The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 18, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 134

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
Aftershocks of airport attack crippling Sri Lanka economy
Yahoo Asia, August 19. Sri Lanka's exports had dipped and growth forecasts were already in tatters when Tamil rebels attacked the country's only international airport, but the aftershocks are taking a heavier toll.Nearly four weeks after the attack on the Bandaranaike International airport where four civilian passenger jets were completely destroyed and two more damaged, the economy is reeling. Thousands of jobs are being cut. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 22:26:18 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
Team to study Lanka airport raid
Yahoo India, August 19. A six-member Bureau of Civil Aviation Security delegation left here today on a two-day visit to Colombo to study the recent LTTE attack at the Colombo airport. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 22:27:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Black box found - after plane crash at Katunayake
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3 p.m. SLT Saturday August 18. A team investigating the crash of a MIG -27 aircraft, belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force,at Katunayake this morning, have found the planes black box.

Eyewitness accounts say that the aircraft crashed into a two story house situated close to the main international airport and the Sri Lanka Air Force base at Katunayake. The Russian pilot in the aircraft was killed instantly.

Police say that seven other people have been admitted to the Negombo Hospital with burn injuries as a result of the accident.

The plane came down on a highly residential area at Katunayake.

The road between the 18th mile post and the 20th mile post on the main Colombo-Katunayake highway, which was temporarily closed soon after the accident, has now been re-opened to traffic.

The aircraft crashed at around 11.20 this morning. The reason for the accident is yet to be determined.
Published: Sat Aug 18 05:07:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Pilot killed as MiG crashes in Colombo  - The Hindu (International)
SLAF Mig 27 crashes  - TamilNet
Russian Pilot believed dead in air crash at Katunayake  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Fighter Plane crashes at Seeduwa  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Military jet crashes near Sri Lanka airport  -

Train crash kills 13 in Sri Lanka, Aug 18 2001 20:17 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 18 (AFP) - A passenger train derailed in northwestern Sri Lanka Saturday, killing at least 13 passengers and wounding over 50 others, police said. Three compartments of the train, on its way to the capital Colombo, derailed at Alawwa, 70 kilometres (43 miles) northeast of here, police said. The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 11:26:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Thirteen people killed in train derailment in northwestern Sri Lanka  - MSNBC
13 Killed in Sri Lanka Train Wreck  - Nothern Light

Chemical arms report enrages Lankan army
TOI, August 18. ri Lanka's army commander Lieutenant-General Lionel Balagalle on Saturday accused a local newspaper of compromising national security by charging that the military was using weapons with chemical warheads but fell short of a complete denial."The government wishes to refute categorically reports that it has recently acquired weapons with chemical warheads. No such procurement has been made and there are no plans to obtain them," a government communique said. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 17:44:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka says it has no chemical weapons, calls Tamil rebel charge 'bogus'  - The Province
No chemical weapons, says Sri Lankan Govt.  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lanka denies warhead charge  - BBC South Asia
Aug. 17 (23 :00) Sri Lankan government rejects chemical weapon charge - COLOMBO  - Kyodo News
Sri Lanka army chief denies bribery  - BBC

Sri Lanka's denial fails to pacify Tamil leaders
The Hindu (International), 19-08-2001 . Sri Lanka's denial that it has bought chemical weapons, an accusation made against it by the LTTE, has failed to pacify Tamil leaders. Thirteen Tamil members of Parliament in Opposition today met to condemn the Government for the acquisition of the Russian-made RPO-A Shmel rocket launcher, which they described as a chemical weapon. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 17:18:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Controversial weapon meant for genocide alleges MP  - Tamilnet
Lankan govt condemned for acquiring rocket launchers  - Indiainfo

New solar system fails to enthuse Clarke
TOI, August 18. World renowned science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke said on Saturday that the discovery of a new planetary system similar to the one we live in by a group of US Astronomers was an interesting and important finding but quite trivial.Clarke who predicted many years ago that life existed beyond earth said it was far more important to pursue the discovery of life form in Mars, which is closer to Earth. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 15:06:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Pakistan, Lanka to discuss free trade agreement
TOI, August 18. A Pakistani delegation would be visiting Sri Lanka next month to finalise the details of a free trade agreement (FTA) likely to be signed by the two countries in December.Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood, who would head the delegation, told IANS: "Though both sides have agreed in principle to enter an FTA, many issues have to be resolved before signing the agreement." More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 15:08:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka rebels warn of 'liberation'
CNN, 15:30GMT 18 Aug 2001. Residents of the northern city of Jaffna are bracing for a bloody suicidal showdown between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops. In a statement to the local Udhayan newspaper, the region's 500,000 residents, most of whom are Tamils, were told to "cooperate with the freedom fighters to hasten the day of liberation." More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 11:30:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Dilhara Fernando - The new dangerman for India
Yahoo India, August 19. As if Sanath Jayasuriya and Muthiah Muralitharan were not enough, India now have to contend with the firepower of Dilhara Fernando too in the next two Tests. The latest Sri Lankan pace discovery tormented the Indian batting line-up, finishing with match-figures of six for 77 in the first Test at Galle which the hosts won by ten wickets. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 22:28:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Cricket-Injuries, batting woes plague India in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo India
Srinath has fracture, ruled out for 2 other Tests  - Yahoo India
Srinath ruled out for rest of Lanka series  - The Hindu NUS

Cricket-Pace bowler Perera reported for throwing
Yahoo India, august 18. Sri Lanka paceman Suresh Perera has been reported for a suspect bowling action during the first test against India in Galle. Perera, a 23-year-old all-rounder, was reported by West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor during the test, a Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) statement said on Saturday. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 14:53:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lakbima journalist interdicted
Saroj Pathirana in London. Saturday 18/08/01 1700 GMT

Buddhika Weerasinghe, a senior journalist and photographer of "Lakbima" Sinhala weekly has been sacked by the management of Sumathi publishers group. He was requested not to report to the work from Friday the 17th of August. It was Mr. Weerasinge's recent article to Ravaya weekly that led to his interdiction, according to Sumathi publishers.

Buddhika Weerasinghe has actively been campaigning against those responsible for the attack on journalists on the 15th of July 1999. The journalists were attacked allegedly by the Presidential Security Division (PSD) when they tried to report an opposition protest calling for the abolition of the executive presidency. Buddhika Weerasinghe’s camera and mobile phone were also stolen allegedly by the PSD. He was thereafter suspended and recently transferred to "Samudura" weekly.

A court action against the theft of the cellular phone was rejected by the Gampaha magistrate two weeks ago due to lack of evidence. The magistrate however expressed her disappointment over the police investigation. Lakbima, run by ousted BCCSL (Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka) president Thilanga Sumathipala's family, has also been indirectly critisised by the said article over the lack of enthusiasm even to report the court verdict though it was related to one of it’s own employees.

However, Mr. Weerasinghe denies the charges on breaching the contract with the company by writing an article to a newspaper outside Sumathi Publishers. "I did not write that article" he told The Lanka Academic. "It was based on my interview with a Ravaya journalist Sunil Jayasekara. It was Ravaya's decision to publish it with my by-line. More-over, Ravaya interviewed me on my capacity as former Secretary and current assistant Secretary of the Association of Professional Photographers in Sri Lanka. It has nothing to do with me personally".
Published: Sat Aug 18 12:59:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan aboriginal community given cattle after giving up hunting, Aug 18 2001 16:44 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 18 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's aboriginal Veddha community which has decided to stop its traditional hunting practices were Saturday gifted with cattle by the country's influential Buddhist clergy. Buddhist monks donated 115 cows and bulls to the Veddhas at a temple ceremony in Colombo. More...
Published: Sat Aug 18 11:27:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition warning bell for Chandrika
TOI, August 17. Sri Lanka's opposition parties met in Parliament on Friday for a crucial meeting that proved they still have the numbers to defeat the government despite President Chandrika Kumaratunga proroguing the House and attempting to split them. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 14:42:26 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
S. Lanka Opposition Unite on Motion  - Nothern Light
Sri Lanka's opposition to pursue no-confidence motion in Parliament  - ABC News
SL crisis deepens as majority legislators stake claim  - TamilNet
Lankan Oppn to go ahead with no-confidence motion  - TOI
Opposition storms Sri Lankan Parliament  -
Sri Lanka opposition assembles in parliament in defiance of president  -

Deputy Ministers quit to strengthen Chandrika's hands
South Nexus, COLOMBO, Aug 18. Thirty-eight junior Ministers in Sri Lanka handed over undated resignation letters to President Chandrika Kumaratunga to give her a free hand to deal with the current political crisis. "This is a move to strengthen the hands of the President and foil attempts by reactionary forces to subvert the People's Alliance Government," T B Ekanayake, secretary of a forum of Deputy Ministers, said. "We will stand by whatever decision the President makes," he said. The offer to quit en masse comes in the wake of concerted moves by the opposition United National Party to unseat the minority PA Government, even while behind-the-scenes talks are going on to form a 'Government of national reconciliation' comprising the PA and the UNP. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 13:23:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's Deputy Ministers Offer Resignation  - Nothern Light

Chandrika Govt. warned over Parliament closure
The Hindu NUS, Colombo, Aug. 17. (PTI). Sri Lanka's combined Opposition today warned President Chandrika Kumaratunga against keeping Parliament closed beyond its due date of reopening on September 7 and asked her minority government to either face the House or order fresh elections. One hundred and thirteen MPs from various parties - a majority in the 225-member House - met in the parliamentary complex under the chairmanship of Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and passed half a dozen resolutions in a show of strength and defiance against any attempt to extend the suspension of Parliament, which now stands prorogued till September 7. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 07:22:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Face House or order polls: Lankan Oppn  - Indiainfo

Science Group Protests Sri Lankan Biotech Ban; AgBioWorld Foundation Calls for Support of Beneficial Technology
Yahoo, August 17. The AgBioWorld Foundation today called upon the Sri Lankan government to rethink its ban on biotechnology food imports imposed earlier this month. ``This was a reckless decision,'' said C.S. Prakash, professor of plant genetics and president of the AgBioWorld Foundation. ``And it will prevent the Sri Lankan people from benefiting from this safe and promising technology.''``The decision by Sri Lanka, or any government, to prevent its citizens from sharing in the benefits of biotechnology is short-sighted and immoral,'' said Prakash, and he added that ``biotechnology provides a valuable tool for developing countries to produce more food locally and in an environmentally sustainable manner.'' More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 15:04:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Economic slide expected to force Chandrika-Ranil settlement
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 6.33 PM SLT August 17,2001 . The current rapid economic slide is expected to force President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Leader of the Opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe to come to a settlement in the next ten or fifteen days,political observers feel.

There is a growing view that the West,led by the United States,is putting pressure on both the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) and the opposition United National Party (UNP) to come to a settlement to put the economy back on its rails,get the democratic institutions working,kick start the peace process and give stability to the extremely shaky political system.

Though many would say that the hike in the war risk insurance premia by the London-based underwriters is based purely on a rational assessment of the security risk following the July 24 attack on the Bandaranaike International Airport by the LTTE,there is a growing body of opinion that such a step would not have been taken without the blessings/prodding of Western governments,meaning the United States,UK, and the European Union.India may have been happy going along too.

If nothing is done to settle matters,the Sri Lankan economy will go into a tailspin very soon.The war risk insurance hike ( the additional premium being between USD 150,000 to USD 600,000 per vessel ) is expected to lead to Colombo port,the only international port in Sri Lanka,losing 60% of its cargo capacity.This would drastically curtail export and import.The dwindling capacity will lead to a hike in charges.The shipping lines have already announced that they are going to charge USD 350 to USD 500 per 20' container and USD 700 to USD 1000 per 40' container.The feeder lines have increased the war risk surcharge for 20 ' containers from USD 30 to USD 150 and for 40' containers from USD 60 to USD 300.This is going to cripple transhipment which accounts for 68% of the throughput of Colombo port.All this is going to be passed on to the consumers,already burdened by mounting prices.

International airlines are now adding USD 40 per one way ticket and USD 80 per return ticket as the war risk surcharge.Travel agents say that only those who must travel will travel.Tourism is going to be hit hard.The chartered flights operated by well known international companies are viewing Colombo with the greatest suspicion and their decision is important because they account for 70% of the tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka.Major operators like Monarch of UK, and LTU and Candor of Germany are wanting to divert their clients to Goa in India and the Maldives.Kouni of UK and TUI of Germany have temporarily suspended their Sri Lankan operations.

All this has led to 90% of the hotel bookings for August being cancelled,according to the CEOs of John Keells,Aitken Spence,Jetwing and Hemas/Serendib hotel chains.Many hotels are locking up rooms,and John Keells has closed "Swanee" and "Bayroo".The captains of the hotel industry have warned that if the tourism driven economy of south Sri Lanka collapses,there could be mass social disaffection in that region.The south had seen bloody insurrections in 1971 and 1988-89, with tens of thousands being killed in cold blood.

MPs across the board are of the view that a national government of the PA, UNP and other parties should be formed without delay.But all efforts to bring President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Leader of the UNP Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe to see the writing on the wall and come to an understanding has failed.Mrs.Kumaratunga will not give in a wee bit to accommodate Mr.Wickremesinghe's demand that she clip her wings and he be made Prime Minister with enhanced powers.Mr.Wickremesinghe will not allow his party to take ministership without himself being a Prime Minister with enhanced powers.

Cabinet ministers hope that over a period of time,the two would see reason and come down from their high horses.Hopefully,the re-opening of parliament on September 7 and the possibility of taking up the motion of no-confidence will bring about a settlement.Today,the combined opposition demonstrated that it has 115 out of 225 members,that is the majority.This is a wake call to President Kumaratunga to act, though the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna's being in the opposition does not mean that it will vote with the opposition on the no-trust issue and topple her government.

Nobody wants a dissolution of parliament, and the possibility or threat of dissolution is expected to play a critical role in bringing stability to the present very fluid political situation.There are extremists in the cabinet who feel that the President should go in for a re-prorogation of parliament ( which she can under the constitution ) to buy more time.She could take this route.If she fails again,she could order fresh elections in October and leave the matter to the people at large.Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Fri Aug 17 08:35:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan jets bombard LTTE base
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Friday, August 17, 2001. Sri Lankan Air Force jets today bombarded a suspected LTTE base in the island's east even as six rebels were killed in two different skirmishes with troops in the country's north, a military spokesman said. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 10:18:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan jets hit another Tiger jungle base  -

As Sri Lanka War Brings Ruin, Villages Live Off It
Yahoo, August 17. FREE Registration Required at NYT site to read this article "The children from the villages are fodder," said Lance Cpl. Gamini Premaranthna, who joined the army 11 years ago when he was 19. "None of the bigwigs' children go. All the politicians shouting that we must have a military solution don't have sons in the war. It's only the village boys. The war would end sooner if the rich were dying too."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: Fri Aug 17 09:34:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Enemies in our midst
National Post, AUgust 16. The Tamil Tigers, described in a March, 2000, report for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service as one of the "most proficient and dangerous guerrilla/terrorist groups in the world," take Ottawa's lack of anti-terrorist resolve as an invitation to use Canada as a key prop to its campaign of murder and terror in Sri Lanka. The Tigers' Ottawa-based Web site offers links to the terrorists' press releases, radio shows and pictures. It runs an online store selling videos, books and audio tapes, which at least indirectly, support further murder. Canada is used and has been used as a soft touch for terrorists for too long. Our laws make it easy to launder money through charitable organizations. Our failure to investigate and prosecute terrorist activity has allowed them to live at ease among us More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 00:12:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Jubilant Sri Lanka break 16-year drought as India crumble
Yahoo Asia, Auguat 17. Sri Lanka's captain Sanath Jayasuriya warned team-mates of an Indian backlash after the tourists crashed to a 10-wicket defeat in the first Test here on Friday. "We expect them to fight back," Jayasuriya said as his team wrapped up the match before lunch on the fourth day to secure Sri Lanka their first win against India in 16 years. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 07:23:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka beat India by ten wickets  - NDTV/MSNBC
Cricket-Pressure mounts on skipper Ganguly after test defeat  - Yahoo
Pathetic display by Indian batsmen  - Yahoo India
Cricket-Jayasuriya happy but warns against complacency  - Yahoo India

Sri Lanka ports in crisis
BBC South Asia, Friday, 17 August, 2001, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK . A Sri Lankan delegation plans to meet with London insurers and attempt to persuade them that Colombo port is not a high risk. Lloyds of London, the leading shipping insurer, have labelled the entire island a war risk zone following last month's rebel attack on the airport. Already, the cost of docking in Colombo is so high that some shipping operators plan to bypass the port. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 09:28:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka cuts charges to woo airlines, shipping  - Yahoo

Diplomatic Highlight / Envoy preparing for 50th anniversary of bilateral relations
Daily Yomuiri, August 17. During the war, the Japanese bombed Colombo, Sri Lanka's commercial capital, and Trincomalee, a port city and a major British base. But as a representative from the former British colony, Junius Jayawardena, then finance minister of Sri Lanka, attended the peace treaty conference and argued that Japan should not be punished harshly, citing a Buddhist teaching on forgiving the defeated. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 07:45:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Transgenic vegetables to hit the market in 2 yrs
Indiainfo, August 12. Visakhapatnam: Farmers can grow pest-resistant, high yielding transgenic varieties of brinjal, cabbage and tomato in about two years, with scientists all set to go in for multi-location testing of the seeds they had developed. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 08:25:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tigers blame Sri Lanka for failure of peace moves, call for fresh bid, Aug 17 2001 12:58 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 17 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger separatists have accused the government of scuttling Norway's attempts to broker peace and called for a fresh bid to end decades of bloodshed, a radio report said Friday.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels told the BBC that they wanted to end the conflict which has killed more than 60,000 people. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 07:21:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE accuses Lanka of scuttling peace moves  - South Nexus

Sri Lankan Airlines to resume flights to Delhi
South Nexus, COLOMBO, Aug 18. Sri Lankan Airlines said, it will resume its flights to New Delhi next month after one of its aircraft damaged in Tamil rebel attack becomes air worthy. "Indeed we are going to re-link New Delhi with Colombo from Sept 1," airlines' spokeswoman, Manuela Motha said. There will, however, be reduced frequency. Instead of four times a week before the rebel attack, the airline will now fly twice a week on Fridays and Sundays from Colombo. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 19:41:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka to resume flights to Delhi from Sept  - Indiainfo
Rebel-hit SriLankan Airlines Airbus to fly again  -

Sri Lanka cuts charges to woo airlines, shipping, Aug 17 2001 16:43 IST. COLOMBO, Aug 17 (AFP) - Sri Lanka Friday introduced cheaper fuel and free ground handling services for international airlines and shipping companies in a bid to coax them back to the war-troubled country. The move is intended to offset hefty war-risk premiums slapped on companies operating in Sri Lanka after last month's rebel attack on the island's only airport. More...
Published: Fri Aug 17 13:27:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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