The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 24, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 141


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Sri Lanka 's ruling party wins provincial polls
Associated Press, Sun August 24, 2008 05:32 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's ruling party won control of two provincial assemblies Sunday in elections regarded by the government as a referendum on its military offensive against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create an independent homeland for Sri Lanka - 's ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced marginalization by successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
Published: Sun Aug 24 06:12:59 EDT 2008

1ST LEAD: Ruling party wins handily in Sri Lanka provincial poll
Associated Press, Sun August 24, 2008 01:01 EDT . - - Polls were held in two of nine provinces where the government said it was seeking an endorsement for the ongoing military operations against Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka - .

The ruling party won more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast in both provinces, securing 784,246 votes against the closest rival, the United National Party which secured 550,605 votes.

Of the 2.1 million registered voters, about 70 per cent voted, officials said.

``This is an endorsement for the government's military campaign against the terrorists (Tamil rebels),'' Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa claimed on state-run radio.

Political parties and election monitors described the polls as free and fair.

Ahead of the vote, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked citizens to support his military campaign, which is in full swing against rebels in the north, by voting for his party.

The president is likely to go ahead with elections in six more provinces at least six months ahead of schedule.

In May the first provincial election was held in the eastern province, which was won by Rajapaksa's party. dpa ad tlDiscuss this story
Published: Sun Aug 24 02:25:23 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka battles kill 30 rebels, 3 soldiers
Associated Press, Sun August 24, 2008 02:02 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Government troops attacked Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka - 's war-ravaged north, triggering battles that killed 30 rebels and three soldiers, the military said Sunday.

Fighting has escalated in recent weeks in the Indian Ocean island, with the military capturing a series of rebel bases and large chunks of territory and government officials reiterating their pledge to crush the rebel group by the end of the year.

The latest battles erupted Saturday along the front lines separating government-held territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

In the worst fighting, army troops clashed with rebels in the Welioya area, leaving 16 rebels and one soldier dead, he said. Another eight soldiers were wounded.

Soldiers also attacked two rebel bunkers in the Vavuniya area, killing nine guerrillas, he said. Two soldiers were wounded in the assault.

Other fighting in the region killed five rebels and two soldiers, he said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment on the military's claims.

Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own. Independent verification of the fighting was not possible because most journalists are barred from the war zone.

International aid groups say the recent fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. The groups say the government has cut off most phone service to rebel areas in recent weeks, a charge the military denies.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Aug 24 02:25:04 EDT 2008 Back to the top

India wins 3rd one-dayer against Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sun August 24, 2008 13:54 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Captain Mahendra Dhoni's crucial 76 runs coupled with sharp seam bowling helped India beat Sri Lanka - by 33 runs Sunday in the third one-day international to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series... Back to the top

Ruling party winning Sri Lanka polls, August 24, 2008 - 11:39AM. The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is heading for a comfortable victory in crucial provincial elections in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : monitors report violence at poll
Associated Press, Sat August 23, 2008 12:44 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan election monitors reported assaults, threats and the seizure of polling cards Saturday, as voting concluded for two provincial assemblies regarded by the government as a referendum for its military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

1ST LEAD: Turnout high in provincial elections in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat August 23, 2008 02:28 EDT . - - Colombo (dpa) - Voters in two of Sri Lanka - 's nine provinces turned out in large numbers as polling began Saturday morning concluding a violent campaign marred by shootings, arson and voter intimidation... Back to the top

Sri Lanka braces for push on Tiger capital
AFP, aUGUST 23, 2008, 22:45 edt. COLOMBO (AFP) Strife-torn Sri Lanka is bracing for intense and bloody battles as security forces close in on the political capital of the Tamil Tiger rebels, according to military analysts... Back to the top

Sri Lanka military: 26 killed in new fighting
Associated Press, Sat August 23, 2008 03:50 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) New fighting across Sri Lanka - 's embattled north killed 24 Tamil Tiger rebels and two government soldiers, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

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