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Dissanayake blames plea-bargain for woes

Dec 20 (Gulf) Jailed frontline Sri Lankan opposition politician S.B. Dissanayake has blamed a plea-bargain that went wrong for his incarceration. He said that he now wants his lawyer to help him spill the beans of the negotiations that were held to get him off lightly. more..

Critical role awaits world community in Lanka next year

Dec 20 (HT) Sri Lanka is expected to oscillate rather dangerously between the prospect of war and the prospect of peace in the coming year. In this context, the international community will have a critical role to play in preventing the collapse of the peace process in the island. more..

Vote for South Asia's greatest ever leader

Dec 20 (BBC) Who do you consider to be the most important leader in South Asia in modern times? We have chosen 16 prominent names for you to vote for - if you don't like any of them, you can vote for 'none of these'. But we also want you to send your views on the candidates and tell us who else you would have included. more..

The price of peace for the Sinhala rural poor

Dec 21 (TN) Sri Lanka’s recent massive defence budget allocation, whilst preparing the military for a renewed war against the Liberation Tigers, has another vital role in domestic politics: the economy of the Sinhala rural poor is three times more dependent on military remittances than official poverty alleviation schemes. more..

CWC Minister’s statements in SL parliament decried

Dec 21 (TN) Mr. R. P. Kannan, Deputy Secretary and Uva provincial organiser of Workers National Association (WNA), Saturday condemned a statement in Parliament by Minister Muthu Sivalingam of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Friday. more..

Spill water floods Muttur villages, 3000 families left in the lurch

Dec 21 (TN) About twenty Tamil villages in Eachchilampathu division in Muttur area are under water since December 19 following the opening of sluice gates of two major irrigation tanks -Kantalai in Trincomalee district and Minneriya in Pollonnorawa district, which are in full capacity. more..

Judge criticizes Sri Lanka’s dismal record on fundamental rights

Dec 21 (TN) “The Government of Sri Lanka went to the United Nations in 1980 and 1981, raised its hand to say it was a signatory to the UN’s social, cultural and economic rights conventions, and sought to raise the country’s profile internationally. more..

Doubts cast over Hamilton pitch

Dec 21 (CI) The pitch at Westpac Park in Hamilton has come under a cloud and there are doubts over whether it will be ready for the Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The first Test is less than a month away and the weather conditions have made it extremely tough for the pitch to be prepared. more..

JVP leads campaign to impose budget burdens

Dec 21 (wsws) The JVP, which is part of the Sri Lankan government for the first time, is in the forefront of imposing the burden of last month’s budget on working people. The JVP joined with the SLFP and other smaller parties in forming the UPFA to contest the April general elections, promising to lift living standards. more..

Sri Lankan maid wins 30,000 dollars for Hong Kong jail ordeal

Dec 21 (KT) A Sri Lankan maid jailed after being falsely accused of stealing a pair of sandals from her Hong Kong employer has won 30,000 US dollars compensation, a news report said Tuesday. more..

PM orders relief funds for flood victims

Dec 21 (BBC) Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse ordered the finance ministry to grant Rs. 17 million to provide food rations for flood victims in the Amapara district. In a meeting held in Kondawatuwana army camp in Ampara, the district secretary Herath Abeydheera told the prime minister that some of the flood victims still do not get the portions due to lack of financial assistance. more..

President says measures are already underway to reorganize the judiciary while safeguarding its independence

Dec 21 (Rupavahini) President Chandrika Kumaratunge says measures are already underway to reorganize the judiciary while safeguarding its independence. The president was speaking at a ceremony following the opening of a court complex in Kandy. more..

Hangar facilities for aircraft will be expanded at the BIA

Dec 21 (Rupavahini) A newly built hangar was opened at the airport today. At the same time the arrival terminal has also been modernized. The modernization work on the Bandaranaike international airport in keeping with international standards was begun in 1997. more..

Call for a joint employment body for overseas Lankans

Dec 21 (KT) Employment agents recruiting Sri Lankan migrant workers in the UAE will be invited by the Lankan Consulate in Dubai for a dialogue on collectively improving the conditions of overseas workers and provide them a security net. more..

ADB approves 220 mln dollars in loans to India, Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (AFP) India and Sri Lanka are to get 220 million dollars in loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to strengthen public finances, the Philippines-based lender said. A package of loans totalling 150 million dollars will help India's Assam state government manage its fiscal and revenue deficits. more..

Another power struggle in UNP Leaders protest amendments

Dec 21 (LT) Stalwarts in the UNP have made a severe criticism of the way the new district level leaderships have been chosen according to the new amendments brought about in the party. According to internal sources of the UNP this opposition of certain leaders of the party may develop into an inner struggle which may erupt as an anti-Ranil Wicremasinghe revolt. more..

Tigers will lose if war is restarted - tiger intelligence

Dec 21 (LT) If the tiger organization engaged in a war again under any circumstances it may lose the whole of the Eastern District and would turn out to be a weakened outfit limited to a small area in Wanni says a report compiled by the intelligence unit of the tiger organization. more..

A group of Individuals from the outset planned to disrupt the Toronto Meeting – Human Rights Watch

Dec 21 (AT) Efforts to disrupt the meeting held in Toronto, Canada by the Human Rights Watch on 12 December, was part of a larger design by the LTTE supporters to terrorize and attack the audience and the Canadian Tamil Human rights activists with the view to force the organizers to abandon the meeting. more..

Jaffna youth urged to join LTTE's Air Force

Dec 21 (AT) The LTTE admitted officially for the first time that it has a combat air-wing. According to intelligence reports, the Tigers already have two helicopters and one light aircraft. In addition, LTTE has constructed a one kilometer-long airstrip south of Iranamadu reservoir in Kilinochchi. more..

G.L. Pieris says Sri Lanka is under a dictatorship

Dec 21 (AT) Professor G.L. Pieris addressing a press briefing in Colombo yesterday termed the government's decision not to hold a Presidential election next year a "flagrant violation of the Constitution." He was responding a statement that Minister Anura Bandaranaike made at a meeting in Kurunegala. more..

Sri Lanka: S.B. Dissanayake hospitalized

Dec 21 (AT) S.B. Dissanayake was admitted to Sri Jayewardenepura hospital Monday morning for an eye surgery. The operation will take place today. Prisons Commissioner General R. Marzook said that no politicians and other outsiders will be allowed to visit Dissanayake during his stay in the hospital. more..

Malnutrition spreads faster in Tiger territory: UN agency

Dec 21 (AFP) The United Nations World Food Program says malnutrition was spreading at an alarming rate in Sri Lanka's Tamil rebel-held regions with nearly one in five children suffering stunted growth. more..

Sri Lanka's mystery illness identified as Influenza B

Dec 21 (Xinhua) The mystery illness in the southern parts of Sri Lanka which has killed eight people was a type of influenza and had no links with bird flu or SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), the official Daily News said Tuesday. more..

Falk Rovik didn't represent Amnesty - Amnesty Norway

Dec 21 (TN) Head of Information at Amnesty International Norway, Mr. John P. Egenæs , earlier on Tuesday, denied that a controversial Norwegian called Falk Rovik had represented his organisation at a conference held at the BMICH in Colombo on Saturday, 18 November 2004. more..

New compensation package for terminated workers in 2005

Dec 21 (LBO) The new compensation package for terminated workers and an unemployment benefit scheme is due to come into force in early 2005. The Ministry of Labour is waiting for Cabinet approval for a new compensation formula that it hopes to implement early next year. more..

Chequing it out without paper by August 2005

Dec 21 (LBO) Moving in with the paperless world, Sri Lanka will introduce a computer images based cheque clearances system to speed up transactions, by August 2005. “We are hoping to get the image based clearance system fully operational by August 2005,” more..

China, Lanka to discuss ways to step up bilateral ties

Dec 21 (PTI) China and Sri Lanka will discuss their bilateral ties and review the situation in South Asia and elsewhere during the upcoming visit of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said here today. more..

GTA Tamils deny donations fund rebels

Dec 21 (TS) Tamil leaders in Greater Toronto reacted angrily yesterday to charges that the community was supporting the pressed service of children into a rebel Sri Lankan military group. more..

Tiger rebels intensify recruitment drive in Sri Lanka's north and east

Dec 21 (Gulf) Tamil guerrillas are carrying out an intensified recruitment drive in the northern and eastern parts of the country. They say they need to be prepared to protect their villages in the event of the resumption of war, civilian sources based in the area said. more..

Sri Lanka says it is taking all precaution after eight die of suspected influenza virus

Dec 21 (AP) The government sought Tuesday to reassure residents in southern Sri Lanka after a mysterious flu-like illness left eight dead, saying it was neither SARS nor bird flu. Teams of medical experts have been sent to Matara district, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Colombo, where the deaths occurred late last week. more..

Sri Lanka's warm-up game rained off

Dec 21 (CI) Sri Lanka found themselves victims of New Zealand's miserable summer, so far at least, when the opening game of their tour was rained off after only five overs of their innings at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium. more..

Sri Lanka President to hold talks with JVP

Dec 21 (AT) President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the JVP are expected to discuss the issues concerning the Talks with the LTTE next month to discuss a "fresh agenda" for talks said to have been conveyed to LTTE's political advisor Anton Balasingham by Norway's special envoy Eric Solheim . more..

PNM begins anti-neocolonial campaign

Dec 21 (AT) Joint Chairman, Patriotic National Movement (PNM) or the Desha Hithaishi Jathika Vyaparaya, the Venerable Elle Gunawansa said today that the movement is now in the process of establishing its district committees. The Colombo committee is to be set up today (Dec. 21) with a meeting scheduled to be the New Town Hall. more..

Int’l community can address concerns that stall peace talks

Dec 21 (PIS) Norway's special envoy Erik Solheim's visit to Sri Lanka last week can be counted as among his most important. It was widely believed that the country was heading towards war after the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and ideologue Dr Anton Balasingham's Heroes Day speeches on November 27. more..

Canada's Tamils must rethink LTTE support

Dec 21 (HRW) Selvamani, a Tamil girl living in eastern Sri Lanka was only 15 when rebel forces began pressuring her to join them. "First they sent letters, then they began visiting my house," she said. "They told my family, 'Each house has to turn over one child. If you don't agree, we will take a child anyway.'" more..

Canada: Tamil Rights Advocates at Risk

Dec 21 (HRW) Human Rights Watch expressed concern today about possible threats to Sri Lankan Tamil human rights advocates in Toronto following a public forum on child soldiers in Sri Lanka at the Scarborough Civic Center on December 12. more..

Frequent tremors cause alarm

Dec 21 (DN) Geologists are expressing concern over the recent incidents of tremors and their heightened pace even though Sri Lanka is believed to be in a "safer territory" in the region. Geologists say the frequency of these tremors has increased to about one in every two years in the recent past. The latest tremor was recorded on Sunday. more..

UNP asks court to reconsider SB's sentence

Dec 21 (SAMN) The United National Party (UNP) Monday appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider the sentence of two-years RI imposed on its national organizer S.B. Dissanayake, (SB) for contempt of court. more..

Monks blast Norway

Dec 21 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Monday urged the Norwegian government to explain why it helps the LTTE by providing them with monetary and arms assistance while certain countries have listed it as a terrorist organization. more..

3,000 illegal pharmacies identified

Dec 21 (SAMN) As many as 3,000 of the 4,000 pharmacies in Sri Lanka are functioning illegally and thus posing a life threatening danger to the people, a top pharmacist disclosed. Prof. Tuley de Silva , President of the Pharmaceuticals Society in Sri Lanka made the disclosure at a health education seminar more..

Rights group warns of Tamil Tiger threats in Toronto

Dec 21 (AFP) Human Rights Watch on Monday warned that Tamil Tigers supporters had threatened Tamils who showed up to a meeting in Toronto, which highlighted the rebel group's conscription of child soldiers. more..

Sri Lanka in new bid to restart peace talks

Dec 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka has made a new proposal to revive peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels amid intense pressure from foreign aid donors, officials and a press report said. The government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga has made the offer through peace broker Norway more..

LTTE leadership studies fresh government agenda for talks

Dec 21 (TN) The leadership of the LTTE is studying fresh Sri Lankan government agenda for future talks, Mr. Anton Balasingham, the movement’s chief negotiator and political strategist told TamilNet Tuesday. Norwegian Special Envoy Erik Solheim, who met Mr. Balasingham Monday, brought a fresh agenda from Sri Lanka government for future negotiations. more..

The battle of the gloves

Dec 22 (CI) As the inaugural ICC Super Series in October 2005 - which will feature the top Test and one-day side taking on a World XI - draws closer, the forthcoming New Zealand-Sri Lanka series will feature an individual duel between two players vying for one spot in the world team. more..

Eeachilampathu villagers without food, medicine - Trinco MP

Dec 22 (TN) Trincomalee MP Mr. K.Thurairatnasingham who has been visiting flood stricken Eachchilampathu division in Muttur area, down south of Trincomalee district told TamilNet by telephone Tuesday night that all roads connecting more than twenty villages have been washed away by the spill water flood more..

UNP's protest campaign draws 30 000 protestors in Colombo

Dec 22 (TN) Around thirty thousand protestors joined in a big protest rally organized by the main opposition UNP in Colombo Tuesday, demanding the release of Mr. S.B.Dissanayake, a UNP parliamentarian who was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court recently, on being found guilty on contempt charge. more..

Colombo bourse may allow short selling next year

Dec 22 (LBO) Trading on Sri Lanka's stock market is likely to be more active next year when a system that allows borrowing and short-selling of stocks is rolled out, the director general of the Colombo Stock Exchange said. more..

Sri Lanka :Early peace talks in the offing?

Dec 22 (AT) Government has forwarded an agenda to the LTTE for the early resumption of peace talks. Head of the Sri Lanka Government Peace Secretariat Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala handed over the document to the Norwegian Government. more..

Birds Flu virus: Blood samples for HK

Dec 22 (AT) The 'mysterious' disease, that has so far claimed eight lives in the South, has been identified as influenza A and B virus. It is very similar to pneumonia but has nothing to do with SARS or bird flu, said Health Ministry officials. more..

Sri Lankan NPC probe of top police officials: A test of its credibility

Dec 22 (AT) The National Police Commission has been urged to tackle one of the greatest problems affecting the rule of law, democratic process and human rights in Sri Lanka – probing the police officials of their nexus with the underworld elements. more..