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Thamilchelvan visits tsunami affected Vakarai

Feb 17 (TN) Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, on Thursday visited Tsunami affected coastal areas in Vakarai, the main village south of the Verugal River, 32 km to the north of Batticaloa town, and discussed post-tsunami relief and resettlements efforts with the affected people, relief and rescue workers with a view to make a direct assessment of the situation in the coastal villages, sources said. more..

LTTE organize more agitations

Feb 17 (SLA) More than seventy uniform-clad school-goers were among several hundreds of participants who marched from the JAFFNA University premises to Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) office closer to NALLUR KANDASAMY KOVIL on 16 February 2005 around 10.15 a.m. more..

Striking bus workers defy government threats

Feb 17 (wsws) Tens of thousands of workers from Sri Lanka’s state-owned Regional Transport Companies (RTCs) launched a national strike on February 14, to fight for long-promised pay increases. The stoppage, which erupted despite the opposition of the trade unions, is the first major workers’ struggle since the coalition government came to power last April. more..

Buddhasasana Ministry appeals for public donations to rebuild destroyed temples

Feb 17 (SLBC) The Ministry of Buddhasasana has appealed for public donations to rebuild temples destroyed by the tsunami. 68 temples in the southern province and 9 in the western province as well as two temples in the Trincomalee district were totally destroyed in the disaster. more..

Local architects have come up with a model on low cost housing to those displaced by the tsunami

Feb 17 (SLBC) Minister of Housing Ferial Ashroff has spoken of the major challenges faced by architects in creating a better living condition for those who lost their homes to the Tsunami. She said that it becomes all the more difficult considering the limited space of 500 square feet within a budget of 100,000 rupees. more..

Annual transfers in the public administration sector will be implemented from the 1st of March

Feb 17 (SLBC) Annual transfers in the public administration sector will be implemented from the 1st of March. Joint Services Director of the Ministry of Public Administration Jayampathi Hettiarachchi says nearly five thousand government servants will be transferred accordingly. more..

Tsunami leaves some of DFCC’s customers a few millions poorer

Feb 17 (LBO) DFCC Bank's provisioning for doubtful debts went up to Rs. 62 mn, after the recent tsunami left its customers living in the effected areas Rs. 697 mn poorer. The unaudited group post tax profits dipped 4.6 percent to Rs. 863 mn for the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2004, more..

The tsunami left behind large numbers of disabled, grappling now with few opportunities to help them

Feb 17 (LBO) Last December’s tsunami exacted a toll of a different kind, increasing the numbers of disabled people who now have to grapple with limited opportunities to help them. Local data is still being collected, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates for all tsunami hit regions, there is a 20 percent increase in the number of people with disabilities. more..

Iran to help Sri Lanka rebuild

Feb 17 (PRIU) Iran has made a substantial donation towards the Government’s tsunami relief and rehabilitation activities. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Moshen Aminzadeh handed a cheque for USD 10 million to President Chandrika Kumaratunga today at the President’s House. more..

Muslims reject LTTE’s call to join the rebel outfit

Feb 17 (AT) Muslims of the Eastern Sri Lankan districts of Batticaloa and Ampara have rejected the call by leaders of LTTE, the Sri Lankan rebel movement fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka, to join their outfit. more..

American Football players on Tsunami mission

Feb 17 (AT) When tsunami disaster in the South Asian region is slowly escaping the attention of the general public in the United States, two leading American professional football players are now in Sri Lanka among the tsunami victims on a targeted mission to get maximum publicity of their visit to resuscitate the American public more..

National Schools Director sacked

Feb 17 (TP) Sri Lanka’s education sector was shaken on Tuesday after Education Secretary Tara de Mel sacked the current Director of National Schools following charges of irregular admissions to leading schools. more..

Amritanandamayi to build 300 houses for Lanka's tsunami survivors

Feb 17 (UNI) Indian Spiritual leader, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), who arrived in Colombo today on a three-day visit to console thousands of tsunami victims, immediately pledged to build 300 houses for the tsunami survivors. more..

Sri Lanka's coral reef reserves still intact

Feb 17 (IOL) The first assessment of damage to wildlife caused by the Asian tsunami has found that nature has been surprisingly resilient to the devastating effects of the giant waves. More than 200 000 people are believed to have been killed and entire coastal settlements wiped out in the aftermath of the Boxing Day earthquake more..

Muslims sceptical of LTTE's sincerity

Feb 17 (Dawn) The fact that the Muslims share the LTTE populated eastern territory in almost equal numbers with the Tamils seems to be dawning on the LTTE, 14 years after it ruthlessly embarked in an 'ethnic cleansing', forcing thousands of Muslims to flee the northern Jaffna region at gunpoint. more..

5.5% growth in 2005 despite tsunami: CB

Feb 17 (SAMN) Central Bank (CB) Wednesday said that economy in 2005 was projected to grow by 5.5% despite the impact of the tsunami whilst expressing confidence on the performance of key sectors. more..

UN official due in Sri Lanka for tsunami-relief assessment

Feb 17 (AFP) A top United Nations official was due here Thursday at the start of a tour of tsunami-hit Asian nations to assess what is needed to help survivors rebuild their livelihoods, a UN statement said. more..

Parents vow to raise 'miracle' baby as normal child

Feb 17 (AFP) Hindu priests blessed the celebrated "miracle tsunami baby" with holy water and rose petals in this eastern Sri Lankan town as his father vowed to raise him as a normal child. A court earlier in the day reunited four-month-old Abilash with his parents, more..

Mask-makers struggle to exorcise demons after tsunamis

Feb 17 (AFP) For the maestro in this Sri Lankan centre of devil masks and puppets, the tsunami signalled a warning from the gods -- and he is taking it very, very seriously. Master sculptor and musician, Bandu Wijesooriya, 70, is assembling a team of devil dancers, occult scientists, poets and musicians to exorcise evil spirits more..

Bus strike called off: Unions settle for Rs.1000 interim allowance

Feb 17 (DN) The strike launched by employees of cluster bus companies was called off last evening following a settlement reached between the Unions and Transport Minister Felix Perera. Minister Perera agreed to pay a Rs. 1000 interim allowance with the salary of the cluster bus company employees. more..

Over 50 Sri Lankan shops, houses gutted

Feb 17 (Xinhua) Over 50 Sri Lankan shops were gutted on Wednesday in a massive fire which broke out in the heart of the Bogawantalawa with the damage estimated at millions of rupees, the Official Daily News reported Thursday. more..

Most Lankan tsunami orphans are from North and East

Feb 17 (HT) Three fourths of the kids orphaned by the tsunami in Sri Lanka are from the conflict-ridden and Tamil-speaking North Eastern Province (NEP) of the island country. According to the latest figures, out of the 995 kids who had lost both their parents, 725 are from the North East. more..

Iran seeks more trade with Sri Lanka, offers 10 mln dlrs for tsunami relief

Feb 17 (AFP) Iran gave 10 million dollars to Sri Lanka for tsunami relief during talks here Thursday on increasing bilateral trade in tea and oil, a government statement said. Discussions were held between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister Moshen Aminzadeh more..

“Withdraw Buffer Zone or we will fast unto death,” Eastern fishermen warn

Feb 17 (LM) Fishermen from the Maruthamunai village are warning of an uprising, if authorities fail to withdraw the ‘200 metres buffer zone rule' for the Kalmunai Division. "we will give the Government ‘considerable' time, but if there is no proper feedback, then we will launch a massive fast unto death in front of the Divisional Secretariat's office in Kalmunai," more..

Swedish minister visits Batticaloa

Feb 18 (TN) Sweden's Minister for International Development Co-operation visited Batticaloa Thursday to see Tsunami relief operations in the eastern district. The Swedish Minister, Ms. Carin Jamtin, met government officials at the District Secretariat in the old Dutch Fort in Batticaloa town more..

Protest march against Government discrimination continues in Jaffna

Feb 18 (TN) Jaffna district Thursday witnessed another protest march in a series of such agitations held against the discrimination shown by the government in providing relief to tsunami victims and condemning the killing of LTTE senior political leader Mr.Koushalyan more..

UNICEF, GTZ assist to restore education in tsunami hit Trincomalee

Feb 18 (TN) German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) on behalf of the German Government and UNICEF Thursday inaugurated a project to provide learning and teaching materials to a total of 21,500 students in 95 schools in the Trincomalee district as a part of the joint effort to restore education for children in the tsunami affected areas. more..

Mannar court disallows application for release of Indian trawlers

Feb 18 (TN) Mannar Magistrate Mr.N.M.M.Abdullah Thursday disallowed the application seeking the release of all Indian fishing trawlers captured by the Sri Lanka Navy when poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters and are currently kept in their custody at the naval camps in Kayts, Pallimunai and Talaimannar, more..

Clinton Bush not visiting the North East

Feb 18 (BBC) In their forthcoming visit, former presidents of the USA, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush would not be visiting the tsunami hit areas in the North and the East. According to a statement issued by the US embassy in Colombo, the ex-presidents will mainly be visiting the Southern areas of the island. more..

UN’s bid for political role irks south Lankans

Feb 18 (HT) The United Nations is trying to acquire a greater political role in the peace process in Sri Lanka, Hindustan Times learns. As part of this venture, Secretary General Kofi Annan had sounded the Sri Lankan Government about the possibility of posting an UN Envoy in Colombo. more..

President-JVP correspondence to sort out problems

Feb 18 (LT) Deputy Ministers Forum has requested the President to address a descriptive letter to the JVP, as protracted clashes with them will not be favourable to the existence of the Alliance. This discussion between the President and the Deputy Ministers Forum held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday went on for more than four hours. more..

Construction of houses in Batticaloa commences on 20th

Feb 18 (LT) Reports say that the housing project for the erection of houses for those who lost their houses in Batticaloa district due to the tsunami catastrophe will commence on this 20th with the patronage of the President and the Prime Minister. more..

Tiger conflicts for 300 meters

Feb 18 (LT) Conflicting views have sprung up within Wanni tiger organization as a result of the tiger organization deciding to have a 300 meter buffer zone in the coastal belt. Though tiger organization is adamant on having a 300 meter buffer zone, its ally, The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, has opposed this. more..

President eager to form SL Govt. – LTTE combined mechanism

Feb 18 (LT) It is reported that the President has decided to do reconstruction work in the North and the East as a joint undertaking between the SL Government and Wanni tiger organization. She hopes to apprise the tiger organization through Erik Solheim, Norwegian peace envoy, who will be here on the 20th of this month. more..

Ethnic cleansing in the Jaffna University: Muslims and Sinhalese students were driven out

Feb 18 (AT) Muslim and Sinhala students had been chased out of the Medical Faculty of the University of Jaffna by Tamil students with the connivance of LTTE elements. According to the AUMSA, twenty-six Muslim and Sinhala students were admitted to the Medical Faculty of the Jaffna University this year and were severely attacked by Tamil students. more..

JVP may yet kiss and make up with the LTTE

Feb 18 (AT) “We will stay" vouched JVP’s Bimal Ratnayake, a Deputy Minister yesterday. For good measure he rubbed it in by saying "we know that some Members of Parliament are pressing their suits (or ordering new ones) in anticipation of their return to power - - which is the need to clarify the state of play." more..

Blog: Traveling is Half the Battle

Feb 18 (BS) My foot is swollen and I’m still limping around. NOT fun. I can’t seem to come back to Colombo from my travels without getting sick or injured!! lol Lessons learned: Don’t eat the food in the little “rest stops” en route and don’t run down mountains in the dark at odd hours of the morning. more..

Reaching out in sri Lanka – day 3

Feb 18 (KC) Before I get into recapping my day I want to mention a way for people to get involved. There is so much more that needs to be done here and although you may not be able to come here physically there are still ways to help. more..

Reaching out in sri Lanka – day 4

Feb 18 (KC) Thanks again to everybody that’s checking in on my journal. We’ve gotten dozens of responses through the website, including some from people living here in Sri Lanka who have read the journal! I just want to say thanks to all of you for coming to the website, supporting the Chiefs and responding. more..

Private university concept under fire

Feb 18 (SAMN) Pro-Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) student and teacher trade unionists are up in arms against, what they alleged was, the Education Ministry’s decision to introduce private universities to the country. more..

State to resist MP's application

Feb 18 (SAMN) The State is opposing an application by jailed United National Party (UNP) frontliner S.B.Dissanayake to prevent the Elections Commissioner from appointing a Nuwara Eliya UNP list MP to his seat in Parliament. more..

UNP opposes 100-metre buffer zone

Feb 18 (SAMN) The UNP Thursday declared there was not a single law in Sri Lanka prohibiting constructions within 100 metres from the coast. UNP spokesman G.L. Peiris said according to section 14 of the Constitution no one could impose such a restriction. more..

President attacks politicians, NGOs

Feb 18 (SAMN) President Chandrika Kumaratunga fired bomb shells Thursday accusing an opposition politician of trying to block tsunami aid to Sri Lanka and hitting out at local newspapers claiming they were so outrageous she had stopped reading them. more..

Beware: A Two-man LTTE Army in Europe on a Search and Kill Mission

Feb 18 (AT) Intelligence sources have informed the “Asian Tribune” that a two-man operation has been launched by the LTTE to target members of the “Karuna faction” ands other anti- LTTE groups in Europe. more..

Kofi Annan lambasts LTTE

Feb 18 (LNP) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his report to the Security Council, lambasted the LTTE over child abuse, which includes, recruiting children as soldiers, abducting, maiming, or killing them, subjecting them to rape and other sexual violence, the Asian Tribune reported. more..

Tamil as official language exists only on paper

Feb 18 (LNP) The passing into law of the 13th Amendment to the present Constitution, (Article 18 in Chapter IV) established Tamil as an official language of this country along with Sinhala. Article 22 states that Tamil and Sinhala shall be the languages of administration throughout Sri Lanka. more..

LTTE political office attacked again

Feb 18 (TN) The political office of the Liberation Tigers was attacked by group of persons Friday around 11 a.m. A unit of riot Police that was training in the vicinity arrested some of the attackers but released them soon after, according to neighbours. more..

Suspected LTTE men’s murder attempt on PLOTE member fails

Feb 18 (SLA) A member of the PLOTE escaped death when an unidentified group of pistol men, believed to be from the LTTE, shot and injured him in the general area of IRATPERIYAKULAM, BOO-OYA, about 8 k.m. south of VAVUNIYA on Thursday (17) around 8.45 p.m. while he was traveling in a canter truck. more..

Fear-stricken tsunami victims tell about LTTE presence

Feb 18 (SLA) Troops were compelled to conduct a search and clear operation in the general area of MANKERNI on 17 February 2005 around 10.15 a.m. after troops and civilians observed the presence of an armed man and some LTTE men near a Welfare Centre for Tsunami victims at MANKERNI and also around the 50th Mile Post on TRINCOMALEE-BATTICALOA road. more..

Irate fishermen stone LTTE office and demand release of fishermen

Feb 18 (SLA) Scores of irate fishermen from PALLIMUNAI, MANNAR area with members of their families stormed the office of the LTTE in MANNAR town, Friday (18) at about 10.30 a.m. and stoned it demanding immediate stop to LTTE harassment and release of three detained fishermen. more..