The Lanka Academic

MAY 16, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 40

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
LTTE leader's convoy attacked, talks with Solheim postponed
Press Trust of India, May 16, 2001. In a blow to the peace bid in Sri Lanka, a convoy of the rebel leader heading for talks with Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim in northern jungles was hit by a claymore blast leading to postponement of their crucial meeting till tomorrow. More...
Published: Wed May 16 17:53:55 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
Attack on Thamilchelvam's convoy alleged  - The Hindu (International)
Sri Lankan Tamil Rebel Leader Caught in Mine blast  - Nothern Light
Top Tiger leader caught in mine blast ahead of Solheim's peace mission  - India Abroad
Mine blast blow to Norway's peace bid in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo Asia
Thamil Chelvan’s convoy hit by SLA claymore  - Tamilnet

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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
Sri Lanka prepares for Chinese PM's visit
The Hindu (International), May 17, 2001. COLOMBO, MAY 16. The Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Zhu Rongji, will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday for a three-day visit that is expected to reaffirm the enduring political ties between the two countries and boost bilateral economic and military relations. Mr. Zhu will be accompanied by the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr.Tang Jiaxuan, and the Foreign Trade and Cooperation Minister, Mr. Shi Guangsheng. More...
Published: Wed May 16 17:55:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Longer Living Pensioners Burden to Government?
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 16/05/01 1800 GMT. As adult generation now live longer than before, authorities are concerned on how to provide pensions for a long time and concentrating on other options to pension schemes, Sri Lanka's financial authorities said. Mr. A.S.Jayawardhana, governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka was reluctant to accept that the International Monetary Fund?s "recommendations" for structural reforms to pensions, public administration and public enterprise means the privatisation of the said institutions.

The Executive Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has imposed more conditions on SL government for their new credit package of US $ 250 M. Rapid privatisation of the public sector, pension schemes and restructuring of the two state owned banks are the conditions stated in the IMF Public Information Notice (PIN) issued on the 14th of May. In an interview with BBC?s Sandeshaya, Mr. Jayawardhana said that this loan is provided to help the settlement of the Balance of Payments and not for other development purposes.
Published: Wed May 16 13:58:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bone marrow transplant patient in race against time
gulf-news, may 15. For the price of a new car, William Saman Devapriya's life could be saved, enabling him to continue supporting his family in Sri Lanka. But the newly married 29-year-old waiter, who was tragically struck down by non-Hodgkins lymphoma earlier this year, now faces certain death if a bone marrow transplant is not carried out immediately. More...
Published: Wed May 16 23:25:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Murder suspect nabbed after hiding for 14 months
gulf-news, may 14. Police have arrested a man who had been on the run for 14 months after stabbing to death a Sri Lankan housemaid in February last year. With the help of Sharjah and Ajman Police, Fujairah Police were able to trace the suspect. In February 2000, Fujairah Police responded to a call and found the maid lying in a pool of blood in her room with stab wounds in the back and chest. More...
Published: Wed May 16 23:30:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Solheim to meet with LTTE today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 16. Norwegian peace broker Eric Solheim is expected to meet with Thamil Chelvam and other LTTE leaders in the Vanni today and tomorrow May 17.

The LTTE, it is reported, is pushing for an official cease-fire which will be watched by international monitors, before negotiations with the government will begin.

The government has indicated its willingness to initiate a de-escalation of the conflict before the first round of talks with the rebels are held.

Solheim, sources say, is pushing hard to create a conducive environment for both the government and the LTTE to meet and begin discussing a political solution to the 18 year old conflict.
Published: Wed May 16 05:08:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka statement on talks deal backfires
gulf-news, may 13. A Sri Lankan government statement in reaching agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels on entering Norwegian-backed peace talks may have been issued prematurely, a press report here said yesterday."A top official of the (Foreign) Ministry said the letter had been sent to the media from the minister's office, though the minister had not authorised its release," the Daily Mirror said. More...
Published: Wed May 16 23:27:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Breakthrough in Lanka issue likely in a few days
Deccan Herald, 17 May 2001. A 'breakthrough' on the contentious issue of a ceasefire by the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE is on the anvil, political and diplomatic sources said today. Media reports said the peace talks were likely to be held at the Hague in the Netherlands by this month-end or early June. Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim after meeting President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and Tamil and Muslim party leaders, is embarking on a tour to LTTE-controlled Wanni to meet the rebel leadership to finalise the schedule for the peace talks. A pro-LTTE website said Mr Solheim will be in Wanni today and tomorrow and will have discussions with LTTE's political wing leader S P Tamilchelvam. More...
Published: Wed May 16 19:57:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Muslims want inclusion in Norwegian peace bid
India Abroad, May 16, 2001 13:15 Hrs (IST) . A key Muslim partner in President Chandrika Kumaratunga's coalition government has demanded to be included in the Norwegian bid to bring peace to embattled Sri Lanka. Joint leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauf Hakeem met Oslo's special envoy Erik Solheim and said he expected the country's minority Muslims to be involved in negotiations with Tamil separatists. Hakeem, who is also Trade and Muslim Affairs Minister, told Solheim Tuesday that the Muslims would not consider any settlement reached with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as "legitimate" if the minority community was not included in the peace negotiations. More...
Published: Wed May 16 05:25:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Muslims demand peace role  - BBC South Asia
Muslims demand Sri Lanka talks role  - BBC South Asia
Norway's peace bid in Lanka faces new snag  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Light aircraft crashes in southern Lanka
Times of India, 17 May 2001 . A Cessna 152 training aircraft crashed near a runway in southern Sri Lanka on Wednesday, seriously injuring the pilot and another person on board, a civil aviation official said. The aircraft was owned by Lionair, a private company that runs a training school for pilots, said H. Nimalsiri, assistant director of civil aviation. More...
Published: Wed May 16 19:54:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Dalai Lama?s mother?s bangles gifted to Maligawa
Bandula Jayasekara in Washington, Washington Time 4.10 p.m Wednesday May 16th. The Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama?s mothers bangles had been gifted to the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy last month by a close relative of his ?The Lanka Academic? learned in Washington today. Former speaker and Foreign Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, Lodi Gyari who is presently the Special envoy to the Dalai Lama in the United States and on International relations told ?The Lanka Academic? ? We were on a private visit to Sri Lanka towards the end of last month. We went there with our son who is undergoing training to become a monk. We all were touched when we went to pay homage to the Sri Dalada Maligawa. My wife Dawa who was deeply moved and touched when we worshiped the sacred tooth relic removed the bangles gifted to her by His Holiness?s sister-in-law donated it to the Maligawa at the time ? ?The Lanka Academic? understands that authorities at the Maligawa are not aware that the bangles gifted, belonged to the Nobel Peace prize winning Tibetan spiritual leaders mother. Lodi Gyari also said that he was happy and proud to have visited Sri Lanka, where Buddhism is a vibrant and a living religion.
Published: Wed May 16 16:14:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian and Japanese ships conduct excercises off Sri Lanka
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, May 17 12:01 AM SGT . Indian and Japanese naval ships have begun joint exercises in the Indian Ocean to help boost coordination in their efforts to combat the growing menace of piracy in commercial waters, officials here said Wednesday. Kashima and Yamagiri, two ships from Japan's Maritime Self-defence Force, began the operations Monday along with frigates drawn from the Indian navy's eastern fleet in waters off Sri Lanka's maritime boundary, said local naval commander P. R. Franklin. More...
Published: Wed May 16 13:33:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition welcomes Tamil Nadu chief, May 16 2001 16:11 IST. COLOMBO, May 16 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main opposition Wednesday congratulated Indian actress-turned-politician Jayaram Jayalalitha for her appointment as chief minister of India's southern Tamil Nadu state. "I am sure under your leadership Tamil Nadu will emerge as the centre for industrialisation in our region," United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a message to the new chief minister. More...
Published: Wed May 16 08:07:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

ICC Test championship set to get under way
Age, 17 May 2001. After more than 120 years and 1,500 matches, Test cricket enters a new era this week with the official launch of the International Cricket Council Test Championship (ICCTC). England's opening Test against Pakistan at Lord's from today will be the curtain raiser to the first Championship of Test cricket. Australia top the provisional table drawn up by the ICC that will run on a rolling league basis. The system used for calculating positions will be based on the results of the most recent series (a minimum of two Test series applies), home and away, between each of the teams. More...
Published: Wed May 16 21:24:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts
CIA, December 2000. Full article More...
Published: Wed May 16 12:40:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
CIA Pessimistic on Sri Lanka's Future  - Saroj Pathirana in London

CPPCC Chairman Meets Sri Lankan Guest (1)
Nothern Light, Wednesday, May 16, 2001 9:14 AM EST . Chairman Li Ruihuan of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) met here Wednesday with General Secretary D.M.S.B. Disanayaka of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. More...
Published: Wed May 16 11:36:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

TULF undecided on no confidence motion
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The government Information Department today said that under some pressure from the LTTE the main Tamil political party Tamil United Liberation Front now appears to be wavering and sitting on the fence over the proposed UNP sponsored no-confidence motion against the Government.

On Friday TULF vice President V. Anandasangiri said that the party would not derail the ongoing peace process by helping to defeat the government.

On Sunday TULF leaders are reported to have met the leaders of the UNP, giving rise to speculation they may shift their stance again. The meeting which was attended by TULF General Secretary R. Sampanthan and Senior Vice President V. Anandasangiri saw the two leaders having cordial discussions with UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and party Chairman Charitha Ratwatte. "The UNP understood our position. They also said that the government should declare a cease-fire before things get out of hand again," Mr. Anandasangiri said."We explained was that we might change the stance if the government changes its enthusiasm on the talks", he added.After the meeting on Saturday the TULF issued a statement calling upon the government and the UNP to take steps to start peace talks with the LTTE.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

IMF grants US$ 500 million to Lankan government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.45 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 16. The government information department confirmed today that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has granted a US$ 500 million credit package for Sri Lanka that would strengthen the micro-economic stability of the country. Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Industrial Development and Deputy Minister of Finance Prof. G. L. Peiris told a news conference yesterday that the Government has entered into a Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund following the IMF Executive Board approving a 14 month stand by credit facility of US $ 253 million for strengthening the micro-economic stability of the country.

The Government has already received US$ 131 million which is in the hands of the Treasury and the remainder will be disbursed in four tranches of US$ 35 million each which will be disbursed on August 30, November 30, February 28, 2002 and May 15, 2002 depending on the economic performance of the country, he told journalists at the Finance Ministry auditorium. The international donor has also agreed to provide the Government with a further US$ 250 million under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), which is a much broader version of the former Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF).

Among the far reaching benefits that will be accruing to Sri Lanka from this stand by arrangement will be that it will help the settlement of the Balance of Payments, enhance Foreign Reserves, reduce inflation create employment, increase investor confidence etc, he explained.

The Minister also said that the decision of the IMF to come to this agreement was a personification of the boundless confidence it had in the Government's macro- economic management.

Prof. Peiris, who dismissed speculation that this agreement was imposed on the Government by the IMF, said that Sri Lanka was a sovereign Government which determined its own Fiscal Policy by and was not obliged to be dictated by donor concerns at face value. " For instance, the IMF recommended to the Government to increase the Goods and Services Tax (GST), but the Government refused to do so, he said.

"There was no arm twisting in this agreement. The Government wishes to clarify these matters in the eyes of the public so that the people are fully aware of the implications of this agreement, he said.

Central Bank Governor A. S. Jayawardena said:" The international donor has also agreed to provide the Government with a further US$ 250 million under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), which is a much broader version of the former Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) and will aim at making poverty reduction efforts a more explicit element of a renewed growth oriented strategy on a sustainable strategy."

The Letter of Intent which has been signed by the Government and the IMF has been due to the confidence that the IMF had in the Government's economic growth plans which is encapsulated in Vision 21 which includes restructuring of public enterprises, labour market reforms and social safety nets. This programme would also lead to lowering inflation to around 4-5 per cent and economic growth of 4-5 per cent in the medium term.

IMF's Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Dr. Nadeem Ul Haq said that the transparency in the Sri Lankan Government was a cause for celebration and there was no hidden agenda in the signing of the agreement. " In fact, all the details of the agreement are in the web of the IMF and the Central Bank and that they could be accessed at any time", he said. Responding to a question as to what mandatory requirements had to be met for the balance tranches to be met, Dr. Haq said that there would be periodic assessments on a quarterly basis of the revenue / expenditure targets.
Published: Wed May 16 05:08:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Of bullock carts at Sri Lankan botanical gardens!
India Abroad, May 16, 2001 14:30 Hrs (IST) . SRI Lanka's national conservatory, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, is using eco- friendly bullock carts to give visitors tours, after vehicles emitting poisonous exhaust fumes were banned from entering. Visitors to the gardens at Peradeniya, just outside the hill station of Kandy, were offered a bullock cart ride Tuesday, the first day of the new service, and many were thrilled to clamber aboard, a spokesman for the park said. "We started with one bullock cart which can take 10 people and we want to have more, if there is a demand," the park official said. More...
Published: Wed May 16 06:26:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Appeal made to secure release of Indian Fisherman
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 16. The president of the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Society has appealed to the new Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jeyaram to secure the release of over 30 Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy on the 11th of this month.

The Society has also called for the release of 6 motor boats taken into custody by the Lankan Navy along with the fishermen. The society has charged that such arrests by the Sri Lanka Navy has been on the rise in recent months.
Published: Wed May 16 05:08:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Schools in the north-east stage black band protest
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 16. Principals, teachers and students in the north east are to stage a black band protest today in condemnation of the recent incidents which occurred in Mawanella. The Students, principals and teachers are requesting that victims in Mawanella be compensated accordingly.
Published: Wed May 16 05:08:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Supreme Court grants leave to proceed in Mannar rape case
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.25 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petitions filed by the alleged rape victims of Mannar. The petitioners, Ehamparam Vijikala and Sinnathambi Sivamani of Asika Lodge Uppukulam, Mannar have complained of wrongful arrest, torture and rape against some police and Navy Officers of the Special Investigations Unit in Mannar. The petitioners are claiming Rs. one million each as compensation from the respondents. The petitioners jointly claim that the officers in question who entered their lodge on 19th March after demanding to see their documents took them in a van to the SIU Mannar where they were allegedly tortured and raped.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Ctrl Bk: No Heavy Downward Pressure On Rupee
Yahoo India, 16 May 2001. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said that there was no heavy downward pressure on the rupee Wednesday, which has been sliding recently amid dollar demand from importers. "The central bank will not panic over one-off transactions that pull down the rupee. We see no big pressure on the rupee," said a senior central bank official, on condition of anonymity. More...
Published: Wed May 16 05:43:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Solheim back, likely to meet LTTE chief
The Hindu, May 15. The Norwegian special envoy, Mr. Erik Solheim, who arrived here today, is to travel to northern Sri Lanka where he may meet the LTTE leader, Mr.Velupillai Prabhakaran, for discussions on the ongoing peace process.It is believed that Mr. Solheim's scheduled trip to northern Sri Lanka follows a breakthrough in the process to bring the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE for talks. More...
Published: Tue May 15 16:16:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Norway's special envoy in Sri Lanka  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Norwegian Peace Negotiator Meets Sri Lanka President  - Yahoo Asia
Peace envoy meets Lankan president, heads for rebel hideout  - Press Trust of India

Two civilians killed in Amparai
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The defence ministry today said that two civilians were caught in cross fire between the Army and the LTTE yesterday in Amparai. The incident occurred at Sinnawatha in the Amparai district.

Another civilian was killed the day before at Trincomalee by the LTTE when the Tigers had ambushed a police route patrol while yet one more civilian was injured at Polonnaruwa also in cross fire.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norwegian peace envoy to hold talks with President Kumaratunga
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1100 slt 15.05.01. Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim is to hold talks with President Kumaratunga later today after the government agreed to a LTTE demand for a cease fire before peace talks begin. Mr. Solheim is also expected to have talks with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe before leaving for Wanni for talks with LTTE leaders.The government first refused to declare a cease fire until substantial talks take place. However President Kumaratunga in a major policy switch has now indicated that the government would agree to a cease fire before the talks begin. The LTTE has also demanded that all restrictions on transportation of goods to rebel held areas be lifted as well as the lifting of the ban on the organisation by the Sri Lankan government. The government has so far refused to lift the proscription of the LTTE. end
Published: Tue May 15 01:04:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Mothers of Lanka weep for their lost sons
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. Hundreds of mothers of missing Sri Lankan soldiers held a demonstration to Mark Mothers Day yesterday and urged the government and Tamil Tiger guerillas to free prisoners taken in the country"s 18-year ethnic war. Hundreds of white-clad women staged a silent sit-down protest in heart of the capital Colombo and a spokesman said they hoped Mother's Day celebrated around the world on Sunday would help draw attention to their plight. The Government too gave wide publicity to the event reporting on the state sponsored web site by the government information department.

The State report quotes the chief of the organization as saying that a prisoner exchange is the best way to start a peace process and end the pain of these women.E. P. Nanayakkara, head of the Association of the Relatives Servicemen Missing in Action has been pushing for the release of soldiers believed to be in Tiger custody. The association has 1,600 members mostly women who believe their sons or husbands are help prisoners by the LTTE.Mr. Nanayakkara is lobbying for permission to march to rebel controlled areas in the country's north to visit the more than 1,000 captives he says the LTTE is holding.The rebels say they have around 20 prisoners, a figure confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

NICL shares sold
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The Government said today that Cabinet has approved the divestiture of 51% of shares of National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL), which account for 5% of market share in the total insurance business turnover in the country to Janashakthi Insurance Company Limited (JICL) for Rs. 450 million. The share transfer will be effected upon the payment of Rs. 450 million and the signing of relevant agreements by the JICL after concluding the due diligence shortly, a PERC press release states.

With the approval of the Cabinet obtained in July 1999 to divest shares of NICL, advertisements were placed in October 2000, calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the purchase of 51% shares of NICL in the world wide edition of The Economist and in the Sunday Observer of Sri Lanka. In addition, 76 financial services companies were also provided information to encourage their interest. 17 parties collected Information Memoranda containing information on NICL, and the following 5 parties responded:

Allianz Insurance Management Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, 2. Ceylinco Insurance Company Ltd, 3. Smart Development (Pvt) Ltd, 4. Janashakthi Insurance Company Ltd, 5. Southbridge Investments Group (South Asia) Ltd.

Final offers were submitted by the following three parties: 1. Southbridge Investments Group (South Asia) Ltd, 2. Smart Development (Pvt) Ltd, 3. Janashakthi Insurance Company Ltd.

The bid offered by Southbridge Investments Group (South Asia) Ltd was invalid as therewas no bid bond, as required.

The bid of Smart Development (Pvt) Ltd was not acceptable since this company being a subsidiary of Hatton National Bank (HNB) did not receive regulatory clearance from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for the investment in NICL. The bid of Janashakthi Insurance Co. Ltd (JICL) was the only responsive bid for the purchase of 51% shares of NICL. JICL offers Rs. 450 million for 51% shares of NICL. The second highest offer from Smart Development (Pvt) Ltd, which is unacceptable due to regulatory concerns is Rs. 225 million. The offer made by JICL is above the valuation given by the Government Chief Valuer.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Peace March in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The people who had been displaced in the wake of military operations in the Themarachchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula held a peace march in the heart of Jaffna town on Friday. They demanded that they be allowed to return to their homes or alternatively to collect their household goods from their abandoned residences.

The marches set out from the Jaffna bus stand and proceeded to Jaffna Srithar Theatre at Stanley Road where the EPDP Jaffna office is located. The marchers met the Minister of Development, Rehabilitation and & Reconstruction of the North Mr. Douglas Devananda, and urged that steps be taken to facilitate their original places of domicile.
Published: Tue May 15 22:36:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

FMM Condemns Criminal Defamation Case against Ravaya Editor
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 15/05/01 1020 GMT. The Free Media Movement (FMM) has strongly objected to the decision to proceed with the criminal defamation case against 'Ravaya' Editor Victor Ivan before High Court Judge Upali Abeyratna, despite objections by his lawyer. The FMM considers this decision as a violation of all accepted judicial practices.

"The Ravaya editor publicly accused Mr. Abeyratna of violating all norms of justice in a case against the current Chief Justice Sarath Silva when the Chief Justice was the President of the Appeals Court. Ravaya newspaper made a series of exposes against the conduct of Mr. Upali Abeyratna and another magistrate." A statement signed by Sita Ranjani, the secretary of FMM , states.

Justice Abeyratna was found guilty of Ravaya?s accusations and ordered to retire from service by a three-member committee headed by Former President of the Appeals Court Amir Ismail. On an appeal made by Mr. Abeyratna, the Judicial Services Commission suspended all promotions for two years and transferred him to Monaragala as a punishment.

"For a judge who was punished after a campaign by the Ravaya newspaper to hear a case against its editor despite strong objections from his lawyer is against accepted judicial practice and decency" FMM says.
Published: Tue May 15 06:21:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Pro-LTTE Tamils want Govt. defeated
The Hindu, May 15. Pro- LTTE sections of Tamil opinion are egging on Sri Lanka's Tamil parties to back the Opposition United National Party's proposed no-confidence motion against the Government despite fears that political instability at this stage could disrupt the Norwegian- assisted peace process. More...
Published: Tue May 15 16:14:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chinese Premier's visit to Sri Lanka to Expand Good Relationship: PM
Nothern Light, Tuesday, May 15, 2001 9:41 AM EST . Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said on Tuesday that Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's upcoming visit to his country will further expand good relations between the two countries. He said that China and Sri Lanka had a long-standing relationship which dated back to the fifth century. More...
Published: Tue May 15 12:57:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Two remanded in Fr. Aba killi
CDN, 16 May 2001. Negombo Acting Magistrate Godfrey Cooray, remanded the two key suspects, involved in the alleged murder of Rev. Fr. Aba Bernard Costa, till May 28, 2001, on Monday, May 14. The Negombo Police produced Kotagala Gamini (26) of Taladuwa, Negombo and K. Pradeep Niranjan (24) of Aluthwatte, Negombo, late evening on Monday. The police said they were arrested while they were in a hide-out in the possession of a blood-soaked shirt, with aluminium foils (used to inhale) heroin and several packets of cannabis (ganja). More...
Published: Tue May 15 22:37:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan teachers need English lessons
Times of India, 16 May 2001 . Sri Lanka wants to re-introduce English as a medium of study for senior students to make them more presentable for employment, but a shortage of qualified lecturers has forced them to first teach teachers the language. We cant find lecturers to teach in English, so it will take us some time to introduce it as a medium of study," said Prof Lakshman Jayatillake of the National Education Commission, which advises the government on Education policy. More...
Published: Tue May 15 16:09:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Railway Union Demand Reinstating Of Sacked Workers
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 15/05/01 1020 GMT. Lanka Railway Workers Union (LRWU) has appealed to all democratic organisations to demand that government to reinstate the 131 workers who were interdicted by the authorities of the Maligawatta yard. In an statement signed by the president, Dr Vickramabahu Karunarathne, the LRWU demands the withdrawal of all the charge sheets.

The workers had been fired on charges of sabotage on the 8th of May while five of them were facing additional charge of organising sabotage. Railway workers had demanded that their May salary be paid before Vesak holidays, as the authorities promised a week before. The striking workers were arrested and produced before Colombo magistrate who released them on bail, after they allegedly defied an essential service order declared by the government using the necessities of the war as a pretext.
Published: Tue May 15 06:21:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norwegian envoy in S. Lanka for peace talks
Virtual New York, 15 May 2001. (UPI)-Norwegian special envoy, Erik Solheim, arrived here Tuesday for talks with the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas on finalizing dates for peace negotiations. A spokesman for the Norwegian embassy in Colombo said Solheim would meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other senior government leaders later this week. He then travels to the rebel-held northern Wanni mainland to meet the reclusive Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.Diplomatic sources said Solheim would urge the government and the rebels to decide the dates for peace talks. According to local newspapers, the government has decided to send a five-member delegation for the peace talks. The delegation includes Kusumsiri Balapatabendi, secretary to the Sri Lankan President, two senior ministers, Prof G. L. Peiris and Dr Sarath Amanugama, and foreign secretary Lionel Fernando. Fernando was involved in the negotiations with the LTTE in 1995 as well.Reports indicate that the peace talks are likely to be held either in Oslo or in Amsterdam. More...
Published: Tue May 15 05:57:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Solheim arrives in Lanka for talks  - India Abroad
Peace envoy back in Sri Lanka  - BBC South Asia
Solheim in Colombo to broker deal  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Norway envoy returns to revive Sri Lanka truce hopes  -

Dosa, hot curry keep Solheim happy!
India Abroad, 15 May 01. IVE Norway's special envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, a hot masala dosa and vegetable curries laced with chili and you have one happy Viking. Solheim confessed to a preference for what he called South Asian food on an on-line question-and- answer session that has, so far, only been a melting pot of weighty political debate. One of his inquisitors, Publis of Mount Lavinia, asked the Norwegian envoy -- who has been battling for over a year to bring peace to the strife-hit island -- for his favorite Sri Lankan food. Solheim has, so far, been grilled on his recipes for peace in strife-torn Sri Lanka by over 300 visitors to the ongoing discussion on the Lanka Academic Web site ( More...
Published: Tue May 15 08:27:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Solheim shows penchant for Sri Lanka 'peace' meal, May 15 2001 11:25 IST. The man trying to broker peace in Sri Lanka is Norwegian diplomat Erik Solheim. For a man used to insults and abuse, Solheim keeps his cool, thanks to fiery local curries. The 45-year-old Oslo-based diplomat is not only guarded about what he says, but is also careful about his gastronomic choices, lest he antagonise Sri Lanka's minority Tamils or the majority Sinhalese.Asked in a question and answer session by the LANKA ACADEMIC web site for his favourite Sri Lankan food, Solheim offered a politically correct "peace" meal answer. "I am great lover of nearly all types of South Asian food, as long as it is hot and spicy," Solheim said. "A combination of the different food traditions will serve me well. More...
Published: Tue May 15 03:08:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bullock carts replace cars in Sri Lankan botanical garden
Yahoo Asia, Tuesday, May 15 6:56 PM SGT . A bullock-drawn cart was deployed to replace cars at Sri Lanka's best-known botanical gardens Friday as part of a pilot project to save the flora from noxious vehicle exhaust fumes. A spokesman for the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens said they launched the scheme with one cart drawn by two bulls and that it had a busy day on the first day of service. More...
Published: Tue May 15 08:27:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Shares End Flat; Mkt Focuses On Peace Process
Yahoo Asia, Tuesday, May 15 3:04 PM SGT . Sri Lankan shares ended little changed Tuesday, with some local trades on a few blue chips dominating the session, brokers said. Overall activity remained weak as most investors focused on the political front, following the arrival of Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim to the island nation early Tuesday. More...
Published: Tue May 15 05:46:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

IMF Welcomes Sri Lanka Pledge To Cut Fuel Subsidies
Yahoo Asia, Tuesday, May 15 12:52 PM SGT . The International Monetary Fund Tuesday welcomed Sri Lanka's commitment to introduce a more flexible pricing mechanism for fuel prices that will help cut losses at the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp. Directors welcomed the authorities' commitments to put in place an automatic pass-through mechanism, which would ensure that domestic fuel prices respond to changing world oil prices, it said in a press summary of the IMF's annual Article IV assessment of the Sri Lankan economy. The IMF also commended the government for making considerable increases in administered fuel prices last year amid high global oil prices, adding the changes should reverse the operating losses of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation by the end of 2001 and lessen the fiscal cost of other subsidies. More...
Published: Tue May 15 03:16:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
New IMF loan for Sri Lanka  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka seeks bigger IMF credit to fight poverty  -
IMF urges Lanka to maintain tight monetary policy  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Peace March in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 15. The people who had been displaced in the wake of military operations in the= =20 Themarachchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula held a peace march in the heart= =20 of Jaffna town on Friday. They demanded that they be allowed to return to=20 their homes or alternatively to collect their household goods from their=20 abandoned residences.

The marches set out from the Jaffna bus stand and proceeded to Jaffna=20 Srithar Theatre at Stanley Road where the EPDP Jaffna office is located.=20 The marchers met the Minister of Development, Rehabilitation and &=20 Reconstruction of the North Mr. Douglas Devananda, and urged that steps be= =20 taken to facilitate their original places of domicile.
Published: Tue May 15 21:47:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

IMF Concludes Article IV Consultation with Sri Lanka
IMF, 15 May 2001. Over the last decade, Sri Lanka's economy has grown steadily, but at a relatively slow rate. Progress has been made in other areas, most notably privatization. However, underlying the modest growth performance have been relatively low levels of saving and investment. From the fourth quarter of 1999 the rupee came under considerable pressure. Although exports grew strongly, the higher cost of oil imports, and increased military imports resulted in a sharp increase in the external current account deficit in 2000. More...
Published: Tue May 15 05:25:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

US Troops Join Thais In Annual Military Exercise
Yahoo India, Tuesday May 15, 4:59 PM. Almost 5,000 U.S. troops will join more than 5,000 of their Thai counterparts in taking part in the 20th annual Cobra Gold military exercise, Southeast Asia's biggest joint training operation, which began Tuesday. Fifty-five soldiers from Singapore will also take part in the exercise. There will be observers from the Philippines, France, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Korea, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. More...
Published: Tue May 15 12:02:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Says Change To Tax Regime In Medium-Term
Yahoo India, Tuesday May 15, 1:58 PM. Sri Lanka is set to realign its tax system over the medium-term to help generate revenue and create a more level playing field for industry, Secretary to the Treasury, P.B. Jayasundera said Tuesday. More...
Published: Tue May 15 12:02:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SL March Tourist Arrivals Up 10.4% On Year
Yahoo India, 15 May 2001. Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals in March rose 10.4% to 44,290 compared with the same month last year, the Ceylon Tourist Board said Tuesday. More...
Published: Tue May 15 05:49:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Online tea sales to stir Sri Lanka's tea industry, May 15 2001 10:45 IST. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka will begin selling some of its tea crop online on Friday in what industry officials say could be a first step towards opening up the world's biggest tea auction. The joint venture, between Forbes Walker Tea Brokers (Pvt) Ltd, one of the larger tea brokers, and, a firm based in India that set up India's online tea exchange, will offer teas sold in private sales outside of the weekly auction. More...
Published: Tue May 15 03:12:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Buddhas: Under threat in Lanka too
Times of India, 15 May 2001 . Sri Lankan police have launched a search for a monk following the vandalism of a 700-year-old Buddha statue in the central Kandy region, officials said. Enraged local residents staged a protest outside the Gadaladeniya temple on Saturday after discovering that gems placed as eyes of the 14th century Buddha statue had been removed, officials said. More...
Published: Tue May 15 01:36:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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