The Lanka Academic

MAY 1, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 25

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
May Day
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 3.00pm SLT, May 1, 2001. An activist of the radical Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, drinks water in the scorching afternoon heat, during a street march to celebrate May Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Tuesday May 1, 2001.More than 1,000 armed policemen and soldiers shut many of the capitals roads to traffic and lined the streets to face any possible Tamil Tiger attack as political parties and trade unions began May Day rallies and meetings. More...
Published: Tue May 1 13:00:22 EDT 2001

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Please note that the "Ask Erik Solheim!" session has now ended. We will soon post the third and final batch of answers. Mr. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian special facilitator between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is the guest at the present Q&A session hosted by The Lanka Academic. Learn more about this Q&A session here.
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Escalation of conflict in Lanka worries India, Norway
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 1. THE ESCALATION of the Sri Lankan conflict triggered by the army's massive Operation Agni Kheila-I last week is worrying the international community, particularly India and Norway, two countries closely involved with the on-going peace process. Both New Delhi and Oslo are now on a fire-fighting mission telling the Lankan government not to jeopardise the peace process by resorting to military adventurism, sources said. More...
Published: Tue May 1 16:23:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cong to oppose LTTE, swears by India-Lanka accord
TOI, April 28. The Congress manifesto released on Friday stressed that it would oppose tooth and nail the Sri Lankan Tamil outfit, LTTE, and work for the implementation of India-Lanka accord signed by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi had helped Tamils in many ways, but he was brutally assassinated by the LTTE, which is a Fascist movement, the manifesto said. More...
Published: Tue May 1 21:46:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Erik Solheim discusses peace process with Kumaratunga
Newspapertoday, May 1. Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim has met Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to discuss steps to re-kindle the tenuous peace process that suffered a setback last week after an abortive military offensive that left over 400 dead. A Norwegian embassy spokesman said Solheim had a discussion with the President on Monday night, but declined to divulge details. The envoy is scheduled to meet leader of the main Opposition United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe later in the day. More...
Published: Tue May 1 10:22:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Peace process not dead yet: Solheim  - The Hindu (International)
Solheim discusses peace process with Kumaratunga  - Press Trust of India

LTTE friend Fernandes in secret Madras meet
The Newspapertoday, April 07. NDA convener and former Defence Minister George Fernandes is holding a meeting with MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Tamil National Movement leader P. Nedumaran at a secret rendezvous in Madras. The meeting that started early on Friday morning was going on till afternoon. Contrary to the public perception that Fernandes was here to mediate between DMK and MDMK, Friday?s secret meeting, top intelligence sources say, is to help the LTTE, isolated and ousted from its international base, London. Sources added that Fernandes was trying to broker a deal between the Indian government and the Tamil Tigers.According to intelligence sources, the three are working out a joint strategy to pressure New Delhi to intervene in the negotiations between the LTTE and Colombo, which is said to be nearing a climax. More...
Published: Tue May 1 11:20:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Canada ready to bowl in Sri Lanka in advance of crucial cricket tournament
The Province, May 1. Under searing 30-degree heat and sapping humidity, the Canadian cricket team is ready to bowl in Sri Lanka for an eight-match tour in advance of a crucial competition this summer. "It's a real crunch time for Canadian cricket," said Canadian coach Jeff Thomas, whose team opens Tuesday against the Western Province XI in Kadirana. "There's some real bonuses at the end of the summer if things go well." Still, money is tight for the Canadian Cricket Association, with Edwards acknowledging sponsorship is sorely needed. The Sri Lankan tour, which wraps up May 13, will cost the association at least $50,000, Edwards estimates. More...
Published: Tue May 1 21:55:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's GDP Growth Up Last year
Nothern Light, Tuesday, May 01, 2001 1:04 PM EST . Sri Lanka's growth rate of the gross domestic product recorded 6 percent last year, higher than the growth rate of a 4.3 percent in previous year, according to the annual report of the country's Central Bank. The report said that the ratio of gross domestic investment increased to 27.3 percent last year, continuing the trend experienced since 1997, mainly due to increased private sector investment activities. More...
Published: Tue May 1 15:05:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE accuses government of undermining Norwegian peace bid
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 16:45 SLT Tuesday May 1, 2001. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in statement issued from their international headquarters in the Vanni today accused the Sri Lankan Government of attempting to undermine the peace environment by it's military policy.

"By unleashing a major military offensive against the LTTE's positions in Jaffna, the Kumaratunga government has seriously jeopardised the Norwegian peace initiative", the statement said. Referring to the army's recent offensive as "irrational and dangerous " the organization condemned the government's rejection of the LTTE's unilateral truce, which the rebels' claim was a sincere gesture of goodwill, aimed at setting the mood for the forthcoming peace negotiations. The statement said, the government had responded to this gesture with four days of intense battle soon after the ceasefire ended, which resulted in huge losses to army personnel. The LTTE also said that during their truce, the organization "rigorously practised peace by suspending offensive operations in the north-east, and attacks in other parts of the country. "On several occasions, during our self-imposed truce, we were compelled to confront the Sri Lankan forces in defensive war in land assaults, sea battles and aerial strikes", the rebels said. The statement added that despite several pleas to the international community, no nation intervened to pressure the government to reciprocate the truce. The statement also echoed the rebels' original stand of being opposed to commencing peace talks before a cessation of hostilities is declared between the parties in conflict.
Published: Tue May 1 08:53:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Tigers blast Sri Lanka as Norway battles to save peace bid  - Yahoo Asia

Dubai vows better protection for Asian labourers
TOI, may 2. The Gulf emirate of Dubai, where a construction boom is fuelled by cheap Asian manpower, has drawn up a working plan to protect labourers, the municipality said Tuesday in a statement to mark May Day. More...
Published: Tue May 1 20:43:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Heavy security overshadows May Day in Sri Lanka
India Abroad, May 01, 2001 19:50 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lanka observed May Day with processions and public rallies organized by political parties but tight security in the capital and fears of attacks kept most workers chained indoors.Police said they brought in reinforcements of over 3,000 personnel to help contain crowds at the meetings but eye witnesses said the numbers attending the afternoon rallies were considerably less than in previous years. The best organized and most colorful show was staged by the radical left Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP, or People's Liberation Front) whose procession of red- shirted, slogan-shouting comrades wound through Colombo's streets. More...
Published: Tue May 1 15:07:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Security stepped up in Colombo for May day  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Sri Lanka Tightens Security In Capital; May Day Rallies  - Yahoo Asia
Suicide bombing fears dampen Sri Lanka May Day  - Yahoo Asia

Groundbreaking Drama Group to perform in London.
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 01/05/01 1800 GMT. A full-length dance drama which is a moving portrayal of stories from the conflict in Sri Lanka will be staged in London this week. "Flowers Will Always bloom" on the plight of internal refugees by disabled and non-disabled performers, Co-directed by Wolfgang Stange of the celebrated Amici Dance theatre company and Rohana Deva Perera from the Sunetra Bandaranaike’s Sunera Foundation, is complemented by professional artists.

The forty five strong company from Sri Lanka is made up from performers aged from 14+ including fifteen internal refugees, eight wheelchair bound performers and professional artists from different communities in Sri Lanka. After the performances at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith on the 2nd, 4th and 5th May, the group is holding workshops and exchanges accompanying the performances.
Published: Tue May 1 14:12:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka rebels urge truce to save peace bid
Yahoo India, May 1. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas said on Tuesday recent heavy fighting with government troops has seriously undermined a Norwegian-brokered peace process and repeated their demand for a truce to precede negotiations. The rebel's first comments since claiming victory last week in Sri Lanka's bloodiest battle in a year were also the latest indication the peace process had reached an impasse on a pre-talks truce, something the government has ruled out. More...
Published: Tue May 1 09:37:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US terrorism report condemns LTTE
India Abroad, May 01, 2001 15:55 Hrs (IST) . The US State Department's annual report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism" has strongly condemned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for its continuing brand of ruthless terrorism and wanton violence against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka. The report, released here Monday, noted that the LTTE -- "re-designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1999 -- remained violent in 2000, engaging in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets", in its quest for a separate homeland for the island nation's minority Tamils.It said LTTE attacks, "including those involving suicide bombers, killed more than 100 persons, including the Minister of Industrial Development (C.V.) Goonaratne, and wounded dozens". More...
Published: Tue May 1 08:57:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Canadian High Commissioner visits rebel held territory in Vanni
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 1. Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo, Ruth Archibald made a sudden trip to rebel held territory yesterday. The Canadian diplomat reportedly made the journey in order to evaluate the present situation after hostilities escalated between the LTTE and government troops last week.

Archibald is supposed to have met with LTTE spokesman Thamil Chelvam and several other rebel leaders. The LTTE has apparently briefed the High Commissioner on their reasons as to why they ended the four month truce with government troops, but had maintained they remain committed to the peace process and a negotiated solution to the problem.
Published: Tue May 1 08:47:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Security stepped up in Kandy for SLFP rally
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 1. Security has been stepped up in Kandy as the SLFP will hold their rally at the Asgiriya Police Stadium this afternoon at 2 p.m. The rally is to be chaired by Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte. Other key government ministers and members of parliament are also expected to attend the rally.

Police and armed troops have been deployed to guard entry points into Kandy where all persons attempting to enter the hill capital will be body searched. A large crowd is expected to attend the rally as people from Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya have been gathered to attend the state sponsored event.
Published: Tue May 1 08:47:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Solheim to meet VVIP's in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 1. Norwegian peace maker Eric Solheim will meet with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe during his visit to Colombo this week.

Solheim was expected to meet with the President yesterday and with Ranil Wickremasinghe today. Solheim has been shuttling from London to Colombo meeting with both the LTTE and the government in a bid to end the 18-year-old conflict in Sri Lanka. Solheim's peace moves continue even as the war rages in the Island nations northern peninsula claiming some 403 lives in one week after operation 'Ahgni Keela'.
Published: Tue May 1 08:47:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks more free trade deals as pact with India fails: Bank
Yahoo India, Tuesday May 1, 3:07 PM. Sri Lanka's trade pact with neighbouring India has failed to deliver, but the government was seeking free trade deals with a dozen other countries, the Central Bank said in its latest report.he bank in its report for 2000 released late Monday said what was supposed to be an Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has seen new restrictions on the island's two main exports -- tea and clothing. More...
Published: Tue May 1 09:03:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka traders need more time to take GM food off shelves
Yahoo Asia, Tuesday, May 1 4:17 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's importers have asked for more time to implement a ban on genetically modified (GM) food due to come into force from Tuesday, trade officials here said. The new law brought in by the Health Ministry bans all imports of raw and processed food in 21 categories if they have been genetically modified. More...
Published: Tue May 1 09:04:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tigers Accuse the Government of Undermining Peace Process
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 01/05/01 1025 GMT. Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers accused the government of undermining Norwegian backed peace initiative by its "irrational and dangerous policy of war". In an urgent press release claimed to have sent from Vanni headquarters, the LTTE says that the PA government has seriously jeopardised the peace process by unleashing a major military offensive.

Tamil Tigers have rejected the Government’s arguments against their unilateral cease-fire as "ridiculous, fallacious and childish"

"The Government rejected our goodwill gesture as a farce and in turn responded with a four day war that turned out to be a nightmarish bloodbath for its own soldiers; a carnage in which hundreds of innocent Sinhala youth lost their precious lives and thousands sustained injuries. The heavy loss of life and spilling of blood is the price Kumaratunga regime is paying for its absurd policy of war and conquest" the statement says.
Published: Tue May 1 06:27:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chief of ICC's anti-corruption unit in Sri Lanka
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 7.00pm SLT, April 30, 2001. Chief of International Cricket Council's 's anti- corruption unit, Sir Paul Condon, express optimism about cracking down on corruption in world cricket during a press conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday, April.30' 2001. Two investigators from his team will assist Sri Lanka's anti-corruption investigator Desmand Fernando to question former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva regarding allegations of match- fixing made against them by a Indian bookmaker Mukesh Gupta. Both cricketers have denied the allegations. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 13:02:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
ICC panel expands anti-corruption probe beyond Indian report  - Yahoo India
Cricket-Match-fixing waning says anti-corruption chief  - Yahoo India

Colombo urges talks after military debacle
gulf-news, april 30. Sri Lanka reiterated its willingness to go ahead with the Norwegian initiated peace process and commence negotiations with the Tamil guerrillas aimed at finding a solution to the ethnic conflict as the military death toll in the latest fighting rose to 213.Hours after the military withdrew to their original positions after calling off a major military offensive in northern Sri Lanka, the government issued an 18-page statement saying that it was also willing to finalise and formalise a document to implement humanitarian measures in the north. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 15:33:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket-India to play three tests in Sri Lanka
Yahoo India, Tuesday May 1, 11:41 AM. India will play three tests during their 50-day tour of Sri Lanka starting in July, as well as taking part in a triangular one-day series also involving New Zealand. The match venues have yet to be announced. More...
Published: Tue May 1 08:58:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Call for new Sri Lanka peace talks
CNN, april 30. Sri Lanka's government is calling for immediate negotiations with Tamil Tiger rebels after a failed military operation ended at the weekend, leaving as many as 400 dead. The army death toll rose to 213 on Sunday, as the rebels claimed a victory in the four-day offensive that was intended to reclaim territory on the northern Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 20:15:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Communist Party urges support to end war
Island, 1 MAY 2001. The General Secretary of Ceylon Communist Party, D. E. W. Gunasekara addressing the Youth Leagues of Nuwara-Eliya at the Co-operative Hall here said that the "Vanni" talks and the other international dialogues in progress towards ending the war, is a clear indication of the President’s firm and solid committment is finding solution to this vexed problem. Hence it was incumbent on the entire country and its masses to support the Government’s move in this regard. More...
Published: Tue May 1 03:36:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE cremates Army men with honours
chennaionline, april 30. In a rare gesture, the LTTE has cremated some of the highly decomposed and thoroughly disintegrated bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers killed on the battlefront in Jaffna with military honours and handed over 56 identifiable bodies to the Red Cross. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 20:17:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway tries to salvage Lanka peace bid
Times of India, May 1. Norway tried to salvage its bid to broker peace in Sri Lanka on Monday as the death toll in the latest outbreak of fighting between troops and Tamil rebels rose to 411, officials said.Oslo's special envoy, Erik Solheim, arrived here Monday for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, but had no immediate plans to travel to a rebel-held area, Norwegian diplomats here said. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 17:03:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway seeks to resume peace process in Lanka  - Press Trust of India
Sri Lanka fighting 'sets back peace'  - BBC South Asia
Lanka calls for talks with LTTE  - The Pioneer
Norway works on Lanka peace bid as toll hits 411  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Norwegian peace envoy in Sri Lanka  - India Abroad
Sri Lankan peace process not dead  - BBC South Asia
Norwegian peace envoy arrives in Sri Lanka  -

Alleged assassin let out of jail
National Post - Canada, April 26. A refugee claimant the RCMP says is a trained Sri Lankan guerrilla who shot a man in England and executed an author in Paris in front of his family has been allowed to leave a Toronto jail and return to his house in Markham.The Immigration and Refugee Board released Pirakalathan Ratnavel on the condition he post a $20,000 deposit, live at home, abide by a curfew and stay away from associates of the Tamil Tigers.Mr. Ratnavel, 31, was arrested in Toronto in 1997 and ordered to return to his homeland, Sri Lanka. But he caused a disturbance upon boarding the plane and the airline refused to carry him. He subsequently launched a series of appeals. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 14:22:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Refugees at risk
National Post - Canada, April 30. Proof is not hard to find. Last week the Immigration and Refugee Board released Pirakalathan Ratnavel, a man the RCMP allege is an assassin and a member of a 12-to-15-man Toronto unit of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a terrorist organization that uses murder, torture and extortion in its fight against the Sri Lankan government for independence from Sri Lanka.Mr. Ratnavel has been declared a danger to Canadians, even though he denies any link to the Tigers or violence. He came to Canada in May, 1996, using a forged Dutch passport. He told Canadian officials he had been tortured in Sri Lanka and wanted asylum. His story was false and he was arrested in 1997 after Citizenship and Immigration Canada learned Mr. Ratnavel was a Tiger enforcer in London, England. Mr. Ratnavel was held in custody and finally ordered deported to Sri Lanka in December, 1998. It did not take much cunning to defy the order. Mr. Ratnavel simply made a fuss when he was put on the plane and the commercial airline refused to take him. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 14:16:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka tries to put South Asian summit back on track
Times of India, May 1. Sri Lanka has invited foreign secretaries of a South Asian grouping for a June meeting, trying to revive a long-postponed summit of the region's heads of state, officials said on Monday. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 17:05:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

8000 Tigers in Toronto
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Monday April 30. An immigration official in Canada has testified that some 8000 armed Tamils, who are members of the LTTE, are living in Toronto and are a danger to Canadians in the area.

The senior immigration official made these shocking revelations at an internal hearing to probe the entry of illegal immigrants to Canada.

Fred Bowen, the senior immigration official maintains that P. Rathnavale, a Tamil living in Toronto was responsible for the murder of another Tamil in France last year. Rathnavale has denied the charges and caused a stir when he was put on a plane which would take him out of Canada recently.
Published: Mon Apr 30 07:29:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Up to 8,000 Tamil guerrillas living in Toronto, RCMP says  - The National Post

Some Bodies Not Identified- Army Spokesman
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 30/04/01 1630 GMT. The Sri Lankan military says that several bodies handed over to them by the Tamil Tigers will be cremated due to inability to identify them. In an interview with BBC’s Sandeshaya the military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said that arrangements have been made to cremate the bodies of unidentified army personnel in Anuradhapura. Reports from the region say that funeral directors have made arrangements to dispose of 26 unidentified bodies. Further eight bodies are to be brought in from Vavunia.

Meanwhile, the military authorities have handed over 10 bodies of rebel fighters to the LTTE via the ICRC. The spokesman for ICRC Harsha Gunawardhana said that it is the first time that the SL military handed over bodies of rebels since the SL army was made to retreat from their offensive at the end of a four month long rebel cease-fire. The rebels handed over eight more bodies today to the SL army making the total number of bodies handed over to the Army 64.
Published: Mon Apr 30 12:30:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan casualties higher
BBC South Asia, Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK . The Sri Lankan army says the number of its soldiers killed in the latest offensive against the Tamil Tigers has risen to two-hundred-and-forty. An army spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne told the BBC that the Tamil Tigers had handed over twenty-six more bodies through the Red Cross. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 08:28:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
ICRC transfers 64 army bodies - 10 LTTE bodies  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

India voices concern over fighting between government and LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Monday April 30. Indian officials have voiced concern over fighting which escalated last week between the government and the LTTE. The Press Trust of India quoting an Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman says that both warring factions in Sri Lanka should begin negotiations as a political solution is possible in the present conflict situation in the embattled Island nation.

Since fighting broke out afresh between state troops and the Tiger rebels, officials claim that a total of 403 lives from both sides has been lost. The Tigers broke a four month, one-sided truce on April 24, this year, after the government refused to reciprocate the good will measure initiated by the LTTE on Christmas Eve 2000.
Published: Mon Apr 30 07:29:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops retreat after bloody battles
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, April 29 10:35 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's army was beaten back in a fierce counter-attack by Tamil rebels in the island's north Sunday, as the military death toll in the latest fighting rose to 213, officials said. The army death toll rose after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) returned to the government the bodies of 56 soldiers killed in fighting between Wednesday and Saturday turned over by the rebels. Military sources estimated 1,600 government troops have been injured in the recent fighting, and state hospitals continued to seek blood to treat the sudden surge in the war-wounded. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 08:35:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan lawmakers to learn main languages to promote ethnic harmony
MSNBC, Sunday, April 29 10:02 PM SGT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, April 29 — The government will teach Sinhalese and Tamil lawmakers each other's language to bridge their ethnic divide, considered the main cause of the island nation's 17-year-old civil strife. Language has been at the root of ethnic tension, simmering since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948. More...
Published: Mon Apr 30 08:33:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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