The Lanka Academic

MARCH 19, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 4, NO. 348

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Poll: Sri Lankan president leads in pre-poll survey
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 11:15 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president leads her rival, the prime minister, in the run-up to April 2 parliamentary elections, according to a pre-poll survey released Friday. The prime minister, however, received wide support from Sri Lanka - 's minority population, getting more than 78 percent backing from Tamils and more than 50 percent from Muslims.

Nearly 40 percent of majority Sinhalese support the president, the poll said.

Kumaratunga ordered snap elections following a bitter power struggle with Wickremesinghe, whom she accused of bring too soft on the Tamil Tiger rebels. The two leaders were elected separately.

A cease-fire in February 2002 between Wickremesinghe's government and the Tigers halted two decades of fighting, which had killed nearly 65,000 people. But a split in rebel ranks has since raised the prospect of renewed violence.

Nearly 44 percent of the survey respondents backed Wickremesinghe's rebel truce, with only 4 percent thinking it should be revoked.

Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam rebels want a separate state for the country's 3.2 million Tamils accusing Sinhalese of discrimination. Sinhalese make up 14 million of Sri Lanka - 's 18.6 million population while Muslims make up 1.3 million.

The CPA interviewed 1,800 people nationwide, excluding areas under rebel control. The survey had a three point margin of error.
Published: Fri Mar 19 12:25:01 EST 2004

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5,000 Sri Lankans gather to show solidarity with renegade rebel in eastern town
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 05:44 EST . BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka - (AP) More than 5,000 men, women and children staged a demonstration Friday in support of a renegade rebel commander who split from the main Tamil Tiger guerrilla army with nearly half its fighters.The renegade commander said earlier this month he broke away from the Tamil Tigers because the separatists may be preparing to break a two-year-old truce and launch an offensive against the government of Sri Lanka - . The Tigers, who denied the accusations, expelled Muralitharan three days after he announced his decision to defect, and branded him a traitor. The Tigers began fighting for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils in the north and east in 1983, claiming discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. Nearly 65,000 people have died in the conflict. A Norwegian-brokered cease-fire in February 2002 halted the fighting, but the split in the rebel ranks has raised fears the island may return to war.
Published: Fri Mar 19 07:06:40 EST 2004 Back to the top

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More Austrailan Funding for Land Mine Action in SL
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 5.00 P.M Friday 19 March. Australian government has provided AUD 1 million (LKR 75 million) towards the UNDP Mine Action Project in Sri Lanka. It will be utilized for the UNDP Support to Mine Action in Sri Lanka Project, signed with the Government on 28 August 2003, as well by the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) - a clearance agency operational in the Mannar and Vavuniya Districts. This contribution brings Australian funding for mine action over the last five years to AUD 3.7 million (LKR278 million). Australia continues to promote the universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Convention). Australia encourages Sri Lanka to join the Treaty and welcomes the positive steps Sri Lanka has taken in considering this.
Published: Fri Mar 19 06:07:46 EST 2004 Back to the top

Sri Lankan police chief says election campaigning less violent, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 13:10 EST . - - COLOMBO, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Police chief said on Friday that campaigning for Sri Lanka - 's April 2 parliamentary poll has seen less violence compared with the previous election held two years ago... Back to the top

US official to visit Sri Lanka , XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 13:10 EST . - - US official to visit Sri Lanka - , XINHUA ASIA WorldSources, Inc... Back to the top

Jayasuriya confident of unlikely Sri Lanka victory, Fri 19 March, 2004 13:49 . KANDY, Sri Lanka, March 19 (Reuters) - Sanath Jayasuriya says Sri Lanka are confident of winning the second test against Australia after his brutal 131 on Friday gave the hosts a chance of an unlikely victory... Back to the top

Sri Lanka committed to one-China policy: gov t, March 19 . The Sri Lankan government on Friday reiterated its commitment to the one-China policy, urging the Taiwan authorities to refrain from any action that would aggravate tensions in the region... Back to the top

Government Did Not Seize the Opportunity Given By the US To Pressure the LTTE- An interview with Barbara Crossette
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, March 18. Barbara Crossette was the New York Times UN Bureau Chief from 1994 to 2001... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's fragile peace fraying as tension mounts between rival rebel factions
Associated Press, Thu March 18, 2004 23:51 EST . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka - (AP) A mere 150 meters (500 feet) could be all that separates peace from war in violence-weary Sri Lanka - , where a dramatic split among the Tamil Tiger rebels has emerged as the new threat to a fragile 2-year-old truce... Back to the top

LTTE chief rejects amnesty for renegade
Dawn, BATTICALOA, March 18. Death looms for Karuna alias Mulareetharan, the renegade member of the LTTE who holds command over the eastern region... Back to the top

Sri Lanka committed to one-China policy: government, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 13:17 EST . - - xfdws SRI-LANKA - -COMMITTED sked Sri Lanka - committed to one-China policy: government, XINHUA ASIA WorldSources, Inc... Back to the top

Sri Lanka see less elections violence so far
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 10:44 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - has so far seen less political violence ahead of its April 2 parliamentary polls than during the last election campaign, police said Friday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Poll Rules May Deter Thousands of Tamil Voters, 19 March 2004. The Sri Lankan Election Commissioner's decision to avoid locating polling booths inside regions controlled by the Tamil Tiger guerrillas is likely to affect the voting prospects of around 270,000 people, many of whom are unlikely to travel to distant ballot stations to vote... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tigers desert amid build-up along river bank, March 19. COLOMBO: At least five Tamil Tiger rebels deserted ranks on Thursday and surrendered to security forces in north-eastern Sri Lanka, where rival factions have been massing their fighters, officials said... Back to the top

More Families Affected by the Drought in Kurunegala
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 A.M Friday 19 March. The on going drought has affected nearly 159,273 families in the Kurunegala district... Back to the top

Kumaratunga gives Tigers warning, March 18, 2004, 5:00 PM EST. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga says the recent split in the Tamil Tiger rebels will complicate peace Back to the top

Seminar On The Role of the US in South Asia
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.45 A.M Friday 19 March. Bandaraniake Center for International Studies (BCIS) and the US/Sri Lanka Fullbright Commission has organized a seminar titled 'The Role of the United States in South Asia' today and tomorrow... Back to the top

President abolishes 13 non Cabinet Ministries
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, March 19, 2004, 10.55 pm. Sri Lanka’s powerful President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, today night abolished 13 non cabinet ministries... Back to the top

List of highest wicket-takers in test cricket
Associated Press, Thu March 18, 2004 06:05 EST . .. Back to the top

Second test in the balance on final day
Associated Press, Fri March 19, 2004 07:45 EST . JOHN PYE - AP Sports Writer - KANDY, Sri Lanka - (AP) Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne took three wickets apiece Friday before Chaminda Vaas rallied the Sri Lankan innings as the hosts moved to within 51 runs of an unlikely win in the second cricket test against Australia... Back to the top

Sanath fire-works brings Sri Lanka close to victory, March 19, 2004 04:45 PM EST. A resurgent Sanath Jayasuriya brought Sri Lanka onto the threshold of victory with a typically swashbuckling innings of 131 in pursuit of a 352 target on the fourth day of Back to the top

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