The Lanka Academic

APRIL 13, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 7

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 ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS 1-34 NOW AVAILABLE. We expect the 2nd batch of answers after this weekend, April 14-15, 2001.

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
$20 million loan to Sri Lankan airways from the Bank of Ceylon
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2006 slt 12.04.01. The Bank of Ceylon has granted a $ 20 million loan to financial troubled Sri Lankan airlines. Opposition MP Ravi Karunanayake claims that the loan was given without any collateral and violated the management agreement with Emirates airlines.
Published: Thu Apr 12 10:14:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

?India's role crucial and positive in Lanka peace process?, 12th Apr 2001 12.58 IST . In an interview to the online "The Lanka Academic", Mr. Solheim said, President Chandrika Kumaratunga is absolutely committed to a peaceful settlement of the problem adding that Prabhakaran too was keen for the same.'If Norway thought that either the government or the LTTE was not serious, we would not spend so much time on trying to assist the parties,'' he pointed out.'In peace process there are very few guarantees. But we believe that both the government and LTTE are serious in their search for a negotiated settlement. Many Sinhalese, of course, believe that the LTTE fooled the government in the past. At the same time many Tamils believe that they were betrayed by solutions". More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 09:12:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Room for cautious optimism: Solheim  - The Hindu (International)

?India safe with Lankan peace?
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, April 12. ANY SOLUTION to the Sri Lankan problem should not lead to the balkanisation of neighbouring India, Norwegian peace envoy Mr Erik Solheim has said. In an on-line chat on the Lanka Academic website Mr Solheim said: "Balkanisation of India, of course, will be a terrible development. No solution in Sri Lanka will contribute to that. More importantly, there are no reasons to believe that India is not stable and strong." More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 16:14:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Maj.Gen. Neil Dias' term extended
TamilNet, April 12. The Sri Lankan President extended the service of the Sri Lanka army's Chief of Staff, Major General Neil Dias, who was due to retire Thursday before she left to an undisclosed destination abroad. Maj. Gen. Neil Dias is one of the most battle experienced commanders of the SLA. Sources in the SLA headquarters in Colombo ventured to speculate that he might succeed Lt. Gen.Lionel Balagalle who is due to retire this year as the commander of the SLA. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 10:19:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Two Generals to Retire  - Saroj Pathirana in London

Indian injured in aborted take-off critical
The Hindu (International), Friday, April 13, 2001. An Indian national from Hyderabad continues to be in a critical condition, a day after sustaining head injuries during the aborted take-off of an A-330 airbus Sri Lankan airlines flight on Wednesday. Mr. Kattula Sammaiah, 28, was travelling on the Frankfurt-bound flight with five other colleagues from the Chennai-based power generator company where he is employed. The cabin crew noticed smoke inside the plane while it was taxiing for take-off from the Bandaranaike International Airport. The pilot abandoned the take- off and the passengers were evacuated through an emergency chute. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 16:15:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka loosing 1.5 million US dollars due to few offline airlines!
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, 10.50 a.m Thursday 12 April. It has come to light an operation-taking place between few offline airlines operating from Sri Lanka and their contacts in the United States of America. Lanka Academic sources in New York revealed that tickets are issued for residents in the United States to travel to Sri Lanka and back, in Sri Lanka and dollars collected by their counterparts in the United States. These sources say that dollars collected in the US do not reach Sri Lanka while the Central Bank issues dollar remittances to those offline airlines operating from the country. Our sources also revealed that there is no mechanism by which the Central Bank is able to check if the dollars actually reach the country. Our sources said that 90% of this revenue does not reach Sri Lanka while the agents in Sri Lanka build up dollar accounts in the US.? It is estimated that 1.5 million US dollars change hands with this operation annually, denying the country much needed foreign earnings.
Published: Thu Apr 12 11:01:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka bans genetically modified food
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2004slt 12.04.01. The Ministry of Health has banned the importation and the sale of genetically modified food for May 1st this year. The Minister of Health said the ban was imposed after a advisory committee headed by the secretary to the ministry recommended the ban. [ Read more about Genetically Modified Foods]
Published: Thu Apr 12 10:14:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

President Kumaratunga leaves for U.K.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2010 slt 12.04.01. President Chandrika Kumaratunga left for London this morning on a private visit. General Ratwatta was sworn in as acting Minister of Defense and S.B.Dissanayake as acting minister of Finance.
Published: Thu Apr 12 10:14:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka govt.'s budget reprieve could be short-lived
India Abroad, April 12, 2001 12:45 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lanka's ruling party weathered an opposition attempt to topple the government by defeating its budget but the reprieve could be short-lived and hard-won. he People's Alliance (PA) budget for 2001 was adopted Wednesday with a nine-vote majority after President Chandrika Kumaratunga stepped in to salvage her government by wooing coalition partners. Analysts, however, point out that with the PA's slim four-seat majority in the 225-seat Parliament, the victory may be difficult to sustain. "The opposition parties may not have been successful this time, but they have shown that they can work together to defeat the govenment if they want," a political analyst said. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 09:02:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops kill eight Tigers ahead of truce, Apr 12 2001 18:33 IST. Sri Lankan security forces ambushed and killed at least eight Tamil Tiger guerrillas ahead of a limited New Year truce, the defence ministry said Thursday.Troops killed five members of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Ethawetunuwewa on Wednesday as the government announced a truce would go into effect from midnight Thursday until Tuesday morning. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 09:12:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan planes raid Tiger bases  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan Separatists Killed  - Nothern Light
Five Rebels Killed Day Before Goodwill Truce In Sri Lanka  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lankan separatists killed - a day before cease-fire in Sri Lanka  - MSNBC

Jaffna paper beats the odds
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK . It is almost six months since BBC reporter Nimalarajan Mayilvaganam was assassinated in his home in the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna. A recent statement from the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance said journalists from the minority Tamil community were under constant threat and suspicion. But one Tamil language newspaper in the heart of the conflict area has managed to survive - against the odds. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 09:15:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kumaratunga criticizes corruption in Lanka customs
India Abroad, April 12. SRI Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, sharply criticizing corruption in the country's customs and tax departments, has said government revenues would go up substantially if officials were honest. Kumaratunga charged that if corruption were rooted out of the two departments, the government's budget deficit and interest payments on loans would be significantly reduced, a statement from her office said Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 08:29:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka president leaves for Europe
MSNBC, Apr 12 2001 15:13 IST. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga left the island on Thursday for a visit to Europe, officials said.They said Kumaratunga boarded a flight for London, but declined to give further details. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 09:05:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan president leaves for undisclosed overseas trip  -

Opposition Leader leaves for Norway.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1623 slt 12.04.01. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Norway last night on an official visit. Mr.Wickremesinghe is expected to hold talks with Norwegian leaders on the on going peace process. end
Published: Thu Apr 12 06:55:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Minister for arrest of security personnel involved in rape
India Abroad, April 12. SRI Lanka's Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon has called for the arrest of police and navy personnel involved in the alleged rape of two Tamil women suspected of being Tiger suicide bombers. Two Tamil women, Ehampalam Vijaykalar and Sinnathambi Sivamani, said they had been raped and tortured when they were taken into custody last month by police in the northwestern town of Mannar on suspicion of being Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels deployed to kill VIPs. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 08:27:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Presidential Committee wants rape suspects arrested  - CDN
Sri Lanka Justice Min Raps Police Chief Over Rape Case  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lanka seeks arrest of police, sailors over rape in custody  -

Lanka to release 10 LTTE suspects
India Abroad, April 12. RI Lanka will release 10 Tamil Tiger suspects and observe a four-day truce in its anti- rebel war in the north and east for the traditional Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. "The ministry of defense has issued instructions to the commanders of the armed services to halt offensive operations against the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in the military zones beginning midnight 12th April to 6 am on 17th April," a ministry statement said Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 08:32:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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  -

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

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

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  -

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  -

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

Under-scrutiny Sharjah cricket clean of match-fixing, says official
Yahoo India, Thursday April 12, 4:40 PM. Sharjah's cricket chief on Thursday lashed out at charges of betting and match-fixing even as the sport's world governing body prepared to investigate the popular Gulf venue. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday it was flying two investigators to Sharjah this week as part of it's ongoing probe into the match-fixing scandal. More...
Published: Thu Apr 12 16:11:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Cricket - ICC slueths on way to Sharjah  - Yahoo India

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