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Big Stink

Feb 7 (LBO) The Finance Minister K N Choksy shot down a request by farmers to further subsidise fertiliser prices, citing difficulties in balancing the public purse. On Friday, farmers picked up cudgels on fertiliser prices, demonstrating in Pettah, demanding that a bag of urea be brought down to Rs. 500 from the current selling price of Rs. 800. more..

Sri Lanka's Tigers stay away from truce review talks

Feb 7 (TN) The United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) is providing financial assistance to supply fiberglass boats and other fishing gear to the fishermen of Thirukovil in the Amparai district, local press sources in Batticaloa said. more..

LTTE cadres return to un-cleared area

Feb 7 (SLA) Two LTTE male cadres who came from KILINOCHCHI area had arrived entry/exit point at OMANTHAI on 06 February 2004 around 5.25 p.m. When the troops wanted to check them before they were allowed to move in to the cleared area, the said LTTE cadres had refused it. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Feb 7 (SLA) Six hundred and sixty-one (661) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 01 February 2004 and 05 February 2004. more..

Indian MP jailed for supporting Tamil Tiger rebels freed

Feb 7 (AFP) An Indian MP jailed by a special anti-terrorism court for his support of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels has been freed in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. M.K. Vaiko, chief of the regional MDMK party, in jail since July 2002, was greeted by hundreds of his supporters as he stepped out of the Vellore Central Prison, more..

Warning over child soldiers

Feb 7 (TP) The new head of the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was quoted as saying on Thursday that Tamil rebels would be held more accountable for the recruitment of child soldiers. more..

Train passengers get free ride

Feb 7 (TP) Train passengers travelled free on Thursday after railway authorities operated just seven trains as workers continued a strike against possible job cuts. The Daily Mirror quoted the Railway Authority Chief P H Manatunga as saying that they hoped normal services would be resumed soon. more..

Sri Lankans admire shooting range, other facilities

Feb 7 (PNS) The Sri Lankan olympic chief, Hemasiri Fernando has admired the world-standard shooting range and was also impressed with other sports facilities at Pakistan Sports Complex here. "I am indeed highly impressed to see such a state- of-the-art range. This is one of the best ranges of the world" more..

Sri Lanka would be a hard tour for Warne, says Ganguly

Feb 7 (AFP) Australian spinner Shane Warne would be facing a tough tour if he made his comeback to international cricket in Sri Lanka, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly warned in Sydney. Warne, who completes a 12-month ban on Tuesday for taking a banned substance, is hoping to make his return to Test cricket when Australia takes on Sri Lanka next month. more..

Sri Lanka beat West Indies in Under-19 decider

Feb 7 (CMC) Off-spinner, Mohammed Suraj, captured six wickets and guided Sri Lanka to a 27-run victory over West Indies in the last game of their pre-Youth World Cup Under-19 limited overs series yesterday. more..

Bailed out murder suspect shot dead

Feb 7 (DM) Another high noon drama was enacted in the city yesterday when a suspect in a murder case was gunned down and two persons accompanying him seriously injured by an unidentified gang who opened fire on them opposite the Fire Brigade Headquarters at T.B. Jayah Mawatha, Colombo. more..

Seven per cent children don't attend school - Minister

Feb 7 (DN) Seven per cent of children do not attend school, said School Development Minister Suranimala Rajapakse. There are 328 schools throughout the country with less than 25 students and 1,324 schools with less than 50 students," he said as chief guest at the annual prize giving of D. S. Senanayake College more..

President-PM talks likely to decide on early polls

Feb 7 (HT) It will be "make or break" when key officials of the Sri Lankan presidency and the prime ministership meet in Colombo on Monday to resolve the power struggle going on between the country's top constitutional functionaries. more..

President becomes leader of new opposition alliance

Feb 7 (Xinhua) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has been chosen as the president of the new oppositionalliance the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) formed last month by her party and the leftist JVP or People's Liberation Front, local press reported on Saturday. more..

SLA sergeant commits suicide in Jaffna

Feb 7 (TN) Mr.N.P. Piyatilake, 42-year-old sergeant of the Sri Lanka Army attached to the Achchelu camp in Jaffna district, committed suicide by shooting himself on Friday afternoon in his room, police said. Police recorded statements of fellow soldiers who were in the camp at that time of incident. more..

Sri Lanka Parliament dissolved

Feb 7 (TN) Sources at the Sri Lanka government printer said that a gazette notification for the dissolution of the Parliament was received from the President's office late night Saturday. The publication of the gazette would dissolve Parliament from midnight Saturday.

Sri Lanka leader sacks parliament

Feb 7 (BBC) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has dissolved the Sri Lankan parliament, paving the way for snap elections. National ballots for the 225-member legislature will be held on 2 April, four years ahead of schedule. more..

EU assures support to North-East development

Feb 8 (TN) Mr. John Cushnahan, Member of the European Parliament, Friday assured the visiting delegation of the Liberation Tigers’ political division in Brussels, Belgium, that the European Union would provide support for the rehabilitation and development of the North-East, LTTE sources said. more..

ADB gives 30 m rupees to Jaffna fishermen

Feb 8 (TN) The Asian Development Bank Saturday disbursed thirty million rupees to eighteen fishermen's societies on Jaffna's Vadamaradchi coast. The function to hand over the ADB fund cheques was held Saturday at the office of the Sea Tigers in Maruthankerni, on the peninsula's southeastern coast. more..

New evidence on Thilanga's underworld links

Feb 8 (SL) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has filed a fresh 'B' report in the Colombo Magistrate's Court detailing new evidence gathered by the police further incriminating President, Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala and his connections with the now dead underworld leader, Dhammika Amarasinghe. more..

CBK checkmates general election call

Feb 8 (SL) Despite intense pressure brought to bear on President Kumaratunga by the JVP and sections of the SLFP to dissolve parliament and go for a snap general election, she was by week's end veering towards a compromise with the UNP government to break the political deadlock, fully conscious of the ground reality the LTTE would be the ultimate winner at a general election. more..

TNA plans expansion strategy

Feb 8 (SO) The Tamil National Alliance is planning a new strategy to expand its coalition with the political parties in the South, sources said. TNA members met representatives of the Upcountry People's Front led by Minister P. Chandrasekaran and the Western Province People's Front led by Parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan at a special meeting held in Colombo on Wednesday. more..

Parliament Dissolved, Election April 2

Feb 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's parliament was dissolved by President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sunday, clearing the way for an election on April 2. Elections had been widely expected since a feud erupted in November when Kumaratunga sacked three ministers in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's government. more..

PM cancells visit to Thailand

Feb 8 (TN) Prime Minister, Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, cancelled his scheduled visit to Thailand on Monday after President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament Saturday midnight. The ruling UNF government was caught off its guard, opposition sources said. more..

PM to lead caretaker govt until election

Feb 8 (Reuters) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to remain in power, leading a caretaker government, until a snap election on April 2, a top aide to President Chandrika Kumaratunga said on Sunday. more..

India denies it advised against dissolving Lankan parliament

Feb 8 (HT) India has denied media reports that it had advised the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga against dissolving parliament and going in for a mid term poll. An Indian diplomat told Hindustan Times in Colombo on Saturday that India had given no such advice. more..

Sri Lanka president a street-smart battler

Feb 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's street-smart president will take her passionate oratory to the villages and countryside in a bid to wrest control of the government back from her arch-rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Escape to paradise

Feb 8 (SM) One of the most glorious ironies is the notion that the grass is always greener on the other side - even when you’re on the side that comes with antibiotics, washing machines, computers and aeroplanes. We yearn for the simple life, thinking that being closer to nature will transform us into spiritual, earth-preserving people. more..

General elections would create more confusion - TNA

Feb 8 (TN) Commenting on the dissolution of parliament and the scheduled general elections in April, the parliamentary leader of the Tamil National Alliance, Mr. R. Sampanthan, said Sunday that the general elections would lead to more confusion in the country more..

Sri Lankan snap polls to hold up US$4.5b aid package

Feb 8 (AFP) Snap parliamentary elections called in Sri Lanka could delay the release of US$4.5b pledged by international donors for the war-torn island, diplomats and political analysts said Sunday. more..

Tigers yet to decide on talks offer

Feb 8 (Gulf) Tamil guerrillas have decided to delay responding to an invitation by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to open a direct dialogue with the guerrillas about the cease-fire agreement. more..

Don’t Worry

Feb 8 (LBO) The UNF government is upbeat of romping back to power with the promise of peace and economic prosperity, despite being caught behind by the President, a senior cabinet minister said. more..

UNF says will win election

Feb 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party is confident of winning a snap poll called for April 2 and say the policies of the opposition will bring chaos to the island as it seeks peace with Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Snap polls threaten peace process -Analysts

Feb 8 (Reuters) Snap elections called for April 2 are a threat to the peace process between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, analysts and politicians said Sunday. The general election will be the troubled island's third in four years, and will further delay efforts to end a civil war that has killed 64,000 since 1983, they said. more..

Parliament dissolution a 'panic decision': Ranil

Feb 8 (UNI) Describing as a 'panic decision' the dissolution of the Parliament last night by President Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has demanded that the President should give a 'valid reason' for dissolving parliament four years ahead of schedule moreso when his party was commanding a clear majority. more..

Oppn legislators now in Lanka cabinet

Feb 8 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga appointed two opposition legislators to the cabinet shortly before she dissolved Parliament and called elections on April 2, officials said. more..

Emerging new Tamil identity : Western Province Tamils

Feb 8 (SN) Mr Mano Ganeshan, parliamentarian for Colombo district from UNP told that Tamils in Western province had unique identity and their problems were different to those of the Tamils living in the Upcountry and the North & East. more..

Chandrika broke promise of not dissolving Parliament: UNP

Feb 8 (HT) A senior leader of the ruling UNP, Dr Rajitha Senatatne, said in Colombo on Sunday,that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had broken a solemn promise she had made to the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament in August 2002, not to dissolve the House so long as the present Government enjoyed majority support in it. more..

"We will teach Chandrika a lesson" - Rajitha

Feb 8 (PTI) Calling for international observers to ensure free and fair polls, Sri Lanka's care-taker government today vowed to "teach a good lesson" to President Chandrika Kumaratunga who dissolved parliament and called snap elections four years ahead of schedule. more..

Arsonists torch charity office

Feb 8 (AP) ARSONISTS including Buddhist monks firebombed the office of a Christian charity today amid increasing religious tensions in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, officials said. More than a dozen men hurled petrol bombs at a building in Anuradhapura housing the World Vision office, setting it ablaze, police said. more..

India to promote spiritual tourism, Buddhist conclave on Feb 17

Feb 8 (UNI) With a view to cashing in on India's advantage of having several buddhist sites and to make a new initiative in the emerging area of spiritual tourism, India is organising a three-day International Conclave on Buddhism and Spiritual Tourism in Delhi and Bodhgaya from February 17. more..

UPFA ex-co to work out election strategy

Feb 9 (TN) The executive committee of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), formed by the SLFP and the Sinhala nationalist cum Marxist JVP. will meet Monday to work out the strategy to face the snap general election, which is to be held on April 2nd. Party sources said. more..

LTTE blames sinhala leaders for lack of political will and vision

Feb 9 (TN) “The dissolution of the parliament and the call for a snap election constitutes a grave set-back to the peace process. The decision to seek another mandate from the people clearly demonstrates the fact that the Sinhala political leadership lacks the political will and vision to resolve the country’s burning issue - the Tamil national question,” said Mr Anton Balasingham, more..

Lankan polls won't overshadow Australian tour

Feb 9 (AP) Sri Lankan cricket authorities are confident that public interest in the much anticipated Australian tour will not be diminished by the heat of local parliamentary elections. "There is a general feeling of enthusiasm" about the tour, cricket board secretary Mohan de Silva said. more..

Chandrika ignored international advice in dissolving Parliament: Report

Feb 9 (PTI) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's decision to dissolve Parliament, calling snap elections in April, came despite apprehensions from the international community, including India, a media report said in Colombo on Sunday. more..

Dissolution would determine the fate of the country?

Feb 9 (AT) At last the Parliament has been dissolved. But the dissolution of the Sri Lanka Parliament was long overdue. A right move in the right direction, which would end the pettifogging once and for all. more..

LTTE for SA poll campaign

Feb 9 (PTI) The ruling African National Congress in South Africa plans to bring in a group of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers to assist it to woo members of the Indian community during the general elections in two months' time. more..

Delhi Metro a model for Lanka

Feb 9 (TOI) The Delhi Metro Rail is now set to cross the seas. Delhi ’s model will help Colombo decongest its transport system. As of now, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s feasibility study for the Sri Lankan capital has been accepted in principle. more..

PM's party seeks foreign, local election monitors

Feb 9 (AP) The prime minister's party urged Sri Lanka's elections commissioner Sunday to invite foreign and local officials to monitor parliamentary elections scheduled for April. "We have...asked the elections commissioner to invite international observers and also we believe that the participation of local observers is absolutely essential," more..

Zoo Politics

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka faces another expensive and possibly violent general election nearly four years before its due date leaving the peace process, donor decisions and economic policies in limbo. more..