The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 298

Headline Summary
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New Sri Lankan opposition alliance vows to oust government
Associated Press, Thu January 29, 2004 09:06 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's new opposition alliance vowed Thursday to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe because of his government's handling of peace negotiations with Tamil rebels and the economy. The front is an alliance between the Sri Lanka - Freedom Party, headed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the Marxist People's Liberation Front opposition parties in Sri Lanka - 's Parliament.

Kumaratunga and her bitter rival, Wickremesinghe, lead different political parties and were elected separately.

``Going by the public enthusiasm since forming the alliance, I see that their hopes will be fulfilled in the near future,'' Kumaratunga said in a statement, indicating there could be snap polls.

Her statement was read by a party official.

The Freedom Party and the Marxists formed an alliance last week to oppose the government's peace moves and Tamil rebels' demands for wider autonomy. They accuse Wickremesinghe of making too many concessions to the rebels.

Wickremesinghe runs the government's day-to-day affairs but Kumaratunga controls the military and has the power to sack the government and call for fresh elections.

``Through privatization the government has brought this country to slavery and is leading it to division,'' Marxist leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said.

Amarasinghe returned to Sri Lanka - from London on Jan. 20. His party led armed struggles to overthrow the Sri Lankan government in 1971 and 1987, costing some 70,000 lives. It shed its militancy and entered mainstream politics in 1994.

Amarasinghe fled to Europe in 1989 after the government crushed the second insurrection. He returned for a brief period in 2001.

He pledged the alliance would promote the nation's economy, democracy and an independent foreign policy.

``We don't want a slavish foreign policy. Though we are a small country, it is our right to have a dignified foreign policy,'' he said.

The Marxists accuse Wickremesinghe of following a pro-West stand.

Amarasinghe said the alliance will identify and solve the ``true problems'' confronting minority Tamils. He did not elaborate.

The Marxists are known to oppose devolving powers to the Tamil-majority northeast, where the rebels demand greater economy.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam rebels have fought the government since 1983 to carve out a separate nation for minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination.

About 65,000 people were killed in the fighting, which was stopped by a Norway-brokered cease-fire in February 2002.

In peace talks that followed, the Tigers agreed to accept regional autonomy instead of total independence. The peace process is currently suspended because of the bitter power struggle between Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe.
Published: Thu Jan 29 11:46:46 EST 2004

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Sri Lankan cricket board to elect members in March
Associated Press, Thu January 29, 2004 09:28 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's cricket board, the country's most prestigious sports body despite accusations of fraud and passport forgery against its president, will elect new members in March, an official said Thursday. After his election to a third term last June, Sumathipala renamed the cricket board Sri Lanka - Cricket and converted its governing body into a corporation to look after the sport's business interests.

The board earns income from selling broadcasting rights, tickets and advertisements.
Published: Thu Jan 29 11:47:13 EST 2004 Back to the top

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LTTE plan to rob banks thwarted, January 29, 2004. The two suspects arrested over the shooting of two policemen near the Savoy Cinema at Wellawatte were alleged LTTE agents who had come to Colombo to rob banks, DIG Sirisena Herath said More...
Published: Thu Jan 29 14:04:28 EST 2004 Back to the top

WHO urges mass slaughter of infected poultry to control bird flu, Thailand balks
Associated Press, Wed January 28, 2004 14:29 EST . EMMA ROSS - AP Medical Writer - The European Union banned imports from Thailand last week... Back to the top

Sri Lanka takes precautionary measures against deadly bird flu
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 28, 2004, 9.32 pm. Sri Lankan authorities today issued a strict ban on all pet birds and poultry products from entering the country mainly from Asian countries, following the deadly bird flu... Back to the top

Tax cuts ahead of Sri Lanka elections, January 29, 2004. Sri Lanka's Finance Minister has announced populist tax cuts to try to ease the cost of living ahead of provincial council elections and possible general elections... Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks to end political crisis before aid meet in ..., January 29, 2004. Colombo, Jan 26 - Sri Lankan government today expressed hope of ending the bitter power struggle with President Chandrika Kumaratunga before the decisive aid meeting in Washington on February 17 Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeks India ’ s moral support to move ahead in peace ..., January 29, 2004. Jan 29 - Visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister Tyronne Fernanado, has sought India’s moral support for moving ahead in the Norwegian brokered peace process... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to offset price rises with cut in duties, January 29, 2004. Sri Lanka will reduce customs duties on a range of essential goods to offset rising import prices and keep the cost of living in check, Finance Minister KN Choksy said on Thursday... Back to the top

Left party not to join front; LTTE team off to Norway, 29-01-2004 . Plans by President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party and the Marxist JVP to expand their newly established alliance has suffered a set back with one of the traditional leftist political parties refusing to join them on the grounds that the alliance has strengthened the hands of 'chauvinists and racists'... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's Tamil rebels seek support in European tour
Associated Press, Thu January 29, 2004 12:37 EST . DOUG MELLGREN - Associated Press Writer - OSLO, Norway (AP) A delegation of Tamil rebels from Sri Lanka - kicked off a European tour Thursday seeking support with a stop in Norway, the country that brokered a cease-fire for the island nation... Back to the top

Chandrika, Ranil close to deal on Lanka crisis, THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2004 03:50:56 AM . SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN TIMES NEWS NETWORK NEW DELHI: The two month-long constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka may finally be drawing down, with President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the verge of formally agreeing that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe "will have some control over the security forces insofar as this impinges on the peace process" with the LTTE... Back to the top

Japan tops up mine-clearing aid to Sri Lanka, January 29, 2004. COLOMBO — Japan has further increased mine-clearing assistance to war-wracked Sri Lanka with a contribution Wednesday of $605,000, raising the total for Japanese assistance to Sri Lanka in this sphere to over $2.5 million, Ambassador Akio Suda said Back to the top

Sri Lankan government offers economic relief ahead of key local polls
Associated Press, Thu January 29, 2004 07:04 EST . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan government Thursday announced cuts in customs taxes aimed at keeping down prices on oil, wheat and other basic commodities, ahead of local elections and amid speculation of an early parliamentary election... Back to the top

NUA meets JVP, meeting concludes successfully
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 28, 2004, 8.49 pm. The National Unity Alliance (NUA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today held intense discussions on Muslim concerns, the Muslim representation at the peace talks, and the issues facing the divisional secretaries in the Eastern province... Back to the top

UN chief wants Sri Lanka talks to resume, January 28, 2004. UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has voiced concern over the stalled peace process in Sri Lanka and called for a resumption of peace talks between the government and Tamil guerrillas... Back to the top

SriLankan Airlines plans route to Hyderabad, January 29, 2004. SriLankan Airlines will start flying to the southern Indian city of Hyderabad next month, the airline announced Back to the top

LTTE seeks European aid for Lanka's North-East, 28 january. A four-member delegation of Tamil Tiger rebels today left for Norway to seek 'urgent humanitarian assistance' from European governments for Sri Lanka's war-ravaged North-East region... Back to the top

LTTE against India-Lanka defence deal, January 28, 2004. COLOMBO, Jan. 27. — Taking serious note of the proposed defence cooperation between India and Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels have said this could tilt the balance of forces in the island nation and damage an already fragile truce between the guerrillas and the government troops... Back to the top

India News: Major reconciliation between Sri Lanka's main ..., January 28, 2004. New Delhi, In a development that could have far reaching implications for Sri Lanka's fractured polity, the country's two main political parties seem to have decided to put behind their bitter rivalry and share power... Back to the top

The LTTE will negotiate only with parity of military status, January 28, 2004. Mr. Anton Balasingham says that the India Sri Lanka Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) will "upset the balance of forces to the disadvantage of the LTTE"... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Daily Mirror, January 29, 2004. Iran and Sri Lanka last week agreed to finalise the framework agreement on a US$ 20 million credit line from the former by two weeks... Back to the top

Lanka tour 'hard' for spinner, January 28, 2004. Sri Lanka's top bowler Muttiah Muralitharan and its coach John Dyson believe Shane Warne will find it tough going if he is picked for Australia's coming tour to the subcontinent... Back to the top

Sri Lanka:Demand for Anti-Conversion Law Gains Momentum, January 28, 2004. COLOMBO, Jan 28 (OneWorld) - The issue of unethical conversions to Christianity is snowballing in Sri Lanka, with the country's leading Buddhist organization demanding the government ban all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in anti-Buddhist activities, and introduce an anti-conversion law by the month end... Back to the top

Armed guards for Sri Lanka church, January 28, 2004. Armed guards have been posted at a church near Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, after the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks... Back to the top

SBI cards set for Sri Lanka debut, January 28, 2004. The State Bank of India (SBI)-GE Capital joint venture is set to launch SBI Cards in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

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