The Lanka Academic

JUNE 17, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 72

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
Govt. tests waters for lifting ban on LTTE
The Hindu (International), Monday, June 18, 2001. The Sri Lankan Government today appeared to be testing the waters for lifting the ban on the LTTE for rescuing the Norwegian-assisted process for peace talks. The State-owned weekly Sunday Observer today floated the idea, urging the Government to take the ``necessary bold steps'' required to ``initiate negotiations before events overtake the currently slow momentum towards peace''. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 16:45:37 EDT 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!

ValuComOnline: Call Sri Lanka
Send in a question to the veteran Sri Lankan politician, Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara and receive his answer! We are pleased to announce the fifth guest at our online Q&A sessions at The Lanka Academic.

Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara began his political career as a student activist in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party in 1958. He was elected to then National Assembly in 1970 as a member of Parliament from Kiriella in the United Front government of the SLFP, LSSP and the Ceylon Communist Party. In 1975 he split from the LSSP of Dr. N.M.Perera, Dr. Colvin R. De Silva et al. to launch the Nava Lanka Sama Samaja Party along with Dr. Vickramabhahu Karunaratne. Although defeated in the general election of 1977 Mr. Nanayakkara was back in parliament in 1989 as a member of the United Socialist Alliance(USA). He rejoined the LSSP and the PA in 1994 and was elected as an MP. in 199, he crossed over to the opposition. In 1982 and 1999, he also contested as a Presidential candidate. To ask a question, click here.

Do you have a recommendation for a future guest at our Q&A sessions AND you know how to put us in contact with him/her? If yes, email us.

O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Sri Lanka Speaker in a fix
Times of India, 18 June 2001 . The Speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament is expected to reject a Supreme court order and move ahead with an impeachment motion against the country's highest judicial officer which may further aggravate an existing constitutional crisis, the independent Sunday Times newspaper said.The report quoted sources close to the Speaker Anura Bandaranaike as saying he had decided to act against the order and would make an announcement in Parliament early this week. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 18:46:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka fishermen hooked on prostitution, people smuggling
Yahoo Asia, Monday, June 18 9:23 AM SGT . Rising fuel prices and high bank interest rates are forcing Sri Lankan fishermen to take up a more lucrative flesh trade and use their trawlers to smuggle people, officials and police say. The latest catch of 17 would-be illegal immigrants to Italy was netted by police in the north-western coastal town of Negombo earlier this month, police said adding that two boatmen were also in custody. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 22:17:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka Speaker to strike compromise by urging adoption of Indian system
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 4.10 PM SLT Sunday June 17, 2001. When he gives his ruling on the Supreme Court - parliament tussle early next week, the Sri Lankan parliament's Speaker Mr.Anura Bandaranaike is expected to suggest the adoption of the Indian system to end the conflict.

By doing so,he would be striking a compromise between the parliamentary hardliners who want the inherent rights and privileges of parliament to be preserved for their own sake,and those who believe that there should be checks and balances and view with alarm parliament's bid to be the investigator,prosecutor and judge,all rolled into one.

Mr.Bandaranaike may well be fearing that a good and independent Chief Justice like Mr.Neville Samarakoon may be hounded by parliament for purely poltiical reasons.

The Indian system recognises parliament's right to appoint a Select Committee to investigate charges against a judge and to impeach him or her.But the committee has to be a panel of eminent jurists who are also outside the legislature.This way,the panel has expertise as well as independence.The basis thesis is that Parliament has a right to question a judge's integrity and take punitive action,but this does not mean that it can be investigator,prosecutor and judge all rolled into one.

In the Indian sytem,the Speaker appoints a three member Select Committee.Of the three members,one will have to be a sitting judge of the Supreme Court,one a sitting judge of a High Court and the other an eminent jurist.After this expert panel submits its recommendations to the Speaker (or the Chairperson in the case of the Second Chamber),the motion of impeachment will be put to debate in the house and a vote taken.To be carried, the motion will have to have the support of two thirds of the MPs present and voting.

The draft Sri Lankan constitution,which was to have been taken up by parliament on August 3,2000, had envisaged such controversies and stipulated that the Select Committee consist of three judges from the Commonwealth countries in case the accused is a judge and three Chief Justices from the Commonwealth in case the accused is a Chief Justice.
Published: Sun Jun 17 06:04:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Shell finds its Sri Lanka investment hard slogging
gulf-news, june 16. Shell Gas Lanka Ltd, a unit of the giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group, has found its investment in Sri Lanka more difficult than initially anticipated, its country chairman said yesterday.Despite enjoying a five-year liquified petroleum gas supply monopoly that ended last year, the firm has accrued losses on its $145 million investment, which makes up about 10 per cent of the group's global LPG business assets. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 22:39:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Church declares full support for Colombo peace initiatives
gulf-news, june 14. The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka yesterday declared that they were fully supportive of the government's peace efforts to end the ethnic conflict, and did not share the views of the two Catholic bishops on a overseas visit.The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka was reacting to a government statement issued on Monday which said that it regretted comments made by two Sri Lankan Catholic bishops who had reportedly said the government does not seem to want a solution to the ethnic crisis.Archbishop Oswald Gomis told state run radio that they were trying to contact the two Bishops in London and clarify the reported statement. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 22:52:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika may put off census in war-hit north Lanka
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Saturday, June 16, 2001. Parts of northern Sri Lanka, especially the Jaffna peninsula, may be left out of next month's census following objections from Tamil political parties to a population count that cannot enumerate hundreds of thousands of Tamils displaced by the 18-year-old civil war.President Chandrika Kumaratunga has promised to consider a representation by the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) to postpone the census in the war-ravaged north, according to EPDP MP S Thavaraja. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 14:12:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Kumaratunga may put off census in war-hit north  - Times of India (Breaking News)
SL seeks UNHCR help for head count in Jaffna  - The Pioneer

Lanka's envoy to Australia in the eye of a storm
Times of India (Breaking News), 17 June 2001 . Sri Lanka's new ambassador to Australia is a war criminal who presided over the torture and killing of hundreds of Tamil civilians, Australian Tamils alleged Sunday. Major General Janaka Perera arrives in Canberra this week despite strident objections by members of the Tamil community in Australia, who will stage protests outside the Sri Lankan high commission on Monday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 13:25:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan demand for Indian nurses
The Hindustan Times, june 18. THERE IS a tremendous shortage of trained nurses in Sri Lanka, both in the public and the private sectors. To fill the gap, hospitals here have started recruiting from neighbouring India. Going by the current trend, it is likely that in the coming years too, most of the overseas recruits will be from India, especially Kerala. According to Dr A.M.L. Beligaswatte, Director General in the Ministry of Health, the requirement of trained nurses in the government hospitals alone is 30,000 but the current staff strength is only 14,500.Even an elite hospital like Nawaloka in Colombo has had to fold up 20 of the 300 beds recently because of a shortage of nurses. The existing staff works 12 hours a day non-stop, according to Prof Lal Chandrasena, its Director. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 16:46:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Colombo may take confidence measures to revive process
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Sunday, June 17, 2001. Sri Lanka may announce confidence-building measures on its own to revive the stalled peace process involving the LTTE, including a temporary truce and legal steps to provide validity to the banned group's participation in talks, a state-owned newspaper said today. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 13:23:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A third accused in Rajiv case leaves India
NewsIndpress, june 17. Kanagasabapathy, perhaps the oldest accused in the Rajiv assassination case, has left the country to join his daughter at London, it is reliably learnt. The 79-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil was among the 26 sentenced to death by a special court in Chennai but subsequently acquitted by the Supreme Court.Thus all the three have left after the AIADMK Government assumed office, rather surprising in that Jayalalitha always sought to project herself as a tough anti-LTTE leader and who would never give any quarter to the militants. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 16:01:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

11 Tamil Rebels Killed in Fresh Fighting in Sri Lanka
Nothern Light, Sunday, June 17, 2001 12:00 PM EST . Sri Lankan government forces killed at least 11 separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in fresh fighting in the north and east of the country, a defense spokesman said on Sunday. In three clashes between government forces and rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), six rebels were killed in the northern Jaffna peninsula on Saturday, he said. Five more rebels were killed in the east of the island country, he added. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 13:25:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka troops kill 11 rebels in fresh fighting  -

Kumaratunga beset by domestic headaches
India Abroad, June 17, 2001 13:07 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, taking a respite from battling Tiger separatists, is beset by domestic headaches with a constitutional crisis looming and a coalition ally going its own way.Kumaratunga will face the SLMC's ire this week when most of the party's 11 legislators support a move of no confidence against Minister of Rural Development Mahipala Herath. One of the SLMC's joint leaders, Rauf Hakeem, said Saturday he could also "be persuaded" to support an opposition no trust vote against the government which is due later this month and is seen as a crucial test for the eight-month-old government More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 13:23:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka statute crisis deepens as politicians clash  -

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia accused of war crimes, Jun 17 2001 10:39 IST. Amnesty International protested Sunday about Sri Lanka's appointment to Australia of a new High Commissioner who is alleged to have been involved in human rights abuses including torture. The appointment of retired major-general Janaka Perera, who played a key role in Sri Lanka's civil war against the Tamil Tiger guerillas, has been accepted by Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 03:29:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Diplomat accused of atrocities  - ninemsn-SUNDAY

Muslim ally threat to Chandrika
The Hindu (International), Sunday, June 17, 2001. Amidst heightened back-room efforts by the opposition United National Party to muster support for its proposed no-confidence motion against the Government, a crucial partner of the ruling People's Alliance (PA) today said it was disillusioned with the Government and made veiled threats to withdraw support to it. Accusing the PA of attempting to break up his party, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Mr. Rauff Hakeem, said at a news conference that his relations with the Government were at a ``low ebb''. ``My message to the Government is don't mess with my party. I am not going to be a partner to the Government when the dignity of my party and my leadership is at stake,'' said Mr. Hakeem, who held a long discussion with the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, on Friday night. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 17:58:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Muslim ally decides to overthrow Sri Lanka minister  -

Buddhist monks enter Sri Lanka cricket controversy
Yahoo Asia, 17 June. Sri Lanka's top Buddhist clergy have raised the stakes in a raging controversy over the country's newest international cricket stadium built on temple land, officials said Sunday. The country's senior monk, Udugama Buddharakkitha of the Asgiriya chapter, has warned that Buddhists priests will take to the streets in protest if a top official in the Buddhist affairs ministry tries to override the clergy. The official had raised doubts over the legality of a temple in the north-central town of Dambulla leasing its property to the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka to build an international stadium."The Buddhist commissioner thinks he is the Maha Nayaka (Chief Priest) of the country," a temple official quoted monk Buddharakkitha as saying. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 10:10:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A confused Hakeem stands at the crossroads
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 4.06 PM SLT Saturday June 16,2001. The two and half hour meeting which the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Mr.Rauf Hakeem had with President Chandrika Kumaratunga on friday,has clearly been fruitless.Mr.Hakeem is where he was,namely, at the crossroads,unable to decide whether to stay put as an adjunct of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) or to quit and throw in his lot with the opposition United National Party (UNP) when the UNP sponsored no confidence motion is tabled and put to vote.

Though he told a press conference here today that "no promises were sought or given" at the meeting with the President,and that the meeting was meant mainly to put the SLMC's complaints and views across to her,in her own interest,it was clear that he had expected the President to respond favourably and she did not.

Mrs.Kumaratunga had not agreed to his demand that she rein in Mr.S.B.Dissanayake and other ministers who were "heaping insults" on the SLMC and terming some solemn promises made to the Muslims at one time as as "extremist and impossible" demands now.Mr.Hakeem also bitterly complained that these ministers were trying to split the SLMC by promoting a rump group led by Mrs.Ferial Ashraff and Mr.M.L.A.M.Hisbullah.But apparently,the President was unmoved.

Though Mr.Hakeem praised Mrs.Kumaratunga for being the first "non-communal" President and declared that his movement was not against her per se,he had clearly touched a raw nerve by saying that the mandate got by the PA in the last parliamentary elections was "flawed" because of widespread violence and rigging by the PA itself.He had also echoed the UNP's demand for independent commissions for elections,police, public service and the judiciary.He had questioned the wisdom of trying to by-pass the LTTE and fashion a constitution to solve the ethnic problem.He had criticised the government's reactions to the LTTE's posturings as "knee jerk".

Not being in a position to jettison the SLMC faction led by Mr.Hakeem, especially now in the context of the UNP's threat to introduce a no-confidence motion,Mrs.Kumaratunga is believed to have made some conciliatory gestures.She officially "promoted" Kalmunai to a "municipality".But these were not fully acceptable to Mr.Hakeem who maintained that the government had reneged on a promise to make Kalmunai a "Muslim majority district".He held that the perpetrators of violence against Muslims were being sheltered.And a committee to oversee the implementation of election promises never came into existence."We have been taken for granted," he told the President.

But Mr.Hakeem is unable to cross over to the UNP.Asked if he would support the UNP's no-trust motion,he said that he would do so only if his party (read faction) was "convinced" that the UNP was a desirable alternative to the PA from the stand point of the ethnic question.There must be a firm policy, a blue print on the ethnic question for a party to be a convincing alternative,he said.But apparently,the UNP did not seem to have a credible policy on the ethnic issue.Mr.Hakeem said he supported the UNP's call for independent commissions for elections, police, public service and the judiciary as these were necessary for good governance.But the critical issue was the ethnic problem,he maintained.

Mr.Hakeem will be in a half way house for some time.He said his group would vote against the government in the no-trust vote against Mr.Mahipala Herath on the Mawanella issue,and will side with the opposition on the issue of parliamentary privilege vis--vis the Supreme Court.But on the crucial issue of the no-trust vote against the government, he will hold his horses till the air both within his party and outside in the PA, clears.
Published: Sat Jun 16 07:19:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks UNHCR help for head count in Jaffna
India Abroad, 17 June. RI Lanka has sought the help of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to take a head count of people in war-torn Jaffna when a much-delayed national census gets underway shortly. The UNHCR has been asked to contact Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the north to get their cooperation, amid reports that the rebels are opposed to the census, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. It quoted A.G.W. Nanayakkara, head of the census department, as saying he would try to convince Tamil political parties on the need for a census - after a lapse of 20 years. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 10:06:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka seeks UN help for first census in war zone in 20 years  -

Sri Lanka leader denies unity government offer, Jun 16 2001 10:34 IST. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has denied that her party had discussed forming a national unity government, state-run media said Saturday.State radio and television said Kumaratunga as the head of government had no such discussions although one of her senior aides made a public offer. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 09:45:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Rebel Leader in Sri Lanka Killed
Nothern Light, Saturday, June 16, 2001 7:39 PM EDT . The top leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels in eastern Sri Lanka was killed when the motorcycle he was riding on hit a land mine, military and rebel sources said Saturday. Rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam accused the military of planting the mine that killed Nizzam, who was in charge of rebel operations in the eastern Batticaloa and Ampara districts. Most rebel leaders use either one name or a pseudonym. Batticaloa is 136 mile east of Colombo. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 21:04:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Tamil Tiger rebels' top regional leader killed  - Times of India
Claymore kills LTTE's eastern political leader  - Tamilnet

The Jungle Telegraph
Sunday Times, 17 June 2001. Military strong man Major General (retd) Janaka Perera, makes his long awaited farewell call on President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga today. As repeatedly reported in these columns , this is prior to taking up his diplomatic assignment as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Australia. Since being named to the top post in Canberra, delays have dogged Maj. Gen. Perera's departure. Firstly, his agrement (or acceptance by the Australian Government) was delayed. It came only after Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar spoke to his counterpart Alexander Downer. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 03:38:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Anura’s ruling on Wednesday
Island, 17 June 2001. Speaker Anura Bandaranaike is due to announce his ruling on the controversy surrounding the opposition motion impeaching Chief Justice Sarath Silva on Wednesday, well informed sources said. Bandaranaike is on record saying on June 6 that he was confronted with a serious situation unprecedented in parliament’s history. He made this comment after accepting the impeachment motion signed by 77 MPs and being informed that the Supreme Court had issued an interim injunction against the appointment of a parliamentary select committee to go into this matter. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 00:31:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Bradman Foundation, family denounce publisher's claims
NDTV/MSNBC, 17 June 2001. Family of late Sir Donald Bradman and The Bradman Foundation today took exception to the release of the legendary cricketer's comments on Sri Lankan off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan's bowling action by the batsman's publisher and termed it "misleading and deceptive". A statement by the charitable organisation also criticised Tom Thompson, who holds rights for two of Sir Don's books, for distributing 'Bradman presentation caps' to prominent cricketers. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 01:19:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Dambulla out of bounds
BBC, JUne 16. Sri Lanka cannot play matches at their new Dambulla Stadium during a one-day series in July and August because of a dispute with the island's ministry of Buddhist affairs. The stadium was built in just seven months on land owned by a local temple, which is home to a group of monks More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 18:17:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Divers locate 'phantom shipwreck'
BBC South Asia, Saturday, 16 June, 2001, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK . A search team has found what is thought to be the wreck of a ship which sank off the Italian coast five years ago with hundreds of illegal immigrants on board. The wreck is said to be surrounded by skeletons.An Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, undertook the search for what has been dubbed "the phantom shipwreck" in the face of long-standing official scepticism about the existence of the vessel. About 280 people, mainly from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are believed to have drowned when the ship went down in waters off Sicily in December 1996. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 13:08:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

No legal implications regarding Dambulla International Cricket Stadium
Sunday Observer, 17 June 2001. There is no legal implications regarding the Rangiri Dambulu International Cricket Stadium and as everything has been done with transparency and in a legal manner. It is the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs and Buddha Sasana who is trying to take over the administrative powers of the Buddhist Affairs and as mentioned before it came under the Mahanayake. The Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs has taken over these duties now and he think he is the Mahanayake of the country and we cannot do anything without his permission. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 01:21:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to set up special child abuse courts
Times of India, 17 June 2001 . The government said on Saturday it will set up special courts to try child molesters, the first step toward implementing a comprehensive plan to protect Sri Lankan children from sex abuse.The special courts will be set up in four cities, the government said in a statement. A special feature of the courts will be that the identity of the victims will be kept secret during trial More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 18:01:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

COPE to expose CEB corruption in House
Island, 17 June 2001. The Committee on Public Enterprises [COPE] will table in parliament on Tuesday its "explosive" findings on the Ceylon Electricity Board [CEB] reportedly neck deep in losses - as a result of massive corruption and mismanagement, authoritative sources said yesterday. The 5-page report would expose the top management of the enterprise, the sources said adding that the COPE prepared it after questioning senior officials four times in the past few weeks. "Some were caught lying," an informed source said claiming that the report will send shock waves through the establishment. More...
Published: Sun Jun 17 00:58:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

7 killed in northeast Lankan confrontations
Times of India, 16 June 2001 . Seven combatants were killed in three incidents in Sri Lanka's northeast as sporadic confrontations continued between government troops and Tamil separatist rebels, the defence ministry said on Friday.Three soldiers and two rebels were killed on Friday near Polonnaruwa, about 170 kilometres northeast of the capital, Colombo, the ministry said.Most of the fighting in the 17-year civil war takes place in the north, but confrontations spill over to the east and northeast, where rebels have infiltrated. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 14:10:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

U.S. Company to Finance New Thermal Power Plant in S.Lanka
Nothern Light, Saturday, June 16, 2001 1:00 PM EST . COLOMBO, Jun 16, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- AES Kelanitissa (Private) Limited of the United States is to commission a new thermal power plant in Sri Lanka at a cost of 100 million U.S. dollars, a spokesman of the Power Ministry said on Saturday. The company, which is a subsidiary of AES Corporation of USA, will own and operate the new plant. They will sell electricity to the Ceylon Electricity Board under a 20-year power purchase agreement. AES Kelanitissa has signed financing agreement with the Asian Development Bank and ANZ Investment Bank, the investment banking arm of Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) for the financing of its 163.15 megawatt combined cycle diesel fired power plant. More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 14:11:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Key Muslim ally rocks Sri Lankan coalition boat
India Abroad, June 16, 2001 16:34 Hrs (IST) . Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's key Muslim ally said Saturday it would support an opposition move to oust a minister, describing relations with the government as being at "a low ebb". Hakeem, who holds the trade portfolio, said that the government could no longer bank on his party's support and that he regretted propping up Kumaratunga's party after the inconclusive result at last year's general election. "We have decided to support the resolution of no confidence against Minister Mahipala Herath," Hakeem told reporters as the party's position in the People's Alliance (PA) coalition became increasingly shaky More...
Published: Sat Jun 16 09:52:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

© Copyright 2000, 2001 Lanka Academic Network.