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Dalas back to parliament

Dec 15 (LT) Dalas Alahapperuma has been nominated for the MP's post which fell vacant following the assassination of former foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar. This decision has been conveyed in writing to the commissioner of elections by the General Secretary of the SLFP who had conveyed the same to the Secretary of Parliament by yesterday evening. more..

Colombo Port to dredge North Channel to reduce delay

Dec 15 (AT) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is planning to dredge the North Channel to 13 meters depth to enable larger vessels to visit Colombo Port, the Board of Investment (BOI) announced on Wednesday. This project estimated at a cost of Rs.2 billion and is expected to increase the export and to ease traffic congestion more..

Mahinda violates agreements in public now- Attanayake

Dec 15 (LeN) The President is openly flouting agreements reached with the JVP while it party is looking on silently and the JVP has no political backbone to protect its conditions, UNP Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake alleged. more..

Police state before elections

Dec 15 (LeN) In a letter to SLFP organizers, President Mahinda Rajapaka has asked them to recommend persons whom they want to be appointed as OICs to police stations in there areas. As the President has so far not appointed new members to the Police Commission, all powers related to transfers are vested in the Inspector General of police. more..

Southern highway to boost economic growth

Dec 15 (Jang) Government has given priority for the fast track of the Rs. 30 Billion Southern Highway which is expected will boost GDP growth to 10 per cent in the South. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Business Corporation (JBIC) is supporting the ‘Southern Transport Development Project’ more..

Sri Lanka nationalist group wants Tigers banned in EU

Dec 15 (Xinhua) A nationalist group in Sri Lanka Wednesday urged the European member states to ban the Tamil Tigers. Activists of the National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT) marched to the office of the European Union Delegation here Wednesday to urge the EU to slap a ban on the LTTE. more..

Chinese, Sri Lankans build houses together for tsunami survivors

Dec 15 (Xinhua) Under the tropical sunlight, Chinese construction worker Zheng Yongzhi was building steps for a nearly completed house in Kurundu Watta, the site of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Village project aimed at providing permanent houses for Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors. more..

Suspected Tamil Tiger gunmen kill Tamil home guard

Dec 15 (SLA) Unidentified gunmen suspected to be Tamil Tigers killed home guard SURESH ANTHONEY of 9/8 VELAKKANNI Road, PALUUTHTHUWA affiliated to TRINCOMALEE Police on Wednesday (14) evening around 3.00 p.m while he was in the general area PALUUTHTHUWA, TRINCOMALEE. more..

CWC MP crosses over to Government

Dec 15 (TN) Vadivel Suresh, of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) which is led by former Minister Arumugam Thondaman, has crossed over to the Sri Lanka Government and he has been made the Deputy Minister of Health and Nutrition Wednesday, parliamentary sources in Colombo said. more..

SLA soldiers search Jaffna press, threaten workers

Dec 15 (TN) Sri Lanka Army cordoned off the offices of the popular Tamil daily Namathu Eelanaadu located in Navalar road Jaffna Thursday 6.30 a.m. and searched the editorial, administrative and press sections of the paper's offices thoroughly for nearly half an hour, workers at the premises said. more..

Sinha Regiment troops on UN assignments return

Dec 15 (SLA) Successfully completing the second UN peacekeeping assignment en masse, the second batch of troops of the Army’s Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) arrived in their motherland, Tuesday (13) evening to a warm welcome at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport. more..

JHU calls for more control on cattle slaughter

Dec 15 (LM) JHU Parliamentarian Ven. Ellawala Medhananda said in Parliament yesterday that the government should intervene to control the slaughter of cattle in the country considering their importance to the agricultural sector. The Ven. Thera made this request from the government on the fourth day of the Budget debate. more..

UNP divided over President’s invitation

Dec 15 (LM) President Mahinda Rajapakse is seeking an urgent meeting with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss a national political strategy vis a vis the LTTE. The Island learns that Rajapakse proposed to have the meeting yesterday, but Wickremesinghe had not been agreeable. more..

Lanka debates India’s role in peace process

Dec 15 (Dawn) With the hardliner Buddhist monks of the National Heritage party (or JHU) calling for India to play a stronger role in Sri Lanka’s deteriorating peace process, opinions vary on the part that India can play to usher in a stable peace between the government and the LTTE. more..

Condemn terrorist attack on Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy - JVP

Dec 15 (LT) The JVP has condemned the attack conducted by wanni tiger organization aiming the Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy. The communiqué issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP states, though the Deputy Minister was not in the helicopter at the time of the attack, the view that she was targeted by the LTTE cannot be disregarded. more..

Karu faction gives Ranil two weeks grace

Dec 15 (LT) Karu faction has informed Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe that they will give him two weeks time to accept the proposals they have forwarded with regard to the changes in the leadership of the party. more..

Hold elections for the North and the East - JVP asks the President

Dec 15 (LT) The JVP yesterday (14th) requested President Mahinda Rajapakse to hold elections due for the Local and Provincial Councils in the North and the East. The JVP Leaders made this request at a discussion they had with the President at Temple Trees yesterday at 7.30 p.m. more..

Follow policy for vehicles imported for ministers - President instructs Treasury

Dec 15 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has instructed the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance to follow a definite policy when vehicles are imported to Government ministers and officials. The President took this decision paying attention to the statement made by the JVP Parliamentarian Mr. Nandana Gunatilleke in the Parliament more..

Release SB! -Karu appeals to Mahinda

Dec 15 (LT) Deputy leader of the UNP Mr. Karu Jayasuriya has requested President Mahinda Rajapakse to release Mr. S.B. Dissanayake, the National Organizer of the UNP who is spending a prison sentence at Welikade jail for insulting Supreme Court. more..

Did influential Lankan mislead US Senate?

Dec 15 (ANN) Controversy surrounds a hotly disputed move to influence the outcome of the Nov 17 presidential polls by giving credence to a US Senate resolution two days ahead of the elections. Latching on to a copy of the unedited version of the resolution, an interested party is believed to have released what was termed as a bi-partisan resolution more..

Court stays Catholic church closure

Dec 15 (SAMN) The Colombo District Court yesterday issued notice on Colombo’s Archbishop over the closure of a historic church at Pilapitiya in Kelaniya, purportedly to promote a newly built church in the Bishop’s home town. more..

Mahinda-Ranil talks today for consensus

Dec 15 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapakse and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe are meeting today at Temple Trees to discuss the country’s peace process, in a bid to build a Southern political consensus prior to sitting down for talks with the LTTE. more..

Anura slams Bogollagama

Dec 15 (SAMN) Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike is furious with ministerial colleague Rohitha Bogollagama over recent criticism of his tenure as the minister in charge of BOI. He lost the Investment Promotion portfolio along with the foreign affairs after the recently concluded presidential elections. more..

Ganja in Parliament premises

Dec 15 (LNP) In a shocking discovery, the Parliament security authorities have detected a Ganja plantation in one of the up stair gardens of the premises. The abundantly growing Cannabis plants were spotted by army Commandos while searching the Parliament premises for security reasons prior to the presentation of the government`s new budget recently. more..

Budget does not address key issues says JVP`s Achala

Dec 15 (LNP) Speaking during the budget debate yesterday, JVP MP Achala Jagoda said the budget had failed to address some of the key issues that were mentioned in the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto. more..

Int`l school puts up shutters, students left in the lurch

Dec 15 (LNP) An international school situated in Greater Colombo has put up shutters suddenly leaving over eighty students in the lurch. A spokesperson for the students parents said that the owner of the school called a sudden meeting last week and told them that he was closing down the school since he cannot afford to run it anymore. more..

Polluters at Sri Pada to be punished

Dec 15 (DN) Provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance will be strictly enforced within the Peak Wilderness Protected Area with the Sri Pada season beginning today, Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) Director General Dayananda Kariyawasam told the Daily News yesterday. more..

Germany grants 18 mln US dollars for Sri Lanka's reconstruction

Dec 15 (Xinhua) The German government has agreed to grant 15 million euros (around 18 million US dollars) for the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Sri Lanka devastated by the tsunami. The grant is expected to be utilized on reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure facilities in the Batticaloa District. more..

President begins talks on sustainable peace

Dec 15 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapakse has begun his consultation process leading to achieving lasting peace in the country, the state radio said here Thursday. SLBC said that the President had held talks with the JVP, on Wednesday and on Thursday evening when he was due to meet the main opposition party, the UNP. more..

Help still needed in aftermath of Tsunami and War

Dec 15 (CT) Sri Lanka’s coastal communities continue to reel from the devastation of last year’s Boxing Day tsunami. Help is still needed, however, not just for the survivors of the tsunami but also for survivors of the country’s protracted war, reports Action by Churches Together. more..

Sri Lanka issues its first-ever inflation-linked bond

Dec 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka has issued its first-ever inflation-linked bond, a move analysts said should spur the government to attempt to keep a lid on the nation's hefty inflation rate. The government did not disclose the size of the three-year issue placed with two state-run banks but market sources pegged it at two to three billion rupees. more..

Indian Maoists admit links with LTTE

Dec 15 (IANS) Indian Maoist guerrillas have admitted for the first time that Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas trained them two decades ago but claimed they have no links with the insurgents now. The disclosure was made by a leader of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) at a press conference more..

Lanka may use chopper incident to seek EU ban on LTTE

Dec 15 (HT) Sri Lanka is likely to press the European Union (EU) to ban the LTTE following Wednesday's incident in which the rebel outfit allegedly fired at an Air Force helicopter meant to ferry the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Margherita Boniver from Arugam Bay to Colombo. more..

Suspected rebel fronts threaten Sri Lankan army

Dec 15 (Reuters) Soldiers forced people in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north to cut back their garden hedges on Thursday as a security precaution against deadly ambushes with suspected rebels threatening to mount attacks. more..

Marxists fire first salvo against Rajapakse regime

Dec 15 (Gulf) The Marxist People's Liberation Front (JVP) has made the first move to checkmate President Mahinda Rajapakse's administration accusing it of imposing financial burdens on the public by appointing many of their party members as ministers or deputy ministers. more..

Sri Lanka and Norway to hold talks in Hong Kong on peace bid

Dec 15 (AFP) The Sri Lankan foreign minister and his Norwegian counterpart will meet here for talks on Oslo's role as a mediator in resolving the island's ethnic conflict, a Norwegian official said. more..

Tamil newspaper's office searched in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (DPA) Soldiers Thursday searched the office of a Tamil newspaper in northern Sri Lanka as part of new security measures following a string of attacks by suspected Tamil rebels that have claimed the lives of 17 soldiers in the last two weeks. more..

Norway says it will remain Sri Lankan peacemaker but on its own terms

Dec 15 (AFP) Norway's foreign minister told his Sri Lankan counterpart that Oslo would continue trying to broker peace in the island's long-running ethnic conflict, but only under strict conditions. more..

India-Sri Lanka naval exercise ends

Dec 15 (UPI) The Indian and Sri Lankan navies concluded their three-day joint exercise off the island nation's western shores. The Hindu newspaper said Thursday the exercise was described as a continuation of bilateral exchanges. "This was the first exercise involving the two navies, though there had been a regular interaction," more..

Solheim to initiate resumption of talks

Dec 16 (BBC) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has met with the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Thursday evening in Hong Kong. Foreign Ministry said that the Ministers held wide ranging discussions on bilateral relations between the two countries including matters related to the Norwegian facilitation in the peace process. more..

Muslim platoon in the army?

Dec 16 (BBC) A Muslim party is calling to establish a Muslim platoon in the Sri Lankan Army. Muslim United Liberation Front (MULF) leader Mujiber Rahuman told the BBC Sinhala service on Thursday that the violence against Muslims in the East of Sri Lanka can be contained only if the Muslims can "look after their own security". more..

Apparel exports drop by nearly 7% in October

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s main industrial export, apparel, dropped by nearly 7 percent in October compared to 2004. Export earnings from ‘apparel and made-ups’, dropped by 6.7 percent in the month of October, compared to the same month in 2004, said the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex apparel industry organisation in Sri Lanka. more..

Jaffna Group warns of attacks if SLA harassment is not stopped

Dec 16 (TN) If the increasing incidents of rounding up of civilians, and cordon and search of Tamil areas by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers continue, campaign of attacks against SLA will intensify in Jaffna, warned an organization of Tamil youths called "Roaring Tamil Force," in a memorandum submitted to the SLMM offices more..

Ground rules for engangement to be clarified during Solheim visit

Dec 16 (TN) Norwegian Development Minister Erik Solheim is expected to visit Sri Lanka to meet officials of Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE soon. An NTB report filed from Hong Kong on Thursday said that the "ground rules" for the process forward would be decided during this visit. more..

Investigate fully Norway's role in Sri Lanka and withdraw from monitoring mission -- Hoglund

Dec 16 (AT) Pressure is mounting within Norway to withdraw from its dual role of ”peace facilitator" and "peace monitor". Political sources in Norway are also insisting that Norway's role in Sri Lankan should be investigated thoroughly. more..

President, Oppn agree to resume urgent talks with LTTE

Dec 16 (UNI) Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and leader of the main opposition United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe today agreed unanimously to hold talks with the LTTE to put the shaky peace process back on track. more..

President & Leader of Opposition agree to commence peace talks soon

Dec 16 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe agreed to commence the peace process in order to solve the National question by a political solution. The agreement was reached between the two parties after a discussion that took place at Temple Trees this evening say sources in Presidential Secretariat. more..

Special inquiry on helicopter attack targeting Italian Deputy Minister

Dec 16 (LT) A special inquiry has begun regarding the shooting of the Air Force helicopter scheduled to fly Ms. Margharita Bonivar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy. The chopper was shot at while flying over an un-cleared area close to Arumugam Bay. more..

Lanka talks on ceasefire implementation to begin early next year

Dec 16 (HT) Talks between the Sri Lankan government and the rebel LTTE on the implementation of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement will begin "early next year", according to a joint communiqué issued by the Sri Lankan and Norwegian Foreign Ministers in Hong Kong on Thursday. more..

Sri Lankan swordsman sentenced to psychiatric custody

Dec 16 (AT) The 25-year old Ranjitha Kumar a Tamil from Sri Lanka, who wreaked a blood bath with a ‘Samurai’ sword in a Tamil Methodist church located in Stuttgart, on the 3rd of last April was ordered to undergo treatment in a closed psychiatric hospital by a German court. more..