The Lanka Academic

MAY 18, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 42

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
Envoy: Sri Lanka, Rebels Near Truce Accord
yahoo, May 18. Sri Lanka and Tamil Tigers fighting to carve a homeland out of the country are close to agreeing on a truce, but issues blocking direct peace talks remained unresolved, Norway said on Friday.A Norwegian embassy statement quoted peace envoy Erik Solheim as saying the two sides ``are close to agreeing upon issues related to a halt in military operations and measures to alleviate the living conditions for the civilian population.'' More...
Published: Fri May 18 16:30:38 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
Solheim returns empty-handed from LTTE territory  - Times of India
No agreement in talks with Norway envoy: Tamil Tigers  -
Tigers in with Norway envoy insist lifting of ban is key issue  -
Peace process deadlocked as LTTE lays down pre-requisites  - Press Trust of India
Sri Lanka President Meets Envoy, Hopes of Talks Dim  - Nothern Light

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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
Legal experts say the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice does not violate parliamentary standing orders.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2102 slt 18.05.01. A number of leading legal experts say the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sarath Silva does not violate parliamentary standing orders, the Ravaya newspaper reported today. The newspaper said these experts reject speculation that Speaker Anura Bandaranaike would reject the motion on the ground that it is sub-judice. end
Published: Fri May 18 11:07:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka, China sign bilateral agreement
India Abroad, May 18, 2001 20:00 Hrs (IST) . SRI Lanka and China on Friday marked the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji by signing a bilateral agreement to strengthen economic cooperation. Zhu and Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga witnessed the signing of the document and the visiting premier later laid the foundation stone for a Rs.450 million international exhibition hall. The exhibition center, a gift by Beijing, will be built on the premises of the Chinese-donated Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo. Zhu and Kumaratunga, who held official talks earlier on Friday, described ties between their countries as excellent and without irritants. More...
Published: Fri May 18 11:30:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

13 killed as LTTE steps up attacks in Vavuniya
Times of India (Breaking News), 18 May 2001 . Thirteen Sri Lankan securitymen were killed in three different attacks LTTE in northern part of the island on Friday, as Norwegian peace envoys return to Vavuniya after a meeting with LTTE representatives, officials said. More...
Published: Fri May 18 12:22:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Deadly blast in Sri Lanka on Norway envoy's route  -

3000 national identity cards airlifted to Jaffna
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2100 slt 18.05.01. 3000 national identity cards were airlifted to Jaffna today. The ID cards will be distributed to its owners in Jaffna tomorrow.
Published: Fri May 18 11:07:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Railway Department to reject 200 million rupee consignment of railway sleepers from Australia
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2055 slt 18.05.2001. The Railway department is to reject a consignment of railway sleepers worth 200 million rupees imported from Australia. Railway engineers say only 15% of the low quality sleepers can be used. The Minister for Transport Dinesh Gunewardene inspected the consignment today. The department says it has only paid 28 million rupees to the Australian company and another seven million rupees for shipping.
Published: Fri May 18 11:07:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chinese Premier Meets Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker
Nothern Light, Friday, May 18, 2001 11:44 AM EST . Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji Friday told Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Anura Bandaranaike that he hopes legislative organizations of the two countries will increase contacts and exchanges to contribute to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between their two countries and peoples. More...
Published: Fri May 18 12:20:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Inter Ministerial Human Rights Committee recommend changes to the Prevention of Terrorism act.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2058 slt 18.05.01. The Inter Ministerial Human Rights Committee has recommended to the government changes to the prevention of terrorism act. The Committee chaired by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has recommended that those detained under the act must be produced in court with 14 days. Now they can be held for three months. The Committee also reported to have recommended that the place of detention has to be informed to the next of kin.
Published: Fri May 18 11:07:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Deadly blasts in Sri Lanka as Norway bid stalls, May 18 2001 17:15 IST. COLOMBO, May 18 (AFP) - Tamil Tiger guerrillas escalated attacks against government forces Friday, killing up to 12 troopers as Norway failed to secure an agreement on peace talks, official sources said. They said that the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ambushed a police commando jeep in the island of Mannar, seriously wounding two men. They also said there were three land mine attacks in the district of Vavuniya, leaving at least 12 security personnel dead and 12 others wounded. More...
Published: Fri May 18 08:12:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka violence escalates as Norway peace bid is deadlocked  -
Lanka peace efforts suffer setback  - Press Trust of India

Tamil Tigers say no peace talks if ban remains, May 18 2001 11:45 IST. Hopes for early peace talks in Sri Lanka looked to be fading on Friday after Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland said they would not take part in peace talks until they won legal recognition from the government. The demand followed a meeting between representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and a Norwegian envoy, and follow comments by President Chandrika Kumaratunga that there was hope for efforts to end two decades of ethnic fighting. "The removal of the proscription of the Liberation Tigers is an essential prerequisite for talks," S.P. Thamilchelvan, head of LTTE's political wing, was quoted as saying by during talks with Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim on Thursday night. Solheim met the guerrillas in a rebel-held region of northern Sri Lanka after talks earlier this week with Kumaratunga, who expressed optimism about the outcome at a state banquet in honour of visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. "Today there is a glimmer of hope that we might soon witness the dawn of peace," she said. Solheim was to meet with Thamilchelvan again on Friday. More...
Published: Fri May 18 03:16:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Tamil Tigers Dig in on Conditions for Peace Talks  - ABC News
Tamil Tigers Dig in on Conditions for Peace Talks  - Nothern Light

Mawanella' virus on the rounds, can 'destroy your comp'
TheNewsPaper, May 18 . Mawanella is generated with the VBSWG virus toolkit. It spreads using Microsoft Outlook and sends messages with a subject 'Mawanella' and a body "Mawanella is one of Sri Lanka's Muslim villages; A brutal incident happened here. Two Muslim mosques, 100 shops are burnt. I hate this incident, What about you? I can destroy your computer. I didn't do that because I am a peace-loving citizen." More...
Published: Fri May 18 14:03:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Kaspersky Labs: Sri Lankan Patriots enter the fray of virus writing  - Nothern Light
Warning on new worm virus - Mawanella.vbs  - The Age
Sri Lankan Taps Argentinean Virus Kit To Cause Problems  - Yahoo India

Chinese Prime Minister's visit to Sri Lanka
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 11.00pm SLT, May 17, 2001. Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji inspects the guard of honor upon his arrival at Colombo’s airport, Sri Lanka on Thursday, May 17, 2001. Zhu is on three-day official visit to Sri Lanka accompanied by 120 senior Chinese officials and businessmen, including eight ministers. More...
Published: Thu May 17 13:41:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Chinese PM lays foundation for Sri Lanka centre  -
Chinese Premier Holds Talks With Sri Lankan President  - Nothern Light
Chinese PM in Sri Lanka with jumbo message  -

Indian oil rig stranded on Lankan waters rescued by Navy
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Friday, May 18, 2001. An Indian oil rig was stranded on the Lankan high seas after it got disconnected from the tugs but was rescued by Sri Lankan Navy vessels, official sources said today. The rig, bound for Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, was about 60 nautical miles away from the coast Thursday night when the ropes connecting it to the tugs snapped in bad weather and workmen failed to connect them again, the sources said. More...
Published: Fri May 18 08:04:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Student's protest
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 2.00pm SLT, May 17, 2001. Students of Kelaniya University run away as police baton charge after firing tear gas, during a protest at Kelaniya University in Sri Lanka, on Thursday, May.17, 2000. Students and student monks staged a protest against government plans to privatize higher education through private universities. The protest was disrupted when police fired tear gas at the group. More...
Published: Thu May 17 04:08:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Colombo students demonstrate  - BBC South Asia

Police website lists 11 most wanted criminals
gulf-news, May 18. Dubai Police have placed their 11 most wanted suspects on the Internet in the hope people around the world will help trace them. The 10 men and a woman are being sought in connection with crimes ranging from murder to fraud.Tissa Mark Enos, a 42-year-old Sri Lankan, is wanted for the murders of Dikar Tabal Mody and her daughter Warna Komari, who were killed on July, 24, 1996. He is believed to have fled to Sri Lanka.Roh Liyange, 30, is wanted for the murder of fellow Sri Lankan Roger Van Rooyen, whose body was discovered in the bath in his flat last year. The 41-year-old had a broken neck and had been dead for two days. More...
Published: Fri May 18 10:37:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SRI LANKA PRESS: US Selco Opens Colombo Office
Yahoo India, Friday May 18, 8:49 AM. Solar Electric Light Co., or Selco, of the U.S. Thursday opened an office in Colombo after acquiring a 97% stake in Sri Lanka's RESCO Asia Ltd., the Daily Mirror reports Friday More...
Published: Fri May 18 16:32:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Thilak Blasts "Political General" for Death of Three Hundred Soldiers
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 17/05/01 1750 GMT. The Leader of the Sihala Urumaya (SU) has told his followers in UK that a "Political General" should be held responsible for the debacle of "Agni Kheela" which resulted with a death of 300 government soldiers. In an internal memorandum to the UK branch, obtained by the Lanka Academic, Leader and the Secretary General of SU Mr. Thilak Karunarathne has requested to make necessary corrections to a world-wide distributed document which accused a senior army general for the defeat. The internal sources of Sihala Urumaya UK suggested that this memo has been sent to stop the said document been distributed in a demonstration due to be held opposite SL High Commission in London.

"There is a strong suspicion that the Agni keela operation was purposely lost with the connivance of the top army officials , so that it could be used as an excuse to begin the talks. 300 soldiers were killed, 1800 wounded, most lost limbs. None of the sophisticated and stand off weapons such as MBRLS were used during the operation" alleged the document prepared by UK branch of Sihala Urumaya.

Mr. Karunarathne, however, writing from Colombo strongly rejected these allegations by the expatriate members of his own party. Blasting the government for the whole incident, in the memo addressed to Mr. Dhammika Mawella of the UK branch, Mr. Karunarathne does not share the view that the army deliberately lost the battle.

"We certainly do not think that our heroic armed forces will deliberately lose any battle sacrificing invaluable lives, disabling many more and expending valuable military hardware. The reference to top army officials including General Anton Wijendra is unfair to say the least. We blame the government and "the Political General" for this debacle but not the professional soldiers who are doing their utmost to save the motherland from the cancer of LTTE terrorism" the memo says.
Published: Thu May 17 13:47:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Police use force against protesting Lankan students
Times of India, 18 May 2001 . Police baton charged and tear-gassed thousands of students on Thursday who were protesting against alleged government plans to privatise university education.All Sri Lanka's universities are state run and private sector colleges are permitted to offer only foreign degrees. For nearly 50 years Sri Lanka has had free-education and students fear opening private sector universities would result in less recognised degrees from the state sector, which will cater to the less privileged. More...
Published: Fri May 18 00:29:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan leader greets Jayalalitha
Yahoo India, Thursday May 17, 10:35 AM. Colombo, May 16: Opposition and United National Party leader of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremsinghe, has congratulated Jayalalitha on becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after her spectacular victory in the recently-concluded elections. “We in Sri Lanka look forward to working with you and the Government of India closely and cooperatively,” said Wickremsinghe in a message sent to her. “I am sure under your leadership, Tamil Nadu will emerge as the centre for industrialsiation in our region and the people in Sri Lankan look forward to the benefit,” Wickremesinghe said. More...
Published: Thu May 17 18:50:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan tourism eyes Indian cricket fans
Times of India, 18 May 2001 . After success with the British, Sri Lanka is planning to offer reduced airfares and attractive tour packages to lure cricket crazy Indians when their team visits the country in July."We are expecting Sri Lankan airlines to reduce rates for Indian tourist who visit during the time of the cricket tour," said Madhubani Perera, assistant marketing manager of the Ceylon Tourist Board. More...
Published: Fri May 18 00:30:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Effusive welcome for Zhu in Sri Lanka
The Hindu (International), Friday, May 18, 2001. The Chinese Premier, Mr. Zhu Rongji, arrived here today on a four-day official visit, penultimate leg of his five-nation tour of the region. The national press went hyperbolic in its welcome to Mr. Zhu, with the daily Island describing China as an ``all-weather friend'' that had stood by Sri Lanka through half a century of good times and bad. While Sri Lanka had ``no other option'' but to be on good terms with ``big brother'' India, it also had a ``time-trusted'' friend across the Himalayas, the paper said. More...
Published: Fri May 18 00:27:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway envoy spends overnight in Tiger territory, May 17 2001 18:43 IST. Norway's special envoy, Erik Solheim, was spending overnight in a rebel-held area of northern Sri Lanka Thursday after travelling there in a bid to arrange a truce, diplomatic sources said. It was not immediately clear if the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrilla group, Velupillai Prabhakaran would take part in talks Thursday as he did on November 1 More...
Published: Thu May 17 10:42:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka rebels talk to envoy amid glimmer of hope  - Yahoo India
Norway envoy spends night with Tigers after talks  -
Solheim crossed the front lines  -

Photo: Chinese premier Zhu arrives in Sri Lanka
Yahoo India, Thursday May 17, 7:15 PM. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake (R) welcomes Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji upon his arrival at Colombo International Airport May 17, 2001. Zhu is on a three day official visit expected to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries, that already have close economic and military ties. More...
Published: Thu May 17 14:26:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Chinese PM Rongji arrives in Lanka  - India Abroad
Chinese premier arrives in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York
Chinese Premier Zhu Arrives in Sri Lanka  - Nothern Light
Chinese Premier arrives in Sri Lanka  -

Jayasuriya named skipper
Yahoo India, Friday May 18, 12:00 AM. Sri Lanka today named a 22-member squad led by skipper Sanath Jayasuriya for the Tri-nation tournament with India and New Zealand in July.The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) said the selectors retained the former deputy skipper Aravinda de Silva in the National squad for the Tri-nation as well as a Test series against India here. More...
Published: Thu May 17 17:15:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kmart to look for quality products in Lanka
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, Washington Time 2.00 p.m Thursday 17 May. By Bandula Jayasekara in Washington: Ron Lalla, Senior Vice President, Global Sourcing of Kmart corporation in the US is to visit Sri Lanka next month, in search of better quality products for their new ‘discount stores chic’. Lalla is responsible for purchasing the merchandise around the world for Kmart Corporation with boasts of retail sales of US$ 37 billion, the second largest retailer in the United States. Kmart is the third largest apparel retailer in the country. During his visit to Sri Lanka, Lalla is scheduled to meet Professor G.L. Peiris minister of industrial development and constitutional affairs, Rauf Hakeem minister of trade and shipping, President of the Apparel Exporters association; Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers interested exporting to Kmart and officials of the labour department. Lalla’s visit to Sri Lanka in June will be the second by an important US retailer within a period of two months. Peter McGrath Vice-President of JC Penney, Purchasing Corporation, the largest apparel retailer in US visited the island last month. Kmart imports around US$ 20 million worth of apparel from Sri Lanka.
Published: Thu May 17 14:00:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

20 students injured in police clash
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6 p.m. SLT Thursday May 17. Twenty students were injured today when police in riot gear fired tear gas and baton charged thousands of university students protesting against government reforms to privatize tertiary education in Sri Lanka.

The incident took place outside the Kelaniya University. Sources at the Ragama Teaching Hospital later said that two students had been admitted with serious injuries while the rest were discharged after being treated for minor wounds.

A government study conducted jointly with the Asian Development Bank into Sri Lanka's university education has found, that a lack of proficiency in English, a lack of skilled and trained managers and teachers and overall bad management both financial and structural including political interference, has prevented over 50 percent of the country's youth from even entering university.

The stunning revelations presented at last years Paris Aid Development Group meeting resulted in donors insisting that Sri Lanka's tertiary education must be changed. The report submitted at the donor meeting in France, stated in no uncertain terms that local universities are far below international standards and rate lower even in comparison to universities in the region.

Government bodies constituting of the National Education Commission, the Department of National Planning, the Presidential Task Force on University Reforms and an Employment Survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce Colombo observes that a lack of consistent national planning has in fact stifled graduates who pass out from public institutions. The unemployment rate is very high for graduates from state universities as against graduates who pass out from Private Post-secondary Institutions.

Both World Bank and ADB sponsored findings say that graduates from state institutions do not have the ability to communicate effectively, particularly in English, do not possess good inter-personal skills, do not have an open, positive, practical mind-set, have little knowledge of world affairs, are rarely computer literate and do not possess a dress sense. All of which, they maintain are essential requirements in today's competitive labour market.

An outcome of the findings is that donor agencies have now advised Sri Lanka to improve the tertiary education in the Island nation, noting that the development of tertiary education in the country is of strategic importance for the economic and social development of the country.

Both the ADB and the World Bank point out that the sector for tertiary education should, therefore, initiate transformation relevant to national development, to strengthen the country's competitiveness in global markets and promote social harmony. Unless this is done the international community will probably think twice before making any financial commitments to the country. Hence the urgent need for privatization.
Published: Thu May 17 09:33:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Police break up Sri Lanka student protest  -

Sri Lanka opposition threatens to break deal with IMF, May 17 2001 14:16 IST. COLOMBO - Sri Lanka main opposition vowed Thursday to renegotiate a loan agreement with the IMF if they take power following a no-confidence vote against the government next month. The United National Party (UNP) accused the administration of President Chandrika Kumaratunga of agreeing with the International Monetary Fund to raise taxes and prices of essentials to obtain a 253 million dollar loan. "We don't agree with the government when it says that the country has not succumbed to IMF pressure," UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku said. "We will renegotiate the terms of the agreement. We will revamp the entire economy and we don't expect any conflict with any international lending institution because we will have a proper economic strategy." More...
Published: Thu May 17 05:42:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

University students clash with Police over plans for private universities
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1242 slt 17.05.01. Thousands of university students clashed with Police outside the Kaleniya university today. Heavily armed riot police fired tear gas and charged the student demonstrators with batons to stop a march to Colombo. The Students are protesting against plans by the government to introduce legislation allowing the establishment of private universities in the country.

Published: Thu May 17 02:53:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian diplomats meet fishermen arrested in Lanka
India Abroad, May 18, 2001 11:00 Hrs (IST) . TWO Indian diplomats have visited 39 Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy for poaching in the island nation's waters, to reassure them and see to their welfare, officials said. Deputy Indian High Commissioner S. Tripathi and Defense Advisor Gopi Nath traveled to the northern peninsula of Jaffna and told the fishermen they would be given whatever help they needed. The diplomats also asked the police and authorities at the Jaffna prison to treat the fishermen well. More...
Published: Fri May 18 03:31:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Indian officials meet detained TN fishermen in Jaffna  - Press Trust of India
India offers help to fishermen arrested in Lanka  -

Blast blow to Norway's peace bid in Lanka
Times of India, 17 May 2001 . The convoy of a Tiger leader going for talks with a Norwegian envoy has been hit by a mine attack, dealing a further blow to the fragile peace bid, Tamil and diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. Defence ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne denied government forces were responsible. "We have no involvement whatsoever in this," Karunaratne said. "This is an area where we don't have our troops." Solheim, who was due to travel to the rebel-held area, left the capital Colombo on Wednesday afternoon even though the military had arranged for him to fly earlier in the morning. "He is on his way to the Wanni now," Norwegian embassy spokesman Tomas Stangeland said. "He is meeting with LTTE leaders, but I can't say who and when." More...
Published: Thu May 17 01:53:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Solheim stays overnight with Tamil Tigers  - India Abroad

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