The Lanka Academic

JUNE 22, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 77

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
Ferial comes to rescue of Chandrika
gulf-news, june 22. Sri Lanka's main Muslim party split yesterday, giving new hope to President Chandrika Kumaratunga that her Peoples' Alliance coalition may not fall.Four out of 11 Parliament deputies of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) refused to cross over to the opposition benches with their party leader, signaling that they were with Kumaratunga.Ferial Ashraff, the first Muslim woman to become a Sri Lankan Cabinet minister, entered politics after the death of her husband in a helicopter crash and is leading the splinter group of the party he once headed. She told a Sri Lankan Website that she would not desert Kumaratunga. More...
Published: Fri Jun 22 22:39:33 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
Chandrika can rule with minority  - The Hindustan Times
Hectic talks to resolve rift between SLMC and NUA leaders  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
Lankan Muslim woman minister may bail out govt  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Muslims split over Sri Lanka pullout  - 123india
NUA to continue to support the government  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo

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Australian MP questions SL envoy's credibility
Saroj Pathirana in London, Friday 22/06/01 1745 GMT. Major General Janaka Perera's appointment as new Sri Lankan High Commissioner for Australia has been questioned in the Australian parliament. Replying a question raised by Mr. Brereton, MP, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's statement told the parliament that Minister Kadirgamar "made it clear" to him, that the appointment of ex-deputy head of SL army was worthy and suitable.

"What inquiries did you or your department make concerning the allegations of human rights abuses in areas of Sri Lanka where the major general held military commands? What was the precise nature of the assurance given to you by the Sri Lankan foreign minister concerning this diplomatic appointment?" MP Brereton asked the Foreign Minister.

The minister accepted that he received letters of protest as well as supporting the appointment. "We have been made aware of claims, but none of these claims, my department advises me, has been backed by any direct evidence of his involvement. Australia does take its human rights responsibilities very seriously and we have actively sought to promote respect for human rights in the Sri Lanka, including during my visit there some time ago. It is most unusual in the extreme for the Australian government to reject the nomination of a high commissioner or an ambassador." Minister Downer responded despite the fact that the same government has earlier rejected the appointment of General Bandari of Indonesia as their new envoy in response to East Timoreans protest.

Editor's Note Do you have an opinion on the above article?? Write to the editor by using Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Fri Jun 22 12:44:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan opposition will support Norwegian peace bid
India Abroad, June 22, 2001 19:52 Hrs (IST) . The leader of the opposition in Sri Lanka assured President Chandrika Kumaratunga Friday that a no-faith move against her People's Alliance (PA) coalition would not hinder Norway's peace bid here. United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Kumaratunga his party would support Oslo's attempts to broker peace between Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels, despite a no-confidence motion presented in Parliament Friday More...
Published: Fri Jun 22 19:10:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hakeem a threat to national unity - President
CDN, june 22. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in a statement issued last evening said that SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem was removed from the Cabinet of Ministers in the greater interests and the common good of the country and the people. She pointed out that Mr.Hakeem's policies posed a major threat to the PA Government and to the unity and understanding among different communities. The President recalled that on many occasions she had advised him to act with patience and cooperation, before the decision to remove him was taken. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 22:35:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP to decide on the no confidence motion tomorrow
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1850 slt 22.06.01. The JVP is to decide whether to support the no confidence motion against the government tomorrow when its central committee meets. JVP parliamentary leader Wimal Weerawansha said the parliamentary group of the party would recommend that the party supports the motion. end
Published: Fri Jun 22 08:59:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Marxists take centre stage in Sri Lanka crisis  - MSNBC
Maoist JVP may be Lankan kingmaker  - The Hindustan Times

The Lanka Academic , June 22. What a coup de theater! I have been told by believers that quite a few astrologers did predict (and some in print too, such as the Lankadeepa of June 19th ) that June 20th , 2001 is going to be a very decisive day politically. Be that as it may, we are once again in a situation (so familiar to us Lankans) when almost everything hangs in balance - not just the fate of the regime, but other far more important things as civil peace and political stability. More...
Published: Fri Jun 22 14:56:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

The UNP and tamil parties hand over no confidence motion against the government.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1840 slt 22.06.01. The United National Party ,the TULF, the Tamil Congress and TELO have handed over a motion of no confidence against the People's Alliance to the speaker of parliament this morning. The one paragraph motion said the government has no moral right to govern the country. UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuiya said the motion was signed by 97 MPs. "We asked the speaker for an early date. It will be either the first week or the third week of July" he told a news conference this morning.The TULF General Secretary Anandasangari said his party has lost faith in President Kumaratunga and they were supporting the motion on a promise by the UNP that it would introduce democratic reforms.
Published: Fri Jun 22 08:59:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opposition mounts government ouster drive  - Yahoo Asia
Lanka Oppn brings no confidence motion against govt  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Sri Lanka opposition begins ouster move as Muslim party splits  -
Sri Lanka opposition files government ouster move  -
Sri Lanka Opposition Launches No-Confidence Move  - Nothern Light

Former BOI chief indicted for bribery
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2011 slt 22.06.01. The Former head of the Bureau of Investment (BOI) Thilan Wijesinghe was today indicted in the Colombo high court on two counts of bribery and corruption. The Independent Bribery and corruption commission has charged him with demanding a one million dollar bribe from a foreign investor and accepting a bribe of two million rupees. Wijesinghe was forced to resign three months ago after bribery charges were exposed by the Sunday Leader newspaper.
Published: Fri Jun 22 10:23:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

President hold talks with Opposition leader on the peace process and democratic reforms
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1831 slt 22.06.01. President Chandrika Kumaratunga held talks with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today on the peace process and democratic reforms. However despite heavy speculation, the President did not raise the possibility of a national government with the UNP. A media release by the Information department said that Wickremesinghe had told the President that his party would not undermine the peace process.
Published: Fri Jun 22 08:59:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika-Ranil agree to carry peace process forward
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 5.16 PM SLT Friday,June 22,2001. Even in the midst of political turmoil over the motion of no-confidence against the government,President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Leader of the Opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe today discussed the peace process and agreed to carry it forward jointly.

A terse statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat said:" It was agreed that the government and the UNP will engage in a constructive dialogue to carry the peace process forward." The statement further said that the "Leader of the Opposition assured the President of his support to the peace process."

The meeting had taken place in the afternoon at the instance of President Kumaratunga.According to Mr.Wickremesinghe,there was no discussion on the political situation in the context of the no-trust motion.All that the President wanted to know was whether or not the no-trust motion would affect the peace process.

The UNP has said time and again that it is committed to the Norway backed peace process.In fact, it has been an advocate of a bi-partisan consensus on the matter and was keen on the implementation of the now moribund " Liam Fox Pact" of 1997 which enjoined the building of a bi-partisan consensus on talks with the LTTE.Only recently,during his official vist to Norway,Mr.Wickremesinghe had told the Norwegian Foreign Minister that the UNP would like a "permament,poltically broad based" team to negotiate with the LTTE and liaise with the Norwegian Facilitator.Such a team would carry on peace negotiations irrespective of governmental changes in Sri Lanka,he said.

Editor's Note Do you have an opinion on the above article?? Write to the editor by using Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Fri Jun 22 07:12:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
UNP submits no-confidence motion  - The Hindu (International)
Opposition to revive Oslo peace bid amid government ouster moves  -
Chandrika and Ranil meeting:Could they have discussed "national reconciliation" ?  - Roy Mendis in Colombo
Sri Lanka peace process continues despite political wrangling: opposition  -

Seven Killed in Sri Lanka Clash
Yahoo, Friday June 15 6:34 AM ET . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Seven combatants were killed in three incidents in Sri Lanka's northeast as sporadic confrontations continued between government troops and Tamil separatist rebels, the defense ministry said on Friday. Three soldiers and two rebels were killed Friday near Polonnaruwa, about 100 miles northeast of the capital, Colombo, the ministry said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 22 05:26:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Future of Chandrika Govt. at stake?
The Hindu (International), Friday, June 22, 2001. The exit of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) from the People's Alliance coalition has put a question mark over the future of the Chandrika Kumaratunga Government but much depends on the other political realignments expected to take place in the coming days. Seven MPs of the SLMC quit the Government on Wednesday, but four other MPs stayed on. Even so, the PA was reduced to a minority of 109 in Parliament, four short of the required number for a majority in the 225-member House More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 18:34:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Testing time for Kumaratunga  - Times of India
Chandrika ministry on brink  - gulf-news

Sri Lanka balance favors Tamil rebels
CNN, June 21. Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's new political kingmaker is dangling his party's make-or-break votes to pressure President Chandrika Kumaratunga to resume peace talks with Tamil separatists. Rauf Hakeem, whose Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had just withdrawn support for Kumaratunga's ruling People's Alliance, said on Thursday he was still deciding whether to support a no-confidence vote against the president in July. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 15:32:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

'SLMC behaved unethically'
The Hindu (International), Friday, June 22, 2001. The Sri Lankan Government today said ``unethical and unacceptable behaviour'' by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) was one of the main reasons for its leader being sacked from his Cabinet post. The abrupt removal of Mr. Rauff Hakeem from the Cabinet has led to a crisis for the Government with seven SLMC MPs walking out of the People's Alliance in protest, reducing the ruling coalition to a minority in Parliament. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 18:33:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition seeks interim government amid political turmoil, Jun 21 2001 20:49 IST. Sri Lanka's main opposition party launched talks Thursday to form an interim administration after President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government lost its majority in parliament.The right-wing United National Party (UNP) said it held talks with a former Kumaratunga ally, the Marxist JVP or People's Liberation Front, and agreed on a radical constitutional reform program "to re-establish democracy".The government said some JVP members may defect in the event of a crucial vote in the House, a claim denied by JVP legislator and spokesman Wimal Weerawansa. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 12:58:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP to pitch for government of "National Reconciliation"
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 8.00 PM SLT Thursday,June 21,2001. The United National Party (UNP),which is confident of defeating the government when a motion of no-confidence is put to vote,is hoping to form a government of "National Reconciliation" with a number of parties including a major section of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA).

The UNP does not envisage any conflict between "Prime Minister" Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Chandrika Kumaratunga."Both are good people and know each other well enough to be able to work together," said an MP in the top echelons of the UNP.

"Consensus and reconciliation are the need of the hour for Sri Lanka,given the fact that no major decisions on core issues like good governance,economic development, ethnic conflict,war and talks with the LTTE can be taken without a bi-partisan or multi-party consensus," the MP said.

UNP sources believe that President Kumaratunga would not be averse to the idea of a government of National Reconciliation.She had herself mooted the idea after winning the last Presidential elections.Lately,key ministers like Mr.S.B.Dissanayake and Prof.G.L.Peiris have urged the formation of a "National Government",though the President has denied that she is thinking of one.

UNP sources do not expect President Kumaratunga to prorogue parliament if defeated in the no-trust vote.They do not expect her to order a snap parliamentary poll after October either.The fact that no MP wants another election so soon, is expected to weigh heavily with her.It is also believed that the international community will back any move to form a broad based government of national reconciliation because it will give the country the stability needed to solve its problems.

The UNP believes that its plan to give good governance through the establishment of independent commissions to oversee the conduct of elections and the functioning of the police,the public service, and the judiciary, will help bring other parties to its fold.It is hoped that the JVP will also come into the fold, given the fact that it is all for basic structural changes to provide for good governance.
Published: Thu Jun 21 11:41:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition leader warns of a conflict between Parliament and the President
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1515 slt 21.06.01. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today warned his parliamentary group to prepare for a battle between parliament and the President as the UNP finalised the no confidence motion against the Kumaratunga government. Wickremesinghe told his members of parliament to prepare for street demonstrations after the motion is tabled in parliament warning that the President will try to stay in power at any cost. The political crisis comes amidst one of the country worst economic down turns. The crisis is expected to further damage the economy as parliament and president fight for control
Published: Thu Jun 21 05:30:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tamil journalist to go on fast against LTTE intimidation
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 5.40 PM SLT Thursday,June 21,2001. In a rare challenge to the LTTE,a young editor of a London-based Tamil monthly is to go on an indefinite fast in protest against the seizure of copies of the publication and the intimidation of its sellers in Switzerland.

Poopalasingham Seevagan,the editor of "Vaan Murasu", had lodged a formal complaint to the LTTE's representatives in London and warned that as a professional journalist, he would not hesitate to take any action to uphold his professional rights,if the LTTE did not ask its men to stop intimidating him.

"Since no reply was received from the LTTE by the deadline I had stipulated,I have decided to sit on a fast in front of the LTTE's office in London," Mr.Seevagan said.

According to Mr.Seevagan, the LTTE was disturbed by the fall in the circulation of "Eela Murasu" ever since "Vaan Murasu" with its independent and analytical news reports,appeared on the stands throughout Europe.Most Tamil publications in Europe tended to toe the LTTE line uncritically,and when the "Vaan Murasu" appeared,it was like a breath of fresh air for many Tamils in Europe.The "Vaan Murasu" has a circulation of 20,000.

Mr.Seevagan,who also works for the independent Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in London,was earlier in Colombo with " Virkesari","Dinakural" and BBC's "Tamil Osai".
Published: Thu Jun 21 07:59:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan troops kill 17 LTTE cadres
The Hindustan Times, Thursday, June 21, 2001 . SEVENTEEN LTTE rebels have been killed by Sri Lankan troops in separate encounters in the Weli Oya area in northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Thursday. Six LTTE rebels were killed in a confrontation at Ethanutuwewa in Weli Oya area while eight were killed near Tanduvan in the same sector in an army ambush on Tuesday, a military statement said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 10:50:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Eleven rebels killed in Sri Lanka clashes  - Times of India (Breaking News)

UNP to hand over no confidence motion against the government tomorrow
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1248 slt 21.06.01. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) is to hand over a motion of no confidence against the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga to the s Speaker tomorrow. The government lost its three seat majority in the 225 r member parliament when seven members of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress crossed over to the opposition yesterday. "We are meeting the JVP this afternoon. Even if they have not made a decision yet, the UNP will hand over the motion tomorrow" UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said.
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:21:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Chandrika Govt may survive no-trust motion  - The Hindustan Times

8 Indian fishermen apprehended by Lankan navy
Times of India (Breaking News), Thursday, 21 June 2001 . COLOMBO: Eight Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy for fishing in Lankan waters, taking the total number of Indian fishermen detained in the island since April to 59. The fishermen were picked up six nautical miles off Talaimannar on June 19 and handed over to the Talaimannar police for investigation, a defence ministry statement said here on Thursday. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 09:18:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Two of three judge bench refused to hear Sunday Times editors case
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1258 slt 21.06.01. Supreme Court judges A.R.B. Amerasinghe and Justice Ismail have recuse themselves from here the special leave application of Sunday Times Editor Sinha Ratnatunga's appeal to the supreme court against his conviction of Criminal defamation of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. A new three member bench will have to constituted to here the case. Ratnatunga was given a suspended sentence of seven years in prison for defaming the President By the Colombo High Court. The Appeal court upheld the decision. end
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:21:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNHCR assists Sri Lanka counter Tiger threat to census
India Abroad, 21 June. THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is helping Sri Lanka conduct its first nationwide census in 20 years as enumerators begin fanning out in the island's embattled north and east. Census chief A.G. Nanayakkara said UNHCR has provided logistical support, such as transport, in the northern Wanni district, large tracts of which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Nanayakkara Thursday said the July head-count, for which preliminary surveys are under way, has met with resistance from Tamil Tiger separatists in Wanni. "We are watching the situation and we hope to sort it out. We have completed the initial listing of all the households in Jaffna and the Wanni. What we need now is cooperation from the public." Tiger separatists and several Tamil political parties have protested against the holding of the census in the north and east saying the ongoing ethnic war had displaced thousands of civilians. "We cannot postpone the census any more. We have gone beyond the point of no return," said Nanayakkara. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:32:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka political crisis deepens amid ouster moves, Jun 21 2001 10:33 IST. Sri Lanka's ruling coalition faced further trouble Thursday as the opposition stepped up plans to oust the government after it lost its parliamentary majority. The opposition United National Party (UNP) was lobbying other opposition parties to support a vote of no confidence against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's eight-month old government.The no-trust resolution against the government was confined to a single paragraph to ensure that it was backed by all shades of opinion in the opposition parties, a UNP spokesman said. "That this House declares that it has no confidence in the government since it is demonstrably clear that it cannot solve the pressing problems of the country and its people," the resolution said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:12:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's Muslim leader Hakeem checkmates government
India Abroad, 21 June 2001. THE leader of Sri Lanka's main Muslim party, Rauf Hakeem, was readying for an intense battle for primacy until President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked him. Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), left the government and led Muslim lawmakers to the opposition benches in Parliament Wednesday hours after Kumaratunga took his trade, ports development and Muslim affairs portfolios away in a bid to checkmate him. Political sources said Kumaratunga's sudden removal of the controversial SLMC leader was intended to strip him of his power base and leave him without a prop in the raging battle for the party's leadership. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:50:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka kingmaker to push democracy, peace
MSNBC, 21 June 2001. Sri Lanka's new political kingmaker said on Thursday he had no immediate plans to topple the ruling coalition after quitting it, preferring instead to use his pivotal status to push democratic reforms and peace moves.Rauf Hakeem, whose Sri Lanka Muslim Congress holds the balance of power in parliament, told Reuters in an interview that the party had still not decided how it would vote on a planned confidence motion against the government. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:04:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Stars in wrong place for Sri Lanka census, Jun 21 2001 12:33 IST. Sri Lanka's first national census in 20 years is to be brought forward by a day because the authorities had chosen one of the most astrologically auspicious days of the year for the head count. Census chief A. G. Nanayakkara said the July 18 date set aside for the nationwide count of Sri Lankans would coincide with a large number of marriages because the day was seen as particularly lucky. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:13:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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