The Lanka Academic

JULY 14, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 99

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
Chandrika’s referendum plan runs into trouble
indiainfo, July 15. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s plan for a referendum on August 21 to seek people's mandate for a new Constitution, may run into trouble after papers were filed in a court seeking to prohibit the Commissioner of Election (CE) from conducting the process.Sighting the CE and the Attorney General as respondents, the petition filed by Attorney Dharmadasa Gomez said that the President could not hold the referendum under the prevailing Constitution.The 1978 Constitution requires the President to place a Constitution Amendment Bill before Parliament and obtain two-third majority before calling for a referendum. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 17:44:57 EDT 2001

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O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
The Lanka Academic, July 15. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga seems to be favoring a Jovian modus operandi these days, delivering political thunderbolts on an alarming regularity. Whether they will reach their intended target or whether they will boomerang on the sender will only become evident with time. What cannot be in doubt is that with her conduct (her allies would call it inspired; the rest would call it, at best, irresponsible) she is wreaking havoc on the country, the economy and the lives of the people. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 23:06:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika move 'abuse of power'
Gulf News, july 15. Sri Lanka's opposition appealed to the speaker of parliament yesterday to ignore a presidential order suspending the body, saying the move was an abuse of power. Representatives of opposition parties, trade unions and other organisations last evening decided to hold the protest on July 19. Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe explained to a gathering of about 300 members who represented unions and other organisations including the main union for doctors that the protest campaign was to demonstrate to the government that they were unhappy about the action taken.They have decided to appeal to the parents to keep their children away from schools, call government and private sector officers to stop work midway and join the protest in the capital. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 17:49:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Parliamentary speaker reported to have postponed announcing decision on summoning parliament
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1820 slt 14.07.01. Parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike is reported have delayed announcing a decision on the request by leaders of opposition political parties to summon parliament as scheduled on July 16th, ignoring the prorogation for two months by President Kumaratunga. The request was made by party leaders yesterday where UNP's Constitutional Affairs expert K.N. Choksy gave a lengthy opinion on how such a summoning of parliament would not be illegal. end

Published: Sat Jul 14 08:43:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP angered by secret meeting between opposition leader and the President
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1816 slt 14.07.01. Members of the UNP's parliamentary group have questioned party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as to what transpired at a secret meeting he held with President Kumaratunga on 4th of July, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation announced today. It said the UNP leader faced criticism from some M.P.s for having the meeting. SLBC said that at the secret meeting the UNP leader told the President that he would join the government with 41 other UNP members of parliament if he is made the Prime Minister.
Published: Sat Jul 14 08:43:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Old wine in new bottle in Lanka?
chennaionline, July 14. Sri Lanka's political history is in turmoil again, and for the third time in three decades, its leadership thinks a new Constitution would help overcome a national crisis. President Chandrika Kumaratunga is invoking the very provisions of the existing 1978 Constitution that she abhors to pave the way for what she believes would be a new deal for her people. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:19:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition to hold first demonstration in Colombo this week
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1145 slt 14.07.01. Opposition parties led by the UNP is to hold a demonstration in Colombo on July 19th demanding the resummoning of parliament. Assistant leader of the UNP Gamini Athukorala appealing to all those who oppose the prorogations of parliament to join the protest, said that he was expecting large crowds to take part in the protest. end
Published: Sat Jul 14 02:07:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE kills 3 soldiers: Lankan army
The Hindustan Times, july 14. THREE SOLDIERS and an LTTE militant have been killed in eastern Sri Lanka, as the rebels stepped up attacks on security forces in the three districts, the defence ministry said on Saturday. The rebels activated a claymore mine on a security forces patrol engaged in clearing a road at Sittandy near Valachchenai in Batticaloa district, killing two soldiers and wounding two others, a military situation report said. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:11:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Court challenge to Sri Lanka referendum, Jul 14 2001 12:58 IST. COLOMBO, July 14 (AFP) - Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's plan to call a nation-wide referendum after shutting down parliament has been challenged in court, officials said Saturday. Papers were filed before the Court of Appeal Friday seeking an order prohibiting the election department going ahead with the referendum on the constitution, which Kumaratunga has ordered to take place on August 21, court officials said. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 05:15:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kiwis fight Colombo heat ahead of triangular series
Times of India (Breaking News), july 14. The New Zealand cricket team traveled from icy Christchurch to the tropical heat of Sri Lanka on Saturday, getting acclimatised four days ahead of a three-nation series.The Black Caps will meet host Sri Lanka in the first match. India is the third team in the tournament.Despite their late night arrival, at 1 am, Sri Lankans gave a warm welcome to the team, sweating in the 32 C (90 F) heat More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:12:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Media organisations call for police action to investigate attacks on journalists
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1510 slt 14.07.01. Media Organizations have expressed there protest over the lack of police investigations into a series of attacks on journalists. The protest comes in a joint media statement by the Free Media Movement, The Editors Guild and all news paper publishing houses other than the government owned Lake House.

"On July 15, 2001, we commemorate the second anniversary of the merciless attack on journalists legitimately covering an opposition protest demonstration, by the police specially members of the presidential security division (PSD). This attack led to the hospitalisation of journalists and extensive damage being caused to their professional equipment. It was one of the ugliest incidents in relation to oppression of press freedom in contemporary times.There is ample photographic and eyewitness evidence to indict those responsible for this savage attack. Yet, the government's official position is that on one hand it has been unable to identify those responsible and on the other of justifying the attack." the statement said.

The media organizations point out that the Police inquiry into the complaint filed by the journalists concerned at the Cinnamon Gardens and Slave Garden Police Stations against the assailants has been shelved.

"As we commemorate the second anniversary of this heinous crime against press freedom we express our deep concern at the delays in investigating a string of incidents of physical attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka including the murders of Thinamurusu editor Ramesh, Satana editor Rohana Kumara and Jaffna-based journalist Nimalarajan during the past two years. We reiterate that no attempt has been made to investigate any of the physical and psychological attacks carried out against media personnel Sri Lanka" the statement said.
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:02:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka not to bring back controversial devolution statute: radio, Jul 13 2001 22:57 IST. Sri Lanka's plan to introduce a new constitution this year will not see the revival of a controversial draft statute that would have granted Tamil-majority areas more autonomy, state radio said Friday. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has called for a new constitution, will introduce a brand-new statute to resolve the island's drawn-out Tamil separatist conflict and bring about democratic reforms. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 14:24:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks Rally To Support Govt
Yahoo Singapore, july 13. Hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered at a Colombo park Friday to support the Sri Lankan government's plan to amend the constitrution. "We feel that the president's decision is timely and wise," said Athurugiliye Leelarathne of the All Island Clergy Organization. Buddhist monks enjoy enormous influence in Sri Lanka, where 76% of the people are Buddh More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 21:56:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Parliamentary Speaker to decide tomorrow whether to summon parliament.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1300 slt 13.07.01. Parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike said today that he would announce tomorrow whether to ignore the two month prorogation of parliament by President Kumaratunga and summon parliament on the 16th of July. The speaker told leaders of opposition parties that he would consider their submissions and consult constitutional lawyers and announce the decision tomorrow. The Party leaders who met the speaker this morning made submissions that the prorogation was illegal and that he should summon parliament as scheduled. end
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:22:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Convene Parliament: Lankan Oppn tells Speaker
Times of India, july 14. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's opposition party leaders on Friday placed their signatures on a letter requesting Speaker Anura Bandaranaike to disregard the presidential order proroguing Parliament and to resume sittings on July 16, which if he agrees to could lead to a constitutional crisis. Constitutional lawyers of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) met with the speaker at Friday's meeting and built up a case that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's decision to prorogue Parliament was wrong because it was meant to block a no-confidence motion against the government supported by half the House. The UNP's argument that Kumaratunga's move is wrong may be morally correct but constitutionally it is a weak case because she is vested with the power to take such action. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 22:02:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition seeks foreign intervention to end crisis
Yahoo Asia, Friday, July 13 9:14 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's opposition parties were Friday considering reporting President Chandrika Kumaratunga to world judicial bodies for shutting down parliament in order to avoid a defeat of her minority government. Kumaratunga was also dubbed "Sri Lanka's Hitler" by the opposition United National Party (UNP) following her move to suspend parliament on Tuesday in a bid to avoid a vote of no-confidence in her minority government. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 11:11:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's opposition wants to take PM to international court  -

Sri Lankan Marxists plan protests on referendum
MSNBC, July 13. COLOMBO, July 13 - Sri Lanka's Marxist political party that holds a crucial voting block in parliament denounced as ridiculous on Friday a referendum on constitutional change set for next month. The referendum called by the ruling coalition, which lost its majority in parliament last month, was seen by opposition parties as a ploy to delay a no-confidence vote that had been planned for later this month. ''We see the question posed by the government in the referendum as both wrong and ridiculous,'' Wimal Weerawansa, a spokesman for the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP), said at a news conference. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 07:51:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika vows to scrap presidency
Gulf News, july 13. Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga called the public to support her to introduce a new constitution and vowed to abolish the executive Presidency.Kumaratunga for the first time addressing the nation after she faced the no confidence motion said she was calling the people to vote for a new constitution as she wanted to establish a system of governance which was responsible for the people.In a brief address to the nation in Sinhalese, Kumaratunga said that she is willing to tell the public about the new constitution and introduce it within this year, but did not explain how she is going to do it. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 22:00:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka Opp ignores order, wants Parliament reopened
The Indian Express, JULY 13. SRI Lanka’s Opposition appealed to the Speaker of Parliament on Friday to ignore a presidential order suspending the body.The Opposition presented a letter to Anura Bandaranaike saying he should defy a decision by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, his politically estranged sister, to suspend Parliament so lawmakers can go ahead with a planned no-confidence vote against her minority government. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 21:57:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Opposition: Speaker Should Reconvene Parliament  - yahoo

Kumaratunga defends Parliament's suspension
IndiaInfo, July 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga defended her suspension of Parliament and has ordered a referendum in August by saying that she would enact a new Constitution before the end of 2001.She once again promised to abolish the executive Presidency during a national television address, but this time it has more to do with political survival than peace making. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 09:52:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Muslims protest ties with Israel
MSNBC, July 13 . Sri Lankan Muslims on Friday protested for the second time this week against the appointment of Israel's first ambassador to Colombo after diplomatic ties were resumed more than one year ago to boost military relations. Protests were held in several Muslim-dominated areas on the east coast of the island after Friday prayers. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 12:32:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka in a bind - An Editorial
Dawn, July 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sudden decision to prorogue parliament, ostensibly in a bid to thwart a no-confidence motion against her party's minority government, has pushed her country into deeper political crisis. Tormented by eighteen years of full-scale insurgency by the Tamil separatists in the northern Jaffna peninsula, and a worsening economic situation, Sri Lanka today stands in a critical bind. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 09:48:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka to spend Rs 600 million on referendum
Times of India (Breaking News), Friday, 13 July 2001 . COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will spend an estimated Rs 600 million on holding the referendum on August 21 to decide whether to have a new Constitution for the island nation, election officials have said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga ordered the referendum after suspending parliament earlier this week to let the people decide whether they need a new Constitution to correct what she calls distortions in parliamentary representation for the party getting the largest number of votes in general elections. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 05:49:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Constitutional stratagems key to S.L crisis
TamilNet, Fri 13 July 2001 07:30GMT. "Asking us whether we are in agreement with the proposal that the 'country needs a new Constitution?' is akin to asking a person whether he wants to marry or not marry a woman whom he does not know at all. How can they ask us to vote for something when we do not know whether it is black or white," asked Mr. Wimal Weerawansa, MP, the propaganda secretary and senior leader of the radical Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front), condemning the Sri Lankan President's decision to suspend parliament and hold a referendum in August. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:33:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway peace bid battered by Sri Lanka political turmoil
yahoo Singapore, 13 July 2001. Norway's attempts to revive its tottering peace bid in Sri Lanka have suffered a kidney punch due to unprecedented political turmoil in an island already soaked in blood and tears, diplomats said Friday. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's surprise suspension of parliament earlier this week to head off a move to oust her government has further aggravated the acrimony between her party and the opposition. "It was essential that there was a bipartisan agreement on the peace process," an Asian diplomat here said. "Now that both parties are battling for parliamentary power, the peace process will be on the backburner." More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:04:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SB to be removed from SLFP Gen. Sec. post?
The Island, Fri 13 July 2001 06:10GMT. Speculation was rife in SLFP sides yesterday that Minister S. B. Dissanayake who is also the General Secretary of the party would be stripped of his party post, SLFP sources said yesterday. They said the party Central Committee was scheduled to meet last evening to take up the issue. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 02:12:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
SB's brother vows to fight back  - The Island

Sri Lanka to Introduce New Constitution This Year
People's Daily, Friday, July 13, 2001, updated at 09:26(GMT+8. Sri Lanka n President Chandrika Kumaratunga called on her people on Thursday to help her government introduce a new constitution within this year to meet the needs of her war-torn country. "We are fully committed to introduce the new constitution within this year after necessary consultations with broad sections of society." Kumaratunga said in a islandwide address on Thursday evening. Kumaratunga asked all political parties to join with the government in this "great and noble task." More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 00:05:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

World Bk For Lanka Coal-Fired Power
Yahoo Singapore, 13 July 2001. Sri Lanka must develop coal-fired power plants to supplement irregular hydroelectric power, says S. Vijay Iyer, Senior Financial Analyst at World Bank's South Asia Energy Unit. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 03:01:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Combined Opposition wants President to remove PM, dismiss govt.
Island, 13 July 2001. The combined opposition yesterday wrote to President Chandrika Kumaratunga saying the majority in Parliament have lost confidence in Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and requesting her to appoint a suitable alternative who could reconstitute the Cabinet. It is the second time in as many weeks that the opposition showed their strength in the House. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 00:17:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition pushing brother into showdown with Chandrika
Dawn, COLOMBO, July 12. Sri Lanka's political crisis deepened on Thursday as the opposition pushed parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike into a showdown with his estranged sister, President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Leaders of all opposition parties, who together command a majority in the 225-member assembly, demanded that Bandaranaike disregard his sister's decree that parliament be suspended for two months. Bandaranaike, 52, who is a member of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), had until Friday to decide if he will openly defy his sister and reconvene the legislature on Monday, parliamentary officials said. More...
Published: Fri Jul 13 00:08:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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