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Ten refugees landed in Urumalai

Dec 18 (SLA) Ten refugees, arrived in India after paying money to Indian fishermen were found dropped near the SAND BANK, URUMALAI on 17 December 2004 around 2.10 p.m. Naval troops handed over those refugees to the TALIMANNAR Police station for investigations and necessary actions.

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Dec 18 (SLA) One thousand one hundred and fifty five (1255) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 10 December 2004 and 16 December 2004. more..

Harsha Vithane to lead Sri Lanka Under-19

Dec 18 (CI) Harsha Vithane, a product of St. Aloysius College in Galle, will lead a 14-member Sri Lanka Under-19 team on a tour of Pakistan starting from December 29. The tour was hastily arranged by the board since the scheduled Indian tour to Sri Lanka had been postponed. more..

Ten Sports signs contract with Sri Lankan board

Dec 18 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket have confirmed that they have signed an exclusive four-year broadcasting and sponsorship deal with TEN Sports. The agreement starts in January 2005 and is estimated to be worth US$50million. TEN Sports first signed with the board in 2001. more..

President briefed on cops with underworld links

Dec 18 (AT) The Police Commission has forwarded the names of 20 senior police officers who are having links to the underworld. A copy of the report has also been sent to Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando. Among the suspected officers are senior superintendents, assistant superintendents. more..

JVP's stance on the peace process is misbegotten by US and Japan

Dec 18 (AT) The World Alliance for Peace has pointed out that the recent statement made by the co-chairs of the Japanese Donor Conference confirms the suspicions lurking in the minds of the Sri Lankan people that these donors have different measurements to gauge terrorism, while the UN is very clear on how responsible nations should stem terrorism the world over. more..

SL Cricket Academy in command

Dec 18 (IB) BCB High Performance Squad were still trailing by 32 runs to avoid an innings defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka Cricket Academy. BCB High Performance Squad made 123 for four wickets in their second wickets at the close of second day's play of the four-day match on Friday at the Fatullah Stadium. more..

Millions 'to lose textile jobs'

Dec 18 (BBC) Millions of the world's poorest textile trade workers will lose their jobs under new trade rules to be introduced in the new year, a charity has warned. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is to end its Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) at midnight on 31 December. more..

Extreme forces blame each other as stumbling blocks for peace talks

Dec 18 (PIS) The third anniversary of the longest truce in the history of the two-decade long civil war will be marked in exactly a week as Christmas 2004 dawns. The Norwegian Special Peace Envoy Erik Solheim who failed to make a breakthrough in the stalemate to resume peace talks more..

Plot to get monks out of politics:JHU

Dec 18 (SAMN) A fresh dispute flared Friday between the government and the Jathika Hela Urumaya, with leading monks claiming the government was trying to use the Presidential Commission report on the Buddha Sasana to get the monks out of politics. more..

Doctors rule out SARS in Lanka

Dec 18 (SAMN) Four deaths from pneumonia have been reported in the South and tests are being conducted but there is no indication of a SARS outbreak in Sri Lanka, an official said. Health Ministry Epidemiologist Dr. Singha Wickremesekara said a report on the pneumonia out break would be released within the next 24 hours more..

President seeks JVP support for peace

Dec 18 (SAMN) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed confidence that she could get her key government ally the JVP on board to help resolve the ethnic conflict despite the co-chairs expressing concern in a mid-week statement, a top government source revealed Friday. more..

Netherlands embassy snubs businessmen

Dec 18 (ANN) Four prominent Sri Lankan business personages seeking visas to the Netherlands, on short business visits, received a rude shock when their applications were unceremoniously turned down a few weeks ago. more..

The emerging water crisis

Dec 18 (ANN) There is no substitute for water, the absolutely essential requirement for life on earth. This is why the liquid waste that astronauts produce are chemically treated and the recovered water is used for all needs. more..

Lanka might opt for Indian EVMs

Dec 18 (HT) The next Sri Lankan elections will be conducted with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) custom-made for the island's electoral system by the Bangalore-based Bharat Electronics Ltd, if the Sri Lankan cabinet gives its approval. more..

Wolrd Bank okays loan for e-Sri Lanka project

Dec 18 (Xinhua) The World Bank has approved a loan of 53 million US dollars for e-Sri Lanka development project, the official Daily News reported on Saturday. The agreement was signed by World Bank Country Manager Peter Harrold and Secretary to the Sri Lankan Treasury P.B. Jayasundera more..

Teachers' welfare facilities to be improved

Dec 18 (DN) The first of the series of discussions intended to uplift the welfare and physical infrastructure facilities of teacher professionals and university students was held at the President's House, Colombo under the patronage of President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka police arrest suspect in Bollywood concert bomb attack

Dec 18 (AP) A man suspected of involvement in a deadly grenade attack at a controversial Bollywood concert in Sri Lanka has been arrested, police said Saturday. "We do not want to make any comment except to say that the investigation is making good progress," police spokesman Reinzie Perera said. more..

LTTE naval chief slams Indo-Lanka naval exercise

Dec 18 (HT) Colonel Soosai, head of the LTTE's navy — the Sea Tigers — has criticised the joint India-Sri Lanka 'naval' exercise, which concluded in Colombo on Friday, though the three-day event did not involve the Indian Navy, and the exercises related only to peace time problems such as sea pollution, piracy and search and rescue operations at sea. more..

Walsh: I can't split Warne and Murali

Dec 19 (ST) WHEN I watch the bowlers in world cricket today, I feel for them. The rules and the preparation of pitches now clearly make it a game for batsmen, but I still believe there are a handful of world-class bowlers who would have made it in any era. more..

More than 200000 families hit by floods in northeast

Dec 19 (TN) More than two hundred thousand families have been affected by the heavy rains and floods in the northeast, offials said. Batticaloa has the largest number of flood afflicted people - more than 75,000. There are 65,000 in Amparai and more than 40,000 in Kilinochchi Mullaithivu and Trincomalee. more..

Jaffna RRAN fraud case put off

Dec 19 (TN) Jaffna magistrate friday ordered to strike off from the trial roll the case on forty seven million rupees fraud in the construction ofl public markets and a home for the aged under the Rehabilition,Reconstruction Authority for North(RRAN) during the Peoples Alliance govt in 2001. more..

Telephone link to Trincomalee cut off

Dec 19 (TN) Telephone link between Trincomalee District and other parts of the country has been cut off since Saturday morning around 9.a.m due to damage caused to underground cable lines, Sri Lanka Telecom sources in Tincomalee told TamilNet. The Sri Lanka Telecom has deployed several teams to detect the damage. more..

Chandrika's letter handed over to Khaleda

Dec 19 (DS) A special envoy yesterday delivered a personal letter from Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Palinkkara handed over the letter to the prime minister at her office, saying that the Sri Lankan president is "eagerly waiting" to attend the 13th Saarc Summit in Dhaka. more..

Flood waters in several districts are gradually receding

Dec 19 (Rupavahini) However, rainy weather condition is still prevailing in Ampara, Batticaloa and Kilinochchi districts. This was disclosed by district secretaries. Floods and rainy weather condition in the Polonnaruwa district are gradually diminishing. However, the area surrounding the Somawathi Chaithya is still under water. more..

Identity of suspects created

Dec 19 (BBC) Police has released sketches of suspects allegedly involved in the grenade attack at Bollywood concert held in Colombo. Though no-one has been arrested in this attack which has led to controvesy. Police believe these sketched images would help them to get public support leading to the arrest of those involved. more..

16 postal workers released on bail

Dec 19 (TP) The Colombo Fort Additional Magistrate K Nanayakkara released 16 postal employees on bail after they were detained while allegedly stealing valuable letters from foreign mailbags during transport to Colombo from the airport. more..

Obscene publications law

Dec 19 (TP) The government is bringing in new legislation to define ‘obscene publications’ which will be more realistic in recognizing new offences and to meet new situations especially with regard to electronic transmission of such material, the Daily Mirror reported. more..

WAPS second international confab:'Stop appeasing terrorism'

Dec 19 (AT) Chairman Indian Foreign Policy Council and Chairman Barathiya Bahasha Sammelan Dr. Ved Pratap said that not even the worst Indian Government would support secessionism in Sri Lanka. more..

USA, EU, Japan and The JVP

Dec 19 (AT) After calling on the Sri Lankan President on December 14, 2004 to discuss the current impasse in the talks between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the LTTE the three Colombo-based representatives of the Tokyo Conference – Japan Netherlands and USA – issued a press release. more..

Peace at any cost doomed to fail

Dec 19 (AT) Risking LTTE death threats, Veteran journalist, author and international terrorism expert, Paul Harris is now in Sri Lanka as one of the speakers of the second WAPS (World Alliance for Peace and Security) conference which was on 18 December in Colombo. more..

Attempts to undermine Dhanapala’s UN chances

Dec 19 (AT) Hardly had Sri Lanka announced the name of the respected veteran diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala as its nominee for the UN’s top post when sections of the country’s Tamil media began a campaign to denigrate both Sri Lanka and Dhanapala. more..

To Be Or Not To Be ….

Dec 19 (AT) With the ‘peace process’ (like the Sri Lankan rupee) hitting a new low, the time has come to set one’s house in order. Whatever Mr. Pirapaharan’s next move may be, Sri Lanka must be ready to face it, and face it well. The task of putting our politico-military defences in order is not something that can be postponed or sidelined anymore. more..

Religious fanaticism: The big picture

Dec 19 (AT) Perhaps TS Eliot was wrong. Perhaps April is not the cruellest month, December is. Last December, mobs of Sinhala-Buddhist fanatics attacked Christian churches, and Christmas Mass had to be attended under armed Police and STF guard. more..

Evil forces behind the mega concert of Sharuk Khan must be revealed- JVP

Dec 19 (AT) Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP) in a statement has called upon the authorities to take immediate action to reveal and bring before justice all the groups behind the cruel bombing at the mega concert of Sharuk Khan held in Colombo on 11 December. more..

Made Korean in Colombo

Dec 19 (SO) A massive racket involving top police officers, immigration and emigration officials and customs officers where Chinese and Thai nationals had been brought to Colombo and sent to Italy for employment as Korean nationals on forged Korean passports had been bared. more..

Do it Gingerly

Dec 19 (LBO) Farmers' contribution to the economy has been falling as industries and service sector businesses take over. Agriculture accounts for one fifth of the economy despite half the population depending on it for a living. Farmers are poor because they can’t get a good price for seasonal produce like rice. more..

Red Flags Ahead

Dec 19 (LBO) World Bank says the erosion of fiscal gains made in the last two years will slow growth to below 5 percent and reduce donor funding for the budget. The bank in a review of development policy also says meeting targets in the Fiscal Management Responsibility (FMR) Act will become very challenging unless the government balances the Primary Account. more..

Withering Away

Dec 19 (LBO) Colombo’s flower businesses is withering away as the faithful displaced by the civil war return to their home soil after years of temporary residency in the overcrowded city. Remnants of a colonial past dot the now bustling bazaar district of Pettah – the Old Town Hall, the first mile post and hints of the old Portuguese garrison (now Fort) still left standing. more..

President to meet graduates

Dec 19 (SLBC) President Chandrika Kumaratunga will meet and exchange views with approximately 42,000 appointees under the Government's program of providing employment to unemployed graduates at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Colombo on December 21 at 10.00 a.m.

Two suspected persons arrested

Dec 19 (SLA) Two persons roaming in the general area of BAMBALAPITIYA, LAYARDS ROAD, AMARASEKARA MAWATHA, closer to the residence of Minister DOUGLAS DEVANANDA were taken by Police in to custody on suspicion on 18 December 2004. Two LTTE issued passes were also in possession of them at the time of the arrest was made. more..

21 year old youth abducted and released

Dec 19 (SLA) A group of LTTE cadres have abducted a 21 year old youth from the general area of KALMUNAI and later released after detaining inside a house in uncleared areas of MANDARAMULLA for four days on 18 December 2004. more..

More Indian trawlers observed poaching in Sri Lanka waters

Dec 19 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in the general area north west of THALAIMANNAR and VANKALAIPADU have observed approximately 35 Indian fishing trawlers poaching in the Sri Lanka waters on 18 December 2004 around 7.00 p.m.

Refugees returning from India arrested

Dec 19 (SLA) Ten refugees have been arrested on suspicion by Naval troops on duty in the general sea area of URUMALAI on 17 December 2004 around 2.10 p.m. Interrogations have revealed that those refugees have returned from India after paying Indian Rs. 3000/= each to an Indian trawler. more..

Termites in the woodwork

Dec 19 (ANN) Hopefully the police will be able to make some arrests in connection with previous Saturday’s carnage at the Sharukh Khan show at the old Colombo racecourse. There have been reports of video records of some suspicious persons but how good these will be in the absence of a witness or witnesses who saw the culprit physically lobbing the grenade is the big question. more..

Moved with kings without losing the common touch

Dec 19 (ANN) George Rajapaksa, a younger son of DM, George along with elder brother Lakshman was emerged in politics whilst they were mere babies. When DM was unjustly remanded in the midst of his election campaign to the state council, the famous Ruhunu Poet Bantis Ranaweera of Hakmana, took these two boys from village to village reciting ‘kavi’. more..

Sri Lanka floods and landslides leave trail of destruction

Dec 19 (Gulf) At least eight people have died and more than 800,000 displaced in the floods which have swept through the northeastern provinces of Sri Lanka. More than 2,000 houses have been damaged and landslides were reported from the central part of the country. more..

No war, no peace – for how long?

Dec 19 (PIS) Last Wednesday’s talks between the Norwegian delegation led by special envoy Erik Solheim and LTTE’s political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan. LTTE photo Norway's Special Envoy for the Sri Lankan peace process Erik Solheim reached out for his mobile phone last Tuesday and rang London. more..

Sri Lanka wants proof that tax paid by Bollywood stars

Dec 19 (AFP) Indian Bollywood stars who escaped a grenade attack during a sell-out concert a week ago have run into trouble with tax collectors, a press report here said. The Inland Revenue Department has ordered banks not to repatriate proceeds of the "Temptation 2004" show of Shah Rukh Khan and his troupe pending proof organisers of the show had paid all taxes, more..

SL Academy drub BCB HP Squad

Dec 19 (IB) Touring Sri Lanka Cricket Academy drubbed Bangladesh Cricket Board High Performance Squad by eight wickets on the third day of the four-day match on Saturday at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium. Sri Lanka Academy took only 7.4 overs to make the required runs in their second innings to warp up victory. more..