The Lanka Academic

 
JUNE 25, 2001 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 2, NO. 80

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
Low intensity PA-UNP talks on National Government
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 1.33 AM SLT,Tuesday,June 26, 2001. Even though the opposition United National Party (UNP) is trying to topple the Peoples' Alliance (PA) government through a no-confidence motion, the two parties are pursuing the idea of forming a National Government.Hush hush,low intensity discussions are on across the political divide, reliable sources say.

Indeed, both President Chandrika Kumaratunga and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have denied that they are considering the option of forming a National Government.But undeniably,there is an active lobby for the concept in both the PA and UNP.Senior PA functionaries like Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and ministers S.B.Dissanayake and Prof.G.L.Peries,have been urging the formation of such a government.In fact, the UNP has formed a group to liaise with the PA on this issue.Last week's Chandrika - Ranil talks were ostensibly confined to the Norwegian backed peace process, but given the fact that Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake had played a role in getting the two leaders to meet,the agenda might have included the domestic political situation and the formation of a National Government.

The UNP is very keen on capturing power before the next elections, which might be held immediately after the constitutional bar on parliamentary elections ends in October.The UNP wants to go into the next elections with the independent commissions to oversee the work of the public service,the police,the judiciary and the election commission in place.The UNP believes that if these arms of the state are freed from the shackes of the party in power,it will begin winning elections.But these reforms can be made only with the wide parliamentary support.One way of garnering such support is to form a National Government of atleast the two main parties.

Then there is a bi-partisan interest in maintaining the political supremacy of the majority Sinhala-Budddhist community.The PA is tired of pandering to the minority parties.It is the much pampered Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which has brought the PA government to the brink of a fall.And the UNP knows that when it comes to power,the SLMC defectors will extract their pound of flesh from it.The Tamil parties now in the UNP line up will influence government policy.

From the PA's point of view, the formation of a National Government with the UNP will enable it to disentangle itself from the control of the minorities.Only last week,President Kumaratunga lambasted the SLMC and declared that she would never let the majority community down. In the long run such distancing from the minorities will help the PA consolidate or even widen its base in the majority Sinhala Buddhist community.A recent survey by Colombo university showed that the PA (or rather its main constituent the Sri Lanka Freedom Party) was seen basically as a party of the Sinhala Buddhists.The UNP attracts more minorities, but this party too cannot be seen to be a handmaiden of the minorities.Like the PA,the UNP will also have to get the bulk of its votes from the Sinhala Buddhist community.

The rise in the importance of the left radical Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is worrying both the PA and the UNP.The JVP,with its 10 MPs, decides the fate of the PA government today.It will decide the fate of the coming UNP government too.But neither the pseudo leftist PA nor the right wing UNP wants to be at the mercy of the radical leftist JVP.The formation of a "national" or bi-partisan government is seen as a way out of the tangle.
Published: Mon Jun 25 15:32:42 EDT 2001

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PA, UNP in secret talks on Lanka national govt  - The Hindustan Times


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The facilitator fracas
Frontline, Tue Jun 26 08:05:00 SLT 2001. THE protracted conflict in Sri Lanka underwent another sharp and dramatic twist in the second week of June when a controversy arose over the facilitatory role played by Norway in trying to bring about negotiations for a peaceful settlement between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Erik Solheim, the mutually accepted Norwegian special envoy in charge of brokering peace efforts between both parties on behalf of Oslo, was himself the centre of the fresh crisis that threatened to stall the fragile peace process which had not in any case progressed much in the past few months. Even as the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE adopted antagonistic stances over the status of Norway's facilitatory role in general and Erik Solheim's position in particular, the reconciliatory effort of the intermediary was seemingly destined for a breakdown. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 22:08:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

A tightrope walk for Tamil scribes
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, June 26, 2001. Accused, on the one hand, of being agents of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and, on the other, of being puppets of the Government, Sri Lanka's Tamil journalists, whether living here or abroad, have to constantly walk a tightrope between the two sides to the island's conflict. But increasingly, many are refusing to be cowed down. A London-based Tamil journalist, Mr. P. Seevagan, was to begin a hunger-strike today to protest against what he described as the LTTE's ``rowdyism'' against his publication in Switzerland. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 17:29:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Government to lift economic embargo and initiate military truce
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Monday June 25. In a bid to boost the stalled peace process President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and her government will offer to lift the economic embargo on northern and eastern territories controlled by the LTTE, as well as initiate a military truce.

The President has decided to give into at least one of the Tiger demands which is the lifting of the economic embargo prior to talks, while she will soft peddle the other demand to lift the ban on the rebels. Kumaratunge has decided instead removing the proscription, to initiate a cease-fire before talks begin.

Earlier, the government refused to observe a unilateral truce by the LTTE which began on Christmas Eve last year and lasted four months. The President has also maintained previously that a de-escalation of the military offensive can happen only after negotiations have progressed successfully with the rebels.

The United National Party meanwhile have not yet responded to the President's request last Friday to Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe to support a public statement by the government calling the LTTE for negotiations.

The President at her meeting with Wickremasinghe last week had made a veiled reference to the 'Liam Fox Agreement' which when brokered between the parties agreed in principle that the UNP would at all times lend support to any peace initiatives begun by the Peoples Alliance which aim to resolve the 18 year old war.
Published: Mon Jun 25 05:11:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Three police reservists arrested for raping Tamil woman
The Island, june 26. Three reserve police constables were arrested yesterday on allegations of raping a Tamil woman, Maradana police said.Police said that the victim was a married woman from Badulla who had come to Colombo for employment. She has been admitted to hospital for a medical examination More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 22:39:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka's Marxists oppose lifting of LTTE ban
Deccan Herald, June 25. The powerful Lankan Marxist group JVP today opposed in Parliament lifting the ban on the Tamil Tigers, a key LTTE demand for resuming peace talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government. The tough stand taken by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, or People's Liberation Front, will make it difficult for Kumaratunga to make any concessions to the rebels to get peace talks restarted after a gap of more than five years. Kumaratunga needs the support of the JVP, which controls 10 of the 225 seats in Parliament, to win a vote of confidence. "We are totally against lifting of the ban on the terrorist group," said Wimal Weerawansa, the group's leader in Parliament. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 16:58:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

6 soldiers killed 22 injured in claymore mine blast
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.15 p.m. SLT Monday June 25. Six soldiers were killed and 22 injured when a bus carrying security personnel went over a claymore mine in the Jaffna peninsula today.

The incident took place at around 1 p.m. (SLT) in Maduvil North. Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne, military spokesman said that the soldiers were those who had been granted holiday leave and were scheduled to catch a plane which would have brought them to the South.
Published: Mon Jun 25 05:11:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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Tamil separatists kill four Sri Lankan soldiers in blast  - 123India.com

15 dead in Sri Lanka fighting, Tigers blow up army bus
123India.com, Jun 25 2001 17:17 IST. COLOMBO, June 25 (AFP) - Tamil Tiger separatists ambushed an army bus in northern Sri Lanka, killing six soldiers, as nine others were killed in fighting elsewhere on the war-torn island, defence officials said Monday. Guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ambushed the bus Monday by exploding a claymore mine at Maduvil in the Jaffna peninsula, defence ministry spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 08:20:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Tamil rebels blow up Sri Lankan army bus, 4 dead  - MSNBC

UN Human Rights commissioner to launch anti- torture campaign tomorrow
Bandula Jayasekara in New York, NY Time 7.00 a.m Monday 25 June. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson will launch the Global appeal to urge all world governments to ratify the UN convention against torture at a special ceremony to be held in New York tomorrow, 26 June. Robinson will appeal to the world governments to ratify the UN convention and thereby commit to end the problem of torture. The campaign is organized by the International Rehabilitation Council for torture victims and launched under the banner ‘Together against Torture’. The event is organized to coincide with the UN International day in support of torture victims.

On June 26, the foreign ministers of all 69 UN member states that have not yet ratified the UN convention will be urged to ratify the treaty as a part of the global ratification campaign. The global ratification campaign is conducted by the Denmark based International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) on behalf of the Coalition of International NGOS against torture. The main event in New York spearheads a global campaign in which more than 250 commemorative events in support of torture victims will be held in 95 countries worldwide. A release from IRCT stresses the need for as many people as possible to take up the fight against torture on every level. Torture today is widespread in the world today and those who stand firm for human dignity increasingly put themselves at risk of torture. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the UN convention against torture and signed the treaty on 3 June 1994
Published: Mon Jun 25 07:04:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top


Shortwave listeners mourn loss of BBC radio
TOI, june 25. Long before CNN and the Internet were born, the British Broadcasting Corp's World Service radio was a global information force, beaming trusted dispatches past the censors of oppressive regimes, providing in-depth stories to those who craved word of events beyond their own borders. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 14:51:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka: a question of confidence
AsiaTimes , june 25. Sri Lanka is in its worst-ever political crisis in seven years, as opposition parties close ranks to try to oust President Chandrika Kumaratunga's administration after a key government ally quit last week. Both Kumaratunga and the main opposition leader expressed confidence that neither would succeed as parliament prepared for a no-confidence motion against the government. This motion, which is expected to be debated in early July, will decide the fate of the ruling People's Alliance's (PA), which has been in power since 1994 More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 14:12:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

S.Lankan Prime Minister Confident Government Can Weather No-confidence Motion
Nothern Light, Monday, June 24, 2001 11:22 PM EST . Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake expressed his confidence on Sunday that the government can weather a no-confidence motion against the government, the state-run Daily News said on Monday. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 04:05:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India to help Sri lanka in computerisation of courts
Yahoo India, 26 June 2001. India today assured all help to Sri Lanka in computerisation of its courts for the benefit of litigants. The assurance to this effect was given by Law Minister Arun Jaitley to his Sri Lankan counterpart Batty Weerakoon in a meeting here, where they discussed various issues including measures for better coordination between the judiciary of the two nations. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 20:18:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian Government: Srilankan Justice Minister calls on Indian Law Minister
Nothern Light, Monday, June 25, 2001 9:51 AM EST . Jun 25, 2001 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Srilankan Minister of Justice, HE Batty Weerakoon called on the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping, Shri Arun Jaitley here today and discussed with him measures for a better coordination between the Judiciary of the two nations. Both the Ministers gave an overview of their respective judicial system and the steps being taken for expeditious disposal of cases in each other`s countries. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 11:31:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka congratulates Pakistan's new president
123India.com, Jun 25 2001 19:13 IST. COLOMBO, June 25 (AFP) - Sri Lanka has congratulated Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf after he declared himself president, the foreign ministry said. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, in a message to Musharraf, expressed the hope of strengthening ties between the two South Asian nations, the ministry said. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 11:30:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP holds key for Chandrika Govt.
The Hindu (International), Monday, June 25, 2001. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a radical political group that led two armed insurgencies against the Sri Lankan state but transformed itself into a parliamentary party, now holds the key for the shaky Chandrika Kumaratunga Government. The JVP's 10 MPs could make or break the People's Alliance (PA) Government, which has been reduced to a minority in Parliament after a walkout by seven MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) last week. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 18:51:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka Marxists weigh no-confidence vote  - MSNBC

JVP looks at long term prospects
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 2.35 PM SLT,Sunday June 24, 2001. By deciding to let its parliamentary group decide on what should be done as regards the no-confidence motion,the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) seems to be looking at its long term prospects in the context of the developing political situation in Sri Lanka.

The move gives it time,because the no-trust motion is expected to come up for debate and voting only in mid-July.By then,hopefully,the political air will clear,the parliamentary alignment patterns may be more distinct,and the JVP will be in a better position to take a rational view.

The JVP's role is critical because of the current parliamentary arithmatic,which enables it to make or un-make a government.The fate of the no-trust vote will depend on whether or not the JVP abstains,whether or not it votes for or against the motion.The Peoples' Alliance (PA) will win if the JVP votes against the motion or abstains from voting.The PA will lose if the JVP votes for the motion.

But no matter which political combination wins,the political situation will continue to be unstable.The winner's majority will continue to be wafer thin.The government will perforce have to put off all major political and economic decisions.There will be confusion."The country will be gridlocked," as anaylst Dayan Jayatilleka put it.

Such a situation will be ideal for the growth of the JVP which thrives on mass alienation from the mainstream political parties and the existing political system.In fact, the JVP is growing.According to a recent survey by the University of Colombo, the JVP's support base had gone up from 12% to 17% between the last parliamentary elections and April this year, while the bases of the PA and UNP had marginally declined.

Allowing the PA to continue to be in power by abstaining from voting,may not be bad for the JVP.The PA government's poor performance,its acquiescence to the IMF's harsh conditionalities and its threat to privatise education are bound to alienate the people from it by the time the next elections come.Allowing the UNP to come to power may have some benefits but there are costs too.The UNP's pro-West,pro-private sector,pro-minorities policies are expected to contribute to its alienation from the masses.But its emphasis on economic revival and job generation might appeal to the youth hungry for jobs.This may weaken the JVP's vote bank of unemployed educated youth, says Jayatilleka.

While journalist-activist Victor Ivan believes that the JVP will vote against the government,Jayatilleka feels that it will play safe by abstaining.Abstaining would enable it to reap the benefits of political confusion without getting identified with any maintream political grouping, Jayatilleka reasoned.

Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Sun Jun 24 04:35:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka's Leftist Party Makes No Decision on No-confidnece Vote  - Nothern Light

JVP dithering deepens crisis in Sri Lanka
Times of India, june 25. Sri Lanka's Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has put off their decision on whether they would support an opposition sponsored no-confidence motion against the government, dragging the country's political uncertainty further.Both the opposition and the government were eagerly waiting to hear the outcome of the JVP meeting as the future of the no-confidence motion lies with the party. If the JVP votes with the opposition, it will undoubtedly ensure the fall of the government More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 14:52:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists call the shots as Sri Lanka coalition battles for survival
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, June 24 8:51 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's beleaguered government plunged into deeper crisis Sunday as a leftist king-maker party demanded sweeping democratic reforms in exchange for crucial support. The Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, which could play a decisive role in a vote of no-confidence against the government, said it had no doubt that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's regime should be toppled. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:48:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka's leftist party defers decision on no-faith vote  - India Abroad

Parties back Chandrika on Tamil peace
The Hindustan Times, june 25. SRI LANKAN President Chandrika Kumaratunga got assurances of bipartisan support to revive talks with Tamil separatists on Sunday as she held talks with an opposition trying to topple her government. Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), said his meeting with the president focu-ssed solely on stalled Norwegian efforts to relaunch talks and end three decades of ethnic violence. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 22:07:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lankan parties united on Tamil peace despite political crisis  - 123India.com

LTTE ban should not be lifted - JVP
CDN, 25 June 2001. JVP Parliamentarian and Party Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday, it was the JVP's firm stance that the LTTE ban should not be lifted under any circumstances until the Tigers publicly renounce their demand for Tamil Eelam, and that the JVP was also opposed to the SLMC's demand for separate administrative regions for Tamil speaking people. Weerawansa said that they were giving serious consideration to the views and ideas of all political parties who have signed the no confidence motion against the Government, the SLBC said in its news bulletin last evening. Weerawansa said the JVP was very concerned over the request made by TELO to lift the ban on the LTTE. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 00:17:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka offers truce to revive Norway peace bid
123India.com, Jun 24 2001 16:51 IST. Sri Lanka is set to offer a truce and to lift economic sanctions against Tamil rebels in a fresh bid to break an impasse in the Norwegian-sponsored peace process, political sources said Sunday.President Chandrika Kumaratunga sounded out opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at an hour long closed-door meeting Sunday on the possibility of lifting a ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the sources said. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:50:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

More arrests likely in Fr. Aba murder
Island, 25 June 2001. The outcome of the fresh investigation into the killing of Fr. Aba Costa, parish priest of Thillanduwa mission, Negombo will be revealed very soon, Inspector General of Police, Lucky Kodituwakku said yesterday. More...
Published: Mon Jun 25 00:21:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists keep Sri Lanka guessing on no-faith vote
MSNBC, Jun 24 2001 09:39 IST. Sri Lanka's Marxist former rebels have still to decide how to cast their decisive votes in an opposition bid to topple President Chandrika Kumaratunga's minority government, party officials said on Sunday. ''The decision on how to vote on the no-confidence motion will be made at the last minute by the parliamentary group, taking into consideration all relevant factors,'' said a senior JVP official who did not want to de identified.Like the JVP, Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem who crossed the floor with six other lawmakers after he was sacked as trade minister by Kumaratunga, has remained coy about his stance. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:13:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

S.Lankan Coalition Government's Destiny Hangs in Balance
Nothern Light, Sunday, June 24, 2001 9:53 AM EST . Destiny of Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance (PA) government now hangs in balance as the country's leftist JVP or People's Liberation Front has decided to let the lawmakers in the Parliament to decide on how they will vote for the no-confidence motion against the shaky government. "The central committee empowered our 10 MPs to decide on how they will vote," said Wimal Weerawansa, parliamentary group leader of JVP, after the party held a 10-hour meeting that ended on Sunday morning. The war-torn country experienced a political turmoil last week when Rauf Hakeem, leader of the main Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), decided to quit the government on Wednesday hours after he was sacked by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:53:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Former Tamil rebel backs Chandrika government
Times of India (Breaking News), 24 June 2001 . A former Tamil rebel leader turned politician said Sunday he and his parliamentary deputies will continue to back President Chandrika Kumaratunga, as the legislature gets set to debate a no-confidence motion brought by opposition lawmakers."I told them point blank that we are with Kumaratunga and that we will vote against any motion that aims to destabilize the government," he said. He declined to identify the politicians by name. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:56:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC dissidents given 72 hr ultimatum or face expulsion
NDTV/MSNBC, 25 June 2001. Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, which pulled out of the ruling Peoples' Alliance, has served an ultimatum to its dissident leaders to either support the party's decision or face expulsion.The face off came as Ferial Ashraff, widow of SLMC founder M H M Ashraff, and three other party legislators continue to support the government even after SLMC snapped ties with the ruling coalition following its leader Rauff Hakeem's dismissal by President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 23:55:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists put off decision on Sri Lanka no-confidence vote
123India.com, Jun 24 2001 08:55 IST. Sri Lanka's main Marxist party Sunday put off a final decision on how it will vote on a motion to oust the shaky minority government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said its central committee wanted the party's 10 legislators to consider the best course of action in the no-confidence motion against the government next month. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 00:43:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Somawansa in touch as JVP ponders crucial decision
The Island, june 24. The JVP’s 33-member Central Committee was in conclave at a secret venue in Colombo yesterday to decide its position on the opposition’s no-confidence motion with discussions expected to continue "till even midnight," party spokesman Wimal Weerawanse said.Party sources said that party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe who is presently in London was in contact with the JVP hierarchy by phone and fax and will be making his own input into yesterday’s discussion that can determine the fate of the no-confidence motion bearing 97 signatures that was handed in to the Secretary General of Parliament on Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 01:38:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Interpol alerted for Weerawansa
CDN, june 24. Police have sought the help of Interpol as the dragnet was extended worldwide for senior Customs Officer Anura Weerawansa, the main suspect in the assassination of Customs Officer Sujith Perera. Police investigators now believe that earlier speculation that Weerawansa had slipped by boat across the Palk Straits may not be accurate. Inquiries regarding a possible clandestine sea crossing aboard a multi-day fishing boat had not yielded positive results, the detective in charge of investigations, senior SP D.W. Pratapasinghe, told the 'Sunday Observer'. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 01:41:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Shrs End Up After No-Confidence Motion
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka shares ended in positive territory Friday after the main opposition presented a no-confidence motion against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government. The All Share Index closed up 1.94 points at 430.86, after peaking above 432. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:03:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ceylon Petroleum awaits clearance for Petronas JV
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka's state Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) is seeking government approval for a tie-up with Petronas Gas of Malaysia to distribute liquified petroleum gas, a company official said on Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:06:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka/Reserves -3: Target Official Reserves Of $1.5B
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka's total reserves, or official assets plus funds held by commercial banks, totaled $2.190 billion at the end of April, slightly up from $2.126 billion in December 2000, the central bank said Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:05:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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