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"JVP-SLFP alliance before January 31" - Weerawanse

Jan 13 (TN) "The Memorandum of Understanding between the SLFP and the JVP forming a political alliance would be signed before January 31," said the JVP parliamentary group leader Mr.Wimal Weerawanse addressing a public meeting organized by the National Patriotic Movement (NPM) and held at Trincomalee private bus stand in the heart of the town Tuesday evening. more..

Kumaratunga says she won't take over peace process

Jan 13 (Bloomberg) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga today said she won't take charge of the island's stalled peace process after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he wants to withdraw from a truce with Tamil rebels. more..

President says may extend term

Jan 13 (Reuters) A feud between Sri Lanka's president and prime minister, which has frozen efforts to resurrect a stalled peace process, deepened on Tuesday with the president saying she may extend her term in office by one year. more..

Court refuses to issue arrest warrant for Sri Lanka's ailing

Jan 14 (AP) A court on Tuesday refused to issue an arrest warrant for Sri Lanka's cricket chief after he failed to appear last week to face allegations of fraud and passport forgery. Judge T.B. Boyagoda declined to issue the warrant after attorneys for Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala said he couldn't appear in court because of health problems. more..

Three Stars

Jan 14 (LBO) The government plans to sell a block of its shares in at least three state-owned entities by listing them on the Colombo Stock Exchange this year. So far, Shell Gas Lanka Ltd., HDFC Bank and Lanka Transformers have been picked as possible candidates for an initial public offering. more..

Fuzzy Signals

Jan 14 (LBO) The Central Bank will meet a consortium of investors keen on buying Pramuka Bank on Wednesday evening to shed more light to their complex proposal. Hopes ran high on Tue. that the Central Bank had discussed a proposal put forward by a consortium at its Monetary Policy meeting. more..

Silver Lining

Jan 14 (LBO) The government plans to take a fresh approach to divest its stake in Shell Gas Lanka Ltd., after its initial attempts fell through. The Treasury, which owns 49 percent of the gas giant, was earlier hoping to raise around Rs. 500 mn by selling its stake. more..

Chavakachcheri development board to be inaugurated

Jan 14 (TN) The Chavakachcheri Town Development Advisory Board is to be formed on Thai Pongal Day, which falls on Thursday, with a view to formulating a development plan to be implemented with the funds available with the Chavakachcheri Urban Council. more..

Colombo to decide on North East LG elections

Jan 14 (TN) Elections Commissioner will have to decide on whether to hold the Local Government elections in the North East, which were postponed last year by the United National Front Government until January 24, said Mr. Alik Aluvihare, the UNF Minister for Local Government Councils. more..

SLA says can open A9 longer if ICRC consents

Jan 14 (TN) The Sri Lanka army told a delegation of religious and civil society leaders in Jaffna Wednesday that the A9 can be opened for more hours for the convenience of the public if the International Committee of the Red Cross consents. more..

Gov. signs $80 million loan package from ADB for NE rehabilitation

Jan 14 (TN) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Sri Lanka Wednesday signed first part of an US$80 million loan package to address the immediate rehabilitation needs of almost 2 million conflict-affected people in the north and east of the country, said a press release issued by the Sri lanka Resident Mission of the Asian Development Bank. more..

LTTE cadres on private coach refused passage

Jan 14 (SLA) A private coach carrying civil-clad 30 LTTE men and women to TRINCOMALEE across cleared areas via Entry/Exit point at OMANTHAI was turned back on 13 January 2004 around 5.00 p.m. since the SLMM ruled that no prior permission has been obtained for their passage as per the ceasefire agreement. more..

Men in lorry try to knock down soldier

Jan 14 (SLA) A canter lorry carrying a few unidentified people came under small arms fire on 13 January 2004 around 10.00 p.m. after it failed to knock down a soldier in the general area north of THUNNALAI who tried to stop the vehicle in question on suspicion. more..

LTTE drama receives poor response

Jan 14 (SLA) About eleven LTTE cadres, who wanted to stage a propaganda drama in the centre of KARAINAGAR on 13 January 2004, were compelled to screen a video show of the LTTE attacks carried out against Armed Forces instead due to poor public response. more..

Indian trawler drifts and anchors

Jan 14 (SLA) An Indian trawler with six crew members has drifted towards THAMMANNA shore in TALAIMANNAR on 13 January 2004 and anchored due to a technical failure developed in its engine. Repairs were being effected by the Coxswain as of late Tuesday (13) evening,

President’s ‘courageous leadership’ appreciated by Colombo Bishop

Jan 14 (PSL) The Bishop of Colombo the Rt. Revd Duleep de Chickera, in a letter to the President recently, expressed his warm and grateful thanks on behalf of all peace loving Sri Lankans for her “courageous and able leadership”. more..

Thai Pongal celebrations at President’s House

Jan 14 (PSL) Nathaswaram music filled the air at President’s House Colombo today as a special ceremony was held to celebrate Thai Pongal which falls tomorrow January 15, 2004. Thai Pongal, non-relevant to any particular faith, brings the entire Tamil population of the world together in thanksgiving to God and nature for a bountiful harvest. more..

Air Arabia takes off to Colombo in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (AME) Following the success of the first two months of operations, Air Arabia LLC, UAE's national airline and first low-cost airline of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa region, made its inaugural flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka– its first flight to the Indian Sub-Continent more..

Sri Lanka leaves rates unchanged

Jan 14 (Reuters) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka kept its overnight interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, in line with market expectations, citing inflationary pressure as a reason not to lower borrowing costs. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom pushes up market

Jan 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka stocks closed slightly up Wednesday, dragged higher by Sri Lanka Telecom -- the country's biggest stock -- but political concerns still overshadow the market, dealers said. more..

Chandrika rules out early polls

Jan 14 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ruled out dissolution of Parliament despite speculation that the President would call for fresh parliamentary elections. Kumaratunga confirmed that there had been requests for early elections, but she had not taken any decision on it. more..

Lanka's defence team leaves for India

Jan 14 (UNI) A high-level Lankan defence team left for India today on a three-day official visit to discuss with the Indian authorities the broad issues for a bilateral defence agreement between the two countries. more..

With love, from Lanka

Jan 14 (EI) LAST winter, ten artists and two writers undertook an informal voyage organised by the Guild Art Gallery. The aim was to “absorb sculpture, architecture, painting and literature in hectic measure, while negotiating with a web of nationalities and a kaleidoscope of landscapes," says art critic Ranjit Hoskote. more..

Sri Lanka reforms losing steam due to political impasse

Jan 14 (DJ) The implementation of Sri Lanka's reforms has slowed due to the political instability created by the president and prime minister's power struggle, officials said Wednesday. "Reform necessarily has to have consensus, and so we are seeing some change of gear," treasury secretary Charitha Ratwatte told more..

German FM here to celebrate diplomatic relations

Jan 14 (PRIU) The State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Ms.Kerstin Muller arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, to attend the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. more..

First Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malta

Jan 14 (PRIU) The first ever Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malta, resident in Rome, Rodney Perera, presented credentials to the President of Malta Guido de Marco on December 18, 2003. more..

Sri Lanka's president under fire

Jan 14 (BBC) President has been accused of untenable arrogance by the prime minister, her rival for power. President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the nation on Tuesday that a secret swearing-in ceremony had extended her term by a year - until the end of 2006. more..

Independence Day to be mourned as a 'Black Day' in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (AT) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - The Tamil rebel outfit has openly called to hoist black flags and to adhere forthcoming 04 February as a Black Day and as the Day of Mourning in Sri Lanka. more..

CID hunt for ministers' sons draws blank

Jan 14 (DN) Although the CID hunt for the sons of two Ministers reportedly involved in a night club brawl had drawn a blank, one of the young men is said to be in the safe custody of his parents, informed sources said. more..

Another Magistrate pulls out: New twist in Thilanga case

Jan 14 (DM) The Thilanga Sumathipala case produced more sensation yesterday when Colombo's Chief Magistrate E. M. Y. T. B Boyagoda announced that he also was pulling out of this highly-charged case while the business tycoon's attorneys told court he was being operated at almost the same time the case was to be called yesterday. more..

Battling Incest in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (OW) Every year a staggering 10,000 girls in Sri Lanka face sexual abuse by their relatives in families where the mother has taken up overseas employment, with more than half the rapes committed by fathers, says a recent sample study by the Center for Women's Research (CENWOR). more..

Sumathipala case delayed

Jan 14 (CI) The passport fraud case involving Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of Sri Lanka Cricket, was further delayed today after Sumathipala's lawyers claimed their client was about to undergo kidney surgery. more..

Atapattu cleared of wrongdoing

Jan 14 (CI) Marvan Atapattu has been cleared of "any breach of conduct" following the discovery of 1.1 million rupees sum of cash in a hotel room that he'd occupied during the England tour of Sri Lanka. The announcement followed discussions between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials and members of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). more..

Sri Lanka Scene: Political Chess goes on

Jan 14 (Sangam) This year’s first cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday in the cabinet room. President Chandrika Kumaratunga did not attend it. Under the constitution, she is the head of the cabinet. She presides over its meetings. more..

Norway envoys discuss Sri Lanka Peace with Tiger rebels

Jan 14 (AP) Norway's ambassador left for a northern rebel-held town Wednesday to meet with Tamil Tiger rebels to discuss the future of Sri Lanka's peace process amid a deepening political crisis on the island, officials said. more..

Chandrika-JVP alliance finalised

Jan 14 (HT) The SLFP, led by Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the Sinhala-Marxist JVP, on Wednesday decided to form an alliance and formally sign an agreement at a ceremony here in Colombo on January 20, SLFP leader Nimal Sripala de Silva, told the Hindustan Times. more..

President warns PM not to withdraw from peace process

Jan 14 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga Tuesday warned his arch political rival Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe that he cannot withdraw from the peace bid with the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lanka heads for rift over extended term for president

Jan 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka faced a fresh constitutional battle after the president's move to give herself an extra year in office was rejected by the government as "arrogant, arbitrary and capricious." more..

Sri Lanka govt says president can't extend term

Jan 14 (Reuters) A power struggle between Sri Lanka's president and prime minister, which has stalled peace efforts with Tamil Tiger rebels, worsened on Wednesday with the government rejecting the president's bid to extend her term. more..

DMK-PMK-MDMK political lobby of LTTE: Subramanian Swamy

Jan 14 (UNI) Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy has said the DMK-PMK-MDMK Front in Tamil Nadu is an exclusive political lobby of the LTTE in India and should be isolated in the elections. more..

Norwegian Ambassador meets Thamilchelvan in Kilinochchi

Jan 15 (TN) Norway's ambassodor to Sri Lanka, Mr.Hans Brattskar met Head of Liberation Tigers' Political Wing, Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan Wednesday morning at the LTTE Peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi. more..

Enjoining order in Anandasangaree case extended

Jan 15 (TN) The Colombo Additional District Judge Mr.W.Ganepola Wednesday extended the enjoining order preventing the Secretary General and Senior Vice President of the TULF from summoning the central working committee or any meeting of the TULF without the permission of the party's President Mr.V.Ananadasangaree more..

Amparai missing youth still not found

Jan 15 (TN) Muslim youth, Niaz, from Sorikalmunai in Amparai, who disppeared on Friday 9 January is still missing. Nallaratnam Sivakumar who was arrested by Muslim youths and handed over to Kalmunai police has been transferred to the Batticaloa Police for further investigations, security sources said. more..

Tigers await Colombo outcome, vow to observe truce

Jan 15 (TN) The Liberation Tigers have given a solemn pledge to the Norwegian facilitators of the peace process in Sri Lanka that their organization would abide by the terms and conditions of the two year old cease-fire agreement and maintain peace, irrespective of the continuing turmoil in Colombo. more..

U.S. donors purchase mine detection dogs for Sri Lanka

Jan 15 (WF) Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. announced the donation of six mine detecting dogs to the Sri Lankan government, thanks to contributions from corporate and private U.S. donors. more..

Minister urges business community to mount pressure on President

Jan 15 (IL) A senior UNF minister has called on the business community to exert pressure on President Chandrika Kumaratunga to undo the damage caused to the economy which was dealt a serious blow by her move to take over three key ministries. more..

Special exposition of Sacred Tooth Relic

Jan 15 (IL) The Mahanayaka Theras of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame has announced that a special exposition of the Sacred Tooth Relic will be held from April 17 to May 1, state media reported today. more..

Alternate Line

Jan 15 (LBO) The Development Lotteries (DBL) Board is studying alternate methods to retail lottery tickets online before diving into the computer driven jackpot business. more..

Feeling Lucky

Jan 15 (LBO) The Development Lotteries Board (DLB) is playing a new lottery ticket to reach a Rs. 1 billion bottom line target by end 2004, after posting a profit of about Rs 750 mn for 2003. The new lottery ticket, Jayoda, will also push up 2004 revenue estimates to Rs. 5.2 billion up from Rs 3.7 billion last year. more..

Slow Drip

Jan 15 (LBO) Cabinet has given the go-ahead to ‘maximise’ use of thermal power in the short term, as officials warn of a drought and an inevitable capacity shortfall in the months ahead. A delay in the North East monsoon in the largely hydropower dependant country has seen reservoir levels fall to an average 31.8 percent as at Wednesday. more..