The Lanka Academic

APRIL 11, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 5

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
Sinhala and Tamil new year
Leo de Lile in Colombo, April 11, 2001, 2:45pm SLT. Girls in traditional costume dance during a festival to mark the traditional Sinhala and Tamil new-year, held at a Viharamaha Devi park in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday, April 11, 2001. New year festivals are held in most parts of the country as part of celebrations to mark the new- year on April 13 and 14.
Published: Wed Apr 11 22:54:45 EDT 2001

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
Sri Lanka declares limited truce to mark New Year
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 19:10 SLT Tuesday April 11. The Ministry of Defence has issued instructions to the commanders of the Armed Services, to halt all offensive operations against the LTTE, commencing at 12 midnight tomorrow and ending at 6 a.m., on the 17th of April. In it's first official statement released to the media, since speculation about a government declared ceasefire spread yesterday, the Defence Minstry said the limited ceasefire, was to mark the occasion of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. The Ministry?s statement added that 10 LTTE cardres, who are presently in government custody, would be released, in a gesture of goodwill. The list of prisoners to be released, includes the names of two Sinhalese nationals. The LTTE declared an unilateral ceasefire in December last year, which they have extended until the 24th of this month. The government's limited reciprocation comes ahead of the announcement later this month, of a definite date for Norwegian backed peace talks between President Chandrika Kumaratunge's government and the LTTE, in a bid to end 17 years of ethnic booldshed in the island.
Published: Wed Apr 11 09:05:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka declares new year truce  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka frees Tamil prisoners, confirms truce  - MSNBC
Sri Lanka frees 10 Tigers to mark New Year  -

Room for cautious optimism: Solheim
The Hindu (International), Thursday, April 12, 2001. ``Certain positive signals'' which have recently emerged from Sri Lanka justify a `cautious optimism' according to Mr. Erik Solheim, Norway's Special Envoy, who is mediating between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In a conversation in Oslo, he described the Sri Lankan Government's decision to ensure that certain essential commodities reached the LTTE-controlled areas as one of the `positive signs' and a `part of the process we (Norway) are trying to facilitate.' More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 16:41:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

PA wins crucial budget vote
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 19:20 SLT Tuesday April 11. The ruling Peoples' Alliance coallition secured a slim 09 seat majority in parliament today, to ratify its' seventh budget since coming into power in 1994. The budget for 2000/2001, which was first presented to the legislative body on the 8th of March, was voted on by the governement and the opposition a short while ago. The budget was passed, with 116 votes in favour and 107 against. All the government's coalltion partners voted in favour, while the main opposition United National Party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the pro-nationalist Sihala Urumaya opposed.
Published: Wed Apr 11 09:20:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's Legislature Passes National Budget  - Yahoo Asia
S.Lankan Parliament Passes Budget for Year 2001  - Nothern Light
Lanka's ruling party passes budget, averts vote crisis  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka president prevents defections to win budget vote  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lanka passes delayed budget for 2001  - MSNBC

Ambush escalates gang war
The star, 12 April 2001. No one was seriously injured when a car was ambushed - men with a shotgun and semi-automatic weapons shooting wildly on a busy highway off-ramp - but the aftermath may prove deadly. Interviews with Tamil community members and police sources yesterday reveal the menacing outlines of a war between two Toronto gangs - the VVT and AK Kannan - that may only get worse. In the past six months, gang members have taken justice into their own hands, allegedly killing two teenagers and wounding two men in their 20s.According to sources, the attack this week was well-planned and focused on Jothiravi Sittampalam, who sometimes goes by the alias ``Kannan'' and has said he left the gang, got married and now runs his own business. His attackers, suspected VVT members, knew he would be at a Brampton courthouse Monday - not facing charges himself but in support of friends, sources in the Tamil community said. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 19:40:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Justice Min Raps Police Chief Over Rape Case
Yahoo Asia, Wednesday, April 11 5:26 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's justice minister criticized the national police chief Wednesday for failing to arrest policemen and navy personnel accused of gang-raping two Tamil women they had detained. Battie Weerakoon, justice minister and chairman of a committee appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to inquire into unlawful arrests and harassment, told police chief Lucky Kodituwakku that the transfers were inadequate. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 09:04:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Presidential Committee wants rape suspects arrested
CDN, 12 April 2001. The Committee appointed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to probe unlawful arrests and harassment have found sufficient evidence to arrest police and naval personnel in connection with the rape of Ehampalam Vijaykalar and Sinnathambi Sivamani, the two women arrested in Mannar on suspicion of being LTTE suicide cadres. The Committee's Chairman, Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon states this in a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police. The Minister has expressed his surprise to hear that the only action taken against the suspect police personnel had been to transfer them within the Mannar District. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 19:31:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India is not opposed to Norway's role: Kumaratunga, 11th Apr 2001 20.16 IST . President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said India fully supports the Norwegian involvement in finding a negotiated political settlement to the Tamil problem and there is no truth in media reports to the contrary. In an interview to Belgian French daily 'Le Soir' during her recent visit to Europe, the President said the Norwegian facilitator had received full support from India. She described as 'totally wrong' reports that India, does not favor European involvement in Sri Lankan affairs. Norway always keeps New Delhi informed through regular contacts. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 11:36:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Two Generals to Retire
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 11/04/01 1700 GMT. Two Major-Generals, Neil Dias and Nihal Marambe are to retire from the SL Army, informed sources said. Neil Dias retires as he completes his full term in the rank.
Published: Wed Apr 11 12:56:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Pres: Corruption Contributed To Budget Deficit
Yahoo Asia, Wednesday, April 11 10:55 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's deficit rose to 9.8% of gross domestic product in 2000, up from 9.2 the previous year. The increase was blamed on rising defense expenditures, corruption and rising global fuel prices. The defense bill reached $1 billion in 2000, amid escalating fighting between government troops and separatist rebels. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels have been fighting since 1983 in an effort to carve out a Tamil homeland in the north and east of a country with a Sinhalese majority. More than 63,000 people have died in the war. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 16:42:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Customs corruption hurts Sri Lanka budget  -

President calls for a new vision for the Police Department
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1232 slt 11.04.01. President Kumaratunga called for a new vision for the police force saying it needs to restructure to face the current challengers. Speaking at the opening of the new 600 million rupee police academy, the President said the Sri Lankan Police had to carryout duties more than a normal police force because of the on going separatist war.She said there has not been a fundamental change in the police force face the new challengers and the force has been stagnant since independence. end
Published: Wed Apr 11 02:39:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Our custodians were Child Soldiers- Released POWs Talk to BBC
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 11/04/01 1130 GMT. "We saw LTTE’s child soldiers who are as young as 10 years old and they treated us humanely" said K.P Richard who was recently released after five years and seven months in Tamil Tigers’ custody. Mr. Richard, ex-officer of "Irish Mona" SL Navy vessel, said that the civilians in the area are struggling to survive due to lack of essential supplies, such as food, medicines and fertiliser for farming.

Speaking with BBC’s Sandeshaya, another released POW, W. Joseph Anthony Fernando said although the Tamil Tigers released them on last Thursday, they had to await four days until the Ministry of Defence did not authorise them to come back. He said they were surprised of the security authorities’ reluctance to let them back home after more than five anxious years.

Both ex-Naval officers are in opinion that the civilians as well as the LTTE are willing to see an end to the long-running conflict in a peaceful manner.
Published: Wed Apr 11 07:36:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Impartial and honest Customs officers will be given Govt. protection - President
CDN, 12 April 2001. A Presidential Secretariat release states that: President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga held a discussion with representatives of the Sri Lanka Customs Officers on Tuesday at the President's Office on matters pertaining to the operational activities of the Sri Lanka Customs. The President said that she would implement her plans soon to fully reconstitute all Government institutions, and under this program officers who perform their duties honestly with dedication would be given promotion by even deviating from the present system. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 19:26:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hectic haggling as the vote on the third reading of budget nears
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1230 SLT 11.04.01. The ruling People"s Alliance was in the midst of hectic haggling with its alliance members amidst fears that the UNP would attempt to defeat the budget. President Kumaratunga held a series of meetings with her alliance partners to sort out their problems. The government has promised to appoint five more deputy ministers and attach rest of the MP's to ministries as advisers so that they could be given more perks such as offices, staff and vehicles. The PA government already has the biggest cabinet in the post independent Sri Lanka.
Published: Wed Apr 11 02:39:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka ruling party woos minorities to pass budget  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka ruling party cuts deal to keep coalition intact  -
Sri Lanka government pins down support for budget vote  -

Government 'jittery over budget vote'
Gulf-News , April 10. The Sri Lankan government appearing to be jittery over opposition moves to defeat the vote on the budget in parliament tomorrow has called all its members in parliament, including the coalition partners, to be present in full strength during the vote, political sources said.Kumaratunga at last week's meeting accused the UNP of offering money to the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) led by Cabinet Minister Arumugam Thondaman which has four members in parliament. The CWC representative denied the allegation, but other political sources did not rule out the possibility of the opposition seeking the CWC's support to defeat the budget.Defeating the budget would force the government to introduce a new budget. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 21:55:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka's ruling coalition faces crucial vote in Parliament  - India Abroad
Opposition boycotts Sri Lanka banquet ahead of key vote  -
Chandrika rallies allies for budget vote  - The Hindu (International)

Four hurt in evacuation from SriLankan flight
MSNBC, Wednesday, April 11 3:05 PM SGT . Four passengers suffered minor injuries during an emergency evacuation from a SriLankan Airlines plane after fire alarms went off just before it was due to take off on Wednesday, airport officials said.There were 145 passengers and crew on on flight UL 557 from Colombo to Frankfurt. A SriLankan Airlines spokesman said the Airbus A-330 was taxiing when the fire warning was triggered. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 09:12:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Airbus aborts takeoff, four passengers hurt  -

LTTE bombers on mission to assasinate VIPs
Deccan Herald, April 10 . Two female suicide bombers trained at a LTTE training camp, are presently in Colombo on their mission to assassinate VIPs, reports here said.As per information revealed by a female Tiger suicide bomber, Nandani, to the police intelligence during interrogation, the two suicide bombers were among 27 Black Tigers, comprising 17 men and ten women, who passed out recently after receiving training at an LTTE camp in Mutur in Eastern Trincomalee. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 11:49:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Watch out! 27 suicide bombers on the prowl  - The Island
Tiger suicide squad sent to Sri Lankan capital: report  -

Law steps in as rape incidents increase with Tamil women
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday April 10 . The Supreme Court yesterday ordered police to release from their custody a Tamil girl who said in her petition that she had been sexually molested and forced to sign a statement in Sinhala which she did not understand.

The Mannar magistrates court also ordered the release of two Tamil girls on bail who claimed they were raped and tortured after being taken to the Police Special Investigative Unit in Mannar last month. The judge has ordered the arrest of three policemen named by these girls and one naval officer alleged to have been involved in the ugly incident. An identification parade is also to be held where the young women are expected to point out the perpetrators of the crime.

Meanwhile students of the Jaffna University yesterday are reported to have worn black badges and flown black flags as a mark of protest againt the rape and torture of the two women in Mannar.

Today teachers in the north east have organized a black band protest against the alleged assault of Wijikala and Sivamani, the two girls who claim to have been raped and sexually molested after being arrested on March 19, this year by naval and police personnel.
Published: Tue Apr 10 03:05:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket-Jayasuriya equals record with 30 off one over
Yahoo India, Tuesday April 10, 8:26 PM. Sanath Jayasuriya equalled his own one-day world record of 30 runs off an over to inspire a Sri Lanka recovery with Mahela Jayawardene against New Zealand on Tuesday. ayasuriya blasted 107 and Jayawardene stroked 116 as Sri Lanka fought back from losing their first two wickets for one run to make 269 for nine from their 50 overs in the Sharjah triangular series which also features Pakistan. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 15:18:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Cricket-New Zealand v Sri Lanka scoreboard  - Yahoo India
Cricket-Sri Lanka 269-9 in 50 overs v New Zealand  - Yahoo India

Jayawardena has everything to be the best
Sunil Gavaskar - TOI, April 12. Jayawardena has everything to be the best batsman in the world if only he becalms himself early in the innings. His tendency to counter attack paid off against an inexperienced attack but against other more experienced bowlers it has cost him his wicket when a little discretion especially at the start of his batting would have paid him larger dividends. More...
Published: Wed Apr 11 20:31:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to mark New Year with truce
Times of India, 11 April 2001 . Sri Lanka is expected to announce a four-day truce in its war against Tamil Tiger separatists in the north and east to mark the traditional Sinhalese and Tamil New Year's Day over the weekend.Official sources said military operations are likely to be put on hold from April 13 to 16 during the annual New Year holidays.Sri Lankan air force bombers, however, pounded suspected landing points in the north used by guerrilla boats on Tuesday, the defense ministry said. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 17:30:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan government ready for ceasefire with LTTE  - NDTV/MSNBC
Sri Lanka Set to Implement Holiday Truce  - Nothern Light
Sri Lanka set for truce over new year celebrations  -

Chinese Company Hands Over Oil Storage Tanks to Sri Lanka
Nothern Light, Tuesday, April 10, 2001 8:39 AM EST . China's Huanqiu Chemical Engineering Corporation on Tuesday handed over six additional storage tanks to Sri Lanka. At a ceremony marking the completion of the oil storage tanks the official Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman Anil Obeysekere said that they are satisfied with the quality of the tanks. The six tanks, each with a capacity of 5,000 cubic meters, were completed in a year at Sapugaskanda, suburb of the capital Colombo. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 11:05:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opens Chinese-built oil storage tanks  -

Sri Lanka jets bomb Tiger naval targets, Apr 10 2001 13:27 IST. Sri Lankan air force jets Tuesday bombarded suspected boat landing points of Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the island's north, the defence ministry said. The aircraft carried out the attacks at Nagathivanthurai along the Jaffna lagoon and at Muhamalai on the Jaffna peninsula, ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 08:47:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan planes raid Tiger bases  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka air force attacks Tamil Tiger camps  - MSNBC

Sri Lanka Shrs End Flat; Investors Sidelined On Holidays
Yahoo India, April 9, 12:29 PM. Sri Lanka shares ended little changed Monday, with select local trades dominating the session, brokers said. More...
Published: Tue Apr 10 08:54:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
SRI LANKA PRESS: IMF Standby Facility Expected  - Yahoo Asia
INTERVIEW: ADB Says Funds For Sri Lanka Tied To Reforms  - Yahoo Asia

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