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Weekly update from the Tamil press

by S.Selvakumar

The Tamil dailies gave much prominence to the killing of Batticaloa based journalist Iyathurai Nadesan, his funeral and hartals in the North and East following the slaying. The papers also editorially condemned the act. However, they chose not to point a finger at any one.

The Verakesari and Thinakkural of Tuesday carried the news of the killing of Virakesari's Battiacloa correspondent Iyathurai Nadesan as their main stories. Both papers also reported that the LTTE while condemning the killing has conferred an honour on late Nadesan recognising him as a patriot. The Virakesari in a front page editorial called upon the government to initiate immediate investigations and arrest the culprits.

LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan has praised UNP Colombo district parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan for acting independently by forming an organisation called Western Province People's Front and fielding candidates to contest the forthcoming provincial council election. Ganeshan called on Thamilselvan on Monday in Kilinochchi. The Virakesari reported that Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne has instructed the Foreign Employment Bureau to pay maximum compensation to the families of the two Sri Lankans killed in Saudi Arabia in a terrorist attack.

JVP Parliamentarian and Central Committee member R. Chandrasekeran was quoted as saying to the Thinakaran that the JVP will never contribute to weaken the UPFA government and the UNP's dream of weakening the UPFA will never be realised. The paper also said that the SLMC will submit its proposal once the peace talks between the government and the LTTE begins.

WB meets LTTE

A delegation of the World Bank was due to visit Kilinochchi on Tuesday to study the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the North and also to meet Thamilselvan for talks regarding the activities. S.P. Thamilselvan told the world Bank representatives who met him in Kilinochchi on Tuesday that the government is not equally keen in its peace efforts as much it has in obtaining financial aid from the World Bank and the IMF, the Virakesari reported on Wednesday.

A hartal was scheduled to be observed in Battiacloa and a protest rally to be held in Ampara Wednesday to protest against the killing of journalist I. Nadesan. The Thinakaran said a day of mourning has been declared in Jaffna Wednesday where the remains of the slain journalist has been brought for final rites.

Thamilselvan charged at a Kilinochchi press conference that Nadesan's killing was carried out with the knowledge of the security forces. A special CID team was despatched from Colombo on the orders of the IGP to investigate the killing.

Over 200 houses have been destroyed and property worth over Rs. 20 million looted in the Millakanda estate in Bulathsinhala in two days of violence on estate workers unleashed by thugs, the Thinakkural reported. The paper said that 20 estate workers have been admitted to the Nagoda hospital while nearly 2000 people have been displaced.

The estate workers blamed police inaction for the violence that erupted over a minor brawl at a wedding on Sunday. Indian Foreign Minister Natwarsingh told a New Delhi press conference on Tuesday that India will not seek the extradition of Prabhakaran since his country did not wish to disturb the peace initiatives in Sri Lanka. The Thinakaran on Wednesday said security has been tightened in Battiacloa following the recent spate of killings. Road blocks have been set up in many places and the Army and police are engaged in joint patrol along all roads in and around Batticaloa.

The Thinakkural on Thursday gave prominence to a prediction by Japan's special peace envoy Yakushi Akashi that the peace talks between the government and the LTTE would commence in August. He has said this after a meeting in Brussels where Sri Lanka's donor nations discussed the peace moves and the aid pledged at the Tokyo donor parley. He has also said that unless significant progress is made in the peace talks, the aid pledged will be diverted elsewhere. Thinakkural carried the full statement issued after the Brussels meeting.

Jobs from July

Government has instructed officials to conclude all interviews regarding the recruitment of unemployed graduates by June 15 and provide employment from next month.

The Virakesari on Thursday quoted Asian Development Bank's Vice President as saying that funds for rehabilitation work would be provided only after the government and the LTTE reach agreement in certain areas. However, he said that funds for humanitarian causes would be available.

UPF Parliamentarian P. Chandrasekeran has told S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi on Wednesday that Norway has felt that it would be pointless to continue the talks on peace talks since the JVP is the main partner in the UPFA government. He has further said that the President is compelled to listen to the JVP and this has retarded the progress of the talks on talks.

The Parliamentarian also requested Thamilselvan support of the TNA for his party at the forthcoming provincial council elections. The latter replied that he would let Chandrasekeran know of his decision after he meets with TNA parliamentarians on Saturday.

Deputy Media Minister Zegu Issadeen told a SLBC radio programme that the SLMC will never be able to fulfill the aspirations of the Muslim community as this was apparent by the way how the SLMC leader pleased with Norway, the Thinakaran said on Thursday.

The Thinakaran quoted India's Shipping Minister T.R. Balu as having said that the government had allocated Rs. 8 billion for preliminary work in connection with the Sedu Samudra project which when completed would relieve large ships encircling Sri Lanka when sailing to East Indian ports. It may be recalled that this project was put forward to the Indian government by a former DMK state government of Tamil Nadu and the project involves dredging of the sea in the Palk Straits.

The Thinakaran on Friday quoting an SLMC dissident the party cannot appoint new MPs in place of those who have been sacked since the latter have challenged their removal in courts. The sacked MPs could continue to be parliamentarians until the courts decide on this matter, he was further quoted as saying. China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement in Colombo aimed at increasing cashew production.

The Ceylon Workers United Front has requested the LTTE to lend co-operation to establish a political climate in the Upcountry to enable Indian origin Tamils to achieve their aspirations through political means, the Thinakaran said.

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