The Lanka Academic

APRIL 26, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 20

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
200 killed in fighting in Sri Lanka: Army
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, April 26. GOVERNMENT TROOPS are consolidating their positions in the areas re-captured from the rebels in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula where a gory battle left 200 combatants dead and over a thousand wounded on both sides. With more soldiers succumbing to their injuries today, the casualty figure on the troops' side rose to 87 while the LTTE was believed to have lost 110 of its cadres in the fierce fighting which began at dawn yesterday hours after the Tamil Tigers ended their unilateral ceasefire, the army said here. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 14:41:03 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
Fresh fighting erupts in Sri Lanka  - BBC South Asia
Army pushes back rebels in Sri Lanka  - MSNBC
Army claims significant gains in LTTE-controlled areas  - Deccan Herald
Tigers step up counter fire on SLA  - TamilNet
Sri Lanka toll hits 197 as troops, Tigers suffer heavy losses  -

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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
The LTTE says it is fighting for Tamil rights and not for a separate state
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1618 slt 26.04.01. The head of LTTE's political wing Thamil Chelvam has said that the LTTE was fighting for the rights of the Tamil people and not for a separate state. At a meeting with a delegation of Catholic bishops led by Rev Oswald Gomes, Thamil Chelvam said that if the government create the right environment the LTTE would be ready for peace talks. The statement comes amidst reports of a deadlock in the Norwegian efforts to start peace talks. The LTTE has made two pre conditions- an immediate cease fire and the lifting of the ban by the government. However Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake stressed today that the government would not agree to either conditions. Addressing a function at the Ramada Hotel in Colombo The PM said the government has learned lessons from mistakes made by the earlier government. He said cease fires declared by the earlier government has allowed the LTTE to re-arm and re train its cadres. end
Published: Thu Apr 26 08:31:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Stop offensive, TULF tells Sri Lankan Govt.
The Hindu (International), Friday, April 27, 2001. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) today called on the Sri Lankan Government to halt its fresh offensive in Jaffna peninsula and begin peace talks with the LTTE immediately. ``We hold no brief for the LTTE but at what cost does the Army want to advance towards Elephant Pass? More than 100 lives were lost yesterday. Does it matter if they were LTTE or soldiers? They were all people,'' remonstrated Mr. V. Anandasangaree, parliamentarian and senior vice-president of the TULF. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 17:24:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Army consolidate its positions
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1814. slt 26.04.01. The Sri Lankan army is consolidating in areas captured yesterday in the Jaffna Peninsula amidst heavy artillery and mortar fire from the rebels. The Special Media Information Unit (SMIU) said two buses carrying rebel reinforcement were destroyed by Air Force jets today.18 soldiers have been killed and 140 have been injured in the fighting and over 100 rebels including four senior cadres killed, according to the SMIU.
Published: Thu Apr 26 08:31:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

The Crisis in the UNP resolved
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1600 slt 26.04.01. The crisis in the United National Party was resolved today when party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to a compromise formula.The "reformist group" of the UNP led by Party Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and Assistant Leader Gamini Athukorala proposed wide ranging reforms within the party to establish inner-party democracy and that if a national government is formed the parties that constitute the government would elect its leader. This formula was proposed after the UNP leader agreed to nominate Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya as Prime Minister in a National Unity Government if that is the wish of a majority of the people. Mr. Wickremesinghe also agreed to table a no confidence motion against the Chief Justice and draft legislation on the four independent commissions in parliament within two weeks. The UNP leader was accused by the reformist group of dragging his feet on tabling these in parliament and in attempts to defeat the government in parliament.
Published: Thu Apr 26 06:20:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Majority Want Karu Jayasuriya to be Opposition Leader  - Saroj Pathirana in London
UNP move to oust Ranil gathers pace  - gulf-news

Sumathipala demands an apology or Rs. 500 million from Sports Minister
Dulshan de Silva in Colombo, 12.45 p.m. SLT Thursday April 26, 2001. Sri Lanka's suspended Cricket Board's President Thilanga Sumathipala has demanded an unqualified apology from the Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella for the alleged damaging statements the Minister had made to the media. Sumathipala has demanded Rs. 500 million (app. 5. 74 million US Dollars) if the minister fails to comply with the original demand. In a letter of demand sent through his lawyers Abdeen Associates on Wednesday Sumathipala alleges that the Minister has made misleading statements in 14 instances to print and electronic media. He had alleged that the Minister knew the correct state of affairs through four letters he had earlier sent to Sports Ministry Secretary Dr. P. Ramanujam and the present interim committee of the Cricket Board. Copies of these letters had been sent to the Minister and these letters are undisputed, Sumathipala has added. So, Sumathipala has alleged that the Minister made misleading statements "intentionally and spitefully" causing embarrassment and humiliation to him. Sumathipala has given the Minister a seven-day deadline for the apology and if the Minister fails to do so, he has demanded Rs.500 million within 14 days. Sumathipala has said that he would constitute legal action if the Minister fails to comply with both demands.
Published: Thu Apr 26 02:52:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Prima associate to pay 65 mln usd for flour mill concession in Sri Lanka
Nothern Light, Thursday, April 26, 2001 7:46 AM EST . SINGAPORE, Apr 26, 2001 (AFX-Asia via COMTEX) -- Prima Limited said 40 pct-owned associate Prima Ceylon Ltd has agreed to pay the Sri Lankan government 65 mln usd for a 55 year concession to operate a flour mill. Also part of the deal, Prima Ceylon has agreed to the early termination of an existing 25-year build-operate-transfer concession agreement in respect of an existing flour mill it operates in Sri Lanka. Prima Ceylon will be financing the 65 mln usd cost of the new concession via a rights issue and Prima has said it will fully subscribe its entitlement using internal resources. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 09:35:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka toll hits 180 as troops, Tigers suffer heavy losses, Apr 26 2001 14:01 IST. COLOMBO, April 26 (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops were Thursday consolidating after intense overnight fighting that killed more than 180 and wounded over 500 among security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, officials said. Troops wrested control of an area of eight square kilometres (3.2 square miles) from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Jaffna peninsula in Wednesday's drive, a defence ministry spokesman said. The defence ministry said a total of 70 government soldiers and about 110 Tiger cadres were killed in the overnight fighting. The army suffered about 200 troopers wounded and put rebel casualties at 300 wounded. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 05:20:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Fresh clashes flare as Sri Lanka sides count dead  - MSNBC
Army claims taking eight in LTTE-controlled areas  - Press Trust of India
Heavy bloodshed in Sri Lanka as Tiger truce ends  -
Sri Lanka troops, Tigers count the dead after heavy fighting  -
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
More than 100 reported killed in Sri Lankan battle  - MSNBC

Sri Lankan troops dig in as death toll rises
MSNBC, Islamabad,Thursday, April 26, 2001. Sri Lankan troops dug in on Thursday as the military death toll in heavy fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Jaffna peninsula rose to at least 58, a military spokesman said. The rebel Voice of Tigers radio said 100 government soldiers had been killed in the fighting. The army, which launched an offensive after the Tigers let a unilateral ceasefire lapse on Tuesday, said it had no new rebel death toll beyond the 75 the military reported it killed on Wednesday. ''There is no new fighting today. We are consolidating our position,'' military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne told Reuters. He said that 26 soldiers had died, in addition to the 32 dead reported on Wednesday night. He blamed rebel artillery fire. ''There were heavy artillery attacks on our positions after we had made advances yesterday and some more casualties occurred,'' he said. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 02:36:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan military captures LTTE areas  - India Abroad

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

Sri Lanka Arrests Men Escorting Reporter Into Rebel Area
Yahoo India, Thursday April 26, 2:42 PM. COLOMBO (AP)--Sri Lankan police arrested three Tamil men accused of escorting an American journalist into the Tamil rebel-held territory in the north, a police officer said Thursday. The men, whom Marie Colvin of London's Sunday Times described as "local Tamils" and "civilians with LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) sympathies" in her reports, had taken her into the rebel-held Wanni area in early April, the officer said on condition of anonymity. Colvin, an Oyster Bay, N.Y., native, was wounded in an exchange of firing between government forces and the rebels April 16 after an army patrol spotted her trying to re-enter the government-held town of Vavuniya, 210 kilometers north of the capital, Colombo. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 09:37:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Three held for guiding US journalist to LTTE territory  - Press Trust of India
Four Arrested for Helping Marie Colvin  - Saroj Pathirana in London

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

Tigers prepared for war during truce: govt, Apr 25 2001 15:26 IST. COLOMBO, April 25 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels used their four-month unilateral ceasefire to strengthen defences and re-arm for a fresh offensive, the government said Wednesday. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) received fresh arms supplies during their truce, which started on Christmas Eve and ended on Tuesday night, the government said in a statement."They have continued to prepare their defences in the Elephant Pass-Pallai sector and also continued to get their supplies, unless intercepted by the navy, off the coast stretching from Nagarkovil to Mullaitivu," the statement said. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 02:26:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

CEB To Ease Power Consumption Rules
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, April 26 10:59 AM SGT . The Ceylon Electricity Board, or CEB, will temporarily relax regulations imposed on the use of electricity next week, ahead of a Buddhist festival, reports the Daily News Thursday. It said the decision was made due to an improvement in water levels in reservoirs in the past few weeks. More...
Published: Thu Apr 26 00:29:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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