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CWC - UNP talks commence on forming alliance

Feb 12 (TN) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) said Wednesday that it has commenced talks with the UNP to forge an alliance to face the forthcoming general election, which is scheduled to be held on April 2. The CWC is a constituent of the United National Front government. more..

President committed to truce pact with Tamil rebels

Feb 12 (Xinhua) President Chandrika Kumaratunga assured the chief truce monitor, Trond Furuhovde, thatshe is committed to the implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed by the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the rebels two years ago, her office said in a statement on Wednesday. more..

Moragoda resigns from the UNF cabinet

Feb 12 (TN) Mr.Milinda Moragoda, a senior minister in the United National Front government of Sri Lanka and a key member of the UNF team in peace talks with the Liberation Tigers, Wednesday submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, sources said. more..

Pt. Pedro fishermen bring in poaching Indians

Feb 12 (TN) Fishermen in Pt. Pedro in Jaffna brought ashore and detained eleven Indians who were poaching in the northern peninsula's maritime zone Wednesday night. Two trawlers in which they were poaching were also brought to the coast off Inparutty, an outskirt of Pt. Pedro town. more..

No degrees from the market

Feb 12 (LT) Students of universities throughout the country were engaged in a protest movement today against the decision of the government to grant the right to issue degrees to the private sector. more..

Lankan crisis Dissolution of parliament comes at the wrong time

Feb 12 (TS) President Kumaratunga couldn’t have chosen a worse possible time to upset the apple cart by dissolving Sri Lanka’s parliament. Her fear is that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s UNP government is giving away too much in negotiations with the LTTE, but she’s had her chance to do things her own way during the seven years her party was in power upto 2001. more..

Colombo may sell SriLankan Airlines' shares as profits rise

Feb 12 (BT) Sri Lanka's government may accelerate a plan to sell shares in the nation's biggest carrier SriLankan Airlines, as it becomes more profitable with increasing tourism, said the airline's chief executive. more..

Lanka awaits Sahara, Jet landings for big tour

Feb 12 (TOI) Sri Lanka is keeping its fingers crossed and hope that India’s open skies policy, rocked by turbulence at the moment, ultimately takes off. This is because India leads the global tourist pack to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan School student leaves for international schools meet in Colombo

Feb 12 (TOO) Minol Cresent De Silva, a tenth grade student and promising athlete of the Sri Lankan School Muscat, will be breaking into a bigger arena, according to information received from the school authorities. more..

Polling stations considered in no-man zones

Feb 12 (TN) Commissioner of Elections, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake, has summoned all District Returning Officers and District Assistant Commissioners of Elections for a top level conference on Saturday at his office in Colombo to finalize locating polling booths for voters in Liberation Tigers-held areas more..

Lee a nightmare for Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (NZ) 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..

No worries on Lankan House dissolution, says diplomat

Feb 12 (TS) Malaysians should not be nervous about investing in or visiting Sri Lanka because of Saturday’s parliament dissolution as it was a normal process prior to elections, assured Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Rosy Senanayake. more..

Hi Neighbor

Feb 12 (LBO) More Indian nationals are flocking to the Island than ever before, stirring up the local industry to shift part of their resources to accommodate the growing numbers. So what would over 90,000 Indian tourists do in Sri Lanka? more..

Wheels Within Wheels

Feb 12 (LBO) Private busses will hit the roads as usual on Thursday ending strike plans with the Treasury stepping in to settle the VAT spat between leasing companies and private bus operators. more..

Farmers’ Vote

Feb 12 (LBO) The UNP began its election pitch to win the farming community’s vote on Wednesday, increasing paddy per kilo buying prices to Rs. 15 from Rs. 13.50 with immediate effect. The move could cost the government over Rs. 2.85 billion, estimating based on the 2003 paddy harvest of 1.905 billion metric tonnes. more..

Smells Nice

Feb 12 (LBO) Clothing retailer Odel, stepped into the fragrance market with its own branded perfume, aimed at luring the growing middle-income female market. Tested and made in UK, ‘Odel’ perfume comes in an ice-frosted 100 ml cylindrical glass bottle and is priced at Rs. 2,900. more..

Flying Birds

Feb 12 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines’ air taxi service, called SriLankan Air Taxi, which took off in December 2003, has added two more destinations to its network. The air taxi now flies to Anuradhapura and Hingurakgoda in the north central province in addition to its four other destinations. more..

FR case against local polls in Amparai district

Feb 12 (TN) Four voters of Amparai district Wednesday filed a Fundamental Rights violation case in Sri Lanka's Supreme Court, seeking a stay order against holding elections to seven local government authorities on February 22, legal sources said. more..

Turmoil cost lucrative Thai trade pact – ex minister

Feb 12 (TN) Thailand cancelled a lucrative bilateral trade agreement with Sri Lanka, which was scheduled to be signed last Monday, after President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament. more..

SU contests islandwide

Feb 12 (SN) Sihala Urumaya has decided to contest all 22 districts under the slogan of “one country – one nation”. Their appeal to the public is to send several lions to the parliament to battle tigers to be come under the TNA ticket. more..

Anti LTTE Tamil forces get together

Feb 12 (SN) All anti-LTTE Tamil political parties and civil organizations have commenced discussions to form an alliance for the general election. Restoration of democracy in the North & East will be their main slogan at the election platform. more..

CVK Sivagnanam Ex Commissioner in LTTE Custody

Feb 12 (SN) The Ex Jaffna Municipal Council Commissioner and President of Jaffna Co-operative Society, C V K Sivagnanam is in the custody of the LTTE’s office in Potpathi Road, Jaffna. It is reported that he was being interrogated for misappropriation of funds. more..

Man with dynamite sticks arrested

Feb 12 (SLA) Troops on duty at a snap roadblock near the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) office at TRINCOMALEE on 11 February 2004 arrested a Muslim with seven Dynamite sticks in his possession. more..

Missing picnic-goers found

Feb 12 (SLA) The group of fourteen holiday-makers, who had reportedly gone missing with their four vehicles after they entered the YALA SANCTUARY four days ago, was traced by Special Task Force personnel in cooperation with wildlife rangers during the morning on 11 February 2004. more..

New mobile phone tariff likely effective March

Feb 12 (DJ) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, or TRC, said Thursday a long-delayed new tariff structure for mobile companies will be implemented on March 1. "All players have agreed on the details of the system and we are finally ready to go for it next month," more..

Sri Lanka rupee, bonds stabilise after poll jitters

Feb 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's currency and bond markets ended flat on Thursday, shaking off initial volatility after snap elections were announced at the weekend. The Sri Lankan rupee closed at 98.50, higher than Wednesday close of 98.57 on light volumes. more..

Sri Lanka gets ADB grant for rural electricity project

Feb 12 (DJ) Manila-based Asian Development Bank said Thursday that it has awarded Sri Lanka a technical assistance grant of $600,000 to finance the expansion of electricity supply in rural areas. The Sri Lankan government is working toward providing electricity for 80% of the population by 2010. more..

Girl and grandmother on way home to Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (NZH) A teenage Sri Lankan girl and her grandmother left New Zealand just before 10pm this evening, after associate immigration minister Damien O'Connor again refused to intervene in their removal. more..

No new appointments or promotions in the run-up to the elections - President

Feb 12 (PSL) President Kumaratunga had directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Charitha Ratwatte that no appointments or promotions in the Public Service should be made during the ‘interim period’ of February 8 to the conclusion of the General Election to be held April 2, 2004. more..

State and private media should have a healthy relationship says new Media Minister

Feb 12 (PRIU) New Media Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Monday, February 9 said the state media belongs to the people. It cannot be used by the government of the day as it pleases and that the state media has a duty to set standards that the private media may follow if they wish. more..

Ravi Karunanayaka Attacks Milinda Moragoda's resignation – "A lowly Gimmick"

Feb 12 (AT) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayaka attacked his cabinet colleague Milinda Moragoda’s resignation from his cabinet position as a cheap political gimmick and a "lowly act" aimed at personal political gain. more..

Sri Lanka to invite int'l monitors to supervise elections

Feb 12 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's ruling UNP led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who heads acaretaker government said on Thursday that it would call international poll monitors to supervise the April 2 parliamentaryelections. more..

Constitutional coup thrusts JVP to political prominence

Feb 12 (wsws) Less than a week after President Kumaratunga dissolved parliament and called fresh elections it is already apparent that the real winner in the political crisis is not the president’s own party—the SLFP—but rather the JVP, a party based on populist demagogy and rabid appeals to Sinhala chauvinism. more..

UNP alleges bias in state media since dissolution

Feb 12 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya yesterday wrote to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake requesting him to take action against the biased use of the state media to defame and vilify the government since the dissolution of Parliament on February 7. more..

Twelve member gang arrested for attacks on 30 churches

Feb 12 (DN) The police have arrested a 12 member gang led by a former railway engineer who returned to the island recently from Australia for allegedly attacking 30 Christian churches and institutions. more..

LTTE seeks international aid bypassing Lankan Govt

Feb 12 (HT) The LTTE Political Wing leader, SP Tamilchelvam, has asked international donors to circumvent the Sri Lankan government and give humanitarian aid directly to the LTTE for urgent use in the war-ravaged North Eastern Province (NEP). more..

Government says poll to cause instability

Feb 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's cabinet, locked in a power struggle with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, said on Thursday a snap poll called by the president would cause instability and delay a peace process and donor aid. more..

PM accuses rival president of "seriously jeopardizing" peace efforts

Feb 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's embattled prime minister on Thursday accused the president of further endangering the island's delicate peace process by firing officials overseeing the rehabilitation and resettlement of minority Tamils. more..

Tigers hand over underage members to UNICEF

Feb 13 (TN) The Liberation Tigers Thursday handed over to the UNICEF in Kilinochchi 15 youth from their ranks who were found to be under eighteen. The youth, all males, were among those listed as underage members of the Tigers by UNICEF. more..

Volunteer Chris puts his trust in challenging Sri Lanka gap year

Feb 13 (ID) A LOCH Lomondside teenager is exchanging one of the world’s most spectacular views to work with underprivileged children in Sri Lanka. Chris Bates, 17, from Balmaha, has been selected to spend a gap year in the country through the Project Trust organisation. more..

Silence of President Reverberates Unbearably

Feb 13 (AT) Sri Lanka President continued with her sudden and stringent action into the second day, when she directed that there should be no new appointments or promotions in the public sector during the snap parliamentary elections period. more..

Puthrasigamani joins Ceylon Workers Congress

Feb 13 (IL) Former Opposition National List MP V. Puthrasigamani has decided to contest under the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) banner at the election. Mr. Puthrasigamani's decision to join the CWC has been attributed to his disappointment with his party after they held a massive demonstration on the day of the Deepavali festival, more..

World Bank rules out direct funding for Tigers despite crisis

Feb 13 (PTI) The World Bank on Thursday ruled out direct funding to Tamil Tiger rebels for reconstruction work in Sri Lanka despite the LTTE's plea that the political crisis has stalled their peace bid with the Sri Lankan government. more..

Former Deputy Minister Loku Athula Joins UNP

Feb 13 (LP) Former Gampha district Peoples Alliance (PA) Parliamentarian Athula Nimalasiri Jayasinghe, who crossed over to the UNF this morning, has obtained the UNP membership from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’. more..

Deported girl better off in Sri Lanka - minister

Feb 13 (Stuff) Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor today defended his decision to deport a sexually abused Sri Lankan girl saying she will be "better off" in her own culture. The 16-year-old and her grandmother were flown out of Auckland last night after strenuous efforts by the girl's lawyers, more..

Free Bird

Feb 13 (LBO) Floatplane operations are back in the skies and with expanded coverage after the National Security Council clipped its wings for a short period. “The Security Council imposed a suspension on floatplane operations in early January but lifted the its objections two weeks ago,” more..

Party Pooper

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s system of party politics is accelerating into action with the President clearing the way to stockpile state resources under the Alliance flag and the UNF scrambling to blow the lid on it. As both sides slug it out, around US$ 184 mn of development funds went under. more..

Full Tank

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s largest storage tank farm for petroleum products starts operations this month, with 250,000 MT storage capacities for diesel and kerosene. The US$ 80 mn state-of-the-art Muthurajawela tank farm, is equipped with a single point buoy mooring system, which can be hooked up directly to a cargo vessel. more..

Korean Chips

Feb 13 (LBO) Korea’s Myunghim Lanka (Pvt) Ltd has signed up to build a US$ 18 mn township development project in Kalutara. The Board of Investment says the 100 percent South Korean investment will be spread over three-years, to give the Kalutara town a face lift. more..

Cushnahan clarifies discussion with Thamilchelvan

Feb 13 (TN) Mr. John Walls Cushnahan, Member of the European Parliament, clarified to TamilNet Wednesday details regarding his discussion with Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, political leader of the Liberation Tigers, when he met him on February 6, 2004. more..