The Lanka Academic

MARCH 19, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 347

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
Trial of Tamil rebel leader continues in Lanka
Times of India, 20 March 2001 . A senior police official told a court on Monday how police captured two suspects blamed of involvement in the 1996 bombing of Sri Lanka's Central Bank.Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is the principal accused in the murder trial, where a conviction could reduce the chances of face-to-face peace talks with the illusive leader of the 17-year civil war.If convicted under Sri Lankan law, Prabhakaran, who is also wanted for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, could face a death sentence or a commuted life sentence. Sri Lanka does not carry out executions. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:33:54 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
32 Tiger suspects arrested at Peliyagoda
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Monday March 19. The Peliyagoda police said today that a cordon and search operation conducted last night at 7 p.m. rounded up some 32 Tamils suspected to be affiliated with the LTTE. Arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the police had used some 75 personnel to conduct the operation which lasted two hours.

The Tamil men and women were rounded up in the areas of Biyagama, Kiribathgoda and Peliyagoda. They are all currently being detained at the Peliyagoda police station for further questioning.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:29 EST 2001 Back to the top

Solheim says India has no objection to LTTE-Lankan peace pact
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Monday March 19. Norways special peace envoy Eric Solheim has been quoted as saying that India has not posed any impediment to the peace process in Sri Lanka. Solheim asserts that India in fact has lent its fullest support to the process and helped push the Lankan Government into accepting the terms and conditions laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding which both the Lankan Government and the LTTE need to sign before talks will begin.

Solheim's denial follows after media reports claimed that India had raised objections to certain conditions in the MOU drafted by Norway.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:29 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks to regain lost paradise with battle in the sky, Mar 20 2001 07:06 IST. COLOMBO, March 20 (AFP) - Sri Lanka is struggling to woo foreign pleasure seekers back to its lost paradise, but for the island's battered tourism industry, the real battle is fought in the skies. This small Indian Ocean island was known as "Taprobane" to the Greek seafarers, Arab merchants called it Serendib and for the last British colonial rulers it was Ceylon. From now on it will be "a-land-like-no-other," tourism chiefs hope. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:35:47 EST 2001 Back to the top

Threat to livestock in Sri Lanka minimal
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Monday March 19. The Ministry for Livestock Development and Estate Infrastructure said today that the threat of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease entering Sri Lanka is minimal. The ministry said it was taking every precaution to prevent the disease from being brought into the country and that all visitors from the UK would be throughly screened at the Bandaranaike International Airport before being allowed to enter the city. Any food stuffs they may carry which originate from animals would also be destroyed. The ministry asserts it is determined to prevent the outbreak of a plague imported by human carelessness.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

India's DMK party to protest against Lankan Navy
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Monday March 15. India's DMK party is to hold a protest demonstration outside the deputy Sri Lankan mission tomorrow against the arbitrary attack on Indian fishermen. The youth wing of the DMK maintain that the Lankan Navy shot dead an Indian fisherman and seriously wounded two others last week. The DMK say that the Lankan Navy are acting irresponsibly and totally without conscious and that the shooting could not have been a case of mistaken identity for Tamil rebels.

The Sri Lanka Navy admitted last week that it had by accident killed one Indian fisherman and wounded two when the trawler fishing boat they were in had allegedly strayed into Lanka's northern territorial waters.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops smash Tiger bunkers: military, Mar 19 2001 13:32 IST. Government troops launched a fresh attack against Tamil Tiger guerrillas in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least six rebels and destroying two of their bunkers, the defence ministry said Monday. Troops mounted attacks against the positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Nagarkovil South in the Jaffna peninsula on Saturday, the ministry said. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 08:58:48 EST 2001 Back to the top

24 Journalists killed; 81 Imprisoned Last Year- CPJ
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 19/03/01 2000 GMT. New York based media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today reported that 24 journalists were killed because of their work in 2000. Another 81 were in prison at year's end. In its annual accounting of press freedom conditions around the world, the CPJ documents more than 600 cases of media repression in 131 countries, including assassination, assault, imprisonment, censorship, and bureaucratic harassment.

Of the 24 journalists killed for their work in 2000, at least 16 were murdered. BBC journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan is one of them. "On the night of October 19, a group of unidentified gunmen shot and killed Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, a journalist based in the northern Jaffna peninsula who reported for various news organizations, including the BBC's Tamil- and Sinhala-language services. Nimalarajan was one of the few sources of independent news from Jaffna, a strife-torn area where journalists have rarely been allowed free access. CPJ sources suspected that Nimalarajan's reporting on vote-rigging and intimidation during the recent parliamentary elections in Jaffna led to his murder" the report says.

"Outrageous abuses of the media continue, as governments achieve their repressive goals with more sophisticated techniques of harassment," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. The 500 page CPJ report also carries the following observations on Sri Lanka.

"President Kumaratunga started the year with a three-hour marathon interview on state television in which she launched a bitter, intensely personal diatribe at the private media. Among those singled out for special condemnation were Victor Ivan, editor of the Sinhala-language tabloid Ravaya, and Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of the English-language paper The Sunday Leader."

The report also mentions state media’s tactics to accuse journalists of "maintaining secret connections with the LTTE." They were P.Seevagan, who reports for the BBC's Tamil service, Roy Dinesh, defence correspondent for The Sunday Leader; Saman Wagaarachchi, editor of the Irida Peramuna; and D. Sivaram (alias "Taraki"), an outspoken free-lance columnist. Bomb explosion at the home of Nellai Nadesan, a Batticaloa-based columnist for Virakesari, delays in prosecution of two air force officers who were indicted on charges of unlawful entry, criminal trespass, and criminal intimidation to Iqbal Athas, and dismissal by the court of Appeal an appliction by Sunday Times editor Sinha Ratnatunga, who in 1997 was sentenced to 18 months in prison for criminal defamation are recorded cases of repression by the CPJ.
Published: Mon Mar 19 15:08:34 EST 2001 Back to the top

Kumaratunga criticized for new luxury residence
India Abroad, march 12. Sri Lankas President Chandrika Kumaratunga has come in for sharp criticism from the opposition over the construction of a multimillion rupee luxury official residence using public funds.The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said it was a "sin" that Rs.600 million were being spent on the presidential palace when citizens were asked to tighten their belts. "Nobody would raise a whimper of protest if the president builds a palace for herself from her personal funds," a UNP statement said. "The crime is the construction of a super luxury presidential palace with such a huge amount of public funds at a time when the country and the people are struggling to survive in a very adverse economic environment created by the government itself," it stated.The residential complex coming up at Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the country's administrative capital where the legislature is located, will have ballrooms, banquet halls, a swimming pool and stables, the UNP charged. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 08:58:38 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Opposition slams multi-million mansion for Sri Lankan president  - Yahoo

Ancient Afghanistan, smuggled in pieces
Christian Science Monitor, march 20. Across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban government has destroyed every Buddha it can get its hands on, images it considers idolatrous. Demolition of the massive standing Buddhas of Bamiyan, confirmed by dramatic photographs last week, sent a shock wave through academic and religious circles as these icons of the Afghan Buddhist civilization were consigned to dust. But in Naseer Ahmed's shop in Peshawar's antiques market, relics are still trickling in and finding refuge. Like the displaced Afghans who bring them, Afghanistan's endangered Buddhist and Hellenic statues are coming to Pakistan for shelter and safety - and to be sold. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 16:56:12 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
TV footage shows Taliban destroying Buddha statue  - yahoo

Thondaman's heir comes of age
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, March 20, 2001. COLOMBO, MARCH 19. The agitation in Sri Lanka's tea estates which ended last week in a wage hike for the labourers, has helped the leader of the largest trade union-cum-political party representing the tea workers, Mr. Armugham Thondaman, finally win his political spurs, his supporters said. But political rivals are describing the settlement as ``too little, too late'' and the political mileage Mr. Thondaman might have gained out of this as ``a temporary phenomenon''. Shedding his image of a rake and wastrel who spent more time in Chennai and Singapore than with his constituents, Mr. Thondaman recently staged a 25-day satyagraha at Hatton near Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka, demanding an increase in workers' wages by Rs. 400 ($4.7) a month. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 15:51:23 EST 2001 Back to the top

Kazakhs deport more Sri Lankans on way to Germany
MSNBC, March 19 . Four Sri Lankans who authorities said had hoped to reach Germany have been deported from a city in Kazakhstan that they thought was Moscow, police said on Monday.Kazakh police said the four were arrested without documents during the weekend as they entered Pavloda More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 09:02:14 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Second group of Sri Lankan migrants abandoned in Kazakhstan  -

Sweden funds academic network infrastructure for Lankan universities
CDN, march 19. Local universities will soon be infused with a new level of electronic infrastructure that will put them on par with international network connectivity standards. During the years, 1999 and 2000, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) funded the installation of a high-speed academic and research network infrastructure in Sri Lanka for the benefit of university students, academics and researchers. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 14:03:37 EST 2001 Back to the top

Video reveals extensive damage to giant Afghan Buddhas
CNN, March 18. New video has documented the destruction of the age-old Buddhas at Bamiyan, demolished by Afghanistan's ruling Taleban. CNN obtained the exclusive images from an anonymous eyewitness. They show that the legs have been blown off the massive sandstone Buddhas, which were carved from a cliff overlooking the Afghan desert in the third and fifth centuries A.D. Extensive damage has been done to the head and torso of the figures as well. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 15:09:16 EST 2001 Back to the top

Lanka police bust plot to kill top politician
Times of India (Breaking News), march 18. Police said Monday they broke up a plot by Tamil Tiger rebels to assassinate a top moderate Tamil politician who also heads the country's biggest labour union.Joseph Selvaratnam, 24, was assigned by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist guerrilla group, to assassinate Arunmugam Thondaman, who is also a government minister in President Chandrika Kumaratunga's administration, said Deputy Inspector General of Police Nimal Mediweka. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 23:35:45 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Tigers plot to kill Tamil minister: Lankan police  - India Abroad
Plot to assassinate Thondaman unearthed  - The Hindu

Canada closes door to terrorist fund raising
The Island, Sunday March 18, 2001 15:53 PST. OTTAWA - Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay and Minister of National Revenue Martin Cauchon said last week that proposed legislation introduced in the House of Commons will close one path of terrorist fund-raising and help preserve the integrity of Canada's charities registration system by preventing groups with terrorist affiliations from obtaining registered charity status. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 18:58:03 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks to rebuild Bamiyan Buddhas from rubble
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, March 18. SRI LANKA is seeking to buy the rubble and any remains of the Bamiyan Buddha statues destroyed by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers in a bid to rebuild them, an official here said todya. Sri Lanka, the seat of Theravada Buddhism, had earlier offered to finance an international operation to save the two statues which date back more than 1,500 years. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 14:15:16 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka bids to rebuild Bamiyan Buddha statues from rubble  -

Thilan Wijesinghe faces probe
Sunday Times , march 18. Board of Investment Chairman Thilan Wijesinghe will appear before the Bribery and Corruption Commission, The Sunday Times learns. Mr. Wijesinghe has been summoned before the commission following a complaint made against him. He was due to appear last week, but sought a postponement. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 21:06:55 EST 2001 Back to the top

'Actual budget deficits 25%-30% higher than projected figures'
The Island , Sunday 18th, 2001 16:14 PST . The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) welcomes the vision 2001 statement in the budget, a press release said. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 19:18:41 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tigers shift London lair to Lanka
India Abroad, March 18, 2001 14:30 Hrs (IST) . The Tamil Tiger separatist group has begun to feel the bite of a British ban on its activities and has shifted its London-based international office back to Sri Lanka. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have re-located their secretariat to the north central Wanni district, a part of which is controlled by the rebels, the Sunday Leader newspaper said quoting informed sources. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 14:17:11 EST 2001 Back to the top

India has no objections to LTTE-Lanka pact: Solheim
yahoo, march 18. Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim has said India is "fully supportive and appreciative" of the Oslo-brokered Lankan peace efforts, effectively putting at rest the recent media reports that New Delhi is impeding the peace talks. "They are all rumours. There has been no such objection from India, which is fully supportive and appreciative of my efforts" Solheim said in an exclusive interview from Oslo to the London representative of independent Tamil daily, 'Thinakkural', published in its edition on Sunday. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 09:06:56 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway peace envoy set for talks with Tamil Tiger supremo  -

Sri Lanka looks to Pakistan after burning fingers with India
123India, march 18. Sri Lanka is turning to Pakistan to boost exports after burning its fingers on a trade pact with India. The misleadingly-titled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka marks its full year of implementation this month with many Sri Lankan businesses bitter they had been taken for a ride.The deal with New Delhi was to dismantle barriers, but instead it saw new obstacles in place. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 14:23:15 EST 2001 Back to the top

Vengaboys throw tantrums in Lanka
India Abroad, sunday march 18,2001 15:43 PST. THE Vengaboys, heartthrobs of thousands of Sri Lankan pop music fans, threw a tantrum as they landed here, refusing to stay at the Indian-managed Taj Samudra and demanding luxury suites at the pricey Colombo Hilton. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 18:48:43 EST 2001 Back to the top

Madhu statue taken from North to South
Sunday Observer, 18 March 2001. The laymen, and priests of the Archdiocese of Colombo will for the first time receive the hallowed and venerated historical statue of Our Lady of Marudha Madhu, the Queen of Peace , the pride of the North and East,on Monday, March 19 at the Negombo- Kochchikade Bridge from the diocese of Chilaw in the Puttalam district. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 03:59:11 EST 2001 Back to the top

DMK youth wing to protest firing
ChennaiOnline, march 18. The DMK youth wing volunteers will stage a demonstration in front of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission here on March 20 to protest against “the continuing unprovoked and wanton attacks” on Indian fishermen by the Lankan navy. More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 14:31:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

Lankan press rips home team for Test loss
Times of India (Breaking News), Sunday . Sri Lankan newspapers on Sunday ripped the national cricket lineup for its defeat to England in the first ever test series between the two nations."Shock and shame," reported the Sunday Times, an independent English language newspaper. "Sri Lanka crash to disgraceful defeat." More...
Published: Sun Mar 18 14:13:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

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