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Poll Commissioner undecided on holding polls in LTTE areas

Feb 19 (UNI) Despite the commencement of nominations, Sri Lanka's Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said today that he was undecided whether to hold the forthcoming general election in the LTTE-held areas in the North-East, where over 300,000 voters are living. more..

Sri Lanka sees higher Tamil turnout in April poll

Feb 19 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan government will do its best to ensure that Tamil voters in the north and east of the island will be able to vote in the April 2 election, the first poll in two decades that will be held under a ceasefire. more..

Muralitharan eases Australia tour fears

Feb 20 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has eased fears that he will withdraw from Sri Lanka's two-Test tour of Australia in June-July this year after Australian newspapers claimed he had threatened to pull out because of constant verbal abuse from Australian crowds. more..

Patience and aggression the key, says Ponting

Feb 20 (CI) Ricky Ponting has stressed that a patient approach against Sri Lanka's slow bowlers, and an aggressive one against their batsmen hold the key to Australia's chances of success when the one-day series starts off at Dambulla on Friday. more..

Elections commissioner says no to polling stations in LTTE areas

Feb 20 (TN) Commissioner of Elections said Thursday he won’t allow polling booths in areas held by the Liberation Tigers where more than two hundred thousand Tamil voters live. The polling stations would instead be clustered in places controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces he said. more..

TNA candidates for Trincomalee district announced

Feb 20 (TN) Tamil National Alliance ex-parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan is to lead the TNA list of candidates in the Trincomalee district at the forthcoming general election. more..

Murali scare hits Lankans

Feb 20 (TA) RUMOURS of an injury scare to star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan sparked a sensational betting plunge as Sri Lanka was promised a rib-rattling start to its limited-overs series against Australia tonight. more..

Lalith Kotalawela opts out contesting elections

Feb 20 (SN) Ceylinco Group chairman Mr Lalith Kotalawela has changed his mind with regard to contesting parliamentary elections. When he accepted the Chairman post of Wayamba Development Council, political sources guessed that he would come to politics representing Kurunegala district. more..

JSS turns down the presidential invitation

Feb 20 (SN) Jatika Sangha Sammelanaya has turned down the invitation of the president to discuss about Vihara Maha Devi Convention. The president yesterday extended this invitation to Ven Aturaliye Ratana Thero, the secretary of the JSS, in response to his letter dated 16th February. more..

Sri Lankan rebels free eight more child soldiers

Feb 20 (ABC) The United Nations agency for children says Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have freed a further eight child soldiers, raising to 33 the number of underage combatants released in the past three weeks. more..

We will encourage LTTE to take the democratic path: Chandrika

Feb 20 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, has reportedly asserted that a future government under her leadership "will not, in any way, incite or provoke the LTTE to another war," but would "encourage" them to take the democratic path. more..

Chivalry Not Dead

Feb 20 (LBO) A state bank rode into the foreign exchange markets once again on Thursday to champion the currency and prevent it from touching the 100.00 rupee mark against the US dollar. more..

Tribalist irrationality permeates Sinhala political rhetoric - Uyangoda

Feb 20 (TN) Unless extremely prudently handled, developments surrounding the forthcoming election may set in a new political process in which "Sri Lanka's future as a nation-state unit might be at a great risk" warns Professor Uyangoda, more..

Sri Lanka politics to delay tourism sector investments

Feb 20 (DJ) Although recent political developments aren't likely to affect Sri Lanka's buoyant tourism outlook, a senior government official said Friday the much needed investments for the sector will be delayed. more..

Armed men take away fishing boats

Feb 20 (SLA) An unidentified group of armed men, suspected to be from LTTE threatened two civilians in the general area of NAVALADDY, about 04 km northwest of VALACHCHENAI and took away their two fishing boats during early hours on 19 February 2004. more..

MUHAMALAI Entry/Exit point opening extended

Feb 20 (SLA) Opening hours at the Entry/Exit point at MUHAMALAI on the A-9 Road were further extended by an hour on 18 February 2004 (Maha Shivarathri Day) to facilitate returnees who went into un-cleared areas in connection with Maha Shivarathri Day celebrations. more..

Civilian’s motorbike robbed while riding

Feb 20 (SLA) The motorbike belonging to a civilian was robbed by an unknown person on 19 February 2004 around 9.15 a.m. while he was riding in the general area between KOONATIVU and MUTTUR, states a complaint made to MUTTUR Police station. more..

LTTE protest disrupts normalcy

Feb 20 (SLA) Forced closure of all public schools, shops and state offices by LTTE in the general area of THIRUKKOVIL, AMPARA on 19 February 2004 caused immense hardships to the public who arrived in the town in the morning for their needs. more..

Emergency landing by Sri Lankan plane at airport

Feb 20 (KT) A mid-air fracas that broke out on board a SriLankan Airlines flight bound for Colombo from Paris forced the pilot to make an emergency landing at the Dubai International Airport last week, according to sources investigating the incident. more..

IOC to invest $100 million in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (PTI) Public sector oil giant Indian Oil Corporation is investing $ 100 million in its Sri Lankan subsidiary Lanka IOC Ltd during 2004-05 as part of its retail foray in the island country. more..

Jayasuriya to become most capped Lankan cricketer

Feb 20 (AP) Hard-hitting batsman, Sanath Jayasuriya, is set to become Sri Lanka 's most-capped one-day international representative on Friday when he takes the field against Australia in their limited-overs series opener. Jayasuriya is currently equal with Aravinda de Silva at 308 one-day appearances. more..

NZ immigration minister quits

Feb 20 (BBC) New Zealand Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel has been forced to resign after she was shown to have lied about leaking a document to the media. Ms Dalziel had denied knowing about the leak, but later admitted she authorised giving the document to the media. more..

SL’s first woman Acting Chief Justice

Feb 20 (PRIU) Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke was sworn-in before President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday, February 19, as Acting Chief Justice. Justice Shirani Bandaranayke is the first woman Acting Chief Justice in the country’s judicial history. more..

TULF in crisis since Sambandan's pro-LTTE candidate lists

Feb 20 (GL) The TULF is in the throes of its worst crisis regarding its own candidates at an election these days since its General Secretary R. Sampanthan trying to bulldoze his way with an allegedly Tamil Tiger nominated list of the party candidates completely ignoring all senior members of the of the party, more..

Only Constitutional Amendment can resolve political crisis - PM

Feb 20 (DN) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday that the current political crisis can be resolved only through a constitutional amendment which will be done in the near future. more..

Call for fair electronic media coverage - TISL

Feb 20 (DM) Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) said yesterday that it was concerned with the electoral standards in Sri Lanka and added that the important aspect for a free and fair election was to have balanced media coverage, in particular in electronic media managed with State resources. more..

Election chief tells of measures to reduce vote rigging

Feb 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's election chief has announced secret measures to minimise rigging at the forthcoming parliamentary vote and said he would order fresh polls in booths affected by ballot stuffing. more..

SLMC Athaullah faction joins SLFP-JVP alliance

Feb 20 (TN) A key breakaway faction of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the main partner of Prime Minister Ranil Wickrenesinghe's goverment said Friday that it is joining the SLFP-JVP alliance to contest the April elections to Parliament in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Digamadulla and Vanni. more..

Australia set Sri Lanka 263 to win

Feb 20 (CI) Adam Gilchrist (66) and Ricky Ponting (58) defied Sri Lanka's spinners, and Australia's much-talked about reputation for struggling on sub-continent pitches, to score half-centuries as Australia made full use of their chance to bat first in the opening one-day international, piling up an imposing 262 for 6, more..

Sampanthan warns of forces against TNA

Feb 20 (TN) "Some powerful political forces are working hard to sabotage the attempt of the TNA to win more parliamentary seats in the northeast province. Tamils should be vigilant, identify these elements and foil their actions," said TNA ex-parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan more..

Thousands of Killinochchi IDPs not paid resettlement assistance

Feb 20 (TN) About 6,596 resettled families in the Killinochchi district have not been paid any resettlement allowances since the signing of the ceasefire agreement by the government and the LTTE, Killinochchi district secretariat sources said. more..

Mullaitivu fisheries sector struggles for survival

Feb 20 (TN) Since the signing of ceasefire agreement by the Government and the LTTE fisheries sector in the Mullaitivu district has received no financial or any other assistance to restore the fisheries industry or to improve the living conditions of the fisher families, more..

Sivarathiri celebrations in Trinco Konesar Temple

Feb 20 (TN) As part of the 'Maha Sivarathiri day' (whole night vigil) celebrations, the chief deity of the historic Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple, Lord Konesar and his consort are being taken in a three day-procession in Trincomalee town following the Sivarathiri day. more..

Australia cruise to opening win v Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (Reuters) World champions Australia cruised to an 84-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening game of their five-match one-day series on Friday. Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting scored fifties and Andrew Symonds provided a final-over flurry as the tourists piled up a stadium record 262 for six in their 50 overs. more..

Indian fishermen call off fast unto death

Feb 20 (UNI) The fast unto death by a group of 67 Indian fishermen, remanded in Jaffna prisons for fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters, was called off yesterday after the judicial authorities assured to release them at the earliest. more..

Ponting warns Sri Lanka over dry pitches

Feb 21 (Reuters) Australian captain Ricky Ponting warned Sri Lanka that a policy of preparing dry, spin-friendly pitches could backfire on the hosts in the current five-match one-day series. more..

"Sinhala Only" election materials irk NorthEast officials

Feb 21 (TN) NorthEast officials responsible for conducting the forthcoming elections are irked at their Colombo counterparts for sending instructions and other election materials in "Sinhala only," thereby causing procedural snarl at the NorthEast election offices, more..

SLMC rank and file in disarray following cross over

Feb 21 (TN) The rank and file of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is in disarray following the formation of a new political party, Muslim National Front (MNF) and three former SLMC parliamentarians joining it, political sources said. more..

Not Done

Feb 21 (LBO) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has made a fresh attempt to overturn tax amnesty extension given by the government last year. In a petition to the Court of Appeal through her Additional Secretary, Chitra Athurugiriya, she says the amnesty should not be given to lawbreakers like arms dealers, fraudsters, contract killers, drug peddlers, smugglers, bootleggers etc. more..

Taking Bets

Feb 21 (LBO) Working towards meeting a mid year target to launch Sri Lanka’s second online lottery, the Aitken Spence – Getch Corp., partnership will invest Rs. 1.2 billion through the Board of Investment in their local operation. more..

Second Round

Feb 21 (LBO) Private bus owners are lobbying the government to remove VAT payments slapped on lease rentals of registered buses. Currently, around 17,500 private passenger buses are in operation and over 90 percent of them are bought on a lease. more..

Sangaree readies to contest in Jaffna

Feb 21 (TN) TULF President Mr. Veerasingham Anandasangaree said Saturday he will contest the April elections to Sri Lanka's Parliament in Jaffna. Sources close to him confirmed that he would contest as an independent only in the electoral district of Jaffna. more..

LTTE demand ransom from sales rep

Feb 21 (SLA) LTTE cadres in the general area of THABILIVEL, about 20 km southeast of AMPARA have stopped a sales van (43-3273) and asked for Rs. 300/= (about US $ 03) as ransom from the sales representative for engaging businesses in the area on 20 February 2004. more..

LTTE men assault bus conductor

Feb 21 (SLA) Some LTTE cadres assaulted an assistant of a passenger van after he was summoned for questioning at the LTTE office KOMMATHURAI, ERAVUR, about 15 km northwest of BATTICALOA on 18 February 2004. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Feb 21 (SLA) One thousand five hundred and thirty one (1531) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 13 February 2004 and 19 February 2004. more..

Ring-rusty Warne will struggle in Sri Lanka, warns Mushtaq

Feb 21 (GU) Shane Warne will struggle when he returns to Test cricket in Sri Lanka, in the expert opinion of his fellow leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed. "I think Shane will find it difficult. He's been out for a year and bowling leg-spin is different from anything else in cricket. He will have to get that control back, with both fingers and wrist." more..

Sacramento brothers guilty in officials' alleged visa scheme

Feb 21 (AP) Two Sacramento brothers pleaded guilty in Sacramento federal court Friday to bribing two married State Department officials at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka to issue visas to foreign nationals who wanted to enter the United States. more..

O'Connor has no regrets over Sri Lankan's case

Feb 21 (Stuff) Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor said today he did not regret any of the Immigration Service's actions throughout the case of the Sri Lankan girl who was deported last week. more..

Kumaratunga tries to justify her anti-democratic actions

Feb 21 (WSWS) Last Sunday President Kumaratunga made her first public statements over her decision to dissolve parliament and sack the government—more than a week after her unprecedented action. more..

Budgetary provisions not for election purposes- President

Feb 21 (PSL) President has instructed the Treasury to thwart any attempts to use state funds for electioneering. She further directed the Treasury officials to refrain from incurring any such expenditure and to strictly comply with the provisions of the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act No.3 of 2003. more..