The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 284

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
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UN Post- Tyrone's Name Not Endorsed by The Cabinet
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 A.M Friday 16 January. The Cabinet of ministers had not endorsed the name of minister for foreign affairs Tyrone Fernando as a candidate for the post of United Nations Secretary-General to contest from Sri Lanka in the year 2006. Though a foreign ministry press statement was issued in October last year under the headline "Cabinet endorses Tyrone's candidature for UN top post", the cabinet had only given permission to ascertain the possibilities.

The press statement said " The Cabinet last night approved Foreign Minister Tyrone Fernando's candidacy for the post of UN Secretary General which will be vacant in 2007 when present Secretary General Kofi Annan's term ends. The proposal suggesting Fernando was presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was passed unanimously, Cabinet sources said."

However, contrary to the above report, according to reliable sources, what had actually transpired at the Cabinet meeting on 8th October 2003 was quite different. According to these sources, the Cabinet did not endorse Foreign Minister Tyrone Fernando's candidature for the post of UN Secretary General. The relevant minute of the Cabinet meeting held on 08.10.2003 is as follows.

" (F) Any Other Business"

21. Cabinet authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ascertain the firm commitments and support for his candidature for the post of Secretary General of United Nations and report to Cabinet.

Action by: My/Foreign Affairs Copied to: Secretary to the Prime Minister "

However, minister Fernando had been carrying out an aggressive campaign using the foreign ministry. He had challenged any diplomat better than him to come forward and to contest for the post, which would fall vacant only in 2006 .A United Nations Wire Report filed by Respected former New York Times UN Bureau Chief Barbara Crossett says that a South Asian, Tyrone Fernando, foreign minister of Sri Lanka, the first to declare publicly that he was a candidate for the UN Secretary-Generals post has scant international experience and is not even considered a strong contender. Names mentioned so far are of Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, a well-known and popular diplomat from Bangladesh, India's Shashi Tharoor, now undersecretary general for communications at the United Nations. Thailand's Surin Pitsuwan, a former foreign minister and Singapore's Kishore Mahbubani its permanent representative at the United Nations, South Korea's Han Sung-Joo and our own former UN Under- Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanpala. However, unlike minister Fernando, none of them have announced their names as contenders for the post.
Published: Thu Jan 15 19:59:46 EST 2004

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Tamils celebrate Thai Pongal in Colombo.
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 12.25pm, SLT Jan.15, 2003. A Sri Lankan Tamils worship in a New Kathiresan Hindu temple at Welawatha, on Thursday, January. 15. Sri Lanka's minority Tamils who were at the center of two decades of civil war, joined millions of others around the world to celebrate the harvest festival, the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving. It is held to honor the Sun, for a bountiful harvest. Families gather to rejoice and share their joy and their harvests with others. The Sun is offered a "Pongal" of rice and milk, giving thanks to sun for the rich harvests reaped. More...
Published: Thu Jan 15 04:03:07 EST 2004 Back to the top

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20,000 School dropouts have returned to schools in North/East
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.45 A.M Friday 16 January. Nearly 20,000 school dropouts have returned to schools in the North East after the ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE. In the North/East, the rate of student dropout was 15%, approximately 50,000 children, four times the national average. The government has now developed an action plan to address the needs of 50,000 children affected by war. According to the office of the Commissioner General of Relief, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation 55 schools have been reconstructed by using donor fund while 93 schools have been identified for repairs in 2004 using international resources. 35,000 children in the region have been provided with tables and chairs in the classrooms.

The ministry of education is carrying out general education projects, teacher education and teacher deployment projects, rehabilitation of schools vacated by the security forces and secondary education modernization projects with the support of donors such as the World Bank, ADB, GTZ and NORAD. In the North and the East of Sri Lanka, there are 1,994 schools with a total enrolment of about 648,000.

Though the government has shown an increased interest to improve the education in the North and the East the LTTE activities targeting school children continues. Last week twenty members of the LTTE staged propaganda dramas at the Tamil Maha Vidyalaya in Vauniya during school sessions without obtaining permission from the authorities. LTTE staged the drama despite number of assurances given to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission on several occasions. Latest report released by the Refugees International pointed out that many families fear that their sons, including teenagers, will be induced to join or will be impressed into the LTTE's army and recruitment of child soldiers by the LTTE has increased since the ceasefire.

Earlier reports said that some parents have stopped their children from going to school since the LTTE is abducting unsuspecting children at the rate of nearly two a day. School children have expressed concern that they cannot concentrate on exams due to fear. One official said " The government can do this much and more. But, the LTTE must allow innocent children to study since they are the future of this country."
Published: Thu Jan 15 19:12:53 EST 2004 Back to the top

“Don’t worry” Balasingham tells Solheim
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 15, 2004, 10.56 pm. LTTE Theoretician Anton Balasingham has pledged that the LTTE would continue to safeguard the Memorandum of Understanding signed between them and the Sri Lankan government and will not defect from the peace process... Back to the top

Group attacks Christian church
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 15, 2004, 10.42 pm. Grand Thaipongal celebrations were overshadowed when a group attacked a Christian church in Pannipitiya today morning... Back to the top

Battling incest: Protecting girls from their fathers in Sri Lanka, January 14. Every year a staggering 10,000 girls in Sri Lanka face sexual abuse by their relatives in families where the mother has taken up overseas employment, with more than half the rapes committed by fathers, says a recent sample study by the Center for Women's Research (CENWOR)... Back to the top

SLFP-JVP alliance finally a reality?
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 14, 2004, 10.30 pm. Unconfirmed reports claim that the alliance between Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna would be sealed mid next week... Back to the top

Sri Lanka President sets date for deal with Marxists, January 15, 2004, 8:15 EST. COLOMBO : Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party said it had finalised an electoral pact with a leftist party as the country moved closer to snap elections amid a bitter power struggle... Back to the top

New Political Pact Shatters Peace Hopes in Sri Lanka, January 15, 2004, 12:00 PM EST. COLOMBO, Jan 15 (OneWorld) - Analysts believe Wednesday's decision to sign a pact between Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the firebrand Marxist political party -- Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) -- has dealt another blow to the fractured peace process Back to the top

Mano-Malik talks to resume this month
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 14, 2004, 10.04 pm. The committee appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to find a solution to the on-going political crisis, is expected to resume discussions before end January... Back to the top

United States gives Sri Lanka mine-detecting dogs
Associated Press, Thu January 15, 2004 08:27 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The United States has donated six mine-detecting dogs to Sri Lanka - to help remove thousands of land mines planted during the country's civil war, the U... Back to the top

India, Lanka hold talks on bilateral defence pact, January 15, 2004. India and Sri Lanka on Thursday held high level talks to discuss a bilateral defence agreement between the two countries covering military training and arms sales Back to the top

Medical test for rape claim maid
Gulf Daily News, Bahrain's leading English newspaper, January 15. Manama: SRI Lankan housemaid Fatima Reshana, who claims she was raped three times in five hours by her employer, was sent for medical tests yesterday by public prosecutors... Back to the top

Sri Lankan rebels pledge to honor cease-fire despite power struggle between government leaders
Associated Press, Thu January 15, 2004 01:22 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Tamil Tiger rebel group has promised Norwegian peace brokers it will honor a cease-fire with the Sri Lankan government despite a power struggle between government leaders that has blocked peace efforts, a pro-rebel report said Thursday... Back to the top

Chandrika's term extended secretly
Dawn, COLOMBO, Jan 13. Sri Lanka's president on Tuesday admitted holding an undisclosed swearing-in ceremony to extend her term in office for an extra year, deepening political woes which have plunged the country into uncertainty... Back to the top

Rift over Chandrika's plan to extend term
Gulf News, 15-01-2004 . Sri Lanka was heading for another political and constitutional crisis after President Chandrika Kumaratunga admitted that a second swearing- in ceremony was held after the last Presidential elections and declared that she could carry on until 2006 – a year later than she was expected to end her term... Back to the top

Mobs smash church in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu January 15, 2004 06:08 EST . - - COLOMBO,Sri Lanka - (AP) Mobs smashed furniture and statues in a Roman Catholic church before setting it ablaze Thursday in predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka - , a policeman said... Back to the top

Norwegian ambassador meets Sri Lankan Tamil rebel leader, XINHUA
Associated Press, Wed January 14, 2004 13:28 EST . - - COLOMBO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Norway's ambassador to Sri Lanka - Hans Brattskar met political wing leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels Thamilchelvan Wednesday in the rebel-held north of the country, the pro-rebel TamilNet website said. Brattskar who arrived at the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi on Wednesday morning met Thamilchelvan, political wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, for an hour and both sides had wide ranging discussions including the political situation in the south of the country... Back to the top

Thirst for coffee grows in world's biggest tea exporter _ Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Wed January 14, 2004 16:59 EST . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's tea, considered among the world's best and still the country's top export earner, now has keen competition from frothy cappuccinos, milky lattes and dark espressos... Back to the top

Lanka's defence team arrives for discussion on defence ..., January 14, 2004. New Delhi, Jan 14 (UNI) A high-level Sri Lankan defence team, led by Defence Secretary Cyril Herath, which arrived here today on a three-day official visit, will hold discussions with the Indian authorities on broad issues for a bilateral defence agreement between the two countries... Back to the top

Indo-Lanka Defence Cooperation Agreement: A matter of routine, January 14th, 2004. The proposed India-Sri Lanka Defence Co-operation Agreement is being considered with some concern by the Tamil press and politicians... Back to the top

Sri Lankan judges visit prisons so fearful suspects can stay inside
Associated Press, Wed January 14, 2004 09:54 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Judges are holding hearings in Sri Lankan prisons so some detained suspects won't have to venture to court and face rivals who might be waiting outside to kill them an official said Wednesday... Back to the top

Sumathipala case delayed
Cricinfo, Januray 14, 2004. The passport fraud case involving Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of Sri Lanka Cricket, was further delayed today after Sumathipala's lawyers claimed their client was about to undergo kidney surgery... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Why don’t displaced persons go home?
Refugees International, January 14, 2004. A ceasefire in February 2002 halted Sri Lanka’s 19-year-long civil war, but little progress has been made in achieving a lasting peace agreement between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)... Back to the top

Chandrika rules out early polls
Gulf News, january 14, 2004, 8:40 EST. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ruled out dissolution of Parliament despite speculation that the President would call for fresh parliamentary elections... Back to the top

Air Arabia takes off to Colombo in Sri Lanka, January 14, 2004. Following the success of the first two months of operations, Air Arabia LLC, UAE's national airline and first low-cost airline of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa region, made its inaugural flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka– its first flight to the Indian Sub-Continent – with Air Arabia's officials and press accompanying the flight... Back to the top

Bryan Adams to sing for peace in Sri Lanka, January 14, 2004. COLOMBO - Canadian pop icon Bryan Adams is to stop over in Sri Lanka next month to give a concert in support of the island's peace drive during a world tour, organizers said... Back to the top

With love, from Lanka, January 14, 2004. Mumbai, January 13: LAST winter, ten artists and two writers undertook an informal voyage organised by the Guild Art Gallery... Back to the top

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