The Lanka Academic

MARCH 14, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 342

F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Growing number of mentally ill linked to ongoing war
India Abroad, Wednesday, 134 March. SRI Lanka's protracted anti-separatist war is one of the leading causes for the rise in the number of mentally ill young people, officials of a leading mental health organization said Wednesday.One in eight Sri Lankans has some form of mental illness, debilitating enough to prompt sufferers to seek psychiatric help, said Leslie Rajakaruna of Sahanaya, a non-governmental organization.The statistic is well above the world average of one mentally ill patient in ten, said Rajakaruna. Sri Lanka already has the distinction of having the highest suicide rate in the world. Army rehabilitation officials recently said there was increasing concern over the large number of depressed and psychologically-impaired among the over 9,000 servicemen who had been injured in the government's war against Tamil separatists. Rajakaruna told IANS that many of the afflicted are between 15 and 35 years and the commonest illness. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:39:34 EST 2001
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War driving more Sri Lankans to suicide  -

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Schroeder pushes investment in Sri Lanka, Mar 14 2001 20:44 IST. BERLIN, March 14 (AFP) - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday encouraged German businesses to invest in Sri Lanka following talks here with visiting President Chandrika Kumaratunga. "I want to stress that, in light of President Kamaratunga's policies, I don't think one needs to be especially concerned about the security of German investments in Sri Lanka," Schroeder said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:38:25 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Schroeder Meets Sri Lanka Pres, Vows Action On Terrorism  - Yahoo India

Lankan panel to probe multi-million dollar defence deals
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, March 14. SRI LANKA'S Bribery Commission would probe shady defence deals running into millions of dollars, Minister for Justice Batty Weerakoon told the Hindustan Times here today. Mr Weerakoon had startled Parliament on Tuesday by revealing that he suspected corruption at "high levels" in defence deals. He had quoted the Indian High Commissioner Gopalkrishna Gandhi as saying that there was no defence deal which was clean. The opposition United National Party MPs clamoured for more information, and asked if any ministers were involved, pointing out that last year alone SLRs 40 billion worth of military hardware was bought and this year a purchase of SLRs 60 billion was planned. They asked for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the deals. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:40:39 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka opposition demands arms graft probe  - Yahoo India

Ranatunga Brothers Warned not to Intimidate Witnesses
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 14/03/01 1845 GMT. Sri Lanka’s cricket hero Arjuna Ranatunga and his politician brother Prasannna have been warned by a Colombo judge not to attempt to intervene investigations by intimidating witnesses. Ranatunga brothers and four members of their household staff today appeared before the Colombo Magistrate Kusala Weerawardhana to answer the charges that they brutally assaulted school boys of Maradana Asoka Vidyalaya.

Two people were identified as the attackers in the identification parade while Western Provincial Councilor Prasanna Ranatunga, who was reported to be sick and came to the hearing on an air-conditioned ambulance, has been seen walking without a sign of illness after the magistrate ordered bail for him and other four accused.

Arjuna was earlier released on bail when he surrendered to the authorities on his return from Kenya where he took part in a charity match in aid of Gujarat earthquake victims.

Though Ranatunga brothers or the staff have not been charged for carrying or handling firearms, the schoolchildren had identified a man called Prasanna Gunasekara as the person fired in the air and assaulted them. He was remanded till March 21 by the magistrate. SLBC freelance journalist K.S. Udayakumar told BBC’s Sandeshaya that the magistrate warned both parties to maintain peace and not to attempt to influence witnesses. " You should maintain peace; otherwise those who break the peace will be remanded," magistrate Weerawardhana said.
Published: Wed Mar 14 13:42:18 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan PM offers to purchase historic artifacts from Taliban, Mar 14 2001 18:10 IST. ISLAMABAD, March 14 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Wednesday offered to purchase whatever historic artefacts are left in Afghanistan, a Sri Lankan diplomat said. Wickremanayake conveyed the proposal during a 40-minute meeting with Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef in Islamabad, they said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 08:43:55 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka, Pakistan to discuss Afghan statues  - MSNBC

Security forces attack bunker at Welioya
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. A report from the Special Media Information Center said today that troops had attacked a terrorist bunker nine kilometers north of Welioya yesterday. The troops had engaged the rebels with small arms fire and mortar attack and the rebels had fled the area together with their casualties. One Tiger cadre is reported to have been killed in the attack.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:46 EST 2001 Back to the top

Singapore Bans Two Tamil Tiger Fund Raisers
Yahoo India, Wednesday, 14 March. Two people have been banned from Singapore and a third is under tight restrictions after using the city-state as a base to raise funds and goods for the separatist Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka, the government said Wednesday. The three were among 13 people in Singapore found to be helping the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. "The clandestine network was involved in covert fund-raising and procurement activities in support of the LTTE," the statement said. Singapore's Internal Security Department cracked the Tamil Tiger aid ring in an operation late last year, the statement added. The ministry said the action wasn't taken in response to any request by, or in coordination with, any foreign government. The statement didn't give the identities, nationalities or whereabouts of the two people banned from Singapore. The leader of the group, who is a Singapore resident, has had tight restrictions placed on his movements in and out of the country, the ministry's statement said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 08:45:08 EST 2001 Back to the top

Govt finds no fault with LTTE's Eelam concept
Times of India, 15 March 2001. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has said it is not disappointed at LTTE not dropping the demand for a Tamil homeland prior to peace talks as it is only the "recognition of a concept" and not a separatist claim. "You cannot expect the LTTE to publicly state that they have abandoned their idea of a separate state. The homeland question is not for a separate state. It is more of a recognition of a concept," Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told the state-owned Daily News. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 20:08:45 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Lanka Govt not disappointed at LTTE sticking to homeland claim  - Yahoo India

Eastern teachers threaten hunger strike
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. Teachers from the Patirappuwa College in Batticaloa have threatened a one day token hunger strike if they are not paid their promised allowances when they served as duty officers during the last general election. The education department says the matter is being looked into but that the money has to come from the Elections Department. The teachers have stated that if the money is not paid by the 15th of this month they will launch a hunger strike.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:45 EST 2001 Back to the top

Amnesty call for deserters extended
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. The military has extended the amnesty for all army deserters until 12 midnight today. Military Spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said no disciplinary action will be taken against army personnel who report back for duty. He said they would also be promoted in due course after receiving the relevant training. Presently, over 10,000 men are reported to have absconded from their military duties in the Army.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:44 EST 2001 Back to the top

UN to meet OIC to protect remaining Afghan statues
TOI, 14 March 2001. PARIS: The director general of UNESCO was to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday with members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to try to find a way to save Afghanistan's remaining statues, a statement from the agency said. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia have already destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, two huge pre-Islamic monuments, after branding them false idols. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:35:01 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka protesters denounce Afghan statue smashing  - Yahoo India
Buddhist protest march in Colombo  - The Hindu (International)
Sri Lankan monks protest  - BBC South Asia

Taliban expel BBC for criticism of destruction
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. KABUL (Reuters) - The ruling Taliban expelled the British Broadcasting Corporation from Afghanistan on Wednesday for transmitting criticism of the group's destruction of all ancient statues, including two of the Buddha in Bamiyan.While much of the country's pre-Islamic heritage has been destroyed, Taliban officials continued to offer conflicting versions of the fate of the giant Buddhas, Afghanistan's most famous archaeological treasure. A Pakistan-based Afghan news service quoted Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal as saying no trace of the Buddhas remained while Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil told reporters in Kabul the demolition continued. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:45:08 EST 2001 Back to the top

Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. CRICKET, it appears, is a great leveller not just for match-fixing by different players in different nations and making money through foul means, but also in earning revenue for countries where the game is played. Notwithstanding the injustice of a few getting richer through quick money and the criminal wastage of time by hysteric fans, cricket brings unsolicited but the much needed foreign exchange with thousands travelling long distances and staying in countries they would not visit otherwise.t is time tourism turned into a movement if not a revolution of the Industrial, Green or the White kind. For the tiny island-nation Sri Lanka, cricket-tourism revenues seem considerable. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 19:14:16 EST 2001 Back to the top

Breakthrough in probe into bid on Chandrika's life
Times of India (Breaking News), 14 March 2001. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police has claimed a breakthrough in investigation into the December, 1999 attempt to assassinate president Chandrika Kumaratunga after an LTTE suspect confessed to being the stand-by suicide bomber if the woman assigned the job failed, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:39:49 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Power Min Names New Electricity Board Chairman
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. Sri Lanka's Power and Energy Ministry has appointed K.L. Ariyananda as the new chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board, a ministry official said Wednesday. He said the new chairman will take up his post within the next few weeks. Ariyananda has succeeded Arjun Deraniyagala, who resigned from the post last week, citing health reasons and family commitments. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:46:57 EST 2001 Back to the top

Defence scam virus infects Sri Lanka too !, 14th Mar 2001 17.01 IST . Even as Indian Parliament was rocked by kickbacks over defence deals, a Sri Lankan Minister dropped a bombshell in Parliament by admitting there was corruption at the highest administrative levels in the multi-million dollar purchase of arms. Speaking during the budget debate Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon said in Colombo on Tuesday that his comment was made in the context of a discussion with a diplomat who maintained that no arms deal was ever clean. . More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:38:23 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Batty says corruption in arms deals exist, UNP wants probe  - Island

Sri Lanka Tea Protest Continues But Min Not Quitting Govt
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. COLOMBO (AP)--Tea workers continued their two-week-old slowdown in Sri Lanka but a senior Cabinet minister who had threatened to quit over their wage hike demands said Wednesday he would instead stay and pressure the government. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:42:37 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka tea workers' dispute threatens coalition  - MSNBC

Chemmani case put off
Island, 14 March 2001. The Chemmani mass graves case was yesterday put off for May 15, when it was bought before the Magistrates courts. Four suspects in the case were earlier given bail, while a fifth was believed to have slipped out of the country.The CID said that more time was required as it was difficult to conduct investigations under the tense circumstances in Jaffna. Skeletal remains that were found at the Chemmani graves are awaiting to undergo DNA testing. The CID said that tenders have been called from laboratories in the UK but money has not been allocated by the Ministry of Defence for this purpose. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 22:27:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

ICC chief wants upgrading referees and umpires
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. MELBOURNE, Australia, March 14 (AFP) - Cricket's most senior administrator has called for the old boys' network of appointing match referees to be abolished and the installation of a new, full-time, professional umpires panel. International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray made an attack on all of cricket's on-field personnel Wednesday, describing the behaviour of some players as "inexcusable" and calling for greater control to be exerted over them. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:56:42 EST 2001 Back to the top
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MCC cure for umpiring ills  - Yahoo India
Cricket: Jayasuriya Calls for International Umpires  - Saroj Pathirana in London

Budget Puts War Burden On Masses- NLF
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 13/03/01 1815 GMT. Total load of the civil war in Sri Lanka is placed on the workers’ shoulders, the New Left Front (NLF) says. Appealing to all democratic forces to get together and oppose this budget, the NLF says that the government’s crisis is totally placed on the working masses.

"State sector workers will be thoroughly disappointed by the proposals to cut drastically all expenditures in ministries, departments and other government organisations. This will certainly push the state sector workers to join hand with the struggle of the estate workers. Island wide general strike may be the outcome of this budget." A statement issued by a member of Presidium Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathne states.

The government, while encouraging foreign investors, does not make any attempt to attract local investors, the NLF claims. "It is unfortunate that the parliamentary opposition including the JVP is in full support of the military repressive policies of the government. Hence the government shamelessly claim that all these cuts are necessary for the continuation of the war. An opposition, that approves the repressive militaristic policies of the government, has not got the guts to lead the toiling masses in this crisis situation."
Published: Tue Mar 13 13:20:24 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka police battle to save suicide bomber
MSNBC, 13 March 2001. Sri Lankan police and doctors were battling to save the life of a Tamil rebel suicide bomber on Tuesday after he swallowed two cyanide capsules. Police said X-rays showed the glass capsules were intact in his stomach after he had swallowed them on Monday to try to avoid arrest. ''We are doing everything we can to save his life after he did everything he could to die,'' Senior Superintendent of Police W. Dayaratne told Reuters. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 07:12:00 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Lanka police nab suspected Tiger suicide bomber  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka grills would-be suicide bomber  -

Sri Lanka doctors strike after Tamil strike, Mar 13 2001 14:46 IST. COLOMBO, March 13 (AFP) - Doctors in state hospitals in Sri Lanka's embattled north-east staged a one-day strike Tuesday, demanding safer working conditions after a medical officer died in a Tamil rebel mine attack. The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said their members in the north-eastern province struck to press authorities into providing better transport and to pay them a risk allowance. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 07:05:24 EST 2001 Back to the top

Lanka under-utilises valuable foreign aid
The Hindustan Times, Colombo March 13. SRI LANKA is heavily dependent on foreign aid to finance its capital expenditure every year, but the utilisation of such aid is poor, according to the well-known economist Dr JB Kalegama. Between 1995 and 1999, foreign aid in the form of loans and grants amounted to SLRs 125.5 billion, but only SLRs 90.9 billion i.e. 28 per cent was used, less than what should have been used. According to Dr.Kalegama, the reasons for the under-utilisation are delays in the execution of public capital intensive projects. Apart from routine bureaucratic delays, tenders are awarded to unsuitable but politically well-connected parties. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 17:15:12 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan PM in Pakistan for talks on Afghan statues destruction, Mar 13 2001 21:59 IST. ISLAMABAD, March 13 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake arrived Tuesday for talks with Pakistani leaders on the Taliban regime's destruction of Buddha statues in Afghanistan, officials said. Minister for tourism and culture S.K. Tressler received Wickremanayake who will meet military ruler General Pervez Musharraf and President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar, they said. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 13:09:54 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Lankan PM heads to Pakistan to lobby for Buddhas  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka PM heads to Pakistan to lobby for Bamiyan Buddhas  -

Sri Lankan president optimistic for peace, Mar 13 2001 21:54 IST. BERLIN, March 13 (AFP) - Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said Tuesday on a visit to Germany that she was confident her country's bloody conflict with separatist guerrillas could be resolved. Following a meeting with German industrial leaders in Berlin, Kamaratunga told reporters that Tamil separatists who have led a violent revolutionary campaign against the government had a "positive reaction" to overtures for talks by her administration. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 13:10:22 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka busts suicide bombing cell: police, Mar 13 2001 11:05 IST. COLOMBO, March 13 (AFP) - Sri Lanka police have uncovered a cell operated by Tamil Tiger guerrillas as a key transit point for their suicide bombings in the capital Colombo, police here said Tuesday. A woman and three men were arrested in a raid late Monday at the Dehiwala suburb of the capital, police said, adding that they found plastic explosives and a jacket similar to the type usually worn by suicide bombers. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 03:42:02 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka Police Find Lair Used In Attack On Kumaratunga  - Yahoo India

Row over new Sri Lankan presidential palace
The Hindu (International), Wednesday, March 14, 2001. COLOMBO, MARCH 13. A proposed Rs.1.7 billion ``palace'' outside the capital for the Sri Lankan President promises to rid the island's only big city of its oppressive security, but the plan has come in for criticism from the Opposition. The United National Party today demanded that construction of the complex, which is in its initial stages, be stopped immediately. ``While the country is undergoing serious economic difficulties and the Government is asking others to make sacrifices, the President is making a palace for her own sake,'' said the party spokesman, Mr Karunasena Koditawakku. The complex, comprising a residence, the presidential secretariat and premises for security personnel, will be located 15 km outside the capital and is near Parliament. Like the parliamentary complex, it is designed by the internationally- renowned Sri Lankan architect, Mr. Geoffrey Bawa. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 17:21:20 EST 2001 Back to the top

Long march from troopers to taxi drivers and tailors
India Abroad, Tuesday, 13 March. LIKE other three-wheeler cabdrivers, Prabath Ranasinghe has to keep his vehicle in good repair. But, as a war veteran with one leg blown off by a landmine, Ranasinghe has to pay greater attention to keeping his artificial limb in working order. He visited the Sri Lanka Army's rehabilitation unit to get a replacement for his local-made right artificial leg so he can pound the brake pedal a little more forcefully. "The limb I have is worn out and I need another one," said Ranasinghe, 30, who was discharged five years ago after his 1991 injury. "I have a spare but this design is more durable than the other imported one the Army gives," he explained. Plying his taxi brings in about Rs.700 a day and the ex-soldier comfortably maintains his wife and himself with that and his army pay and allowances. Ranasinghe has now joined a throng of soldiers outside the rehabilitation office, most on crutches and the rest walking with faltering steps, who came to sign up for a tailoring course. Success at getting through could see them employed at "Ranaviru (brave soldiers) Apparels", the garment factory in Yakkala manned entirely by disabled soldiers. About three quarters of the force's uniforms are sewn by them. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 03:44:25 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tea, Rubber Trade Ring Alarm Bells Over Strike
Yahoo India, 13 March 2001. COLOMBO (Dow Jones)--Sri Lanka's tea and rubber export sector will lose key markets if a long-drawn protest by estate workers isn't resolved soon, industry officials said Tuesday. Around 300,000 tea and rubber estate workers have engaged in demonstrations and prayer meetings since Feb. 21, demanding a monthly allowance of 400 Sri Lankan rupees ($1=LKR86.45) that the government has approved for other public sector employees. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 07:27:00 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sports hangover of the English
CDN, 14 March 2001. The second cricket test is over. Good grief! Radios at full blast and TVs working overtime. You phone a friend of yours. He immediately blasts your ear - "What a Blunder! Where do they dig these umpires up from?" Before you could tell him why you rang him up, the phone goes down & your poor friend goes back to his obsessive misery in front of his T.V. set.I blame you English chaps for this colonial legacy. We have gone overboard on Cricket and so have our neighbours - India & Pakistan. But even cricket has not been an unifying force between these two countries. I continue to digress. You English commentators keep on emphasizing that the Sri Lankan team makes frivolous appeals, but I think they have taken a leaf out of the English and Australian teams' books. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 22:39:30 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Cricket-Controversial umpire Cooray not dumped for decider  - Yahoo India
Cricket umpires fell for "English bluff": report  - Yahoo India

Cricket-Jayasuriya re-invents himself again
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. Sanath Jayasuriya has spent much of a remarkable career re-inventing his cricket persona. A useful slow left-arm bowler who batted a bit, he then became an explosive one-day batsman, then a fully-fledged test opener, who bowled a bit. Against England in the current test series, he has become a strike bowler who barely bats at all. The Sri Lankan captain, spearing the ball into the leg stump, has taken 12 wickets to date, eight of them coming in the innings-and-28-runs victory in the first test in Galle. No other player on either side has bettered his total. More...
Published: Tue Mar 13 22:04:54 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Hussain fit for Sri Lankan showdown  - BBC South Asia

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