The Lanka Academic

 
OCTOBER 9, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 187
 

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ASK KARU!
The Lanka Academic is delighted to introduce the second guest for our online "Question and Answer" session: Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the spokesperson of the United National Party. Send in your questions and receive answers! ANSWERS TO THE FIRST BATCH OF QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN POSTED. "Answers"
ASK MANGALA!
The Lanka Academic carried an online "Question and Answer" sessions with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe from September 1, 2000 through September 24, 2000. You can view the questions from visitors like you and the answers by Mr. Moonesinghe here.
A BILL
The Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka
[PDF Version]

(The proposed new constitution)
 
WEATHER CENTRAL
Current Colombo weather
CNN Colombo forcast
Satellite pix (visible)
Satellite pix (infrared)
Where is MIR today?
 
"WE ARE NOT A COMMUNAL PARTY" - SIHALA URUMAYA DEPUTY SECRETARY
Bandula Jayasekera, in Colombo. Anuradha Yahampath, a 37 yearold mother of three children, (her youngest child is only two weeks old) is the deputy secretary of Sihala Urumaya. She is also in charge of the party's publicity campaign. Yahmapath was educated at Visakha Vidyalaya in Colombo and graduated from the University of Leeds with a B. A. (Hon) degree in textile design. She is a company director and is involved with her family business. Yahampath is contesting from the Colombo district as a candidate from Sihala Urumaya. `Lacnet' met up with Anuradha Yahampath who seems to be making an attempt to breath fresh air to the election campaign in the island. More...
US GREEN CARD LOTTERY
DV-2002
US State Department. Colombo, 4 August 2000 - The U.S. State Department announced on July 31 that the mail-in period for the next U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2002) will run from noon, October 2, through noon, November 1, 2000. There is no application fee and no special application form is required. The application with the necessary information can simply be typed on a blank sheet of paper. More...
 The Lanka Academic News stories are provided by independent correspondents. Views expressed are not necessarily those of LAcNet. Updates are triggered by events, 24hrs a day. Funding is provided by LAcNet. Redistribution is strictly prohibited. To ensure our continued existence, please support LAcNet.
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Electorates to watch
Nilan Fernando in Colombo, 10:00am SLT Tuesday October 10. In its final pre-election communiqué and press conference on October 9, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violece (CMEV) said that "Based on monitors' reports, international observer assessments, police complaints and follow-up," 19 of Sri Lanka's 160 electorates "have been so flawed during the campaign, the voters so intimidated that the final outcome of voting may be significantly distorted." These 19 electorates are located in Gampaha, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Badulla, Moneragala, Kegalle, and Jaffna districts.

In addition to these 19 electorates, CMEV said pre-election violence and intimidation in a further 29 electorates has been of "sufficient magnitude to contaminate the election result even if no further violence take place on October 10. These 29 electorates are located in Gampaha, Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Badulla, Moneragala, Kegalle, Wanni, and Digamadulla districts.

Furthermore, CMEV argues that the election is "non-viable" in the 18 electorates in the "uncleared areas and regions of current conflict and civilian displacement" in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Mannar, and Jaffna districts.

For CMEV's complete report, click on CMEV's link at LAcNet Election Central. For maps and graphics showing "electorates to watch" also click on Election Central.
Published: Mon Oct 9 23:48:09 EDT 2000


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Sri Lanka begins voting in key parliamentary polls
MSNBC, Oct 10 2000 06:57 IST. Voting began amid tight security on Tuesday in Sri Lanka's crucial parliamentary polls, with President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ambitious plan to end the country's protracted ethnic war the key issue at stake. Some 9,946 polling stations across much of the country opened at 7 a.m. (0100 GMT) and will close at 4 p.m. First results are expected late on Tuesday. After a slow start, polling started to pick up in the capital Colombo, witnesses said. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 23:13:41 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka votes in key parliamentary polls  - MSNBC
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Polls begin in Sri Lanka, peace the main issue  - Virtual New York
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Sri Lanka holds key poll  - BBC South Asia
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Brisk polling underway in Sri Lanka amid tension  - 123India.com
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Voting begins in Sri Lanka amid tension  - 123India.com

People in Jaffna express their views
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 5.30 a.m. 10 October. By Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna- ‘The Lanka Academic’ spoke to number of people in Jaffna and asked them for their views on the eve of the general elections. However it was difficult to get the views of the women folk in Jaffna. They all refused. But, the agony of war was written all over their faces. Here is what our people living in the land of the broken palmyrah had to say.

P. Baskaran, Returning Officer-“ it is difficult for me to say if the elections will be free and fair” R. Rasiah -Public servant. ( Name changed on request) “ People in Jaffna don ’t like people carrying arms. But, the EPDP has done a lot. TULF is a decent party but, they have done nothing”

N. Pathmaseelan, Associate Editor of ‘Uthayan’ newspaper- People are not interested in elections. Our problems are not solved. We have no trust in any of the candidates. Many still believe that the LTTE could do something for the Tamil people. TULF and the LTTE may compete hand in hand. But, we expect some sort of rigging”

K. Maheshwaran- Accountant, Cement Corporation- “We don’t feel like voting. All candidates tried to give us hope but we have no hope. People in Jaffna hate violence and we are innocent people. We need to lead a normal life. TULF have done nothing. Look what Thondaman and Ashraff did for their people. EPDP is doing something but, they carry guns and we don’t like that. I live in Jaffna with many problems because I have no where else to go”

Anandanayagam- Shop keeper- “We will vote for the TULF because they are the only unarmed party in Jaffna. But, we also know that they cannot solve our problems. We may have a free and a fair election only in the town area but I have my doubts about the islands.

R. Francis- Salesman- “All candidates are out of date. No one is interested about our aspirations. We ask only for one thing which is peace.”
Published: Mon Oct 9 19:42:19 EDT 2000


We need a multi-voice in Jaffna. Not multi-barrels –Douglas Devananda
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.45 a. m 10 October. By Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna- “Jaffna is not like Colombo. At least 500 people come to see us everyday. We don’t campaign, we only help people” said Douglas Devananda leader of EPDP when ‘The Lanka Academic’ met him at his fortress like office at Sridhar cinema in Jaffna on the eve of the general elections. Douglas Devananda has been in Jaffna for the past three months trying to reach out to his people and win the elections in Jaffna. People come to see him and he does not move around much. The EPDP leader is guarded by security men carrying Israeli made Uzi machine guns. He still fears for his life. The bearded ex- militant has not forgotten the Kalutara prison incident, where the LTTE suspects tried to kill him. Devananda remains as one of LTTE’s prime targets.

Devananda said, “Main message of my campaign is that we are working on a programme within a united Sri Lanka and we are asking for a honourable solution to the Tamil problem. Our party support the government and there is no doubt about that.” Douglas is busy, his five telephones rings at the same time. While on the phone he opens his drawer and hands me an EPDP key tag and a pocket calendar.

Devananda expects today’s election to be free and fair and for the EPDP to win. He said, “ We have to start some where in a war torn area. This may be the best start.” Stroking his beard Deva strikes a defiant note “People in Jaffna does not want the LTTE to come back. We need a multi-voice instead of the multi-barrel.”

The day has dawned, and it is time again for people of Jaffna to decide. But, one thing I am sure. They are just fed up.
Published: Mon Oct 9 18:59:30 EDT 2000


LTTE can be defeated militarily –Jaffna Commander
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 10.50 p.m. 9 October. By Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna- Security forces commander in the North, Major General Anton Wijendra said today that the LTTE can be defeated militarily and it is only a matter of time. Speaking to ‘The Lanka Academic’ in Jaffna this morning the General said, “We can win. But, it is difficult to put a time frame. We need to recruit more soldiers and get more weapons. We are also getting support and we don’t feel isolated. India is helping us with naval operations” The General admitted that LTTE is a heavily armed group and the delaying factor has been their guerilla tactics and the army’s concern for the safety of the civilians in the area where fighting take place. Wijendra also said the LTTE is not strong enough to take on the Jaffna peninsula and accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of using child soldiers in front lines. “They are used as cannon fodder and they don’ t use cyanide like others when they are captured” Major General Wijendra added.

The Northern Commander said that the LTTE will have to come to the negotiating table when they realize, they cannot hold on any more. He is of the opinion that military action must go on while discussions take place. When ‘The Lanka Academic’ questioned Major General Wijendra about the statement made by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayke that Elephant Passwould be captured before the general elections, he replied “The statements published in the newspapers does not affect me at all. My orders come to me directly and I am not under any pressure. I have not given any time frame to re-capture Elephant Pass”
Published: Mon Oct 9 13:03:16 EDT 2000

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Rebels launch offensive ahead of elections in Sri Lanka  - Virtual New York

Election Eve - Photo Gallery
Yahoo/AP PHOTO, 10 October 2000. Election staff transport ballot boxes under heavy police protection as preparations for Tuesday's parliamentary elections get underway in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Oct. 9 2000. About 40,000 police officers,around half the force, are being deployed to maintain security at the polls. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 23:59:46 EDT 2000

Kumaratunga rapped for misusing govt media
Yahoo, Colombo, Oct 9 2000. Three independent media watchdogs slammed Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Government on Monday on the eve of national elections for misusing state-run media to smear and undermine the opposition.The Centre for Policy Alternatives and Inform, both Sri Lankan bodies, and the London-based Article 19 said in a joint statement that Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) was "advancing the opinions and candidates of the ruling party at the expense of balanced debate." The statement said: "There is a legal duty upon the public-funded media to present unbiased and impartial news," pointing out that this was clearly stated in two Sri Lankan laws.The government-controlled Daily News on Monday published a front-page story predicting a 57.1 per cent victory for the PA in the 225-seat federal parliament in elections Tuesday. It was based on a survey conducted by a hitherto unknown organisation called the Sri Lanka Data Services, which claimed to have interviewed people in 19 of the country's 22 districts between September 24 and 30. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 23:26:47 EDT 2000
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Polls Chief issues stern warning against vote rigging  - Tha Island

Preferential votes hold the key
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, October 10, 2000. Sri Lanka will vote on Tuesday to elect the 11th Parliament after a month-long election campaign which showed no discernible trend in favour of any political party.On the eve of the elections, the focus is on the electoral system which has pitted candidates of the same party against one another. Over the weekend, wide publicity was given to a letter from the People's Alliance secretary and Agriculture Minister, Mr. D. M. Jayaratne, to Ms. Kumaratunga, complaining that a Cabinet colleague was planning to rig the polls. Both Ministers are candidates in the 13-member Kandy district. Mr. Jayaratne fears he might poll fewer votes than his colleague, and may either not make it to Parliament at all, or even if he does, lose his position as the leader of the district. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 16:55:24 EDT 2000
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Q&A: Sri Lanka's election  - BBC South Asia
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Sri Lanka goes to polls tomorrow  - The Hindu NUS
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Key facts about Sri Lanka's parliamentary poll  - MSNBC
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Sri Lanka voters face tough choice at close polls  - MSNBC
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Record number of parties, candidates in Lankan poll fray  - India Abroad
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Lanka goes to polls Tuesday  - ChennaiOnline
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Sri Lanka gears for horse trading ahead of parliamentary elections  - 123India.com

All set for elections in Jaffna
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.50 p.m. October 9, 2000. By Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna- K. Shanmuganathan, Government Agent in Jaffna and Chief Returning officer told ‘The Lanka Academic’ this morning that all arrangements are made to hold a free and fair election in the Jaffna peninsula tomorrow. The GA said that it would be the first elections he is conducting after the army took control of Jaffna. He said that he was satisfied with the security arrangements and expressed hope that people of Jaffna will cast their vote’s early tomorrow morning.

Shanmuganathan said “ I have not received any direct threat from the LTTE and I don’t expect them to the disrupt the elections tomorrow.” Security is very tight in Jaffna and the army has increased its security. Colonel Chandana Rupasinghe, brigade commander Jaffna said that army is guarding the outer perimeter of the polling booths while the police has taken up the security at the polling booths. All persons entering the Jaffna kachcheri today were body searched and ballot boxes were taken to the polling booths with armed escort.

Jaffna peninsula will have a total of 423 polling booths and the Government Agent has taken a decision to provide transport to displaced people to enable them to cast their votes.
Published: Mon Oct 9 12:05:48 EDT 2000

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Soldiers outnumber ballot boxes in Jaffna  - Times of India
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Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels seek to disrupt poll  - MSNBC
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Strategic Sri Lankan town prepares to vote under the shadow of the gun  - 123India.com

Lanka PM escapes LTTE assassination bid
India Abroad, Oct 09, 2000 17:10 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: A possible LTTE attempt to assassinate Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasari Wickramanayake has been averted with police seizing explosives and dynamites from three suspected Tamil tigers militants hours before he addressed an election rally at his home constituency Iiorana on Saturday, media reports said on Monday. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 11:36:50 EDT 2000
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Wickremanayake: An outsider in Sri Lanka politics  - 123India.com
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Detonators seized in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu (International)

Close finish predicted in today’s election
Island, 10 October 2000. The eleventh parliamentary election since independence to be held today, sees a record 5048 candidates from 29 political parties and 99 independent groups in the fray. The leading contenders the ruling Peoples Alliance(PA) and and the United National Party (UNP) are both confident of victory, but independent analysts and opinion polls predict a close finish in a free and fair election. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 21:46:01 EDT 2000
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Spectre of hung House looms as Lankans go to polls today  - The Hindustan Times
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Lankans hope polls will end their nightmare  - India Abroad
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Poll surveys point to hung parliament in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo
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Hung Parliament likely in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu (International)
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‘Lankan elections could result in constitutional crisis’  - India Abroad
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Sri Lanka braces for power struggle after polls  - MSNBC

War-Weary Sri Lanka Prepares for Polls
Yahoo, october 9. Thousands of armed police and paramilitary forces fanned out across Sri Lanka Monday as a tight security blanket was thrown over the war-torn country to ward off further violence ahead of parliamentary elections.In the northern Jaffna peninsula the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched a vicious ground attack on government troops in a bid to capture fresh territory, but military officials said they beat them back. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 18:26:54 EDT 2000
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Colombo residents stock up ahead of elections  - ABC News

Election to be conducted under tough Emergency laws - minus liquor
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.45 a.m. SLT Monday October 9. For the first time in Sri Lanka since Independence, the country will hold a General Election observing tough emergency laws re-enforced last week by a Special Gazette notification by President Chandrika Kumaratunge. The laws lend sweeping powers to the police and armed forces to arrest and detain persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Colombo DIG Bodhi Liyanage said today that the police have taken maximum precaution to guard against suicide bomb attacks expected to be carried out by the LTTE this week.

The blood soaked campaign this time has been marred by hundreds of incidents of election related violences including two suicide bomb attacks at Eastern Muttur and Medawachchiya. Apart from those killed in the LTTE attacks at least 15 other persons were murdered in pre election violence as a result of political rivalry. The incidents of violence has lent speculation that election violations are expected to rise, targeting both voters and candidates over the next two days.

The Government meanwhile has ordered all liquor stores to be closed for a week after election results are announced and banned any victory celebrations for a period of seven days.
Published: Mon Oct 9 01:13:23 EDT 2000

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Sri Lanka to vote under emergency and war  - 123India.com

Ranil Wickramasinghe: The opposition's hope
BBC South Asia, Monday, 9 October, 2000, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK . Fifty-one-year old Ranil Wickramasinghe is perhaps better known as the nephew of Sri Lanka's first executive president, Junius Jayewardene. A lawyer by profession, Mr Wickramasinghe comes from an affluent family. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 11:34:34 EDT 2000
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UNP confident of forming government  - The Hindu NUS
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Wickremesinghe: Struggling for success amid bombs and bullets  - 123India.com
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UNP pledges to uphold high morals  - ChennaiOnline

Chandrika Kumaratunga: Battle between war and peace
ExpressIndia.com, Sunday,October 8,2000. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga came to power promising peace in her ethnically divided nation. Six years later, she is vowing an all out war as her party faces a stiff re-election challenge. Kumaratunga, 54, is not a candidate at Tuesday's parliamentary polls, but she is leading her People's Alliance (PA) coalition in an acrimonious election campaign marred by killings and mudslinging. She advanced the presidential election by a year and won it narrowly in December, thanks partly to a huge sympathy wave following an assassination bid in which she lost her right eye just three days before the vote. Kumaratunga on Friday vowed a "no holds barred" war against the separatist LTTE, or Tamil Tiger guerrillas, who were held responsible for the attempt on her life. More...
Published: Sun Oct 8 05:09:20 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka's President Chandrika: battle between war and peace  - 123India.com
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Chandrika Kumaratunga: Politics in the blood  - BBC South Asia
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Divided Bandaranaike legacy still a factor in Sri Lankan polls  - 123India.com

Tigers mount fresh offensive on eve of Sri Lanka election
123India.com, Oct 09 2000 20:04 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 9 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas mounted a fresh offensive against security forces in the northern peninsula of Jaffna on the eve of national elections, the government said Monday. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) captured three army bunkers at Kilali after launching an assault using artillery and mortar guns, the government's Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) said. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 11:30:45 EDT 2000
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32 combatants killed in LTTE attack in Jaffna  - Times of India
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30 rebels killed in attack on Nagar Kovil  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo
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Sri Lankan rebels launch pre-poll attack in north  - MSNBC
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45 killed in heavy fighting in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo
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Lanka air force attacks LTTE position on poll eve  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Voter Strategy to Promote Peace Process
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 a.m. SLT Monday October 9. The National Peace Council in a press release issued Sunday October 8, said the issue of the north-east war and its solution emerged as one of the most, if not the most important, issue at the campaign leading to this coming Tuesday's general election.  The costs of the ongoing war have been frightfully demonstrated in the major military battles that were fought in the Jaffna peninsula, and in the suicide bombings outside of it, in the run up to the elections. 

Time and again leaders of the government, of the major political parties and even of the armed forces have said that there is no military solution to the ethnic conflict.  Yet the absence of a clear direction in regard to a political solution was manifest in the campaigns of the main political parties.

In particular, the National Peace Council is concerned about public pronouncements by leading members of the ruling PA that the government has withdrawn from the Norwegian peace mediation effort.  These politicians have also expressed their determination to achieve a military solution to end the war. 

At the same time, the ruling PA has projected itself as the party of a political solution in its advertisements and other campaign material.  There appears to be a similar disturbing dichotomy in the pronouncements of the other political parties,  including the main opposition UNP, with different members speaking in different voices.

As an organization that seeks a democratic peace, the National Peace Council calls on all people who have the vote and who can exercise it to cast their vote as the vote is a key component of the democratic process.  In addition, as an organization that seeks a negotiated peace,  the NPC calls on the voting public not to vote for those candidates who have advocated violence and war for whatever purpose in their election campaigns. 

The NPC has called on the voters to cast their preference votes only for those candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to negotiations, political reform and a peaceful settlement of the ethnic conflict.
Published: Mon Oct 9 01:13:22 EDT 2000


Five fishermen rescued from Lankan jail
The Hindu (Southern States), Tuesday, October 10, 2000. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, OCT. 9. Five fishermen from Rameswaran in Tamil Nadu, who had been languishing in a Sri Lankan prison for nearly two years, arrived here today after their rescue by a voluntary organisation, which works for the release of innocent fisherfolk arrested on the troubled Indo-Sri Lankan maritime border.The fishermen were taken into custody by the Lankan Navy commandos on the suspicion that they were working for the LTTE. On board the Navy ship, the fishermen were allegedly tortured by the military personnel. All of them still bear the marks of torture on their body. The fishermen said they were hit with rifle butts and burned with cigarette stubs. All sustained serious injuries, including fractured ribs. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 16:57:47 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Olympic Medalist Greeted By Controversy at Home
Yahoo, October 8. By all rights, Susanthika Jayasinghe should have returned from the Olympics to a hero's welcome. The 24-year-old sprinter was the first Sri Lankan athlete to win a medal in 52 years, the bronze in the 200-meter run. Moreover, as a symbol of her commitment to fair and free parliamentary elections scheduled for Tuesday, she wore a yellow ribbon on her wrist at the victory ceremony in Sydney, in addition to the medal around her neck.But in Sri Lanka, where politics often turns heroes into lightning rods for controversy and personal attack, Jayasinghe has become the focus of a scandal that includes allegations of sexual harassment, illegal use of steroids and even seven-year-old murder charges against her husband. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 12:40:24 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka to clear Jayasinghe debts  - BBC South Asia

Sri Lanka monks deny celibacy makes them indifferent to Tamil war
123India.com, Oct 09 2000 15:37 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 9 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy Monday locked horns with President Chandrika Kumaratunga over her remarks that those without children were unconcerned about the dragging Tamil separatist war. Leading Buddhist monk Maduluwawe Sobitha said that they disagreed with Kumaratunga's attitude that only parents were keen to end the conflict which has claimed over 60,000 lives in the past two decades. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 11:33:06 EDT 2000

Overwhelming bias in election broadcasting
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.30 a.m. SLT Monday October 9. As the campaigning period ends in Sri Lanka, three independent organizations today lamented the polarized media environment. Initial analysis of the results of close monitoring of the broadcast media over the last weeks by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, INFORM and ARTICLE 19 has led them to make special criticism of the government’s use of publicly-funded media. The organizations also criticized the lack of debate of substantive issues in the electronic media in general throughout the election period.

The organizations said the use of publicly-funded media to advance the opinions and candidates of the ruling party at the expense of balanced debate or comment is unacceptable both under international standards, domestic law and the Election Commissioner’s guidelines. The monitoring teams also highlighted state media channels’ use of allegations where individuals or groups accused were not given a right to reply, factual errors which remained uncorrected and “discussion” programmes in which only ruling party representatives took part.

The organizations also declared it unfortunate that the private broadcast media show strong political bias, urging them to uphold the highest standards of professional responsibility in election broadcasting, although unlike the public media they are under no international legal obligation to do so.

CPA, INFORM and ARTICLE 19 said today:

“There is a legal duty upon the publicly-funded media to present unbiased and impartial news. This is clearly stipulated in the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act. The Election Commissioner has also issued clear guidelines on bias for these elections. That the public media fail to respect these laws and guidelines and demonstrate a significant bias towards the ruling party is unacceptable.

“The need for impartiality is especially strong during an election, when voters depend on receiving full and accurate information in order to cast their ballots. State-owned media should not be partisan in their editorial line, should be obliged to represent accurately the broad spectrum of political opinion and actors, and should ensure that debates and reports are balanced. The situation is a serious indictment of the government’s commitment to true democracy and pluralistic political debate,” the organizations continued.

“We expect that the media will now respect the end of political campaigning and restrict their coverage of politicians and election-related events accordingly,” they added.

The human rights groups cited the lack of independent regulation of the state-owned media as one of the principal reasons for the pro-government bias and called upon the government to ensure that steps were taken to counter this situation immediately. They further urged the government to introduce a law presuming in favour of freedom of access to official information to counter what they refer to as “an unhealthy culture of secrecy, rumour and unsubstantiated allegations” resulting in poor quality public debate and news.
Published: Mon Oct 9 01:13:20 EDT 2000

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Kumaratunga accused of misusing state-run media for electoral gain  - 123India.com

Police prepare for polls with special security
Frederica Jansz in Colombo. The Inspector General of Police in a statement issued yesterday has asked the public to cooperate with the police in helping ensure a free and fair election tomorrow October 10. The IGP states that police personnel have been deployed in all 22 electorates and over 9000 polling booths to lend maximum security for voters. The IGP has asked the public to cast their vote as early as possible tomorrow.

Meanwhile Deputy Inspector General of Police Rienzie Perera said today that over 40,000 police officers have been deployed around all polling booths and will take up their duties today at 9 a.m. The police will further provide security for all Returning and Presiding Officers conducting election duties.

Over 12 million voters will tomorrow cast their ballot for 196 representatives who will form Sri Lanka's 11th Parliament. Eleven others will be chosen from the national lists of parties which secure a majority. Voting will begin at 7 a.m. tomorrow and end at 6 p.m. A record number of 5477 candidates are in the fray.
Published: Mon Oct 9 01:13:22 EDT 2000

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Tight security in Lanka on eve of parliamentary polls  - Yahoo
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Sri Lanka prepares to ward off election violence  - ExpressIndia.com
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Sri Lanka tightens security for crucial vote amid record bloodshed  - 123India.com
·
Security beefed up for Sri Lanka elections  - Virtual New York
·
Tight security for Sri lanka elections  - BBC South Asia

From tripartite agreement in South to North-East
The Island, october 9. On the main road from Colombo to Kamburupitiya there were several election meetings that could be seen. The numbers gathered were small, probably reflecting the lack of great public passion in the ongoing election campaign. Each of these meetings had decorations of just one colour, be it blue, green or red. But the election meeting in Kamburupitiya had all three colours, and in equal proportion and prominence. The organiser of the remarkable event that took place in Kamburupitiya was Dullas Alahapperuma. He was a former member of the JVP, but had left that revolutionary party many years ago to join in the mainstream of poltics. But his ideas are still revolutionary, though not in a topsy-turvy or bloody-minded way. Those who are close to the people and are humble could be expected to be so. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 12:52:48 EDT 2000

Election related violence continues
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.45 a.m. SLT Monday October 9. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence has recorded 1473 incidents of election related violence up to October 6, 2000. Of these 802 (54.5%) are major incidents, comprising 58 Murders, 21 Attempted Murders, 195 instances of Hurt, 27 of Grievous Hurt, 280 Assaults, 158 acts of Threat & Intimidation, 25 instances of the Misuse of State Resources, 07 Robberies and 31 acts of Arson. It is significant that 309 incidents involved the use of firearms which is 21% of the total, and is much higher than in all previous elections monitored by CMEV in the past three years.

The PA is the alleged perpetrator in 749 (50.8%), the UNP in 280 (19.0%), the JVP in 12 (0.82%), persons of unknown political affiliation 380 (25.8%). Of the 1473 incidents reported, 642 (43.6%) were complaints made by UNP supporters, 446 (30.3%) by the PA, 172 (11.7%) by the JVP, and 70 (4.8%) by persons without political affiliation. Of the 446 PA complaints, 94 (21.1%) are against fellow members of the PA, pointing to the extent of in-fighting and rivalry within the People's Alliance.

In terms of geographical location, the Western Province remains the area of greatest violence with 303 incidents, followed by the North Western Province (214), Central Province (187) and Uva Province (186). Gampaha District leads the districts in violence with 138 reports, followed by Kurunegala (113), Puttalam and Colombo (101 each), and Badulla (100).
Published: Mon Oct 9 01:13:21 EDT 2000

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India Abroad, Oct 09, 2000 14:10 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka goes to the polls Tuesday in crucial parliamentary elections amid predictions of a nail biting finish and further political and ethnic unrest for the war-weary nation. A little more than 12 million voters will choose from some 5,477 candidates, the largest number to be in the fray in any election here, to send 225 members to Parliament. According to opinion polls, the two protagonists, the ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition and the main opposition United National Party (UNP), are running neck and neck and no party may secure even a simple 113-seat majority to form a government on its own, according to some analysts. More...
Published: Mon Oct 9 04:23:22 EDT 2000

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Published: Sun Oct 8 22:45:35 EDT 2000

LTTE the biggest perpetrator of election violence
CDN, October 8. The most number of incidents relating to election violence have been committed by the LTTE and not by any other mainstream political party, sources at the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) told the Daily News yesterday. They said that 48 murders have been committed by LTTE cadres. Fifty eight killings were reported from the nominations day until yesterday. According to CMEV, supporters of the PA and UNP are allegedly responsible for six of the other seven killings. A JVPer was killed in a police shooting at Matale. More...
Published: Sun Oct 8 18:41:24 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Election Tue Will Make Or Break Peace Plan
Yahoo, Monday, October 9 8:44 AM SGT . President Chandrika Kumaratunga regards the election as a referendum on a proposed new constitution that would give more power to the regions, including the north and east where separatists are fighting for a Tamil homeland. The 55-year-old president, who herself carries the scars of her country's violence, hopes to win over moderate Tamils, dim the appeal of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and bring an end to the war which has claimed more than 63,000 lives and added an extra strand of instability to an already restless, newly nuclearized region. On Wednesday the government abandoned a Norwegian-mediated peace effort and announced it would "eradicate" the Tamil Tiger leader.The next day a suicide bomber killed himself and 12 other people at an election rally for Kumaratunga's party in Medawachchiya, 120miles northeast of Colombo. There have been several other bombings and assassination attempts during the campaign. More...
Published: Sun Oct 8 23:24:47 EDT 2000

Violence erupts in parts of Sri Lanka in a bid to intimidate opposition supporters
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2100 SLT 08.10.00. Election monitoring organizations and Opposition parties report that violence has erupted in parts of the country. The sources say government supporters have begun to cause violence to intimidate opposition activists. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said armed men have come on to the streets and begun firing into the air in Haguranketha, the electorate of Sports Minister S.B.Dissanayake. In Pahatha Dumbera in the Kandy district-the electorate of Deputy Defense Minister Anurudha Ratwatta, similar incidents have been reported.CMEV said a UNP activist was killed in Polgahawela today while a bomb was thrown into the house of a UNP activist in Beliatta in Hambanthota. In Mahiyangana electorate CMEV reports that in five places armed gangs have assaulted and threatened UNP supporters. A bomb was thrown at the house of a National Unity Alliance candidate in Kolonnawa in Colombo.
Published: Sun Oct 8 14:31:11 EDT 2000

Monitors admit high level of violence during Sri Lankan campaigning.
ABC Australia, 09 October 2000. At the invitation of Sri Lanka's National Election Commission, the polls are being monitored by observers from the European Union. Members of the E-U mission have been deployed around the country to monitor campaigning and polling. More... [Listen]
Published: Sun Oct 8 21:13:07 EDT 2000
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Published: Sun Oct 8 15:43:15 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's bloody campaign ends amid fears of Yugoslav-style uprising
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Published: Sun Oct 8 13:48:35 EDT 2000
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Published: Sun Oct 8 15:46:21 EDT 2000

Govt alleges UNP-Tiger nexus to kill Chandrika
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Published: Sun Oct 8 14:35:59 EDT 2000
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Published: Sun Oct 8 14:40:43 EDT 2000
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