The Lanka Academic

MARCH 23, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 4, NO. 352

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There would be continuity in policy towards SL if Democrats Come to Power - Fmr US Asst Sec of State for S/Asia
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.40 A.M Tuesday 23 March. Karl Inderfurth , U.S Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia under President Clinton said that there would be continuity in the US policy towards Sri Lanka if the Democrats come to power in November. He said that he was fully convinced that the US would support Sri Lanka in its effort to end the war and bring peace to the country. In an interview with this correspondent in Colombo, Ambassador Inderfurth also urged the Sri Lankan leaders to take advantage of the high level of involvement that exists in Washington in the remaining month of the Bush administration and before the presidential election draws near.

He said " It is only a matter of the calendar that I say that. Because as we go into the election more and more time will be spent on the campaign and moving towards the election than focusing on all the problems around the world. That is a natural fact in any country and once the elections has taken place, if it is a Democratic administration it would take several months to get the new team in place and if President Bush is re-elected there would be likely changes in his team just as President Clinton changed his National Security team. President Bush may do that which means again several month before that new team is in place. So, it is only because right now, I believe we have a strong focus on Sri Lanka, while that focus is there and before the election becomes too much in motion, I hope as that can be used to support what is taking place here. " He added " With Secretary Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage and Ambassador Jeff Lunstead here in Colombo, Sri Lanka has a strong and committed US team to work with. I believe this is a valuable asset that should be fully seized at this time
Published: Mon Mar 22 20:44:04 EST 2004

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Report: renegade Tamil rebel leader warns residents not to help mainstream rebel group
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 02:26 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A renegade rebel leader has warned residents of areas under his control not to cooperate with the mainstream Tamil Tiger guerrilla movement, a Tamil Web site reported Tuesday.

``We strongly urge the people ... not to have any secret links with Vanni leadership,'' Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan's faction said in a statement quoted by the independent Eelam Nation Web site. Vanni is the area in Sri Lanka - 's north where the mainstream rebels have their main base.

Muralitharan broke away from the main Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam group on March 3, taking with him more than 6,000 troops, or more than a third of the entire rebel force.

It was the first time that such a warning has been issued by Muralitharan since the split.

``We also warn the people to vigilant about movements of suspicious persons and to inform us immediately if such persons are seen,'' the statement said.

There was no immediate comment from the mainstream rebel group.

In the past, the Tigers have killed members who abandoned their ranks.

But there apparently has been no attempt on Muralitharan's life. That could be a testament to his abilities as a commander who has won some of the Tigers' most decisive battles.

The Tigers began fighting the Sri Lankan army in 1983, accusing the government of discriminating against the country's Tamil minority.

The fighting stopped in February 2002 with a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire, but the rebels walked out of peace talks in April. A dispute over how to deal with the rebellion triggered a power struggle between the country's president and the prime minister which led to a decision to hold snap general elections on April 2.

On the Web:

Tamil Web site:
Published: Tue Mar 23 08:18:25 EST 2004 Back to the top

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President Kumaratunga's alliance wins support from nationalist group
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 04:53 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's political alliance on Tuesday won support from a nationalist group ahead of April 2 parliamentary elections, a move that may boost her chances at the polls. ``The best thing for Sri Lanka - ... is to have a strong government under the freedom alliance,'' Elle Gunwansa, a group spokesman, told reporters.

Kumaratunga is locked in a power struggle with her political rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, that has threatened to derail efforts to end a 20-year civil war.

The president accuses the prime minister of jeopardizing the country's security by giving too many concessions to the rebels. Last month she dissolved Parliament, paving the way for elections nearly three years ahead of schedule.

To boost her chances in the polls, Kumaratunga's political party formed the United Peoples Freedom Alliance with the Marxist Peoples' Liberation Front. Before the 225-member Parliament was dissolved, the two parties had a combined 93 seats.

Though the Patriotic National Movement had no seats, the group could help influence others to support the president. One member is former national cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who has appeal in this cricket-mad tropical island.

Wickremesinghe and the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam rebels signed a truce in February 2002, bringing a halt to 19 years of fighting that had killed nearly 65,000 people.

Wickremesinghe had offered the rebels administrative authority in predominantly ethnic Tamil areas of the island for an interim period, in an effort to restart peace talks. The talks were suspended in April after the rebels raised their demands.

``We understand there is a move to have a pro-LTT puppet government and we don't want that to happen,'' Gunwansa said in reference to Wickremesinghe's United National Front.
Published: Tue Mar 23 08:17:16 EST 2004 Back to the top

Muted criticism of Tigers as Sri Lanka poll nears, 23 March 2004. JAFFNA, Sri Lanka - In the heartland of Sri Lanka’s war over a separate Tamil state, campaigning against the wishes of the Tamil Tiger rebels is a dangerous game... Back to the top

World News Sri Lankan PM promises lasting peace in two years, March 23, 2004, 13:50 EST. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is confident that a lasting peace could be established in the country through negotiations for a political solution within Back to the top

Poll group fears spurt of violence in Lanka, March 23, 2004, 13:50 EST. Colombo, March 23. (PTI): A private poll monitoring group today expressed fears of a spurt in violence just before Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections next month, although the campaign so far had been relatively peaceful Back to the top

S.Lankan polls watch group dismisses allegations of bias in election, XINHUA
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 11:27 EST . - - COLOMBO, March 23 (Xinhua) -- An independent polls monitoring group in Sri Lanka - Tuesday rejected allegations that they are biased in their functions in the run up to the April 2 parliamentary poll... Back to the top

SLFP-JVP Alliance to meet Election Chief over their suspicion on staggering polls grants
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, March 22, 204, 7.52 pm. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party-Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna coalition is expected to make a formal representation shortly to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake over their suspicion about certain United States based election monitoring organisations allegedly favouring Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Front and donating ‘staggering amounts’ to the UNF to carry out their election propaganda... Back to the top

Pakistan-rejected wheat sails for Sri Lanka, Dubai, March 23, 2004 . SINGAPORE: Two Australian wheat cargoes rejected by the Pakistani government have sailed for Sri Lanka and one has left for Dubai, a Pakistani shipping industry source told Reuters on Monday... Back to the top

Cricket players enjoy competition in Wichita
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 09:01 EST . KATHERINE LEAL UNMUTH - - It's the first International Student Union Cricket Tournament... Back to the top

Chandrika ’ s party slams funding for election, March 23, 2004, 8:20 Am EST. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s party accused foreign donors Sunday of trying to influence the outcome of April 2 elections by funding poll monitors who back her opponents... Back to the top

Sri Lanka army to facilitate voting in rebel held areas
Associated Press, Mon March 22, 2004 13:10 EST . - - March 22 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan government and military have agreed to facilitate the people in the areas held by Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country to cast their votes in the April 2 parliamentary election, officials said on Monday... Back to the top

Fire at Kelanitissa power plant
Daily Mirror, March 23, 2004 . A steam-powered generator at the Kelanitissa Power Plant caught fire yesterday morning with the Fire Brigade, the Air Force and the police being called in to bring the blaze under control... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to get a coal power plant soon
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, March 22, 2004, 7.29 pm. Plans are underway to build Sri Lanka’s first ever coal power plant in Hambantota, reports stated today... Back to the top

UNICEF says Sri Lanka rebels recruiting children, March 22, 2004, 7:40 AM EST. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers released 35 child soldiers on Sunday, but are still recruiting more under-age fighters than they allow to go free, the United Nations' children's agency said... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers free child soldiers
Yahoo, March 22, 2004, 7:40 AM EST. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have released 35 child soldiers, aged between 12 and 18... Back to the top

Sri Lanka president s party says funding of poll monitors biased, 21/03/2004. The party of Sri Lanka's president has accused foreign governments of trying to influence the outcome of next month's elections by funding poll monitors who back her opponents... Back to the top

Lankan president s claims ‘ untruthful, March 22, 2004, 7:40 AM EST. COLOMBO (AFP) - The Tamil Tigers and a breakaway rebel leader Sunday denied claims by the Sri Lankan president that she had made contact with them, as peace talks emerged as a key issue in the run-up to April 2 elections... Back to the top

Sri Lanka fears the roar of the Tigers, March 22, 2004. A rift within the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam], which has fought a 20-year insurgency for a sovereign Tamil homeland, has jeopardised the ceasefire... Back to the top

SRI LANKA: Singapore Firm Invests In Pugoda Textile Mills
AROQ, March 22, 2004, 12:50 PM EST. Singapore’s South Asia Textile Industries Ltd is investing up to $20 million in Sri Lanka's Pugoda Textile Mills... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s home of cricket, March 23, 2004, 13:50 EST. The new book Ground Rules contains in-depth chapters on the great cricket grounds of the world... Back to the top

Expats playing cricket tournament in middle of United States
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 11:19 EST . - - International students from six countries India, Pakistan, Qatar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - and Nepal have banded together to play their own International Student Union Cricket Tournament... Back to the top

Samaraweera likely to return at No. 3 in top-order reshuffle
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 05:37 EST . JOHN PYE - AP Sports Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Thilan Samaraweera could get a recall at No... Back to the top

Warne, Australia pushing for records in third test
Associated Press, Tue March 23, 2004 03:57 EST . JOHN PYE - AP Sports Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Skipper Ricky Ponting says he'll give Shane Warne every opportunity to break test cricket's bowling record, as long as it doesn't compromise Australia's chances of winning the final test against Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

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