The Lanka Academic

MARCH 23, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 351

Headline Summary
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
Lankan court summons top official on bribery charge
Times of India (Breaking News), Friday . 23 March 2001 A court asked a top government official on Friday to appear before it after the Bribery and Corruption Commission said he was avoiding questioning over a bribery allegation.The independent commission began investigating Thilan Wijesinghe, chairman of the Board of Investment, after a foreign investor alleged that he demanded money for approving a project.The commission told Colombo Magistrate A. Heiyanthuduwa that Wijesinghe "deliberately ignored their repeated requests" to appear before them.Wijesinghe reports directly to President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He enjoys sweeping powers to overrule city laws, customs rulings and tax department decisions to help foreign investors. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 15:30:00 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's top foreign investment official faces bribery charge  -

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Thilan Wijesinghe files fundamental rights application
CDN, march 24. The Supreme Court yesterday gave time till April 4, 2001 to the Bribery Commission and directed it to ascertain and intimate to court whether it would duly release specimen handwritings of the petitioner to the Examiner of Questioned Documents (EQD) for re-evaluation and clarify the position with regard to the possibility of an arrest of the petitioner till the conclusion of the inquiry when a rights application by Thilan Wijesinghe was taken up before court. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 18:37:47 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tigers threaten to attack Colombo if truce not reciprocated
India Abroad, March 23, 2001 11:30 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have hinted strongly that they could resume attacks on the island's capital and outside of the Jaffna peninsula if the government keeps up military action against them.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced an extension of the unilateral ceasefire by another month while issuing a stern reminder that Colombo was "relatively peaceful" because of the rebels' restraint. It is because of our strict observance of the ceasefire there is relative peace and stability in the capital and in the Sinhala south," the LTTE said in a statement. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 08:59:33 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka trooper, Tiger killed in battle for gun, Mar 23 2001 15:30 IST. A suspected Tamil Tiger rebel grabbed the gun of an army soldier and shot him dead only to be gunned down by another trooper in eastern Sri Lanka Friday, officials said. Two soldiers had arrested the man and were taking him to the Kiran army camp when he grabbed the gun and shot dead one soldier, military spokesman brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 09:01:17 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tigers take farmers hostage a day after truce extension in Sri Lanka, Mar 23 2001 13:31 IST. Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels abducted at least 10 farmers in eastern Sri Lanka Friday, a day after extending their unilateral truce by a further month, police said. Gunmen of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ambushed the farmers who were travelling on a tractor trailer in the Potuvil area, police said adding that an investigation was underway. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 09:01:57 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE takes 10 farmers hostage after extending truce  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Cong. to campaign for PMK
The Hindu, Saturday, March 24, 2001. CHENNAI, MARCH 23. Dumping its ``concerns and reservations'' over the pro-LTTE Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress today declared that it would ``whole-heartedly'' work for the victory of PMK candidates in the coming Assembly elections in the State. The Tamil Nadu Congress president, Mr. E.V.K.S. Elangovan, who till recently was demanding a ban on the PMK for its ``brazen support'' to the LTTE, told presspersons here, ``We will share a platform with PMK leaders and whole-heartedly work for the victory of their candidates.'' More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 15:55:36 EST 2001 Back to the top

Mass recruitment in Sri Lanka for Singapore jobs, Mar 23 2001 15:40 IST. Singapore job agents carried out a mass recruitment drive in Sri Lanka for housemaids and have entered into a deal with local counterparts to increase co-operation, officials here said Friday. More than 100 women were recruited on Thursday as housemaids to work in Singaporean homes, a spokesman for Sri Lanka's Foreign Employment Bureau, L. K. Rahunage, said. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 09:02:35 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan housemaids seek fortunes in Singapore  - India Abroad

Controversy over presidential palace in Kotte
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.10 p.m. SLT Thursday March 22 . A massive controversy is evolving over the construction of a new presidential palace in Madiwela, Kotte. The palace estimated to cost some Rs. 2.5 billion has raised a storm of protest. Residents in area complain that the construction of the palace will seriously hinder their movements as already roads in and around the area are closed by 9 p.m. everyday. Access to the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital is also barred after 9 p.m. and patients are forced to used a longer route to get to the hospital.

Recently, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne of the UNP challenged Urban Development Minister Mangala Samaraweera, to a 'live' television debate on the costing and construction details of the palace. The minister has responded by requesting the opposition leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe to take part in the debate. The UNP have refused saying they will nominate a suitable MP to challenge the minister and that Wickremasinghe will debate only with the president herself.

Meanwhile fresh details released on the palace reveal that it will cost 17 times more than the White House did when it was built. One square foot at the presidential palace in Kotte is estimated to cost a stunning Rs. 46,587/- (USD 533). A super luxury house in Sri Lanka is usually priced at Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2,500/- per square foot.

Samaraweera has revealed that the new home for the president would consist of 12,879 square feet and will cost approximately Rs. 600 million. The private dwellings for the president will have five bedrooms, two living rooms, a dining room, a library a kitchen, a banquet hall and conference rooms including a swimming pool.

Samaraweera claims that reports that imported luxury items were being ordered for the palace are completely false. His statement is somewhat negated by the fact that a palace costing over Rs. 46,000/- per square foot must indeed possess luxurious fittings imported or otherwise.

A leading architect who asked to remain anonymous said he doubts very much that a house estimated to cost Rs. 46,587 per square foot could be built using local fittings. Even a house estimated at Rs. 10 million he pointed out would not opt for Lanka ceramic fittings and wall tiles. The more obvious choice he said would be to buy Italian fittings.

The Presidential Secretariat also to be located in a separate building on the same site according to Minister Samaraweera will cost Rs. 875 million for 170,000 square feet. This indicates that the secretariat has been estimated at a rate of Rs. 5,147/- per square foot despite it being much larger in extent than the proposed private residence of the president.

The building to accommodate members from the presidential security division will cost Rs. 325 million for 75,000 square feet. In stark contrast to the costing per square foot for the president's private dwelling and the presidential secretariat this area will cost only Rs. 4,333/- per square foot.

The President's henchmen have been told not to divulge to the nation the true details of the palatial complex spread on 13 acres of land that will cost the country the princely sum of Rs. 2.5 billion upon completion.

'Mum' is the key word as a 13-foot high fence runs about three miles around the complex, forbidding trespassers to enter or even onlookers to peek. The PSD are so diligent in keeping the ongoing work a secret that a 17 year old youth was on one instance arrested and hauled to the Mirihana police station where he was kept locked in a cell for two days. His crime being that he entered the future presidential complex to retrieve a kite that had blown into the high security den.

Children who live in the area and are spotted peeking into the complex are chased by beefy looking security personnel.
Published: Thu Mar 22 07:34:43 EST 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Prove Presidential Palace costs Rs. 46,487 per sq. foot, Iíll quit, says Mangala  - Island

Asian Bank programme for Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Friday, 23 March, 2001, 14:45 GMT . The Asian Development Bank says aid donors will have a major role to play when Sri Lanka's civil war finally ends, as massive assistance will be required. Bank officials said that planning for a post-war Europe had begun two years before the Second World War ended, so now was the time to begin work on Sri Lanka, even though there seemed to be no end in sight yet. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 10:39:26 EST 2001 Back to the top

Lanka steps up air strikes after sea battle
India Abroad, 22 March. AIR force jets pounded suspected Tamil Tiger positions in eastern Sri Lanka Thursday even as search operations continued for seven sailors missing after a major sea battle with the rebels Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 19:12:31 EST 2001 Back to the top

Mir Splashdown
CNN, March 22, 2001. MOSCOW, Russia -- After serving more than 15 years of orbiting the heavens, Mir made its last laps around the Earth on Thursday as Russian mission controllers took steps to ditch the defunct space station in the Pacific Ocean. Splashdown should take place approximately 9:45 a.m. Moscow time (March 23, 1:45 a.m. EST/12:45pm SLT), according to Mission Control. More... [Live Webcast] To see the location of Mir, click on the "Where is Mir today?" under "Weather Central" on the left column. After nearly 1 year, we will remove this link after the demise of Mir.
Published: Thu Mar 22 20:37:46 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka cruise to win
BBC South Asia, Friday, 23 March, 2001, 11:51 GMT . A partnership of 70 between Marvan Atapattu and Russel Arnold took Sri Lanka to a five-wicket victory in the opening one-dayer at Dambulla on Friday. More...
Published: Fri Mar 23 08:59:20 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan spinners dismiss England for 143  - Times of India (Breaking News)

LTTE extends ceasefire
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5 p.m. SLT Thursday March 22. The LTTE today extended its three month ceasefire to April 24, 2001. The LTTE however have warned that it will resume military operations if the government continues with its military offensives in the countries north and east. The Tigers maintain that they have not launched any attacks on the military during the truce period.

The LTTE statement belies the fact that the military claim two Dvora style naval gunboats were attacked by the LTTE off the coast of Mullaitivu yesterday killing at least eleven sailors while another seven are still missing.

The Tigers meanwhile say that 133 of its cadres have been killed during the three month ceasefire by government troops.

"The LTTE leadership has decided to extend its self-imposed truce for another month to help generate a congenial atmosphere of peace and to provide further time and space for the Norwegian facilitatory efforts to bring the parties in conflict to the negotiating table. Our decision to cease all armed hostilities for a further period of time was taken in recognition of the collective aspirations of our people for peace, normalisation of civilian life and negotiations on the basis of self-determination", the LTTE's statement declared.

The LTTE has also expressed serious reservations over the foreign policy determinations of the international community particularly the United States, Britain, European nations and India towards the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. "By supporting Sri Lanka with financial and military assistance and by condemning and criminalising the Tamil struggle as a phenomenon of 'international terrorism' these international governments are not in any way contributing to the promotion of peace and enthnic reconciliation in the island but rather encourage the hardline militaristic approach of a repressive racist regime against the aggrieved and oppressed Tamil nation," the statement concluded.
Published: Thu Mar 22 07:34:43 EST 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Tigers extend truce with warning to Sri Lanka  -

Taliban blames the West for Bamian destruction
San Jose Mercury News, Thursday, March 22, 2001. WASHINGTON -- Stung by international criticism of its destruction of ancient statues of Buddha, Afghanistan's Taliban government sent a special envoy to Washington on Wednesday to negotiate with the Bush administration about ending the country's economic isolation. In an interview with the Mercury News Washington Bureau, Taliban envoy Sayed Rahmatullah Hashimi said the Taliban is willing to discuss the fate of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi Arabian millionaire who is living in Afghanistan and who U.S. officials say is a leading sponsor of terrorism. Hashimi accused the United States and other Western countries of creating the situation that led to the statues' destruction. He said the Taliban had protected them, as well as many other Hindu and Buddhist treasures, until a Western delegation visited the site this year, proposing repairs. The Islamic authorities ``asked them to provide food instead for the children in the area who are dying of malnutrition. They refused,'' Hashimi said. ``They said the money was for the statues alone, not for children.'' The response so angered the authorities that they ordered the statues destroyed, he said. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 12:32:46 EST 2001 Back to the top

Three top LTTE cadres killed yesterday in sea battle
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8 a.m. SLT Thursday March 22. Defence ministry sources said that three top rung LTTE cadres were killed in yesterday's sea battle with the Navy off the coast of Mullaitivu. The Defence ministry also claims that in addition, another 15 rebels were killed in ensuing gun battles at Mullaitivu and another 15 injured. The military base their claims on intercepted Tiger radio transmissions.

The attack was initiated by the LTTE, who sank a naval gun boat killing at least eleven sailors at around 6 a.m. last morning. Twelve sailors were later rescued, while another seven remain missing in action.

The LTTE are reported to have its strongest Sea Tiger base at Mullaitivu.

The government has pointed out that the LTTE attack was made on the Navy while the Tigers claim to be observing a unilateral ceasefire which has not been reciprocated by State troops.
Published: Thu Mar 22 07:34:42 EST 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
15 LTTE cadres killed  -

DMK demo is a poll-eve stunt, says Jayalalitha
The Hindu (Southern States), Friday, March 23, 2001. The AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalitha, today blamed the indifference on the part of Coast Guard personnel and the Karunanidhi Government for the firing on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. In a statement, she said the Sri Lankan Navy had indiscriminately fired at AIADMK fishermen cadres in Nagoor. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 16:14:43 EST 2001 Back to the top

Government negotiating more jobs in Saudi Arabia
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1627 SLT 22.03.2001. The government is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to open more employment opportunities for Sri Lankans. Labour Minister Alavi Maulana told parliament that his ministry has held a series of discussions with Saudi officials in this regard. He said a recent survey has revealed that there were plenty of vacancies in Saudi Arabia in the fields of construction,civil engineering and health. end
Published: Thu Mar 22 05:52:07 EST 2001 Back to the top

Education Minister says no more International Schools
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1530 SLT 22.03.2001. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told parliament today that his ministry will not permit new International Schools to be set up in the country. In a stunning turn around in the Government's recently announced education policy the Minister said students attending such schools would not be eligible to enter Sri Lankan universities. Earlier the Secretary to the Ministry Dr.Tara De Mel had announced that it would encourage private education institutions and the cabinet approved legislation to this effect. Dr.De Mel, a close friend of President Kumaratunga has been promoting the establishment of private schools and her appointment as Education Secretary after last year's General Elections was seen as a ploy by the President to push through the project despite widespread opposition within and outside government. end
Published: Thu Mar 22 04:53:33 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tigers show shift from London after British ban, Mar 22 2001 18:30 IST. COLOMBO, March 22 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas Thursday removed London as their international postal address after Britain proscribed them as a "foreign terrorist organisation." The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) marked the rebel-held northern Wanni region as their "international secretariat's" new address in a statement extending a unilateral truce by a further month. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 08:39:25 EST 2001 Back to the top

Missing croc, dead elephant spark mystery at Sri Lanka zoo, Mar 22 2001 15:52 IST. COLOMBO, March 22 (AFP) - Sri Lankan authorities are investigating how an elephant hide ended up hidden in a zoo cupboard, and why a crocodile carcass has gone missing, officials said Thursday. The chance discovery of the elephant hide at the National Zoological Gardens was made as police were investigating the alleged disappearance of a crocodile carcass from a freezer, a zoo official told AFP. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 08:41:00 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tamil rebel base 'bombed'
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 10:38 GMT . The Sri Lankan Government says its air force has attacked a Tamil Tiger base, inflicting heavy damage.A military spokesman said jets scored direct hits on the base in jungles near Batticaloa.The air raid came a day after a sea battle in which the Tigers sank a navy gunboat leaving five sailors missing feared dead. More...
Published: Thu Mar 22 09:28:35 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka says jets attack Tamil Tiger base  - The Hindustan Times
Sea and land battles shatter truce in Sri Lanka  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lankan warplanes pound LTTE bases in Eastern Batticaloa  -
Sri Lanka jets bomb Tiger targets as sea battle kills 20  -

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