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Left party not to join front

Jan 29 (Gulf) Plans by President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party and the Marxist JVP to expand their newly established alliance has suffered a set back with one of the traditional leftist political parties refusing to join them on the grounds that the alliance has strengthened the hands of 'chauvinists and racists'. more..

Sri Lanka to offset price rises with cut in duties

Jan 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will reduce customs duties on a range of essential goods to offset rising import prices and keep the cost of living in check, Finance Minister KN Choksy said on Thursday. more..

Pesticide research aims to reduce suicide rate

Jan 29 (IPS) The results of a five-year research project that Sri Lanka has been selected for could help reduce the nation's rate of suicide by poisoning with pesticides, scientists here say. more..

SEP public meeting to commemorate the death of Keerthi Balasuriya

Jan 29 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) will be holding a public meeting in Colombo on January 31 to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the death of Keerthi Balasuriya, the founding general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the SEP’s forerunner. more..

'Rebel' nuns battle monks' scorn

Jan 29 (BBC) Bhikuni Kusuma has a shaven head and wears the robes of a Buddhist monk - but she's a woman. Many of her male counterparts call her misguided, but for her followers, she's a teacher who studied the ancient texts and revived the third century BC practice of ordaining women as Buddhist nuns, or Bhikuni as they're called. more..

Sri Lankan board announces elections

Jan 29 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will hold fresh cricket board elections on March 28 to elect a president and executive committee for the year. Thilanga Sumathipala, currently remanded in custody after becoming embroiled in a passport scandal, has confirmed that he will not be standing for re-election. more..

Sri Lanka seeks India’s moral support to move ahead in peace process

Jan 29 (SUN) Visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister Tyronne Fernanado, has sought India’s moral support for moving ahead in the Norwegian brokered peace process. Speaking in New Delhi, Fernando said, the Sri Lankan government will not give in to the LTTE’s demand for a separate state. more..

SC grants ITN employees leave to proceed with FR plea

Jan 29 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (28) granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation petition filed by three officials who are members of a UNP trade union against their interdictions by the newly appointed Chairman of ITN, Newton Gunaratna. more..

SLFP-JVP Alliance raises many questions - UNP

Jan 29 (DN) The UNP warned yesterday that Sri Lanka can expect turmoil if no agreement is reached on power between the JVP-SLFP alliance. In a release issued by Lands Minister Rajitha Senaratne the party notes that the JVP and SLFP MOU showed many discrepancies and raised questions that have to be answered. more..

Political concerns pull Sri Lanka stocks lower

Jan 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka stocks fell on Thursday as political concerns over delayed peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels returned to the fore, and investors took profit after the index gained 10 percent earlier in the week. more..

Thondaman raises questions on alliance call

Jan 29 (TN) Arumugam Thondaman, Leader of Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), responding to Minister Chandrasekaran's call to form a national alliance with NorthEast Tamil parties, said that there are fundamental questions related to the need for such alliance, more..

Eastern Muslims on verge of taking up arms

Jan 29 (AT) The Eastern Muslims are on the verge of taking up arms in the face of increasing harassment by the LTTE and the divided Muslim political leadership, a group of Muslim intellectuals warned yesterday. more..

JVP for elections -Amarasingha

Jan 29 (TN) Leader of the JVP, Mr. Somawnsa Amarasingha, said Thursday his party is for holding general election in Sri Lanka soon, addressing a massive public meeting of the new alliance between the JVP and President Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party in Colombo. more..

Reuters Photo

Jan 29 (Reuters) Somawansa Amarasingha (L), leader of the Sri Lanka Liberation Front, addresses a rally of the newly formed United People Freedom Alliance, an alliance with President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party, in the capital Colombo January 29, 2004. more..

WorldBank funded NEIAP Phase II to commence operation

Jan 30 (TN) The Phase II of the World Bank funded of the North East Irrigated Agricultural Project (NEIAP) would commence from October 2004 with an investment of S $70 million for a period of six years, NEIAP sources said. The preliminary preparatory work of the Phase II has been already started, more..

Kumaratunge's message read out at UPFA rally

Jan 30 (TN) "The formation of United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is a great victory for democracy in Sri Lanka," said President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in her message to the maiden rally of the UPFA held Thursday evening in Colombo. Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, general secretary of the SLFP, which is a constituent of the UPFA, read out president's message at the rally, more..

Tax cuts ahead of elections

Jan 30 (BBC) Finance Minister has announced populist tax cuts to try to ease the cost of living ahead of provincial council elections and possible general elections. KN Choksy said a number of factors - including the president's decision to take over three ministries in November - had had disastrous effects on the economy. more..

Tamil Tigers raise aid issue on European tour

Jan 30 (AP) A delegation of Tamil Tigers from Sri Lanka kicked off a European tour Thursday seeking support with a stop in Norway, the country that brokered a cease-fire for the island nation. more..

CMC refuses permission to erect statue of Ven Gangodawila Soma

Jan 30 (AT) The ruling UNF Government, in addition to its numerous problems during what is believed to be an election year may have raised another hornet’s nest by refusing to allow erecting a statue of the late Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thero, one Sri Lanka’s most popular religious leaders these days. more..

Main Sri Lanka aid donors to meet in Washington

Jan 30 (Reuters) Major aid donors to Sri Lanka will meet in Washington next month to work out how to prop up a truce between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops even though formal peace talks have stalled, Norway said on Thursday. more..

Data Entry

Jan 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) diversified its business interests further, opening an internet data center (IDC) in Colombo. The SLTiDC will offer a range of data housing facilities including web sites and services, mailing systems for retail customers and reselling opportunities. more..

Valet Service

Jan 30 (LBO) Janashakthi Insurance is counting on the motor market, the fastest growing insurance sector, to expand its share of the local insurance market. Motor insurance saw a spurt of growth of 25 percent to 30 percent last year and is expected to continue to lead insurance market growth during 2004, although at a lower projected growth rate. more..

Rich Pickings

Jan 30 (LBO) A consortium of six commercial banks agreed to pump in Rs. 3.6 bn to start off Sri Lanka’s second floor mill project. The Rs. 5.2 bn Serendib Floor Mill project, which is promoted by UAE giant the Al Ghurair Group, plans to start operations next year offering consumers up to 42 varieties of floor. more..

Electric Jolt

Jan 30 (LBO) Domestic and commercial electricity customers will be slapped with a Rs. 1.00 per unit surcharge, if they use over 100 units a month. “As a temporary measure to curtail consumption, we will be imposing a surcharge of Rs.1.00 a unit on domestic and general consumption, from February”, Finance Minister K N Choksy said more..

Religious bigotry used for political mobilization - Prof.Uyangoda

Jan 30 (TN) Describing the recent spate of attacks on Catholic churches as "anti-minority terrorism," Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda, in a column that appeared in Friday edition of Daily Mirror, said that "Sinhalese nationalist fringe have seized religious bigotry for [political] mobilization through violence." more..

Tamil fishermen to fly black flags on Independence Day

Jan 30 (TN) Fishermen in Jaffna will fly black flags on their boats, homes and union offices on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day next week, the spokesman for the Federation of Jaffna District Co-operative Fishermen’s Unions told TamilNet, Friday. more..

First step towards a democratic national alliance - President

Jan 30 (PSL) In a message for the inaugural UPFA rally President Kumaratunga said the Alliance has been “successful in building up a progressive consensus that will usher in peace and harmony, economic uplift and social justice in all spheres of life, in a broad sense.” more..

LTTE man’s extortion attempt fails

Jan 30 (SLA) An LTTE cadre, who threatened and tried to rob a house demanding a ransom of Rs. 500,000 (US $ 5208) from its Tamil occupant was arrested by two alert Policemen on duty in the general area of PUNCHI BORELLA, COLOMBO 8 on 28 January 2004. more..

Police, Magistrate and SLMM inquires about three dead bodies

Jan 30 (SLA) Police authorities, accompanied by the Magistrate and the SLMM on 30 January 2004 visited a location in the general area close to SILAVATTURAI in KALLARU after information was received that three dead bodies were found lying wayside. more..

Illicit timber load taken into custody

Jan 30 (SLA) Troops on duty in the general area of AGBOPURA arrested the tractor (36 Sri 2921) carrying illicit timber towards SHANTHASOLAI village, about 4 km. northeast of VAVUNIYA town on 28 January 2004 around 9.45 p.m. more..

Sri Lanka's Asian Hotels merges with unit, delists

Jan 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Asian Hotels Corp , reaping profits after a ceasefire in the island, has merged with a wholly owned subsidiary and will cease to be a listed company next month, it said on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka annual inflation at 5.2 pct in January

Jan 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's inflation rate measured on a 12-month moving average fell to 5.2 percent in January, from 6.3 percent the previous month, the government's Census and Statistics Department said on Friday. more..

Court orders woman back to country where she was raped

Jan 30 (Stuff) A Sri Lankan girl is to be deported back to her homeland where she suffered years of rape and sexual abuse by her uncles – if she can be declared medically fit to fly. more..

Registration Facility for Sri Lankan Expatriates

Jan 30 (AN) Under a new regulation, Sri Lankans in the Kingdom can now renew their registration with the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) at the country’s embassy here or the consulate in Jeddah. more..

Lanka slashes customs taxes

Jan 30 (GD) The Sri Lankan government yesterday announced cuts in customs taxes aimed at keeping down prices on oil, wheat and other basic commodities, ahead of local elections and amid speculation of an early parliamentary election. more..

Tiger women to monitor activities of alliance leaders

Jan 30 (LT) It is revealed that a special group of Tamil Tiger women have been sent to Colombo to follow the movements of the key figures of newly formed SLFP-JVP Alliance. The two tigers arrested at an Tamil Tiger hideout in Wellawatte have revealed that a special group of Tiger Spies have been assigned within the Colombo City limits under the direct command of Tiger Intelligence Wing leader, Pottu Amman. more..

Kulasiri Udugampola on the mat

Jan 30 (LT) The Supreme Court decided that the raid on the Millennium City safe house violated the fundamental rights of those army Intelligence Officers who were stationed there at the time. more..

Sri Lanka boss denies fraud

Jan 30 (BBC) Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala has pleaded not guilty to a charge of passport fraud. He appeared in court in Colombo on Friday, and was remanded in custody until 10 February. more..

New Head of SLMM assumes command

Jan 30 (PRIU) Retired Major General Trond Furuhovde, Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) will arrive in Colombo Saturday, January 31, to assume command of the SLMM the next day, February 1. more..

Save the motherland, says UPFA

Jan 30 (Hindu) Sri Lanka's newly-formed United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) held its first public rally in Colombo today, with calls for support from leaders of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the left-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) "to save the motherland". more..

Anti-Christian feeling rises in Buddhist Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (Reuters) The church bells were silent last Christmas across Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka. After 20 years of civil war, Sri Lankans are no strangers to fear and violence, but as the island stumbles toward peace with the Tamil Tiger rebels it is grappling with a new problem -- a rise in anti-Christian sentiment. more..

Sri Lanka Jan-Nov government revenue rises

Jan 30 (Reuters) Government revenue in the first 11 months of 2003 was 248.7 billion rupees, compared to 235.4 billion rupees in the same period in 2002, the central bank said on Friday. Total spending in the 11 months was 380.3 billion rupees, compared to 366.7 billion in the same period the previous year. more..

State, Udugampola ordered to pay Rs. 4 m compensation

Jan 30 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday awarded rupees four million as cost and compensation to five army personnel involved in the Athurugiriya Millennium City Safe House raid. The Court held that the respondent police officers had illegally arrested, detained and subjected the victims to inhuman and degrading treatment and treated them differently. more..

TNA calls for postponement of Amparai local authorities' elections

Jan 30 (TN) The TNA Friday requested the Commissioner General of Elections to postpone the elections to local authorities in the Amparai administrative district from 22 February 2004 to 24 October 2004 when the elections to the rest of the districts of the northeast province are to be held, more..

Sunethra hits out at SLFP-JVP marriage

Jan 30 (DM) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sister Sunethra Bandaranaike has reportedly lashed out at the main promoters of the SLFP-JVP alliance, warning that the kapuwas might soon find themselves kapothi. more..

Sri Lankans want to enter poll fray to find missing kin

Jan 30 (OW) Last week, an association of aggrieved families of disappeared persons in the north Sri Lankan district of Jaffna submitted a petition expressing their desire to field candidates for the next general elections, in a bid to fight for justice. more..

Political crisis could cut Sri Lanka growth-finmin

Jan 30 (Reuters) A political crisis that has rocked Sri Lanka since early November could cut into economic growth if it continues for too long, finance minister K.N. Choksy said on Friday. The government has forecast growth of six percent this year, after 5.6 percent in 2003, more..

Don't halt aid to Sri Lanka, peace broker Norway urges donors

Jan 30 (AFP) Norway, which plays a key role in the Sri Lankan peace process as mediator, urged donor countries to continue their economic aid to the war-torn country despite the current political instability. more..

Covetous eyes on Sri Lanka's strategic jewel

Jan 30 (AT) After protecting SLMM chief and fellow Norwegian Tryggve Tellefsen since October 23, when he was first accused of aiding rebel Tamil Tigers by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen finally announced Tellefsen's replacement with General Trond Furuhovde on January 16. more..

A new combine in Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (FL) THE SLFP and the radical JVP formally announced on January 20 the formation of a joint front, the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), aimed at defeating the ruling UNF and establishing a government based on "five noble objectives". more..