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Sri Lanka reds shed Marxist image, endorses capitalism

Jan 22 (MQ7) Sri Lanka's main leftist party, which led two uprisings that were crushed at a cost of 80,000 lives, said Wednesday they had shed their Marxist ideology and were keen to establish a capitalist government. more..

Oil majors in Lanka quest

Jan 22 (TT) Four Asian oil majors, including Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), are in the race for the Sri Lankan retail petroleum market with global majors Shell and Caltex having dropped the idea of setting up shop in the Emerald Island. more..

Sri Lanka farmers dream of making riches mining gems

Jan 22 (Kyodo) A black, narrow and stuffy cave about 15 meters under a rice paddy was like a dark sauna, where water dripped from the ceiling and pooled on the floor. The only light source was a small candle. more..

Victim dies following gang onslaught

Jan 22 (NR) An East Ham man died on Thursday just days after being horrifically attacked in his own road by a gang of six to eight men armed with hammers and sticks. Maheswaran Kaneshan suffered serious head injuries following the attack around midnight the previous Sunday more..

Sri Lanka to sign deal to protect interests of housemaids, employers

Jan 22 (AN) Sri Lanka will soon sign a unified contract with Saudi Arabia to look after the interests of the island’s domestic servants and their respective employers in the Kingdom, the country’s ambassador, Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, told Arab News. more..

Buying Time

Jan 22 (LBO) The Central Bank has extended the suspension of Pramuka by another six months, to give monetary authorities extra time to restructure the bank. “The six month’s extension is subject to several conditions. But it gives the bank management the powers to recover loans,” more..

Oil Money

Jan 22 (LBO) Indian Oil Corp.’s local arm on Thursday paid up the balance US$ 45 mn for the second player slot in the local petroleum industry. Both parties had earlier agreed to wrap the deal at US$ 75 mn, for which Lanka IOC (LIOC) earlier in the year paid a down payment of US$ 2 mn. more..

Manivannan in Jaffna to plan movie

Jan 22 (TN) “I am here to see the conditions in which Eelam Tamils live. I intend to make a movie about their lives. I want to make it authentic. That’s what brought me here at the invitation of Tilco Holidays”, said south Indian film star and producer ‘Manivannan’ speaking to the press in Jaffna town Wednesday night. more..

Akashi, Thamilchelvan discuss NE development, peace crisis

Jan 22 (TN) Mr. Yashushi Akashi, Japan's special representative to Sri Lanka began discussions with Mr. S.P Thamilchelvan, head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers on development strategies for Northeast and recent political developments in Colombo in Kilinochchi Thursday from 11.30 a.m. more..

JVP-SLFP MoU introduces new complexity- Akashi

Jan 22 (TN) “We declined to accept Mr. Akashi’s invitation to participate in Sri Lanka donors’ conference in Colombo tomorrow because there is no political stability and unified leadership of government in Colombo now. Our participation in this circumstance would cause doubts in the minds of the Tamil people”, said Mr. S. P Thamilchelvan, more..

Civilian flees LTTE for the second time

Jan 22 (SLA) A civilian, who was abducted and forcibly held by LTTE while he was returning home in the general area of SAHAYAPURAM, PACHCHANOOR about, 17 km south of TRINCOMALEE has managed to run away from LTTE and surrendered to troops on 21 January 2004. more..

Saddling up for Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (GI) A multiple sclerosis sufferer's family will get on track and cycle around Sri Lanka to raise money for the MS Society later this year. Belmont's Chris Nolan was diagnosed with MS last year and experiences numbness and fatigue but says she will not let the disease get her down. more..

'More child troops' in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have increased their numbers of child soldiers in spite of a ceasefire, the United Nations says. The UN's children's agency, Unicef, has urged the rebels to release about 1,300 children in the Tamil Tiger ranks. more..

Japanese envoy to discuss peace, aid with Lanka rebels

Jan 22 (AP) A top Japanese peace envoy arrived in a northern rebel-held town on Thursday to meet with a Tamil Tiger leader and discuss Sri Lanka's faltering peace process - upon which billions of dollars in aid are contingent, officials said. more..

Beginning of a grander alliance says President

Jan 22 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga asked to comment on the SLFP-JVP alliance said it is the first phase of a grander alliance. She reiterated her stand that “all major political forces must get together if the country is to rid itself this long standing crisis”. more..

President felicitates Malwatte Mahanayake Thera on 87th birth anniversary

Jan 22 (PSL) President Kumaratunga, in a felicitation message to the Most Ven. Rambukwelle Vipassi Mahay Nayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter on his 87th birth anniversary wished the Maha Nayake Thera strength, courage and health to continue his valuable service to the Buddha Sasana for many more years to come. more..

UPFA will put peace talks on correct path says Kadirgamar

Jan 22 (PRIU) The first press conference of the newly formed United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) or Freedom Alliance as they would like to be referred to was held this morning. Marking momentous waves in the political sphere the SLFP and the JVP yesterday sealed their political union. more..

KCCI delegation to visit Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (KN) Globalisation and liberalisation have given ample scope for the trading community to expand their frontiers, said V M Liaquat Ali, president, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). more..

Mendis appointed board chief

Jan 22 (CI) Duleep Mendis, a former Sri Lanka Test captain, was appointed the new permanent chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) at an executive board meeting on Wednesday. Mendis had been appointed as acting CEO in December after the resignation of Anura Tennekoon. more..

War over but no peace for Sri Lanka's displaced

Jan 22 (OW) Political turmoil in the federal government is obstructing the resettlement of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the town of Chavakachcheri in war-torn northern Sri Lanka. more..

Maiden rally of alliance on 29th

Jan 22 (LT) The inaugural media meeting of the United People’s Freedom Alliance was held in Colombo today. The SLFP was represented by Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary and Member of Parliament and Parliamentarians Mangala Samaraweera, Laxman Kadirgamar, Sarath Amunugama and Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Forced “Pongu Thamil”

Jan 22 (LT) Civilian life was disrupted at Batticaloa as a result of “Pongu Thamil” celebration held today at the Eastern University premises. All shops had been asked to close down by the tiger organization and public transport operators had been asked not to operate. more..

CMEV warns of electoral violence

Jan 22 (TN) The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), in a press released issued in Colombo today said that the CMEV "noted with serious concern a number of factors that threaten the integrity of electoral process," more..

Nimal slams Ranil, nails canards

Jan 22 (DN) Senior PA Parliamentarian Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday slammed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for spreading canards and trying to create panic among the public and the business community claiming that donor countries were not releasing funds following the President taking over three key Ministries. more..

UNP sees intrigue and secrecy in SLFP-JVP pact

Jan 22 (DM) The UNP said yesterday the launch of the JVP-SLFP pact left more questions unanswered than answered. Three documents (one each in Sinhala, Tamil and English) were released but was any of these the real MOU? Or was it that none of them was and that a fourth secret document was signed some days before? more..

Lankan politics may delay India-Lanka defence pact

Jan 22 (HT) Electoral politics in Sri Lanka may delay the finalisation of the India-Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation Agreement. The President-cum-Defence Minister, Chandrika Kumaratunga, is said to be keen on finalising the deal by the end of February, because it will be grist to her propaganda mill during the parliamentary elections expected in a few months' time. more..

Iran to aid Sri Lanka's oil exploration

Jan 22 (AFP) Iran will help Sri Lanka prospect for oil besides opening a $20 million credit line for the country's power and energy sector, it was announced on Thursday. The agreement was reached between Iranian Vice-Minister for International Affairs Muhammad Khazaee and Sri Lanka's Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya in Colombo on Wednesday. more..

Tigers step up recruiting child soldiers amid fears of war

Jan 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have stepped up the recruitment of child soldiers and are holding more than 1,300 of them, UNICEF said, amid fears the country could slide back into war. The rebels recruited 709 underage fighters last year to bring the number held by them to 1,301 at the end of December, more..

Sri Lankan president's leftist alliance under attack

Jan 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's alliance with radical leftists came under fire from her own ruling coalition members after Tamil Tiger rebels warned of a return to war. more..

Minister Rajitha Senarathna criticises "dasa raja dharma"

Jan 22 (AT) Dr. Rajitha Senarathna, powerful Cabinet Minister of UNF government attacked JVP leaders for embracing of the Buddhist belief, “Dasa Raja Dharma ” - the ten noble tenets of government, as an attempt by the leftist leader to march back into a feudal system of autocracy. more..

Sri Lankan Refugees in India: Hesitant to Return - RI

Jan 22 (AT) Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka began fleeing to India in 1983 when violence broke out in their country between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil militant group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

Tillakaratne retained as Sri Lankan captain

Jan 22 (CI) Hashan Tillakaratne has been retained as Sri Lanka's Test captain for the forthcoming series against Australia, despite widespread criticism of his attritional leadership style during the recent series win against England. more..

SL Airlines assists Trincomalee students

Jan 22 (TN) The Sri Lankan Airlines, at an event in Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidiyalayam Thursday donated a consignment of exercise books and other learning kits to more than three hundred fifty students of rural schools badly affected in the two-decade-old war in the Trincomalee education zone, more..

NECORD funds school buildings for Muttur east villages

Jan 22 (TN) New buildings constructed at a cost of about 3.8 million rupees in two Tamil schools in the villages, Ilankathurai Muhathuwaram and Poomarathadichchenai in the Eachilampathu division in Trincomalee district by the ADB funded NECORD project will be declared open on Friday, more..

Bhikku Front demands anti-Buddhist NGOs banned

Jan 22 (TN) The National Bhikku Front (NBF) Thursday afternoon held a demonstration to protest against the functioning of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which the NBF claimed as endangering the Buddhist religion and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. more..

Telephone Interview with Somawansa Amerasinghe – a stark fabrication

Jan 22 (AT) Thushara Goonaratne from Colombo brought to the notice about the interview with Somawansa Amarasinghe that appeared in "Asian Tribune" issue of 20 January. He wrote to "Asian Tribune": "Interview with the leader of the JVP, Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe was published in your web site, more..

President soften stance towards the Tamil Tigers

Jan 22 (AT) President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for the first time ever had expressed appreciation on the position taken by the Tamil rebel outfit, regarding their willingness to negotiate peace with any Southern party with a peoples mandate, irrespective of individuals. more..

Call to increased action for Sri Lanka's war affected children

Jan 22 (UNICEF) A call for more commitment to make lasting improvements in the lives of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable children has been made in a report that details progress by partners to the Action Plan for Children Affected by War. The report was compiled by UNICEF. more..

Wickremesinghe challenges UPFA to publicize secret pact

Jan 23 (TN) Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Thursday challenged the newly formed United Peoples' Freedom Alliance to place its secret pact signed by the SLFP and JVP before the people, when speaking at the UNF parliamentary group meeting to discuss the new political formation, more..

Test captaincy beckons Atapattu

Jan 23 (BBC) A top Sri Lanka Cricket official said it was only a matter of time before Marvan Atapattu is made Test captain. It was confirmed on Thursday Hashan Tillakaratne would retain the post for Australia's visit starting next month. more..

Amarasinghe to address UPFA's first national convention

Jan 23 (TN) Exiled leader of the JVP, Mr.Somawanse Amarasinghe who returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, will appear in public on January 29 to address the first national convention of the newly formed United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in Colombo, party sources said. more..

Sri Lanka pact may give boost to hardliners

Jan 23 (Hindu) Tuesday's formal agreement between the SLFP and the radical JVP marks the revival of attempts by the two parties to form a joint Opposition front to take on the ruling UNP. A sense of déjà vu prevails, reviving memories of an earlier short-lived pact between the two parties in the 2001. more..

Sack Chandrasekeran! -PNM

Jan 23 (LT) P. Chandrasekeran, Minister of Estate Infrastructure has violated clause 157 a (1) of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka by aiding and abetting to partition the country and should be punished says Patriotic National Movement (PNM) in a communiqué issued today. more..

Railways strike on Monday

Jan 23 (LT) All Ceylon Railways Trade Unions United Front (ACRTUUF) have organized a continuous strike form mid night on Monday to demand the abolition of Railway Authority and hand over the administration to an official managerial board. more..

Church Distances Itself From "Unethical" Conversions

Jan 23 (Zenit) The Catholic Church is trying to distance itself from some Christian groups that have come under criticism in this Buddhist-majority nation for bribing poor people to convert. An anti-Christian backlash has led to attacks on Catholic churches, and fueled demands for a law to ban what some Buddhist monks call "unethical conversions." more..

Route Re-Shuffle

Jan 23 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines will scale back its flights on a once lucrative Middle East run, as it fights for space with other no-frills carriers that have begun to ply the route. Carrying mainly labour traffic, the Middle East is among the Airline’s top destinations, since it began flying the route some ten years ago. more..

Yellow Light

Jan 23 (LBO) A consortium led by the Asia Capital and Richard Peiris Group were given time till July 22 to infuse cash and resurrect Pramuka Savings & Development Bank. The Monetary Board has decided to allow Pramuka to resume business from July 22, subject to its new investors complying with certain concerns. more..

Organic Expansion

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will lobby the European Commission and the Commonwealth Secretariat for US$ 500,000 to fund its attempt to tap into the market trend of going back to nature. more..

Moragoda to Delhi for more talks on defence pact

Jan 23 (TN) Mr.Milinda Morogoda, a senior minister in the UNF government, is due to leave for India Friday to hold further talks with Indian Foreign Minister Mr.Yaswanth Sinha and Defense Minister Mr.Geroge Fernandez on the proposed defense agreement between the two governments. more..

'Singhalese should reject chauvinist forces'- LTTE

Jan 23 (TN) “If the Sinhala people elect racist political leaders at the next election then Tamils might have to decide their own future. The Sinhala people should identify and reject chauvinist forces among them. It is in the hands of the Singhalese to prevent another bloodbath in this island," said Mr. S. P Thamilchelvan, more..