Sri Lanka Narrow Escape

Attack in the meeting room

The parliamentary committee room erupted with applause when Sri Lankan President Junius Jayewardene walked in. It was the ruling United National Party's first caucus meeting since Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had signed the historic July 29 accord aimed at ending four years of bitter civil strife in Sri Lanka. Obviously enjoying the tribute to his peacemaking efforts, Jayewardene smiled and then called the meeting to order.

He did not have long to savor the accolade. Less than 20 minutes later, as an aide leaned past the seated President, a door burst open and a shot was fired at...