The Lanka Academic

MAY 3, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 27

Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka ready to end hostilities?
The Hindu (International), Friday, May 04, 2001. COLOMBO, MAY 3. Sri Lanka has indicated to Oslo that it is prepared to enter into a bilateral agreement with the LTTE for de-escalation of hostilities in order to take the peace process forward, official sources said today. The Norwegian peace envoy, Mr. Erik Solheim, left here late last night after meetings with the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Leader of Opposition, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, and diplomats including the Indian, U.S. and Canadian envoys. More...
Published: Thu May 3 18:17:03 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
LTTE blasts Lanka as Norway tries to save peace bid  - Times of India
Tigers accuse Lanka govt of undermining Norwegian peace bid  - India Abroad
Norwegian envoy extend visit to Sri Lanka in a bid to break deadlock in peace efforts  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
Sri Lanka Govt, Norway Envoy Talks "Productive":Report  - Yahoo India
Envoy leaves with hope after mooting truce in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo India

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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.
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Probe begins into Sinhala-Muslim clashes in Lanka
Times of India, 4 May 2001 . Investigators moved into a northeastern town on Thursday to probe the cause of clashes between Muslim and Sinhalese communities that left one person dead and 16 wounded, police said.The main opposition United National Party claimed the violence broke out after a dispute between Rural Industrial Development Minister Maheepala Herath's security guards and a Muslim shop owner.But state-run radio said that groups demanding protection money from shop owners triggered the fighting. More...
Published: Thu May 3 16:21:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan town calm following "rare riots"  - Yahoo India
Police kill one person in Muslim sinhala clashes in Mawanalla  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
Police, troops patrol Sri Lankan town hit by riots  -

CID uncovers major evidence into Jounalist murder
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 18:00 SLT Thursday May 03. The Criminal Investigation Department says it has uncovered valuable evidence, in it's attempts to unravel the murder of Jaffna-based journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. CID sources said they had discovered the fingerprints believed to belong to persons involved in the murder, on an abandoned bicycle at the scene of the crime. The sources added, that since Nimalarajan received death threats shortly before he was slain in October last year, CID officials were due to question Telecom officers who were on duty on the nights he received the threats. CID officers who traveled to Jaffna to conduct the investigations last Friday, are reported to have returned, after having questioned 7 people in connection with the incident. Headway into the investigation has been made in the past two weeks, shortly after the Jaffna magistrate issued stern orders to police personnel, demanding that the suspects involved in the murder be arrested as soon as possible. The progress also comes after two international media organizations appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunge, to expedite the inquiry into Nimalarajan's murder. Nimalaranjan, who was a Jaffna correspondent for several local media organizations and the BBC, was slain on the night of 19th October at his home in Jaffna town, by an unidentified gunman.
Published: Thu May 3 08:07:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Britain to scrutinize Tamil visitors closely
Minelle Fernandez, London, May 03. British immigration officials have been authorized to discriminate against Tamils arriving in the country. They have been included in a list of eight national and ethnic groups which the home office says pose a particular risk to effective operation of immigration control. Immigration Minister Barbara Roche told parliament on Tuesday ''I have made an authorization permitting members of the Immigration Service' to discriminate, where necessary in the examination of passengers belonging the following ethnic groups: Tamils, Kurds, Pontic Greeks, Roma, Somalis, Albanians, Afghans and ethnic Chinese presenting a Malaysian or Japanese passport or any other travel document issued by Malaysia or Japan.'' The authorisation exempts immigration officials from certain areas of Britain's Race Relations Act which places a statutory duty on public officials to promote racial equality and prevent discrimination. A home office spokesman says Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils will face close scrutiny. He said intelligence and operational practice have shown that people belonging to the groups named by the minister are more likely to present themselves as nationals of another country in order to enter Britain. The home office says specific groups have been listed since the alternative would be to subject all passengers arriving in Britain to stringent checks, causing major delays. Ms Roche told parliament that the decision on a passenger's right to enter the United Kingdom will continue to be made on merit according to immigration ruled. The authorisation according to her simply allows the immigration service to conduct examinations in order to make those decisions. The home office says the authorisation will be reviewed by ministers every month. Instructions for immigration officials about the authorization are currently being drafted.
Published: Thu May 3 10:44:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE demands recognition from government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 a.m. SLT Thursday May 3. LTTE theoretician Mr. Anton Balasingham is reported to have told Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim that the Lankan government must give the rebel group due recognition and respect before peace talks can begin.

Balasingham had reiterated that the government having treated the recent rebel initiated cease-fire with scant regard had led to the present upsurge in the conflict situation.

The tiger spokesman however had not ruled out negotiations while battles rage in the country's northern peninsula, only saying that during talks a de-escalation of the conflict would be necessary.
Published: Thu May 3 13:16:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US re-labels LTTE as terrorist organization
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8 a.m. SLT Thursday May 3. The latest report by the US State department on Global terrorism has once more labelled the LTTE as a terrorist organization. Citing the recent cease-fire and upsurge in violence since April this year, the US points out that the LTTE are responsible in the last year alone for killing some 100 people including former Trade Minister C. V. Gooneratne and his wife.

The department further cites the killing of some 20 persons by the LTTE in June last year and a number of attacks on naval craft which killed sailors.
Published: Thu May 3 13:16:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SAARC foreign secretaries to meet in Colombo next month
Press Trust of India, New Delhi,Thursday, May 03, 2001. SAARC foreign secretaries will meet next month in Colombo for the first time since the Kargil crisis to discuss a broad agenda of economic and social issues, an occasion during which India and Pakistan are expected to establish first-ever direct contact in two years. More...
Published: Thu May 3 13:36:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Condon report to be made public on May 23
Yahoo India, Thursday May 3, 6:45 PM. The interim report of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is likely to be made public on May 23, two days after the ICC Code of Conduct Commission hands it over to the ICC Excecutive Board. The report was handed over to Lord Griffiths, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Commission yesterday.The report suggests that only India has been seen as making a wholehearted effort against match-fixing. A number of countries including South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies have been seen as dragging their feet despite increasing evidence that some of their leading players were involved in misconduct. More...
Published: Thu May 3 16:26:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
ICC panel grills Arvinda, Ranatunga  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Condon to question Pakistani cricketers  - Yahoo India
ICC questions Sri Lankan deputy captain  - BBC South Asia
Cricket-Match-fixing questioning ends for Ranatunga, de Silva  - Yahoo India
ICC complete Sri Lanka visit  - BBC South Asia

Sri Lanka marks press freedom day with calls for tax cuts, May 03 2001 19:01 IST. Sri Lankan newspapers marked International Press Freedom day Thursday with calls to cut taxes and seek possible UNESCO help to save the country's embattled publishing industry.I would like to ask of organisations and countries seriously interested in fostering democracy in the developing world to pause to think of how they can encourage in any way possible, a greater competitiveness in the sources of newsprint," Wijeya chairman, Ranjith Wijewardene, said. More...
Published: Thu May 3 10:21:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US newspapers blamed for inadequate world news coverage
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 3.30 p.m Thursday 3 May. United States newspapers were accused today of inadequate coverage of world affairs at a panel discussion on ?Celebrating diversity in the media?. The discussion was held at the First Amendment Center in New York, organized by the Freedom Forum international to celebrate the 10th World Press freedom day. The panelists, all journalists, Polia Alexandrova from Bulgaria, Alder Aristilde from Haiti, Churchill Ottieno from Kenya and Helena Puljiz from Croatia were, all in agreement and blamed the American newspapers for ignoring international events and inadequate media coverage. Moderator Joan Mower of the International division of the Freedom Forum said that they had taken up the matter with the editors of American newspapers some time back and their answer had been that they give their readers only what is required by them. Mower said that the Freedom Forum has plans to discuss the matter with American newspaper editors in the future. Many members of the audience agreed with the panelist regarding the inadequate media coverage. They expressed hope that the situation would change soon.
Published: Thu May 3 15:30:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

ICC Assures Sri Lanka's Test Status
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 02/05/01 1730 GMT. International Cricket Council (ICC) today affirmed that Sri Lanka will be playing in future Test series with full status. Last week the Sinhala Language weekly "Lakbima", run by ex-BCCSL chairman Thilanga Sumathipala's family, carried a headline story claiming that Sri Lanka will lose it's test status as a result of the Sports Minister's decision to dissolve the Board Of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) and appoint an Interim Committee. It further went on to say that the ICC will suspend Sri Lanka's membership putting at risk it's stakes for the 2003 World Cup. When BBC's Sandeshaya made inquiries on this from the ICC, its response was to the contrary.

"The governance of Sri Lankan cricket is a domestic matter. The situation is currently under legal consideration and the ICC is unable to comment any further. However, I can confirm that Sri Lanka has not been suspended by the ICC" ICC Communications Manager Mark Harrison said in a statement.

Analysts in Colombo believe that the Lakbima is trying to provoke cricket lovers' emotions by making unfounded allegations.
Published: Wed May 2 13:35:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka to watch but not worry over Tamil Nadu elections
India Abroad, May 03, 2001 11:25 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lanka will closely watch the state Assembly elections in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but will not be overly perturbed by the outcome, analysts and politicians here say.he Sri Lankan government will not be ruffled by a victory for either the state's ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) or the main opposition All India Anna Dravida Munethra Kazhagam (AIADMK), they say. More...
Published: Thu May 3 09:09:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

AIDS is the last thing South Asia needed after Independence says Indian expert
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, May 3. Aids is the last thing South Asia needed after independence. It will become a catastrophe in 5 years to come if the governments do not take adequate measures soon. India leads the way in the region with 4.5 million Indians already infected with Aids. 300,000 Indians die of Aids each year the figure may go up to half a million deaths per year! Said Siddarth Dube, development specialist and journalist and the author of "Sex, Lies and Aids" speaking at the South Asian Journalists Associations monthly meeting yesterday, in New York. Dube who has worked with UNAIDS, UNCIEF and the WHO said what is required to prevent Aids is a top-level political commitment and for a mass movement to talk openly against the threat of Aids and sufficient amount of funds. He said India has already borrowed $300,000 from the World Bank since 1992 and received another $100,000 from donors for Aids prevention. But, that is not enough. The main reason for high rate of Aids in India is due to the enormous gap between reality and the myth in sexual behavior and our political leaders must talk about this in the open.? Dube hailed Indian premier Vajpayee for highlighting the threat in his Independence Day speech last year. Speaking to the "Lanka Academic" Dube said "As for Sri Lanka I cannot give the exact figures right now. I hope to undertake a study soon on Sri Lanka and I am in the process of making the necessary contacts"
Published: Thu May 3 12:16:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket - Lankan tour itinerary announced
Yahoo, Thursday May 3, 8:28 PM. According to information received here today the venues of India's three Test matches against Sri Lanka have been finalised with Galle, Kandy and Colombo hosting one match each.India who tour Sri Lanka from July 15 to September 3 will play a triangular one-day series with New Zealand as the third team apart from the three Tests. More...
Published: Thu May 3 12:04:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Dancing with the enemy
The Guardian, May 3. Sitting in his wheelchair in a dressing room before the rehearsal, 27-year-old Upul Samantilleke explains how his legs were blown away when he and five army comrades were hit by shells in Sri Lanka four years ago. "My buddy died immediately. I was thrown 10 feet into the air, and when I landed I felt for my legsSamantilleke is Sinhalese but, as he tells his story, the young Tamil actor sitting with us listens intently. Her memories are equally horrendous. Thangeshwari Sellathamby watched as planes dropped bombs on her family's village. Her father was hit by shrapnel and died outright. and found nothing there. More...
Published: Thu May 3 09:28:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Canadian diplomat meets Tamil Tiger rebel leaders in Sri Lanka
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Thursday, May 03, 2001. A Canadian envoy has met Tamil Tiger rebel leaders for the first time and conveyed her country's desire for a political settlement to the 17-year civil war. More...
Published: Thu May 3 10:20:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

RSF Annual Report Slams SL Government and Tamil Tigers
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 03/05/01 1110 GMT. During the year 2000 Sri Lanka’s press freedom was dealt a blow by the government, Paris based Human Rights Group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says. Publishing its annual report on World Press Freedom Day, the RSF slams SL governments tactics to stop the free flow of information by imposing a media censorship.

"Censorship was applied to all media and BBC broadcasts were banned. Three publications, namely Sunday Leader, Irida Peramuna and Udhayan, were banned by the authorities in subsequent weeks, for "not respecting censorship". A few days after the general election the last remaining journalist working for the foreign press in Jaffna, Mylvaganam Nimalarajan was murdered in his home, despite it being located in a military security zone." The RSF report states.

The media watchdog slams Tamil Tigers, too. "Anton Mariyadasan, a journalist with the SLBC, was shot at by an unidentified person in Vavuniya while covering the new year ceremony for his radio station. The murderer may be a member of the LTTE"

Assault on BBC journalist Elmo Fernando by the supporters of the Sinhalese extremist organisations, assault on Valampuri journalist Velupillai Thavachelvam, by soldiers in Jaffna, death threats to Sri Lal Priyantha, sentencing Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and Sinha Ratnatunga, editor of the Sunday Times, for their articles critical of the government are also highlighted in the report.
Published: Thu May 3 07:15:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

BBC highlights Namalarajan Assassination On Press Freedom Day
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 03/05/01 1110 GMT. "My Children have a father, but Nimalarajan?s haven?t" said Priyath Liyanage, editor of BBC?s Sandeshaya in a press freedom day commemorative programme. BBC Domestic television?s Newsnight programme yesterday highlighted the fate of Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, who was assassinated at his home in Jaffna by armed men during nightly curfew.

"The civil war in Sri Lanka goes largely unreported. The journalists are not allowed to go to the battle areas. In most cases, there are no independent confirmations of events. This gap is filled by a few dedicated journalists who live in the area. One such person was my dear friend and colleague, Mylvaganam Nimalarajan.

He reported about the killings, rape, mass graves and election rigging. He was threatened by all warring parties from time to time. On the 19th October last year, he was killed by two assailants in his own house. Today my children have a father, but his children do not." Mr. Liyanage added.
Published: Thu May 3 07:15:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan press seeks probe into army rout
Dawn, May 2. Government forces were on Monday bracing for more Tamil Tiger rebel attacks in northern Sri Lanka as the press called for a probe in to the army's latest offensive that turned into a debacle. The privately-run The Island newspaper said the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were trying to press home an advantage gained against the military in last week's heavy fighting. The military failed to achieve its objective of wresting control of the town of Pallai from the Tamil Tigers during the operation code-named "Agni Kheila I", the Island said. More...
Published: Wed May 2 20:54:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE demands ?recognition? before talks
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 2. THE LTTE's chief negotiator, Dr. Anton Balasingham, has told the Norwegian facilitator, Erik Solheim, that the Sri Lankan government should give the LTTE "some kind of recognition" if meaningful peace talks are to take place. The vaguely phrased demand is being interpreted here as a scaling down by LTTE of its demand from "de-proscription" to a "right to respect and reciprocity". More...
Published: Wed May 2 16:36:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US Annual Terrorism report labels LTTE as terrorist group
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 07:40 AM SLT Thursday May 03. The US state department report on International terrorism, has once more la belled the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam a terrorist organization, based on violent attacks carried out by them against innocents last year. The State Department report, which was released yesterday said "the LTTE re newed violence in 2000,engaging in several terrorist acts against governmen t and civilian targets." It said that these attacks, which included suicide bombings, by the rebels, killed a total of 100 people, in the year 2000. The report especially ment ioned the assassination of Minister for Industrial Development C.V.Goonarat ne, and more than 20 others in June last year, and also highlighted instanc es when the rebels attacked civil, naval and international vessels. The United States declared the LTTE a terrorist organzation in 1997.
Published: Wed May 2 21:39:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP claims Mawanella riots politically instigated
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 17:45 SLT Wednesday May 02. The United National Party claims that the riots in Mawanella this morning were politically instigated. UNP Spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku issued a statement a short while ago, which said that the incident would not have gotten out of hand, if the police force had remained impartial. The statement called on residents in the area to remain calm and not to succumb to political manipulation. It urged government authorities and the Inspector General of Police to assure that the situation is defused and peace is restored in the Mawanella area. Meanwhile the Muslim United Liberation Front called on the authorities to arrest the suspects involved in the attempt to extort money from a shopkeeper in the area, and urged President Chandrika Kumaratunge to take steps to safeguard villages around Mawanella. Reports from the area say the extortionists were allegedly the security officers of a senior cabinet minister.
Published: Wed May 2 07:49:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika reaffirms commitment to peace
The Hindu (International), Thursday, May 03, 2001. Reiterating her commitment to a political solution to the ethnic conflict, the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, has appealed to the Tamils of northern Sri Lanka to push the LTTE to the negotiating table. ``We believe the people of Jaffna would be able to persuade the LTTE to abandon their violent ways and agree to a solution that upholds democracy,'' Ms. Kumaratunga was quoted by the State-run Daily News as saying in her May Day address to the Tamils of Jaffna through a satellite TV link-up. The President also reiterated her government's position that it was the LTTE that had delayed the process initiated by the Norwegians for peace talks by bringing up new demands and conditions. More...
Published: Wed May 2 20:41:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE delaying peace talks: Kumaratunga  - The Hindustan Times
Tamils pushed on peace  - BBC South Asia
President urges Tamils to persuade Tigers to join peace talks  -
Kumaratunga reiterates commitment to peace, blames LTTE  - Yahoo India

Free trade accord with Sri Lanka shortly
The Dawn, April 30. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to sign a free trade agreement next month, to provide import duty concessions to each other on various commodities. Federal Minister for trade, commerce, shipping and religious affairs, Rauff Hakeem of Sri Lanka, along with a seven-member delegation, is arriving in Pakistan on Tuesday to hold talks with Pakistan's commerce minister Abdul Razzak Dawood. This delegation will join a Sri Lankan trade team, which is already in the city, having arrived here on Saturday. More...
Published: Wed May 2 20:59:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Pakistan, Sri Lanka start talks on economic cooperation  -

Freedom of expression at risk, says Amnesty international
Yahoo India, Wednesday May 2, 12:00 AM. ournalists across the world are being argeted by governments for carrying out their legitimate nvestigative reporting work, Amnesty International has said, head of World Press Freedom Day on Thursday.During the years of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, journalists have een subjected not only to censorship from the government, but to ttacks from both the security forces, and the Liberation Tigers f Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Mylvaganam Nimalrajan, a correspondent or several newspapers and international agencies, was killed in is home in Jaffna on 20 October 2000, allegedly by members of he Eelam People's Democratic Party, allied to the security orces. Before he was killed, he had reported allegations of ote-rigging and threats during the October elections, the mnesty said. More...
Published: Wed May 2 11:23:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan FM on US visit as Norway tries to salvage peace bid, May 02 2001 15:51 IST. COLOMBO, May 2 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has left for talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, as Norway tries to salvage its peace bid here, diplomatic sources said Wednesday. Kadirgamar, who left Colombo for Washington on Tuesday on a previously unannounced visit, was due to hold talks with Powell and other officials of the Bush administration, the sources said. Kadirgamar, whose travels are kept a closely guarded secret because of fears of assassination, was expected to discuss the ongoing peace moves with US leaders. More...
Published: Wed May 2 07:42:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on US visit  -
Kadirgamar on US trip, Norway props peace bid  - India Abroad

Police clamp curfew on Sri Lanka town, one dead, May 02 2001 15:59 IST. COLOMBO, May 2 (AFP) - Police opened fire on curfew breakers in central Sri Lanka Wednesday, killing at least one man and wounding 15 after overnight clashes between rival ethnic groups, officials said. The curfew was imposed in the town of Mawanella, 90 kilometres (56 miles) northeast of here, after the clashes led to rioting. Armed police patrolled the streets of Mawanella after more than a dozen shops were gutted in the rioting. The clashes were triggered by a dispute over cigarettes, officials said. Army troops were deployed to assist police in maintaining law and order, officials said. A local police official said they had ordered stern action against mobs to prevent an escalation of clashes in the area. More...
Published: Wed May 2 07:41:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Curfew follows Sri Lanka Muslim protest  - BBC South Asia
Muslims And Sinhalese Clash In Sri Lanka; Curfew Imposed  - Yahoo Asia
Police clamp curfew on Sri Lanka town after riot  -

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