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President hopes alliance will help in power struggle

Jan 17 (AP) Sri Lanka's president hopes to enlarge a new alliance between her party and a Marxist one so that she has enough seats in Parliament to challenge the nation's prime minister and his ruling party, the president's party spokesman said Friday. more..

Gen Furuhovde back as Lanka ceasefire monitor

Jan 17 (HT) Maj Gen (Retd) Trond Furuhovde is being brought back as the Head of the SLMM apparently to give the Scandinavian monitoring team the credibility it had lost because of the controversial rulings of his predecessor, Maj Gen Tryggve Tellefsen. more..

NE development conference to be held in Kilinochchi

Jan 17 (TN) The political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan, is to preside over a high-level development conference at the Kilinochchi Development Secretariat on Monday, January 19, sources said. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Jan 17 (SLA) One thousand four hundred and fifty-five (1455) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 05 January 2004 and 11 January 2004. more..

LTTE Continues to recruit Child Soldiers Unabatedly

Jan 17 (AT) The armed opposition group, the LTTE continued to recruit and use children in violation of international law.(240) In January, the SLMM, set up to monitor the implementation of peace negotiations, reported an overall decrease in child soldier recruitment during previous months. more..

Fear grips Sri Lankan Christians

Jan 17 (Hindu) Barely 25 km from the Sri Lankan capital, this Buddhist-majority town saw an attack on a Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday night, raising a sense of fear among the handful of Christian families living here. "We now come to church with a sense of fear," a woman devotee of the St. Michael's Church, told. more..

Landmines still crippling people

Jan 17 (TP) Though Sri Lanka’s conflict ceased two years ago, the impact of landmines in the Jaffna peninsula is continuing, according to reports from Jaffna. Last year 54 people lost their limbs owing to landmines and unexploded ordinances with 90 per cent of them being under 30 years including 14 school children. more..

Farmers to begin fast unto death

Jan 17 (TP) Rice farmers will launch a fast unto death on Monday at Polonnaruwa, Digamadulla, Ampara and Embilipitiya in Sri Lanka’s southern and northeastern regions to protest against a government move to raise fertiliser prices and cut down fertiliser subsidies, the All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation said. more..

Work on airport to begin this year

Jan 17 (TP) Work on the proposed international airport in southern Sri Lanka is to begin this year, newspapers said. The Ministry of Southern Region Development said the government would shortly call for tenders from the private sector companies. more..

Carnival atmosphere the day alliance is signed

Jan 17 (LT) The MoU that would be signed between the SLFP and the JVP on the 20th is a historical agreement based on “Five Great Principles” to salvage and develop the country says PA. This was stated by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, media spokesperson of the PA at a media meeting held in Colombo today. more..

Be a responsible parent & a minister -Judge advises Minister Mahinda Wijesekera

Jan 17 (LT) As a responsible minister of the government Mahinda Wijesekera should be concerned about his son’s behaviour and act as a sensible minister said Chief Magistrate of Fort Sarath C. Karunathileke. more..

Winning Parliamentary seats won’t bring Tamils rights - Thamilselvan

Jan 17 (LT) The rights of the Tamil people would not be achieved only by winning a few Parliamentary seats says S.P.Thamilselvan, the leader of the political wing of the tiger organization. He expressed this view participating at an interview with “Udayan” a Tamil newspaper published in Jaffna. more..

Chandrika dares PM to challenge extended term in Supreme Court

Jan 17 (AFP) The party of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga insisted Friday her term of office would be a year longer than expected and challenged her rival, the prime minister, to settle the matter in court. more..

No SARS-like flu in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (DN) The Health Ministry yesterday refuted foreign newspaper and agency reports that a flu similar to SARS was spreading in Sri Lanka and assured that a strict surveillance mechanism was in place to counter any outbreak of SARS. more..

Plugging Leaks

Jan 17 (LBO) A state directive to subsidise the increased 15 percent Value Added Tax on water, will cost the Water Board an additional Rs. 50 mn this year. An earlier ten percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on water was increased to 15 percent in the last budget. more..

Back to Base

Jan 17 (LBO) The National Security Council has grounded all helicopter and floatplane operations that were given the recent go-ahead, until further notice. “The Security Council has suspended helicopters and float plane operations and they are yet to get back to us as to when they can resume,” more..

Band Aid

Jan 17 (LBO) The Central Bank is expected to meet the consortium of investors keen on reviving Pramuka Bank for another round of talks early next week. With the suspension of Pramuka’s licence coming up next Thursday, the bank and its legal team are also expected to meet up with the Attorney General’s Dept. over the weekend, to decide on the next course of action. more..

Less for villages, more for cities

Jan 17 (IL) Those who consume less than 40 units of electricity - mainly small houses in rural areas - will pay less from this month but others will have to pay more. According to CEB Chairman M. Zubair, households which consume less than 40 units of electricity will be exempted from any tax - which means their bills will be reduced by about 10%. more..

Sons of two senior Minister's released on bail

Jan 17 (IL) Colombo Fort Magistrate Sarath C.Karunaratne today warned Minister Mahinda Wijesekara to be more vigilant on the behaviour of his children as a responsible minister. The magistrate gave this warning to him after his sons were released on bail; Minister S.B. Dissanayake’s son was also involved in the incident and was released on bail. more..

NECORD begins capacity building workshop in Trincomalee

Jan 17 (TN) The North East Community Restoration Development (NECORD) funded capacity building 3-day workshop for contractors in NorthEast province began Friday morning in the Uppuveli Pastoral Center in Trincomalee. more..

Tamils should be vigilant of JVP - Jaffna VC

Jan 17 (TN) "The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is a force that is opposed to the Tamil people's struggle for their rights. It is now striving to become part of national politics. We, the Tamil people, should be vigilant about this", said Prof. S. Mohanadas, Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University, more..

SLA Commander to assist tracing Jaffna disappeared

Jan 17 (TN) Sri Lanka Army's Jaffna area commander Major General Susil Chandrapala Friday at a discussion assured a delegation of the Jaffna District Missing Person Guardians' Association (MPGA) and the Jaffna District Women's Front (JDWF) that he would provide the necessary support and assistance more..

President stands firm on length of term

Jan 17 (Reuters) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Saturday rejected criticism of her surprise decision to extend her term in office and said only the island's highest court could challenge it. more..

Chandrika ready to take on Ranil Govt in Supreme Court

Jan 17 (HT) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has clearly indicated that she is ready to face the Ranil Wickremesinghe government or any challenger in the Supreme Court, on the charge that she had tried to give herself an extra year in office by getting sworn-in as President a second time. more..

LTTE expresses strong opposition to India-Lanka Defence Pact

Jan 17 (HT) The Sri Lankan Tamils in general, and the LTTE in particular, are strongly opposed to the proposed India-Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation Agreement (ILDCA). They believe that it will only help the Sri Lankan state to subjugate the minority Tamils and deny them their legitimate rights. more..

Trinco Chamber of Commerce to open Business College

Jan 18 (TN) A Memorandum of Understanding between the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), Sri Lanka Division, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Trincomalee District (CCITD) to open a CIMA information desk in Trincomalee was signed at an event held at the Trincomalee Rotary House Friday evening. more..

Judge extends remand for detained LTTE cadres

Jan 18 (TN) Eight LTTE cadres including four women cadres who have been detained for allegedly carrying ammunition in their pickup truck on 14 July 2003, had their remand extended till 30 January by the Batticaloa High Court Judge M.H.M.Ajmeer when they appeared in Court Friday, legal sources said. more..

Colombo urged to repeal PTA

Jan 18 (TN) A meeting to urge the Government to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and to release detainees arrested under the PTA and held in prison for several years without a court hearing was organized by the Center of Human Rights and Development (CHRD) held at the Conference hall of Batticaloa Public Library Saturday, more..

IMF pulls rug under Lanka's feet due to political instability

Jan 18 (SL) While uncertainty prevailed over snap elections amidst the imminent signing of a SLFP-JVP alliance, a compromise between President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to break the current political deadlock faded into oblivion with danger signals that the economy will take a sharp beating in the months to come. more..

Ministerial brats and hora police

Jan 18 (SL) Law and order in Sri Lanka is without debate a luxury enjoyed in days gone by.Spoiled nouveau rich brats of government ministers continue to contribute to the recent trend of mob behaviour abusing their parents' powerful positions in government to cause terror and mayhem - also grievously wounding unsuspecting individuals in the process. more..

Indian expert attends: President chairs top meet on ISGA proposals

Jan 18 (SO) President Chandrika Kumaratunga chaired a top-level experts consultation in Colombo, yesterday, on the LTTE proposals for an interim self-governing body for the North-East at which a senior Indian constitutional expert also participated. more..

LTTE promotes Advanced Level education in Amparai

Jan 18 (TN) Based on the directive of the LTTE’s senior commander for Batticaloa-Amparai, Col. V. Karuna, an education center to teach Tamil students at the Advanced level and improve their chances of admission to Universities has been opened at the Karaithivu central college in Amparai, sources said. more..

Anura Bandaranaike tipped to become SLFP-JVP alliance leader

Jan 18 (TN) The prospective leader of the new political alliance to be formed between the SLFP and the Sinhala nationalist JVP party Mr.Anura Bandaranaike said Sunday that "the formation of the new political group would be the beginning of the country's long political journey towards solving Sri Lanka's problems and for ensuring peace and justice for all." more..

Separate body a must to reconstruct NorthEast - TNA

Jan 18 (TN) TNA parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan Saturday appealed to the international community to take steps to create a separate structure to the Tamil speaking people to rehabilitate themselves and reconstruct their war ravaged province if the current political power struggle between the executive presidency and head of the parliamentary legislature in the south continues without settlement to take forward the stalled peace process. more..

Lankan salvo against Indian entry into oil sector

Jan 18 (HT) With Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) likely to join Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to make India a dominant player in the Sri Lankan oil market, voices of resentment against India are beginning to be heard. more..

US sheds inhibition, opts for direct contact with LTTE

Jan 18 (HT) The United States, which had avoided having any direct dealings with the LTTE since banning it in 1998, has now shed its inhibition and opted for direct contact with the group. more..

LTTE to meet Colombo-based diplomats in Kilinochchi tomorrow

Jan 18 (UNI) Several representatives of foreign missions here are scheduled to attend a meeting organised by the LTTE in Kilinochchi tomorrow to discuss future plans on the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the war-torn North and East Sri Lanka. more..

Mob burns catholic church in Buddhist-Majority Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (AP) A group Sunday attacked a Roman Catholic church and burnt it partly in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, an official said. Police haven't identified persons behind the attack - the second such attack in four days - a policeman from Hokandara area said on condition of anonymity. more..

President's deal raises doubts over peace process

Jan 18 (AFP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's latest alliance with nationalists could undermine attempts to end the island's ethnic bloodshed, her own party conceded as fresh moves got underway to revive talks with Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Aid on agenda despite Sri Lanka political woes

Jan 18 (Reuters) Diplomats will try to boost humanitarian aid for Sri Lanka this week despite a political fight between the president and prime minister that has sidelined the island's peace process. more..

Chandrika consults leading Indian lawyer on LTTE proposals

Jan 18 (UNI) President Chandrika Kumaratunga held a four-hour consultation with Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court K K Venugopal yesterday with regard to the LTTE's proposal for an Interim Self-Government Authority (ISGA) for the war-ravaged North-East. more..

SLFP to ally with JVP based on principles

Jan 18 (Hindu) The SLFP said its proposed alliance with the left-radical JVP would be based on "five basic principles" relating to the ethnic conflict, foreign policy, economy, culture and human rights and democracy. The alliance, according to the SLFP spokesperson, Sarath Amunugama, "will be a re-affirmation of the radical centre in Sri Lanka." more..

Chandrika, Ranil impasse affects Sri Lanka economy

Jan 18 (Gulf) The current political impasse in Sri Lanka between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is having an adverse reaction on the country's economy in addition to its direct impact on the peace process. more..

UNICEF reinducts school-dropouts back to education

Jan 19 (TN) UNICEF is providing funds to the Kalkuda educational region in Batticaloa district to setup special classes in 14 centers to reinduct children who dropped out of school due to poverty and war back into the educational stream, officials said. more..

Kumaratunga welcomes new Norway peace bid

Jan 19 (GD) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has welcomed Norway's appointment of a retired army officer to lead the mission monitoring the cease-fire between Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels, a spokesman said. more..

Cannot delay basic needs of NE accede donors

Jan 19 (TN) “It has been accepted at this conference that the people of the northeast cannot wait for their basic needs until a political solution to the ethnic conflict is found”, said Mr. Daya Master, the media co-ordinator of the Liberation Tigers more..

Thamilchelvan deplores President's 'arbitrary action'

Jan 19 (TN) The Sri Lankan “governing apparatus that should take forward the peace process with commitment and sufficient strength is in shambles. This no doubt is an imminent threat to the maintenance of the ceasefire with due integrity”, said Mr. S. P Thamilchelvan, head of the LTTE’s political division more..

Indian Coast Guard, trawlers enter Jaffna seas

Jan 19 (TN) More than a hundred Indian trawlers escorted by Indian coast guard vessels entered the seas off Jaffna's Vadamaradchi coast Sunday night, fishermen in Pt. Pedro told TamilNet. There were about sixty smaller Indian fishing craft with the trawlers they said. more..

Northeast donor conference begins in Kilinochchi

Jan 19 (TN) The donor conference on northeast development and rehabilitation began as scheduled at the Planning Secretariat of the Liberation Tigers in Kilinochchi at 11.30 a.m. Monday, LTTE officials said. more..

Trinco Technical College resource shortages spotlighted

Jan 19 (TN) Severe shortage of full-time instructors and teaching equipment at the Trincomalee Government Technical College are jeopardizing educational standards of students who seek higher technical education, said the principal of the college Mr.V. Suntharalingam more..