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Drug barons face the heat

Dec 23 (TP) Sri Lankan authorities are tightening the screws around drug barons in an all-out war against this menace, Law and Order and Deputy Minister of Defense Ratnasiri Wickramanyake said that 17 individuals engaged in drug trafficking have been identified and are being hunted by police. more..

Sri Lanka announces US$20,000 reward for clues in Indian concert attack

Dec 23 (AP) Sri Lanka's government is offering a US$20,000 reward for clues leading to arrests in a deadly grenade attack at a controversial concert by Bollywood performers, police said Wednesday. more..

Japanese poltician to visit Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (TN) Mr.Keishiro Fukushima, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, will be in Sri Lanka on a four day visit from 25th to 28th December 2004. Mr. Fukushima is a member of the House of Councillors under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a press release by the Japanese Embassy in Colombo said Wednesday. more..

WB funded NEHRC to be implemented from January

Dec 23 (TN) Mr.Chelliah Pathmanathan has been appointed as the Project Director of the World Bank funded North East Housing Reconstruction Programme (NEHRP) with effect from January 1st, 2005. more..

Muttur flood victims without adequate aid

Dec 23 (TN) The government in providing immediate flood relief has ignored several hundreds of victims in Muttur-Eachchilampathu division in Trincomalee district where more than three thousand families are displaced and over twenty villages were flooded not by torrential rain but with spill water of Minneriya tank, more..

LTTE men with ammunition arrested

Dec 23 (SLA) Two motorbike- riding LTTE cadres with ammunition were arrested on 22 December 2004 around 2.45.p.m. while they were trying to enter cleared areas through the MUHAMALAI entry/exit point. more..

More Indian poachers sighted

Dec 23 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in the general area west of DELFT ISLAND on 22 December 2004 sighted fifteen Indian fishing trawlers engaged in poaching inside Sri Lankan waters.

Future of SAARC in the hands of the people – Kadirgamar

Dec 23 (PRIU) Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Lakshman Kadirgamar said the SAARC Social Charter has played a key role in the overall SAARC process to make it more equitable and representative of the people of South Asia and in bringing the government and the civil society together to address vital social problems. more..

Tiger terrorism must stop - US ambassador

Dec 23 (LT) In reply to a letter sent by the JVP to the co-chairs of the Tokyo donor conference, who went public against the JVP for its all out opposition to the Wanni Tigers' ISGA proposal, the US ambassador Hon. Jeffrey Lunstead has addressed a letter to the General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva. more..

Prima workers in Trinco protest

Dec 23 (LT) All work in Prima factory in Trincomalee came to a standstill as the workers went on strike. The workers had started an agitation movement against the spiteful treatment of the employees by the authorities and being denied them of their allowances. more..

Fund Mgr Cautious On Sri Lanka Shrs '05

Dec 23 (DJ) Sri Lanka's stock market is unlikely to sustain its strong performance going into 2005 amid a weak economic outlook, said a senior local fund manager. "The peace process and a low-interest-rate environment were clearly the main underlying factors for this year's investor enthusiasm in the market. We expect a more cautious year ahead," more..

3 Elephants Killed by Sri Lankan Train

Dec 23 (AP) A train plowed into a herd of wild elephants in central Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing three of the animals, a railroad official said. The train's engine derailed in the accident, but nobody aboard the train was hurt. The train had been carrying about 500 passengers at the time of the accident. more..

ACT Rapid Response Payment for Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (ACT) Details of the Emergency: After nearly seven years, the normal monsoon rains are very severe, causing widespread flooding, affecting Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, Kilinochchi, Batticaloa and Amparai, Trincomalee, Matara and various parts of Jaffna. more..

Rain washes out Sri Lanka warm-up

Dec 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka will go into their one-day series in New Zealand short of batting practice after their final warm-up game was washed out in Hamilton. The match against Northern Districts was abandoned without a single ball being bowled. more..

RAMOs strike paralyses 1550 hospitals

Dec 23 (AT) The seven-year conflict between the Government Registered Medical Officers and the Sri Lanka Medical Council backed by the GMOA has come to a boiling point with the SRAMO staging a strike that has paralyzed 1550 district hospitals, rural hospitals and medical clinics throughout the country. more..

Gunman kills member of rebel Tamil faction, headless body found in northern Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (AP) An unidentified gunman fatally shot a member of a breakaway Tamil Tiger faction in eastern Sri Lanka and police found a headless body in the north, the military said Thursday. more..

Relative of senior Tiger political leader deported

Dec 23 (Gulf) The brother-in-law of Tamil Tigers political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan has been deported to Sri Lanka from Canada. This followed his unsuccessful asylum application after living there for more than nine years, a local newspaper said yesterday. more..

Legislation shortly to indict human smugglers

Dec 23 (SAMN) Legislation will be introduced shortly to indict organisers of human smuggling operations, said Deputy Solicitor General Vijitha Malalgoda at a workshop held Wednesday at the Hotel Taj Samudra held under the auspices of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM). more..

13 electoral reforms proposed by parties

Dec 23 (SAMN) Over 600 individuals representing varied sectors in society have drafted and presented a set of proposals for electoral reform in the country. The recommendations have been made in the wake of delays to appoint the members of the Elections Commission under the 17th amendment. more..

Foreign powers must not interfere says JVP

Dec 23 (SAMN) JVP charged Wednesday that the international community was trying to make the Sri Lankan government to dance according to their tunes. The JVP propaganda secretary and the Patriotic National Movement co-chairman Wimal Weerawansa said this while addressing the Colombo district convention of the PNM more..

TNA ask Jaffna civilians to support LTTE

Dec 23 (SAMN) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians Gajendra Ponnambalam and Padmini Sidambarandan had Wednesday openly appealed to some two hundred civilians in Jaffna asking them to support the LTTE in case the war was to erupt again, military sources said. more..

Bypass bygones and give peace a chance

Dec 23 (PIS) The year 2004 (see 'Flashback 2004' in Opinion page), which opened with the news of a grenade attack at a musical show in Galle, had the potential for resumption of hostilities in the North and East. We must thank our stars that though, on the brink of war, saner counsel prevailed to prevent a resumption of hostilities. more..

Judge Ambepitiya, Councillor Namal Gunawardane slain with same weapon

Dec 23 (DN) The same weapon had been used to kill Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya and Western Provincial Member Namal Gunawardane, sources said yesterday. Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Sarath C. Karunaratne further remanded the three suspects in the Gunawardane killing till January 3, 2005. more..

LTTE set to reject Lankan agenda for talks

Dec 23 (HT) The LTTE is poised to reject the government's latest proposal on an agenda for the peace talks, according to reports in the Tamil media on Thursday. Lankan daily Sudar Oli quoted un-named sources in the LTTE's leadership at Kilinochchi as saying that the government's proposal would be rejected because it wanted discussion on an "Interim Arrangement" and not on an "ISGA" as proposed by the LTTE. more..

Tamil Tiger rebels reject Sri Lanka's offer to revive peace talks

Dec 23 (AFP) Tiger rebels have rejected Sri Lanka's new proposal to revive peace negotiations despite international pressure to save the Norwegian-backed initiative, Tamil sources said. The LTTE told Tamil journalists late Wednesday that they did not accept the latest offer made through peace broker Norway, the sources said. more..

Christians are engaged in making final preparations to celebrate Christmas

Dec 24 (Rupavahini) Businessmen said that compared to previous years there was brisk business in food products and textiles. Our correspondents reported that the Christmas spirit has now spread to all parts of the country. more..

PNM has pledged itself to uplift the country politically, economically, socially and culturally next year

Dec 24 (Rupavahini) The Patriotic National Movement has declared 2005 as 'the year against neo-colonialism'. As a first step, the movement says it has named January the 1st as the national heroes day. An awareness programme has been launched among the people on the theme 'a nation second to none'. more..

Malinga called up as cover for Zoysa

Dec 24 (CI) Sri Lanka have called up Lasith Malinga as fast-bowling cover for Nuwan Zoysa, who is expected to miss at least the first two games of their five-match one-day series in New Zealand after dislocating his finger during a rain-hit practice match on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka find motivation for New Zealand series

Dec 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka have turned to world rankings for motivation as they enter their one-day cricket series against New Zealand with limited preparation, without proven match winner Muttiah Muralitharan and facing a stark climate change. more..

LTTE sends mixed signals

Dec 24 (Hindu) In a sign of increasing belligerence, the LTTE has started sending mixed signals of war and peace from northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The "political campaign" for the resumption of the stalled talks is matched in equal measure by the threat of a slide to hostilities, if the LTTE's demand to restart negotiations based on its proposals for an interim self-governing authority is not met. more..

Sri Lanka: Eastern Radio Station

Dec 24 (AT) Work on the state-run Eastern Radio Station at Akkaraipattu is to be expedited. SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe said today that the station would be official during the celebrations marking the 10th year of President Kumaratunge's Presidency. more..

Monks accuse media organization

Dec 24 (AT) The National Bhikku (Buddhist Monks) Front alleged today that a private media organization had been rousing extremists against the Bollywood musical event in Colombo, from the day the State-run Sri Lanka Rupavahini was given the rights to telecast the show. more..

Bird flu panic in Mahaweli farm

Dec 24 (AT) Sabaragamuwa Provincial Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake on Thursday called for the closure of private tution classes and sunday religious schools in Embilitpitiya for a week as a precautionary measure following the outbreak of the deadly influenza that has so far claimed nine lives. more..

UNP’s canine show signifies its dedication to protect rogues and culprits

Dec 24 (AT) The deposed UNP after getting totally beaten by the pro-people maiden budget of the Freedom Alliance government, since it offered no valid grounds for criticism, has taken up the issue of the convict S.B.Dissanayake to drum up life-blood to save itself from probable oblivion, and to display a born-again charade. more..

No MPS head yet for Muslim Peace Secretariat

Dec 24 (AT) No head has been yet been appointed to the newly established Muslim Peace Secretariat, according to Sri Lanka Muslim General Secretary T.M. Hassan Ali. He said that they expected the Government Peace Secretariat to provide an office building for the MPS. more..

Sri Lanka : RAMOS Call off strike

Dec 24 (AT) The Society of Registered and Assistant Medical Officers (SRAMO) called off its strike Thursday afternoon, in response to the assurance given by the Health Ministry that their grievances relating to pay increases will be looked into without delay. SRAMO has requested all its members to report back to duty. more..

Sri Lankan orphans benefit from Christmas goodwill

Dec 24 (ABC) MAXINE McKEW: Well, Sharminie Niles ia a Sydney woman who a decade ago threw a Christmas party with a difference. She asked each guest to bring a gift for a Sri Lankan orphan. Much to her surprise, her friends enjoyed it so much it's become an annual event. more..

New GoSL 'agenda' for talks with LTTE called smokescreen

Dec 24 (TN) President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s claims of a ‘new agenda’ for the resumption of peace talks with the LTTE through the Norwegian facilitators must be viewed in the context of the hurdle she faces in winning a two-thirds majority in parliament for the constitutional changes to abolish the executive presidency that she plans to table in January 2005, more..

NGOs condemn U.S. military analysts’ visit to Jaffna

Dec 24 (TN) Several people’s organizations in the Jaffna district have strongly condemned what they said was a secret visit by a group of U.S. military analysts to Jaffna with Sri Lanka's Army to study the security situation of SLA's frontline positions in the district. more..

LTTE calls for clear, well defined agenda for talks

Dec 24 (TN) The LTTE leadership, in an official response to the fresh agenda proposed by the Sri Lanka government, has called for a clear, coherent, well defined agenda for peace talks. The Tamil Tiger leaders have also expressed their disapproval to the structure and content of the government’s agenda because of its vagueness and ambiguity. more..

Kodikamam residents hold human chain agitation

Dec 24 (TN) Several hundreds of Tamil civilians Friday participated in the third phase human chain protest held at Kodikamam junction in Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district urging the Government to resume peace talks with the LTTE without any more delay, sources said. more..

Jaffna mothers protest over LAF inaction

Dec 24 (TN) Members of the Jaffna Mothers Front and Association of Guardians of Disappeared Persons in Jaffna District held a protest Friday from morning till two p.m. in front of the office of the Legal Aid Foundation (LAF) more..

Now, LTTE alters age and prepares ID cards

Dec 24 (SLA) A girl who tried to enter cleared areas on production of a forged identity card (ID) has been arrested by the Police at the OMANTHAI Entry/Exit point on 23 December 2004 around 3.00 p.m. more..

LTTE cadres with belts denied further passage

Dec 24 (SLA) A group of LTTE cadres were denied their passage towards OMANTHAI Entry/Exit Point across the BLACK BRIDGE Entry/Exit point in BATTICALOA on 23 December 2004 around 9.15 a.m. since they refused removal of their black belts which constitute part of their LTTE uniforms. more..

LTTE forcibly occupy government buildings in Uppuveli

Dec 24 (SLA) Reports confirmed that the LTTE is forcibly occupying a government building in the general area of UPPUVELI since March 2002. The LTTE is utilizing the UPPUVELI (agriculture) buildings of the agricutural department including telephone, water and electricity provided for it without obtaining permission from relevant authorities. more..

President’s Christmas Message 2004

Dec 24 (PRIU) Christmas is a celebration of peace and hope. The word "peace" in the English Bible translates the Hebrew word ‘shalom’. It refers to the absence of conflict and also the presence of harmony, wholeness, and reconciliation. This is a time of hopeful waiting for the restoration of our spirit through forgiveness. more..

Sri Lankan reports reveal widening social inequality

Dec 24 (WSWS) Two official reports recently published in Sri Lanka provide a devastating glimpse into the country’s deepening social inequality and the continuing deterioration of living standards for the majority of the population. more..

Handicraft & art exhibition to open in March 2005

Dec 24 (F2F) A three-day handicrafts and arts exhibition titled 'Kandurata Aruna 2005' to take place at the BMICH, Colombo, from March 4 to 6, 2004 was discussed at Temple Trees by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake. more..

Sri Lankan domestic airlines to operate international flights

Dec 24 (IANS) Director General Civil Aviation Authority C. Nimalasiri said the cabinet has given a green light for domestic airlines to operate globally. The airlines plan to target the south Indian market mainly to boost revenues. more..

New Zealand rehearse the Sri Lankan left-arm swing

Dec 24 (AFP) New Zealand have called for specialist left-arm swing practice to counter the threat of Chaminda Vaas in the opening one-day cricket international against Sri Lanka here Sunday. more..