The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 296

T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Tamil gang target Canadian cop
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, Vancouver Time 4.30 p.m Saturday 27. by Bandula Jayasekara in Vancouver: A Toronto police detective is under protection after his life has was threatned by a suspected Tamil gang, Toronto Sun reported recently. It said that the name of the officer was spraypainted on a wall of his Finch Ave, E, station with the number 187 beside it. 187 is the California penal code number for death.

The officer's new Nissan truck which was stolen from a parking lot last Saturday night had been found gutted and torched in Scarborough lot. The report also said in November a, Tamil gang member was caught videotaping the license plates of officers' personal cars and another was found tailing an officer driving home.

Meanwhile a group of Sri Lankans living in Toronto has commended the Toronto Star for the news story and warned that the Canadian government must take immediate action to prevent events of this nature.
Published: Sat Jan 27 19:29:22 EST 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Lanka slams censorship of military news
Times of India (Breaking News), 27 January 2001 . A state-appointed commission has slammed the ongoing censorship of military news in this war-torn country, saying that the law should not block the media from raising issues of public accountability in the name of national security, an official said on Saturday.The Human Rights Commission also criticized the screening of military news by an individual picked by the government, but has not called for abolishing censorship, Chairman Faiz Mustapha told The Associated Press.In a report presented to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the HRC recommended replacing the current screening authority with a censorship panel that includes a senior journalist as well as a person with military experience. More...
Published: Sat Jan 27 06:25:28 EST 2001

Economy in a crisis due to massive military expenditure
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.50 a.m. SLT Saturday January 27. The National Peace Council in a media statement issued today says that this weekšs devaluation and free float of the rupee is a symptom of the grave economic crisis that the country faces, largely due to the huge military expenditures. The history of the military conflict between the government and LTTE has been a cyclical one of ups and downs in the fortunes of the two sides. This pattern is likely to reassert itself unless decisive action is taken to break the cycle. In this context, the LTTEšs extension of its unilateral one month ceasefire by another month has come as a welcome surprise. This renewed ceasefire offers a significant opportunity to break out of the vicious cycle of protracted war.

Even in the absence of a positive response from the government, the month-long period of ceasefire permitted general conditions of peace and tranquility to exist outside of the Jaffna peninsula. Further, in different parts of the north-east, there were large gatherings of people in favour of the ceasefire. Such a political mobilisation of people can become a substitute for militant violence.

The National Peace Council believes that the LTTEšs unilateral ceasefire, no matter what its motivation, offers an opportunity to channel the ethnic conflict into the political arena and away from the military one. In the absence of a positive reciprocal move by the government, it is likely that the confidence of the people and the international community in a negotiated solution will be seriously eroded. This will have adverse consequences to the country and the people, including accentuating the economic downturn. We call on the government to positively reciprocate the LTTEšs ceasefire extension and to create the climate in which a peoplešs movement for ceasefire and a political solution will grow.
Published: Sat Jan 27 13:25:26 EST 2001

Lankan Police seek the help of Interpol to track down criminals
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Saturday January 27. Local police are to seek the assistance of Interpol to track down some 150 underworld thugs who have fled the country after having committed acts of murder, arson, gun smuggling and illegal drugs deals.

The criminals had fled to Europe and the Middle East when warrants were issued for their arrest. The police say they are also looking for a leading gangster by the pseudo name of 'Malu Nihal' who is wanted in Sri Lanka for leading a Mafia style ring of underworld criminals. 'Malu Nihal' recently gave an interview to a newspaper from a hidden abode in Europe, boasting of his exploits in Sri Lanka.

The police maintain that corrupt politicians in Sri Lanka have helped the gangsters to escape local police and have faciliated their trips abroad.
Published: Sat Jan 27 13:25:27 EST 2001

CEB in the red
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.55 a.m. SLT Saturday January 27. A Herculean crisis is brewing at the Ceylon Electricity Board as its faces bankruptcy carrying an overdraft at the Peoples Bank of rupees three thousand eight hundred and fifty million. A recent budgetary report by the Finance Manager of the CEB points out that by the end of this year the CEB will be in debt for the colossal sum of Rs. 18 billion.

The reasons for the near crash of the CEB are varied. Disgusted employees who are forced to remain anonymous as they may suffer harassment if identified say that a terrific lack of commitment by top managers, huge misappropriation of funds and mismanagement of the entire CEB has resulted in this sorry situation.

A tender valued at over 9 billion rupees and awarded to a Japanese firm by the CEB, received 20 percent to begin construction instead of the stipulated 10% in the contractual agreement approved by a Cabinet Appointed Tender Board. The twenty percent draw-down payment was made by the CEB to begin work on the gas turbine project at Kelanitissa. The Ministry of Power & Energy has already lodged a complaint with the government Treasury, stating that tender stipulations have been violated and a fraud committed. A top man at the CEB pointed out that it is this kind of fraudulent deal, that has sunk the CEB into depths in which it cannot swim let alone float.

For the last one year the CEB has been paying a Dutch owned firm 'Aggriekko' 95,000/-(ninety five thousand) sterling pounds per week (over eleven million rupees per week) as rental for the use of emergency generators. This payment is made after the CEB has supplied the fuel, and other lubricants for the running of these machines.

The CEB is also paying 'Aggriekko' Rs. 12.50 per unit of electricity generated from the emergency generators. The CEB in turn is forced to sell electricity to the consumers at Rs. 4.60 per unit. The domestic sector is even less and sold at Rs. 3 per unit. The domestic sector accounts for one third of the CEB consumer sector.

In this context, taking into account the millions of units bought by the CEB and the payments made to most of these private generators they are in the red for approximately over rupees one thousand two hundred million every month and the figures are growing. This does not include the 40 additional megawatts negotiated by the CEB last week which they are buying to meet the present power crisis.

Poor public relations and a massive lack of commitment both political and managerial has resulted in the CEB not being successful in pushing forward a coal power plant project which is deemed absolutely essential for the country. In fact the former Chief Engineer Planning for the CEB, Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya pointed out that if a coal power plant is not in place by the year 2005, the CEB will crash.

Needless to say, if the CEB does crash, it will bring down with it not only the government, but, the entire nation not to mention an already staggering economy. The stark and frightening reality right now is that the CEB is teetering dangerously on a red line that cannot be brushed aside or ignored.

If coal is not used an alternative to fuel electricity plants, Dr. Siyambalapitiya has predicted that the price of electricity per unit will cost Rs. 9/- three years from now, plus with the depreciation of the rupee double the cost per unit, to the consumer.

Dr. Susantha Perera, President of the CEB Engineers Union, said that a lack of direction and planning both political and managerial, to ensure the coal power plant was built has resulted in this present crisis.

The powerful Bishop of Chilaw, Dr. Frank Marcus Fernando was instrumental in influencing President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge to stop the construction of a coal power plant at Norochcholai in the Chilaw district. He lobbied the President hard weeks before the presidential election in 1999, and she bowed to the wishes of the angry Bishop who maintains that a coal power plant at Norochcholai will casue a serious security threat to the area and endanger the freedom of pilgrims visiting the centuries old St. Anne's shrine at Thalawila, situated 9 kilometeres away from the chosen site for the plant.

The Bishop's position caused an almighty row with officials at the CEB including the top management. The Chairman of the CEB, Arjun Deraniyagala now maintains that it is up to the President to take a decision and decide if indeed the present crisis situation in the country is worthy of the coal power plant being built at Norochcholai.

The Japanese government has already spent 800 million rupees which was released as a soft loan to the government of Sri Lanka to conduct a feasibility study at Norochcholai.
Published: Sat Jan 27 13:25:27 EST 2001

Sri Lankan doctor wins research award in USA
The Island , Saturday 27, 2001 7:16 pm pst. Sri Lankan doctor wins research award in USA Dr. Tarique Perera, a resident at Columbia Hospital, New York has received the American Psychiatric Association Award for research. This prestigious award is presented each year by the American Psychiatric Association to only one researcher and was awarded to Dr. Perera for his research on changes in brain neurons which occur during depression and stress. more... If his ideas are successful doctors will be better able to study the tangible changes that occur during emotions and feelings which is an appropriate milestone to have achieved during this decade of the mind. Brain research today is, one could say, at the same point at which Einstein’s nuclear physics was during the beginning of the last century. This is the second prestigious award won by Columbia University Hospital recently where they also claimed a Nobel Prize for work that showed how the mind forms memories. More...
Published: Sat Jan 27 22:12:40 EST 2001

Opposition march carries "SL economy" in coffin
TamilNet, January 26. Hundreds of opposition United National Party members and supporters marched through a busy suburb of Colombo Friday, carrying a coffin and protesting against the steeply rising cost of living and crime in Sri Lanka. UNP leaders and supporters addressed a meeting around 11 a.m. Friday at Sri Kotha, the party's national headquarters, lambasting the People's Alliance regime for the failing, cash strapped economy, the rupee devaluation and rising crime. The crowds then marched to the busy Nugegoda junction, carrying placards and shouting slogans against the Sri Lankan government. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 13:52:40 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Demonstration against free float of Lankan currency  - Times of India

Quake toll 'now 15,000'
BBC, Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 19:28 GMT . The extent of the damage to those areas of western India that were near the epicentre of Friday's huge earthquake is now becoming clear.The BBC's South Asia correspondent, Mike Wooldridge, says the old centre of the city of Bhuj, which housed 60,000 people, is now a ghost town of collapsed buildings and rubble.Indian officials say that across western and central Gujarat, up to 15,000 people are feared to have died - 5,000 of them in the old centre of Bhuj. More...
Published: Sat Jan 27 16:13:37 EST 2001
Related News Stories
India's rare but deadly quake may yield clues for United States  - San Jose Mercury News
5000 die in Indian earthquake  - Age
Hundreds killed in India quake  - BBC
Earthquake Bulletin: 7.9 Earthquake in India  - U.S. Geological Survey

ILO concern over `digital divide' in employment
Yahoo India, Saturday January 27, 12:00 AM. THE information and communications technology (ICT) revolution is widening the global ``digital divide'' between those with access and those without, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).The importance of helping developing countries to bridge the digital divide has long been stressed by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, who has launched a number of initiatives to reach this goal. In a message to a seminar in Sri Lanka sponsored by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr Annan emphasised that ``information technologies can give developing countries the chance to leapfrog some of the long and painful stages of development that other countries have had to go through. More...
Published: Sat Jan 27 06:30:10 EST 2001

Russia to help Lanka in combating terrorism
Times of India (Breaking News), 26 January 2001. Russia has extended its full support to Sri Lanka in combating militancy and international terrorism, visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister Laxman Kadirgamar said after his talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov. Addressing a joint news conference Ivanov and Kadirgamar disclosed that Moscow and Colombo have signed a declaration on jointly combating the international terrorism and urged the global community to unite in countering this "scourge".According local media reports, the rebel LTTE outfit is operating in Russia and extending help to the armed formations of Chechen militants. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 02:18:51 EST 2001

Sri Lankans ignore rupee's decline after free-float
gulf News, january 26. The majority of Sri Lankan expatriates living in the UAE shied way from capitalising on the windfall which came from the free-float of their currency on Tuesday. Although the Sri Lankan currency has fallen about five per cent against the dollar since Tuesday, exchange companies here said that they had yet to witness a rush from Sri Lankans.The Sri Lankan rupee, which once traded at Rs85 to the dollar, as of Tuesday stood at Rs89.5. The reason for the absence of Sri Lankans may be attributed to two reasons — most of them are unaware of the development or its positive implications for Lankans living here, or the coffers of the majority are dried up, thanks to the month-end syndrome. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 14:32:58 EST 2001

Colombo under pressure to accept ceasefire
Gulf-News, january 26. The Sri Lankan government is under pressure by the international community to accept a rebel ceasefire offer as a prelude to negotiations, but the move was being resisted, highly placed sources told Gulf News.For the second time in so many months, the Tamil Tigers rebel group has offered a ceasefire before agreeing to sit down and talk with the administration through Norw-egian facilitation. The government of President Chandrika Kuma-ratunga, however, has shown no interest in asking its Army to hold their fire, especially because superior firepower has enabled them to gain the lost territory in the northern Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 14:22:42 EST 2001

Sri Lankan tour faces TV blackout as deal is lost
The Guardian, January 26. Television and radio coverage of England's forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka has been thrown into doubt by the Sri Lankan board's decision to abandon its rights deal with the World Sports Group-Nimbus combine because of the failure to provide a down payment on the Ŗ29m deal. The collapse of the agreement will unnerve cricket authorities worldwide amid the fear that the ceaseless match-fixing scandals will have damaging financial consequences for the game. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 14:35:30 EST 2001

TN: Three LTTE 'activists' held
The Hindu NUS, 18.00 hrs (IST) on January 26, 2001. Nagercoil, Jan. 26. (PTI): Three suspected LTTE activists were taken into custody near here last night, police said. A police patrol found the three in an inebriated state and took them into custody. `Q' Branch police is investigating. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 11:07:13 EST 2001

Janes , January 25. The LTTE will not be able to sustain their losses if they continue as in the past several months" As the founder of the Sri Lanka Army's Military Intelligence Corps and later the first Director of Military Intelligence, Lt Gen Lionel Piyananda Balagalle has spent much of his military career focussed on defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 12:29:21 EST 2001

Photo: Sri Lanka government dismisses rebel ceasefire
Yahoo India, Friday 26, 2001 10:34AM PST . Photo: Sri Lanka government dismisses rebel ceasefire More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 13:36:47 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka government dismisses rebel ceasefire  - Yahoo India

Sri Lanka Rupee Ends Slightly Up On Strong Call Mkt
Yahoo India, January 26. The Sri Lankan rupee ended slightly higher against the U.S. dollar Friday, as a sharply higher interbank call rate discouraged higher dollar bids, traders said. Still, the dollar was well supported at the current level, three days after the central bank decided to free float the local currency, they said. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 12:32:48 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka rupee opens higher, with wide spreads  - Yahoo India
Sri Lankan rupee plunges again  - BBC South Asia

Japan extends loans to help Sri Lanka's blood banks and small businesses, Jan 26 2001 16:42 IST. TOKYO, Jan 26 (AFP) - Japan Bank for International Cooperation said Friday it would extend 6.35 billion yen (54.2 million dollars) in loans to Sri Lanka to improve blood transfusion services and help small businesses. Of the total, 1.51 billion yen will be used to build a national blood transfusion centre and supply equipment and materials to provincial and regional blood banks, the government-financed aid giving agency said. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 08:10:30 EST 2001

Bar association can intervene in deportation case People must be protected from torture: lawyers
National Post, january 25. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the Canadian Bar Association can intervene in a closely watched case that will decide whether the federal government can deport terrorists to countries where they might be tortured. The lawyers' association plans to argue that Manickavasagam Suresh, alleged to be a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, cannot be deported because the country is bound by international conventions against torture. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 12:22:28 EST 2001

Road accidents reduce in Colombo but the deaths increase
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1821 SLT 26.01.01. The Traffic police announced today that number of road accidents in Colombo last year fell slightly but the number of death due to road accidents increased. There were 12750 road accidents in 1999. Last year the number was 12490. However the number of deaths increased from 90 to 112. Most of them were pedestrians. end
Published: Fri Jan 26 07:28:20 EST 2001

INTERVIEW-Sri Lanka looking for niche market tourists
Yahoo India, January 26. Sri Lanka's tourism industry is looking to high-value niche markets to bolster revenues battered by an 18-year ethnic war, the new chairman of the country's tourist board said on Friday. "There's got to be a major repositioning of the industry's strategy that will cater to niche markets," Renton de Alwis told Reuters. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 12:24:25 EST 2001

Republic Day celebrated in Colombo
The Hindu NUS, 18.00 hrs (IST) on January 26, 2001. Colombo, Jan. 26. (UNI): India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopalkrishna Gandhi hoisted the tricolour at India House this morning. After the ceremony, Gandhi read out President K R Narayanan's address to the nation made on the eve of Republic Day. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 12:14:28 EST 2001

US funds Sri Lanka eco tourism guide, Jan 26 2001 15:53 IST. COLOMBO, Jan 26 (AFP) - The United States has funded the publication outlining Sri Lanka's ecological destinations in a bid to boost tourism, the US embassy here said in a statement. The book exploring the potential of this Indian Ocean island republic coincides with a meeting of international travel agents on "adventure travel and eco tourism" on Tuesday, the embassy said. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 08:10:54 EST 2001

Cricket-Heat, pitches and Muralitharan confront England
Yahoo, Friday, January 26 12:00 AM SGT . LONDON (Reuters) - Stifling heat and spiteful pitches form two daunting obstacles for Nasser Hussain's England side on their tour of Sri Lanka starting next week. And exploiting both to the full will be Muttiah Muralitharan, the off-spinning magician who, as Hussain ruefully acknowledges, is the key to the three-test series. "Apart from running up with his mad action and mad eyes and swinging it both ways about six feet, and eight men around the bat jabbering and appealing in 40 degrees heat, there's no problem at all," the England captain said this week. Mingling optimism of the will with pessimism of the intellect, Hussain estimated the Sri Lankan tour would be at least twice as hard as the successful visit to Pakistan. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 08:13:36 EST 2001

Reform deal keeps Sri Lankan coalition safe
MSNBC, 26 January 2001. Sri Lanka said on Friday it would study political reforms demanded by a crucial ally in a move to maintain the minority government's shaky support in parliament.A government statement said President Chandrika Kumaratunga met Rauf Hakeem, leader of the largely Muslim National Unity Alliance, on Tuesday to discuss his demand that the government appoint independent commissions to run elections, the public service and the police. A 100 day deadline given by Hakeem for the government to introduce the reforms law expires on Friday. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 02:08:08 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Muslim minister strikes deal with Kumaratunga  - Times of India

Navy probes million litre oil leak to LTTE
CDN, 26 January 2001. The Navy has launched a full-scale probe into a clandestine operation which is believed to have siphoned off nearly a million litres of bulk fuel to the LTTE during the last 12 months.The Navy investigation followed the discovery of a Sea Tiger flag in a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation bowser on Tuesday at the Galle harbour, naval sources said.The bowser driver had told harbour police and naval investigators that he got the flag from a crewman of a foreign trawler to which he supplied fuel. He also said that he asked for a duster from the crewman, but he explained that he did not realise it was a flag depicting the Tiger emblem.The Naval sources said their scrutiny of past records of fuel purchases at Galle by the trawler owning company have revealed an unusually heavy purchase rate during 2000 and January 2001. More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 02:25:19 EST 2001

Business News From The Sri Lankan Press Friday
Yahoo India, 26 January 2001. Sri Lanka and Norway will sign an agreement to establish a US$1.4 million National Cleaner Production Center in Colombo, reports the Daily News. The center will train and assist industries in the use of environmentally friendly technologies.President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called for an emergency meeting Friday with the government's parliamentary group to discuss the rising cost of living and the effects of this week's free float of the Sri Lankan rupee, says the Daily Mirror More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 02:11:56 EST 2001

12-year-old CEO to join Canada PM on trade trip to China
Yahoo India, Friday 26, 2001 10:29AM PST . # 12-year-old CEO to join Canada PM on trade trip to China LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - The 12-year-old boss of a Web site design company will be one of 300 business and political leaders accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on a trade mission to China next month. Keith Peiris, who founded award-winning Cyberteks Design in June 1999 and now has some 25 clients in North America, insisted in an interview that he is "just like any other kid." But few kids face his decisions, like whether to sell out to U.S. or Hong Kong investors for several million dollars and what to do about would-be clients scared away by his tender years. more... More...
Published: Fri Jan 26 13:30:22 EST 2001

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