The Lanka Academic

JUNE 30, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 85

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
Political bombshell bursts Sri Lanka bubble
123india, July 1. Sri Lanka is in the midst of unprecedented political turmoil which is jeopardising the crucial Norwegian-backed peace process. President Chandrika Kumaratunga herself triggered the crisis when she sacked a key Muslim coalition partner, Trade Minister Rauf Hakeem.The economy is facing one of its worst crises despite optimistic forecasts by the central bank and the treasury."The treasury is broke," said a top energy official, D.G. Wijeratne, Wednesday, while announcing that his state electricity utility carried a 94 million dollar loss and was unable to raise any money for urgent investments More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 22:30:32 EDT 2001

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

ValuComOnline: Call Sri Lanka
Ask Vasu! Q&A session has now ended! Aswers (1-71) now available. We thank all our readers who particpated in the session. 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
Opposition leader calls for government's resignation
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 2.30pm SLT, June, 2001. Supporters of the main opposition United National party protest against the government of President Chandrika Kumaratuga during a street rally in Slave Island junction in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday, June.30. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the leader of the main opposition UNP called on the government to resign on Saturday as President Kumaratunga's governing alliance lost its majority in Parliament last week and was reduced to 109 seats, in the 225-member legislature. Wicramasinghe’s party, with the support of the several other opposition lawmakers presented a no-confidence motion against the government on June22. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 04:53:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's air force attacks rebel Tamil Tigers bases "in self-defense"
ABC News, 06/30/2001 3:49 pm ET . Air force jets pounded Tamil rebel bases in northern Sri Lanka Saturday, in what the military said was a pre-emptive strike to head off rebels trying to capture a key town. The MiG-27 and Kfir jets targeted rebel bases in Nagar Kovil in the Jaffna Peninsula and in Pooneryn, farther south, Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Sanath Karunaratne said. Casualty figures were not yet available, he said. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 19:24:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Air strikes on LTTE resumed  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lankan Air Force Attacks Tamils  - Nothern Light

Sri Lanka's newest tourist attraction: elephant dung
123india, july 1. A Sri Lankan company is taking recycling to a new level by using paper made from elephant dung to appeal to environmentally-conscious locals and tourists. Up-market restaurants and hotels are presenting their menus bound in exotic boards made of recycled dung, which the manufacturer guarantees is sun-dried, sanitised, disinfected and deodorised More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 22:32:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Tamil parties protest brutal arrest of Karunanidhi
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 12.10 AM SLT Sunday June 31,2001. Eleven Tamil parties of Sri Lanka plan to meet the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo on monday to hand over a letter addressed to the Indian Prime Minister Mr.Atal Behari Vajpayee strongly condemning the brutal manner in which the 77 year old former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr.M.Karunanidhi was arrested in Chennai in the wee hours of saturday.

Mr.Sri Kantha,leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), said that his party would hold a protest meeting and a procession in Vavuniya on sunday.He described the roughing up of the "tallest leader of Tamil Nadu" as "inhuman and barbaric".Mr.Sri Kantha said that the Tamils of Sri Lanka owed a debt of gratitude to Mr.Karunanidhi because he had been a consistent supporter of the Sri Lankan Tamils' cause in contrast to his rival,the current Chief Minister Ms.Jayalalitha,who had no sympathy at all.

Sri Lankan TV viewers,who sit glued to "Sun TV" run by Mr.Karunanidhi's grand nephew,were shocked to see footage of the scuffle.A frightened Mr.Karunanidhi kept yelling "They are killing me! They are killing me!" The footage was shown again and again to make the maximum impact.
Published: Sat Jun 30 14:11:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Karunanidhi In Custody  - Outlook India
Thousands arrested after detention of Indian ex-chief minister  - yahoo

Changes in the army's northern command
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1928 slt 30.06.01. The Army has appointed Major General Neil Dias, the current military secretary at Army headquarters as commander of the North and East. The Northern Commander Major General Anton Wijendra will take over as the commanding officer of the Sri Lanka Volunteer force and his current deputy in Jaffna Major General Susil Chandrapala would take over as northern commander. end
Published: Sat Jun 30 09:36:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Powerful Catholic bishop asks Sri Lanka to free detained Indian
Hoversonline, june 29. A powerful Catholic bishop on Friday urged the government to free 50 Indian fishermen being held in a northern prison for illegal fishing in Sri Lankan waters. The fishermen are being detained in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, which is the center of a 17-year-old Tamil separatist war. They were arrested over the last two months after the Sri Lankan navy stepped up patrolling in the sea to stop increasing trespassing by Indian boats. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 21:54:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

General Secretary of the PA says the government is willing to implement three commissions.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1925 slt 30.06.01. PA General Secretary and Agriculture Minister D.M. Jayaratne said today that the government was willing to set up independent commissions for elections, the judiciary and the public administrative service. He said the government was opposed to a police commission because in some countries such commissions have not worked. The Minister said the media commission is a new idea and the government would have to study it first.
Published: Sat Jun 30 09:36:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

The UNP launches campaign in support of the no confidence motion.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1922 slt 30.06.01. The UNP today launched its people's campaign in support of the no confidence motion against the government with demonstrations in three districts in the western province. Hundreds of people shouted anti government slogans and took to the streets. The protests were held in Colombo, Kalutara and Gampha districts. The UNP will launch a nation wide rallies on Tuesday beginning in Nugegoda.
Published: Sat Jun 30 09:36:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE mobilisation worries Lanka govt, Jun 30 2001 13:09 IST. A massive LTTE cadre and arms build up for a major battle against security forces to recapture Jaffna is causing great concern to the Government which, now reduced to a minority, would find it difficult to get an emergency extension motion passed in Parliament next week. Security Forces have found increasing evidence of LTTE military preparations to mark their `Black July' on July 5, the State-owned `The Daily News' reported. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 08:52:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka launches air strikes
BBC South Asia, Saturday, 30 June, 2001, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK . The Sri Lankan military has launched a fresh assault on Tamil Tiger rebel positions in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The military spokesman, Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne, said air sorties were still under way and he could not give any details except to say they were striking pre-determined targets in Pooneryn and Nagarkovil. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 08:56:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Says It Bombs Rebels to Thwart Attack  - ABC News

Lanka launches air attacks against LTTE bases
Times of India (Breaking News), june 30. Sri Lankan air force jets began pounding Tamil rebel bases in a major air raid in the battle-scarred north Saturday, a military spokesman said."Our pilots are taking several terrorist bases," defence ministry spokesman Brig. Sanath Karunaratne said minutes after the attack started. More...
Published: Sat Jun 30 08:53:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka bombards LTTE bases to pre-empt attack on Jaffna  - Press Trust of India

UNP to help govt retain Emergency
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 12.03 AM SLT Saturday June 30, 2001. The United National Party (UNP),which is straining every nerve to topple the Peoples' Alliance (PA) government through a motion of no-confidence in parliament, will nevertheless help the government extend the State of Emergency, according to a senior party leader and MP.He said that the UNP would abstain from voting on the motion to extend the State of Emergency when it takes place on July 6.

Though the UNP has taken the help of the Tamil parties singing the LTTE tune to topple the government,it does not want to be party to lifting of the Emergency.This is because lifting of the Emergency would automatically lead to the lifting of the ban on the LTTE.The LTTE was banned under the Emergency Regulations.At no time has the UNP entertained thoughts of getting the ban lifted.In fact, when President Chandrika Kumaratunga accused the UNP leader Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe of asking for the de-proscription of the LTTE during their one to one meeting last week,Mr.Wickremesinghe described the charge as a canard.

Although the UNP has unabashedly taken the help of the pro-LTTE Tamil parties like TELO and ACTC,it does not want to go the whole hog and support all their demands.The UNP,being a mainstream Sinhala dominated party like the SLFP,cannot afford to ignore the dominant sentiments in the majority Sinhala Buddhist community.People with political sense would say that the issue of lifting the ban on the LTTE is a very sensitive one,especially because the ban was imposed because the LTTE brazenly and pre-meditatedly hurt the sentiments of the Sinhala Buddhists by bombing the holiest of the holy Buddhist shrine, the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy in 1998.

If because of its stance in parliament, the Emergency could not be retained, and if as a result, the ban on the LTTE had to be lifted,the UNP will have to pay a heavy political price.The immediate consequence would of course be the floundering of its move to topple the government through a no-trust motion.

At any rate, any move to prevent the continuation of the Emergency is not going to have the support of the UNP's new bedfellow, the Rauf Hakeem faction of the SLMC."In the national interest the SLMC will support the continuation of the Emergency," said Mr.Noordeen Mashoor,an SLMC MP who had defected to the opposition with Mr.Hakeem.

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: Fri Jun 29 14:09:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika expected to return by Sunday
Times of India, 30 June 2001 . Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to return to the island by Sunday and one of her first tasks as she arrives will be to meet parliamentarians of her weakened party to discuss their chances when the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion comes in for vote.Kumaratunga will use the upcoming meeting to test the pulse of her MPs and her main aim will be to coax all of them to stick with the government. Trying to keep all her MPs happy may result in doling out more ministerial posts which is likely to see her 44-member cabinet grow bigger. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 23:21:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika turns 56 in London
chennaionline, june 29. Far away from the din of a political crisis back home, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga today celebrated her 56th birthday in London in the company of her daughter and son.Chandrika, who left the country suddenly two days ago after naming Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as acting President, is expected to return in a day or two, official sources here said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 22:37:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

PA,UNP leaders discuss formation of united Sinhala party
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 11.33 PM SLT Friday June 29,2001. Even as the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) is under seige with the opposition United National Party (UNP) pressing a motion of no-confidence against it,some top leaders of the two outfits are busy discussing the prospect of forming a united Sinhala party to be named the United Sri Lanka Party (USLP).

A top leader of the PA revealed that those from the PA who were participating in the informal discussions were drawn mainly from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP),the principal constituent of the PA." Powerful sections of the SLFP and the UNP are of the view that it is time the Sinhalese banded together to shake off the dependence on the parties of the minorities.Many Sinhalese outside these two parties share this view as they believe that unless the Sinhalese consolidate themselves politically, it will be difficult to maintain their primacy,identity and culture.Buddhist monks and university dons are lending respectability to the move," the PA leader said.

However,leaders at the apex of the SLFP and the UNP are not part of this move.President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who heads the SLFP,will not endorse the move,though she had told a gathering in Nittambuwa recently that she would not let down the majority community and would protect its interests against the extremist sections of the minorities.The UNP's chief,Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe,had categorically stated that he would not support a "Sinhala hegemonistic National Government." The PA leader who spoke to this correspondent also said that a Sinhalese consolidation would only sharpen the alienation of the minorities and "would not be good for the country."

There is little chance of such a consolidation taking place in the immediate future because the PA (read SLFP) and the UNP are currently at daggers drawn over the no-trust motion.The UNP's top brass are fully preoccupied with toppling the government with the help of the Tamil parties and the extremist section of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC).The UNP's leadership believes that the foremost task now is to capture power and bring about some democratic reforms which would help it come to power in the next elections.The ruling PA,on its part,is busy painting the UNP as being pro-LTTE,unabashedly promoting communal extremists like Rauf Hakeem of the SLMC.

But political analysts say that with the splintering of votes due to the declining popularity of both the PA (SLFP) and the UNP,smaller parties and the parties of the minorities are likely to appear more and more in the foreground.This would,in turn, strengthen the argument for Sinhala consolidation.Furthermore,the Sinhala oriented and radical leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is gaining ground.According to a Colombo university survey, the JVP's support base has expanded from 12% to 17% between the last parliamentary elections and April this year,while there has been a marginal decline in the support bases of the PA and the UNP.

With the JVP beginning to pose a challenge from an ultra-nationalist (that is,Sinhala) stand point,the mainstream moderate parties might, in course of time,feel constrained to sing a Sinhala radical tune themselves.

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: Fri Jun 29 13:33:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE ban will be lifted automatically?
Saroj Pathirana in London, Friday 29/06/01 1645 GMT. Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will vote against the emergency regulations further fuelling the current political turmoil, a senior UNP leader hinted. As the party has earlier also voted against the emergency regulations, it will not be a new move to topple the government, party's assistant leader Gamini Athukorale told BBC's Sandeshaya. Mr. Athukorale was commenting on the Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon's claim that in case the emergency extension bill is not passed, it will automatically lift the ban on the Tamil Tigers. He accused the government of playing the "pro-LTTE" card against his party to mislead the mass in the South.

The UNP and the PA were having secret talks to form a national government, Sri Lanka's new king maker Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna's propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawansa was quoted in the Daily Mirror. "We categorically declined to join with PA to form a government of national unity, further enlarging the 44-member cabinet" he said.

Editor's Note

The last sentence of the above story should read as "We categorically declined to join with PA to form a government of national unity, further enlarging the 44-member cabinet" the Assistant leader of the UNP Mr.Athukorla said.

We regret the error and apologize to Mr.Weerawansa for the incorrect attribution.
Published: Fri Jun 29 12:49:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Tamil rape protest
BBC South Asia, Friday, 29 June, 2001, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK . Tamil opposition parties in Sri Lanka have called for a day of protest next Friday agaist what they say are the increasing number of gang rapes of minority Tamil women by the security forces. The Tamil and Muslim parties say nine-tenths of rape cases go unreported for fear of reprisals and social stigma. The parties want the government to change the law to deny bail to alleged rapists and introduce the death penalty for gang rape. 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: Fri Jun 29 13:20:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Five rebels, one civilian killed in Sri Lanka
Times of India, june 30. Government troops shot to death five Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka's northeast in sporadic confrontations and rebels killed one civilian, said a government spokesman on Friday. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 23:22:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Government minister warns of unrest if the opposition topples the government
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1755 slt 29.06.01. The Minister Samurdhi and Parliamentary Affairs and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party S.B.Dissanaake has warned that the people would take to the streets if the opposition topples the government. In an interview with the state media, the minister said if the opposition defeats the extension of emergency regulations, it would create a major crisis in the country with the armed forces not been able to continue the war. He said the government was confident of retaining power since the executive president would continue to be President Kumaratunga.

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: Fri Jun 29 08:33:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka warns civil unrest over opposition moves  -

Opposition finalise draft on media commission
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1800 slt 29.06.01. The Opposition parties are in the process of finalising the independent media commission to run the state controlled media. A draft bill is been circulated among civil society groups for comment. The draft bill is expected to be tabled in parliament along with the four other independent commissions for the Police, Judiciary, Administrative service and the Elections Commission. The JVP proposed the establishment of an independent media commission to run e state media as part of the democratic reforms programme of the opposition.
Published: Fri Jun 29 08:33:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Pro-Govt Grp Protests Against Pvt TV Network
yahoo, june 29. A pro-government group demonstrated against Sri Lanka's largest private media company Friday, accusing it of funding an opposition campaign to defeat the ruling coalition in an upcoming confidence vote in Parliament. More than 100 people shouted slogans and waved banners against the Maharaja Organization, which owns several television and radio stations, accusing it of bribing ruling party lawmakers to vote against the government in the mid-July vote More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 22:42:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Pro government group demonstrate outside private TV and radio station  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo

Award winning writer dies
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1812 slt 29.06.01. Award winning writer Kulasiri Fonseka passed away today. Mr.Fonseka penned 13 novels and one short story. He was also a prolific translate of books and articles from English to sinhala.
Published: Fri Jun 29 08:33:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Electricity cuts to be introduced from monday.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo. The Government is to introduce electricity cuts from Monday. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said one and a half hour power cuts will be introduced through out the country from Monday. The Board said essential services such as hospitals and water supply centers would be exempted from the power cuts. The CEB said the power cuts have to be introduced due to lack of adequate power generation capacity in the hydro power centers due to low rain fall.
Published: Fri Jun 29 08:33:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka's SLMC suspends dissidents
TOI, 29 June 2001. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has suspended dissident leader Ferial Ashraff and three MPs supporting her decision to remain loyal to the ruling People's Alliance, even after the party withdrew support to the government. The decision was taken at a meeting of the party's high command on Wednesday, an SLMC spokesman said. SLMC's working committee had earlier recommended disciplinary action against the four dissidents, but party leader Rauff Hakeem delayed the action for three days in a conciliation attempt. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 08:30:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

No-trust motion to be taken up in Sri Lanka
The Hindustan Times, June 29. N OPPOSITION sponsored no-trust motion against the Peoples Alliance government in Sri Lanka will be taken up for debate on July 16 and voting may take place on July 19, acting President and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has announced. "The no-confidence motion will definitely be debated in Parliament from July 16 to 19," Wickremanayake said at a Buddhist function near Colombo on Thursday. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 08:31:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Opposition to present Bill in Parliament to set up five independent commissions  - Island

S.Lanka Sets Date for Debate on No-confidence Motion Against Govt
Nothern Light, Friday, June 28, 2001 11:32 PM EST . The debate on the no-confidence motion tabled by main opposition United National Party (UNP) against the Sri Lankan government will take place between July 16 and 19, the state-run Daily News said on Friday. The paper said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake disclosed this when commenting on the burning political issue in the war-torn country on Thursday. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 03:08:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

CEB monopoly to be broken
CDN, 29 June. The Government will implement a major reforms programme in the power sector within the next three years where the monopoly of the Ceylon Electricity Board will be broken, CEB General Manager D.C. Wijeratne told the 'Daily News' on Wednesday. By this method, there will be new legislation presented in Parliament where through a new Electricity Act where there will be three companies for power generation, four companies for distribution and another for transmission, he said. The new companies will be wholly owned by the Government and there is a possibility of them being divested to the private sector at a future date, he said. This process will enable the country to meet the future power demands which is gradually growing at an annual rate of eight, he said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 05:55:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Peacock feathers netted before Sri Lanka take off, Jun 29 2001 11:51 IST. COLOMBO, June 29 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's customs officials have seized some 1,840 peacock feathers that were due to be smuggled out of the island disguised as snake-gourd, a press report here said Friday. The colourful feathers were detected at the airport just before they were to be flown to London on Thursday, the Sinhalese-language Lankadeepa newspaper reported. More...
Published: Fri Jun 29 04:08:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kumaratunga will return soon to tackle crisis
Deccan Herald, 29 June. President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who left for London on Wednesday, will be back soon, the state media reported today, ending speculation about the duration of her stay abroad in the present context of political uncertainty. The President, who will be turning 56 tomorrow, has gone to London to attend the graduation ceremony of her daughter Yashodara, who is studying there. Ms Kumaratunga will be spending her birthday with her two children and will be back soon, probably next week, the reports said.

Published: Fri Jun 29 03:46:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

© Copyright 2000, 2001 Lanka Academic Network.