 EST 2001

Sri Lanka's jumbo war
BBC South Asia, Monday, 15 January, 2001, 15:00 GMT . Sri Lankan conservation officials say that nearly 150 elephants were slaughtered in Sri Lanka last year. They say that more must be done to protect the dwindling elephant population. The killings continue despite the animals being held sacred in the South Asian nation. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 11:09:28 EST 2001

Peace envoy to meet top Lankan rebel in London
Times of India (Breaking News), Monday 15 January. A Norwegian peace envoy will return to Sri Lanka next week after holding talks in London with a top Tamil Tiger rebel leader, a state-owned newspaper said on Sunday. Erik Solheim, who has been trying for two years to bring a negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old-civil war, met President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka and other government members during a two-day visit to the capital Colombo, earlier this week. Next week, Solheim will meet Anton Balasingham, theoretician and chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 06:18:44 EST 2001

Jaffna student protesters held
BBC South Asia, Monday, 15 January, 2001, 13:04 GMT . Nine university students have been arrested by the Sri Lankan army in the northern Jaffna peninsula. They were putting up posters in an attempt to put pressure on the government to match a truce offered by Tamil Tiger rebels. The detentions came ahead of a proposed rally in Jaffna on Wednesday, to call for a ceasefire by the military. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:00:04 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka students detained ahead of peace protest  - MSNBC
Sri Lanka arrests students over truce pressure  -

Tourist transporters suspend strike ahead of fare hike, Jan 15 2001 18:25 IST. Tourist coach and taxi operators in Sri Lanka ended their strike Monday, after assurances their demands for higher rates would be reviewed within the week, the union said. The Association of Tourist Transport Operators (ATTO) said their members stopped services from midnight Sunday (1700 GMT Sunday) to press their demands for a 26.5 percent increase in fares. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:00:33 EST 2001

Lanka Govt to take its own time for talks with LTTE, Monday, January 15, 2001. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan government has said that it would take its time in ascertaining whether LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was genuine about his peace overtures before committing itself to direct negotiations. ''It is not easy to study Prabhakaran in a hurry considering his past record of scuttling peace talks when it suited him. This time also we have to measure every step we take. The peace process initiated through Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim has been encouraging so far. It could be fruitful depending on how genuine the ltte is,'' Foreign Minister Lakhsman Kadirgamar was quoted by the local media as saying. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 06:19:34 EST 2001

One spectator killed as car skids off the track, Jan 15 2001 15:00 IST. Colombo, Jan 15 (UNI) A thirteen-year old boy was killed instantaneously and ten people were injured when the modified Austin Mini, a participant in a car race held at Ratnapura about 100 km from here, skidded off the road and crashed into spectators. There was pandemonium after the incident Sunday. Angry spectators attacked the participating cars with stones and iron poles which they had removed from the barriers. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 06:17:14 EST 2001

Gibbs knock stuns Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 16:34 GMT . A fantastic 79 from Herschelle Gibbs helped South Africa to a comfortable five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their fifth one-day international on Sunday. Nicky Boje (40) and Jacques Kallis (31) provided good support for the player who returned to cricket recently following his involvement in the match-fixing scandals. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:02:59 EST 2001

Cricket-Madugalle to inspect Indore pitch
Yahoo India, january 15. International Cricket Council match referee Ranjan Madugalle will visit Indore today to inspect the local Nehru Stadium, according to the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. Along with Madugalle, a former Sri Lankan captain, Board observer and former India skipper Polly Umrigar will also visit the stadium. More...
Published: Mon Jan 15 09:12:32 EST 2001

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