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President emphasizes again that peace talks should be held in SL or in Asian country

Dec 20 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse who met the JVP leaders this morning at Temple Trees emphasized that he is of the view that the peace talks should be held in Sri Lanka or in an Asian country. The JVP who met the President discussed on the developments in North and East were engaged in a long conversation on the prevailing situation in the country. more..

SLFP to field more women at LG polls

Dec 20 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party has decided to field more women at the forthcoming local government elections. SLFP Secretary General, Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said more women would be given the opportunity to contest on the SLFP ticket and applications to do so would close on 31 December 31, 2005. more..

Dallas returns to House

Dec 20 (SAMN) Former Matara District Member (SLFP) and Deputy Minister of Samurdhi, in the 1994 PA Government, Dallas Alahapperuma took his oaths, before Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara, in Parliament, as a Member of Parliament, yesterday (19). Alahapperuma has been appointed to fill the vacancy created by the death of Foreign Minister Lakahman Kadirgamar. more..

Budget relies on local enterprise

Dec 20 (SAMN) Minister Agriculture, Mahaweli Development and Environment Maithripala Sirisena, opening the budget debate for the Government in Parliament yesterday (19) said the budget presented by President Mahinda Rajapakse, relied heavily in developing and encouraging indigenous enterprise and bringing in incentives to the rural sector and local small and medium scale enterprise. more..

Clarence`s wife sues for rights of his songs

Dec 20 (LNP) Wife of the late popular singer Clarence Wijeywardena has filed an intellectual property right suit against Torana Record Bar and singer Rajiv Sebastian before the Colombo Commercial High Court. Mrs Sheela Wijeywardena is seeking an order preventing Torana Record Bar from producing, recording and selling her husband`s songs sung by Rajiv Sebastian, without her prior permission. more..

Drawing from rich to give poor will increase inflation: Karu

Dec 20 (LNP) The main Opposition UNP in parliament said yesterday that the staggering budget deficit would lead to increased inflation, which would severely affect the masses. Speaking on the fifth day of the budget debate, Karu Jayasuriya said the current budget deficit was a staggering Rs. 195 billion and the government must think practically and be pragmatic in finding means to bridge this gap. more..

Alcoholic husband vows sober love for wife

Dec 20 (LNP) A husband who had opted to stand at Lipton Circus instead of serving a long jail term for the attempted murder of his wife, was imposed a lighter sentence by the Colombo High Court, when he promised court to give up drinks and love his wife hereafter. more..

Inter-Religious Council to sort out disputes

Dec 20 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapakse has assured the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) that he would establish an Inter-Religious Council to sort out conflicts arising from religious issues. The President made this pledge when he met members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference at Temple Tress on Friday. more..

Donor confab co-chairs commend Muslim community for restraint

Dec 20 (IRNA) Co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference on Sri Lanka met in Brussels on Monday to review the situation in the South Asian country torn by civil strife. The co-chairs, in a statement, noted that Sri Lanka was facing a crucial choice between increased violence and re-invigorating the peace process. more..

Members concerned about Maoist LTTE claims

Dec 20 (UNI) Members of Rajya Sabha today expressed its concern about the claims of Maoist leaders that they had received training from the LTTE and made a strong plea to identify the sources of weapons and ammunitions to the extremist forces in various parts of India and Nepal. more..

President orders probe in students-military clash

Dec 20 (UNI) Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered a probe into the incident of clash between the military and the Jaffna University students in which 14 people, including undergraduate students and senior lecturers were injured, sources said. more..

Sri Lankan Army, Tamils blame each other for violence

Dec 20 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's army and Tamil leaders blamed each other for violence during student protests in the northern city of Jaffna, the latest incident threatening the resumption of the peace process in the south Asian island-nation. more..

China hands over permanent houses to Sri Lankan tsunami affected people

Dec 20 (Xinhua) Seventy permanent houses of China-Sri Lanka Friendship Village were handed over to the Sri Lankan government by the Chinese Red Cross and China Charity Foundation on Tuesday at Walahanduwa, 112 km south of Colombo. more..

Yuvraj and Agarkar put India on top

Dec 20 (CI) You cannot accuse Sri Lanka of letting things drift in this game: for all three days so far, they were switched on, positive, and played with unrelenting intensity. But, yet again, they were outplayed by a determined Indian side. First, Tillekeratne Dilshan, with an assured 65, helped them to 206, thus saving the follow-on. more..

International community raps LTTE for escalating violence

Dec 20 (HT) The international community represented by the co-chairs of the 2003 Tokyo conference on Sri Lanka, on Monday warned the LTTE that if it did not stop its violent activities, it would have to face "serious consequences". The co-chairs, US, EU, Norway and Japan, who met in Brussels, expressed displeasure with the Sri Lankan government too. more..

Militant Tamil students attack police jeep in Jaffna, two policemen wounded

Dec 20 (AP) Militant Tamil youths attacked a Sri Lankan police jeep with clubs, chains and stones in the northern city of Jaffna on Tuesday, injuring at least two policemen, the Defense Ministry said. The incident on Tuesday, in Jaffna, followed a military crackdown on a students' demonstration Monday, more..

Fire races through shantytown in Colombo

Dec 20 (AP) A fire swept through sections of an ethnic Tamil shantytown in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday, destroying at least 100 huts, witnesses and fire officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The fire broke out in the Modara shantytown, made up of about 500 huts made of plywood and tin and home mostly to Tamils. more..

Rebel allies cause parliament suspension

Dec 20 (Reuters) Parliament was briefly suspended on Tuesday as the political proxies of Tamil Tiger rebels shouted slogans demanding troop pull-backs from the north and violence again flared around army-held Jaffna. TNA leader R. Sampanthan accused the army of opening fire on peaceful crowds around Tamil-dominated Jaffna before heading to the centre of the chamber with the rest of his party's MPs and shouting slogans. more..

Four co-chairs of peace process demand end to rebel violence

Dec 20 (AP) An international group supporting peace process on Tuesday demanded the island's ethnic Tamil insurgents end their violence and warned of consequences if they failed to comply. Norway, Japan, the European Union and the United States urged Tamil Tiger guerrillas to "put an immediate end to their ongoing campaign of violence" more..

Sri Lanka and its search for a new world order

Dec 21 (KT) WHAT’S making bigger news in Hong Kong? Is it the World Trade Organisation’s ministerial conference or the protests outside the conference venue? But neither the message the protesters are trying to send nor the decisions of the WTO meeting appear to have ruffled the lives of the people in Sri Lanka although the proposed WTO deals threaten our agriculture and industry. more..

Child protection bodies says child abuse reports only tip of the iceberg

Dec 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s national child protection agency reports 409 cases of child abuse in 2004 but says this is only tip of the iceberg. “We get complaints of child abuse but what we get is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg,” said Chairperson of the national child Protection Authority (NCPA), Hiranthi Wijemanne, more..

Vavuniya undergrads boycott in support of Jaffna students

Dec 21 (TN) Undergraduates from Vavuniya campus boycotted classes Tuesday to protesting against the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) aggression including physical assault and indiscriminate firing on students at the Jaffna campus, sources in Vavuniya said. more..

Remand extended for Sri Lanka policemen

Dec 21 (TN) Tamil Eelam district court, Kilinochchi ordered further remand for three Sri Lankan policemen until 3rd January when inquiry into the case of the policemen accused of illegally crossing into Liberation Tigers controlled areas was taken up for inquiry Tuesday, legal sources said. more..

Tamils in Colombo harassed by "Strangers Night" Operation

Dec 21 (TW) Tamils living in the electoral divisions of Colombo West and East were given a terrible shock on the night of Saturday December 17th when a massive security operation was launched against them. Over 600 Police and security force personnel were deployed in an operation more..

Soldier killed in fresh Jaffna violence

Dec 21 (PTI) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels today shot dead a soldier in the troubled northern peninsula of Jaffna even as students protesting the killing of a woman attacked police with clubs and chains and pelted stones at their jeep, heightening fears that the already faltering truce in Sri Lanka was in more trouble, officials said. more..

Talks venue "shouldn't be an issue"

Dec 21 (BBC) The facilitators of Sri Lanka’s fragile peace process, the Norwegian government, say the venue of the peace talks should not be an impediment to restart negotiations. Erik Solheim said that the delegation urged the LTTE the “urgent need for a meeting between the parties to consolidate the ceasefire." more..

The origin of leftist politics in Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (AT) Seventy years ago, the oldest left political party of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known then) was formed on December 18th. The party was named Lanka Samasamaja Party (The Equality Party). This party had made significant impact on the minds of the people and the political history of the country. more..

World concerned over escalation of violence, Solheim calls for urgent talks

Dec 21 (TN) The global community is gravely concerned over the rising tide of violence in the Jaffna peninsula and calling for urgent talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers to de-escalate the conflict. more..

Tharsini raped before murder- Medical Report

Dec 21 (TN) Ilayathamby Tharshini (20), whose body was recovered from an abandoned well in Punguduthivu Saturday, was brutally raped before being strangled to death, according to postmortem examination conducted in the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. more..

Sri Lanka rebuilding homes, lives one year after Indian Ocean Tsunami

Dec 21 (VOA) Nearly a year after the Indian Ocean tsunami swept across the shores of 12 countries, many communities still struggle to recover. In Sri Lanka, VOA's Patricia Nunan has revisited the town of Hambantota - one of the areas worst hit. more..

Weaving their way back from disaster

Dec 21 (RC) When P.K. Chithrani was 10 years old, her mother taught her how to use a traditional lace-making machine to weave thread into intricately detailed strands to adorn hems on pants or dresses or as a border on pillows. Little did she know at that young age how this traditional craft would later help her recover from the most traumatic experience of her life. more..

Jaffna Civilian agitations expected to intensify after 24th

Dec 21 (LeN) Clashes between civilians and security forces are likely to intensify after 24th. Due to the ongoing Ordinary Level examination, Jaffna undergraduates have decided not to involve school children in protest campaigns. more..

BOI targets Rupees 1000 million worth FDI for 2006

Dec 21 (AT) The government hopes to obtain more foreign direct investments [FDI] through its foreign business facilitator – the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka under the guidance of the President. Minister of Advancement Technology and Enterprise Development Rohitha Bogollagama has assured to strengthen the BOI and its services. more..

Happiness in employment vital for productivity

Dec 21 (AT) To eradicate poverty and hunger people should be provided employment that are intellectually satisfying and economically rewarding and the much used economic term "Gross National Product (GNP)" should be changed to "Gross National Happiness" (GNH), said Professor M S Swaminathan, more..

Ranil must go for the UNP to win -- Rajitha

Dec 21 (AT) UNP Parliamentarian Rajitha Senaratne came down hard on the party leadership and insisted it should be revamped soon. After the latest defeat in the presidential election, Dr. Senaratne has been vehement critic of Ranil Wickremesinghe leadership. The UNP is now divided between those who back Wickremesinghe and those who want him out. more..

CWC leader accuses govt

Dec 21 (TP) Arumugam Thondaman, leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) that has accused the Sri Lankan government of trying to split its party because it back the opposition candidate at last month’s presidential poll, on Sunday met President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

The joys of shopping

Dec 21 (TW) There is no time like December for shopping. No time as this to offer gifts, buy one, get one free and 50% discounts. The supermarket giants such as Cargills Food City and Keells not only play loud music but offer louder bargains this season. more..

Hard choices yet to be made

Dec 21 (TW) As tension mounts in Jaffna, earlier restraint seems to have been abandoned. The recent incident involving the security forces, students, member of the Jaffna University faculty, the vice chancellor and an MP resulting in injuries to civilians at the hands of the security forces, suggests that the intifada in the north will be met with a severe response. more..

President turns down rebels' Norway talks demand

Dec 21 (ANN) President Mahinda Rajapakse remains firm on his stand that peace talks with the LTTE can only be held in an Asian country and nowhere else, he said Dec 20. He informed the JVP that he will not agree to the LTTE’s demand for talks to be held in Norway. more..

LTTE, SLMM meet in Pallai

Dec 21 (TN) Recent attacks by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers on unarmed civilians have made Tamil people lose all confidence in the peace process and in the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA), C.Ilamparithy, Jaffna district political head of the LTTE Tuesday told a two-member delegation of the SLMM Tuesday at the LTTE's political secretariat in Pallai. more..

Rajapakse meets TNA delegation

Dec 21 (TN) A high level discussion between the President Mahinda Rajapakse and the TNA parliamentarians led by its parliamentary group leader R.Sampanthan is currently in progress in the SL President's Office in Colombo. The meeting began around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday at the invitation of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, more..

Tamil Tigers determined to cripple normalcy as many soldiers come under attack

Dec 21 (SLA) LTTE’S INTENSIFIED FIRE and grenade attacks on Security Forces and Policemen in the north and east during past 24 hours killed one more soldier and injured another after Tamil Tiger instigated violence turned worse on Tuesday (20). more..

Tamil Tiger suspect in PLOTE abduction arrested

Dec 21 (SLA) A YOUNG MAN, suspected to have been involved in the recent abduction of a senior party activist of the PLOTE party was taken in for questioning by the Police, assisted by troops from the general area of SINNAPUTHUKULAM, VAVUNIYA on Tuesday (20) around 2.30 p.m. more..

Tsunami victims grapple with alcoholism, depression and insecurity

Dec 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tsunami victims grapple with alcoholism, depression and insecurity as rehabilitation slows down with time. People’s consultations targeting tsunami survivors, by the UNDP, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the University of Colombo show the strain of tsunami recovery in Sri Lanka. more..

President under siege

Dec 21 (CT) With panic setting in government over new political formations among the minority parties last week, President Mahinda Rajapakse moved towards damage control even as the international community warned of drastic consequences to the country if the peace process failed due to the intransigence of the LTTE and the UPFA administration. more..

JVP should take over fertilizer distribution -Bandula

Dec 21 (LT) The Parliamentary group of the JVP should take over the programme to make available fertilizer for Rs.350/- to implement it without fraud and deception says UNP Parliamentarian Mr. Bandula Gunawardene. He said this at a media meeting held at the office of the Leader of the Opposition. more..

Co-Chairs issue strongest ever warning to LTTE after meeting Indian representative

Dec 21 (AT) The warning issued by the four Co-chairs – US, EU, Japan and Norway – yesterday threatening serious consequences if the LTTE failed to stop the violence immediately came after they met an Indian representative separately. more..

Thondaman to go with President to India

Dec 21 (LM) CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman who is in the centre of controversy following his recent meeting with the LTTE, has agreed to accompany President Mahinda Rajapakse on his visit- to India, government sources said yesterday. Mr. Thondaman had initially turned down the invitation more..

UNICEF to continue efforts to stop child recruitment

Dec 21 (PIS) UNICEF yesterday vowed to continue their efforts in the North and East until there will be no recruitment of children as child soldiers. UNICEF representative Joanna Van Gerpen said that the United Nations were very concerned about Sri Lanka's situation in the North and East where children are being recruited as soldiers by the LTTE. more..

UNP to undergo shake-up, says Ranil

Dec 21 (SAMN) The UNP, is to undergo major changes beginning next year. This was revealed by party Leader and Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe at a special meeting held at Cambridge Terrace on Tuesday. He said that major changes will be made within the party so that anybody could be Chairman and General Secretary. more..