The Lanka Academic

MAY 11, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 35

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
Tamil Tigers soften rejection of govt claim
MSNBC, May 11. Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday softened their rejection of a government statement that a pre-peace talks agreement had been reached, saying progress had been made and that a pact on talks could be reached soon. More...
Published: Fri May 11 12:06:09 EDT 2001
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'No Sri Lanka peace talks'  - BBC South Asia

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Please note that the "Ask Erik Solheim!" session has now ended. All questions and answers are available here. 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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LTTE wants ban lifted, denies Lanka claim of agreement
India Abroad, May 11, 2001 19:15 Hrs (IST) . The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Friday renewed a call to have a ban on the organization lifted even as it flatly rejected the Sri Lankan government's claim that an agreement had been arrived at with the rebels. More...
Published: Fri May 11 11:55:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Tamil Tigers deny agreement reached with Sri Lanka  -
Hope fades as Tamil Tigers deny Sri Lanka's claims of talks deal  -
Norway, Tigers reject Lanka's claim of agreement with rebels  - India Abroad
Lanka claims accord clinched with LTTE  - Press Trust of India
LTTE denies government's claim of peace agreement  -
Tamil Tigers Deny Agreement Reached with Sri Lanka  - Nothern Light
Tigers reject Sri Lanka peace agreement claim  -

Norway plays down peace hopes as Sri Lanka announces agreement, May 11 2001 00:47 IST. Sri Lanka Thursday announced what it described as a "major step towards peace" but Norway's special envoy played down peace prospects saying it was too early to say there was a basis for talks between the government and rebels. However, Norway's envoy Erik Solheim said there "was no agreement between the parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka" as mentioned in the Sri Lankan statement. He declined to comment on the Sri Lankan statement, but denied there was a basis for early talks. More...
Published: Thu May 10 16:26:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Peace process on track: Kadirgamar  - The Hindu (International)
Balasingham denies agreement reached, expresses surprise  - TamilNet

Truce breakthrough in Sri Lanka peace bid, Norway to push talks, May 10 2001 20:24 IST. Sri Lanka Thursday cleared a major hurdle for direct peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels and asked Norwegian facilitators to press ahead with arranging a bilateral truce, officials and diplomats said."In view of the fruitful work done by all concerned towards getting the process of direct political negotiations moving, Foreign Minister Kadirgamar, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, requests the Norwegian Government to renew urgently the most commendable efforts that have already been made by its representatives to get the peace process moving," the statement said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 11:56:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka, rebels reach terms on talks  - Virtual New York
Sri Lanka says agrees pre-talk measures with Tigers  - yahoo

Monterey Institute for International Studies in California to honour Jayantha Dhanapala
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 7.30 p.m Friday 11 May. Monterey Institute for International Studies in California will award an honorary doctor of Letters degree to Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs at a special function tomorrow. A release from the Monterey Institute referred to Jayantha Dhanapala as one of the leading international figures in the arena of disarmament and arms control who has effectively impacted worldwide limitations on weapons of all types. Jayantha Dhanapala was also a diplomat-in-residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Monterey Institute in 1997/1998.

Jayantha Dhanapala a distinguished Sri Lankan began his diplomatic career in 1965, holding appointments in London, Beijing, Washington D.C and New Delhi. He was appointed to his current position as United Nations Under-Secretary- General for Disarmament Affairs in 1998. He served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 1997 and as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 1984 to 1987. Dhanapala received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the university of Peradeniya and a Masters of Arts degree in International studies from the American university in Washington D.C. In December last year he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Peradeniya.
Published: Fri May 11 19:32:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Full text of Press Release issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sri Lanka Government Website, May 10. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in a letter to Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjorn Jagland recalls that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have stated that "they share the overall objective of finding a negotiated political solution to the ongoing armed conflict that has plagued Sri Lanka for almost two decades". More...
Published: Thu May 10 14:54:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ranatunga lawyers slam ICC match-fixing probe
Yahoo Asia, 11 May 2001. Lawyers for Sri Lanka's former cricket skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga, have slammed ICC anti-corruption investigators, accusing them of a "total lack of common courtesy." The International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption investigator, Jeff Rees, and one of his aides tried to grill Ranatunga this month during a local inquiry into allegations that he accepted bribes to throw a match.Ranatunga's lawyers in a statement to a newspaper here Friday reiterated that they objected to two investigators of the ICC being present while local investigator Desmond Fernando conducted an inquiry."ICC investigators should have obtained some authority in writing from either the BCCSL (Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka) or the ICC and that their failure to do so amounts to a total lack of common courtesy and was in breach of all principles of natural justice," the statement said. Fernando said Ranatunga refused to answer questions from the ICC officials. More...
Published: Fri May 11 02:28:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP backs out from supporting motion against Chief Justice
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2226 slt 10.05.01. The JVP is reported to have told the UNP that it will not support a motion of impeachment against Chief Justice Sarath Silva. The UNP is expected to table the motion in Parliament before the middle of the month. The JVP had earlier indicated that it would support such a motion
Published: Thu May 10 12:33:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Railway issues Indian rail tickets
CDN, 11 May 2001. A scarcity of Railway tickets has forced the authorities at the Badulla Railway Station to issue Indian rail tickets to commuters travelling from Badulla to Colombo. Passengers said the tickets issued to them bore the names 'Rameshwaran' and a city in Western India printed as the place of boarding and destination respectively. More...
Published: Fri May 11 02:32:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Presidential Commission to investigate sinhala-muslim violence in Mawanella
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1600 slt 10.05.01. A Presidential Commission is to be appointed to investigate the sinhala-muslim violence in Mawanella. 2 people were killed and a large number of shops destroyed when muslims and sinhalese clashed. Deputy Minister of Defence Anurudha Ratwatta told parliament that a number of policemen including two senior officers in Mawanella have been transferred after investigating into the clashes. Meanwhile a new organization calling itself " Api Sinhala" (we are Sinhalese) clashed with police in Maradana today. The group was protesting against the muslims after the Mawanella clashes. end
Published: Thu May 10 06:04:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Presidential Commission to Probe Sinhala-Muslim Clashes in S.Lanka  - Nothern Light

Cabinet Ministers Criticise SU Leader's Farewell Speech
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 10/05/01 1735 GMT. Sri Lanka's minority community leaders strongly criticised comments made by Thilak Karunarathne in his farewell speech to the parliament. Mr. Karunarathne, the leader of the Sinhala nationalist Sihala Urumaya, has angered Muslim leaders when he commented on recent violence in Mawanella and Colombo.

"His speech was outrageous; but nobody disrupted him as it was his farewell " Highways minister M.H.M. Fowzie told BBC's Sandeshaya.

Commenting on Mr. Karunarathne's speech Minister of Trade, Muslim Affairs and the leader of the SLMC Rauff Hakeem said that the Sinhala majority would not sympathise with the comments; it was the view of a racist minority. " Although the President was not happy with my criticism on recent violence, I stressed that I have the right to represent my community" Mr. Hakeem told Sandeshaya after attending the cabinet meeting.
Published: Thu May 10 13:40:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SRI LANKA PRESS: Govt To Conduct July Census
Yahoo Asia, Friday, May 11 11:33 AM SGT . The department of Census and Statistics will conduct a census in July, the first in 20 years, the Island newspaper reports Friday. It quoted the department director, A.G. Nanayakkara as saying the census is expected to show the population at around 19.4 million. More...
Published: Fri May 11 01:26:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Police baton charge, tear gas demonstrators Countrywide ban on demos
Island, 11 May 2001. Police fired tear gas and baton charged groups of demonstrators at Maradana yesterday afternoon when they tried to launch a protest march against last Friday's Maradana demonstration that led to a series of clashes between groups of Muslims and police backed by security forces. Police supported by security forces prevented demonstrators led by buddhist monks walking out of Sri Lanka Maha pirivena, Maradana where they earlier held a meeting to discuss ways and means of mounting an country-wide campaign to protect what they described as "the rights of the Sinhalese". Demonstrators made a few attempts to break through the police and security forces cordons but an intense tear gas attack forced them out of the road. More...
Published: Thu May 10 21:04:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to Combat Child Labor
Nothern Light, Friday, May 10, 2001 11:50 PM EST . Sri Lanka is to initiate action against the exploitation of children for labor. According to the Ministry of Justice, a national action plan is to be formulated to eliminate the practice of engaging children as laborers at places of work. Steps will also be taken to create awareness among judicial officers on the prevention of the exploitation of children. More...
Published: Fri May 11 01:22:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka bans demonstrations as Sinhala, Muslim tension smolders
India Abroad, May 10, 2001 17:40 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lanka banned public demonstrations and processions Thursday as smoldering tension between the island's majority Sinhalese and minority Muslims threatened to provoke ethnic clashes. The move comes as rumors of both Sinhalese and Muslims gathering in Colombo and elsewhere to stage protests spread and people feared more outbreaks of inter- communal violence. More...
Published: Thu May 10 09:51:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka bans protests amid communal unrest  - Times of India
Tension again in Colombo  - The Hindu (International)
Sri Lanka bans demonstrations, teargas protestors  -
Sri Lanka Bans Public Processions For Week After Unrest  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lanka Protesters Defy Ban, Clash with Police  - Nothern Light
Kumaratunga tries to ease Lanka's Muslims, Sinhalese tension  - India Abroad

Chinese premier heads to Pakistan to begin five-nation tour, May 11 2001 09:17 IST. BEIJING, May 11 (AFP) - Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji left Beijing Friday for Pakistan at the start of a five-nation Asian tour that will also take in Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Xinhua reported. Zhu is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng, as well as senior banking and trade officials, said the agency. More...
Published: Fri May 11 01:02:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US Says Sri Lanka's Ban On GMO Food Imports Unnecessary
Yahoo India, Thursday May 10, 3:14 PM. The U.S. said Thursday the ban imposed by the Sri Lankan government on genetically modified food imports since early this month was unnecessary, as there's no known health risk from consuming GMO products. "Nothing has zero risk, but GMO food has been consumed in the United States for several years." Beeghly said America has asked Sri Lanka to provide scientific evidence to support its position. More...
Published: Thu May 10 15:38:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
A Survey on GM Food. Please take a moment to complete this study!!  - The Lanka Academic
US official slams Sri Lanka ban on GM food  -

SRI LANKA PRESS: Former Investment Board Head Indicted
Yahoo India, Thursday May 10, 8:46 AM. The Colombo High Court Wednesday indicted former chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, Thilan Wijesinghe, on bribery charges, the Island reported Thursday. More...
Published: Thu May 10 15:23:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka uses Cuban bug in war against mosquito
India Abroad, May 8. Sri Lanka has begun the use of a strain of Cuban bacteria to fight mosquitoes in a bid to stop outbreaks of epidemics like dengue and Japanese encephalitis which claim hundreds of lives every year in the island. Mosquito breeding places in the high-risk northwestern province of Wayamba have been sprayed with the B.T.I bacteria, which was imported by the health ministry, press reports said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 09:41:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan garment industry will not benefit from US this year says buyer
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 4.40 p.m Thursday 10 May. A head of a Sri Lanka/ US garment buying office in New York said today that Sri Lanka?s garment industry will face major difficulties in the coming months due to the sharp drop in garment prices in the US. He said that there is an over supply situation in the US with a poor demand from the American consumers. He told ?The Lanka Academic? today ? Factories in Sri Lanka cannot cut their prices now due to high production costs. They cannot be competitive. The salaries paid to factories senior and middle managers are very high. Number of orders has already been cancelled. The Sri Lankan born industrialist added ?Even though we are in May, the Quota used as at now is so slow in comparison to the last few years. My projection is that at least 10 to 40 percent would get wasted this year.? The industrialist accused Sri Lankan politicians of misleading Sri Lankans. He said ? Our politicians visit the United States, meet few people from the garment industry and then go and tell our people that American companies are looking for suppliers from Sri Lanka. US buyers are no longer looking for suppliers from Sri Lanka or anywhere else now. They are facing an over supply situation.?
Published: Thu May 10 16:46:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

IMF Wecomes Management Reforms At Sri Lankan State Banks
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 10 9:40 PM SGT . The International Monetary Fund Thursday welcomed efforts by the government to improve management efficiency at two state-controlled banks. "Some good moves have been made in improving the operations of the two state banks," Nadeem Ul Haque, senior resident representative of the IMF in Colombo, told a seminar organized by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Thu May 10 11:57:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Court Limits HNB's Voting Rights in Sampath
Yahoo Asia, Friday, May 11 11:16 AM SGT . A Colombo District Court Thursday issued an interim injunction restraining Hatton National Bank Ltd. (P.HAT), and parties related to it, from exercising voting rights in excess of 10% of the issued share capital of Sampath Bank Ltd. (P.SAM), the Daily Mirror reports Friday. Last July, Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission said it had identified five companies and two individuals, including Hatton National, as having acted in concert in acquiring shares of Sampath Bank, and exceeding the 30% limit set by law. More...
Published: Fri May 11 01:17:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Nine Sri Lankans charged with people-smuggling: minister
yahoo, may 10. Nine Sri Lankans charged with people-smuggling could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted, Australian officials said Thursday.The nine were arrested on the Indian Ocean Cocos Islands after a group of illegal migrants were discovered near Exmouth, in Western Australia's isolated northwest last month, Justice and Customs Minister Chris Ellison said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 10:03:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks monks, PM warns of conspiracy against Buddhism, May 10 2001 15:37 IST. COLOMBO, May 10 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has warned of a conspiracy against Buddhism and appealed to young men to enter the priesthood to protect the religion, officials said Thursday. The Ministry of Buddha Sasana, or Buddhist order, said it launched an advertising campaign this week to enrol 2,000 monks and bolster the clergy in the face of a serious shortage of priests. More...
Published: Thu May 10 08:06:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka PM warns of conspiracy against Buddhism  -

Alavi, Fowzie to ask President to be tough with Hakeem
Island, 9 May. Minister Alavi Moulana and A. H. M. Fowzie will today urge President Chandrika Kumaratunga to take action against Minister Rauff Hakeem for violating cabinet responsibility by making irresponsible statements regarding the recent incident at Mawanella.Minister Moulana said that he and Mr. Fowzie would take this issue up when the Cabinet meets today presided over by the President. The minister said that Hakeem was trying to pressure the government by threatening to pull out if necessary action was not taken against those responsible for the violence at Mawanella."On the contrary the President took swift action to bring the situation under control, assess the damages, compensate the victims, reconstruct the damaged buildings and mosques, he noted. More...
Published: Thu May 10 03:59:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka, Rebels Considering Ceasefire
Nothern Light, Thursday, May 10, 2001 9:28 AM EST . COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger separatist rebels are moving closer to agreeing to a truce in a run-up to possible peace talks, a Norwegian diplomat said on Thursday. A cease-fire has been a sticking point in the past, with the government saying its troops would not lay down their arms before any talks begin to end the nearly two-decade-old ethnic war. But a cease-fire was discussed in London on Wednesday in talks between Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim and Anton Balasingham, chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Thu May 10 10:14:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway discusses possible truce with chief LTTE negotiator  - Press Trust of India
Informal truce in Sri Lanka ahead of Norway-backed talks  -
Norway pushes informal truce in Sri Lanka ahead of talks  -

Sri Lanka's Govt Says Peace Talks With Rebels On Track
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 10 1:17 PM SGT . The Sri Lankan government sounded an optimistic note saying that an agreement could be reached about commencing peace talks with Tamil separatist rebels, a government Web site report said Thursday. It is possible that some understanding could be reached about the commencement of talks, the Sri Lankan government Web site quoted Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar as saying. Kadirgamar was responding to speculation by local papers that peace talks would begin by May 15. "I can confirm that the peace process is still very much on track," Kadirgamar said, but declined to name a date, the Web site report said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 02:41:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway envoy talks to LTTE negotiator on truce  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka says peace talks still possible soon  -

Indian hair dye blamed for Sri Lankan singer's death, May 10 2001 08:48 IST. COLOMBO, May 10 (AFP) - An Indian-made hair dye caused the death of a popular Sri Lanka woman singer, Malini Bulathsinhala, at the end of a concert tour in the United States, a press report here said Thursday. An autopsy report showed the 51-year-old singer experienced difficulty in breathing and collapsed after she used the hair dye the day she was due to leave Los Angeles in March, the Daily News said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 00:37:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Shares: Sentiment Poor
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 10 12:27 PM SGT . Sri Lankan shares are opening almost unchanged Thursday on very thin volume, as most investors prefer to stay on the sidelines amid a lack of news, brokers said. More...
Published: Thu May 10 02:44:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Regulator, Mobile Phone Cos In Tariff Talks
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 10 4:51 PM SGT . COLOMBO (Dow Jones)--Sri Lanka's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission is discussing final details with local mobile phone operators ahead of making a decision on a new tariff structure, a senior TRC official said Thursday. "We are currently discussing the crucial issues with mobile phone operators. We hope to make a final decision by June this year," Dayanath Herath, TRC's assistant director for surveillance, told Dow Jones Newswires. The proposed new system, known as "calling party pays", or CPP, is aimed at allowing all mobile operators to let their subscribers receive calls free of charge. Currently, both caller and receiver bear the cost of calls. More...
Published: Thu May 10 06:27:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cheap Inputs Hurt Tea Quality
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 10 11:52 AM SGT . The Private Tea Factory Owners Association of Sri Lanka has said rising costs and a heavy debt burden are hurting tea production quality due to the use of less expensive raw materials and cheaper production methods, the Daily Mirror reported Thursday. More...
Published: Thu May 10 02:46:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Thilak Karunaratne steps down
Island, 10 May 2001. Sihala Urumaya (SU) MP Thilak Karunaratne will make his farewell speech in parliament today stepping down from his parliamentary seat to make way for Champaka Ranawaka, party sources said yesterday. More...
Published: Thu May 10 00:41:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Probe against Sri Lanka athletics body chief
Times of India (Breaking News), Thursday, 10 May 2001 . A retired judge has been appointed to probe charges that Sri Lanka's athletic body chief had victimised four national athletes including Olympics bronze medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe. Sports and tourism minister Lakshman Kiriella has appointed retired judge Dudley Kurunaratne to hold an impartial inquiry against Amateur Athletics Association president Sunil Gunawardena, media reports said here on Thursday. More...
Published: Thu May 10 08:28:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Customs officer's murder: Soldier describes how he killed Sujith Perera
CDN, May 10. A senior Customs Assistant Superintendent, who allegedly harboured an Army private, the suspected gunman in the killing of Assistant Superintendent of Customs Sujith Prasanna Perera, was arrested on Tuesday by the Police team conducting investigations into Mr. Perera's murder. Investigations have also revealed that the assailants had allegedly planned to kill three more Customs men including Officer Anura Gunatilleke who is now abroad. Police arrested the Army Private, Lalinda, at Kiribathgoda in the early hours of yesterday, while he was at his girl friend's place. More...
Published: Thu May 10 09:42:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kumaratunga orders repairs to mosques damaged in violence
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Thursday, May 10, 2001. Facing mounting criticism from the Opposition and sections of her government over the recent communal disturbances, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ordered immediate repairs to two mosques at riot-hit Mawanella town. More...
Published: Thu May 10 08:09:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

China's premier Zhu readies for South Asia tour
Yahoo India, 10 May 2001. Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji will begin a tour of South Asia on Friday, starting with long-time ally Pakistan, but will not discuss military cooperation with Islamabad, a Foreign Ministry official said. Zhu, accompanied by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng and other senior officials, would spend four days in Pakistan before heading to Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand, the official told reporters on Wednesday. More...
Published: Thu May 10 02:58:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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