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Religious dignitaries appeal for calm in Batticaloa

Apr 1 (TN) Religious dignitaries of all faiths in the Batticaloa district Wednesday made an urgent appeal to parties concerned to take immediate steps to promote peaceful environment instead of taking revenge, civil sources said. more..

Election violence increases

Apr 1 (TN) With a day left for the 13th parliamentary election, which is scheduled to be held on April 2nd, post incidents of polls violence reached 1256 Wednesday morning. Of them 983 complaints related to election offences and the balance pertained to Violation of Election Laws, more..

Competent Authority on State media to continue

Apr 1 (TN) A three-member bench of the Supreme Court Wednesday refused to issue an interim injunction to suspend the appointment of the Competent Authority for the three State controlled electronic media, SLBC, SLRC and ITN, legal sources said. more..

Journalists targeted in attacks ahead of Polls

Apr 1 (RSF) On the eve of 2 April 2004 legislative elections, Reporters Without Borders has recorded a series of physical attacks and threats against journalists and fears a further deterioration of the situation in the run-up to polling. more..

Saudi Arabia beats Sri Lanka 1-0

Apr 1 (AP) Striker Ebrahim Sowed scored the sole goal Wednesday in Saudi Arabia's 1-0 win over Sri Lanka in an Asian qualifying match for the 2006 World Cup. Although the much-fancied Saudi Arabians were expected to have an easy passage, the fighting Lankans played an improved game to contain the visitors more..

LTTE requests Jaffna Tamils not to leave Batticaloa, Amparai

Apr 1 (TN) The political secretariat of the LTTE Wednesday issued a statement appealing to the people who have been living in the districts of Batticaloa and Amparai for generations not to leave their habitats succumbing to the threats and the pressure directly issued by the Karuna group or in the name of any other organizations. more..

Central elections office opened at Batti Hindu college

Apr 1 (TN) The central elections office for the Batticaloa district has been opened at the Batticaloa Hindu College, and the transport division for the elections is operating from there, sources in Batticaloa said. more..

Divided politicians and divided rebels

Apr 1 (AP) On one side is a bitter, name-calling rivalry between the president and the prime minister. On the other is a secretive rebel movement divided by infighting and publicly vowing to murder a dissident leader but still insisting it's moving toward the mainstream. more..

Polls in LTTE areas cannot be fair: monitoring agency

Apr 1 (Hindu) The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), an internationally-funded group of monitors overseeing Parliamentary polls, today expressed concern over the electoral situation in the Tamil-majority north and east, where an estimated three lakh voters are from areas controlled by the LTTE. more..

Atapattu appointed test captain

Apr 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka have appointed Marvan Atapattu as test captain to replace Hashan Tillakaratne who resigned on Sunday after a 3-0 series whitewash by Australia. The 33-year-old Atapattu is already captain of Sri Lanka's one-day side. more..

Tamils flee east Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (AFP) Tamil residents began fleeing this eastern Sri Lankan town overnight as hundreds of troops poured in amid arson attacks and fears of a factional war between Tamil Tiger rebels, residents and police said. more..

Sri Lanka's controversial cricket chief steps down

Apr 1 (AP) Sri Lanka's cricket chief, accused of violating immigration laws, stepped down Wednesday ahead of an annual general meeting at which the sports body elected new officers. Mohan De Silva, the Sri Lanka Cricket secretary, was elected president uncontested, the board said. more..

Monks eye Speaker's job at final election rally

Apr 1 (AFP) Buddhist monks ended their election campaign here Tuesday with a public rally that reinforced their hopes of emerging as king-makers in a hung parliament. Monk Athuraliya Ratana said the public response to the first ever election bid by an all-clergy list of candidates from the National Heritage Party (NHP) had been "unbelievable". more..

World Bank supports rural poverty reduction efforts

Apr 1 (WB) The World Bank today approved a grant for US$51 million to support the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to reduce poverty in rural areas. It will finance the Community Development and Livelihood Improvement “Gemi Diriya” Project and will be implemented in approximately 1,000 villages over four years. more..

Sri Lanka qualify for soccer semis

Apr 1 (DT) Sri Lanka became the first team to qualify for the semi-final of the SAF Games football tournament after beating Bhutan by a solitary goal in their Group ‘B’ match played at the Army Stadium Ground on Wednesday. The Lankans got their goal through Weerasinghe Siyaguna more..

Sri Lanka’s shadow play

Apr 1 (IE) Sri Lanka has had a long record of election campaign violence with about 70 people being killed in the last elections in 2001. Compared to these levels of violence, the current one leading to the parliamentary elections on April 2 has been comparatively peaceful. more..

PAFFREL to sue state media

Apr 1 (UL) The Peoples Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) that is in the midst of a controversy over deploying observers to watch Friday's polls, is seeking legal advice to sue the state media. more..

Building a more honest society

Apr 1 (UL) During the course of the 2004 General Election the United National Party has been listening to the voice of the people. The people have made it clear to us that they wish to see further proposals to stop corruption within Government and to ensure freer and fairer elections in the future. more..

Tamil areas on edge as voting day nears

Apr 1 (IPS) Tamil voters in the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, dominated by the Tamil Tiger rebels, have been receiving flyers highlighting the "dangers" ahead if Tiger-backed candidates sweep the Apr. 2 parliamentary polls. more..

LTTE likely to emerge king maker after polls

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s Tiger rebels could emerge as kingmakers in a divided government following tomorrow’s elections, giving them political power without a peace deal requiring them to lay down their weapons. more..

CMEV sends all Sinhala monitors to Jaffna district

Apr 1 (TN) A thirteen member-team of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) arrived in Jaffna Wednesday to monitor the April 2nd general election in the Jaffna electoral district. All monitors are from the major community and would be staying in Jaffna until the election is concluded, more..

Omanthai SLA checkpoint gets electricity

Apr 1 (TN) Transport arrangements for the more than 100,000 voters in the LTTE controlled areas in the Vanni and Jaffna districts for the elections to be held on Friday are being completed, with a resting place in Puliyankualm and voting booths close to Omanthai and Muhamalai check points of the Sri Lanka Army, more..

New Sinhala extremist party fields Buddhist monks in elections

Apr 1 (wsws) The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party have repeatedly warned that President Kumaratunga’s chauvinist agitation against the “peace process” and the UNF government would set in motion dangerous communal forces that threaten to plunge the country back to war. more..

Rs.100 million for UNP campaign

Apr 1 (LT) The amount the UNP has spent for its propaganda campaign exceeds Rs. 100 billion say reports. This is the amount spent by the party – the amounts spent by individual candidates are not included. more..

Sri Lankan poll unlikely to resolve leadership tussle

Apr 1 (Rediff) The split in the LTTE has cast a question mark over Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's attempts to convert Friday's election into a referendum on the peace process. more..

Sri Lankan rivals promise peace, growth ahead of snap poll

Apr 1 (Bloomberg) President Chandrika Kumaratunga and political rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ended a five-week election campaign each insisting their policies will bring lasting peace and growth. more..

Third Umpire

Apr 1 (LBO) Come Friday over 4,000 monitors and 20 international observers will take up positions all islandwide to take note of another Sri Lanka election at the cost of over Rs. 30 mn. “On Election Day, CMEV will have 4584 Monitors plus 20 International Observers, making a total of 4604 Monitors,” more..

Potty Business

Apr 1 (LBO) As a last ditch attempt to preserve dwindling water reserves, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) rolls out a pilot project on Thu. to fix a meter on each City toilet. more..

Revised Edition

Apr 1 (LBO) A new constitution for Sri Lanka through ‘extra legal’ measures is the answer, says the UPFA – but political analysts look at it as ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’. The UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) is asking for a mandate for ‘extra legal’ measures to adopt a new constitution. more..

Switching Off

Apr 1 (LBO) Elections, full moon holidays and a slow winding down of business as usual for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, could keep the country out of the dark at least until end April. Daily demand for electricity generally takes a plunge in the April festive season, with a spate of holidays for about two weeks this year turning out to be a saving grace. more..

Canada provides assistance to monitor elections

Apr 1 (GC) Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham and Minister for International Cooperation Aileen Carroll today announced that Canada is providing $100,000 in support of an observer group to monitor Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections on April 2, 2004. more..

A former child soldier speaks out

Apr 1 (WP) In 2003, LTTE continued to recruit child soldiers in contravention of international law. UNICEF reports indicate that the LTTE recruited 709 children in 2003 and continues to hold about 1,300 children despite promises to release all children within its ranks. Only about 300 children have been released so far. more..

Elections commissioner assures that a repoll will be ordered in areas where election malpractices take place

Apr 1 (Rupavahini) The commissioner of elections Dayananda Dissanayake says a repoll would be ordered at polling booths where irregularities occur. The polls in the respective areas will be declared null and a fresh poll will be ordered. more..

Tigers' shadow over polls

Apr 1 (AT) Sri Lanka goes to the polls on Friday to elect a new parliament. The election, the third in four years, is unlikely to render a clear verdict, and a hung parliament is in the cards. What is near certain, however, is that politics and the peace process on this island are heading towards choppier waters. more..

Two LTTE suspects detained at Chennai Airport

Apr 1 (ANI) Police at Chennai's Anna International Airport have arrested two Lankan nationals, suspected to be members of the banned LTTE. Central Industrial Security Force sources said Sivaraman (28) and Gunaseelan (32) were detained on suspicion while trying to board the Chennai-Singapore IC 555 flight using fabricated travel documents and passports. more..

Tax Amnesty - Finance Minister states Government's stand

Apr 1 (DN) The Government has considered the recent Opinion of the Supreme Court on the Tax Amnesty granted by the Inland Revenue Act No. 10 of 2003. This Opinion has been expressed on a reference made to the Court by the President under Article 129 of the Constitution, as long as one year after the law was passed by Parliament. more..

Shop owner from north vacates and proceeds to JAFFNA

Apr 1 (SLA) Two LTTE cadres, who had entered a boutique at CHENKALADY on 30 March 2004 around 2.45 p.m., had ordered its owner to vacate the area forthwith after robbing shopkeeper’s motorbike and his key to the shop. more..

LTTE cadres carrying ammunition remanded

Apr 1 (SLA) Three LTTE cadres carrying warlike items from BATTICALOA towards KATTANKUDY inside a van were arrested by the Police while they were in the general area of KATTANKUDY on 30 March 2004. more..

Engineer and civilians held and released

Apr 1 (SLA) A civil engineer and his two assistants, who went in search of a boat that was used for construction work at MUTTUR new jetty, had been apprehended by LTTE cadres in the general beach area of KADAKARACHCHENAI, and subsequently released to the SLMM on 30 March 2004. more..

Sumathipala named SL's nominee to ICC

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala formally ended his term, but was promptly named the top envoy to represent the country's cricket interests abroad. The outgoing cricket chief withdrew from his re-election bid last month more..

Peace at stake in elections

Apr 1 (BBC) Sri Lankans are going to the polls on Friday for the third parliamentary election in four years. The last poll in December 2001 resulted in a cohabitation government. At the time, many said the results showed the Sri Lankan electorate desperately wanted the two main parties to work together to end the country's two-decade-long civil war. more..

Buddhist monks may become the third force in Sinhala politics

Apr 1 (HT) If the Buddhist monks's party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), gets three to nine seats in the April 2 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections as predicted by pollsters, it has a chance of becoming the "third force" in the politics of the majority Sinhala community. more..

Sri Lanka risks more trouble with snap polls, troops deployed

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka deployed thousands of troops ahead of Friday's parliamentary elections expected to return a hung parliament which could further undermine a faltering effort to end ethnic unrest. more..

Election may give swing vote to Tamils

Apr 1 (Reuters) A Tamil rebel-backed party could hold the key to forming Sri Lanka's next government if, as predicted, Friday's general election produces a deadlocked parliament. The vote is the first since the outbreak of the island's civil war in 1983 in which the LTTE have endorsed a party, throwing their intimidating weight behind the TNA. more..

Third situation report - PAFFREL

Apr 1 (LW) PAFFREL has already released its first and second situation reports on March 2, and March 23, 2004 respectively. This third and final report during the pre election period is presented in five sections. In the first section we highlight activities and incidents relating to the election campaigning. more..

Pen Sketches

Apr 1 (AFP) A Buddhist monk, a man branded a "terrorist" leader, a sparring president and a manoeuvring prime minister are the key figures in Friday's parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. more..

Monks aspire to be political kingmakers

Apr 1 (AP) There's a life of prayer and meditation. And then there's politics. For some Sri Lankan monks, Friday's parliamentary elections means it's time for the latter: "We are confident that we will emerge as the decisive and third major force in the next parliament," said Athuraliya Ratana, more..

Sri Lanka Tamils face displacement ahead of poll

Apr 1 (Reuters) The United Nations condemned on Thursday the displacement of northern Tamils from Sri Lanka's east, a region destabilised by a split in the Tamil Tiger rebels and facing tight security ahead of Friday's general election. more..

NPC condemns election violence and expulsion of people in Batticaloa

Apr 2 (TN) In a press release Thursday, the National Peace Council has condemned the election-related violence, intimidations and assassinations in the North-East, and the “effort to expel people of Jaffna-origin living in Batticaloa,” saying that “factional rivalries should not be solved at the expense of the people.” more..

Elections Commissioner says ready for polls on Friday

Apr 2 (TN) Elections Commissioner, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake, said Thursday that all arrangements have been made to hold the country’s thirteenth parliamentary election since it gained independence on Friday. Mr. Dissanayake will use the powers vested in him as Commissioner through the 17th Amendment to the constitution to ensure a free and fair general election, more..