The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 314

Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan election authorities invite foreign monitors for April polls
Associated Press, Sat February 14, 2004 03:44 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan election authorities have invited monitors from two countries and three international organizations to oversee parliamentary polls in April, an official said Saturday.

The elections department has invited officials from the Commonwealth, European Union and the Association of Asian Election Authorities an independent forum that promotes free and transparent elections Deputy Elections Commissioner K. Senanayake said.

Pakistan and Bangladesh also have been invited to monitor the April 2 elections, Senanayake said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party asked the elections commissioner to invite local and foreign election monitors this past week after his rival, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, suddenly sacked Parliament and called for snap polls, more than three years ahead of schedule.

Wickremesinghe's party also called for unbiased reporting by the state media.

A power struggle between Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga flared in November when the president seized control of the defense, interior and media ministries from Wickremesinghe's Cabinet.

The two leaders head rival political parties but were forced to share governing responsibilities after Wickremesinghe defeated the president's party in December 2001 parliamentary polls.

Kumaratunga was elected separately in 1999.

Past elections in this South Asian island nation often have been marred by violence and vote-rigging. More than 60 people died during the 2001 polls.

An EU delegation that observed the 2001 elections concluded that there had been large-scale violence and killings, and said some people were denied access to polling booths.
Published: Sat Feb 14 14:25:29 EST 2004

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Polling in LTTE areas to be discussed with truce m . ., February 14. Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections Saturday told Government Agents and Assistant Elections Commissioners from the Northeast that he would discuss with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Sri Lankan Government’s Peace Secretariat about arrangements to enable more than two hundred thousand Tamils in regions that are not under Colombo’s control to vote in the general elections on 2 April. Sri Lankan armed forces prevented Tamils in these areas from voting in the Parliamentary elections of December 2001. More...
Published: Sat Feb 14 14:26:26 EST 2004 Back to the top

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To Deepen Trade Relations- US Waiting for Outcome of Elections
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 P.M Saturday 14 February. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick says the United States is waiting to see the outcome of the April 2 elections in Sri Lanka to assess where and how the US proceeds. He that actions to 'deepen' the trade relations have to await the outcome of the elections. He said this when he met with the minister of Trade Ravi Karunanayake and Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US, Devinda Subesinghe in Singapore to discuss blateral and multilateral trade issues. US and SL have been holding discussions to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which has been negatively impacted first by the sacking of three ministers on Nov. 4 events and now by the forthcoming parliamentary elections. FTA is considered important for SL given US$ 2 billion of exports from SL to US of apparel and garments and the ending of quotas this year. Apparel industry genrates about 1 million jobs thorugh direct and indirect employment. FTAs are signed onyl with countries undertaking market reforms and trade liberalizations. US would make its assessment based on continuation of such policies Zoellick is on a round the world trip to mobilize support to re-start the Doha Development Round of WTO trade negotiations after the failure of the Cancun Ministerial. US is attemtping to conclude the round before November Presidential elections.
Published: Sat Feb 14 08:46:45 EST 2004 Back to the top

Aussies dismiss security fears on Sri Lanka tour, Feb 14 . Australia's team management dismissed security fears in Sri Lanka upon their arrival on Saturday, saying they were satisfied with the safety measures despite the parliamentary elections... Back to the top

Vaiko vows to support cause of LTTE
Yahoo India, Feb. 14 . A powerful leader, released on bail after being imprisoned for supporting a banned Tamil rebel outfit, on Saturday, said he would continue to support its cause... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

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... 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

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

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