The Lanka Academic

VOL. 2, NO. 123

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
Sri Lankan Referendum Postponed
Nothern Light, Tuesday, August 07, 2001 11:39 AM EDT . Sri Lanka's president on Tuesday postponed for two months a referendum on constitutional changes aimed at ending an 18-year-old Tamil separatist war, state-run television said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga delayed the referendum from Aug. 21 to Oct. 18 to gain more time to consult the opposition and the powerful Buddhist clergy, the television said. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 18:11:21 EDT 2001
Related News Stories
Referendum put off in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu (International)
Sri Lanka president postpones referendum  - MSNBC
Aug. 7 (00 :57) Sri Lanka government puts off national referendum - COLOMBO  - Kyodo News
Sri Lanka puts off plebiscite on statute by two months  - 123India

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Q&A With:

We are proud to present the seventh guest at our online Q&A sessions: Mr. Somawansa Amerasinghe, the leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). With the upcoming referendum in Sri Lanka, the vote of no confidence in the parliament, the reported moves to impeach President Kumaratunga and the pivotal role the JVP is expected to play in all events, Mr. Amerasinghe's political influence is of great significance to future political developments in Sri Lanka. Send in your question to Mr. Amerasinghe and receive answers here.

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

O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Insurers declare war on Sri Lanka
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.30 a.m Wednesday 8 August. Action by the London based War Risks Rating Committee to formally declare the entirety of Sri Lanka as a war risk zone has relegated the country to the rank of Sierra Leone, Macedonia and Chechnya, a report in the Daily Mirror said today. It said in what could be described as a bloody blow to the already embattled economy. The move by the War Risk Rating Committee suggests that Sri Lanka is war risky not only for ships and aircrafts but also for cargo. The report said further that a spokesman for the furious shipping and insurance communities said that Sri Lanka was relatively safe and normal compared to the countries that have been classified as war zones.

According to the Daily Mirror report minister Ronnie De Mel had convened an urgent meeting last evening with shipping agents and port officials. A decision has been taken to ask Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in London to speak to the Rating committee in London and explain the actual situation in Colombo to get the decision by the Rating Committee revoked.
Published: Tue Aug 7 23:43:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Government not planning to dissolve the parliament- Media minister
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 07/08/01 1505GMT. President Chandrika Kumaratunge is not planning to dissolve the parliament after the October 10th, Media Minister, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, told BBC's Sandeshaya to be broadcast at 1515GMT."The government is postponing the referendum to the 18th of October" minister Yapa,who is also the government spokesman said. "It is for the sake of the country, the president had taken this decision. She had no intention of dissolving parliament before that" the minister confirmed.

Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above news article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Tue Aug 7 11:05:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Nurses win demands, end strike in Sri Lanka
South Nexus, COLOMBO, Aug 08. About 15,000 nurses in state-run hospitals across Sri Lanka ended their strike, hours after the Government agreed to meet most of their demands, a senior union official said. The nurses staged a sick-in campaign early on Tuesday, demanding more pay and better working conditions. The nurses were demanding Rs 15 (16-cent) increase in overtime pay and Rs 3,000 hike in monthly allowances. The average salary for a nurse in a Government hospital is about Rs 7,000 a month, besides allowances for maintaining uniforms and overtime wages. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 18:14:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
15,000 Lankan nurses go on strike  - TOI

Referendum postponed to October 18th
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 07/08/01 1410GMT. Reports from Colombo say that the government has decided to postpone the August 21 referendum to October 18.

Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above news may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Tue Aug 7 10:08:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Rival factions fight over SMLC leadership
Indiainfo, 08 August 2001. The infighting in the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has reached a crescendo, with both rival factions dismissing each other and seeking the Election Commission's recognition. In a dramatic turn of events, one faction led by Feriel Ashraff, widow of late SLMC president AHM Ashraff, installed M L A H Hisbulla as the new leader. Hisbulla promptly met the Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissayanake and claimed that he is the new leader of the party. However, Parliamentarian and former Minister Rauff Hakeem said that Hisbulla had no legal authority to call upon the Election Commission, which has already recognised him (Hakeem) as the leader of the party. Taking to reporters, he said Hisbulla has no right to call a conference of the politburo. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 23:42:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Israelis assess damage to rebel-hit Sri Lankan jets, Aug 07 2001 14:31 IST. A team of Israeli experts has arrived in Sri Lanka to study the possibility of repairing military aircraft damaged during a devastating rebel attack last month, officials said Tuesday. The team was assessing the damage to Israeli-built Kfir aircraft that were hit in the July 24 attack on an airbase by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a defence official said. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 06:25:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Israeli team in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lankan Airlines counts cost of attack  - BBC South Asia

Lankan Air Force destroy LTTE training base
Indiainfo, august 7. ri Lankan Air force jets on Aug 8 destroyed an Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist training base at Thoppigala, about 240 km from Colombo. The LTTE's Jim Keely training base, 35 km West of Batticaloa, was smashed and pilots confirmed that they hit the targets as planned, a Defence spokesman said. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 18:31:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Spade work begins for South Asian diplomats meet Thursday, Aug 07 2001 18:16 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 7 (AFP) - Officials started preparatory work in the Sri Lankan capital Tuesday for a meeting this week of South Asian diplomats charged with arranging a regional summit, diplomats said. The official-level meeting of the seven-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was expected to prepare an agenda for Thursday's foreign secretaries' meeting, diplomats said. The standing committee was expected to, among other things, discuss holding the next SAARC summit which has been put off since November 1999 because of bickering between India and Pakistan. Since the first summit in Bangladesh in 1985, the grouping has had 10 summits with the last in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in July 1998. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 15:42:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
SAARC: inside & outside  - Yahoo India
Indian and Pakistan Foreign Secretaries to meet on the fringe of SAARC this week  -
Nepal foreign secretary heads for Colombo for delayed SAARC meeting  -
India, Pakistan to hold talks on sidelines of SAARC meeting in Colombo  -
South Asian officials prepare for key meet  -

CWC threatens to resign from government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Tuesday August 7. The Ceylon Workers Congress has threatened to resign from all government posts if their demands are not accommodated.

CWC, Leader, and Minister, Arumugam Thondaman has made four demands. He has stated that the CWC must be allocated 14 parliamentary seats, which members he says must be chosen from the estate sector, that all estate Tamils who have yet not been granted citizenship should be recognized as citizens of Sri Lanka; and to appoint Tamil nationals from the estate regions to all state establishments in the plantation sector.

The Tamil minister together with other CWC members who hold posts in provincial and urban councils have threatened to resign from their jobs if these conditions are not met by the Government.
Published: Tue Aug 7 06:07:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan president gets offer of limited support
Yahoo India, August 7. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has been facing mounting opposition to her rule since she suspended parliament last month ahead of a no-confidence vote and called an August 21 referendum on constitutional reforms. The main opposition United National Party (UNP), which led violent street protests against Kumaratunga last month, said it was willing to back the ruling coalition and other parties "on a limited agenda, for a limited time" if the referendum was cancelled. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 10:31:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka president gets offer of limited support  - MSNBC

30 incidents of pre referendum violence
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 7. Since July 13, 2001, the police have received 30 complaints relating to incidents of pre referendum violence.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna have lodged 10 complaints, the United National Party - three, the Peoples Alliance two and one complaint has been received from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

The remaining complaints have been made by other individuals. Police say that the most number of incidents have been reported from the Kelaniya area.
Published: Tue Aug 7 06:07:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka asks European Union to monitor referendum  -

Sihala Urumaya briefs US embassy officials
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11. 05 a.m Tuesday 7 August. The Sihala Urumaya met the US embassy officials in Colombo yesterday to brief them on their stand on the referendum and the SU mediated negotiations between the Peoples Alliance and the UNP for a national reconciliation government. The party has explained to the US officials their view point and also explained to them that they were the results of the undue privileges given to the Tamil community by the British colonial rulers. Sihala Urumaya had brought to the notice of the US officials at the meeting regarding more than 200 mass killings of Sinhala and Muslim people by the LTTE which they attempt to justify by citing the 1983 communal riots. However the Sihala Urumaya has condemned the 1983 riots saying that the brutal killings of the LTTE should not be allowed to be justified because of it.

Published: Tue Aug 7 00:59:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka launches more airstrikes against rebels
The Hindu NUS, Colombo, Aug. 7. (Reuters). Sri Lankan Air Force jets today continued to bomb LTTE positions, military officials said. Israeli-built K'Fir aircraft bombarded a rebel base in the eastern Batticaloa district, said military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne. ``The target was known as the `Jim Kelly' training base and it was effectively engaged,'' he said. Yesteray, the Air Force pounded a rebel bunker line in the northern Jaffna peninsula. Sri Lanka stepped up air strikes against LTTE after a rebel suicide squad attacked the country's biggest air base near Colombo and its only international airport next door on July 24. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 10:29:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka launches more airstrikes against rebels  - TOI

14 feared killed in Lanka bus mishap
TOI, august 7. Fourteen people were feared killed as a bus carrying a group of pilgrims plunged into a canal in Badulla district in south-central Sri Lanka on Monday, police said on Tuesday More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 09:36:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka bus crash kills 12 passengers  -

Sri Lankans look for answers in wake of resurgent LTTE offensive
janes defence, August 7. Sri Lanka's opposition parties have demanded the immediate restoration of parliament, suspended by President Chandrika Kumaratunga until September, to debate the recent devastating suicide attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on the country's largest military air base and the adjoining international airport, which destroyed 11 aircraft and damaged three others. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 08:52:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UK jails and abuses asylum-seekers
TOI, august 6. Hunger strikes against prison conditions, prison detainees held without charge for months and years and innocent asylum-seekers locked up 23 hours a day for committing the crime of seeking political refuge in the developed world. This is the reality of 21st-century Britain, traditionally the last refuge for political dissidents worldwide, according to a screaming newspaper report. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 08:58:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Dharsha Qualifies for Semifinals in 400m
LAcNet, 07 August 2001. Damayanthi Dharsha running in Women 400m qualifying rounds placed fourth in heat six. Her time 52.21 however earned her a place in the semifinals scheduled for tomorrow. It looks like dry and cool Edmonton weather has started to affect our athletes. Dharsha was pleased that she has got through the qualifying rounds. She will be in action again tomorrow at the Edmonton Commonwealth stadium in heat one running the outside lane. She will be competing against Grit Breuer from Germany and Olesya Zykina from Russia, both medal favorites.Editors Note Please follow the link for more pictures. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 20:18:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Violence hits Lanka wheat liberalisation plan
TOI, august 6. Sri Lanka's ambitious move to liberalise its wheat sector is starting to bear fruit, but only at a snail's pace as fears of political violence are limiting private sector interest, grain traders said on Monday. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 09:00:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

On a quiet crusade to end a tradition of injustice
Japan Times, august 7. On the first lunar cycle of the first month of this year, Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, an eminent Buddhist scholar, threw away her makeup, gave up eating meals after midday and relinquished the luxury of a comfortable bed. A month later, one day before the auspicious date of Buddha's holy Makhapuja Day, she made a trip to Sri Lanka, where she shaved off all her hair and was quietly ordained as a novice monk. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 08:39:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's Muslim party calls president's bluff over referendum, Aug 07 2001 13:34 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 7 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main Muslim party Tuesday challenged beleaguered President Chandrika Kumaratunga to go ahead with a controversial referendum to test support for her minority government. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which triggered the current political instability by defecting from the coalition government in June, told Kumaratunga to display her "courage" by going ahead with the plebiscite. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 05:50:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition sceptical about Chandrika offer
Gulf-News, august 6. Sri Lanka's main opposition party are sceptical about offers made by the ruling People's Alliance about the formation of a national government to avert the current political impasse in the country.Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has confirmed that the PA leaders had proposed the formation of a government of national unity but declared he was sceptical of their bona fides."We are aware President Kumaratunga had told the Cabinet she cannot form a government with the UNP or with myself," Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 23:07:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Mixed reaction to Chandrika’s referendum  - NDTV/MSNBC

Renowned Asian gynaecologist Ratnam dies in Singapore
Yahoo India, august 7. Asian medical pioneer S.S. Ratnam, renowned for gynaecological breakthroughs and sex-change operations, has died in Singapore, medical officials said Tuesday.Born in Malaysia and trained in Sri Lanka before moving to Singapore, Ratnam gave Asia its first test-tube baby through the in-vitro fertilisation process in 1983. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 01:22:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan jets bomb LTTE bases in north, east
The Hindu (International), 06-08-2001 . COLOMBO, AUG. 5. Sri Lankan Air Force jets bombed suspected LTTE bases in the island's north and east, a military spokesman said today. LTTE positions ahead of the forward defence lines at Nagarkovil in the Jaffna peninsula in the north were targeted on Thursday and Friday and bases near Koonaitivu near Foul Point in Trincomalee district in the east came under aerial attack yesterday, Brig Sanath Karunaratne said. Casualties, if any, could not be immediately ascertained. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 05:41:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan air force attacks Tamil rebels  -
Sri Lanka escalates air attacks on Tamil Tigers  -

Announce ceasefire or face LTTE attack, Vaiko warns Lankan Govt
newindpress, august 6. Reaffirming solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils, MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Sunday said the Sri Lankan Government should announce the ceasefire first if it really wanted to settle the endless ethnic issue peacefully. ``Otherwise, the war will continue and will lead to the recapture of Jaffna Peninsula by the LTTE,'' Vaiko warned. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 23:02:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Nine Sri Lankan Fishermen Released From Indian Jail
Nothern Light, Tuesday, August 06, 2001 11:37 PM EST . Nine Sri Lankan Fishermen arrested for poaching in Indian waters were released from the Madurai jail following a fast unto death staged by them, a Fisheries Ministry official said. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 00:22:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

TULF wants referendum called off
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10 a.m. SLT Monday August 6. The Central Committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front when it met yesterday, took a decision to request President Chandrika Kumaratunge to call off the referendum on August 21, 2001.

A news release by the TULF stated last night, that the party's Central Committee after much deliberation will request Kumaratunge to revoke the proclamation with regard to the referendum, to reconvene Parliament; for both the government and the opposition to avoid all confrontation; to request the Government to pursue the Norwegian peace initiative so as to be able to commence negotiations with the LTTE; and to request the Government to place before the country the Constitution framed on the basis of such negotiations with the LTTE and other political parties.

The TULF points out that the party, quote, "wishes to emphasize that its opposition to the referendum for the above said reasons does not signify its acceptance of the existing 1978 Constitution and wishes to clearly emphasize that the existing 1978 Constitution needs to be repealed and a new Constitution acceptable to all peoples enacted in its place," unquote.
Published: Mon Aug 6 01:43:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Chandrika urged to call off referendum  - The Hindu NUS
TULF joins other Tamil parties in rejecting the referendum  -
Tamil party asks Chandrika to call off referendum  - Press Trust of India

FEATURE-Value-added Ceylon is just MJF's cup of tea
Yahoo Singapore, august 7. Guests get a perfect cup of tea when they visit the office of Merrill Fernando, a Sri Lankan tea grower and exporter with a mission. Fernando has gone from a lowly trainee tea taster in 1950 to head MJF Group, a company that took on the foreign-dominated companies that controlled the trade in colonial times and still tend to ship in bulk for packaging abroad. More...
Published: Tue Aug 7 00:20:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Magistrate orders police to be arrested over Sri Lanka killing, Aug 06 2001 18:40 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 6 (AFP) - A Sri Lankan magistrate Monday ordered the arrest of three police officers after returning a homicide verdict in the killing of an opposition activist during a protest here, officials said. The magistrate said two constables and a senior officer who ordered them to open fire on anti-government protestors on July 19 be arrested for a full inquiry. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 14:45:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Western help in the offing for tourism
Daily News, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 . Following enhanced security measures at the Bandaranaike International Airport, help is on the horizon for Sri Lanka's tourism industry which received a severe blow due to the LTTE terrorist attack. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 17:35:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP rallies to begin tomorrow - Tuesday
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Monday August 6. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna will begin the first of its planned 28 rallies tomorrow - Tuesday August 7, 2001. The inaugural rally campaigning against the proposed referendum will be held at Nugegoda.

The JVP maintains that the Government cannot implement a new constitution without securing a two thirds majority in Parliament. JVP spokesmen have repeatedly reiterated that if the Government attempts to adopt any other procedure it will be violating the existing constitution and will be undemocratic.
Published: Mon Aug 6 01:43:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE issues death threat to Sathiya Sai baba
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Monday August 6. According to Indian news reports the LTTE is reported to have issued a death threat to Sathiya Sai Baba. Reports say that the temple in Bangalore where Sai Baba resides had received a telephone call threatening the dignitary with death, asserting Sai Baba does not speak out in defence of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Indian intelligence and security around Sai Baba has reportedly been strengthened since the telephone call.
Published: Mon Aug 6 01:43:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Denies Talks with Opposition
People's Daily, Monday, August 06, 2001, updated at 10:57(GMT. Sri Lanka n Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake has denied that the government was holding talks with the main opposition United National Party with the object of forming a national government or a government of national reconciliation, the state-run Daily News said on Monday. The prime minister denied reports in Sunday newspapers that he had initiated talks to set up a national government to overcome the current political crisis. He added that the referendum would definitely be held. While admitting a new political culture was essential, he called on opposition members who wanted to protect the interests of the country to join hands with the government. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 00:00:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Once-Thriving Tamil Town Now a War Ruin
NY Times, 06 August 2001. A trickle of people who used to live in and around this once-tidy, bustling town have begun venturing back to its ghostly ruins, picking through rubble for family photos and other possessions abandoned in panic last year when army rockets rained destruction on their homes, temples, libraries and schools. Even when the mortars fall silent, the shadow of civil war never lifts here in the heart of the ethnically Tamil homeland that rebels have fought for in the last 18 years. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 08:09:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka port strike ends as insurance battle rages on, Aug 05 2001 18:38 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 5 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main sea port Sunday ended a five-day work stoppage which caused massive losses to shippers and foreign vessel owners already reeling under high war-risk insurance charges, officials said. Workers at the Jaya Container Terminal of the Colombo Harbour agreed to call off their trade union action following the withdrawal of a new shift system which the authorities tried to introduce this month, officials said. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 05:38:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Moderates demand revival of Norway's peace bid in Sri Lanka, Aug 06 2001 13:20 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 6 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's moderate Tamils called Monday for the immediate revival of Norway's attempts to broker peace in the island amid an escalation of fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) said its central committee met Sunday and decided to urge President Chandrika Kumaratunga to pursue Oslo's peace bid and avoid confrontation with her political opposition. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 05:37:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian Tamils in Lanka face identity crisis
NDTV/MSNBC, Sunday, August 5, 2001 (Hatton). Even after having lived in Sri Lanka for at least two generations, over two lakh Indian Tamils are living like stateless citizens. With the Lankan government proposing extensive changes in the country's constitution, they are fearing further marginalization. Two generations back, Francis's family left their home in Tamil Nadu to work in Sri Lanka's tea gardens. But even today he has no identity card to prove he's a Sri Lankan citizen and that means he and his family get nothing from the government except harassment. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 00:56:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket: Sri Lanka win tri-series with victory over India
Yahoo Singapore, 06 August 2001. Sanath Jayasuriya hit a masterful 99 to set up Sri Lanka's 121-run victory over India in the day-night final of the triangular one-day cricket series in Colombo on Sunday. The Sri Lanka captain struck 11 fours in his 102-ball knock as his team posted 295-5 which forced Indian batsmen to take risks early in the innings. India, hoping for the first win in eight finals since April 1999, yet again failed to cross the last hurdle when they were shot out for 174. More...
Published: Mon Aug 6 00:07:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
It's a 'fair' world  - Yahoo India
Taming of the pussycat  - Yahoo India
India proves bookies right  - Yahoo India

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