The Lanka Academic

 
MARCH 30, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 358

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Lanka polls: Rajapakse takes early lead
NDTV, March 31, 2006. Early results from Sri Lanka's local elections showed President Mahinda Rajapakse's coalition with a strong lead.

The polls are being seen as a referendum on Rajapakse's policies and support of a peace process with Tamil rebels.

Rajapakse's United Peoples' Freedom Alliance won majorities in 43 out of 51 local councils where results were declared, compared with seven for the main opposition United National Party. More... Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 30 23:47:36 EST 2006

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Low voter turn out at Sri Lanka's local polls  - GulfNews
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Sri Lanka polls favor alliance  - cnn

Sri Lankan elections to judge government's popularity, peace process' direction
Associated Press, Thu March 30, 2006 07:18 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) At least five people were hurt Thursday in assaults during local elections seen as a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapakse's governing coalition and its support of a peace process with Tamil rebels.

Over 10 million people were eligible to vote in the elections for 226 local councils, which come as spiraling violence threatens a four-year-old cease-fire between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Elections in the north and east where the Tigers operate have been postponed due to security concerns.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance faces competition from the Marxist People's Liberation Front, a coalition member that backed Rajapakse during the presidential elections but is running its own candidates in the local polls.

The Liberation Front has 40 seats in the 225-member national legislature, and its support is crucial for Rajapakse.

However, a strong showing by the Marxists who oppose Rajapakse's support for Norway's involvement in the island's peace process could compel them to break away from the coalition.

Meanwhile, the main opposition United National Party, or UNP, which signed the Norwegian-brokered cease-fire with the Tamil Tigers in 2002, also faces internal rifts following its defeat in the last presidential election. The UNP currently holds a majority of local councils.

The polls closed at 4 p.m. (1000 GMT) and voter turnout was estimated at about 50 percent, said a government official who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media. Results were expected early Friday.

Upali Ratnayake, a spokesman for The Peoples' Action for Free and Fair Election, said the poll monitoring group has received reports that five people were injured in election violence around the country. No other details were available.

Police spokesman Rienzie Perera confirmed that five people were injured and said authorities were investigating the incidents.

The local elections come as spiraling violence threatens the truce between the government and the rebels. More than 166 people, including 87 government security personnel, have been killed since December.

The rebels began fighting in 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people were killed before the cease-fire.

Both sides agreed in Geneva, Switzerland last month to scale down violence and meet again for talks next month. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 30 08:48:14 EST 2006 Back to the top

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Rajapakse faces acid test in today's local polls  - GulfNews

Sri Lanka Elections May Affect Direction of Peace Process
voanews.com, 30 March 2006. Sri Lanka has held local government elections that are being widely seen as a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapakse's handling of a peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi on how these polls could affect the future of the country's two-decade-long ethnic conflict. Sri Lankans went to the polls Thursday to choose local councils, four months after President Mahinda Rajapakse narrowly won national elections with the support of hard-line nationalist parties. At that time, both Mr. Rajapakse and his allies promised to take a tough line with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Tiger Eelam, who are demanding an autonomous homeland for the ethnic Tamil minority in the north and the east. More... [Listen]
Published: Thu Mar 30 11:47:01 EST 2006 Back to the top

India to advocate Sri Lanka 'consensus' to Ranil
kerala.com, March 31, 2006. By M.R. Narayan Swamy, New Delhi: India will urge Sri Lankan opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to work for a 'southern consensus' to give a push to the island's peace process when he comes here Sunday to meet Indian leaders... Back to the top

Recruiters Of Child Soldiers Targeted For Prosecution
IPS, March 30. But the first break came only last week when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague decided to arrest Thomas Lubanga, a founder and leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC), on charges of conscripting children in the current insurgency against the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka navy exchange gunfire; no known casualties
Associated Press, Thu March 30, 2006 02:52 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels in a boat fired at a Sri Lankan navy post in the port town of Trincomalee on Thursday but retreated when the navy retaliated with gunfire, a navy spokesman said... Back to the top

Rebels seek safe passage guarantee
GulfNews, March 31, 2006. Colombo: Tamil rebels yesterday demanded guarantees of safe passage through the Bandaranaike international airport to attend the second round of talks in Geneva... Back to the top

Sri Lanka president likely to seek defense help in Pakistan+
Associated Press, Thu March 30, 2006 00:42 EST . COLOMBO, March 30 (Kyodo) _ Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's three-day state visit to Pakistan beginning Friday is intended to beef up defense relations between the two countries, diplomats and analysts believe... Back to the top

Sri Lanka rights body facing collapse, watchdog warns
lankabusinessonline.com, 30 March 2006 . Mar.30 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's independent human rights watchdog may collapse as the government has failed to replace the outgoing panel of commissioners, the Asian Human Rights Commission said Thursday... Back to the top

RPT_S.Lanka votes in local poll, eyes on Marxist vote
alertnet.org, 30 Mar 2006 02:16:06 GMT. COLOMBO, March 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lankans began voting on Thursday in local government elections widely seen as a litmus test of the popularity of President Mahinda Rajapakse's hardline Marxist allies that could impact on a fragile peace process... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Rebels Say They Will Attend Peace Talks in Geneva
Bloomberg, march 30. March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said they will take part in peace talks in Geneva next month that were threatened by an escalation of violence in the South Asian island nation... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s state banks asked to issue more plastic cards to ...
lankabusinessonline.com, 30 March 2006. Sri Lanka's treasury secretary P B Jayasundara has asked the two state banks to step up credit card sales to public servants, following hefty salary increments this year... Back to the top

Norway's new peace envoy to visit Sri Lanka
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, March 29th, 2006, SLT 5:30 pm. The newly appointed special peace envoy to Sri Lanka will arrive here next week for talks with the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, officials said on Wednesday... Back to the top

Both Lankan parties claim poll success
Peninsula Online, March 30, 2006. Colombo: Both governing and opposition parties in Sri Lanka are claiming success at the March 30 local elections... Back to the top

Top Norwegian peace envoy meets Tamil rebel negotiator amid fears for peace talks
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, March 29th, 2006, SLT 11:30 am. Norway's top peace broker was set to meet on Wednesday the Tamil Tiger rebels' chief negotiator amid a spike of violence that has fueled fears for talks to save Sri Lanka's faltering cease-fire, officials said... Back to the top

Lack of Delhi s support for Sri Lankan Tamils deplored
hindu.com, March 29. It is regrettable that the Indian Government, which backs the cause of Palestinians, is not supporting Sri Lankan Tamils who are also fighting for a cause, said speakers at a meeting here on Tuesday... Back to the top

Five migratory birds found dead in Sri Lanka tested for bird flu
Associated Press, Wed March 29, 2006 10:41 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Five migratory birds found dead in northern Sri Lanka - on Wednesday will undergo tests to determine if they had bird flu, officials said... Back to the top

Lanka, rebels urged to honour ceasefire
thepeninsulaqatar.com, 3/30/2006 1:51:21. LONDON: The main mediator in the long-standing conflict in Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim of Norway, yesterday called for the government and Tamil rebels to keep their commitment to a ceasefire even after the recent deadly attack on a naval vessel... Back to the top

Face socio-economic challenges collectively, Rajapakse tells SAARC
Hindu, March 29, 2006. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapakse, on Wednesday called upon the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) to "develop structures" to face the "social and economic challenges collectively and regionally... Back to the top

Tamils warily return to mined areas in Sri Lanka as teams clear out explosives
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 19:09 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - MANKULAM, Sri Lanka - (AP) The shiny round object half buried in her garden aroused Nixon Kousi's curiosity and could have cost her life... Back to the top

Sri Lankan woman released after years in U.S. detention center
Associated Press, Wed March 29, 2006 14:42 EST . - - Nadarajah and Thangaraja both fled Sri Lanka - and stopped at the U... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to slap stamp duties on credit cards, leasing, insurance ...
lankabusinessonline.com, Wed, 29 March 2006 . Sri Lanka will introduce stamp duties from April on a range of services like credit cards, leasing and insurance policies, as the government looks for ways to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure and welfare spending plans... Back to the top

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