The Lanka Academic

APRIL 7, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 1

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
Norwegian envoy discusses pre-talks agreement with Tigers
India Abroad, 7 Aapril 2001. NORWAY'S envoy in Colombo has begun intensive discussions with top leaders of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Sri Lanka to secure a pre-talks "agreement of understanding" to be signed with the government.While the Norwegian diplomats were meeting the Tigers, Solheim was the guest at an Internet question and answer session on the Lanka Academic Network. In response to a question on India's role in Sri Lanka's peace process, he said New Delhi had been "supportive" throughout. "We have kept India informed about all major steps and got useful advice from a country with a deep knowledge of the situation in Sri Lanka," he said. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 07:24:36 EDT 2001
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Norway pushes Sri Lanka peace bid  -

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
--Photo: Aftenposten--
The Lanka Academic is delighted to announce its next guest in its series of Q & A sessions: Mr. Erik Solheim, the special facilitator between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Mr. Solheim has had extensive discussions with government leaders including President Kumaratunge as well as the leaders of political parties and entities spanning the spectrum of political views in Sri Lanka. He has also visited the LTTE leader Pirbhakaran during a recent visit to the Vanni and also has had discussions with the LTTE representative in London Mr. Anton Balasingham.

Mr. Solheim will answer your questions within the parameters of his present assignment. Submit your questions for Mr. Solheim between April 2-30, 2001, and check answers here.

O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
LTTE sets pre-condition
The Hindu (International), Sunday, April 08, 2001. Just when it seemed that Norway 's efforts to facilitate peace talks in Sri Lanka were succeeding, the LTTE has suddenly hardened its position, declaring that it will not participate in the negotiations till the government lifts the ban on it. This latest pre-condition was conveyed to the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Jon Westborg, who visited the LTTE- held northern Sri Lanka on Friday for discussions with its political wing leader, Mr. S. Tamilchelvam. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 18:10:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Govt. firm on new LTTE demands  - The Sunday Observer
Tigers say no talks while banned by Sri Lanka  - Yahoo India
Tigers reject Oslo peace bid unless Sri Lanka lifts ban  -
Tigers say no Norwegian talks unless ban lifted  -
LTTE not to enter peace negotiations as outlawed group  - Press Trust of India
Tigers seek legal status  - BBC South Asia

Parliament Not suitable for Meaningful Debates - Sam Wijesinghe
Saroj Pathirana in London. Saturday 07/04/01 1755 GMT Current Sri Lankan Parliament reflects deterioration of the society and it is no more a place for intelligent debates, ex-Secretary General of the Parliament Sam Wijesinghe said. Mr. Wijesinghe was referring to the incident of tearful school children running away from the gallery when the MPs argued with abusive language in a parliamentary debate, which was supposed to be a debating lesson for an emerging generation.

Speaking with BBC’s Sandeshaya, the ex-Ombudsman said "Many MPs do not have a real mandate from the public. There are many who are vote-riggers". In many countries maintaining the parliament is a waste of money, as MPs only work as signal-posts to approve the decisions of the cabinet, he said.
Published: Sat Apr 7 13:56:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Death Threats to Mannar Journalist
Saroj Pathirana in London. Saturday 07/04/01 1755 GMT Provincial correspondent who initially reported the alleged rape incident by SL Navy officers has received threatening phone calls. Mannar reporter of the "Thinakkural" Tamil newspaper Fazmi told BBC’s Sandeshaya that unidentified callers threatened him to refrain from reporting the matters related to the security forces or he would have to leave Mannar, or even lose his life. He said that he has been receiving these calls since he reported the incident. The journalist has complained about these threats to the police as well as number of media organisations.
Published: Sat Apr 7 13:56:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tamil women have no faith in President - MP
TamilNet, April 7. “I brought to the notice of the President that the soldier who was involved in the rape and murder of Ida Kamalitta was roaming free in Mannar and that he had murdered many people here and that many were grievously affected by his activities. But there was no response from her (the President). This soldier was arrested only when he was accused of murdering his Sinhala girlfriend. The law did not act against him when his victims were Tamil women. This shows the President’s double standard”, said Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, the Bishop of Mannar addressing the protest fast Saturday morning. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 14:33:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan rebels release soldier held since 1993
Yahoo India, Saturday April 7, 8:28 PM. Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels released four captives on Saturday, including a soldier held since 1993, a Red Cross official said. It was the third group of captives released by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in five weeks. Two fishermen were freed at the beginning of March and four farmers later that month. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 15:16:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Tigers free four POWs  -
Tigers free four Sri Lanka POWs  -

Exhibition to commemorate victims of JVP uprisings
Leo de Lile in Colombo, April 7, 2001. A policeman stands guard near figures depicting extra judiciary murders at Colombo’s art gallery in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Friday, April 06, 2001. The exhibits were part of a government-sponsored exhibition to commemorate victims of Marxist People's Freedom Front ( Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) uprisings. Two uprisings in 1971 and between 1987-89 killed at least an estimated 70,000 people including JVP members, government and opposition politicians and civilians.
Published: Fri Apr 6 10:11:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Rival shows on JVP anniversary recall gory days  - The Hindu (International)

15-kg heroin bound for Sri Lanka seized
TOI, April 6. : The Narcotics Control Bureau has seized 15.057 kg of heroin, valued at Rs 15 crore in the international market, bound for Sri Lanka and in the process busted a drug trafficking syndicate, NCB's south zone director Shankar Jeeval said on Thursday. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 18:00:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India, U.S. agree on defence cooperation
The Hindu, Sunday, April 08, 2001. WASHINGTON, APRIL 8. The visiting Minister for External Affairs and Defence, Mr. Jaswant Singh, and the U.S. Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, in addition to proliferation, trade and regional issues also discussed Indonesia, Sri Lanka and ``quite a lot of economics'' as it pertained to bilateral relations, the State Department spokesman, Mr. Richard Boucher, has said. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 18:09:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Mangala insists he will not reconstruct illegal structures
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.40 p.m. SLT Friday April 6. Urban Development Minister Mangala Samaraweera today insisted that he will not rebuild illegal structures in the city, despite large scale protests initiated by Buddhist monks in Borella this week against the demolishment of a wall around a Bodhi Viharaya.

A defiant Samaraweera maintains that the UDA will go ahead with implementing the conceptual re-development plan for the Bodhi Viharaya in Punchi Borella. He says a 'Ranveta' will be built around the shrine instead of the large wall that originally surrounded the shrine and bo tree. The new fence is expected to be completed over the next two weeks and cost an estimated Rs. 2 million.

The ministers stance is in direct contradiction to the Premiers stand yesterday whereby Wickremanayake promised angry crowds and Buddhist monks that the original wall will be rebuilt after bulldozers from the UDA raized the structure to the ground on Wednesday April 4.
Published: Fri Apr 6 08:38:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka's ruling coalition braces for showdown in Parliament
India Abroad, 6 April 2001. SRI Lanka's ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition, led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, is bracing for a showdown in Parliament with the opposition that is apparently maneuvering to defeat the budget.Indications that the main opposition United National Party (UNP) was garnering support from other minority parties in Parliament came as the party voted against extending the state of emergency Thursday.The Daily Mirror newspaper said Friday that Kumaratunga had told members of her coalition that she had information the UNP was "conspiring to defeat the budget by preventing PA members from attending Parliament on April 11". More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 07:18:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
President battles to save Sri Lanka government from budget defeat  -

Sri Lanka president vows to fight graft allegations
The Hindustan Times, april 5. Kumaratunga's People's Alliance is often accused of corruption by opposition groups, but the allegations reached a crescendo last month when Thilan Wijesinghe, head of Sri Lanka's investment promotion body, resigned after being charged by the country's Bribery Commission. Wijesinghe said he was stepping down to clear his name and challenged the charges in the Supreme Court with a sworn statement that made allegations against Kumaratunga and some of her close associates. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 15:57:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
S.Lanka president vows to fight graft allegations  - ABC News

Beware pro-LTTE parties: Swamy
The Hindu (Southern States), Saturday, April 07, 2001. MADURAI, APRIL 6. The Janata Party president, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, today warned that the LTTE, through its political supporters, was trying to usurp power in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, after the Assembly polls. Dr. Swamy, talking to mediapersons here, said the people must be cautious of the ulterior motives of the pro-LTTE political parties in the State. By aligning her party with the PMK and the Dravidar Kazhagam, the Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, had ``betrayed'' the memory of Rajiv Gandhi, he said. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 21:09:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Headlines Bush Says He'd Like to See
LA Times, April 5, 2001 . Headlines that President Bush jokingly told newspaper editors he'd like to see:
  1. Cheney cloned. President has nothing to do at all now.
  2. Two million overlooked ballots suggest Bush won California.
  3. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga stumped by name of U.S. president.
  4. Gephardt says Bush tax plan "just makes sense."
  5. Sammy Sosa returns to the Rangers. Says, "I want to go home."
Bush told the editors Thursday, "But I'm really not here to tell you your business. It's your job to tell everyone how to run theirs." More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 20:00:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Westborg leaves to meet Prabhakaran
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.30 p.m. SLT Friday April 6. Jon Westborg, Norway's ambassador to Colombo left today for the Vanni to meet with LTTE Chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran. Westbord was accompanied by Thomas Strangeland, a spokesman from the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo.
Published: Fri Apr 6 08:38:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norwegian envoy visits LTTE territory  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka eases sanctions on Tiger areas, Norway pushes peace bid  -

Sri Lanka Tamil Rebels Plan to Hire Mercenaries - Report
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 6 4:19 PM SGT . Tamil Tiger rebels were planning to hire foreign mercenaries to bolster their ranks, the state-run Daily News newspaper reported Friday. The rebels have close links with Tamil Nadu in southern India, Sri Lanka's closest neighbor, where the 55-million-strong population is mostly Tamil and has supported the Sri Lankan guerrillas' fight in the past by providing weapons and supplies and also giving refuge to rebels on the run. The rebels came up with the plan because their ranks have reportedly become depleted in their 17-year-old war for a Tamil homeland, the report said. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 07:31:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's Tamil Rebels to Hire Mercenaries: Reports  - Nothern Light

Appeals Court issue summons to Sports Minister and his Secretary to explain reasons for the dissolution of the cricket board
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1820 slt 06.04.01. The Appeals Court today issued summons to Sports Minister Lakshman Kirialle and his secretary to appear before court on 4th of May. The President of the dissolved cricket board Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday filed a petition in the Appeals Court challenging the dissolution. The Sport Minister dissolved the cricket board on March 30th and appointed a four member interim committee to run the board. Since the dissolution the government has accused committee of corruption and mismanagement in the running of cricket.Sumathipala has denied the charges end
Published: Fri Apr 6 08:20:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bad behaviour in Sri Lanka parliament scares visiting children, Apr 06 2001 17:02 IST. School pupils panicked and tried to flee parliament when a deputy minister and an opposition MP created a huge din shouting at each other in unsavoury language, officials said Friday. The two legislators threatened to kill each other and began gesticulating violently causing the young visitors to panic on Thursday, officials said. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 08:55:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka pushes Oslo peace bid, ease sanctions on Tiger territory, Apr 06 2001 16:25 IST. COLOMBO, April 6 (AFP) - Sri Lanka has eased sanctions on areas held by Tamil Tiger rebels in a key concession aimed at boosting Norway's bid to broker an end to the island's bloody ethnic conflict, officials said Friday. The Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jon Westborg, crossed army lines and travelled to the Wanni stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Friday following the partial lifting of the economic embargo.Officials said Westborg's visit to Tiger territory came as the government removed more than 25 commodities from a list of banned items that could not be taken to "un-cleared" areas.Norway's Solheim, who is not in Sri Lanka at the moment, has been trying to secure a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two sides before entering peace negotiations. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 07:15:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
UPDATE 2-S.Lanka eases rebel curbs, talks seen closer  - ABC News
Sri Lanka Eases Curbs on Goods to Rebel Areas  - Nothern Light
Sri Lanka ease embargo, set for Oslo-backed peace talks  -

Media watchdog calls for full report on Nimalarajan murder inquiry
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 16:15 SLT Friday April 06. The US based Committee to Protect Journalists in a letter to President Chan drika Kumaratunge requests information about the status of the investigatio n into the murder of Jaffna-based journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. The le tter by CPJ=92s Executive Director Ann Cooper said that as a non-partisan o rganization of journalists dedicated to the defense of press freedom around the world, CPJ was deeply disturbed by the apparent lack of progress in th e investigation into the assassination.=20 The CPJ asked for a full report as to the status of this investigation and said it would like to know whether soldiers stationed around Nimalarajan's home have been questioned, regarding the night f the murder, and what possi ble motives are being considered. A copy of the letter has also been sent t o Amnesty International, and several foreign envoys in Colombo.=20 Nimalarajan was murdered at his home in Jaffna during the night of October 19, last year. He was a correspondent for BBC in Jaffna and engaged in free lance reporting for various media organizations around the island.
Published: Fri Apr 6 06:13:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Grp Asks Sri Lanka To Investigate BBC Reporter's Murder  - Yahoo Asia

Alleged plot to assassinate Wickremesinghe revealed, Apr 06 2001 14:18 IST. Colombo, Apr 6 (UNI) An alleged plot to assassinate Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was revealed after a woman LTTE cadre told the police that she had been asked to meet a certain ''Ranil'' at a public meeting in Central Anuradhapura. Media reports, quoting senior police officials, said the alleged plot was revealed by a 15-year-old girl who was arrested from Trincomalee and brought to Colombo for questioning. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 06:36:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

265.000 new telephone connections this year
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1322 slt 06.04.01. Post and Telecommunications Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said today that another 265.000 new telephone connections would be made available this year.Addressing parliament on the committee stage of the budget, the minister said plans are been drawn up to restructure the postal service to make it more efficient. The Minster said the government has spent 4 billion rupees in the past few years to improve the infrastructure of the postal service end
Published: Fri Apr 6 03:31:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A national urban development plan to be implemented
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1319 slt 06.04.01. Housing and urban development Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament today that a national urban development plan would be implemented soon. Addressing parliament on the committee stage of the budget debate, the minister said the existence of illegal construction in cities was the main obstacle to implementing the plan. The Minister said he would continue with the controversial programme to remove such structures.
Published: Fri Apr 6 03:31:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Emergency powers extended in Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK . The Sri Lankan parliament has agreed to extend emergency rule in the country for one month. But for the first time since the new parliament was elected last October, the main opposition United National Party voted against the measure, which gives sweeping powers to police and security forces to arrest suspects. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 00:51:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Job-seeking monk gets sermon from Supreme court, Apr 06 2001 13:36 IST. COLOMBO, April 6 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has rapped a Buddhist monk on the knuckles for seeking state employment instead of propagating the message of the Buddha, court officials said Friday. The court rejected a petition by university graduate monk, Rupaha Pemananda, who argued that his fundamental rights had been violated because the government failed to provide him with a job. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 06:38:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

World Bank-Sri Lanka -2: Restructuring Ctrl Bk
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, April 5 1:34 PM SGT . Senior bank officials were in the island to assess and evaluate the possibility of support for the program of private sector development, said the official, who declined to be identified. The official said areas of possible support included reforms in the power sector and liberalization of the telecom industry and ports. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 00:56:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SRI LANKA PRESS: Japan Gives LKR15M Loan For Highway Proj
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, April 5 11:50 AM SGT . Japan has granted a concessionary loan worth 15 million Sri Lankan rupees to the government to fund a highway project that will connect Colombo with the country's south, says the Daily News. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 00:56:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Rupee Flat Late; Importer Demand Still Strong
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 6 6:00 PM SGT . The Sri Lankan rupee was unchanged against the U.S. dollar late Friday, but sustained importer demand for dollars continued to support the U.S. currency, traders said. Overall activity was thin amid weak volumes, they added. At 0945 GMT (5:45 a.m. EDT), the dollar was flat at 87.78 Sri Lanka rupees, the same as Thursday's finish. However, sustained and heavy dollar demand from importers pushed the dollar back up again, according to traders. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 07:27:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

'Custodial rapes, torture taking place in Lanka'
Times of India, 6 April 2001 . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: A human rights group Thursday urged the government to prevent rape and torture of people arrested and held on suspicion of ties to Tamil Tiger rebels. In a statement, London-based Amnesty International said two Tamil women, detained by navy and police in northern Mannar on March 19, were allegedly gang-raped by members of Sri Lanka's armed forces. "Any security officer found responsible for rape, sexual abuse or other torture, or for encouraging or condoning them, should be brought to justice," said the statement released to the press in Colombo, the national capital. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 07:20:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sharjah cricket faces grim future without India
Yahoo India, April 7. Off-shore cricket faces a grim battle for survival when the Sharjah tri-series opens here on Sunday in the absence of crowd-pullers India.A full-strength Sri Lanka will take on second-string teams from Pakistan and New Zealand for the top prize of 50,000 dollars amidst fears of poor gate receipts and heavy financial losses for the organisers. More...
Published: Sat Apr 7 15:19:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sharjah pull-out stumps sponsors  - Yahoo India

Sri Lankan cuisine at Charity Bazaar
Bahrain Times, April 7. The Ladies Section of the Sri Lankan Community Services Unit of Discover Islam is holding a Charity Bazaar today and tomorrow at the centre’s premises in Baraka Building. The bazaar will be open today from 5pm to 9pm and tomorrow from 9.30am to 11.30am and from 1pm to 9pm. Food items flown all the way from Sri Lanka will be on sale. There will also be food outlets selling traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. More...
Published: Fri Apr 6 21:32:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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