To keep NORTH campaign going, Sri Lanka declares emergency rule

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The president imposed emergency rule throughout Sri Lanka on Tuesday, clearing the way for a delay in elections military leaders said could divert soldiers battling Tamil guerrillas in the north.
In an executive order, President Chandrika Kumaratunga said the emergency was imposed “in the interest of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”
The regulations give Mrs. Kumaratunga the power to postpone provincial elections scheduled for Aug. 28 in five of Sri Lanka’s eight provinces. Military leaders have expressed concern that soldiers in the north would have to be redeployed to secure voting booths.
In a two-year military campaign, the government has pushed Tamil rebels out of major strongholds and has confined the rebels to a small area in the north.
Emergency rule was first enacted when war broke out in 1983. When Mrs. Kumaratunga took office in 1994, she lifted the regulations except in the embattled north and east, and in the capital, Colombo. Tuesday’s order extends the regulations to the whole country.
More than 54,000 people have been killed in fighting between the government and rebels since 1983.