The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 313

Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka 's president tightens grip ahead of polls as U.S. warns political instability threatens aid
Associated Press, Fri February 13, 2004 07:01 EST . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga further pressured her rival, the prime minister, on Friday by banning government appointments and promotions, as the United States warned that political instability could threaten crucial overseas aid. International aid donors have pledged US$4.5 billion in reconstruction aid to Sri Lanka - . But the money is tied to the peace process, which has stalled in recent months because of disputes with the rebels, and has been further damaged by the political fighting.

``Overseas support will be jeopardized ... in the absence of political stability,'' Mark Ward, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Asia, told reporters Friday.

The United States has been a key supporter of the Norwegian-backed process.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy expressed hope that the elections will not hinder peace efforts.

U.S. AID recently approved a five-year US$120 million development strategy called ``Supporting Peace and Reform in Sri Lanka - .''

Ward said overseas support will also depend ``on the policies that Sri Lankan governments choose to pursue'' after the election.

Meanwhile, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees warned that the resettlement of tens of thousands of displaced people from the war, mostly ethnic Tamils, could be delayed because of the political instability.

``My concern is that the uncertainty coming with an election ... might have an adverse effect,'' UNHCR official Jean Marc-Boulgaris told reporters Friday.

About 350,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes since a Norway-brokered cease-fire signed in February 2002, but another 380,000 people are waiting to be resettled, he said.

``Further development assistance may be delayed ... leading the international community to become more cautious,'' Marc-Boulgaris said.
Published: Fri Feb 13 11:51:42 EST 2004

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Maldives authorities arrest eight pro-democracy activists ahead of protest
Associated Press, Fri February 13, 2004 08:41 EST . Among those arrested were the wife, daughter and another relative of Mohamed Latheef, the spokesman for the Maldives Democratic Party, which is banned in the tropical archipelago. The party is registered in neighboring Sri Lanka. The eight persons were arrested in connection with a protest planned for Saturday in the capital, Male,'' police said in a statement.The demonstration was being planned to demand press freedom, the release of all political prisoners, tolerance of opposition parties, prison reforms and to condemn alleged torture and human rights abuses by the government. Police said they arrested the people while they were distributing leaflets calling for an ``illegal demonstration'' opposite the presidential palace. The Maldives is a nation of 278,000 people located 500 kilometers (300 miles) off the Indian coast. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has ruled the Maldives with an iron fist since 1978. He won an unprecedented sixth five-year term in a referendum in October. The country's jails witnessed unprecedented violence in September after police cracked down on prisoners protesting alleged torture. Three inmates were killed and 25 wounded. After the riots, London-based human rights group Amnesty International accused the Maldivian authorities of ``endemic torture and unfair trials.'' Earlier this month, Paris-based international press watchdog Reporters Without Borders asked the Maldivian government to free three Maldivian journalists, including two serving life sentences, for criticizing the government.
Published: Fri Feb 13 21:31:45 EST 2004 Back to the top

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Election Uncertainty Could Have Adverse Impact on IDP's- UNHCR
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.00 P.M Friday 13 February. UNHCR says Uncertainties, which comes with elections, could have an adverse impact on the Internally Displaced People (IDPS) and returnees. Ambassador Jean-Marc Boulgaris, Switzerland's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Chairman of the ExCom who is on a visit to Sri Lanka cautioned that the humanitarian needs of more than 380,000 internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka's North/East should not be neglected in the midst of a growing focus on development activities and the general election. He said it was important to maintain public confidence. " Although almost 350,000 IDP's have returned to their homes since the commencement of the ceasefire agreement, more than 380,000 people remain displaced. It is critical that durable solutions to these people's displacement are identified and promoted" added Ambassador Boulgaris. He also said that slowing the peace process may create an uncertainty among the donor community and the international community should be vigilant of the situation here. Boulgaris emphasized that there were strings attached to aid given to Sri Lanka.

Having spent three days visiting UNHCR's operations in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Puttalam Districts, Chairman of UNHCR's Executive Committee said " From my meetings with IDP's NGOs, government officials and the LTTE it is clear that nobody wants a return to war in Sri Lanka" The UNHCR pointed out that the refugees were concerned about the security including the threat of landmines, fear for children's safety, and the recruitment of child soldiers and ongoing human rights violations.
Published: Fri Feb 13 05:15:53 EST 2004 Back to the top

Political Instability Will Jeopardize Overseas Support- USAID
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.30 A.M Friday 13 February. The top USAID official in South Asia, Mark Ward says development assistance and private investment from abroad can help Sri Lanka realize its enormous economic potential, but overseas support will be jeopardized in the absence of political stability... Back to the top

LTTE leader rushes back to Lanka over poll nominations, February 13. SP Tamilchelvam, leader of the LTTE's political wing, is cutting short his European tour and rushing back to Kilinochchi to settle conflicts brewing among the Tamil parties and finalise the nominations for the Sri Lankan parliamentary elections due on April 2... Back to the top

Tamil politicians risk life in Sri Lanka elections, February 13, 2004. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Tamil politicians in Sri Lanka who do not back the island's Tiger rebels in snap elections in April may be risking more than their seats in parliament... Back to the top

India beats Sri Lanka 3-0 in carrom series, February 14. ndia completed a clean sweep in the Indo-Sri Lanka Carrom Test series with the men's team winning the third test match 2-1 and the women mainting their victory run 3-0 today... Back to the top

Lanka spankers, February 14, 2004. RICKY Ponting has warned Sri Lanka that his aggressive Australian side will take the battle to rubber-wristed Muttiah Muralitharan... Back to the top

Unstable Sri Lanka 'risks losing aid', February 13, 2004. Sri Lanka's worsening political crisis is jeopardising international support needed to rebuild the country's war-ravaged economy, a US development official says... Back to the top

Key LTTE leaders to meet in Zurich for 'strategic discussion', Feb 13 . Key leaders of the Tamil Tiger rebels will meet today in Switzerland to ''workout strategic actions'' in response to the sudden political developments in Colombo, mainly the dissolution of Parliament and the forthcoming general elections, scheduled to be held on April 2... Back to the top

No USAID Projects in LTTE Areas
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.00 A.M Friday 13 February. The top USAID official in South Asia, Mark Ward said today that the USAID does not provide any aid to areas under the control of the LTTE... Back to the top

LTTE Must Commit to Strengthen Human Rights- Swiss Government
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.30 A.M Friday 13 February. The Swiss government has said that the LTTE has a wide ranging commitments to the strengthening of human rights and to the development of a pluralistic society in the North and East of Sri Lanka... Back to the top

“No appointments or promotions till end of election”, President tells Charitha Ratwatte
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, February 11, 2004, 9.14 pm. President Chandrika Kumaratunga today ordered Finance Ministry Secretary Charitha Ratwatte that no appointments or promotions in the Public Service should be made during the ‘interim period’ of February 8 to the conclusion of the General Election to be held in April 2, 2004... Back to the top

A committee to watch over the Ceasefire Agreement to be formed shortly
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, February 12, 2004, 8.51 pm. A special committee to overlook matters concerning the proper implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement will be formed shortly... Back to the top

S.Lankan president committed to truce pact with Tamil rebels, XINHUA
Associated Press, Wed February 11, 2004 13:22 EST . - - Kumaratunga met with head of the Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission ( SLMM) retired Norwegian Major General Furuhovde on Wednesday at the President's House... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to invite int'l monitors to supervise elections, February11, 2004. COLOMBO, Feb. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Sri Lanka's ruling United NationalParty (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who heads acaretaker government said on Thursday that it would call international poll monitors to supervise the April 2 parliamentaryelections. "In order to prevent major abuses and to ensure a free and fairpoll we intend inviting observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth and Japan," G... Back to the top

Sri Lanka crisis could hold up 176 mln dlr World Bank aid, February 11, 2004. COLOMBO : The sacking of Sri Lanka's parliament could hold up at least 176 million dollars in World Bank aid to the island, whose economy is headed for a serious slow down, a bank official has warned... Back to the top

Sri Lanka sackings deepen crisis, fresh panel to review truce, February 11, 2004. COLOMBO : Sri Lanka's president sacked junior ministers in a deepening political crisis Wednesday, but named a new panel to review a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels amid fears the country could slip back to war... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's president remains silent after sacking the government, February11, 2004. Two days after taking the unprecedented step of dismissing the government, Sri Lanka’s president Chandrika Kumaratunga is yet to make any public statement justifying her actions... Back to the top

Former PA MP joins hands with CWC
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, February 12, 2004, 8.47 pm. Former People’s Alliance (PA) parliamentarian V. Puthrasigamanee has decided to contest the forthcoming general election under the Ceylon Workers Congress ticket... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's constitutional coup thrusts JVP to political ..., February 11, 2004. Less than a week after Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved parliament and called fresh elections it is already apparent that the real winner in the political crisis is not the president’s own party—the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP)—but rather the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a party based on populist demagogy and rabid appeals to Sinhala chauvinism... Back to the top

Sacking of Ministers Did Not Jeopardize the Peace Process- Presidents Office
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 P.M Thursday 12 February. The Presidential Secretariat Says that there is no basis for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's allegation that the peace process has been jeopardized due to the sacking of three junior ministers by the President... Back to the top

LTTE seeks international aid bypassing Lankan Govt, February 11, 2004. The LTTE Political Wing leader, SP Tamilchelvam, has asked international donors to circumvent the Sri Lankan government and give humanitarian aid directly to the LTTE for urgent use in the war-ravaged North Eastern Province (NEP)... Back to the top

S . Lanka government says poll to cause instability, February11, 2004. COLOMBO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's cabinet, locked in a power struggle with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, said on Thursday a snap poll called by the president would cause instability and delay a peace process and donor aid... Back to the top

Lankan crisis Dissolution of parliament comes at the wrong time, February 11, 2004. President Chandrika Kumaratunga couldn’t have chosen a worse possible time to upset the apple cart by dissolving Sri Lanka’s parliament... Back to the top

Top USAID Official Visits Jaffna
Ranmali Wijesuriya in Colombo, SLT 6.30 P.M Thursday 12 February. Mark S. Ward, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Asia and Near East Bureau, US Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Jaffna today and to see several USAID projects providing development assistance to the people of Jaffna... Back to the top

You Are Seriously Jeopardizing the Peace Process- PM to President
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 1.30 P.M Thursday 12 February. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinge says that actions of the President is seriously jeopardizing the peace process and the abolition of certain ministries would create serious difficulties in carrying forward the basic elements of the peace process... Back to the top

Former PA MP Cross Over to UNP
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 12.55 P.M Thursday 12 February. A former People Alliance Member of Parliament from the Gampaha district Athula Nimalsiri Jayasinghe crossed over to the UNP this morning and obtained membership from Prime Minister and Party Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe... Back to the top

Sri Lanka moves 'hampering peace', February 11, 2004. President Kumaratunga's dismissal of 39 junior ministers will hit Sri Lanka's peace process, the prime minister says... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's minority Tamil party to support ruling party in snap poll, XINHUA
Associated Press, Wed February 11, 2004 15:27 EST . - - xfdws SRI-LANKA - 'S-MINORITY sked Sri Lanka - 's minority Tamil party to support ruling party in snap poll, XINHUA ASIA WorldSources, Inc... Back to the top

Sri Lanka PM condemns sacking of junior ministers, February11, 2004. Sri Lanka's prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, says the president's sacking of 39 non-cabinet ministers has seriously jeopardised the peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Ponting leads the way to Sri Lanka, February 11, 2004. THE day after being honoured for the best 12 months of his cricketing career, Ricky Ponting will leave for one of his most important tours... Back to the top

Warne gunning for Lanka tour, February 11, 2004. No sooner than making a brilliant comeback from a one-year drug suspension spin wizard Shane Warne announced he was pushing for selection for the upcoming Sri Lankan tour... Back to the top

McGrath doubtful for Sri Lanka tour, February 11, 2004. Glenn McGrath appears to have lost his battle to be fit for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka detains 27 Indian fishermen, February 13, 2004. Colombo, Feb. 13 (PTI): Sri Lanka has detained 27 Indian fishermen for allegedly fishing in its territorial waters, officials here said today. The fishermen in two trawlers and three boats were taken into custody in three batches off the coast of Point Pedro, the northern most point of Sri Lanka, by police, they said Back to the top

Sri Lankan caretaker gov't minister resigns, XINHUA
Associated Press, Wed February 11, 2004 13:16 EST . - - COLOMBO, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka - 's Minister for Economic Reform, Science and Technology Milinda Moragoda in the cabinet of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the head of the caretaker government, tendered his resignation Wednesday. In a letter to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Moragoda said that his remaining as a cabinet minister was of no use for his contribution to the progress of the country and the welfare of its people after President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked him as the deputy minister of policy development and implementation along with 38 other non-cabinet and deputy ministers... Back to the top

AP Top Premium Entertainment Headlines At 10:40 a.m. EST
Associated Press, Thu February 12, 2004 10:42 EST . .. Back to the top

Seven Seas wins Lanka deal, February 11, 2004. The Dubai-based Seven Seas Computers has won a deal to deploy its hotel management system at Sri Lanka's Connaissance Holdings, a publicly listed hotel group... Back to the top

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