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Fernando says Dr M can seek UN secretary-general's post

Dec 28 (TS) Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando, who is currently the only Asian nominated for the UN Secretary-General's post from 2007, is willing to make way for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad if member countries in the region think he is a better choice. more..

Sri Lanka says international donors should not lose patience

Dec 29 (AP) Sri Lanka's foreign minister yesterday urged international donors that have pledged US$4.5 billion in foreign aid not to lose patience over the South Asian nation's stalled efforts to end two decades of civil war. more..

Police deny AFP story

Dec 29 (DN) Police said that no complaint has been made about an alleged attack on two churches in Puvakpitiya contradicting an AFP story. An AFP story said "mobs stormed into a Jehovah's Witness hall and another church after services finished on Sunday in Puvakpitiya". more..

Long Haul

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is forecasting a surge in international call revenue, as an old microwave link with South India is re-established on Monday. The link will also offer international connections to neighbouring Nepal, Pakistan and Bangaladesh. more..

Tangled Wires

Dec 29 (LBO) Unbundling of the Ceylon Electricity Board has been pushed back once again to April 2004, until employee concerns are ironed out, CEB officials said Monday. Further delays will put US$85 mn in Asian Development Bank funds for the sector, which are pegged to the reforms, in the balance. more..

Clean Up

Dec 29 (LBO) The State will hold off divesture plans for the six regional development banks until 2005, giving time for the banks to clean up their act. The Central Bank in August 2003 mooted plans to divest around 47% stake in each of the six RDB’s – Kandurata, Ruhuna, Wayamba, Sabaragamuwa, Uva and Rajarata. more..

Shopping Spree

Dec 29 (LBO) The Colombo office of Emirates has begun sales of travel plus accommodation packages for the ninth Dubai Shopping Festival, which takes place from January 15 to February 15, 2004. more..

PM office delegation visits Jaffna

Dec 29 (TN) A delegation of officials from the Sri Lankan prime minister's office held a conference at the Jaffna district secretariat Monday to identify development and rehabilitation priorities in the war devastated peninsula. more..

Electricity Grid to extend to Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi

Dec 29 (TN) Kilinochchi district Electric Engineer Selvarajah Prabhakaran said that under a 2-year plan funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) the national electricity grid is to be extended to a new sub-station in Kilinochchi through a 132KV line. more..

President sends condolences to Iran on devastating earthquake

Dec 29 (PSL) President Kumaratunga sent a message of condolence conveying her deepest sympathies to Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and families of the victims of the earthquake that rocked Iran, December 26. more..

Movement of armed LTTE men observed

Dec 29 (SLA) Troops on duty in the general area of KADJUWATTA, about 15 km. north of VALACHCHENAI, have observed 04 armed LTTE cadres moving from north to south on 28 December 2003 around 11.30 a.m. more..

LTTE leader carrying LTTE uniforms arrested

Dec 29 (SLA) Police on duty at a roadblock in the general area of MANKERNI about 38 km. northwest of BATTICALOA town have arrested an LTTE leader who was carrying a set of LTTE camouflage uniforms on 28 December 2003. more..

India, Sri Lanka Cepa to meet next month

Dec 29 (AP) The negotiating team for the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is likely to hold its first meeting next month. Although the dates are yet to be finalised, official sources said the meeting could take place any time next month. more..

Sri Lanka stocks face good '04 if political row ends

Dec 29 (Reuters) Tourism and service companies are expected to drive Sri Lankan stocks higher in the coming year, but the rally could stall unless the island resolves a political feud threatening the economy, analysts said on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom to issue bonds for over $50 mln

Dec 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka Telecom , the country's largest listed company, plans to raise over $50 million through a bond issue to expand its mobile phone operations, its chief executive said on Monday. more..

Ranil government will challenge moves to extend Chandrika tenure

Dec 29 (Gulf) A spokesman for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that his UNF government would challenge what he called any "untenable" moves to extend the tenure of President Chandrika Kumaratunga till 2006. She is expected to step down in 2005. more..

Police guard against religious violence

Dec 29 (ABC) Police in Sri Lanka say they have stepped up security at churches after two Christian sites were attacked amid mounting inter-religious tensions. Police in Colombo say mobile patrols have been intensified in vulnerable areas following Sunday's attacks on two Christian centres, 60 kilometres east of the capital. more..

Sri Lanka heads for elections amid instability

Dec 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka enters the New Year to face key local polls and possibly parliamentary elections as a fragile peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels remains on hold following an unprecedented power struggle between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Sri Lanka's North now battles water woes

Dec 29 (OW) With the return of 200,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs), Sri Lanka's war-torn Northern province - Jaffna - is threatened by an acute water crisis, even as the saline, already scarce water supply is contaminated by a dangerous cocktail of pollutants. more..

New look SLFP-JVP alliance: Latest signing date January 21

Dec 29 (DM) The alliance between the SLFP and the JVP which has been in focus for a long time will be signed on January 21 at the Independence Square, party sources said yesterday. The proposed new alliance will have a new name, a new symbol and a new colour making it distinct from the People's Alliance. more..

Tyronne in Seychelles for cooperation on trade

Dec 29 (IL) Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando who is on a two day official visit to Seychelles, first ever visit by a Sri Lankan Minister, met his counterpart Mr. Jeremie Bonnelame recently at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

'Puttalam has made vast strides in development’

Dec 29 (IL) Parliamentary Affairs Minister A. H. M. Azwer speaking on implementing projects with money allocations through the de-centralized budget said that money in the Puttalam district has been utilized without political bias. more..

NE Muslims to take up arms if no favourable response

Dec 29 (IL) Muslims in the North and East are becoming desperate and they are agitating to take up arms to resolve their problems if there is no favourable response to their genuine grievances, the newly formed North-East Muslim Peace Assembly (NEMPA) yesterday declared. more..

Ironies of Soma Thera's death

Dec 30 (BNN) There are perhaps some ironies in the tragedy of the Soma Thera's death. He fell ill on the way to Russia and and died while there. The irony is that he was an outspoken critic of prostitution and gambling, two areas dominated by Russians in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka seeks help from India, Malaysia for coal power

Dec 30 (DT) Sri Lanka has sought assistance from India and Malaysia to develop a much-needed coal-fired power plant that could initially generate 300 megawatts, a senior official said on Monday. more..

USAID funds Trinco Sri Shanmuga Boys' Home development

Dec 30 (TN) The seminar hall of the Sri Shanmuga Boys' Home in Trincomalee, refurbished with modern equipment at a cost of 3.1 million rupees with the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) more..

'Reveal fate of missing Tamils' call

Dec 30 (GD) Relatives of ethnic minority Tamils who allegedly disappeared after the military wrested control of their homeland eight years ago demonstrated yesterday to demand that the government reveal their fate. more..

Influential monk Ven. Sobitha on fast-unto-death against Proselytizing

Dec 30 (AT) The island wide uproar among the Buddhists and Hindus against what they call unethical and immoral conversions by fundamental Christian missions financed mostly by US money, took a new turn, when Venerable Omalpe Sobhitha, an influential Buddhist monk started a fast unto death more..

US to look for way ahead in Sri Lanka, with Japan, Norway and EU

Dec 30 (AFP) The United States delivered a sharp warning that the bitter political struggle between Sri Lanka's prime minister and president was denting hopes for peace with Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Security tightened at Lanka churches; monks protest

Dec 30 (AFP) Sri Lankan police said yesterday they had stepped up security at churches after two Christian sites were attacked amid mounting inter-religious tensions on the Buddhist-majority island. more..

Defeat provocateurs - President

Dec 30 (DN) Condemning an attack led by certain extremist and opportunistic groups on a church at Meegoda on Saturday, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday ordered IGP Indra de Silva to deploy special police teams to prevent such incidents in the future. more..

“Political impasse cannot be allowed to continue” - Armitage

Dec 30 (TN) The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Richard Armitage, said that “the current political impasse cannot be allowed to continue,” and that the U.S. “looks forward to an early resumption” of the peace talks between the Government and the LTTE. more..

Curbing rising lawlessness, focus of Vavuniya meet

Dec 30 (TN) Vavuniya district Judge M.Illancheliyan, President of Vavuniya Bar Association, M.Sittampalam, Vavuniya Police Commissioner Ranjith Kasturiyarachi and other Police officials met in Vavuniya Monday morning to discuss urgent stratgies to arrest the rising lawlessness in Vavuniya district, more..

Sri Lanka urged to end regime of impunity

Dec 30 (TN) At a press conference in New Delhi while releasing its 139 pages report, "The State of Civil and Political Rights in Sri Lanka", Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) Tuesday highlighted the massive violations of civil and political rights in Sri Lanka more..

Save Buddhism from fundamentalists

Dec 30 (LT) Several bhikkus from National Bhikku Federation conducted a ‘fast’ opposite the Ministry of Buddha Sasana at Dharmapala Mawathe demanding the government to adopt an act in the Parliament preventing Buddhists from being converted to other religions. more..

Tigers on the mat

Dec 30 (LT) Many changes in the secondary level of the tiger leadership have been decided by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the tiger organization say sources in the Vanni. more..

Armed men hijack motorbike

Dec 30 (SLA) Two armed men, suspected to be from LTTE wearing camouflage uniforms and their faces half-covered with cloth have hijacked a motor-bicycle from the general area of INUVIL, about 8.5 km. north of JAFFNA on 28 December 2003 around 8.30 p.m. more..

Twice beaten civilian’s motorbike taken away

Dec 30 (SLA) A few LTTE cadres on a van in the general area of CHUNNAKAM took away a motorbike belonging to a civilian on 28 December 2003 while he was being beaten by some other men for reasons best known only to assailants. more..

EPDP activist abducted

Dec 30 (SLA) LTTE men abducted an EPDP activist on a motorbike in the general area close to JAFFNA town on 29 December 2003 around 4.30 p.m. The EPDP office at KARAMPAN had informed the Police that the victim, QUIRBA (25) has been abducted. more..

Sri Lanka wants partnership with IR

Dec 30 (PTI) Sri Lanka said today it wanted to forge an alliance with Indian Railways to develop infrastructure and spur economic development in the island nation. "Sri Lanka would like to emulate the role of the Indian Railways for its economic development. more..

Police on guard after attacks on churches

Dec 30 (Reuters) Churches in Sri Lanka have come under a wave of attacks this week, apparently at the hands of angry Buddhists, and while no one has been hurt, police are mounting extra patrols and posting guards to protect them. more..

Lanka parties gearing up for provincial polls

Dec 30 (Gulf) Sri Lanka's political parties are gearing for a crucial provincial election coming up next year virtually ignoring the peace process aimed at finding a political solution to the two decade old Tamil minority ethnic conflict. more..

SEP holds public meeting on the political crisis in Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (WSWS) In the midst of the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a public meeting in Colombo on December 18 to explain its perspective and program. more..

Sri Lanka 'A' shocks India 'A' to clinch title

Dec 30 (TC) Schoolboy Farveez Maharoof grabbed 4-39 as Sri Lanka 'A' whipped India 'A' by seven wickets in the final of the three-nation Limited Overs series in Kolkata. Sri Lankans shot the hosts out for 197 and then galloped past the modest target with 16.2 overs to spare. more..

Howzzat! Murali outshines Sachin

Dec 30 (AFP) Sachin Tendulkar's dramatic slump in the year gone by has acquired such serious proportions that many have even begun to joke about it. At the awards ceremony after the recent Test series between Sri Lanka and England, former West Indian legend Michael Holding complimented Muttiah Muralitharan for scoring more Test runs than Tendulkar in 2003. more..

Tigers, Sri Lanka turn battleground into Peace Zone

Dec 30 (HT) Eastern Sri Lanka's shattered Batticoloa district -- which witnessed the worst ethnic riots last year, is now fast returning to normalcy, thanks to superb co-operation between the government and the LTTE: a model for the rest of the country. more..

Spilitting Hairs

Dec 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom’s much talked of marriage with Lanka Bell is getting delayed, as the Treasury has not given its blessings. SLT Chairman, Thilanga Sumathipala says Treasury approval is a mere formality, but the delay, prevents SLT from consolidating Lanka Bell into its 2003 accounts. more..

Jaffna GA accuses TamilNet of twisting reports

Dec 30 (DM) Jaffna Government Agent C. Pathmanathan yesterday categorically denied a statement attributed to him by the SLBC and the TamilNet that the government had not spent any money for rehabilitation in the Jaffna district. more..

US wants Chandrika-Ranil row over portfolios to end

Dec 30 (HT) The US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has told Sri Lanka that the current domestic political crisis in the island, precipitated by the take over of certain key ministries by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Teacher shortage imperils NorthEast education - Sampanthan

Dec 31 (TN) "The quality of education in Tamil medium schools in the North East province is very adversely affected from the level of primary education through the level of secondary education as a result of the severe shortage of Tamil medium teachers," more..