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Sri Lanka bond dealers halt trade to avoid panic

Feb 10 (Reuters) Primary dealers of Sri Lankan government bonds have informally agreed to suspend trading in an effort to avoid panic-selling after the president this week called snap elections, dealers said on Tuesday. more..

Parliament dissolution may cost Sri Lanka billions in aid

Feb 10 (OW) A US $4.5 billion aid package for Sri Lanka is in jeopardy with the dissolution of Parliament by President Chandrika Kumaratunga on February 7 - ten days ahead of a crucial donor meet in Washington. The reconstruction package for the war-torn country was pledged in Tokyo in June 2003. more..

Thailand won't ink trade pact until Sri Lanka crisis ends

Feb 10 (DJ) Thailand has postponed the signing of a Preferential Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka due to intensified political woes in the island nation. "The Thai prime minister is not keen or interested in signing the agreement until the political crisis in Sri Lanka is resolved," more..

IMF:Sri Lanka loan tranche review unaffected by snap poll

Feb 10 (DJ) The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday a review that would result in the release of a loan tranche of around $80 million will still take place despite intensified political woes in Sri Lanka. more..

Chandrika for 15 members in caretaker cabinet

Feb 10 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga wants the United National Front (UNF) to reduce its caretaker cabinet to 15 members setting off a fresh dispute between the two sides as political parties in Sri Lanka geared for the April 2 snap polls. more..

Ceasefire Agreement will continue - Army Commander

Feb 10 (DN) The Ceasefire Agreement will continue despite the political change, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle said yesterday adding that he believed that the LTTE too would adhere to the same. more..

Close to 500,000 new voters to cast their votes this time

Feb 10 (DM) A total of 12,899,032 voters up from 12,428,208 at the general election in December 2001 are entitled to vote at the upcoming general election scheduled for April 2. According to the Election Commissioners Department official figures 470,824 new voters will cast their vote at this election. more..

President remains silent after sacking the government

Feb 10 (WSWS) Two days after taking the unprecedented step of dismissing the government, Sri Lanka’s president Chandrika Kumaratunga is yet to make any public statement justifying her actions. more..

Sri Lankans weary about yet another election

Feb 10 (Reuters) The government says it's undemocratic, diplomats warn it could delay a peace bid, business leaders say it will scare away tourists and investment. There is no shortage of critics of President Kumaratunga's weekend decision to call snap general elections on April 2, three years before they were due. more..

Bryan Adams at peace concert amid political turmoil

Feb 10 (AFP) Canadian pop icon Bryan Adams will go ahead with his concert here despite political upheaval in this Indian Ocean island republic, organisers said. Adams who arrived here late Monday from India will sing at a football stadium turned into an open-air concert venue more..

Astrology is 'superstitious nonsense', says Arthur Clarke

Feb 10 (HT) Renowned science writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has debunked the claims of astrology, describing them as "superstitious nonsense". "Last year, a thorough scientific study debunked once and for all, astrology’s central claim — that our human characteristics are moulded by the influence of the Sun, Moon and the planets at the time of our birth. more..

Cricket chief on trial for passport fraud

Feb 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan cricket board president Thilanga Sumathipala went on trial on Tuesday for an alleged breach of the country's Immigration and Emigration Act. Sumathipala, who has been held in police custody since January 19, pleaded not guilty to the charges. more..

‘Will to talk to any government with clear authority’ – Col. Karuna

Feb 10 (TN) “We are prepared to talk to any government that comes to power in Sri Lanka with clear authority and power. We are ready to negotiate with them to settle the conflict by peaceful means. We are also firmly committed to observing the ceasefire agreement. more..

Viet Nam, Sri Lanka promote cooperation

Feb 11 (VNA) A cooperation agreement was signed between the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the Sri Lanka-Viet Nam Solidarity Association in Ha Noi on Tuesday. Under the agreement, the two sides will exchange delegations of intellectuals, politicians, social activists, artists, students, industrialists and people of all walks of life. more..

Batticaloa organizations appeal for Tamil unity

Feb 11 (TN) A consortium of civil organizations in Batticaloa, including Tamil renaissance association and Batticaloa People's Forum, made a public appeal yesterday calling upon the tamil people to demonstrate their unity and strength to the international community and others by voting to the 'Rising Sun' symbol in the general elections scheduled to be held on 2 February, more..

Chandrasekaran briefs TNA leaders on alliance

Feb 11 (TN) Leaders of the TNA held extensive discussion Tuesday to map out their election strategy to contest the forthcoming general election. The discussion commenced at about 5 p.m. at the Colombo headquarters of the TULF, more..

Minister demands fresh facts in teen abuse case

Feb 11 (NZH) Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor has called for yet more information before deciding whether to block the expulsion of a sexually abused Sri Lankan girl. more..

President may fire ministers ahead of vote

Feb 11 (AP) President may sack as many as half of the rival prime minister's Cabinet ahead of crucial parliamentary elections, an official said Tuesday. President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe have been locked in a bitter power struggle that threatens to derail the island's efforts to end a 20-year civil war. more..

Lankan team on world tour reaches Patna

Feb 11 (TOI) The 11-member Sri Lankan team on Tuesday reached Patna on way to a world tour on bicycle with a mission to propagate the message of peace and universal brotherhood. Team leader Yogarath, a bachelor in engineering, said the journey started on January 22, 2004, from Colombo. The team is expected to complete their journey by 2007. more..

Is the bad guy in Sri Lanka a lady?

Feb 11 (ST) There comes a time when one senses the approach of a turning point, and catastrophe is but a few ticks of history away. That moment appears to be fast approaching in Sri Lanka. This small country is in fact as geopolitically significant to the United States and the West as troubled Cyprus and the other flaming sunspots that attract Western political and media attention. more..

Thomas Cuppers open campaign against Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (TS) The Malaysian men will be up against minnows Sri Lanka while their women face a tough time against Hong Kong in their opening ties of the Asian Zone qualifying tournament of the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup respectively. more..

Anti-LTTE Tamil politicians risk life in Lanka polls

Feb 11 (Reuters) Tamil politicians in Sri Lanka who do not back the island’s Tiger rebels in snap elections in April may be risking more than their seats in parliament. Some might get a bullet in the head before they get their names on the ballot papers. more..

Now listen here ...

Feb 11 (CI) Quiet, religious Chaminda Vaas admits that he doesn't mind getting stuck in
You had another tense series against England. Is there a particular feeling of animosity between the teams?
No, it's not only England. It's whoever comes to Sri Lanka. Out on the ground, the same thing happens with everyone. more..

Annual Chat

Feb 11 (LBO) South East Asian Central Bankers will meet in Sri Lanka this week for its annual sessions and discuss matters of mutual importance. The Sri Lankan Central Bank is one of the founding members of SEACEN (South East Asian Central Banks), which has grown over the years to 12 members and six observers. more..

Trade off

Feb 11 (LBO) The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka is looking to be the latest casualty of the political uncertainty that gripped the country since November. Thailand backed out of a bilateral trade pact earlier this week, refusing to sign it after the Sri Lankan parliament was dissolved. more..

TEPS calls on people to identify anti-social elements

Feb 11 (TN) The Tamil Eelam Police Service (TEPS), the police division of the LTTE, on Tuesday called on the people of the Jaffna peninsula to identify anti-social elements and root them out, according to the Jaffna-based Tamil language daily, Uthayan. more..

Court extends enjoining order on TULF

Feb 11 (TN) The Colombo district court Wednesday extended the enjoining order preventing the Secretary General and Senior Vice President of the TULF from convening party meetings without the written permission of TULF President Anandasangaree to 16 March 2004. more..

Picnic-goers go missing, say their next of kin

Feb 11 (SLA) A group of about 14 picnic-goers on four vehicles, who entered the block two area of the YALA SANCTUARY about four days ago had still failed to return home, according to TISSAMAHARAMA Police. more..

Third batch of officer instructors begins IHL & HR training

Feb 11 (SLA) A new bout of the intensive training course for service personnel on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (IHL & HR), organized by the Army’s Directorate of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, commenced today (09) more..

President discusses CFA with new SLMM Head

Feb 11 (PSL) The President met with Maj. Gen. Trond Furuhovde, Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), this morning at the President’s House, to discuss matters concerning the maintenance and implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). more..

President condemns Moscow bomb blast

Feb 11 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga sent a message of condolence to the Russian Federation President Vladmir Putin over the recent bomb blast in Moscow, which killed 39 and injured more than 100. more..

Central Bank leaves interest rates unchanged

Feb 11 (Reuters) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka left its key overnight repurchase and reverse repurchase rates unchanged on Wednesday after a monthly monetary policy meeting. The repurchase rate was left at seven percent and the reverse repo rate at 8.50 percent, more..

Stocks rebound 5.1 pct after slump

Feb 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka stocks were up 5.1 percent by mid-day trade on Wednesday, rebounding from a 15 percent slump over the last two days after President Chandrika Kumaratunga called snap elections. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom on poll watch for bond issue decision

Feb 11 (DJ) Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. (SLTL.SL) will watch developments in the run-up to the snap elections before deciding whether to go ahead with an international bond issue, said a company official Wednesday. more..

President appoints council for curbing crime

Feb 11 (Xinhua) President Kumaratunga has appointed a 13-member National Advisory Council for curbing the rising crime rate in the country, the official Daily News saidon Wednesday. The council will advise the government and the police on formulating anti-crime policies. more..

Sri Lanka crisis could hold up 176 mln dlr World Bank aid

Feb 11 (AFP) The sacking of Sri Lanka's parliament could hold up at least 176 million dollars in World Bank aid to the island, whose economy is headed for a serious slow down, a bank official has warned. more..

Warne gunning for Lanka tour

Feb 11 (PTI) No sooner than making a brilliant comeback from a one-year drug suspension, spin wizard Shane Warne announced he was pushing for selection for the upcoming Sri Lankan tour. "I am not desperate but I am aiming to get into the team for Sri Lanka ," Warne said more..

Activists demand end to killings

Feb 11 (IANS) Human rights activists here have demanded an immediate end to killings in Sri Lanka blamed on Tamil Tiger guerrillas. "We condemn the political killings that have continued during the two years of ceasefire and peace process," said a resolution adopted at a meeting of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum. more..

Aides defend Chandrika action

Feb 11 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's loyalists are making a strong effort to defend the action taken by the President over the weekend to dissolve Parliament despite Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNF continuing to hold the majority in the legislature. more..

Sumathipala trial begins

Feb 11 (CI) The trial of Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of the Sri Lankan cricket board, began on February 10. Sumathipala, held in police custody since Jan 19, has been charged under the Immigration and Emmigration Act after allegations that he helped Amarasinghe, a known underworld gangster, travel to England to watch the 1999 World Cup on a false passport. more..

Media Unit brought my downfall - PM

Feb 11 (LT) Those in the Prime Minister’s media, while enjoying the benefits acted above even the Ministers and the ill fortune of the Prime Minister becoming the Leader of the Opposition again is the result of the disastrous activities of this media unit which had spent a large sum of his and party’s money says the Prime Minister. more..

Groundwork under way for polls campaign

Feb 11 (DN) Political parties are busy preparing the groundwork and strategies for the election campaign ahead of the April 2 national poll. The SLFP and the JVP will contest as a joint alliance with the CP and EPDP extending their support from outside, while the UNF is also in the fray with the support of some minority parties. more..

Pramuka scandal: 20 top officers charged

Feb 11 (DM) Twenty senior Government and armed forces officials were produced before Colombo's Chief Magistrate yesterday on charges of obtaining gratifications in the form of commissions from the disgraced Pramuka Bank. more..

Former colleague slams President

Feb 11 (TN) Mr. S. B Dissanayaka, MP, a controversial Minister in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's cabinet, called Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga an utter liar and fraud, addressing a press conference in Colombo Wednesday. more..

Indian Tamil party to back PM in polls

Feb 11 (HT) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), which is the premier party of Indian Origin Tamils in Sri Lanka, has decided to support the United National Front (UNF) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the April 2 elections to the Sri Lankan parliament. more..

President Sacks 39 Junior Ministers

Feb 11 (Reuters) President sacked 39 junior ministers Wednesday, tightening the screws on her rival the prime minister in the run-up to April general elections that will be fought over how to make peace with Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lankans nervous about Lee

Feb 11 (AAP) Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu, if they were speaking in their native tongues, would have gone awfully close to muttering the Sinhalese equivalent of a profanity when they heard about the resurgence of Brett Lee. more..

President proposes truce committee

Feb 11 (TN) President Kumaratunga proposed a committee to discuss matters relating to the implementation of the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers. The President made the proposal during a meeting with the head of the SLMM, Maj. Gen. Tronde Furuhovde Wednesday in Colombo. more..

LTTE indicates willingness to talk to SLFP-JVP govt if it is 'powerful'

Feb 11 (HT) The LTTE has said that it will talk to any Sri Lankan government which has "clear authority and power", thereby indicating that it will not mind negotiating with a SLFP-JVP government if the latter has strong support in the parliament to be elected on April 2. more..

Adams rocks for peace in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (AP) Canadian rock idol Bryan Adams held thousands of Sri Lankan fans spellbound at a concert that organizers said promoted the island's peace efforts. More than 15,000 fans thronged the Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club on Tuesday to see the open-air concert, blocking traffic for hours in the capital, Colombo. more..