The Lanka Academic

APRIL 6, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 5, NO. 1

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Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
2004 ELECTION RESULTS Check out the latest results. TLA predicted the outcome of the election using a mathematical model. How did we do? Send us your comments and feedback. We will take them into account next time.
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Cabinet to be sworn in on Thursday?
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 6, 2004, 11.42 pm. Thirty Five Cabinet Ministers of the new United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government is expected to take oaths on Thursday. However sources also said that there was a possibility for the number of Cabinet Ministers to be less than 35.

Meanwhile The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which is the second main constituent of the Alliance, has been given four Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial portfolios. The Party has also announced their selected members to these posts

Accordingly Anura Dissanayake has been named as minister of agriculture, land and irrigation, while Bimal Ratnayaka is the Deputy Minister.

Chandrasena Wijesinghe has been named as the minister of fisheries and aquatic resources, while Nihal Galappathi is his deputy.

Vijitha Herath has been appointed as the minister of Culture and natural resources, while Saman Vidyarathne elected is the deputy minister.

K.D. Lalkantha has been named as the minister of rural economy while Sunil Handunnethi has been named as his deputy.
Published: Tue Apr 6 13:43:20 EDT 2004

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CWC still undecided but awaiting an official invitation from UPFA
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 6, 2004, 11.40 pm. The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) which secured eight Parliamentary seats at the recently concluded 13th Parliamentary elections is still undecided whether or not to join the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), despite a series of ‘unofficial’ discussions between CWC Leader Arumugam Thondaman and senior members of the Alliance.

Meanwhile, Thondaman is reported to have claimed that the UPFA has yet not officially requested for his party's support, and once they do so, he will take an official decision on the matter.
Published: Tue Apr 6 13:41:27 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka 's president appoints new prime minister, who urges Indian involvement in peace process
Associated Press, Tue April 6, 2004 08:35 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's hardline president installed a new prime minister on Tuesday who immediately called on neighboring India to help revive the island's frozen peace process amid threats of a new civil war by Tamil Tiger rebels. ``India must come in as soon as possible and get involved in the peace process,'' Rajapakse told reporters. ``I have always wanted India to play a role in Sri Lanka - .''

However, he said India's participation didn't mean that his party wanted Norway to step down as peace broker. But it was unclear whether he meant New Delhi should be diplomatically engaged or whether a troop deployment was possible.

Rajapakse's first appointment as prime minister was a 45-minute closed-door meeting with Indian High Commissioner Nirupam Sen. No details on the meeting were immediately available.

India sent peacekeeping troops to Sri Lanka - in 1987, but soon found itself in a military quagmire and withdrew in late 1989 after losing 1,200 soldiers.

Chastened by that experience and Rajiv Gandhi's killing, India has since played a hands-off role.

Rajapakse's overtures to India come after the rebels said they hoped a political solution could be found to their demands for sweeping autonomy.

If not, ``the Tamil people will fight to establish the Tamil sovereignty in their homeland,'' the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site said Monday.

Kumaratunga previously has refused to give the Tamils the degree of autonomy the rebels want, saying that would all but formalize the de facto state they've created.

However, the rebels' political chief, S.P. Thamilselvan, was quoted in the Tamil-language Sudaroli newspaper on Tuesday as saying the guerrillas were still waiting to see what shape the new government would take.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission charged with overseeing the cease-fire that has held since February 2002 said Monday it had seen no changes on the ground.

A top military analyst also discounted war fears for now.

``If the truce is to continue smoothly, whoever forms the government should accept it totally,'' Thamilselvan was quoted as saying.

Kumaratunga's United Peoples Freedom Alliance emerged just eight seats short of an absolute majority in Parliament in Friday's snap elections, securing 105 of the 225 seats. Parliament is scheduled to reconvene April 22.

``My first priority will be to obtain the support of other parties to form a government,'' Rajapakse said, dressed in traditional white clothes with a red scarf wrapped around his neck. ``We are confident of obtaining the support of other parties to form a government.''

Outgoing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had initiated the most recent attempts to make peace with the rebels, who fought a long, bloody war for a separate nation for Sri Lanka - 's minority ethnic Tamils. They say they are discriminated against by majority Sinhalese.

Wickremesinghe's peace plan was a major factor in a bitter feud with Kumaratunga, who has taken a tough stance toward the rebels.

``We'll try to get the peace process going as soon as possible,'' Rajapakse said.

Japan expressed similar hopes.

``Japan strongly hopes that a responsible new government will be established expeditiously ... so that the peace talks will be resumed as soon as possible,'' its embassy in Colombo said in a statement.

Analysts said the appointment of Rajapakse was positive news.

``Rajapakse is a moderate person. He is one of the few liberals within the party,'' said Jehan Perera, a political analyst at the National Peace Council, an independent research institute.

``He is very approachable to a wide spectrum of the people,'' Perera said.

Rajapakse had been a legislator since 1970 and enjoys wide support among the rank and file of the party.

Kumaratunga's first choice for prime minister had apparently been former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar considered a hard-liner. She changed the decision under fierce opposition from Rajapakse, who threatened to walk out of the alliance and take with him several other lawmakers, senior party officials said on condition of anonymity.

But Rajapakse's plans to pursue negotiations with the Tigers could be complicated following the defection of a powerful guerrilla commander in March, who took with him some 6,000 guerrillas from the 15,000-strong rebel army.

The main Tiger leadership has warned the government not to negotiate with the breakaway faction.

After hammering out the cease-fire that halted Sri Lanka - 's civil war, Norwegian negotiators withdrew at the peak of a power struggle between Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe last year, saying they would return only after the two settled their differences.

The two longtime rivals failed to stop their bickering, eventually leading to Friday's poll, which came more than three years ahead of schedule.
Published: Tue Apr 6 12:09:27 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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World News: Sri Lanka may see intra-LTTE armed showdown, April 6. Colombo, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas may soon unleash a military campaign against a breakaway faction that has seriously threatened their political and military dominance in the country's northeast... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : Grenade attack on home of ABC Radio director, 6th April 2004. ABC Radio Managing Director Raynor Silva was attacked in his home on 28 March... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's president appoints new prime minister as rebels threaten fighting
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 13:33 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president on Monday appointed veteran politician Mahinda Rajapakse to be the country's new prime minister, as Tamil Tiger rebels threatened to start fighting again, casting concerns on a shaky cease-fire that halted a two-decade civil war... Back to the top

NEWSMAKER - New Sri Lanka PM devout Buddhist , backroom player, 06 Apr 2004 12:09. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's 13th prime minister, is known for his trademark red scarf, big smile and ability to surf through the backrooms of the country's shifting political alliances... Back to the top

Emulating Singapore's visionary leaders, JAKARTA POST
Associated Press, Tue April 6, 2004 11:07 EDT . - - ight be easy to dismiss all the these achievements by saying the small size of that country makes it so manageable... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s New Premier Takes Office; Stocks, Currency Tumble, APril 6. April 6 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga swore in the country's 13th prime minister, betting he will be able to create jobs and cut prices without crimping economic growth or delaying peace talks with Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Japan hopes for 'responsible new government' in Sri Lanka +
Associated Press, Tue April 6, 2004 07:05 EDT . - - COLOMBO, April 6 (Kyodo) Japan voiced hope Tuesday that ''a responsible new government'' will soon be set up in Sri Lanka - to ensure the immediate resumption of peace talks between Colombo and the Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Muslim party not to support Chandrika: PM
Dawn, COLOMBO, April 5. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance would not get the support of the Muslim Congress (SLMC) in the formation of a coalition government... Back to the top

The LTTE’s eviction of the alive and the buried.
North East sources, April 5. As of April 3rd, about two hundred Jaffna Tamils have left Batticaloa in response to LTTE (K) orders and out of fear of an impending war and retaliation... Back to the top

We will stay Neutral- JHU
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.00 A.M Tuesday 6 April. General Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, Thilak Karunaratne says that both the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the United National Party (UNP) made overtures to his party to form a government but his party would stand firm and never join any party or become a prop for them... Back to the top

The Rediff Interview/Sri Lankan army chief Lt Gen Lionel ..., April 05, 2004. On a trip to India in December, the army commander met Defence Minister George Fernandes and the Indian army, navy, and air force chiefs to fine-tune the details of a defence pact... Back to the top

SLMC requests all parties to immediately start work towards a finding solution to the ethnic conflict
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 5, 2004, 11.39 pm. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) today called upon all political leaders to immediately work towards finding a solution to the ethnic conflict, which could be acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

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