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Former lawmaker acquitted

Feb 18 (TP) Former opposition parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera charged for allegedly shooting at UNP candidate Sagala Ratnayake in the southern Akuressa during the November 2001 parliamentary election campaign, was acquitted on Monday by Matara Additional Magistrate U P W K Wasantha Jinadasa. more..

Airport staff in smuggling racket

Feb 18 (TP) Some employees attached to the duty free shops at the Colombo International Airport and a few employees of the Immigration and Emigration section now are said to be involved in smuggling duty free cigarettes and liquor out of the airport, the Airport’s Security Division has complained. more..

Sri Lanka school exams delayed

Feb 18 (TP) Snap parliamentary elections have forced the postponement of Sri Lanka’s university entrance examination affecting 240,000 students, Education Minister Karunasena Kodituwakku said yesterday. The elections which were called by President for April 2 coincide with the university examinations. more..

Monks pray for righteous win

Feb 18 (SA) Buddhist monks contesting elections as Sri Lanka's first all-clergy party said on Wednesday they were hopeful of emerging as a decisive political force to turn the island into a "righteous state". more..

Sri Lankan rivals in media row

Feb 18 (BBC) Sri Lanka's caretaker government is threatening legal action against journalists in the state-run media for failing to provide impartial coverage of elections due in April. more..

"I am not responsible for illegal propaganda by ITN" says Gairika

Feb 18 (DM) Chairman of Independent Television Network Ltd, Gairika Perusinghe has complained to the Elections Commissioner that soon after the takeover of the Mass Communication Ministry by the President a person named Newton Gunaratne more..

Prime Minister thanks people

Feb 18 (DN) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the nation via the Sirasa TV last night thanked the people of this country for placing confidence in his Government for the past two years, in its efforts to revive the economy and to find ways and means to bring sustained peace to the country. more..

International donors lay the law for squabbling Lankan leaders

Feb 18 (HT) The co-chairs of the Aid Sri Lanka Conference held in Tokyo in June last year came out with a statement on Monday telling Sri Lanka's squabbling politicians what was expected of them, if they wanted to get the $4.5 billion earmarked for the development of their war-ravaged country. more..

Legal wrangle forces TNA to choose "HOUSE" as election symbol

Feb 18 (TN) The TNA has made alternate arrangements to hand over nomination papers on the Federal Party ticket with election symbol "HOUSE" if the court order against the Secretary General and Senior Vice President of the TULF in a law suit filed by the party president Mr.V. Anandasangaree continued beyond Thursday, more..

Japan urges free vote in Sri Lanka, considers sending monitors

Feb 18 (AFP) Japan has urged Sri Lanka's rival political parties to ensure a violence-free parliamentary election and said it was considering sending a team to monitor the April 2 snap polls. more..

LTTE-backed Tamil alliance to field Muslim candidates

Feb 18 (HT) In a significant move to woo the Muslims in the North Eastern Province (NEP), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which is the LTTE's proxy in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, is to field Muslim candidates. more..

Malaysia rout Sri Lanka 5-0 in opener

Feb 19 (UO) Malaysia opened their campaign on a winning note when they thrashed Sri Lanka 5-0 in a Group B match of the Thomas Cup Asian Zone Qualifiers at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium here Wednesday night. more..

New Muslim alliance to be finalised before Saturday

Feb 19 (IL) The proposed alliance of the country's main Muslim parties to contest the forthcoming general election is to be finalised within the next two days. Meanwhile the National Unity Alliance General Secretary A.L.M. Hisbullah who is in the forefront of forging the alliance said that upto now the series of meetings on the alliance has been 'very successful'. more..

Hakeem losing ground in Kandy due to new CWC candidate

Feb 19 (IL) Faizer Musthapha, Vice President of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), which has extended support to the UNP, will contest the forthcoming election from Kandy posing a threat to the SLMC and its leader Rauff Hakeem, who is also likely to contest under the UNP Kandy ticket. more..

SLMC to support UNP?

Feb 19 (IL) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is planning to contest the forthcoming election under the United National Party (UNP) banner except in the North and East, where they will contest under the SLMC's tree symbol. more..

Six fishermen on hunger strike hospitalized

Feb 19 (TN) Seven of the sixty seven Indian boatmen who are on fast unto death campaign since Monday were admitted at the Jaffna teaching hospital Wednesday evening as they fell ill due to dehydration, medical sources said. more..

Warne is a liability, claims Arjuna

Feb 19 (SMH) Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan skipper and chief Australian antagonist, has labelled Ricky Ponting's tourists "unimpressive" and Shane Warne a potential liability, should the veteran leg spinner be named in the Test squad on Friday. more..

Bhikkus should not contest elections - Mahanayake of Amarapura sect

Feb 19 (LT) Buddhist Philosophy which has survived for more than 2500 years would be discredited nationally and internationally through dissent by Bhikkus contesting elections said Most Venerable Rajakeeya Pandithe Weligama Gnanaratana Thero, Mahanayake of Amarapura sect. more..

Murali all geared up to overtake Warne

Feb 19 (Reuters) Shane Warne heads into March as the most successful spin bowler of all time but he may well have lost that honour by the end of the month. By then, the one man in world cricket boasting as controversial a profile as the Australian may well have deposed him. more..

It's `elephant' versus `betel leaf' in Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (Hindu) A survival-of-the-fittest political battle is on the cards between the "elephant" and the "betel leaf" in Sri Lanka's parliamentary polls to be held on April 2. An estimated 12.8 million voters are to exercise their franchise at about 10,400 polling stations across the island to elect 196 MPs directly. more..

Polls: LTTE, religious parties playing active role

Feb 19 (Hindu) Organisations representing the two ends of Sri Lanka's political spectrum — the LTTE and the Sinhala-Buddhist hardline Jathika Hela Urumaya — hope to be kingmakers in the island's 225-member Parliament after the coming April 2 elections. more..

President takes campaign to home town

Feb 19 (Reuters) Rallying supporters in her home town, Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga blasted her rival prime minister on Wednesday for mishandling a peace bid with the Tamil Tigers. more..

Bending Rules

Feb 19 (LBO) The state will amend its newly minted labour retrenchment formula to raise the maximum compensation ceiling from 30 to 50 months of salary. The new ceiling will apply to all firms with a net profit of more than Rs.100 mn and governed by a collective agreement, Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said Thursday. more..

Confused Signals

Feb 19 (LBO) Top trade chambers say Tuesday’s meeting with the PA-JVP alliance has failed to shed any light on how they plan to manage the economy. The newly formed JVP-PA alliance talked of promoting a mixed economy with a ban on importing unessential goods. more..

Back in Fashion

Feb 19 (LBO) When it comes to company law what’s good for the Brits doesn’t automatically become good enough for Sri Lanka – unless UK legislators adopt it first. Lawmakers assigned to redraft the new Companies Act could be left waiting until Britain adopts a new law based on the Canadian Model. more..

Last ditch attempt to get 'rising sun' for TNA fails

Feb 19 (TN) A last ditch attempt by the Tamil United Liberation Front to secure the rising sun symbol for the Tamil National Alliance failed when the Court of Appeal Thursday directed the party's secretary general and senior vice president to make written submissions regarding their appeal more..

Sinhala groups first to file nominations in Jaffna, Vavuniya

Feb 19 (TN) Ruhunu Janatha Party, a little known party from Sri Lanka's southern province, was the first on Thursday to file nominations to contest elections in Jaffna in April. All candidates of the party on its Jaffna nomination list, including three women are Sinhalese. more..

My mason-son abducted, complains mother

Feb 19 (SLA) A nineteen-year old LTTE deserter resident in the general area of KALUVANKERNY has been abducted on 18 February 2004 by three LTTE cadres, states a complaint lodged at the VALAICHCHENAI Police station. more..

Illegal sawmill detected

Feb 19 (SLA) An illegal sawmill run in the general area of ARASANKULAM, about 08 km northeast of VAVUNIYA centre was detected by a Police mobile patrol, assisted by troops on 18 February 2004. more..

Hundreds of Hindus join together to celebrate Maha Shivarathri Day

Feb 19 (SLA) Maha Shivarathri Day alias God Siva’s holy night, one of the most important and holiest festivals of the Hindus was celebrated on a grand scale on Wednesday (18) throughout Hindu temples (Kovil) in the northeast and elsewhere in the country. more..

UPFA pledges support to private sector

Feb 19 (PRIU) Information and Telecommunication minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was committed to private sector participation to the fullest extent and will sponsor and promote it in every possible way in order to achieve rapid economic growth for the country. more..

Chucking issue pops up before Aus-Lanka match

Feb 19 (AP) The International Cricket Council said on Thursday it is taking new measures to deal with suspect bowling actions. The ICC announcement comes on the eve of the first One-day international between Sri Lanka and Australia, the two countries which share a contentious history over the action of spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. more..

Sri Lanka plan slow torture for Aussie batsmen

Feb 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka hope to silence Australia's devastating batting line-up with a pack of spinners in the five-match one-day series beginning here. The hosts have named four specialist spinners in their 15-member squad for the day-night match at this Buddhist venue known for producing low-scoring games. more..

‘Global citizens’ in twinning link with Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (IR) Pupils at Erne Integrated College in Enniskillen have established links with students in Sri Lanka through a unique partnership developed by the Western Education Library Board, the British Council and the Youth Sport Trust. more..

Sri Lanka put substance in spin

Feb 19 (CI) The much-awaited Australia tour of Sri Lanka starts in earnest on Friday, when the first ODI gets underway at Dambulla. Australia are determined to use the five-match series to overcome a reputation for touring badly in the subcontinent, while Sri Lanka - unsurprisingly and unashamedly - have pinned their hopes on their spinners. more..

We have the ammunition to beat Australia - John Dyson

Feb 19 (CI) Australia is the team that everyone country wants to beat and Sri Lanka are no exception. Sri Lanka's Australian-born coach John Dyson thinks that his team have the ammunition to give Australia a good run in the one-day and Test series, if not beat them. more..

SEP condemns president’s dictatorial actions

Feb 19 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) strongly condemns the arbitrary and anti-democratic decision of President Kumaratunga on Feb 7 to dissolve parliament and sack the UNF coalition government of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. Her actions are unparalleled in the history of post-independence Sri Lanka and amount to a constitutional coup. more..

Dedication ceremony of Mahabodhi temple begins

Feb 19 (IANS) Hundreds of scholars, monks and diplomats from 20 countries attended a grand function Thursday to celebrate the World Heritage Site status to the Mahabodhi temple at Buddhism's birthplace of Bodh Gaya in Bihar. more..

Tamil party runs into crisis over Tigers' control

Feb 19 (Gulf) A key Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has run into a crisis with the leader of the party strongly opposing moves by Tamil guerrillas to decide on his party's candidates to contest in parliamentary polls. more..

'Lying' minister keeps her job

Feb 19 (SA) New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark refrained from sacking her immigration minister on Thursday, but made it clear she was not happy with the lies told in the case of a deported sexually-abused Sri Lankan teenager. more..

STF remove from Former Ministers Secuieraty Guards

Feb 19 (NW) Minister Thilak Marapane has told a media conference that his security officers have been removed. While he was engaged in election campaign at Ratnapura. The STF officers who provided him security have been withdrawn according to the DIG who was in charge of his security. more..

Freedom Alliance will abolish Executive Presidency

Feb 19 (DN) The Freedom Alliance has made a firm commitment to abolish the Executive Presidency through a new constitution with electoral and political reforms to benefit the grass-roots levels. more..

Former SLFP Galle Distric MP joint UNP

Feb 19 (NW) Mr. Keerthy Mawellege former SLFP MP has resigned from the SLFP. Mr. Mawallege was also former Private Secretary to Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In his letter of resignation, Mr. Mawellage has stated that he was leaving the party with great sorrow as it was being destroyed and getting split beyond any hope. more..

Allegations against me were to counter my charges against PA, says Ravi

Feb 19 (DM) Commerce Minister Ravi Karunanayake told a news conference yesterday that bribery and corruption allegations levelled against him were made to counter a series of corruption and allegation charges he made against the President and several PA parliamentarians. more..

JVP allays fears of Sri Lankan private sector

Feb 19 (HT) The radical-Marxist JVP, which may be in government if the United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) wins the April 2 parliamentary elections, has assured the island's influential private sector that it has learnt lessons from its past and will not cripple the sector, as generally feared. more..

Eduardo Faleiro denies meeting LTTE leaders in Jaffna

Feb 19 (HT) Former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Eduardo Faleiro on Thursday scotched reports that he met the LTTE during his two-day visit to the northern Sri Lankan district of Jaffna earlier this week. more..

Hung parliament likely in Sri Lanka - Reuters poll

Feb 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's general elections on April 2 are likely to produce a hung parliament, with no party winning a clear majority and a Tamil group holding the balance of power, according to a Reuters poll of 12 financial institutions. more..

President optimistic about seeking political solution to Tamil rebel problem

Feb 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asserted that a government under her leadership will not in any way incite or provoke the Tamil Tiger rebels to the resumption of the two decade of ethnic war. more..

Protest's against Indian govt. say fasting fishermen

Feb 19 (TN) "Our protest is against the Government of India because it is not doing anything about our plight. The chief minister of Tamil Nadu Ms. Jeyalalitha should pay attention to our problem. We will not return to India without our boats", said an Indian fisherman more..

Parties scurry as Monks take poll plunge

Feb 19 (OW) The decision by Sri Lanka's leading Buddhist monks' organization, the Jathika Sangha Sammelanaya (JSS), to contest the April 2 general election is being seen as a clear threat to the prospects of mainstream parties in a country that has a 70 per cent Buddhist majority. more..