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Government corporatises state rail network

Oct 23 (WSWS) The government has begun to implement a far-reaching restructuring plan of the state rail system that will result in the destruction of thousands of jobs and end cheap subsidised transport for the poor. more..

Displaced Muslims meet President

Oct 23 (PSL) A delegation of displaced Muslims met President Kumaratunga yesterday, requesting the President to appoint a commission to probe into the problems faced them. They informed the President that since they were displaced by the LTTE in 1990, the damages caused to them had not been assessed. more..

Deepawali a day to achieve peace and mutual trust – President

Oct 23 (PSL) In her message for Deepawali President Kumaratunga said, “Deepawali is a festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. Deepawali shows that light and goodwill, always triumph over evil and darkness.” more..

The future of Indo-Lankan CEPA

Oct 23 (BS) The framework Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka is close to being concluded. An interest in this direction was first expressed in a joint statement by both the governments in June 2002, more..

Government clamps down on toxins in food

Oct 23 (JF) The Sri Lanka government is about to introduce legislation that will require food manufacturers to submit samples of their products to its national analysis department to detect any toxins that may be present. more..

CBK rebukes envoy again

Oct 23 (DM) President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a letter to UN Permanent Representative Charlie Mahendran has alleged his conduct as being "reprehensible" and unworthy of the office he holds in addition to a warning of further action in due course. more..

Sri Lankan drug mafia operating in Mumbai?

Oct 23 (Gunaah) The arrest of two Sri Lankans at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport yesterday morning has thrown new light on an ongoing drug trafficking ring in the city. Facts came to light when officers of the NCB intercepted Zahir Shah Mohammed Hanif when he was about embark on an Air Sri Lanka flight to Colombo on Tuesday light. more..

Zoysa sparkles at both bat and ball in Kenyan heat

Oct 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka "A" bowled out Kenya for 180 to win the third match of their five-match one-day series at the Simba Union by seven wickets. Led by strong performances from Nuwan Zyosa, Janaka Gunaratne and Jehan Mubarak, the visitors cruised home to victory with 14 overs to spare on Wednesday. more..

India to revamp Sri Lanka police

Oct 23 (AFP) India is ready to help Sri Lanka reorganise and restructure its police department in addition to increased defence and economic cooperation, a senior minister here said Thursday. more..

Muslims begin devolution study ahead of landmark peace plan

Oct 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's minority Muslims will launch a study of devolution models overseas as the country braces for a landmark power-sharing plan to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed, officials said Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka sees peace talks resuming in early 2004

Oct 23 (Reuters) Frozen since April, peace talks between Sri Lanka's government and the island's Tamil Tiger rebels will restart early next year, a cabinet spokesman said on Thursday. The Tigers will hand over a proposal on power-sharing, which will set the framework for the renewed talks, on October 31, more..

MP slams criminal outfit for Kinniya troubles

Oct 23 (TN) Police declared indefinite curfew in Kinniya, south of Trincomalee, Thursday after Muslim mobs attacked the homes of two Parliamentarians in the area and abducted six Tamils. Police said the mobs, inflamed when Sri Lanka army units rescued the abducted Tamil civilians, stoned the troops. more..

Lankan delegation visits Army War College

Oct 23 (UNI) A 20-member Sri Lankan Army delegation, headed by Col J C Rambukpotha, today visited the Army War College in the Military Headquarters Of War (MHOW) area. The visiting officers were received by Maj Gen Iqbal Singh, the institution's Officiating Commandant, a release said here. more..

Atal believes LTTE will never go to war again, says Lankan PM

Oct 23 (HT) India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, is "confident" that the LTTE will "never" go to war again, according to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. The state-owned Daily News on Thursday quoted Wickremesinghe as telling his ministers more..

What is important is not Ranil or Chandrika but a programme - JVP

Oct 23 (LT) The largest crisis facing the country today is not who, whether Ranil or Chandrika, is suitable for the leadership but which programme could salvage the country from the debacle it is facing today said Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP. more..

Mobile phones taxed by tigers

Oct 23 (LT) The tiger organization has informed that a extortion of Rs.500/- should be paid to it for every mobile phone sold in the North and the East. Tiger organization has made this announcement through telephone exchanges sympathetic to them. more..

Lankan House to debate on PM Ranil’s India visit

Oct 23 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday agreed to debate Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's latest visit to India amid moves to step up economic and defence cooperation between the two neighbours. more..

Indo-Lanka defence pact slammed as 'military blackmail'

Oct 23 (HT) The pro-LTTE, London-based weekly Tamil Guardian has slammed the proposed India-Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) as an effort to "coerce" the LTTE and "foist Sinhala domination on the Tamils." more..

LTTE says its proposals will be foundation for final settlement

Oct 23 (HT) The LTTE's political wing leader, SP Tamilchelvam, has said that its proposals for an interim administrative structure for the North Eastern Province will be the foundation for a final settlement. more..

President demands sacking of Norwegian truce chief

Oct 23 (AFP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga Thursday asked peace broker Norway to sack the top truce monitor after accusing him of supporting Tamil Tigers and scuttling navy attempts to seize a rebel ship. more..

Sri Lanka's Hindus celebrate Deepavali

Oct 24 (TN) Sri Lanka’s Hindus celebrated the Deepavali Festival, the festival of lights, at the New Kathiresan hall, Bambalapitiya, in Colombo Thursday. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mass Communication Minister Imtiasz Bakeer Marker, Parliamentary Affairs minister A.H.M. Azwar, Interior Minister John Amarathunga, Hindu Religion affairs Minister T. Maheswaran participated at the function. more..

'Defence cooperation with India not measure against Tamil rebels'

Oct 24 (IANS) A defence cooperation agreement between Sri Lanka and India would only signal the closeness of ties between the two sides and would not be a precautionary measure against Tamil Tiger rebels reverting to war, Xinhua reports quoting a spokesman. more..

STF says no to civilians near base under construction

Oct 24 (Island) The STF has strongly objected to a recent move to settle civilians near a key base under construction about 85 kms. south of Batticaloa. Over a dozen families moved to the land adjoining the base recently, a senior policeman said. more..

SLFP to hold anti-UNF demo on Deepavali day

Oct 24 (TN) President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, who is also the leader of the SLFP, rejected appeals made by Tamil parliamentarians and Hindu organizations against holding the SLFP’s demonstration against the UNF government in Colombo on the Deepavali day. more..

PA MP Puthrasigamani ditches party

Oct 24 (DN) People's Alliance Parliamentarian V.Puthrasigamani yesterday abandoned his party and sat with the TNA opposition in Parliament over the President's failure to halt today's PA protest campaign coinciding with the Hindu Deepavali festival. more..

Pacts with India not pre-emptive: Peiris

Oct 24 (Hindu) The Foreign Affairs Minister, Tyronne Fernando, today described the island's relations with India as "one of the cornerstones" of its foreign, economic and national security policies and described the recently-concluded visit of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to India as "another milestone in the history" of bilateral ties. more..

Locke off to Sri Lanka to inspect peace process

Oct 24 (SM) Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke leaves for Sri Lanka this afternoon on a fact-finding mission into the peace process underway there. "I will be meeting with representatives of the major political parties, the government, and the Norwegian mediators," said Mr Locke, more..

Sri Lanka wants more help

Oct 24 (BP) Sri Lanka wants more landmine destruction specialists from Thailand to provide mine-clearing training to civilians. Thailand Mine Action Centre director Lt-Gen Kitti Suksomsathan said the one-month training course provided to Sri Lankan civilians by 10 Thai mine experts was a success. more..

Big Game

Oct 24 (LBO) Policy on telecom regulation will shift from size control to sub sector dominance management under a new draft legislation. The new asymmetric telecom regulation policy will have the telco watchdog barking orders at dominant operators, identified to be so when they pass predefined boundaries, impose entry restrictions or is a threat to near free market competition. more..

End of Season

Oct 24 (LBO) The English planters who once ruled the hillside are back on the tea estates, possibly to carry on from were they left off in Sri Lanka’s plantation history. James Finlay on Thursday quit is holdings in Udapussellawa and Hapugastenne Plantations, making a loss of Rs. 1.033 bn. more..

Illicit timber peelers arrested

Oct 24 (SLA) Troops on routine patrol in the general area of PARANADDAKALLU, about 09 km northwest of VAVUNIYA town have arrested two illicit timber peelers along with one bullock cart, two bulls and fourteen planks on 22 October 2003 evening. more..

Indo-Lanka pact not a pre-emptive move against Tigers

Oct 24 (Gulf) The Sri Lankan government said yesterday that a proposed defence pact with the Indian government was not a precautionary measure against the possible resumption of war by the Tamil guerrillas. more..

Sri Lanka's troubled east

Oct 24 (FL) With the Tamil-Muslim tensions continuing and the ground situation sliding out of government control, particularly in Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts, the region lends itself to grim predictions of devastation, if the peace efforts fail. more..

The missing boys of Batticaloa

Oct 24 (FL) BATTICALOA, also known as the `Land of the Singing Fish', has for long remained important for the LTTE. The taking of the Elephant Pass military garrison in April 2000 was a signal contribution to the organisation by the `boys from Batticaloa' led by Karuna a.k.a V. Muralitharan, more..

Stateless no longer

Oct 24 (FL) ON October 7, Sri Lanka corrected one of its tragic mistakes of the past when Parliament passed a Bill granting citizenship to 1,68,141 stateless Tamils of Indian Origin. more..

LTTE boss gets karate black belt

Oct 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Pirabhakaran who is feared for his highly motivated suicide bombers has been honoured with a karate black belt for promoting the art of unarmed combat. more..

Government confronts growing opposition

Oct 24 (WSWS) Less than two years after coming to power, the UNF government in Sri Lanka faces a deepening political crisis. The conservative UNP—the main component of the ruling coalition—defeated the previous PA government in the 2001 elections by promising to end the country’s 20-year civil war and introduce peace and prosperity. more..

Curfew reimposed in Kinniya town

Oct 24 (TN) Curfew has been reimposed in Kinniya in Trincomalee district Friday with effect from 2 p.m. following continued unrest in some parts of the town, police said. The government troops and police have barricaded Hijira road in Kinniya town where the residences of three Muslim parliamentarians of the Trincomalee district Messrs M.A.M.Maharoof (UNP), M. S. Thowfeek (SLMC) and K.M.Thowfeek (SLMC) are located. more..

Not policy gaffe, but grammar problem: PM

Oct 24 (DM) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday his controversial speech at the UN General Assembly had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq or the United States but was concerned with structural reforms of the United Nations. more..

President stuns truce monitors with demand to sack chief

Oct 24 (AFP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has stunned Scandinavian ceasefire monitors and peace brokers with her call to fire the chief observer, diplomats here said. There was no immediate reaction from the Norwegian-led SLMM to Kumaratunga's overnight call to sack Norwegian army Major General Tryggve Tellefsen as the head of the monitoring mission. more..

Govt upset by President's bid to oust Norwegian monitor

Oct 24 (HT) The Sri Lankan Government is upset over President Chandrika Kumaratunga's letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister asking him to sack the Norwegian head of the Sri Lanka Ceasefire Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Maj Gen Tryggve Tellefsen. more..

Opposition marches against peace bid with Tigers

Oct 24 (AFP) Tens of thousands of supporters of Sri Lanka's main opposition staged a march here Friday in a mass rally against the Norwegian-sponsored peace bid with Tamil rebels, witnesses said. more..

Ceasfire has not improved life for many

Oct 24 (IPS) The 20-month-old ceasefire between LTTE and the government, the longest in Sri Lanka's history, has delivered a mixed bag of blessings to people, especially those who live in conflict-affected areas. more..

NCC delegation visits Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (IANS) A seven-member delegation of India's National Cadet Corps (NCC) visited Sri Lanka for interaction with their counterparts in the island nation. The NCC team, which was in Sri Lanka October 15-22, participated in various competitions and toured the Sri Lanka National Cadet Corps headquarters and military academy, more..

Norwegian Advisor on Gender Issues visits Kilinochchi

Oct 25 (TN) Dr. Astrid N. Heiberg, the Advisor to the Subcommittee on Gender Issues (SGI) and Ms. Kjersti of the Norwegian High Commission in Colombo, visited the women’s secretariat in Kilinochchi Thursday morning and held discussions about women’s issues throughout the day, sources in the Vanni said. more..

Tens of thousands rally against government

Oct 25 (AP) Tens of thousands of people rallied Friday against the government, accusing it of mishandling the island's peace process and failing to honor election promises. Shouting anti-government slogans and carrying national flags, around 50,000 people marched to the center of the capital, Colombo. more..

Agony of Ecstasy hits Lankan nightclubs

Oct 25 (DN) An addictive drug commercially known as "Ecstasy" or "Love Drug" which revs up the spirits of young revellers is suspected to be in circulation in the nightclubs of several five-star hotels in Colombo, a senior Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) source said. more..

Nurses’ demand puts 2,000 lives in danger

Oct 25 (Island) As 2,000 cardiac patients await surgery at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, the nurses of the PSUNU, have refused to extend their services to the surgeon and staff of the Cardio Thorasic Unit in protest against inadequate allownces paid to them to assist in cardiac surgeries provided for by the President’s Fund. more..

Study Buddy

Oct 25 (LBO) The Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has asked Sri Lanka to join India or Kenya, if it plans to study the unique variances between tea growing elevations. Sri Lanka called on the FAO to fund the research project at the Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) meeting on tea earlier this year. more..

Expensive Retirement

Oct 25 (LBO) The Treasury plans to seek parliamentary approval shortly, to raise the government’s Rs. 316 bn total borrowing limit by around Rs. 50 bn. Of the fresh issues, Rs. 33.4 bn will come from converting expensive Rupee Loans, which carry a call option, into low cost long-term bonds. more..