The Lanka Academic

MAY 9, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 33

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
President to announce date of peace talks
The Island, may 10. President Chandrika Kumaratunga will brief her ministers at the weekly meeting today on the outcome of the talks held between Norway and the LTTE regarding peace moves and is likely to announce the date and venue of the peace talks scheduled this month, official sources said yesterday.Official sources said that the government has declined a ceasefire as a condition to start talks but has said it was prepared for talks while fighting goes on. More...
Published: Wed May 9 22:40:31 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
UNP to go ahead with no confidence motion
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 9. Leader of the main opposition United National party, Ranil Wickremasinghe concluding the UNP's parliamentary group meeting this evening said that the entire opposition must bear the brunt of the no confidence motion which is to be presented against the government next month. The UNP will present a vote of no confidence against the government, a senior cabinet minister and Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva. All member at the UNP parliamentary group meeting today unanimously voted for the no confidence motion and agreed to go ahead with presenting the vote even without the support of other political parties.
Published: Wed May 9 09:05:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka opposition seeks ouster of government  -

S. Lanka's Main Opposition Party to Submit No-Confidence Motion Against Govt Min...
Nothern Light, Wednesday, May 09, 2001 11:25 AM EST . Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) is to submit a no-confidence motion against a government minister who is allegedly involved in an ethnic riot at a central town last week. According to opposition sources, a final decision regarding the motion will be made at the UNP parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday evening. The security personnel of Minister of Rural Industrial Development Maheepala Herath were allegedly involved in an ethnic riot erupted at Mawanella, 90 kilometers northeast of capital Colombo on Wednesday last week, leaving two dead and over 20 injured in a police shooting. More...
Published: Wed May 9 12:18:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan interest in T.N. politics on the wane
The Hindu (International), Thursday, May 10, 2001. It used to be said not too long ago that Sri Lanka sneezed every time Tamil Nadu caught a cold. But going by the marked disinterest in the Tamil Nadu elections here, it is evident that is no longer the case. In contrast to the previous elections in the State, from which Sri Lanka is separated only by a narrow strip of water, the twists and turns in Tamil Nadu politics in the run-up to these elections and the campaign have at best generated only academic curiosity in the national media and political establishment. More...
Published: Wed May 9 23:03:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

NPC appeals for justice
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4 p.m. SLT Wednesdau May 9. The National Peace Council has appealed for justice for all ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka. The NPC statements follows in the wake of recent riots in Mawanella and Colombo between Muslims and the police.

The NPC has urged that a free and fair inquiry be carried out into the incidents and the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice. The NPC further advocates an independent police commission to act impartially and with responsibility.
Published: Wed May 9 09:05:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

On To Eelam War IV - A commentry
Outlook India - Anita Pratap, May 14. Fifteen years ago, I quoted a Murphy's Law spin-off to describe the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict: "The light at the end of the tunnel in Sri Lanka is usually the headlamp of an oncoming train." As the Norwegian-backed peace process flounders, one can't help regretting that war has engulfed this enchanting island nation yet again, just when a breakthrough had seemed breathlessly close More...
Published: Wed May 9 13:07:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Commission appointed to probe Sunil Gunawardena
Dulshan de Silva in Colombo, 22.50 SLT, Wednesday May 9, 2001. Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella has appointed a one man commission to probe the alleged misdeeds of the country's athletics governing body chief Sunil Gunawardena. Retired judge Dudley Karunaratne, the one man commission appointed by Kiriella has been asked to submit his report on Gunawardena before May 16, Director General of Sports Milton Amerasinghe said yesterday. Minister has appointed this commission in response to a petition submitted to him by several of the country's top athletes including Olympic Bronze medallist of the 2000 Sydney Games Susanthika Jayasinghe. Asian Champion Sugath Tillekaratne and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sriyani Kulawansa had also signed the petition which alleged that Gunawardena who is also a top athletic coach is favouring his students ahead of others in the national pool. They alleged that Gunawardena's students including Asian champion Damayanthi Dharsha are receiving more benefits than them. Kiriella earlier appointed a two member commission to probe the allegations but had to dissolve it after Gunawardena opposed the composition of the commission. Gunawardena alleged that one of the two appointed men had reason to be biased towards his opponents. The Minister upheld his appeal and changed the man in question but the athletes who submitted the petition objected to the inclusion of the new man. This deadlock resulted in a delay of the probe. "Both parties put us in trouble. It took this long because we had to wait till the proper man for the job was found" Amerasinghe said yesterday. Meanwhile Gunawardena was re-elected unanimously in March for the second consecutive year as President of the Amateur Athletic Association which runs the sport in the country.
Published: Wed May 9 12:55:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP to pass no confidence motion against government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 9. The United National Party is to present a vote of no confidence against the government if no action is taken against Rural Industrial Minister Maheipala Herath, whose security personnel were allegedly involved in instigating riots in Mawanella on April 30.

The UNP says it is in total agreement with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) that a parliamentary debate must be held in order to decide on the conduct of Herath and his goon squad. The SLMC has threatened to withdraw its support to the ruling Peoples Alliance coalition government if the minister involved is allowed to escape justice. The SLMC is led by Minister for Internal Trade and Shipping, Rauf Hakeem.

Over 40 persons were injured and many buildings including religious places of worship damaged when Muslims in Mawanella were allegedly attacked by goons . The riots spilled over to Colombo on May 4, and thereafter to Muttur on Monday May 7th when angry Muslims in a show of solidarity attempted to observe a 'hartal' as a mark of protest against the Mawanella incident.

Police in Colombo used tear gas to disperse a crowd of over 7000 Muslims on May 4th. As tensions ran high the government implemented a 12 hour curfew in the Western province in a desperate bid to bring the situation under control. Eight shops belonging to Muslims were reported to have been burnt in Muttur in the Trincomalee District on Monday May 7th.

The UNP meanwhile will take a final decision on the vote of no confidence at its parliamentary group meeting this evening.
Published: Wed May 9 09:05:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Soldier arrested confesses customs officer killing
Island, 10 May 2001. The soldier arrested in connection with the killing of Assistant Superintendent of customs Sujith Prasanne Perera had confessed to the police that he had committed the act on instructions of the customs officer presently evading arrest police sources said.The motorcycle used in this killing also had been recovered by the police. More...
Published: Wed May 9 22:14:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to rebuild mosques, Buddha statue hit by rioting, May 09 2001 21:13 IST. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga Wednesday ordered the immediate restoration of two Muslim mosques and a Buddha statue damaged during mob violence that also killed one man and wounded 20 others. More...
Published: Wed May 9 12:19:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indo-Lanka trade pact
The Hindustan Times, may 10. THE CONTROVERSY-RIDDEN India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement has proved the Cassandras wrong. That it has not led to the flooding of the Sri Lan-kan market by cheap Indian im-ports has been acknowledged by Mr Kingsley Wickramaratne, pr-esidential advisor on trade. More...
Published: Wed May 9 16:58:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Pakistan "A" team to tour Sri Lanka
Yahoo India, Wednesday May 9, 12:00 AM. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed n Tuesday that a tour of Sri Lanka by its 'A' team would take lace from June 10 to July 5, with the tourists playing three our-day unofficial Tests and three One-day matches, besides a ide match. More...
Published: Wed May 9 17:02:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Cricket-India to play tests at Galle, Kandy and Colombo  - Yahoo India

Chinese PM to boost economic ties on Lanka visit
India Abroad, May 09, 2001 16:50 Hrs (IST) . Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Ronji will visit Sri Lanka next week in a bid to boost bilateral political and economic ties, officials said. Ronji is due to hold talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other members of the government and opposition. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement on economic co-operation. China is one of Sri Lanka's leading trading partners, most recently emerging as a major arms supplier to the government in its fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and as a successful bidder for several government contracts. More...
Published: Wed May 9 09:14:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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No ambitions in South Asia: China  - Yahoo India
China Premier Scheduled To Visit Sri Lanka Next Week  - Yahoo Asia

Kunte and Vijayalakshmi upset
Yahoo India, Thursday May 10, 12:00 AM. Indian champions Abhijit Kunte in the men's section and Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman in the women's section suffered shock defeats although Indians continued to hold sway over the FIDE World chess championship zonal tournament in progress here at Hotel Airport Garden on Wednesday. More...
Published: Wed May 9 19:15:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

I Hate The War & Arms Dealers- Sunethra Bandaranaike
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 08/05/01 1715 GMT. War has not resolved a single conflict in the world and talking with each other is the only solution, Sunetra Bandaranaike said. Speaking after the London Premiere of "Flowers Will Always Bloom", the ground-breaking musical drama funded by Sunera Foundation, the oldest sister of Sri Lanka's President and the Speaker, Ms. Bandaranaike told The Lanka Academic that while arms dealers are making huge profits, it is the poor people who lose valuable lives.

"We do not need this war. As a human being, as a Buddhist, I do not think we need a war to resolve any conflict. It may not be within twenty four hours of course, but there is always a peaceful solution" she added.

She said she can not find any other suitable time for such a production on Sri Lanka's brutal civil war. "It is not our creation here. It is the people who lost sight, limbs or were made refugees (Internally Displaced People) who are telling their real story" Ms. Bandaranaike said commenting on the drama, in which out of forty five performers, only a few are professional artists.

Flowers Will Always Bloom is co-directed by Wolfgang Stand of AMICI dance theatre company, and Rohana Deva Perera of Sunera Foundation.
Published: Tue May 8 13:27:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top

McGrath denies racial allegation
Age, 9 May 2001. Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath has strongly denied allegations that he racially abused a Sri Lankan batsman five years ago. McGrath yesterday told the chief executive of the Australian Cricket Board, Malcolm Speed, that he was offended by claims made against him by former Sri Lankan batsman Roshan Mahanama, and had sought legal advice.The ACB has questioned Mark Taylor, the Australian captain in 1995-96, and umpire Peter Parker, who stood in the Sydney final.Mahanama, who played 52 Tests and 213 one-day internationals, yesterday repeated his claims but said he did not intend that McGrath be brought to task."I'm not trying to put anyone into trouble, for that matter even Glenn McGrath, purely because if I wanted to do so, or if any of the Sri Lankans wanted to do so, we would have done it maybe five years ago," Mahanama said. Mahanama, who did not play in the Sydney final, said Jayasuriya had been upset when he returned to the dressing room after making 30 in Sri Lanka's unsuccessful run chase. More...
Published: Wed May 9 01:51:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Angry McGrath slams claim  - Herald Sun
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Lanka peace talks will start on May 15, says Solheim
Deccan Herald, COLOMBO, May 8 (UNI). The crucial peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are likely to start by May 15, Norwegian Peace Envoy Erik Solheim has said, but the government was yet to confirm the news. More...
Published: Tue May 8 15:31:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Solheim confident of early peace talks  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Sri Lanka Govt Looking For Buyer Of 90% Lanka Salts Stake
Yahoo Asia, Wednesday, May 9 5:46 PM SGT . The Sri Lankan government is looking for a buyer for a 90% stake in Lanka Salts Ltd. within the next two months, said an official at the Public Enterprise Reform Commission Wednesday. "We have already called for expressions of interest," after the Employees Trust Fund, which holds the stake, entrusted the matter upon PERC, said the official from the commission who declined to be named. More...
Published: Wed May 9 09:16:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Mass Protest in London Against Terrorism Act
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 08/05/01 1625 GMT. More than a thousand people demonstrated outside the Home Office (Ministry of Internal Affairs) in London against the Terrorism Act 2000 which banned twenty one international organizations, including Sri Lanka’s LTTE, as terrorists. Demonstrators carried banners and chanted slogans of some of the outlawed groups. Chief Inspector John Morgan told BBC that although the police were given certain powers under the Terrorism Act, they were not under any compulsion to take action. Members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) , Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, Committee for the Unification of Revolutionary Left (CURL), Kashmiri separatist group Jaishe Mohammed and many other organizations took part in the demonstration.
Published: Tue May 8 12:27:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Muralitharan key to title challenge
The Telegraph UK, May . LANCASHIRE have endured the frustration of three consecutive seasons as runners-up in the championship, but their first outright title for 67 years will be a shoo-in if events follow a logical path this summer. Key man: Muttiah Muralitharan will play an important part in Lancashire's title aspirations.The logic has been applied to Sri Lanka's schedule, because the more matches Muttiah Muralitharan can play for Lancashire this summer, the more chance John Crawley's team have of building up some winning steam. More...
Published: Wed May 9 10:59:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

U.S. Explores Defense Against Terrorism
Yahoo, may 8. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, speaking at the start of a three-day hearing in the Senate, said he was setting up a center to develop strategies for keeping track of finances of groups and people believed involved with terrorism.O'Neill said he was establishing the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center to develop government-wide strategies to counter terrorist financing and incapacitate their financial holdings within the United States. More...
Published: Tue May 8 15:34:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

190 complaints recorded in Mawanella incident
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.10 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 8. As investigations continue into the recent riots at Mawanella, in the Kegalle district, 190 complaints have been recorded by a special committee appointed to probe details of the unrest.

Many more complaints are expected as a large number of shops and religious places of worship were burnt including the fuel station at Mawanella after Muslims in the area and employees of Minister Maheipala Herath ran amok on April 30.

The unrest thereafter spread to Colombo on Friday May 4th and Trincomalee yesterday (May 7) where some 20 shops were attacked.
Published: Tue May 8 09:09:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hartal continues in Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 8. The Hartal over the Vesak period continued in Batticaloa, as residents observed the two days as one of mourning in remembrance of the 17 civilians killed last year during Vesak.

A group warned civilians against participating in Vesak celebrations organized by the Army in the area, asserting that Vesak could not be celebrated after 17 civilians including 12 school children died when a bomb exploded outside the 'Mangalaramaya Temple' last year. All shops were closed even today, while public transport too remains at a virtual standstill.
Published: Tue May 8 09:09:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Mother and baby elephant die in mine attack, May 08 2001 14:08 IST. COLOMBO, May 8 (AFP) - A mother and her baby elephant were blown up and killed when they stepped on a landmine in Sri Lanka's embattled northeast, officials here said Tuesday. The cow elephant and its baby fell victim Sunday to the landmine buried along the army's forward defence line at Padaviya to prevent infiltrations by Tamil Tiger guerrillas, officials said. More...
Published: Tue May 8 08:03:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC threatens to pull out of Lanka's coalition
The Pioneer, 8 May. Sri Lanka's main Muslim party has threatened to withdraw support for President Chandrika Kumarartunga's ruling People's Alliance (PA) if the government does not stem an "anti-Muslim trend." The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said last week's violence in the Central province town of Mawanella was 'a calculated attack on the economy of the Muslims and not a communal attack on the community.' More...
Published: Tue May 8 04:22:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's national piggy bank raids pay off, May 08 2001 12:33 IST. COLOMBO, May 8 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's central bank has made substantial savings following a nationwide appeal to raid piggy banks and free up some 6.4 million coins that could have been locked up for good. The bank in its latest report for 2000 said a drive last year to collect coins stashed in places of religious worship helped save 15.3 million rupees (204,000 dollars) in new minting costs. More...
Published: Tue May 8 04:21:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Commonwealth secretary-general puts off Sri Lanka visit, May 08 2001 10:03 IST. COLOMBO, May 8 (AFP) - Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon has indefinitely put off a visit to Sri Lanka due to medical reasons, official sources here said Tuesday McKinnon was due to arrive here Tuesday in connection with the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be held in Brisbane, Australia in October. More...
Published: Tue May 8 16:57:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Commonwealth secretary-general puts off Sri Lanka visit  - 123India

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