The Lanka Academic

VOL. 2, NO. 124

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
Security in Colombo port strengthened
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.50 a.m Thursday 9 August. Secretary of Defence Chandrananda de Silva has issued a statement outlining various measures taken to safeguard and strengthen security in and around the Port of Colombo. Overall security of the Colombo Harbour has been placed under a unified command and The Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy is consequently held responsible for the coordination of all security aspects of the harbour. This has been welcomed by businessmen and others involved in the shipping circles. They hoped that it would help to change the views expressed by the London based War Risk Rating Committee which declared the entirety of Sri Lanka as a war risk zone comparing the country with Macedonia, Chechnya and Sierra-Leone. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 23:48:35 EDT 2001

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

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
Convene Parliment and face no-trust vote: Opposition tells Chandrika
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Wednesday, August 08, 2001. The entire Parliamentary opposition in Sri Lanka today joined hands to reject President Chandrika Kumaratunga's postponement of a referendum and demanded its cancellation and immediate re-convening of Parliament to enable them to vote out the People' Alliance regime in a no-confidence vote. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 19:28:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Call to cancel referendum  - The Hindu
Chandrika trying to avoid defeat: UNP  - The Hindu NUS
Referendum deferral a victory: Lanka Oppn  - Indiainfo
Opposition demands resignation of Sri Lankan president over referendum  - Yahoo Singapore

Paradise lost for Sri Lanka hotels after airport attack
Yahoo Asia, Thursday, August 9 10:53 AM SGT . Riverina, a sea-front resort hotel, was enjoying a mid-summer boom as foreign tourists were arriving in droves, but the dream of an even better winter has now been shattered. While staff were readying to dust the "no vacancy" sign as it were, the idyllic bubble was rudely burst by the Tamil rebel attack on the country's only international airport. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 23:19:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka says six Tamil rebels banned by France
Yahoo India, august 8. Sri Lanka said on Wednesday six members of the Tamil Tiger guerrilla movement had been prohibited from entering France. A government statement said the ban applied to six "hard core cadres" of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), including Anton Balasingham, the rebels main theoretician and negotiator. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 10:28:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Tamil rebels banned by France: Sri Lanka  - The Hindu NUS

Joint opposition calls for complete withdrawal of referendum
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.30 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 8. The Joint Opposition today called for a complete withdrawal of the referendum. The opposition parties comprising of the UNP, JVP, SLMC, ACTC, TULF and Sihala Urumaya maintain that the referendum must be cancelled and Parliament reconvened before September 7, in order to address the crisis in the country.

Meeting at the Colombo Mayor's official residence in Colombo 7 this morning, the members of parliament unanimously decided that if President Chandrika Kumaratunge does not heed their request to cancel the prorogation of Parliament, the MPs will enter Parliament and forcibly convene sessions.

A decision on future actions will be taken this Friday when the opposition MPs will once more meet collectively.

The opposition politicians assert that the President is only playing with fire by postponing the referendum to October 18, 2001, and a complete cancellation is a priority at this stage.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Lanka referendum postponement slammed  - NDTV/MSNBC

Air Force jets pound Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 8. Sri Lankan Air Force jets pounded Jaffna this afternoon destroying some rebel vehicles. Military Spokesman, Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said today that the Sri Lanka Air Force had carried out their attack on Pallai, South East of the Peninsula.

He said the SLAF had hit some rebel vehicles. He reiterated that the SLAF had caused extensive damage to rebel held territory when it carried out air attacks on Monday August 6, 2001.
Published: Wed Aug 8 05:10:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lankan air force attacks Tamil rebels  -

Emirates cuts flights to Colombo
Gulf-News, august 8. Due to very high insurance cost, Emirates has cut down its weekly flights to Colombo from 22 to 18 until August 26, according to an Emirates spokesperson. The four flights to Singapore and Jakarta via Colombo will now fly directly to the two destinations, the spokesperson said. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 19:25:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Susanthika in prime form for her challenge for the world title amidst team trouble
Dulshan de Silva in Colombo, 9.05 a.m. SLT Wednesday August 8th, 2001. Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka's only realistic medal hope at the 8th World Athletics championships in Edmonton, Canada will begin her challenge for the world 200 metres title in a confident mood on Thursday with the first round heats of the event scheduled to start at 6.05 a.m. Sri Lanka time on Thursday, August 9th. (6.05 p.m. in Edmonton on August 8th). The second round heats of the event are scheduled for another two hours and twnety minutes later. (8.25 a.m. Sri Lanka time on Thursday). Jayasinghe revealed that the fitness doubts she harboured when she left Sri Lanka have disappeared and said that she is in prime form. "The pain in my right leg has gone after successful treatment by Games doctors. My physical condition is perfect. My mental condition is good. But I won't predict anything till I run the first round and see" Susanthika said. She also said that she has achieved a sensational timing in practice yesterday with her coach Tony Campbell but preferred to keep what she achievd a secret. "I will not tell you what I have achieved. I will only tell you that I ran fast. I ran so fast that I vomitted four times. It was not because that I was sick. It was because I wanted to check how fast I can run" she said. However her coach Tony Campbell, who flew in from United States to join her and watched she run at practices told media that he was certain of Susanthika winning a medal. Asked about his comments Susanthika said she would talk of medal chances only after finishing the first round "Then I would know for sure" she said. Suanthika's arch rival Damayanthi Darsha will also run in the event. Darsha whose main event is the 400 metres said she practiced mainly for the 200 this year. "I concentrated on the 200 this year. So, I am sure that I can achieve something in the 200" she said after crashing out of the 400 metres semi finals earlier. However Sri Lanka team has been ravaged by the disputes between team members and management and also by serious allegations of breach of discipline. Sri Lanka's 4X400 metres realy team member Sumedha Arunashantha Fernando was expelled from the Games village on Monday after he was found guilty of behaving badly in the village under the influence of liquor, bringing a bottle of liquor to the Games village and making an unauthorised night time outing from the village and not returning till the next morning. Fernando denied these claims and said the disciplinary inquiry was conducted by team manager Brigadior Palitha Fernando who had a personal animosity against him. He said Brigadior Fernando was against him beause he and the other two colleagues who were allegedly involved in the incident are from Navy. "It is an Army-Navy battle" he said. The other two involved are relay runner Rohan Pradeep Kumara and Ranga Wimalawansa and both of them denied the charges. They have not been punished but have been informed that they would face disciplinary inquiries after returning to Sri Lanka. They also made counter allegations that it was Brigadior Fernando who was always drunk in the village.
Published: Wed Aug 8 13:59:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian couple held in Lanka for aiding murder accused
Indiainfo, August 6. Police have arrested an Indian businessman and his Sri Lankan wife who they said sheltered a local customs officer, the main suspect wanted in connection with the killing of an Assistant Customs Superintendent. Police said that the couple confessed to have provided lodging facilities to Anura Weerawansa, who is the main suspect in the killing of Sujith Prasanna Perera on March 24, before he escaped to India. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 23:08:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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

Related News Stories
Aug. 8 (20 :13) Sri Lanka's economy hit as insurers label country war risk - COLOMBO  - Kyodo News

Lankan business community says 'No' to referendum
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.30 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 8. The business chambers, and other organizations have publicly called for a government of national reconciliation to overcome the present impasse. The local business community has pointed out that a referendum and a new constitution will only further plunge Sri Lanka into chaos.

Local businessmen today said that postponing the referendum to October 18 this year, is not an answer to the problems that continue to plague the Island nation.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

19 more Indian fishermen released by Jaffna court
The Hindustan Times, august 8. A JAFFNA court on Wednesday ordered the release of 19 more Indian fishermen who were imprisoned there for fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters, Indian High Commission officials said. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 16:10:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankans score 326 on opening day of three-dayer
Yahoo India, august 8. Indian bowlers were made to work hard as Sri Lankan Board President's XI posted 326, built around a fine 116 by Michael Vandort, in their first innings on the opening day the three-day match here today. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 16:11:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP suspicious..........
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.10 p.m.SLT Wednesday August 8. The main opposition, United National Party (UNP), while initially rejecting a power sharing offer by the Government, subsequently named a three member committee headed by the party's Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuriya, to deal with the government on issues such as the establishment of an independent elections, public service, police and judicial commissions. The UNP also wants the President stripped off her cabinet portfolios. The other two members of this committee are Tyronne Fernando MP and Charitha Ratwatte, Chairman of the UNP.

Opposition and UNP leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe, has said that he doubts the bona fides of the Government in requesting the UNP to help form a national government. Wickremasinghe is suspicious that this may be yet another ruse by the Government to split his party.

The President has reportedly told her ministers that she has reservations about Ranil Wickremasinghe and is not sure she can work with him or the UNP.

Last week, Karu Jayasuriya turned down a personal invitation made to him by Premier Rathnasiri Wickremanayake for a private discussion on national reconciliation. Jayasuriya asserted that the UNP worked as a group and not as individuals and such an invitation should be made to the party.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Air Force continues to pound LTTE base
indiainfo, August 8. Sri Lankan Air Force continued the air attacks on identified hideouts of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the third consecutive day on August 8, destroying bunkers in Pallai in Jaffna peninsula while four LTTE prisoners escaped from the Jaffna prison. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 10:04:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka tightens port security
BBC South Asia, Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK. The Ports Minister, Ronnie de Mel, said he hoped the extra charges would be revoked soon. Re-insurers at Lloyds of London have raised surcharges on large foreign container vessels by up to $150,000 following an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on Colombo airport last month. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 12:28:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan power play fools no-one
Asia Times, 09 August 2001. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's postponement of this month's referendum, announced this week, surprised few people because the vote on a new constitution had sparked very little interest across this war-battered island. Except for Kumaratunga and a few Cabinet ministers, many Sri Lankans saw the referendum as a waste of time and money, particularly so on an issue that everyone is agreed upon - the need for a new constitution. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 08:14:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Time for Jayasuriya to take a Walk
Yahoo India, August 8, 10:20 AM. Camouflaged by a string of meaningless one-day victories, Sanath Jayasuriya is unsuited for leadership of the Sri Lankan team. There is no better time to change a poor leader than when the team is on a winning streak. Sanath Jayasuriya’s tactical limitations and endless failures with the bat at test level have come to a head. The Sri Lankan skipper’s form has deserted him and he is powerless to prevent Sri Lanka’s inexorable decline in cricketing fortunes. His technical frailties on the bouncy South African wickets have been ruthlessly exploited. The home defeat to England was the last straw. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 10:27:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP says.........
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.05 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 8. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna 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.

The JVP is strongly opposed to the holding of the referendum and reiterate that postponing the date is a foolish and irresponsible decision on the part of President Chandrika Kumaratunge.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tourism in Sri Lanka seriously affected
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Wednesday August 8. In the aftermath of the devastating attack on the Bandaranaike International Airport and Sri Lanka Air Force Base at Katunayake, the Sri Lankan economy as well as tourism has suffered a massive blow.

Anura Lokuhetty, Director Operations for the Confifi Group in Sri Lanka, pointed out that, 70% of expected tourist arrivals for August have already been cancelled. The cancellations have resulted in the Tourism industry suffering a loss of Sri Lankan Rs. 1.4 billion.

According to Lokuhetty, the revenue earned last year from the tourism industry was approximately USD 270 million. Together with all its allied sectors of the industry, Lokuhetty said the country earned around USD 500 million.

"We were expecting a 12% increase in August this year," Lokuhetty asserted, adding however that now the expected 36,000 tourists would not arrive in the country.

Lokuhetty said that leading tour operators such a Kuoni, Thompsons, Havis & Jarvis, TUI, C& N and LTU have already pulled out of Sri Lanka maintaining they will consider renewing operations only after the proposed referendum, this year.

Chairman for the Ceylon Tourist Board, Renton de Alwis however is more optimistic. The tourism industry in Sri Lanka he says has always proved resilient and he is confident the trade can bounce back.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition to intensify campaign against the government
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1150 slt 08.08.01. The joint opposition parties other than the JVP today decided to hold another massive demonstration in Colombo on August 21st. At a meeting this morning to discuss the postponement of the referendum from August 21st to October 18th, the leaders also decided to challenge the postponement in court. Legal experts say the postponement of the referendum is illegal since the constitution does not provide for it. The opposition also decided to continue its mass rallies and protest campaigns. The JVP is to decide on Friday whether to agree to a request by the other opposition parties to reconvene parliament by ignoring the two month prorogation by President Kumaratunga. Two people were killed and over 70 injured when police opened fire with live and rubber bullets and fired a massive quantity of tear gas to disperse tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators on July 19th. end
Published: Wed Aug 8 02:23:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Political power games intensify
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10 a.m. SLT Wednesday August 8 . President Chandrika Kumaratunge took a decision last night to postpone the proposed referendum this month on August 21, following strong opposition from senior ministers in her cabinet. Sources confided that more than 50% of Kumaratunge's ministers are against the holding of the poll.

Even as opposition political parties continue with an intensified campaign to gather public support to vote against the final objective of the referendum, which is to bring in a new constitution; President Kumaratunge met with her ministers to discuss the issue.

Kumaratunge recently told Colombo based diplomats she is determined to go ahead with the poll. The President has emphasized the need for a new constitution in order to lend the ruling party a majority in Parliament.

It is no secret the President decided on a snap poll in order to avoid a no confidence motion in Parliament, mooted by the joint opposition last month.

Ministerial Sources of President Chandrika Kumaratunge's cabinet say that those in favour of the referendum, is less than 43%. The government politicos confided that since the referendum is now postponed to October 18 this year, Parliament would meet after the prorogation ends on September 7, 2001, but that it is likely Kumaratunge would prorogue Parliament for a further one month.

Meanwhile, religious dignitaries last week called upon both the Government and the joint Opposition to refrain from confrontational politics and to unite in order to achieve common consensus as the crisis situation in Sri Lanka escalates.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:16:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika keeps UNP,JVP and SU guessing
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 2.03 PM SLT Wednesday,August 8,2001. The opposition led by the United National Party (UNP) has precious little to gloat over on the postponement of the referendum to October 18.President Chandrika Kumaratunga has cleverly taken the heat off the political atmosphere without giving anything away to the opposition.

Now,she has no anxiety about facing a referendum.She continues to have power.The parliment session is still a month away.But the opposition has the anxiety about achieving its goals without being able to defeat the government in the referendum and destroying its morale.

A careful reading of the Presidential statement reveals that Mrs.Kumaratunga has made virtually no concessions.She has not said that she will convene parliament immediately or before September 7.She has not said that she is establishing the five independent commissions.She has not said that she is agreeing to a government of National Reconciliation.All she has said is that she is postponing the referendum to October 18 to give time for the development of a consensus on certain amendments to the present constitution.If consensus cannot be built up in the coming two months,she will go ahead and hold the referendum on October 18.There is also the possibility of a dissolution of parliament and fresh elections,which the President can constitutionally do after October 18.

The postponment of the referendum is actually a threat to the opposition because the opposition is wary about the referendum just as much as the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) is.The UNP knows that a defeat in the referendum will seal its fate.Small wonder then that the opposition has been quite vociferous in demanding that the referendum be called off.

The opposition will have to work out a consensus with the President.But this is going to be tough.The UNP Leader Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe is not going to join the government and become a lame duck Prime Minister.He has openly said that the President's powers must be clipped to such an extent that she will hold no ministerial post.But Mrs.Kumaratunga is not going to agree to an abridgement of the Executive Presidency because as on date,she is not only Minister of Defense and Finance,but has 102 state institutions under her.It will not be in character to foresake all this and walk away like a Bhikuni.

However, this will not preclude hard-nosed negotiations towards a deal because both the PA and UNP are interested in a stable system that will not be a victim to machinations and depredations of a third party or parties, be it the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC),the Tamil parties or the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

But by way of abundant caution,government will not abandon the bid to keep all power with itself by outwitting the opposition and poaching on it.The government's strategy will be to get UNP MPs to defect.The ruling party hopes that mere ministerial posts will attract UNP MPs between now and September 7, when parliament meets after the prorogation.The numbers talked about are around 40.There is also a move in the PA to replace the three Muslim MPs who had defected to the opposition along with Mr.Rauf Hakeem.Simultaneously,Mr.M.L.A.M Hisbullah is trying to oust Mr.Hakeem from the leadership of the SLMC.The government will try to win over the Tamil parties with an offer of devolution in the new constitution.The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was having talks with the President on wednesday.

The UNP is acutely aware of this and will continue to sow seeds of doubt and dissension in the minds of key leaders in the PA about the leadership of Mrs.Kumaratunga.The prime target is Mr.S.B.Dissanayake,who is believed to have 17 MPs who will do his bidding.Several ministers like Prof G.L.Peiris and Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse are mentioned as potential rebels.The UNP will continue to drive a wedge between the government and the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) by promising the retention of the Proportional Representation System.The government is thinking of a dilution of the PR system which may reduced the number of Indian Tamils in parliament.

Though the Sihala Urumaya (SU) is vigorously campaigning for a government of National Reconciliation and senses that important sections of both the PA and UNP are secretly hoping to see it coming into existence,there is a feeling that the President may not opt for a National Government.Top Sihala Urumaya sources have expressed the apprehension that the President may find the formula suggested by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) more congenial.

The JVP has said that the present government may continue for a year provided it establishes the independent commissions,adopts people oriented policies and agrees to be supervised by a body of independent and eminent persons.The JVP is not opposed to a National Government comprising the PA and UNP but this government should have an agenda for peoples' welfare ( as defined by JVP).

Mr.Thilak Karunaratne of SU believes that the JVP will not support a PA-UNP rapproachement because it dreads a consolidation of the Establishment.The JVP will also not like a UNP government because of its past experience with the UNP.Mr.Karunaratne believes that the PA has entered into a deal with the JVP's London based supremo Mr.Somawansa Amarasinghe.The JVP's ambivalent stand on the no-trust vote indicates that it may abstain from the voting and thus enable the government to defeat the motion.
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:01:58 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's main port under navy protection
Yahoo Asia, 09 August 2001. Sri Lanka placed its main sea port under navy protection Wednesday in a bid to persuade international underwriters to lift war-risk insurance slapped on ships entering the island, officials said. The defence ministry said in a statement that a series of measures had been taken to strengthen security at the Colombo Harbour following a Tamil rebel attack on the country's international airport and an adjoining airbase last month. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 08:35:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition steps up pressure on president
Yahoo India, 09 August 2001. Sri Lanka's opposition said on Wednesday it was not satisfied with the postponement of a controversial referendum on constitutional reform and vowed more street protests against the country's beleaguered president. President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday went some way towards assuaging opposition demands that the August 21 referendum be cancelled by delaying it to October 18, saying more time was needed to build consensus on the widely criticised reforms. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 08:22:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

We will win Referendum, says — Prof. Peiris
Island, 8 august. Presiding over the Central Working Committee meeting at a seminar of SLFP branch organizations of Moratuwa in the morning session of the 3rd August (Friday) at the premises of De Soysa Stadium, Moratuwa, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Chief SLFP organizer-Moratuwa and Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Industrial Development, Deputy Minister of Finance said, "We will win the referendum. There is no doubt about our victory" He cautioned the gathering, "Don’t believe private channel propaganda and rumours, which are rampant these days. I will not desert Moratuwa people. But serve in consonance to blossom the welfare of you all. The seminar was organized to discuss matters and instil an awareness with regard to the political stance of the People’s Alliance on the Referendum to be held on the 21st of this month and was attended by M/s A. H. M. Fowzie, Minister of Highways, Bandula Gunawardena, Colombo District M.P., Ananda Kusumsiri, Mayor, Moratuwa Municipality, Municipal Councillors, Anusha Gunasekera, Attorney-at-Law, Milton de Mel and other members of the organization along with a representative group. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 04:21:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's opposition claims victory in referendum battle
Yahoo Asia, Wednesday, August 8 1:57 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's main opposition party Wednesday claimed President Chandrika Kumaratunga was "running scared" after she postponed a controversial referendum on the country's constitution. The United National Party (UNP) said the overnight decision to put off the August 21 plebiscite until October 18 was "a victory for the people". More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 03:45:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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
Sri Lankan Referendum Postponed  - Nothern Light

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

HM to export Lancer, gets M’bishi approval
Yahoo India, 8 August. Hindustan Motors (HM) has got approval from the Japanese motor giant Mitsubishi to export the Lancer, ranked as the `best premium midsize car’ on Indian roads by JD Power Asia Pacific 2000, from its Chennai plant to Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, reports The Economic Times.The nod will pave the way for the Indian made Lancers to hit international roads for the first time since the two car makers entered into a collaboration five years back. Till now these markets were being largely catered to by the plant in Japan. Some interest has been shown both in the diesel and petrol versions of the Lancer produced in India by these markets.HM has sold about 3900 Lancers between January and July this year, just over the half way mark over last year’s sale of 7635 cars. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 03:46:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Security blanket for Sai Baba
Yahoo India, 8 August. Karnataka has decided to beef up security for Sai Baba when he visits his ashram at Whitefield in the wake of reports that he is under threat from the LTTE.Home minister Mallikarjun Kharge said police have been instructed to step up security for Sai Baba when he visits the state. “Our officers are in touch with Andhra Pradesh police. We will provide adequate security when he is here,” Kharge said.Police in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have already stepped up security arrangements for Sai Baba, who spends most of his time at his abode at Puttaparthi.The fuzzy-haired godman attracts top dignitaries, mostly Sinhalese, from Sri Lanka. Police said Sai Baba shuttles between Puttaparthi and Whitefield ashram on the outskirts of Bangalore. Presently, he is in Puttaparthi. More...
Published: Wed Aug 8 03:48:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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
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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

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
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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

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
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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