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Poll rules may deter thousands of Tamil voters

Mar 19 (OW) The Election Commissioner's decision to avoid locating polling booths inside regions controlled by the Tamil Tiger guerrillas is likely to affect the voting prospects of around 270,000 people, many of whom are unlikely to travel to distant ballot stations to vote. more..

Security boosted for president, PM ahead of vote

Mar 19 (AFP) Security for Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister has been stepped up by 50 percent ahead of next month’s snap parliamentary elections, the island’s police chief said on Friday. more..

Police say poll violence down, not out

Mar 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will deploy more than 60,000 police officials to ensure security for the island's April 2 election, police said on Friday, adding the campaign had so far been less violent than previous polls. more..

As amnesty ends, Tigers bracing for warfare

Mar 19 (KT) Tamil Tigers, facing its worst-ever crisis in 25 years, are bracing for a round of internecine warfare between the northern and eastern divisions a fortnight after renegade Vignamorthy Muralitheran better known as Colonel Karuna broke ranks with the northern command. more..

Editor suspended, journalist dismissed, management changed at community radio station

Mar 19 (FMM) The Free Media Movement is disturbed at the alarming levels of political interference taking place in the state-controlled media in Sri Lanka, just two weeks prior to the 2 April 2004 general elections. more..

Jayasuriya's 131 sets up a Kandy classic

Mar 19 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka hope of a remarkable series-levelling victory with an electrifying batting assault on the fourth afternoon at Kandy. Set an improbable target of 352, Sri Lanka raced out of the blocks with Jayasuriya plundering a brilliant 131. more..

LTTE denies making contacts with President

Mar 19 (UL) The political wing leader of the LTTE S.P.Thamilchelvam has categorically denied establishing any contacts with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and agreeing to recommence talks in the event United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) assumed powers. more..

Politicos found harbouring deserters for pre poll violence

Mar 19 (UL) The Police have held Army deserters responsible for the soaring rate of pre election violence in the island. According to local poll monitoring bodies the number of election related violence since nomination day has risen to 537, a figure they say is comparatively lower than the previous election. more..

Tamil Tigers seek to heal rift with renegades

Mar 19 (AFP) A "Peace Secretariat" of the Tamil Tigers that served as the contact point for Norwegians brokering an end to decades of ethnic bloodshed in Sri Lanka is now busy papering over a rift within the rebel ranks. more..

United States funds clinic for Muslim IDPs in Puttalam

Mar 20 (USE) Today, Mr. James F. Entwistle, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, inaugurated a new polyclinic for Muslim internally displaced persons (IDPs) and local community residents on the Kalpitiya Peninsula in Puttalam District. more..

Pongu Thamil demonstration to UN

Mar 20 (TN) The International Co-ordinating Committee of the Liberation Tigers is organizing a 'Pongu Thamil (Tamil Uprising)' march to the United Nations Head Office, Geneva on 5 April, and has called support of expatriate Tamils. more..

64,000 police officers to provide election security- IGP

Mar 20 (TN) Close to sixty thousand police officers would be deployed to strengthen the security in all parts of Sri Lanka with the objective of ensuring free and fair elections, said the Inspector General of Police Mr.Indra de Silva addressing a press conference Friday. more..

Election violence complaints reach 625

Mar 20 (TN) With 47 incidents of election related violence for the last twenty four hours ending Friday morning at 6 a.m. the total number of complaints was increased to 625 since the start of submitting nominations from February 17th, the Police Election Secretariat said Friday. more..

East campus to open amid security complaints

Mar 20 (TN) Second semester examinations at the Eastern University campus are to be held on 15, April and the students should to return to their halls of residences on 6 April, informed A.D.Harris, University Registrar, sources in Batticaloa said. more..

Anandasangaree case postponed

Mar 20 (TN) The Colombo District Judge Mr.D.Ganepola gave time till May 10 for the two respondents, Mr.R.Sampanthan and Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham, to file their objections to the petition filed by the President of the TULF Mr. Veerasingham Anandasangaree, legal sources said. more..

Textured Jersey’s new owners unveil growth plans

Mar 20 (JS) Sri Lankan fabric maker Textured Jersey Lanka is set to double its capacity to 100 tons per week by the third and fourth quarters of 2004 as part of plans unveiled by its new owners. more..

People are yet to be convinced for federalism

Mar 20 (SN) A recent opinion poll conducted by Social Indicator indicates that the majority of the people still reject the federal concept although millions of dollars have been spent on pro-federal campaigns. more..

LTTE does the role of Election Commissioner

Mar 20 (SN) Mr T Thavarajah of the EPDP, a prominent anti-LTTE Tamil political party, informed the election commissioner today that the LTTE was instructing the government servants in the North on how to conduct the election. more..

Election Commissioner arranges Media Bosses to meet party secretaries

Mar 20 (SN) On the request of the party secretaries, election commissioner promised to call another meeting of media bosses to discuss the media behaviour on election related matters. None of the state media bosses attended to the previous meeting arranged by the commissioner. more..

ITN and Rupavahini refuse Hela Urumaya advertisements

Mar 20 (SN) Mr Tilak Karunaratne, General Secretary of Jatika Hela Urumaya lodged a complaint with the Election Commissioner with regard to partial behaviour of state media. He has sent a letter by registered post to the commissioner levelling allegations against all state media institutes, namely, SLBC, SLRC and ITN. more..

'We can still win' - Jayasuriya

Mar 20 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya, whose sparkling 131 put Sri Lanka on course for one of the unlikeliest of Test victories, insisted that they could still pull it off, though they were down to the tail. Speaking at the end of the day's play, he said, "We still have a good chance of winning this game. more..

LTTE's Karuna faction moots agreement with Prabhakaran

Mar 20 (HT) The breakaway faction of the LTTE, led by the Batticalao-Amparai (BA) Commander, Col. Karuna on Friday offered to enter into an 'agreement' with the mainstream led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, to jointly fight for an independent Tamil Eelam. more..

Lankans rescue four Indian fishermen

Mar 20 (NIP) Four Indian fishermen whose boat was tossed in the deep seas due to a strong gale and forced to sail towards Neduntivu in Sri Lanka were rescued and brought to Rameswaram by their Sri Lankan counterparts on Friday. more..

Tamil unity is vital for struggle to succeed - Sivajilingam

Mar 20 (TN) "Tamil people are convinced and firm in their belief that only Tamil unity will propel us to succeed in our struggle. We can see their anguish and despair whenever they sense appearance of divisive tendencies within the Tamil community. We can be certain that Tamil people will reject all elements that can endanger Tamil unity," more..

Polling stations in SLA-controlled areas for voters in LTTE-held region

Mar 20 (TN) According to decisions made at special meetings at the Secretariats in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, the polling stations for the voters in the Liberation Tigers-controlled areas are to be constructed in the Sri Lanka Army-controlled areas in clusters, sources said. more..

Top US official to visit Sri Lanka next week

Mar 20 (TN) Mr. Torkel L. Patterson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs in the United States Government will visit Sri Lanka as a part of his familiarization tour of the region, said US embassy sources. more..

Wage controversy cripples hospitals

Mar 20 (TN) All government hospitals virtually dead for the last nine days in the island due to the strike by medical officers has been limping back to normalcy Saturday as the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) temporarily called off their trade union action Friday evening, health authorities said. more..

Energy Banking

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will plough in Rs.50 mn into a Sustainable Guarantee Facility to leverage financing for energy efficiency projects. Administered by the Energy Conservation Fund, the facility will guarantee 75 percent of the total loan or a maximum Rs.10 mn, for one to five years. more..

Sugar Free

Mar 20 (LBO) The UNF threatened to reduce import duties on commodities, starting with sugar, if local traders start hoarding goods to increase prices. The import duty on sugar was reduced with immediate effect on Friday to control a surge in sugar prices in the local market. more..

Diplomatic Ties

Mar 20 (LBO) A US international relations expert urged Sri Lanka on Friday to make maximum use of current American interest in the country, before US Presidential elections distracts its administration. more..

Overseas Banking

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka Export Credit Insurance Corporation (SLECIC) is in talks with a Russian bank, to promote financing of Russian importers of local goods. The company has identified importers of goods from Sri Lanka as an opportunity segment and has started off in that direction with a Russian bank to finance importers of Sri Lankan products to Russia. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Mar 20 (SLA) One thousand seven hundred and sixty one (1761) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 12 March 2004 and 18 March 2004. more..

Another Election result for Jathike Hela Urumaya

Mar 20 (LT) Ven. Ganegoda Dharmakeerthi Thero, incumbent of Sri Bodhrukkarama of Buddhist Centre at Hemapura, a candidate of Jathike Hela Urumaya for Trincomalee District at the forthcoming General Election has withdrawn his candidture. more..

UNP solves women’s problems through garment quotas -PM

Mar 20 (LT) While the UNP aspire to safeguard the rights of 53% of women in the country the UPFA strive to safeguard the right of only one woman says the Premier Ranil Wickremasinghe. The Prime Minister made this statement at a meeting held at Matugama yesterday. more..

India should support Lankan peace process: Nedumaran

Mar 20 (UNI) Banned Tamil Nationalist Movement leader and POTA detenue P Nedumaran today said India should support the cause of establishing peace in neighbouring Sri Lanka. more..

Wimal and Janadasa allegedly orchestrating state media

Mar 20 (DM) The UNF and the JHU yesterday formerly lodged complaints with the Elections Commissioner that the main opposition, which exercises authority over the state media, was misusing it. more..

Eastern Province favours UNP and SLMC

Mar 20 (UL) The Eastern Province is looking good for the UNP, specially the two districts of Digamadulla and Trincomalee according to a survey. A recent sample survey undertaken indicates that the tide has begun to change since SLMC Leader and Ports Minister, Rauff Hakeem shifted base from Kandy to Digamadulla. more..

No pardons for criminal acts under Freedom Alliance Govt: President

Mar 20 (DN) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would not be a free man today if legal action was taken against him in accordance with the Batalanda Commission report, President Chandrika Kumaratunga said in Kandy yesterday. more..

'Our batting and catching let us down'

Mar 20 (CI) For Hashan Tillakaratne, it was the second time in consecutive Tests that he had let slip the initiative. Here's what he had to say about the Kandy defeat: On the loss: It was so disappointing. We had our chances but just gave them [away] on a platter once again. It was so close and yet so far. more..

Warne and Gillespie star in Australian win

Mar 20 (CI) Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie were the stars of the show at Kandy, requiring only 6.1 overs on the fifth morning to take the three Sri Lankan wickets which gave Australia an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series. more..

Warne targets Walsh record in Colombo test

Mar 20 (Reuters) Australia leg spinner Shane Warne believes he can overhaul Courtney Walsh's world record of 519 wickets during the third and final test against Sri Lanka in Colombo next week. more..

Sri Lanka not quite there

Mar 20 (CI) The tree-lined ground at Kandy was the stage for some wonderful drama in the second Test, reaching its gripping peak this morning with a 28-run win for Australia. But the Asgiriya ground also felt a little like a laboratory, the match a chance to measure Sri Lanka against the standard Australia have set for the world. more..

No pressure on me, says Tillakartne

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne said he was not under any pressure after losing the Test series against the "best side in the world." The hosts lost to Australia by 27 runs on the fifth and final day of the second Test in Kandy to concede a 2-0 lead in the three-match series. more..

Sri Lankan doctors back on their jobs

Mar 20 (NW) State-employed doctors on Saturday returned to their respective hospitals after laying down their tools. The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday decided to suspend their trade union action after an extensive discussion with Finance Minister K.N. Choksy. more..

Doctors Strike Takes a Life

Mar 20 (NW) Heart patient died and millions of poor people were forced to undergo more agony as the doctors' strike continued for the eighth day despite speculation of an end to one of the country's worst-ever crises. more..

Karuna blasts President

Mar 20 (NW) The LTTE's breakaway Eastern leader Karuna yesterday accused President Kumaratunga of making untrue and irresponsible statements in an interview with BBC. In the interview the President reportedly said she would talk peace only with the Wanni leadership and refused to reciprocate attempts by Karuna to contact her. more..

Japanese govt. responds to drought assistance appeal

Mar 20 (IL) The Government of Japan, responding to an urgent appeal made to the International Community by the Government of Sri Lanka, will provide drought assistance to 2400 families in selected districts affected by the continuing drought conditions. more..

Who was the SLMC activist killed - Salaam or Munas?

Mar 20 (IL) The cause of death of a 45-year-old SLMC activist on Tuesday night in Veeramunai, Sammanthurai was yet to be identified by the police. OIC Sammanthurai police Shiran Perera said that the suspect had gone to the SLMC office on Tuesday morning and had departed around twelve noon. more..

'Chandrika shining' in pre-poll survey

Mar 20 (HT) The United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga is likely to be voted to power in the April 2 parliamentary elections, according to the latest survey conducted by the independent Centre for Policy Alternatives(CPA). more..

Tamil Tiger rift to complicate peace bid: president

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga said the unprecedented split in the Tamil Tigers had complicated peace moves and that a renegade rebel had tried to make contact with her. more..