The Lanka Academic

VOL. 2, NO. 125

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
Group of PA parliamentarians to support sitting of parliament
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 0932 slt 10.08.01. A group of ruling party parliamentarians are expected to support a move by opposition parties to re convene parliament if President Kumaratunga prorogues parliament further after September 10th. The Ravaya newspaper said that the group is expected to back a decision by the opposition parties other than the JVP to forcefully convene parliament. The JVP is expected to take its decision on this move today.
Published: Thu Aug 9 23:49:45 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
The UN Human rights court rejects government's objections to Ravaya editor's complaint.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 0940 slt 10.08.01. The United Nations Human Rights court in Geneva has rejected all preliminary objections raised by the government in the case filed by Ravaya editor Victor Ivan alleging that his fundamental rights have been violated by the government. The UN court has instructed the Sri Lanka government to file any objections it has to the substantial matters raised by Mr.Ivan within six months. In his case the Ravaya editor says that Mr.Sarath Silva when he was Attorney General had violated his rights by filling criminal defamation cases against him without proper study or reason. Mr.Sarath Silva is now the Chief Justice of the country.
Published: Thu Aug 9 23:49:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Offer to break Sri Lanka deadlock
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK . Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said that she is willing to work with the opposition towards a government of consensus in order to tackle the current political and economic crisis. But the head of the opposition committee appointed to handle negotiations over a possible Government of National Unity, Karu Jayasuriya, says he has had no such offer from the president.President Chandrika Kumaratunga told business leaders that she was willing to form a consensual government which would work towards a common programme. The latest offer from the president suggests she is running out of options to solve the current political crisis, which threatens the country with a period of instability it can ill afford. 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. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 14:17:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka President offers power-sharing to end deadlock  -

If consensus possible: President will give up office in 30 days
CDN, August 10. I am prepared to give up the Presidency in 30 days if we can arrive at a workable solution to take this country forward and out of this morass of confusion and instability, said President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, addressing 600 business leaders at President's House last evening. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 21:39:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

JVP leaders to meet President Kumaratunga to discuss proposal for an interim government
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1815 slt 09.08.01. JVP leaders are to meet President Kumratunga tomorrow evening to discuss their proposal for an interim government. The JVP at an earlier meeting said it would support the government in Parliament for one year if the government agreed to implement the establishment of five independent commissions for the Police, Administrative Service, Elections, Judiciary and the state media. The JVP also wants to abolish the presidential system and have an caretaker government during elections. end
Published: Thu Aug 9 08:42:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

35% insurance surcharge to be levied on goods imported to Sri Lanka
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1707 slt 09.08.01. Insurance companies are expected to levy an insurance surcharge of 35% on cargo designated to Colombo port, informed sources told lancet news today. The surcharge to be announced in the next 48 hours is over and above the insurance surcharge levied on ships entering the Colombo port which was imposed two days ago. This move is expected to further aggrivate the economic crisis with the price of imported goods sky rocketing.
Published: Thu Aug 9 07:21:21 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

LTTE’s effort to shift to Paris receives blow
IndiaInfo, August 9. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) spokesman Anton Balasingham and five other tiger representatives have been denied entry into France, a state-owned newspaper reported on August 9.LTTE's attempt to shift its propaganda operations from London to Paris, after it was proscribed in Britain in March, failed when its functionaries were barred from entering France, the 'Daily News' said quoting unnamed intelligence sources. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 11:23:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Balasingham, other LTTE men denied entry into France: Report  - Press Trust of India

Anura denies rumours
Island, 10 August. Speaker Anura Bandaranaike said on Wednesday that a false and malicious rumour has been deliberately spread through certain mass media that he is to resign from the office of Speaker of Parliament. "This is totally untrue and baseless. The public is aware of the fact that I was elected unanimously as Speaker, jointly by the Government and the Opposition, after the General Election of year 2000. There is absolutely no reason for me to resign from the office of Speaker. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 23:47:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

16 LTTE men killed in Lanka air strikes
TOI, August 9. Sri Lankan Air Force jets continued their air strikes against suspected LTTE targets in the island's north on Thursday, while the government said 16 LTTE militants were killed in the bombings in the last two days.Slafs Kfir jets engaged attacked a bunker line of the LTTE at Kudarappu near Nagarkovi in the Jaffna peninsula on Thursday morning, military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 14:04:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lankan air force hits rebel targets for sixth day  - TOI
Sri Lanka launches more air strikes against rebels  -
Sri Lanka air force bombs rebel bunker line again  - Yahoo India

TULF urges President to start talks with LTTE
Tamilnet, August 9. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Wednesday urged Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunge to pursue the Norwegian peace initiative and commence negotiations with the Liberation Tigers before framing a new constitution. A press statement issued by the TULF, after meeting the President on Wednesday, said that the party had urged the President to "reconvene Parliament and also not to proceed with the referendum." More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 13:53:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India, Lanka moot cooperation to fight terrorism
TOI, 09 August 2001. Top foreign ministry bureaucrats from seven South Asian countries began a two-day meeting Thursday, with host Sri Lanka and India asking for concrete steps to fight terrorism, conference sources said. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, in opening remarks at the meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, asked delegates to take concrete steps to enhance regional cooperation. Kadirgamar made no mention of terrorism, but Indian and Sri Lankan officials said the issue will be high on agenda. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 06:22:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Campaign against the national government threat- NLF
Saroj Pathirana in London, Thursday 09/08/01 1145GMT. The New Left Front (NLF) urged all leftist and peace loving masses to get together to campaign for a democratic constitution with autonomy for Tamil speaking people and to mobilise masses against the national government threat. In a statement issued by Dr. Vickrambahu Karunarathne, the NLF says that the time given by the postponement of the August 21st referendum will be used by those who campaign for a "Sinhala only" national government.

"From the time of the announcement of the referendum, the government leaders did not put real effort to educate the masses or to counter the national government campaign. Therefor many left activists believe that this postponement is a concession given to the national government campaign." The statement said.

The New Left Front is supporting President Chandrika Kumaratunga in her campaign for "Yes" vote in the proposed referendum.
Published: Thu Aug 9 07:40:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries to meeting Colombo
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1710 slt 09.08.01. Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries now in Colombo for the SAARC Foreign Secretaries meeting is to hold talks tomorrow on Indo- Pakistan affairs. The meeting will be the first high level meeting between the two countries since the Indo Pakistan summit in Delhi last month end
Published: Thu Aug 9 07:21:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Over 100 arrested in combined search
Tamilnet, 10 August 2001. More than one hundred Tamils were arrested during a major cordon and search operation in Kochchikade, about 50 km. north of Colombo Thursday morning. More than one thousand Army and Police personnel were deployed during the operation, police said. Police in Negombo said 140 Tamils who were arrested during the operation are being questioned at the local police station. Fifty-seven of them are residents of the northern and eastern provinces, and the rest from the hill-country areas, the police said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 19:57:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka police detain over 100 after airport raid  - MSNBC

Railways open new route for arms smuggling, fear police
TOI, 9 August. Are the railways being used to smuggle arms and ammunition in Mumbai? This is the suspicion hounding railway cops, after the seizure of electronic goods from the Chennai Mail. The Government Railway Police (GRP) had, on August 2, seized a huge quantity of electronic items worth Rs 2.41 crore as it arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) at 4 am. The goods had come in 142 cartons in the form of parcels, in the break van of the Chennai Mail. Incidentally, the goods came from Sri Lanka to Chennai via the sea route, from where it was sent to Mumbai by train. "With such easy access, we have a strong suspicion that this route must have been used for smuggling a huge quantity of foreign-made arms and ammunition," said a GRP officer. "We had earlier arrested many people from Uttar Pradeh and Bihar who tried to sneak into Mumbai with a small quantity of country-made revolvers on their person. But this seizure has opened a new angle for investigation," the officer said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 07:32:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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.
Published: Wed Aug 8 23:48:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
5 airports identified ultra-hyper sensitive  - TOI
Sri Lanka's main port under navy protection  - Yahoo Asia
Sri Lanka tightens port security  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lanka security tight for first top meet after airport attack  -

Two Lankan athletes arrested for shoplifting, Susanthika disqualfied on an unfortunate day
Dulshan de Silva in Colombo, 11.00 a.m. SLT Thursday August 9th 2001. In a day full of shocks for Sri Lanka at the World athletics championships, Susanthika Jayasinghe crashed out of the 200 meters first round at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton while disciplinary standard of the team further nose-dived as two team members were arrested by Canada police for shoplifting in downtown Edmonton.

Jayasinghe finished fifth in her heat and achieved a time of 23.10 secs. that would have been good enough to qualify her for the semi finals to be run today but was disqualified for running out of lane. "That was the best I could do. I simply can't run any faster. Though my mind urges me to do better, my legs won't budge" she said about her timing. Meanwhile Damayanthi Darsha gave an unexpected bonus for the Lankans winning the first heat of the 200 meters event and returning an excellent timing of 22.88 secs.. Darsha qualified for the semifinals as the eighth fastest and said she is determined to do well in the semis. Jayasinghe said she wished from the bottom of her heart that Darsha Should get all the strength and encouragement to bring glory to Sri Lanka, though she (Jayasinghe) was unable to do so. Meanwhile relay runners Sumedha Arunashantha Fernando and Prasanna Amarasekara were caught shoplifting and were arrested. Team manger Brigadier Palitha Fernando confirmed the news and said he was able to get the two released from the remand jail after negotiating with the police.
Published: Thu Aug 9 01:05:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan referendum still hangs in balance
DeccanHerald, 09 August 2001. Frederica Jansz:The proposed referendum in Sri Lanka hangs in the balance as senior ministers in President Chandrika Kumaratunga's cabinet confided that more than 50 per cent of her ministers are against the holding of the poll. Kumaratunga recently told Colombo-based diplomats she is determined to go ahead with the poll (The referendum has been postponed to October 18). The President has emphasised the need for a new constitution in order to lend the ruling party a majority in Parliament. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 06:36:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

South Asian unions plan anti-IMF stance
BBC South Asia, Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK . Union leaders from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and India are taking part in the four day seminar to develop a regional stance against IMF and World Bank policies that reduce jobs and make sacking workers easier. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 08:20:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
South Asia battles to beat WTO meet  -

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

India, Pakistan officials schedule key talks, Aug 09 2001 12:49 IST. Top foreign ministry officials from India and Pakistan have scheduled crucial bilateral talks in Colombo this week on the sidelines of a South Asian regional meeting, officials said Thursday. India's foreign secretary Chokila Iyer and her Pakistan counterpart Inamul Haq would meet at the de luxe Taj Samudra hotel at noon Friday, officials said. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 04:39:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
South Asia looks to trade pact to revive grouping  -
Sri Lanka seeks revival of grouping hit by Indo-Pak bickering  -

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 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
Related News Stories
Postponed Lankan vote surprises none  - Dawn

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
Lankan Air Force continues to pound LTTE base  - indiainfo

South Asia meet honours Nepal's slain king, Aug 09 2001 14:16 IST. South Asia's top diplomats Thursday paid their respects to Nepal's slain king Birendra, who was a founding member of their regional grouping. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 05:18:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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

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

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 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
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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

Devi Shakti' Banu fears for her life
TOI, 9 Thursday. BANGALORE: After keeping a low profile for nine months, Kannada film icon Rajkumar's `Devi Shakti' (goddess) Banu has chosen to resurrect herself. But she fears for her life and is reluctant to open up. More...
Published: Thu Aug 9 06:54:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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