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Monitor monitors

Mar 22 (LT) Leaders of UPFA have requested the Commissioner of Elections to observe whether Rs. 85 million received by PAFREL and C.M.E.V. (Center for Monitoring Election Violations) from foreign sources for the purpose of election monitoring activities is actually used for that purpose. more..

Stocks rise on selective buying

Mar 22 (Reuters) Stocks gained on Monday on buying in select counters and foreign interest, but most blue chips stayed flat with investors waiting out a period of uncertainty ahead of April 2 elections. The key Colombo all-share index ended up 2.67 percent, or 32.45 points, at 1,248.50. more..

Freedom Polls watch laments World Bank director's comments

Mar 22 (DN) The Freedom Polls Watch regrets the World Bank Country Director in Sri Lanka Peter Harold making politically partisan comments on issues related to the internal political matters of Sri Lanka to a Sri Lankan daily on Saturday. more..

Firm sues Lanka over soured deal

Mar 22 (DM) The British public relations firm Bell Pottinger Communications Limited which was involved in a controversial public relations exercise for President Kumaratunga three years ago has sued the Sri Lankan government in the British High Courts for alleged breach of contract, more..

Foreign governments accused of trying to influence elections

Mar 22 (ABC) President's party has accused foreign governments of trying to influence the outcome of general elections scheduled for April 2. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Freedom Alliance says foreign nations are funding election monitors who back her political opponents. more..

TNA supporters injured in Digamadulla

Mar 22 (TN) Four supporters of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) candidates, A. ChandraNehru and K.Pathmanathan who are competing in Digamadulla (Amparai) district, were injured in an altercation Saturday night around 11pm near Thambilulvil Kalaimahal Vidiyalayam, sources said. more..

Chandrika's alliance recasts manifesto to win LTTE support

Mar 22 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's United Peoples Freedom Alliance (The Alliance) has recast its manifesto just a week after it was formally released in a bid to win the support of the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels. more..

Election commissioner caught in storm of words

Mar 22 (Gulf) Elections Commissioner has been caught in a storm between President Chandrika Kumaratunga's newly formed alliance and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party who are accusing each other of misuse of the media in the run up to the next month's parliamentary elections. more..

Freedom Alliance slams foreign funding for poll monitors

Mar 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s party accused foreign governments yesterday of trying to influence the outcome of the April 2 elections by funding poll monitors who back her opponents. more..

ORG-MARG pre-poll survey paints grim picture for Ranil

Mar 22 (HT) A pre-poll survey conducted by ORG-MARG SMART is not likely to enthuse the United National Front (UNF) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which is trying to retain power. more..

Two coal power plants courtesy the drought

Mar 22 (IL) The UNF government which has pledged to set up two coal power plants in its latest election manifesto, has already sought Malaysian and Chinese assistance to carry out a feasibility study in Hambantota. The southern town has been currently chosen as the 'most suitable' location for the vital plant to beat the drought. more..

EPDP says PAFFREL is not a neutral monitor

Mar 22 (IL) The Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has warned the local elections monitoring group PAFFREL that if they go back on a previous statement and decides to recruit local Tamil monitors to be posted at polling booths in the North and East, their party will resort to legal action. more..

The number of election related violence rises to 707

Mar 22 (Rupavahini) 42 incidents of election related violence have been reported in various parts of the island during the last 24 hour period. The police poll secretariat says that they have received 707 complaints on pre-pool related violence up to date. more..

Singapore firm invests in Pugoda textile mills

Mar 22 (JS) Singapore’s South Asia Textile Industries Ltd is investing up to $20 million in Sri Lanka's Pugoda Textile Mills. The refurbishment of the Pugoda Textile Mills is due to be completed by July 2004 when it will employ around 900 people. more..

Sri Lanka aim to spoil Warne's party

Mar 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka are determined to stop Australia leg spinner Shane Warne from becoming the highest test wicket-taker in history in the hope of helping Muttiah Muralitharan's bid to break the record first. more..

Karuna 'compelled' to put Tamil Homeland issue on back burner

Mar 22 (HT) The breakaway group of the LTTE, led by the Eastern Commander Col Karuna, has put the longstanding Tamil nationalist demand for a "Tamil Homeland" on the backburner, subordinating it to the more immediate demand for "administrative autonomy" for his fiefdom, the combined district of Batticalao-Amparai. more..

TNA election propaganda vehicle in police custody

Mar 23 (TN) Chavakachcheri Police Saturday took a three-wheeler and the loudspeaker system belonging to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) activists into custody for operating without permissions, sources in Chavakachcheri said. more..

Court orders inquiry into thirteen missing youths

Mar 23 (TN) Jaffna High Court Mr.K.P.S.Varatharajah Monday instructed the Chavakachcheri Magistrate to conduct inquiries into the thirteen Habeas Corpus applications filed by relatives of thirteen Tamil youths who were reported missing after the arrest by the Sri Lanka Army during 1996 in Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district and to submit reports, more..

Sampanthan to address TNA election rallies in Jaffna

Mar 23 (TN) TNA leader Mr.R.Sampanthan is scheduled to attend several election rallies in Jaffna electoral district Tuesday. He will fly to Palaly from Colombo Tuesday afternoon after meeting the ambassadors of the member countries of the European Union (EU), TNA sources said. more..

Sri Lanka's paradox

Mar 23 (CM) Sri Lanka's second largest city is not for the squeamish. But if you can get by the culture shock that comes with overpopulation and air pollution, Kandy is hard to resist. The story goes, when the Buddha died and was cremated more than 2,000 years ago in what is now India, a follower snatched one of his teeth from the ashes of the funeral pyre. more..

Campaign in Jaffna fails to reflect plurality

Mar 23 (Hindu) Jaffna, the focal point of Sri Lanka's decades-long separatist conflict, is now a town under electoral siege by the LTTE. An uneasy calm spreads across the town as candidates go about seeking popular support for the April 2 Parliamentary elections. more..

Controversy over UPFA's second Manifesto

Mar 23 (UL) The UPFA's latest manifesto that was released yesterday has raised controversy within the Alliance, with some senior UPFA members refusing to accept the latest release as the final document. The UPFA released its final manifesto on March 11 with a fanfare. The launching ceremony took place at BMICH. more..

Employment racket busted

Mar 23 (TP) A bogus foreign employment agency off Colombo was busted on Sunday by police after it was discovered the owners were sending local women for prostitution in Singapore in the guise of giving them two-week tourist visas. more..

Drought hits Wayamba

Mar 23 (TP) Sri Lanka’s northcentral, eastern and Wayamba provinces are experiencing the worst ever drought in 10 years due to the delay in northeast monsoon rains, Meteorological Department sources said. more..

Pakistan-rejected wheat sails for Sri Lanka, Dubai

Mar 23 (Geo) Two Australian wheat cargoes rejected by the Pakistani government have sailed for Sri Lanka and one has left for Dubai, a Pakistani shipping industry source told Reuters on Monday. "All the three cargoes left during the weekend," said the Karachi-based industry official who asked not to be identified. more..

Travel Allowance

Mar 23 (LBO) Travel exchange specialist Travelex will scale up operation in Sri Lanka to tap into the potential of the peace fueled growth in tourism. Sri Lanka is part of the firm’s strategy along with entering the Indian market in Nov. 2003, to tap into the US$ 1.5bn travel market in South Asia. more..

New Blend

Mar 23 (LBO) Top branded tea exporter the MJF Group is planning a rapid scale-up of operations by moving into leisure, financial and energy management services. A series of quick-fire mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships will blaze its trail into the leisure property sector, more..

Brattskar, Harrold meet Thamilchelvan

Mar 23 (TN) Mr. Peter Harrold, Country Director for World Bank in Sri Lanka and the Ambassador for Norway Mr. Hans Brattskar met with Mr. S. P. Tamilselvan, Head of the LTTE Political Wing in its Head Quarters in Kilinochchi Tuesday. more..

TNA holds record election meetings in Muttur

Mar 23 (TN) "The current ceasefire has been signed and peace talks commenced with the LTTE when the successive governments in Colombo failed to destroy the LTTE militarily. This should be clearly borne in every one's mind," said Mr.R.Sampanthan, more..

Women, key to nation building - Ms.Sithamparanathan

Mar 23 (TN) "I feel our freedom is near our door-step. Tamil men and women have a duty to welcome this freedom and fully engage themselves in nation building activities. Particularly our women have a significant role to play in building our nation," said Pathmini Sithamparanathan, more..

SLMM & troops escort LTTE cadres to SAMPOOR

Mar 23 (SLA) Troops in liaison with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) around 12 noon today (23 March 2004) began to provide a military escort to a convoy of 52 LTTE cadres, who were proceeding towards SAMPOOR area from the un-cleared areas in WANNI. more..

Suspect trying to cross FDL arrested

Mar 23 (SLA) A suspicious man, who was trying to enter the general area of OMANTHAI through the Forward Defence Line (FDL) close to the Entry/Exit point at OMANTHAI, was arrested on 22 March 2004 and delivered to OMANTHAI Police station for investigations. more..

Youth repeatedly abducted surrenders once again

Mar 23 (SLA) A twenty-one year old youth repeatedly abducted by LTTE but escaped several times has once again fled from the LTTE detention and sought protection from the Security Forces stationed in the general area of KALMADU on 21 March 2004 around 8.15 p.m. more..

Explosion causes damage to house

Mar 23 (SLA)An explosion caused by a hand grenade thrown at the residence of a Muslim civilian in the general area of VALAICHCHENAI during early morning on 22 March 2004 effected minor damages to the wall lamp of the house. more..

LTTE detained fishing boats released

Mar 23 (SLA) The five fishing boats held by LTTE from the general area of GURUNAGAR jetty against non-payment of ransom to LTTE by its owners were released by LTTE captors around 6.00 p.m. on 22 March 2004. more..

LTTE men arrest Indian fishermen

Mar 23 (SLA) Police authorities in VEDITHALATHIVU, MANNAR were told by civilians that three or four Indian fishermen aboard an Indian trawler poaching in Sri Lankan waters had been arrested by some LTTE men in the general sea area off VEDITHALATHVU on 18 March 2004. more..

Fake UPFA election manifesto produced by UNP

Mar 23 (LT) A fake election manifesto has been produced by the UNF distorting the Election Manifesto of the UPFA. According to UPFA, UNF has introduced a fake election manifesto which looks similar to the one launched by UPDA on 11th March to mislead the masses. more..

President felicitates Pakistan on National Day

Mar 23 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga today sent good wishes to President Pervez Musharraf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on his country’s National Day, which falls on March 23. [The full text of the message] more..

PAFFREL to counter-charge allegations

Mar 23 (UL) Allegations of corruption and misuse of funds charged against the PAFFREL by the UPFA is to be countered today. The UPFA last week charged that the PAFFREL- Sri Lanka's pioneer local poll monitoring body was helping the UNF in its election campaign by donating some of the money it received from foreign donors for monitoring purposes. more..

Sri Lankan monks given suspended jail terms for breaking election laws

Mar 23 (AFP) Two Buddhist monks were fined and given suspended jail terms for putting up posters backing an all-clergy party contesting next month's parliamentary elections, police said Monday. more..

Hashan determined to exit on a high

Mar 23 (Reuters) Hashan Tillakaratne is determined to go out on a high if this week's third and final Test against Australia is to be his last match in charge. Tillakaratne was appointed skipper last April, but a poor record of one win in 10 Tests has left the selectors considering a change for Sri Lanka's two-Test tour of Zimbabwe starting in mid-April. more..

Warne record bid must not affect team effort - Ponting

Mar 23 (Reuters) Australia captain Ricky Ponting will help Shane Warne's attempt to become the world's top wicket-taker in test history during the match against Sri Lanka but only if it does not interfere with the team effort. more..

PM promises lasting peace in two years

Mar 23 (IANS) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is confident that a lasting peace could be established in the country through negotiations for a political solution within two years, reports Xinhua. more..

SC stays launch of Mahapola instant lottery

Mar 23 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday issued an interim order restraining the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund (MHESTF) from proceeding with the proposed launch of the Mahapola Instant Ticket Lottery scheduled for today. more..

200 Army deserters arrested for polls violence

Mar 23 (DN) A total of 200 Army deserters said to be involved in election related violence have been arrested. According to the Police Election Secretariat, the arrests were made from various parts of the country, the highest being from the Central Province where 51 Army deserters were taken into custody. more..

New Zealand A sweep to innings victory

Mar 23 (CI) New Zealand A swept to a comprehensive victory by an innings and 66 runs, dismissing Sri Lanka A for 228 on the fourth day of the five-day game at Lincoln. Resuming at 45 for 2, Ian Daniel and Bathiya Perera, the not-out batsmen, led Sri Lanka's resistance, adding 99 more runs. more..

One steam engine destroyed in yesterday’s fire in Kelanitissa

Mar 23 (Rupavahini) One steam turbine was completely destroyed, cutting off 65 MW of power to the National Grid when a major fire broke out last morning in the newly opened Kelanitissa Combined Cycle Power plant. more..

All set for the commencement of postal voting tomorrow

Mar 23 (Rupavahini) The election secretariat says necessary arrangements have been made to conduct postal voting tomorrow and the day-after. The secretariat says measures have been taken to station special monitoring personnel to government and state institutions where postal voting is scheduled to take place. more..

Karuna issues warning to locals

Mar 23 (AP) A renegade rebel leader has warned residents of areas under his control not to cooperate with the mainstream Tamil Tiger guerrilla movement, a Tamil Web site reported Tuesday. "We strongly urge the people...not to have any secret links with (the) Vanni leadership," more..

Muted criticism of Tigers as poll nears

Mar 23 (Reuters) In the heartland of Sri Lanka's war over a separate Tamil state, campaigning against the wishes of the Tamil Tiger rebels is a dangerous game. Soldiers with machine guns accompany Tamil candidates who oppose the LTTE and the rebel-backed TNA. more..