The Lanka Academic

APRIL 20, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 14

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
UNP mulls new strategy against PA
Gulf-News, APril 20. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) in Sri Lanka are looking at a new strategy to defeat the ruling People's Alliance (PA) government after failing in its attempts to defeat the budget in Parliament last week.The UNP say they are now planning to bring a no confidence motion against the government next month, paving the way for the establishment of a government of national reconciliation. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 22:23:08 EDT 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!

ValuComOnline: Call Sri Lanka
--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
IMF Grants $253M Standby Credit To Sri Lanka
Yahoo Asia, Saturday, April 21 10:15 AM SGT . The International Monetary Fund said it has granted Sri Lanka a 14-month standby credit of SDR200 million, or around $253 million, to support the government's economic program for 2001-2002.The IMF said in a statement on its website,, that the approval made Friday will enable Sri Lanka to draw around $131 million immediately to restore macroeconomic stability. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 23:27:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Free Media Movement on Marie Colvin Incident
Gulf-News, April 20. A key media body in Sri Lanka has accused the government of using the incident of an U.S. born journalist being caught in the crossfire between rebels and security forces in the north to scare journalists from reporting events in rebel-held areas.The FMM in a strongly worded statement charged that the Sri Lankan government was 'rubbing salt on the wounds' by trying to say that Colvin was 'carrying out a secret mission on behalf of the rebels'. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 22:28:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marie Colvin has poisoned the well for other journalists covering the war in Lanka- Paul Harris
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 12.50 p.m Friday 20 April. Paul Harris, respected defense analyst of the Jane's Defense Review said in the "London Herald" yesterday that "London Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin's recent incident in the Sri Lankan war front would make things difficult for journalists wanting to cover the war in Lanka in future. Harris said, "The flouting of visa requirements in a third world country is a foolish bravado. Ok you can often buy your way out of trouble but it is still unwise. The fact that she (Colvin) was abandoned by her "hosts" as they came under fire, would suggest that those experienced in the ways of the war in Sri Lanka that she had probably been "set up". Her death at the hands of government troops would have attracted serious bad publicity to the Sri Lankan government. Her modus operandi was , at best, naïve. To approach a military forward defense line in the company of a group of rebels was not so brave so much as fool hardy?

Harris a frequent visitor to Sri Lanka and the author of the upcoming book on the war in Sri Lanka ?Fractured Paradise? laments ? The worst thing about Colvin?s adventure in Sri Lanka is that she has poisoned the well for those of us who worked painstakingly for many years. Sri Lanka has always been a very difficult story to cover with government-imposed visa and movement restrictions. Journalists will now find it even harder to get permission to cover the story.?
Published: Fri Apr 20 12:57:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Tamil Rebels Set Up Journalist to Tarnish Govt Image: Newspaper  - Peoples Daily - China

Tamils do not condone LTTE violence - Bishop of Jaffna
CDN, April 21. Although the LTTE identified itself with the Tamils and fought for the rights of Tamil people, the Tamils do not condone its recourse to violence, said Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev. Thomas Saundranayagam in a dialogue with a group of visiting Colombo based journalists at the Bishop's House, Jaffna on Thursday.Bishop Saundranayagam said the people of Jaffna were undergoing great hardships under security forces administration and added that from the inception the media had failed to create an awareness among the people of the South about the infringement of the rights of Tamils and the injustices caused to them. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 22:13:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Where's the bus? ask illegal Sri Lankans, April 20. Asylum seekers found wandering through thick scrub on a property in Western Australia wanted to get to Melbourne or Sydney so they could find work.The men had paid an average of about $4,000 each to a people-smuggling broker for their passage from Sri Lanka via Indonesia."I could understand their broken English, and they believe there was work available in Melbourne, so they wanted to know which way they should go to get a bus there," said the technician, who requested anonymity."They also wanted to know how much it would cost, and said they could afford to pay because they had plenty of Australian dollars. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 21:38:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankans may have been dumped  - The Courier Mail

News is the first casualty
The Herald, April 20. Her newspaper trumpeted last Sunday that she was the first journalist to work behind the lines of the rebel Tamil Tigers since 1995. A sub-editor's little mistake, I assume. I have been 15 times to Sri Lanka in the past six years. I've never met Colvin there but I do know she is by no means the first journalist to cross the lines in the past six years. Local journalists do it from time to time, without getting into difficulty but at considerable personal risk. Colvin swallowed the Tiger line, judging from her article in last Sunday's paper. It tells the reader: "The LTTE [Tamil Tigers] emerged in 1983, when Sinhalese mobs turned on the Tamils, slaughtering hundreds with machetes." I am afraid her explanation of the genesis of the conflict is quite at variance with the historical record: More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 13:51:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Eradication poverty is the biggest challenge Sri Lanka face today- Minister Mahinda Wijesekara
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 12.00 p.m Friday 20 April. Eradication of poverty is the biggest challenge we face today. To solve the growing problem of unemployment and poverty during the past few decades we have transformed the Sri Lankan economy from a traditional agricultural based rural economy to a more diversified commercialized economy? Minister of Forestry and Environment Mahinda Wijesekara told the United Nations, 9th Session of Commission on sustainable development yesterday. Addressing the commission, the minister said that these development programmes contributed to degradation and depletion of natural resources, land degradation, and deforestation, air and water pollution and loss of biodiversity and the government of Sri Lanka have introduced a comprehensive legislative framework including an environmental impact assessment and also the participation of the civil society to address the environmental problems. Wijesekara said as a responsible government the Sri Lankan government considers providing basic human needs of the people such as water, electricity, sanitation, housing and employment as equally important. He told the Session of the Commission that about 50% of the households in Sri Lanka do not have electricity and the situation of water and sanitation is also in similar magnitude. Wijeskara questioned, as to what extent could the Sri Lankan government compromise the provision of these basic needs with environmental conservation.

The UN session of the commission of Sustainable development is being held 10 years after the Earth Summit in, Brazil in 1992 to check out the progress achieved after the summit by member countries.
Published: Fri Apr 20 12:01:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Prabakaran recalls LTTE Theoretician to the Wanni
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 18:05 SLT Friday April 20. LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham has been recalled from his home in London, to the new LTTE headquarters in the Wanni, after the British parliament banned the organization last month. According to sources in the Wanni, rebel leader Velupillai Prabahkaran had instructed the leader of the political wing, Tamilchelvam, to make all necessary arrangements to bring Balasingham back to the island. The sources said, Mr Balasingham was being recalled because fund raising activity was no longer allowed within the United Kingdom, and those engaging in these activities secretly, face the risk of arrest by British authorities. Soon after the proscription of the LTTE was made official however, British authorities made a public statement, granting Balasingham permission to remain in London.
Published: Fri Apr 20 08:06:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket-Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 77 runs in Sharjah final
Yahoo India, Friday April 20, 9:23 PM. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 77 runs in the final of the Sharjah one-day triangular series on Friday. Scores: Sri Lanka 297-7 in 50 overs. Pakistan 220 all out 41.4 overs. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 16:35:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Spirit of youth to clash with experience  - Gulf-News
Sri Lanka win Sharjah final as Pakistan slip on last hurdle  - Yahoo Asia
Cricket-Sri Lanka punish Pakistan fielding errors  - Yahoo India
Cricket-Sri Lanka need drastic improvement in Sharjah final  - Yahoo India
Favourites Pakistan fear Sri Lankan backlash in Sharjah final  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lanka Wins Sharjah !! SL 297/7 Pakistan 220/10  - Cricinfo

Lankan navy inflicts heavy damage on LTTE
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, April 20. THE SRI Lankan navy and air force destroyed five LTTE boats and damaged three others in a major engagement 32 nautical miles north east of Mullaitivu on the eastern coast this morning. Lt. Com. Pushpakumara Bamunuge of the naval headquarters told Hindustan Times that at 3.50 am two naval Fast Attack Craft (FAC), which were on offensive patrol spotted 10 or 15 LTTE supply boats and engaged them. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 16:44:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka mounts heavy air, sea attacks against Tiger convoy  - Yahoo Asia
Tigers suffer sea 'defeat'  - BBC South Asia
Lanka mounts sea, air attacks against LTTE  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lankan Navy Attacks Tamil Rebel Boats;Some Casualties  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lankan navy, rebels clash in second sea battle  -
Sea battle off Sri Lanka  - Yahoo Asia

Bk Of Ceylon:Restructure Not Precursor To Privatization
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 20 4:08 PM SGT . The restructuring of the state-owned Bank of Ceylon (P.CEY), Sri Lanka's biggest commercial bank, will help ease the country's soaring interest rates in the medium term, its general manager said Friday. General Manager Sarath de Silva told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview that the restructuring wasn't a precursor to privatization. It is part of the overall plan to reform the financial sector and aimed at gearing the bank to compete more effectively, he said. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 16:46:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

FEATURE-Cultural icon for Sri Lanka's Tamils slowly returns
ABC News, 04/19/2001 9:31 pm ET . A statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning, sits forlornly before the gutted shell of the old Jaffna Library near the centre of the troubled city. Libraries symbolise learning, but a gang of Sinhalese police and thugs who torched the building two decades ago were striking at the heart of Tamil culture in Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 22:32:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan soldiers held for assaulting policeman
MSNBC, Friday, April 20 6:49 PM SGT . COLOMBO, April 20 - A group of Sri Lankan soldiers have been taken into custody for beating up a policeman after an argument at a checkpoint in the country's war zone, military officials said on Friday. Military police arrested a major and detained 12 soldiers for questioning over an assault on Inspector W.P.J. Senadheera, officer in charge of the northeastern Pulmoddai police station, said military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 08:19:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hidden agenda regarding Colvin - 5 rebels also wounded
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.10 a.m. SLT Thursday April 19. The Defence Ministry today said that five rebel cadre had also been wounded along with the London Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin. According to the Lankan government the foreign journalist had overstayed her visa and entered uncleared territory without securing state approval to do so and allegedly had a secret liaison with the LTTE.

Reports today said that government sources suspect that the LTTE deliberately brought the UK based journalist Marie Colvin into an area where it was certain there would be a shoot-out hoping that if Colvin had died it would cause a massive embarrassment to the Lankan government.

A high level committee has apparently been appointed by the government to probe the details of the unfortunate incident. Government sources say that it is clear the Tigers hoped to also gain sympathy with the international community by initiating an issue such as this.

Marie Colvin meanwhile was flown out of Sri Lanka this morning to London for further treatment to her eye and chest where she suffered injuries from the attack.
Published: Thu Apr 19 07:11:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Fitch Says Sri Lanka Pvt Bank Provisions Inadequate
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 20 8:51 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's private commercial banks are inadequately cushioned against defaulting loans, officials of rating agency Fitch said Friday. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 22:08:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka's opposition puts new hurdle to Norway peace plan
India Abroad, April 19, 2001 15:59 Hrs (IST) . NORWAY'S bid to broker peace in Sri Lanka has come up against a new hurdle with the country's main opposition United National Party (UNP) demanding domestic political reforms in exchange for support for the plan. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is on a visit to Oslo, has said his party will withhold support in the legislature if the government does not establish independent authorities to monitor police, elections, civil service and the judiciary. Analysts see Wickremesinghe on a new tack to link his party's domestic agenda with the internationally backed attempt to open peace talks between Colombo and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). "The UNP is obviously clearing the decks for renewing its attempts to bring the government down," said a political analyst. "By tying it up with the Norwegian peace effort, the opposition is clearly putting the government in a tough spot." More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 08:30:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

IG 'clean chit' to Sammaiah surprises Passport Officer
The Hindu (Southern States), Saturday, April 21, 2001. Mr. M. Sevala Naik, Passport Officer, Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad, has expressed surprise that the intelligence report furnished by the office of IG (Intelligence) has given a clear report about the surrendered naxalite, Kattula Sammaiah, who died in Colombo, in spite of the latter's involvement in several criminal cases, including the murder of DIG K.S. Vyas. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 16:31:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Israel to open out mission in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.10 p.m. SLT Thursday April 19. The Israel government is to open out a diplomatic mission in Colombo to enable Sri Lankans easier passage to Israel. The Foreign Ministry in Colombo said the Israel mission in Bangkok has so far been overlooking matters in Colombo, but that Sri Lankans wishing to travel to Israel were inconvenienced as a result of there being no mission in Colombo.Sri Lanka opened out a diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv last November after resuming diplomatic ties with Israel following a lapse of of thirty years.
Published: Thu Apr 19 07:11:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SRI LANKA PRESS:Govt To Open Up Canal Networks For Invest
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 20 11:14 AM SGT . The government plans to open up Colombo city's canal networks for private investments, in a bid to make them more enterprising, the Daily Mirror reports. It added that the government aims to develop the canals to promote leisure and aqua sports activities. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 00:30:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Journalist Hit By Grenade
Newsday, April 20. When Rosemarie Colvin took a telephone call from a reporter last night at her East Norwich home, she thought she was about to be congratulated on her daughter's winning Best Foreign Correspondent in the British Press Awards two weeks ago."In our family, we say that whenever Marie is going to a country,they should evacuate, because something terrible is going to happen," Rosemarie Colvin said.According to an Associated Press report, Marie Colvin was caught Monday in a skirmish near the town of Vavuniya.Rosemarie Colvin said Marie's editor, Sean Ryan, reported that Marie had gotten an interview with a rebel leader who had not talked to the press in eight years and was returning with a new proposal. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 10:25:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE holds Army responsible for journalist's injury  - Press Trust of India
Rebels Accuse Sri Lanka Govt Of Wounding US Journalist  - Yahoo Asia
Army blamed for journalist attack  - BBC South Asia

Appeal over BBC journalist killing
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK . The human rights group, Reporters Without Borders, has written to the Sri Lankan President urging her to do more to bring to justice the killers of BBC reporter Nimalarajan Mylvaganam. Mylvaganam was shot dead at his home in the northern city of Jaffna six months ago - no-one has yet been charged. The organisation lists a number of leads which it says the police seem to have ignored. Among these are the discovery of a bicycle near the scene of the crime which is said to belong to the pro-government Tamil party, the Eelam People's Democratic Party, which Mylvaganam had criticised in his reports on alleged election fraud. More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 11:17:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka criticised over journalist murder probe  - MSNBC

CMC to file petition against state minister
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Thursday April 19. The Colombo Municipal Council today filed a petition in Colombo's Court of Appeal against Urban Development Minister Mangala Samaraweera. The petition is attempting to stop the minister from acquiring the Vihara Maha Devi park for the Urban Development Authority.

Mayor, Omar Kamil, says that the minister has no right to acquire the 55 acre park which is a well known landmark in Colombo. The Mayor, who is a member of the main opposition United National Party asserts that the minister's directive was made without necessary consultation with the CMC and other concerned organizations.
Published: Thu Apr 19 07:11:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Media rights watchdog criticizes investigation into Nimalarajan murder
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 19:05 SLT Thursday April 19. Paris Based media watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontiers, has criticized the investigation into the murder of Jaffna based journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, and calls on President Chandrika Kumaratunge to do everything in her power to ensure an impartial and speedy inquiry takes place.Highlighting several shortcomings in the police investigation, the RSF in a letter to President Kumaratunge said it was deeply concerned about the Sri Lankan government's "apparent unwillingness to shed light on the murder. " The letter added that the organization was also worried about statements made by government officials implicating the LTTE in the murder, in what it calls an attempt to lessen the seriousness of the crime. The organisation, which advocated an impartial and independent inquiry, also volunteered to be part of an international investigation into the killing. Nimalarajan, who was a correspondent for several local and foreign media organisations in Jaffna, including the BBC, was killed in his home, on night of 19th of October last year. Inspector General of Police, Lucky Kodituwakku, handed the investigation of the murder over to the Criminal Investigation Department yesterday.
Published: Thu Apr 19 09:07:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Shrs Flat Early; Foreign Selling In Dockyard
Yahoo Asia, Friday, April 20 12:30 PM SGT . Sri Lanka shares are little changed early Friday, but a single foreign sale in shipbuilding company Colombo Dockyard is boosting early volume, brokers said. Otherwise, overall activity continues to be very thin amid a lack of a clear direction. More...
Published: Fri Apr 20 02:38:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan's found wandering in Australia's outback
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Thursday April 19. Twenty four Sri Lankans were found wandering in northern Australia early this week after having illegally entered the country. The Sri Lankans had been without food and water for three days when local authorities in a coastal town, 800 miles north of Perth, found the Lankan immigrants.

The Sri Lankans are reported to have paid human smugglers USD 2000 for the boat journey to northern Australia. Authorities say the Lankans would soon have collapsed from the lack of food and water and are lucky to have survived the rough outback of Australia. Locals in the area had spotted the immigrants and reported them to the northern Australian police. Customs officials say they have already begun investigations to find how the Lankans had been dumped in the inhospitable region in Australia's northern outback.
Published: Thu Apr 19 07:11:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lankan boat people had no food, water for three days, police say  - 123India
Sri Lankans found wandering remote Australia coast  -

Wounded American journalist leaves Sri Lanka
ABC News, 04/19/2001 2:06 am ET . COLOMBO, April 19 (Reuters) - American journalist Marie Colvin was flown out of Sri Lanka on Thursday after doctors said she had recovered enough from wounds sustained during an unauthorised crossing of battle lines in the country's north. Colvin, 44, boarded a SriLankan Airlines flight for London where she works as a correspondent for the Sunday Times newspaper and U.S. diplomats said the United States could be her ultimate destination. More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 03:15:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
U.S. Journalist Leaves Sri Lanka For Medical Treatment  - Yahoo Asia

SriLankan Airlines plane lands with one engine
ABC News, 04/19/2001 1:38 am ET . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) A SriLankan Airlines Airbus A-330 aircraft made an emergency landing after an engine malfunctioned midair, officials said Thursday. The flight from the Maldives made an emergency landing Wednesday after one of its two engines had to be shut down, said Manuela Motha, a spokeswoman for SriLankan, the national carrier. More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 08:31:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Plane Forced To Land  - Nothern Light

Mystery shrouds investigators' presence
Yahoo India, 20 April 2001. Mystery continues to surround the agenda of the two International Cricket Council's (ICC) investigators now in Sharjah with the details of their investigations still kept under the wraps. According to a recent ICC press release, the two ICC investigators Jeef Rees and Bob Smalley are in Sharjah, as part of the on-going investigation in match-fixing and betting in cricket. The two ICC investigators, connected with the Sir Paul Condon-led anti-corruption unit, have created a suspense with their mysterious presence in Sharjah, The Gulf News reported. More...
Published: Thu Apr 19 18:48:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bring Nimalarajan Killers to the Justice- RSF Writes to the President
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 19/04/01 1100 GMT. Paris based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) has strongly criticised the way Sri Lankan government handles the so-called investigation on the murder of BBC journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. In a statement to the President Chandrika Bandaranaika Kumaratunga, the RSF says it is deeply concerned as it appears that the police has not yet interrogated the military personnel in charge of the area where the journalist lived. They urge the government not to let the murderers to remain unpunished.

Journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, one of the rare independent journalists to inform both the local and international media on war and political developments in Jaffna, was shot dead at his home on the 19th 0f October 2000. The RSF regrets that, exactly six months after Nimalarajan’s murder, the investigation has been stalled. "As a press freedom organisation, we wish to express our deepest concern at the serious shortcomings of the police investigation and at the Sri Lankan government’s apparent unwillingness to shed light on the case" the statement signed by RSF General Secretary Robert Ménard states.

The RSF strongly believes that there is a link between Nimalarajan’s brave coverage of the intimidation, violence and fraud in the Jaffna District general election campaign and the government’s coalition partner EPDP. "In most of the articles which RSF has been able to consult, the journalist had implicated the pro-governmental Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Party (EPDP), which we understand exercises considerable official and unofficial control in the area. It is noteworthy that the journalist was killed on the very evening of the appointment of the EPDP leader as Minister for Northern Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Tamil Affairs. A number of organisations and individuals have confirmed that the EPDP had engaged in violence and abuse of government funds during the election campaign."

According to the RSF, a few days before his death, Nimalarajan had informed friends that he had received death threats as a consequence of his work, in particular following an article published in Athavan which implicated the EPDP.
Published: Thu Apr 19 07:01:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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