The Lanka Academic

MAY 14, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 38

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
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination conspiracy hatched from Malysian soil?
JAL, May 13. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has spread its dragnet to Malaysia to track down Kumaran Padmanabhan alias KP, the absconding kingpin in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and his associates in an attempt to unearth the conspiracy hatched to bump off the former Prime Minister in May 1991.The investigating agency is understood to have approached its counterpart in Malaysia, seeking cooperation in the investigations by recording statements, seizing statements of bank accounts of the suspects and other documents and nabbing KP if he were still hiding anywhere in Malaysia. More...
Published: Sun May 13 19:00:05 EDT 2001

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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.
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Lanka conveys time-bound ceasefire proposal to LTTE
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 13. THE SRI Lankan government has conveyed to the LTTE its readiness to have a time bound ceasefire to enable the two parties to engage in structured and constructive direct peace talks. The time bound ceasefire could be a formally declared one. Reporting this, The Sunday Times said today that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had obtained the unanimous support of the National Security Council for such a proposal when it met on May 4. The top military brass present also gave her the nod. More...
Published: Sun May 13 17:59:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Solheim likely to strike deal for Lanka Govt-LTTE talks  - Deccan Herald

LTTE receives undetectable sea diving equipment: Report
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Sunday, May 13, 2001. The LTTE has reportedly received sophisticated diving equipment that can keep a sea-diver safe from detection from ships, raising threats of sabotage. "The Sri Lankan Navy was shocked by reports from foreign and domestic intelligence that cargo that reached the LTTE in a clandestine shipment last month included closed cercuit diving equipment and promptly strengthened security at several locaions including the ports in Colombo and Trincomalee", The 'Sunday times' reported today, More...
Published: Sun May 13 07:00:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

AIADMK gets absolute majority
TOI, may 14. Riding a sympathy wave, AIADMK on Sunday night won absolute majority in the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly winning 132 seats of the 140 seats it had contested in a stunning performance that eclipsed its arch rival DMK. More...
Published: Sun May 13 18:15:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Muslim minister spurns Kumaratunga's mosques repair offer
India Abroad, May 13, 2001 14:50 Hrs (IST) . A key Muslim government minister in Sri Lanka has spurned President Chandrika Kumaratunga's offer to rebuild mosques damaged in recent clashes between Muslims and the majority Sinhalese community and is setting up his own fund instead.Trade Minister Rauf Hakeem, who threatened to pull his Sri Lanka Muslim Congress out from the ruling coalition government, has said he will refuse the money promised by the president last week. More...
Published: Sun May 13 14:24:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Susanthika wins 100 and 200 in Osaka Grand Prix
Island, 14 May 2001. ri Lanka’s sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe showed her class by winning the Women’s 100 metres and 200 metres events easily at the Osaka Grand Prix Athletic Meet in Osaka, Japan on Saturday (May 12). ‘Susie’ clocked 11.37 seconds in the 100 metres and 22.63 seconds in the 200 metres. More...
Published: Sun May 13 20:01:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Operation on Marie Colvin's eye a success
Sunday Times UK, may 13. MARIE COLVIN, the award-winning Sunday Times correspondent wounded last month on assignment in Sri Lanka, underwent successful surgery in New York last week to re-attach the retina of her left eye. Colvin, 45, lost almost all sight in the eye when she was hit by shrapnel after government soldiers fired on her as she tried to enter the town of Vavuniya on April 16. She had been in the north of the island reporting on the campaign by Tamil Tiger guerrillas for an independent homeland there for their community. More...
Published: Sun May 13 18:07:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Main Tamil Party Calls For Cease-Fire In North Sri Lanka
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, May 13 2:43 PM SGT . The country's mainstream Tamil democratic party Sunday urged the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop fighting and engage in early negotiations. "The present is the most opportune time for the evolution of a just, durable and peaceful solution," the Tamil United Liberation Front said in a statement. The party also called for a cease-fire to allow resumption of peace talks after a gap of more than five years. More...
Published: Sun May 13 14:26:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Navy arrests 22 fishermen
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 13:15 SLT Sunday, May 13 . The Sri Lanka Navy has arrested 22 Indian fishermen allegedly infringing in Sri Lanka's territorial waters last morning. The fishermen were discovered while the Navy was patrolling the waters of Kachathivu close to the Jaffna peninsula. They were handed over to the Kytes Police for investigations. The fishermen are reported to be residents of Ramanadapuram in Tamil Nadu. 31 Indian fishermen, have been arrested in the past 48 hours for having invaded Sri Lankan waters, the navy reported today. 09 fishermen were arrested for allegedly poaching in the same area on Friday. The defence ministry frequently reports sighting hundreds of Indian fishing trawlers within the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, and have claimed these boats engage in selling fuel to the LTTE.
Published: Sun May 13 03:19:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka arrests 31 Indian fishermen  -

Solheim to defuse tension in Lanka
India Abroad, May 13, 2001 15:45 Hrs (IST) . Norway's special envoy Erik Solheim is due to meet Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga this week in a bid to defuse the charged atmosphere between the government and Tiger rebels. The state-run Sunday Observer newspaper said Solheim is expected to brief government and opposition leaders on the Tigers' position on a pre-talks memorandum of understanding. "Some give and take on both sides is now expected which is likely to see progress towards a preliminary discussion on the date and venue for formal, direct peace talks," the report said. More...
Published: Sun May 13 14:22:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway in fresh bid to secure Sri Lanka truce, May 13 2001 16:09 IST. Norway was to launch a fresh attempt to secure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka ahead of arranging a face-to-face meeting between the Colombo government and Tamil Tiger rebels, diplomatic sources said Sunday. More...
Published: Sun May 13 14:18:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway seeks Sri Lanka truce to lift stalled peace bid  -

TULF not to upset Lankan govt
ChennaiOnline, May 12. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), a moderate Tamil political party, has said it would not support the opposition’s move to bring a no-confidence motion against the government at this juncture.“After years of waiting, finally we are seeing some rays of hope of peace talks. We do not want to be blamed for scuttling the peace talks by upsetting the set-up,” TULF senior vice-president V Anadansanagari said.A spokesperson for the 10-party Tamil alliance pointed out that the government had announced an agreement with the LTTE not because of genuine commitment to peace but to preempt the support of minority parties for the opposition’s impending no-confidence motion More...
Published: Sun May 13 00:35:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Pakistan to boost trade in Lanka
Nothern Light, Sunday, May 13, 2001 9:53 PM EST . The Pakistan Commodities Traders Association (PCTA) will hold a single country exhibition in Colombo in the first week of June in a bid to boost two-day trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Rais Ashraf Tarmuhammad said the decision had been taken to raise exports of items which were being imported by Sri Lanka from other countries. Pakistan could export these items to Sri Lanka at comparatively cheaper rates, he said while addressing an award giving ceremony of Sri Lanka Business Council recently. More...
Published: Sun May 13 22:46:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Sticks to Ban on GM Food
Nothern Light, Sunday, May 13, 2001 12:34 AM EST . COLOMBO, May 13, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Sri Lankan government has decided to stick to its ban on Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) to avert any health hazard despite strong criticism by the United States, a government official said. Chief Food and Drugs Inspector of the Ministry of Health S.Nagiah told the official Sunday Observer that the ministry was more concerned about the safety of the people than making it a testing ground for the new technology. Many foreign scientists have criticized the bio-technology and its health risks. The Food and Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health after a research study on the subject for a period of one year had imposed the ban on the importation of genetically modified foods, materials, organisms and food additives under the new regulations, he said. More...
Published: Sun May 13 06:55:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

No confidence vote against Mahipala Herath
The Island, May 12. The UNP has decided to bring a vote of no confidence against Rural Industrial Development Minister Mahipala Herath whose supporters are alleged to have been responsible for Mawanella incidents, UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku said yesterday. More...
Published: Sun May 13 00:40:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Issue of lifting ban on LTTE may hit peace process
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 12. INDICATIONS ARE that the sensitive issue of lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may become a major hurdle in the already shaky Sri Lankan peace process. While Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim has said that the issue is 'important' for the LTTE, the latter, in their latest statement, have reiterated their demand that the ban be lifted ahead of direct peace talks. "The issue of de-proscription is important for the LTTE," Solheim said in answer to a reader's question in the "Lanka Academic" net newspaper. More...
Published: Sat May 12 18:23:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Tamil Rebels Say Progress Made on MOU
Nothern Light, Saturday, May 12, 2001 12:24 AM EST . Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tiger rebels said that substantial progress had been made on the Norwegian Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after intense discussions for a considerable time with the Norwegian facilitators. "This Norwegian project, which calls for goodwill measures of mutual reciprocity, aims at de-escalation of the conflict and the creation of a congenial atmosphere conducive for talks," the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels was quoted by the state-run Daily News as saying in a statement issued on Friday from its headquarters in Vanni in the north of the country. More...
Published: Sun May 13 01:14:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

3 rebels killed in Wanni
Dharisha Bastians in Colombo, 11:45 AM SLT Sunday May 13. Three Tiger rebels have been killed in fighting in the northeast of the island, the defence ministry said. The rebels suffered the losses, when government troops attacked an LTTE bunker in Omanthai, in the Vavuniya district last Friday, the ministry added. Troops suffered no casualties, it said. Meanwhile, one soldier attached to a police station in the Ampara district was killed due to LTTE gunfire yesterday.
Published: Sun May 13 01:42:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's best and brightest please come home
MSNBC, May 11. ''Your country needs you'' is Sri Lanka's plea to expatriate scientists in a formal invitation to return home for short working stints. ''We are short of scientists,'' Leslie Gunawardane, the minister of science and technology, said on Friday. ''We will pay their airfare, cost of travelling within the country and help towards living expenses during their stay.'' More...
Published: Sat May 12 20:00:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Motive unknown over Catholic priest killing
Sunday observer, 13 MY 2001. The Catholic community is shocked over the death of Rev. Fr. Bernard Costa, alias 'Aba piya' as fondly known, parish priest of St. Joseph's Church, Thilanduwa, Negombo, who has been murdered anytime between 7 pm and 9 pm last Thursday, police investigations have revealed. Over 20 cut injuries were found on his body. According to Catholics of the area, Fr.Costa was an energetic man even at the age of 77 years and acted against child prostitution and other immoral activities. More...
Published: Sun May 13 01:32:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Police investigate slaying of Lankan priest  - Times of India
Sri Lankan Police Probe Slaying Of Roman Catholic Priest  - Yahoo Asia
Not a clue to killing of Father Abba Costa  - Island

Peace may elude Sri Lanka
Times of India, 13 May 2001 . Sri Lankans yearning for an end to 18 years of war are likely to see the government and Tamil Tiger rebels commence talks but whether the discussions would result in a peaceful settlement is doubtful, political analysts said. I am hopeful that there will be negotiations but not a negotiated settlement, Kethesh Loganathan of the Centre for Policy Alternatives said. More...
Published: Sat May 12 18:24:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

National Insurance Corp. sold off for Rs. 498 m.
Sunday Observer, 13 May 2001. The National Insurance Corporation, one of the largest, most successful state sector enterprises, is to be sold to the private sector in a deal approved by the Public Enterprises Reform Commission (PERC) last week. The news that a 51 per cent shareholding of the Corporation, which has huge insurance capital funds and valuable city properties, is being snapped up by a local private insurance company for a mere Rs. 498 million has set local finance circles buzzing.The buyer is the Janashakthi Insurance Company. More...
Published: Sun May 13 01:28:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka may have jumped the gun on talks agreement: report, May 12 2001 11:51 IST. A Sri Lankan statement in reaching agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels on entering Norwegian-backed peace talks may have been issued prematurely, a press report here said Saturday.A government statement issued under Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar's name had not been approved for release on Thursday, the privately-run the Daily Mirror newspaper here said. More...
Published: Sat May 12 12:49:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Impact of lightning now more severe than before: Dr. Chandana Jayaratne
Sunday Observer, 13 may 2001. The impact of the phenomenon of lightning during the inter-monsoonal periods is now more severe than before. This year, the death toll due to lightning in the country, recorded so far is 15. But the figure is presumed to be higher, considering the fact that some of the deaths are not being reported or recorded.Meteorologist K.R Abeysinghe said that the pilots are given instructions to avoid the thunder clouds indicated in the radar of the aircraft. However, lightning may hit the aircraft and cause damage to its electrical system, without any danger to the passengers. Likewise, in motor vehicles too, the passengers inside would be safe. More...
Published: Sun May 13 01:40:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India's literary giant, RK Narayan, dies
Age, 13 may 2001. Renowned Indian novelist RK Narayan died in hospital at the age of 95 early today, friends and family announced. N Ram, one of Narayan's close friends and editor of India's Frontline magazine, told reporters in Madras that Narayan died of cardio-vascular problems.His first novel, Swami and Friends (1935), was a literary landmark in India and won praise internationally.Among his most famous short stories is A Horse and Two Goats, featuring a bizarre dialogue between an American visitor and an impoverished old villager who speaks no English beyond yes and no. More...
Published: Sun May 13 01:59:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka banks on peace and privatisation to lift economy
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, May 13 9:35 AM SGT . Sri Lanka is banking on a Norwegian-backed peace bid and privatisation proceeds to salvage its war-battered economy, but the government will still have to swallow a bitter pill prescribed by the IMF. Norway has been trying to arrange face-to-face talks between Colombo and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels to end decades of fighting which has also dented the economy and discouraged investment. More...
Published: Sat May 12 22:13:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

17 killed in Lanka fighting
Times of India (Breaking News), may 12. Five LTTE guerrillas were killed in clashes with the Sri Lankan security forces even as the rebels claimed that a gunfight left at least 12 soldiers dead. The military on Saturday said three rebels were killed in an attack on their bunker at Valarchinnakulam in Vanni region on Friday. It said two other militants were killed in a clash near Kantale in Trincomalee district in the east. More...
Published: Sat May 12 12:51:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
17 killed in Lanka fighting  - Times of India
12 SLA soldiers killed at Sungawil -VoT  - TamilNet
17 killed in Lanka fighting  - Press Trust of India

Movement forward in Sri Lanka peace talks
The Hindu (International), Saturday, May 12, 2001. In a significant development, both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have announced progress towards the Norwegian-assisted peace talks, though both disagree on the extent of the forward movement. The LTTE said today that there had been a ``substantial progress'' on a set of reciprocal confidence building measures (CBMs) with the Sri Lankan Government to create a congenial atmosphere for direct talks. More...
Published: Sat May 12 01:22:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Kadirgamar's move said linked to no confidence motion  - TamilNet

Nine Indian fishermen held
The Hindu (International), Sunday, May 13, 2001. Sri Lanka's Navy yesterday arrested nine Indian fishermen near Jaffna on charges that they violated their territorial waters, a military spokesman said. The two Indian boats sailing on Sri Lankan territorial waters and carrying nine fishermen were apprehended by the Navy 7.5 nautical miles northeast of Kovilam Point in Karainagar near Jaffna yesterday, he said More...
Published: Sat May 12 18:21:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

We still live in a dangerous world warns Jayantha Dhanapala
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, NY Time 4.40 p.m Saturday 12 May. Bandula Jayasekara in New York: Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs warned today that the world has assumed, all too complacently, that the world would be a safer place since the Berlin wall fell in 1989 symbolizing the end of the cold war. He said “Today we actually live in a world where we still have over 30,000 nuclear warheads most of them at frightening levels of alert” Dhanapala issued his warning addressing the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California this afternoon where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. He added “ We live in a world where two more countries have crossed the nuclear threshold openly detonating nuclear devices, where conventional weapons, with the so called a revolution in military affairs, have assumed new levels of accuracy and lethality, where over 500,000 million of small arms and light weapon circulate-some of them in the hands of about 300,000 child soldiers-feeding and intensifying conflicts around the world and where at current levels of global military expenditure we are at 90% of the cold war zenith.” Continuing Dhanapala said, “ An insatiable drive for military dominance not only on earth but, in hitherto non weaponized space is fueled by the military-industrial complex. In other countries arms race push military expenditure higher and higher. Forty years ago an army general elected President of this country said Disarmament with mutual honor and confidence is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences not with arms but with intellect and decent purposes. That was Dwight D Eisenhower whom I had the privilege of meeting on my first visit to the USA as a young man of 18. Every state has a UN charter ordained right to self-defense. But, if national defense plans imperil strategic stability and create insecurity in other states we need to pause and engage in consultations rebuilding confidence. Only then can we build a common and co-operative security upholding the norms of disarmament treaties and conventions reinforcing the rule of international law and investing the law abiding with the moral authority to enforce compliance on the outlaws. Bilateral and multilateral negotiations on weapons of mass destructions are still at a standstill except in Geneva where a protocol is being negotiated to strengthen the Biological weapons convention. They need to be jump-started. We can no longer insist that weapons in some hands are legitimate and stabilizing but in other hands are wrong and destabilizing.”
Published: Sat May 12 16:42:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway Envoy: No Agreement Yet In Sri Lanka Peace Talks
Yahoo India, Friday May 11, 2:06 PM. Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim said Friday that it is still possible to achieve an agreement on a basis for peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels. "An agreement has not been finalized yet," Solheim told The Associated Press by telephone from Oslo. "We still believe this is possible and we are constantly in touch with both sides and are continuing our efforts." More...
Published: Sat May 12 01:59:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Photo: Sri Lankan home for baby elephants seeks milk
Yahoo India, may 10. Wildlife workers in Sri Lanka's Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home feed baby elephants. The transit home, which pioneered a project to return elephants raised in captivity to the wild, said on May 11, 2001 it needed donations of milk powder to feed its latest batch of 31 inmates. More...
Published: Sat May 12 02:15:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Muslims protest violent attacks by racist thugs
wsws, may 10. A racist attack on Muslims in the central hills town of Mawanella provoked angry protests last week by Sri Lanka's Tamil Muslim minority in several regions, including the capital Colombo. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government ordered a police crackdown on the demonstrators and then imposed a curfew in Colombo and the neighbouring Western Province. The demonstrations were unprecedented in size and scope and provide further evidence of the explosive social tensions wracking the country. More...
Published: Sat May 12 01:50:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Press Conference on Genetically Modified Foods Opening Statement by Mr. Weyland Beeghly, Agricultural Counselor for India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh
The Lanka Academic , may 13. Good morning. As you know, 10 days ago the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health imposed a ban on the import of foodstuffs produced by means of genetic engineering on the grounds that it poses a possible health hazard to Sri Lankan consumers. So far as I know, this is the first total ban on GMOs anywhere in the world. Even though it will affect only four percent of US agricultural exports to Sri Lanka, we believe it is totally unwarranted. There is a view in some circles that this is a very risky technology and that the US is testing it on the poor populations of developing countries. This is both false and offensive. More than one-third of the shelf space of any supermarket in the United States is occupied by foods obtained using biotechnology. This includes cooking oils, salad dressings, snack foods, all livestock products, virtually all soft drinks, breakfast cereals, etc. Americans consume these foods, almost without question, because they have faith in our regulatory system, considered even by Europeans to be the finest in the world. One might get the impression from reading the abundance of negative press articles that Europe, Japan and other developed countries have rejected GMOs. On the contrary, Europe imports enormous amounts of soybeans and soybean products from the United States. Japan, Korea and Taiwan are major buyers of genetically modified corn. Let me emphasize that the GMO products we export to these and other countries, including Sri Lanka, are no different from the products we consume in the United States. It disturbs me that the critics of biotechnology are unwilling to consider its advantages and future benefits. For example, biotechnology holds great promise for protecting our environment. In the United States, the use of insecticide has declined significantly with the adoption of GMO cotton varieties. The same is true of maize. Scientists are now working to develop a maize variety which will take free nitrogen out of the atmosphere and fix it in the soil where it can be taken up by the plant. This would eventually reduce or eliminate the need for large applications of chemical fertilizer, some of which ends up polluting our waterways. As many of you probably know, scientists are also on the verge of creating a rice variety with enhanced levels of vitamin A which will help save thousands of malnourished children from blindness. Clearly biotechnology is a technique with enormous potential for improving human welfare. It has only begun to be tapped. The food products derived by using it have been consumed since the mid 1990s with no know adverse effects. They have been tested and found safe by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences. We know of no credible scientific evidence justifying Sri Lanka's ban.
Published: Sat May 12 19:35:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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