- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

SRI LANKA
Alliance to protest truce with Tamils
COLOMBO President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance plans a mass protest Monday with Marxists and nationalist hard-liners against a Norway-brokered truce with Tamil Tiger rebels.
People's Alliance spokesman Anura Bandaranaike, who is Mrs. Kumaratunga's brother, said the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had overlooked violations of the cease-fire by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The People's Alliance is negotiating with the People's Liberation Front, which will join Monday's rally, to form an alliance to topple Mr. Wickremesinghe. The Marxist People's Liberation Front opposes the cease-fire with the Tigers and has petitioned the Supreme Court to revoke the truce.

TURKMENISTAN
Rights watchdog says leader broke his word
VIENNA, Austria Turkmenistan has jailed a man for three years in connection with a reported attempt on the president's life, a rights group said two days after Europe's human rights watchdog was promised the man would soon be freed.
The Helsinki Federation said Farid Tukhbatullin, an environmental activist, was convicted and sentenced Tuesday of concealing a criminal act that he supposedly knew in advance of the purported attack, in which authorities say dissidents fired at the president's motorcade.
The conviction was a slap in the face to efforts by Europe's largest security rights group, the Organization for Security in Europe (OSCE), to rein in Turkmenistan's president, Saparmurat Niyazov. The OSCE chairman, Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, met Mr. Niyazov in Ashgabat on Monday to talk about mass arrests since the reported attack.
"The president assured me that Mr. Tukhbatullin will be released soon," Mr. de Hoop Scheffer said afterward. Instead, the court convicted and sentenced Mr. Tukhbatullin on Tuesday after hearing no witnesses and refusing a defense request to present evidence.

Weekly notes …
The government of Bangladesh says it is investigating the "unfortunate" intrusion of a stranger into the bedroom of Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung at 2 a.m. Monday during a visit to Dhaka. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters the Padma state guest house where Mr. Win stayed had seen past "incidents" that were hushed up instead of being investigated. Mr. Win left the guest house and slept the rest of the night at the residence of Burma's ambassador to Dhaka and left for home later Monday on schedule. … Graphic television footage shows the torture and death of an elephant caught in a "management" program sanctioned and paid for by the government of the central Indian state of Chattisgarh. To subdue the young bull for training, the wild Asian elephant was tied down and had its tusks hacked off with a saw while being repeatedly jabbed with spikes and hit with bamboo staves. It was later denied food and water, and died of stress, starvation and thirst after 18 days. Commissioned to document the project, Green Oscar-winning filmmaker Mike Pandey's crew filmed the animal's treatment.

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