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Tilvin: Drop ISGA, then talks can begin today

Dec 19 (SAMN) The JVP has no objection to President Chandrika Kumaratunga resuming peace talks with the LTTE "even today’’ if the Tigers lay aside their demand that these talks are held on the basis of their ISGA proposals, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said yesterday. more..

TNA MP delighted over criticism of JVP

Dec 19 (SAMN) The international community has signaled that it would not tolerate the JVP’s approach towards the Oslo-led peace process. The recent criticism leveled against the Marxists by three of the co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference was confirmation that the UPFA constituent had been recognised as the main obstacle to the peace initiative, Jaffna district TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj told the Sunday Island yesterday. more..

Tapes reveal LTTE training by Norway

Dec 19 (SAMN) Voice cuts from tapped telephone conversations purportedly between Norwegian officials and the LTTE were played, when panellists at the 'Colombo conference' organised by the WAPS group of Sri Lankan Expatriates, and the "Sandsadaya" forum, made the potentially explosive revelations about "Norwegian complicity with the LTTE in subverting the Sri Lankan state", at the BMICH yesterday. more..

Foreign donors put Sri Lanka on notice amid war fears

Dec 19 (AFP) International donors are warning the Sri Lankan government that it risks returning to war if it does not overcome opposition from coalition allies and resume peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, analysts and diplomats said. more..

Earth tremor felt in Sri Lanka's western province

Dec 19 (Xinhua) A minor earth tremor was felt in part of Sri Lanka's Western province, local residents said Sunday. Residents living in rural areas north of the capital Colombo such as Mirigama, Minuwangoda, and Seeduwa said that they experienced the tremor around 11:45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT). more..

Lankan airport expansion a threat: MDMK

Dec 19 (CO) The expansion and modernisation of Pallai airport in northern Sri Lanka, which is used for military purposes, was a "threat" to India and it has been brought to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, MDMK presidium chairman and MP, L Ganesan, has said. more..

MOU a threat to the National Security - Paul Harris

Dec 19 (LT) International defence analyst Paul Harris says that Interim Government proposals of the Wanni Tigers are not acceptable. He said so at a conference organized by World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka. This was held in BMICH Colombo on the theme democracy and peace in Sri Lanka. more..

'Bullet' sought around the world

Dec 19 (TS) Within hours of Amretta Singh's death, Peel police had a suspect with an intriguing nickname. Today, nearly nine months later, an international manhunt stretches halfway around the world to Sri Lanka following the trail of the man wanted for first-degree murder in the slaying of Singh, a 20-year-old student. more..

Catholic church torched in Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (AFP) A Roman Catholic church in this town west of the capital Colombo was attacked by unidentified arsonists who destroyed furniture and religious statues, police said. The men set fire to everything inside the St Michael's church in the pre-dawn attack, police said, even though the it was close to the local police station. more..

Sri Lankan gov't to leave no room for religious strife

Dec 19 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan government minister said Sunday that the government would leave no room for religious strife to rear its head in the predominantly Buddhist Indian oceanisland. Milroy Fernando, Minister for Christian Religious Affairs, was referring to an attack on a catholic church in a Colombo suburb. more..

AP Photo

Dec 19 (AP) A man pushes his bicycle through a flooded road as buses stand in Mannampitiya, leading to Batticaloa, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) east of capital Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004. more..

No more Lankan troops for UN peacekeeping missions

Dec 19 (HT) In view of the tense military and political situation which awaits it at home in 2005, Sri Lanka has decided not to send any more of its troops for UN peacekeeping work overseas. At present, about 1,000 handpicked and specially trained Sri Lankan troops are in the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti. more..

Lankan jewel theif gets 6 month jail

Dec 20 (KT) The Fujairah Sharia Court sentenced Abulana Gidar, a Sri Lankan national, to six months in prison for stealing a Dh4,000 necklace from her employer’s wife. The employer reported to the Fujairah police that his wife found her necklace missing from her bedroom cupboard and that the housemaid was the only person who could have stolen it. more..

Sri Lankans face tricky tour opener

Dec 20 (Stuff) New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium will be under the spotlight as much as Sri Lanka tomorrow when the tourists open their six-week programme with a one-day match against domestic champions Central Districts. more..

Find consensus within Govt coalition before seeking our Co-operation - UNP MP

Dec 20 (TN) "Whilst we are always ready to support the peace process, any effort by the government to advance the peace process without first dealing with the contradictions and conflict within their coalition ranks will be in vain" said Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, UNP MP for Kalutara District, more..

Another woman dies in the infectious viral disease similar to pneumonia

Dec 20 (Rupavahini) Another woman has died of infectious viral disease similar to pneumonia which is spreading in several areas in the island including Matara and Embilipitiya. This death was reported today at Galpaya in Rakwana. more..

Flood waters in several districts in the island are gradually receding

Dec 20 (Rupavahini) The department of social services disclosed that at least five thousand houses were damaged in flash floods following torrential rains which lashed several areas in the Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. more..

LTTE leaders discuss Trinco development with NEPC officials

Dec 20 (TN) "The utmost goal of our liberation struggle is to free our people from all sufferings and to ensure that they lead a life in their areas with all basic needs are met,"said Mr.S.Elilan, LTTE Trincomalee district political head more..

Floodwaters uproot landmines in Batticaloa

Dec 20 (TN) Anti-personnel landmines made of plastic weighing around 100 -150g were observed floating in areas close to SLA camps in Sithandy, Morakkoddanchenai and Pullumalai in the flood ravaged Batticaloa district, civil sources said. Some animals were killed or injured by landmine explosions during the last few days. more..

S.B’s parliamentary membership non existent

Dec 20 (LT) The Attorney General says that S.B. Dissanayaka’s parliamentary membership has been null and void with a two year rigorous imprisonment meted out to him. The Attorney General, Kamala Sabesan has conveyed this to the Speaker, W.J.M. Lokubandara in writing. more..

NTPC plans to go global with Rs 1,500 crore Lanka plant

Dec 20 (FE) The state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), which has moved ahead of Reliance Industries in the market cap stakes, has proposed to set up a 300 mw, Rs 1,500 crore coal-based power plant in neighbouring Sri Lanka. This is the first global initiative from NTPC. more..

Sri Lanka: MPs must visit all prisoners

Dec 20 (AT) Prison Authorities want all parliamentarians who pay visits to S.B. Dissanayake at the Welikada jail to look into the welfare of other prisoners too. The prisons management had arrived at this decision due to some politicians visiting the UNP politician creating problems for the prisons officials. more..

Efficient deployments benefit thousands in Batticaloa - TRO

Dec 20 (TN) Many villages have been marooned under flood water preventing people from returning to their homes though rain has stopped for the last two days in Batticaloa district. Vaharai divisional secretariat division was the worst affected area by the floods in the Batticaloa district. more..

Thousands form human chain protest in Chavakachcheri

Dec 20 (TN) Thousands of Tamil civilians in Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district held a human chain agitation campaign on either side of A-9 highway Monday morning demanding the Government of Sri Lanka to resume peace talks with the LTTE on the basis of ISGA by the latter. more..

LTTE attempt to incite civilians to rise against troops fails

Dec 20 (SLA) Reports reaching COLOMBO on Monday morning from JAFFNA confirmed that the LTTE has miserably failed to lure the general public in the general area of CHAVAKACHCHERI into staging a mass-scale protest campaign against Security Forces demanding their withdrawal from HSZ and commencement of peace talks only on ISGA. more..

Civilian abducted, say villagers

Dec 20 (SLA) A civilian abducted by LTTE on 18 December 2004 around 1.20 p.m. from the general area of SIDAMBARAPURAM, VAVUNIYA has been released during early hours on Sunday (19). The victim, DEVADAS of VAVUNIYA was abducted by LTTE according to his father, NAGENDRA KUMAR who brought the matter to the notice of Police. more..

Marketing is no barrier to local products

Dec 20 (LT) The deputy minister of small and rural industries, Sunil Hadunneththi says that we do not have a problem of marketing for the local products. He said that the only problem is the failure of the local producer with short supply to meet the demand in the market. more..

Economy in bad shape - Bandula Gunawardana

Dec 20 (LT) UNP says that the Sri Lankan economy has collapsed by now. UNP MP Bandula Gunawardana said that prices of all commodities have been going up steadily. He says that during the former UNP regime the value of the dollar had remained constant and the value of the rupee has been depreciating against the currency rates in all other countries. more..

Amendments to the penal code

Dec 20 (LT) The President says that the penal code has to be amended for the prevention of crime in Sri Lanka. She said this at the opening ceremony of the new courts complex in Kandy. The President in further comments said that politicians sometimes override the law of the country. more..

Poster campaign from Wanni Tigers

Dec 20 (LT) Posters had been put up in Jaffna last night to say that the government was making preparations for a war. Our reporters say that these appeared in several areas including Jaffna hospital premises. They say that Wanni Tigers had put up these posters. more..

Canada deports WTM leader

Dec 20 (TP) The 32-year old brother-in-law of LTTE Political Wing Chief S P Tamilselvan has been deported to Sri Lanka from Canada, the Sunday Leader newspaper said in a report from its Canadian correspondent. It said Thavaselvam Nandagopal whose sister is married to the powerful Tiger political chief was deported back to Colombo on Monday, December 6. more..

Govt wooing MPs to push reforms

Dec 20 (TP) The Sri Lankan government is busy drumming up support for its disputed constitutional reforms among opposition UNP MPs including some heavyweights, the Sunday Island newspaper said. Speculation is rife that the government is going ahead with its efforts to win more MPs. more..

Air Deccan to fly to Colombo

Dec 20 (TP) Air Deccan, the new low-cost, no-frills airline in India, is to start international operations by the middle of next year with its first overseas destination being Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka rupee strengthens as banks sell dollars

Dec 20 (Reuters) The Sri Lanka rupee firmed on Monday as banks sold dollars, although there was moderate importer demand for dollars to settle trade bills, dealers said. The rupee closed at 105.17 against the dollar, up 0.08 from Friday. more..

Warne v Murali - Cricket's show stopper in 2005

Dec 20 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan's imminent comeback from controversy and injury promises to light up international cricket in the new year as he resumes battle with Shane Warne for the mantle of the game's greatest spinner. more..

10,000 Lankans languishing in Malaysian jails

Dec 20 (ANN) Around 10,000 Sri Lankans are languishing in Malaysia's jails or are detained at various places in the country after being arrested on charges of staying illegally in the country, Asiantribune website reported on Friday. more..

Over 500 Sri Lankan companies not submitted accounts

Dec 20 (ANN) Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board (SLAASMB) recently concluded an investigative study, and have identified 531 companies which come within their purview, that have not sent their financial statements to the Board. more..

More Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans to Perform Haj This Year

Dec 20 (AN) Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are sending more Haj pilgrims this time than last year. Over 46,000 are coming from Bangladesh as against 40,000 last time and over 6,000 are coming from the Indian Ocean island state as against 5,857 last year. more..

Accelerated drive to implement Tamil language provisions

Dec 20 (DN) A major change in the public sector recruitment scheme would be announced by the Government early next year. Accordingly, the future recruits to the public sector should have a working knowledge of Tamil besides other language skills, Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Minister Dew Gunasekera told the Daily News. more..

Death toll from mystery infection rises to 9

Dec 20 (SAMN) The mysterious infection that has gripped the southern areas of the country claimed two more lives Sunday raising the death toll to nine. The infection that kept evading the eyes of medical experts for the past few days has been finally identified as two variations of viral influenza, the chief Epidemiologist said Sudnay. more..

Marxists say ministers squander millions

Dec 20 (SAMN) A JVP heavyweight has said that millions were being squandered by ministers, their deputies and their staff. Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Deputy Minister, the longest serving JVP MP, Nihal Galapatty has acknowledged that they get the lion’s share of the allocations. more..

OPA says politicians dictated by sponsors

Dec 20 (SAMN) "Why is it that we find political parties in the opposition telling us that bribery, corruption and mal-administration, above all criminalizing society, prevails in an incumbent government? This happens on each occasion when an election is due. more..

We must pursue for lasting peace: Bishops

Dec 20 (SAMN) "Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ into the human family. The Christ child in Bethlehem is the incarnate Son of God. He became man in order to reveal to us the preciousness of human life and its dignity. more..

Sri Lanka diplomat joins race for UN's top job

Dec 20 (ANN) A Sri Lankan career diplomat with close ties to Washington and the United Nations has entered the race to succeed Mr Kofi Annan as the next UN secretary-general. The Sri Lankan government will nominate Mr Jayantha Dhanapala, a former ambassador to Washington, for the top UN job, according to diplomats. more..

Sri Lanka loses 40,139 man-days due to strike

Dec 20 (TN) The number of man-days lost due to strikes in the sectors of estate and establishment in Sri Lanka up to third quarter of this year are 40,139. During this period 46 strikes took place, 21 in the estate sector and the balance in the establishment, according to the labour ministry statistics. more..

Nabbed while trying to get near the Sri Lanka’s President

Dec 20 (AT) Police said today that they arrested two young Tamils - a man and a woman - caught loitering in a suspicious manner near the venues of yesterday's two ceremonies which President Kumaratunga attended in Kandy and Digana. more..

Church attack - attempt at anarchy?

Dec 20 (AT) Investigators suspect that the attack on a Christian Church in Homagama - coming in the wake of the tragic bomb blast at the Bollywood musical event - could be part of a well-planned operation to destabilize the country under cover of religious tension. more..

Tigers mobilizing for war in Jaffna

Dec 20 (AT) In the latest pamphlet circulated under the name of “National Patriots Organization” in Jaffna, the LTTE have stated very categorically that a war is inevitable. The pamphlet urges the Tamils of Jaffna to get ready for the challenge of chasing the Sri Lankan Army’s out of the Tamil region. more..

War drums dampen Sri Lanka's tourism cheer in the New Year

Dec 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tourism industry is set to wrap up its best year ever thanks to a truce between troops and Tiger rebels, but fears of a return to war have made the flourishing sector jittery once again. more..

Sri Lanka dismisses bird flu, SARS fears after eight die of mysterious virus

Dec 20 (AP) At least eight people died last week in southern Sri Lanka of an mysterious influenza-like virus, but it was not bird flu or SARS, the Health Ministry said Monday. One of the deceased appeared to have died from Influenza A, a particularly virulent strain of the virus, but all samples have been sent to Australia and Hong Kong for more tests, more..