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Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Calls on Shaukat

Dec 22 (AT) Foreign Secretary and Special Envoy of the President of Sri Lanka G.S.Palihakkara called on Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad on Tuesday. During the meeting they discussed matters pertaining to bilateral relations and SAARC. more..

President assures that all graduates will be granted permanent employment from the 1st of Jan.

Dec 22 (Rupavahini) 42,000 graduates who are to be employed in the public service gathered in Colombo and paid a tribute to the government. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has assured them to provide permanent employment in the public sector with effect from the 1st of January, next year. more..

Special programme is being implemented to combat the viral flue

Dec 22 (Rupavahini) A team of medical specialists have taken necessary action to prevent the disease. The health ministry has launched a special programme with the assistance of medical specialists and epidemiologists. more..

Vavunia refugees demand food

Dec 22 (BBC) Refugees of Sithamparampuram camp in Vavunia staged a demonstration on Tuesday against not receiving dry rations for the past three months. Protesters besieged officers from the Vavunia District Secretary's office who went to discuss. more..

PM says sorry to Batticaloa journalists

Dec 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's office expressed regret that journalists in Batticaloa were not allowed to enter the Batticaloa Army camp to cover the PM's visit to Batticaloa. more..

Mahanayakes for release of SB : UNP

Dec 22 (BBC) United National Party (UNP) leadership said the Buddhist monks led by the Mahanayakes are signing a petition to demand the release of imprisoned former minister SB Dissanayake. more..

US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission visits Trincomalee

Dec 22 (TN) "Every one in Sri Lanka should work hard to see that the ceasefire now in force is not broken. People must ensure that war is past," said Mr.James F.Entwistle, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Sri Lanka Tuesday addressing meetings in Trincomalee and Namalwatte in Morawewa division in the Trincomalee district. more..

Human-chain protest held in Kaithady

Dec 22 (TN) The second phase of the human chain demonstration was held Wednesday morning at Kaithady in Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district demanding the Government to resume peace talks with the LTTE on the basis of the Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals of the latter. more..

Sri Lankan medical officers report "sick" to win demands

Dec 22 (TN) About 1,500 Registered Medical Officers (RMO) and Assistant Medical Officers (AMO) working in 956 government hospitals reported sick Wednesday morning demanding that their salary anomalies should be rectified immediately. more..

Award to arrest culprits in Bollywood grenade attack

Dec 22 (TN) Police Wednesday announced an award of 20 million rupees for informants who give lead to the arrest of the main culprit in the Bollywood grenade attack that killed two persons and injured several while the concert of a Indian troupe led by actor Sharuk Khan was in progress in Colombo Race Course grounds on December 11th Saturday night, more..

Local construction industry in a fix for sand next year

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s construction industry is asking Santa for a ton of sand this Christmas to keep business going next year. “Tenders for off shore sand mining must be called urgently, as there is a severe shortage of sand,” says Surath Wickramasinghe, President, Chamber of Construction Industries, more..

Indian arrivals to push tourism in 2005?

Dec 22 (LBO) Tourist arrivals are expected to grow by 20 percent next year fuelled by Indian arrivals and a change of marketing strategy. In November this year India displaced UK as Sri Lanka’s chief tourist market because of increased flights and visa on arrival. more..

Revenue collection bodies go on body building regime in 2005

Dec 22 (LBO) Customs, Excise and Inland Revenue departments are going on an intensive fitness regime next year to beef up tax collection. "We will strengthen the revenue collection bodies starting with the Inland Revenue and subsequently Customs and Excise," said Treasury secretary P B Jayasundara. more..

Gunman kills LTTE man rival to Wanni faction

Dec 22 (SLA) A person suspected to be from LTTE (Karuna faction) was found killed around 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday (22) afternoon after he was fired upon by an unidentified gunman while the victim was in the general area of ARASADY junction in BATTICALOA. more..

Poor response compels LTTE to bring in civilians for agitation

Dec 22 (SLA) A group of about two hundred civilians were forced to attend an LTTE organized agitation in KAITHADY, JAFFNA on Wednesday morning (22 December 2004) calling for public support if a war is erupted once again and resumption of peace talks on Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA). more..

Possible LTTE reprisals keep mother from complaining her son’s murder

Dec 22 (SLA) Information to the effect that a supporter of the LTTE (Karuna faction), said to have been abducted by three unidentified LTTE (Wanni faction) cadres in August this year, and subsequently found killed inside the jungle area of KARADIYANARU, about 20 km. west of BATTICALOA, has been brought to the notice of the Police on 21 December 2004. more..

LTTE random bullet injures teenager

Dec 22 (SLA) A bullet, believed to have been fired from an LTTE camp in the un-cleared area of RUBASKULAM in AKKARAIPATTU on 20 December 2004 around 7.00 a.m. struck a teenager in a nearby village causing serious injuries to his chest, according to AMPARA hospital Police. more..

Those were LTTE boats

Dec 22 (SLA) It has been now confirmed that boats encountered by naval troops on Monday (20) inside KILALY lagoon in JAFFNA have been launched by LTTE from ELEPHANT PASS and PARANTHAN areas. SLMM officials were summoned for observation after naval troops on duty in the general lagoon area of KILALY sighted three suspicious boats on 20 December 2004 around 11.15 a.m. more..

‘Country's development is in your hands’, President tells new recruits

Dec 22 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday appealed to newly-employed graduates to work diligently to develop the country as one Sri Lankan family. The President was addressing over 40,000 graduates gathered at Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo who took their public service oath. more..

Heroin worth Rs 1.50 crore seized from Keralites

Dec 22 (MO) The Naroctics Intelligence Bureau (NIB) have seized 1.5 kg heroin, worth Rs 1.5 crore in the international market, and arrested two persons engaged in smuggling it to Sri Lanka through Rameswaram. Acting on specific information, an NIB team arrested the two in the city officials said. more..

Flood assistance continues in east Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (WVI) The recent floods in Sri Lanka, said to be the most severe in 15 years, have left more than 10,000 families from World Vision's Eravur Pattu Area Development Program (ADP) in Batticaloa marooned or driven from their homes. The people from the east Sri Lanka ADP are now living in community halls and schools with decent roofing to shelter them. more..

Murali fears for future of the doosra

Dec 22 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has stated that the ICC's constant scrutiny of offspinners' bowling actions might force them to abandon the doosra. His comments came in the wake of the umpires' report against Harbhajan Singh during the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh. more..

Injury leaves Zoysa doubtful for first one-dayer

Dec 22 (CI) Sri Lanka's Nuwan Zoysa is a serious injury concern ahead of Sunday's opening one-day match against New Zealand after dislocating his finger during a warm-up match with Central Districts. The team management is hopeful that he will be able to participate in the tour but there is still uncertainty over the probablt healing time. more..

Norwegian embassy reopened

Dec 22 (TV2) Test results are back, confirming that the white powder sent to the Norwegian embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was not anthrax, and the embassy was reopened Wednesday. The ambassador opened Wednesday after being closed since Thursday last week after a mysterious letter containing a white powder was received at the embassy. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka end Free Trade Agreement talks

Dec 22 (AP) Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Wednesday finalized lists of items to be traded under a proposed free-trade agreement expected to be signed between the two South Asian nations in January, an official said. more..

IOC debut boosts Sri Lanka stocks to record

Dec 22 (Reuters) A strong debut by Sri Lanka IOC , the local arm of Indian Oil Corp , boosted Colombo stocks to a record close on Wednesday in the market's busiest trading day for more than a year. more..

Constitutional change is needed for the stability

Dec 22 (AT) UPFA Parliamentarian and Attorney Wijedasa Rajapakse told the media today that the government was contemplating on changing the Constitution in order to stabilize democracy in the country. A stable government and strong Opposition was the need of the hour to carry forward the necessary development programs, he said. more..

Chandrika’s visit to Australia clouded by Scandal: Rise & Rise Balapatabendi

Dec 22 (AT) In political circles there is much speculation as to whether Mr. Kusumsiri Balapatabendi, the High Commissioner-designate to Australia, will take up office in May after the documented revelations in the “Asian Tribune”dated 16 December: more..

Landmines near army camps

Dec 22 (TP) Anti-personnel landmines made of plastic weighing around 100-150g were seen floating in areas close to Sri Lanka army camps in the flood ravaged Batticaloa district, newspapers said. Some animals were killed or injured by landmine explosions during the last few days, the papers said quoting official sources. more..

Sniffer dogs trap drug pushers

Dec 22 (TP) In a bid to tighten national security and prevent drug smuggling, government authorities are to deploy permanent sniffer dogs at the country’s main international airport and also set up a coastguard unit to patrol the western coast. more..

Mahanayake Theras to meet President, Opposition Leader to resolve ethnic issue

Dec 22 (DN) The Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Mahavihara Chapter said yesterday that Mahanayake Theras of the Tri Nikayas will meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe soon to help the government and the opposition come to a consensus on the ethnic conflict. more..

Reforms for three public exams under way

Dec 22 (SAMN) Reforms are under way for the three main public examinations in the school system, Grade 5 scholarship exam, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level. The National Education Commission, the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education have jointly initiated this exercise more..

President hints at ten more years

Dec 22 (SAMN) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has vowed to do much more for the development of the country in the "next ten years" than she has done during the past decade. Addressing a public rally at Kundasale on Sunday, the President said her ten years as President were not just a matter of pride for her but a victory for the country. more..

Fears for deported refugees

Dec 22 (IC) Friends and supporters of a deported refugee family are still waiting anxiously for news after they were flown out of the country. Members of the Anton family ­ Tamil Christians who fled persecution and violence in war-torn Sri Lanka ­ were sent back to their homeland last Thursday after living for nearly five years on Teesside. more..

Lanka wants 'time frame' for interim administration in Tamil areas

Dec 22 (HT) The Sri Lankan government is ready to hold talks with the LTTE on setting up an Interim Administration for the Tamil-speaking North Eastern Province, but it wants the LTTE to discuss a "time frame" for the interim arrangement. more..

"Army harasses LTTE political activists in Trinco" - Elilan

Dec 23 (TN) "Sri Lankan Army soldiers are engaged in a planned way to disrupt our political activities in the Trincomalee district", Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE, Mr. S. Elilan, told TamilNet Wednesday from Eachchilampathu by telephone. more..

Sri Lankan envoy meets Musharraf, holds talks with Khokhar

Dec 23 (UNI) A Special Sri Lankan envoy called on Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf today, as Colombo stepped up its efforts to put pressure on the LTTE to return to the negotiating table. more..

Uncertainty lingers in Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (HT) Sri Lanka’s struggling peace process may take a backseat as the country’s two main political groups grapple for power in the New Year. The main opposition UNP has withdrawn support to the peace process under the ruling UPFA while President Chandrika Kumaratunga is shifting focus to wooing more opposition members to her side. more..

Sri Lankan market on charm offensive

Dec 23 (IHT) Colombo Stock Exchange, which runs Sri Lanka's securities market, plans presentations in the Middle East next month to attract investors to the South Asian island, which is having its longest respite from a two-decade civil war. more..

Sri Lankan cops: Trio failed in card scam

Dec 23 (TS) Sri Lankan police nabbed a woman and two other Malaysians in Colombo after a failed attempt in September to make an illegal credit card transaction. The arrests followed a tip-off from a department store that the 31-year-old woman had attempted to make the transaction on Sept 17. more..

“Communist Party is not in Sri Lanka’s UPFA”

Dec 23 (AT) Constitutional Affairs Minister and Communist Party General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera denied that his party was a member of the UPFA, though the CP was with the government. Gunasekera said that there was a very clear difference between the UPFA and his party on the peace process. more..

Jayantha Dhanapala in Ampara

Dec 23 (AT) Senior Presidential Advisor and Secretary-General, Government's Peace Secretariat Jayantha Dhanapala on Wednesday visited Ampara to assess the ceasefire situation in the area. more..

Sri Lanka’s President in UK

Dec 23 (AT) Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga left the island on Wednesday for the United Kingdom on a private visit. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has assumed duties as Acting Defense Minister until the President returns to the country. more..

Sri Lankan Opposition Courts Dogs

Dec 23 (AT) When Ranil Wickremesinghe leads dogs to his demonstrations as symbols of protest against the Supreme Court he is not degrading the Courts but his own brand of politics. He is openly and unabashedly announcing to the world that the UNP has gone to the dogs. more..

U.S. warns JVP :"Don't jeopardize peace"

Dec 23 (AT) The U.S. Government today warned the JVP not to make inflammatory statements and jeopardize the peace process. It said that such provocations would lead to grave and unexpected repercussions. more..

Congress demands speedy probe of ‘Godman’ Chandraswamy - alleged paymaster of LTTE in Rajiv murder

Dec 23 (AT) Expedite probe into Rajiv murder conspiracy, the Congress lawmakers told the Manmohan Singh government, saying that the ‘disclosure’ that controversial ‘Godman’ Chandraswamy had financed the LTTE to kill the late prime minister needed to be pursued seriously. more..

Pakistan supports territorial integrity of Sri Lanka: Musharraf

Dec 23 (AT) Pakistan said on Wednesday that it supports the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and fully endorses Colombo’s efforts to bring peace into the whole country. more..

Lankan monks regret bomb attack at SRK's concert

Dec 23 (PTI) Expressing regret over the recent bomb attack at Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan's concert here which killed two people and injured 19, Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks on Wednesday blamed extremists for the blast and urged the actor and his troupe not to harbour any "ill feeling" towards the people of the island nation. more..

Rebels try to lure students: Report

Dec 23 (TP) Tamil rebels are visiting commercialised private tuition classes in rebel-held northern and eastern Sri Lanka in a bid to lure students to join rebel-fighting units, the Island newspaper reported quoting unnamed sources. more..

Tough action urged against cheaters

Dec 23 (TP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga who is also the Education Minister has asked the Examinations Department to “act impartially and fearlessly” in handling cases of impersonation and cheating at the ongoing O’ Level examination. more..