The Lanka Academic

APRIL 25, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 19

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
More than 100 reported killed in Sri Lankan battle
MSNBC, April 25. A Sri Lankan army offensive against Tamil guerrillas brought the heaviest fighting in months to the northern Jaffna peninsula on Wednesday, the army said.At least 32 Sri Lankan soldiers and 75 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in the fighting, the army said. Rebel Voice of Tigers radio said 100 government soldiers had died.The army said it had launched an offensive at dawn on the town of Pallai, the last position from which rebel artillery can reach the peninsula's two ports and only airstrip. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 15:31:50 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
32 soldiers, 75 Tigers killed as LTTE truce ends  - Yahoo India
Lanka launches major offensive as LTTE truce ends  - The Hindustan Times
New Sri Lanka army offensive  - BBC South Asia
Toll mounts in Sri Lanka fighting  - Virtual New York
Death toll in Sri Lanka battle tops 100-military  - MSNBC

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The First (1-34) and Second (35-60) Batches of Answers

Please note that the "Ask Erik Solheim!" session ends on April 30th, 2001.
Due to Mr. Solheim's extremely busy schedule, only a few important questions will be included in the third and final batch. To improve the odds of your question being included, be sure to ask something new that is not already addressed in the questions and answers, 1-60. Please keep your questions succinct and pertinent to the role/expertise of our guest. The instructions for submitting questions are here.
The Lanka Academic is delighted to announce the current guest in its series of Q & A sessions: Mr. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian special facilitator between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
UNP move to oust Ranil gathers pace
gulf-news, April 25. The crisis within the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in Sri Lanka persisted yesterday with the dissident group moving to collect signatures of UNP Parliamentarains calling for the removal of party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe.Wickramasinghe yesterday held a second round of talks with three most senior members in the party - Gamini Atukorala, Karu Jayasuriya and W.J.M. Lokubandara in a bid to defuse the crisis, but the three members demanded an immediate Parliamentary group meeting. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 21:04:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bomb Explosion
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 1:55pm SLT, April 25, 2001. Soldiers stand guard in Colombo’s high security zone while bomb squad carry out a search operation in a building near the president's residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday, April. 25, 2001, after a policeman was injured when a parcel bomb exploded when they were carrying out a routine security check in an abandoned building. Sri Lanka’s central bank is also located in the same area. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 10:15:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Several offices evacuated after S.Lanka explosion  - MSNBC

Four Arrested for Helping Marie Colvin
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 25/04/01 1630 GMT. Four civilians have been arrested for allegedly facilitating London’s Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin to reach rebel held region of Sri Lanka. According to police, the civilians were paid by Ms. Colvin around 100,000 rupees in order to get her across the border.

However the media reports say that the civilians were the victims of a hasty effort by the police to find scapegoats for the security blunder, which emerged as a result of the incident. The suspects are held in custody under the prevention of terrorism act.
Published: Wed Apr 25 12:30:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Majority Want Karu Jayasuriya to be Opposition Leader
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 25/04/01 1615 GMT. The crisis in the UNP seems to be taking a new turn today, as the behind the scene wrangling is going on at a steady pace. After yesterday’s disastrous meeting of the party faithful, party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe seems to have tamed his stance, after only forty seven MPs responding for his call.

The rebels are demanding Ranil Wickramasinghe to step down from being the Leader of the Opposition in the parliament while remaining as the leader of the party. They also demand a new party constitution decentralizing the leadership of the UNP. The dissident group, which seems to be the majority, is annoyed of Mr. Wickramasinghe’s negligence to cease the opportunity of defeating the recent budget and impeach the Chief Justice Sarath N Silva.

"While we have a way of appointing a leader, there is no democratic means to oust one we do not want", a rebel MP said.
Published: Wed Apr 25 12:18:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Majority with Ranil, say his supporters  - The Island
UNP Leader Fails to Gain MP's Support  - Saroj Pathirana in London
A badly bruised Ranil survives  - CDN

Bomb in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Wednesday April 25. A parcel bomb exploded outside Colombo's Central bank this morning injuring one security personnel. The explosion occurred a mere twenty four hours after the LTTE broke their four month old truce with government troops. The State however has not yet held the LTTE responsible for this mornings explosion in the city capital.

The incident took place even as heavy fighting broke out in the country's northern peninsula in Nagar Kovil and Eluthumadduval in Jaffna. the military said that Lankan troops pushed forward ahead of forward defence lines along the southern coast line in this area last night, but met with heavy resistance from the LTTE.

The Army meanwhile had banned fishermen in the north from going out yesterday as the military launched its fresh offensive backed by heavy artillery and armour.
Published: Wed Apr 25 02:16:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Bomb explodes near President's home in Sri Lanka  - The Hindustan Times
Bomb Explosion Injures One Person in Sri Lankan Capital  - Nothern Light

Sri Lanka Telecom Chmn Named Board Of Investment Chief
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, April 26 12:19 AM SGT . COLOMBO (AP)--The chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom has been appointed to the country's top foreign investment post after its chief quit following bribery allegations, a government spokesman said Wednesday. On March 26, Thilan Wijesinghe, director-general of the Board of Investment, resigned following the launch of an investigation into allegations that he demanded a $1 million bribe from an investor for approving a flour mill project. Wijesinghe, a former banker and stockbroker who was appointed as chief of the board in 1995, has said he resigned to allow an unhindered investigation. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 15:31:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tesco, Marks and Spencer to buy more goods from Lanka
CDN, 26 April 2001. Two highly reputed giant supermarket networks in Europe assured Monday that they would buy more products. They hailed its high quality production standards, well disciplined, multi-skilled workforce and export friendly fiscal environment. High ranking representatives of Marks & Spencer and Tesco, the two competitive multi purpose super market chains in the continent, met Constitutional Affairs and Industrial Development Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris separately here on Monday and assured importing of more volumes of Garments and other finished products from Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 20:08:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

26 soldiers killed in Fresh Army offensive
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 17:35 SLT Wednesday April 25, 2001. The Defence Ministry confirmed that 26 soldiers had been killed, and 78 injured, since the army commenced a fresh offensive against Tiger rebels in the Jaffna peninsular this morning. The toll has risen, from the one released by the Ministry a few hours ago, which confirmed 12 soldiers dead and 40 wounded. Rebel casualty figures however, are not known. Earlier today, Military Spokesman, Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said troops, backed by tanks and artillery, began Operation "AGNI KHEELA" or FLAME early today, in an attempt to expand territory captured in Eluthamadduval during operation Kinihira 2. Brigadier Karunaratne said security forces personnel had encountered heavy resistance from the LTTE, but managed to breakthrough the first rebel defenses in the area.
Published: Wed Apr 25 07:46:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka fighting toll goes up to 32  - Yahoo Asia
12 soldiers killed in Lanka fighting  - Press Trust of India
Battles Rage in Sri Lanka's North, 26 Troops Killed  - Nothern Light

22 security forces personnel wounded in LTTE Mortar attacks
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 12:35 PM Wednesday April 25. The defence ministry says 22 soldiers were injured when the LTTE attacked government positions in the Jaffna peninsular. A statement by the ministry said the attacks commenced on Monday and continued until the wee hours of this morning. The statement said the attacks took place in the areas of Muhamulai, Kilaly and Nagarkovil. No further details of the casualties were available in the statement. The rebels have been launching intermittent mortar attacks on government positions in the same areas throughout the last few months, although injuries to security forces personnel have been minimal until now. The latest attack comes in the wake of the LTTE move to call off their four-month unilateral truce, on charges that the government was making no attempt to reciprocate. The government meanwhile, said they would not declare a ceasefire until peace talks with the rebels commence.
Published: Wed Apr 25 02:27:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Wins Human Rights Award
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 25/04/01 1130 GMT. Sri Lankan Human Rights campaigner Basil Fernando has been awarded with the prestigious Kwangju Human Rights Award. Mr. Fernando, the executive-director of the Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been intensively working on human rights in the Asian region. As a prominent human rights activist, he has criticised the bureaucratic system of existing international human rights organisations, including the UNCHR. He has sought to overcome the problems associated with these large bureaucratic organisations by trying to establish a human rights organisation which is rooted in the people and that places the people themselves at the centre of the human rights movement.

"I hope the occasion of this award will provide us with a further opportunity to rededicate ourselves for a future in which all of us, men, women, children can live with dignity and without humiliation." delighted Mr. Fernando reacted on the award.

The first Kwangju Human Rights Award was given to East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao in the year 2000. The award ceremony will take place on the 18 of May, 2001 in the Kwangju city in the Republic of Korea.
Published: Wed Apr 25 07:33:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indo-Pak. Foreign Secys may meet in Colombo
The Hindu, Thursday, April 26, 2001. ISLAMABAD, APRIL 25. A meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan is likely to be held in Colombo on June 8 on the sidelines of the SAARC preparatory meeting, according to the Pakistani Urdu daily, Jang. Quoting diplomatic sources, it reported that the session of the Working Committee of SAARC Foreign Secretaries would begin the same day. It said the Foreign Ministries of the two countries were preparing for the meeting but strict secrecy was being maintained. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 19:29:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Photo: Battles rage in Sri Lanka's north, 26 troops killed
Yahoo India, April 25. Sri Lankan soldiers fire mortar during a military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Jaffna peninsula on April 25, 2001. At least 26 Lankan soldiers were killed on Wednesday in the heaviest fighting in months as rebels put up fierce resistance to an army offensive in the northern Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 09:32:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

12 soldiers killed in Eluthamadduvil offensive
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 15:30 SLT Wednesday April 25. 12 soldiers have been killed, and 40 others wounded during confrontations w ith Tiger rebels, as security forces push forward with their offensive to c laim more territory in Eluthamadduval in the Jaffna peninsular. Defence Min istry spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne confirmed the figures but adde d that the rebel casualties were not known. Government troops commenced offensive Agni Khela 1 to expand territory capt ured in Operation Kinihira 2, in Eluthamadduval, shortly after the LTTE's unilateral truce ended at midnight yesterday. Reports from the defence ministry earlier today said government troops back ed by artillery, tanks and aircraft moved into rebel held territory, amidst heavy resistance from LTTE cardres. However Brigadier Karunaratne said tro ops had managed to break through the first rebel defences in the area.
Published: Wed Apr 25 05:30:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Fresh Sri Lanka offensive  - BBC South Asia

Ariya Rubesinghe says peace process will not stall
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.10 a.m. SLT Wednesday April 25. The government's media spokesman Ariya Rubesinghe says that the peace process will not stall as a result of the LTTE calling off its unilateral cease fire in the country's northern peninsula.

Rubesinghe also refuted media reports yesterday which stated that since the rebel truce was cancelled the State military and police have been placed on 'red alert' against possible suicide attacks by the Tigers in the country's capital, Colombo.

The Information Directors statement contradicted senior military personnel who asserted yesterday that troops in the northeast as well as the police have been briefed to adopt extra security measures to guard against rebels attacks.

Rubesinghe maintains that the government is confident the LTTE will not carry out bomb attacks on key government installations since Norway is intervening in the present crisis.

Rubesinghe's comments were made even as Norway's special peace envoy Eric Solheim, cancelled his scheduled visit to Sri Lanka this week.
Published: Wed Apr 25 02:16:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Security in Colombo
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 2:45pm SLT, April 24, 2001. Soldiers stand guard as people walk past them in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Tuesday. April. 24, 2001, a day after Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE) issued a scathing statement calling off its one-sided unilateral cease fire, throwing future prospects of peace talks into disarray. Colombo has been placed on a 'red alert,' as the government anticipates the LTTE may carry out suicide missions on key government installations in the country's capital. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 05:01:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

eRunway Gets $22M Global Funding To Expand Sri Lanka Ops
Yahoo India, Wednesday April 25, 7:18 PM. ERunway Inc. said Wednesday that it had secured a $22 million in its second round of overseas financing to fund its on-going expansion program in Sri Lanka."This capital will help us scale our Sri Lankan operations...and enable us to innovate faster and improve quality," eRunway Chief Executive Kris Canekeratne told a news conference. He said, the financing effort was led by Charles River Venture and JAFCO Ventures, both based in the U.S. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 16:26:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Solheim Optimistic of Peace Despite Truce Termination
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 24/04/01 1645 GMT. Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers are still willing to continue the peace process despite the fact that the LTTE terminated it's unilateral cease-fire, said Erik Solheim, the Norwegian peace negotiator with the warring parties. In an exclusive interview with BBC's Sandeshaya, Mr. Solheim said "We will now stay in close contacts with the LTTE and the government in the next couple of weeks and try to regain the momentum of the peace process"

"Tamil Tigers had clearly stated that they would continue the peace process and talks with Norway. We are also certain that the SL government will give peace a chance" Mr. Solheim added.
Published: Tue Apr 24 12:54:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Norway envoy not to visit Sri Lanka soon  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Lanka launches fresh offensive as rebel ceasefire ends
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Wednesday, April 25, 2001. Sri Lankan forces today launched a fresh offensive on rebel positions in the northern Jaffna peninsula while the LTTE marked the end of its four-month-long ceasefire by launching mortar attacks on army positions and wounding 12 soldiers, defence ministry said. Codenamed 'Operation Agnikhiela,' the land, sea and air offensive was aimed at clearing LTTE-held areas and expanding the area under army's control, defence ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said. "While no details are available, the operation is progressing well," he said. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 04:31:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Army, Jets Attack Rebels Hours After Cease-Fire  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lankan military launches offensive in Jaffna  - India Abroad
New Sri Lanka offensive against Tigers  - BBC South Asia
Lanka braces for war as Tigers call off truce  - Times of India
Talk peace, wage war: LTTE calls off truce, but keeps talking  - The Hindustan Times
LTTE decision might be a blessing in disguise  - The Hindu (International)

Sri Lanka seeks investment in IT and Software sectors
Yahoo India, Wednesday April 25, 8:35 PM. ri Lanka is keen to have Indian private sector investment in the IT and software segments and has asked the Indian small and medium industrial sector to take advantage of the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the FTA, a diverse range of industry would benefit from extensive tax and tariff cuts, Sri Lankan Minister for Higher Education and Information Technology Development Indika Gunawardena told reporters here. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 12:10:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Five suspects remanded in Mannar rape case
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.35 a.m. SLT Tuesday April 24. Five suspects including the head of the Special Investigative Unit, M. N. M. Suraweera have been remanded by the Acting Judge for Mannar yesterday after having been identified as suspects in the rape and sexual molestation of two Tamil women, Nanthakumar Wijikala (22) and and Sinnathamby Sivamani Weerakon (24).

The controversial case, first brought to light by the Bishop for Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, has resulted in the arrest of five men including the former head of the SIU, three police constables and an army lieutenant.

The Bishop maintains that after the two women were arrested in Mannar, while being taken to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), the Navy personnel had started to make sexual advances on these two helpless females. On arrival at the SIU, Mannar at 11.30 on the same night Wijikala was taken in and along with Navy and SIU personnel, forcefully stripped naked, her hands tied, laid on a table, and sexually assaulted. She was subsequently raped as well.

Rev. Rayappu Joseph asserts that Sivamani too, kept in a white van used by the Navy had also been stripped naked by the Navy personnel and sexually molested by them after being blindfolded with a stocking.

The five suspects will be held in remand until the next court hearing in May 2001. The two women were taken into custody on March 19 this year on the suspicion that they were members of the LTTE.

The women, one pregnant, claimed that Naval personnel too were involved in the rape.

While the Navy have denied reports that officers did molest and rape the women in question they have not denied taking the two women into their custody. Commander Rohan Amarasinghe, Coordinating Officer for the Media, however said the Navy did not know what happened to the women after they had been handed over to the Police Counter Subversive Unit in Mannar.

The District Medical Officer for Mannar, Dr. G. Somasekaram has confirmed that 'Wijikala' (22 years) and pregnant has been raped while 'Sivamani' (24) and a mother of three children was sexually molested.

The DMO's report on Wijikala states to the District Judge of Mannar that Nanthakumar Wijikala aged 22 years and Sinnathamby Sivamani Weerakon, aged 24 years were produced before him on March, 30 2001 at 12.45 p.m. at the Base Hospital Mannar where he made his concluding examination.
Published: Tue Apr 24 02:15:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Government braces for bloodbath
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Tuesday April 24. The Sri Lankan Government has placed the military and police on red alert today after the LTTE yesterday issued a scathing statement withdrawing from its one-sided unilateral cease fire.

The Tigers maintain that the government has used the four month cease fire begun by the LTTE on Christmas Eve last year, to kill over 100 rebels and injure another 400.

The LTTE has also criticized the US, British and other European governments for their inability to pressurize the Sri Lankan government into accepting the Tiger truce.

Field force commanders in the country's war embattled north and east have already braced their soldiers for large scale attacks by the Tigers. Colombo too has been placed on a 'red alert,' as the government anticipates the LTTE will carry out suicide missions on key government installations in the country's capital.

The Tigers decision to break the four month truce, political analysts say, will now push back hopes for peace talks to begin in the near future.

The LTTE statement was made even as the government released war statistics claiming that the 18 year old war in the island nation has to date, killed over 63,000 people.
Published: Tue Apr 24 02:15:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Lanka troops brace for war as Tigers call off truce  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka braces for more bloodshed as Tigers pull out of truce  - Yahoo Asia
Lanka says doors remain open for talks with LTTE  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Lanka govt says calling off the ceasefire by LTTE does not matter  -

Tamil Tigers prepare for bloody end to ceasefire
Yahoo, April 24, 2001. Tamil Tiger rebels are girding themselves for attacks on Sri Lankan Security forces as they call off their four-month long unilateral ceasefire at midnight Tuesday.The rebels accuse the government of failing to reciprocate the truce and for intensifying land, sea and air attacks. The Joint Operations Headquarters (JOH) -- the joint military apparatus responsible for all counter terrorist operations -- has placed security establishments and police on alert, both in the combat zones and other areas including Colombo. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 15:10:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka on alert  - BBC South Asia

SAARC meet on social charter begins
The Hindu (International), Wednesday, April 25, 2001. COLOMBO, APRIL 24. The first meeting of the Inter-Governmental Expert Group on the SAARC Social Charter got under way here today with a call by the grouping's Secretary-General for the need to address the ``dark, neglected spots'' of South Asia's social situation. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 05:40:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan board seeks help from Barry Richards
Times of India (Breaking News), 25 April 2001. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board is in the process of signing up South African batting legend Barry Richards to coach their batsmen.Richards, who got to play only four Tests because of his country's isolation from the sporting scene in the apartheid era, was interested in the assignment, but is yet to confirm his willingness, as he had other commitments as a television commentator, sources in BSSCL said. More...
Published: Wed Apr 25 04:39:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A great turnaround
Muttiah Muralidaran - Yahoo India, Tuesday April 24, 11:45 AM. The day started off well for us when our skipper Sanath Jaysuriya won the crucial toss and decided to bat. On a batting wicket, we were left rather unsettled over the initial 15 overs with the lack of communication between wickets and excellent bowling from Waqar and Razzaq keeping the run rate to a lowly 2.5 per over. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 19:57:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Varsity signs 'Letter of Intent' with Sri Lankan institute
The Hindu (Southern States), Wednesday, April 25, 2001. CHENNAI, APRIL 24. The Madras University on Monday, signed a `Letter of Intent' with the Sri Lankan Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) to collaborate on academic programmes in Sri Lanka, especially in the area of IT, for a period of three years. A Sri Lankan delegation led by the Minister for Higher Education and IT Development, Mr. Indika Gunawardena, today held discussions with staff members of Madras University, including the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Pon Kothandaraman, and members of the Indian IT industry. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 19:29:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Tamil party calls India to help speed peace bid
India Abroad, April 24, 2001 14:05 Hrs (IST) . RI Lanka's main moderate Tamil party wants India to step in to keep the Norwegian- backed peace bid on track, as Tamil separatists called off a unilateral truce that threatens to spark off more fighting. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) urged New Delhi to pressure the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to come to a settlement with Colombo that could provide a face-saving measure for both sides. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 05:31:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway peace bid dims as Sri Lanka braces for bloodshed
Yahoo Asia, Tuesday, April 24 3:08 PM SGT . Norway's attempt to broker peace in Sri Lanka suffered a major blow as Tamil Tiger rebels called off their unilateral truce and troops braced for more bloodshed, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced they will end the one-sided ceasefire from midnight Tuesday after having observed it for four months in a bid to push the Norwegian peace bid. The rebel announcement made late Monday prompted Sri Lankan authorities to place police and security forces on red alert amid fears of an escalation in fighting in the island's embattled north, and the capital Colombo. More...
Published: Tue Apr 24 04:42:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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