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Clinton, Bush tsunami tour begins in tears, hope

Feb 19 (Reuters) Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush began a tour of Asia's tsunami killing fields on Saturday in a devastated Thai fishing village which offered tears and hope. more..

We are faster than UNP at privatising state assets ' Govt. union

Feb 19 (LNP) A JVP trade union has claimed that the state bank privatisation process, launched by the previous UNP regime, had been expedited by Sandhanaya government. The All Ceylon Bank Employees' Union, in a letter to Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, has said that the ongoing process was being implemented in, what was described as, a much more calculated way. more..

Duty free treatment from EU: Lanka's efforts bear fruit

Feb 19 (DN) Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jeyaraj Fernandopulle who has made intensified efforts to obtain duty free treatment for Sri Lanka's exports to the 25 trading nations of the European Union, has obtained a very positive reply from his counterpart in the European Commission, Peter Mandelson. more..

Sri Lankan widowers share a sense of desolation

Feb 19 (IPS) Ramasamy Rajakumar spends his afternoons in the company of a few men who are united by a common thread of grief. They all lost their wives when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck. Some, like Rajakumar, also lost two children. more..

Sri Lanka records highest FDI inflow in 2004

Feb 19 (Xinhua) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Sri Lanka reached new heights of 234 million US dollars in 2004, a 10.9 percent increase over 2003. "Considering the absence of large privatization, reaching this record investment level in 2004 is a great achievement for Sri Lanka," more..

Sri Lanka on alert ahead of ex-US presidents' visit

Feb 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka boosted security ahead of a visit by former US presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton to inspect American-funded tsunami relief projects, police said. Bush and Clinton will arrive in Colombo Sunday and hold talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga before leaving Monday for Matara, more..

Report from the NorthEast

Feb 19 (Sangam) We have just returned from our first day surveying Tsunami damage in Kalmunai, a small town on the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka, and it is very hard to keep from breaking down. The mind cannot conceive of the human tragedy that occurred here on 12/26/04. more..

Norwegian envoy to mediate in Sri Lanka amid heightened tensions

Feb 19 (AP) A top Norwegian envoy will urge the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume peace talks this week, after renewed violence stoked fears of a return to civil war, officials said Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka appoints judges to investigate possible neglect of tsunami early warning

Feb 19 (AP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has appointed two retired judges to investigate whether officials ignored any early warnings about a tsunami threat following the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean earthquake, a news report said Saturday. more..

Lost in Translation

Feb 19 (LBO) For the New York Times, it was the case of Sri Lanka's "most celebrated tsunami orphan." Networks broadcast how "nine" women fought over the baby who survived the island's worst natural disaster. more..

Sri Lanka military accuses Tigers of provocation

Feb 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan military said Saturday that they had complained to the international truce monitors over alleged provocative action made by the Tamil Tigers. Brigadier Daya Ratnayake, the military spokesman, said the SLMM had been alerted to an incident offiring in the air by the LTTE rebels in the northern Jaffna Peninsula. more..

Mannar Bishop writes to LTTE over shooting at sea

Feb 20 (TN) Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, wrote to the Liberation Tigers Saturday regarding the incident at sea near Vidathaltheevu in which armed persons believed to be Sea Tigers fired on the boats of fishermen from Pallimunai, a coastal suburb of Mannar town, damaging the boats. more..

Provincial Ministry holds workshop on ‘Personality Development’

Feb 20 (TN) Ms Anoja Weerasinghe, veteran Sinhala film actress of Abihina Foundation held a three-day workshop on ‘Personality Development’ for 70 youths in in Trincomalee who were affected by tsunami. North East Provincial Education and Cultural Affairs Ministry conducted the workshop in collaboration with the Christian Children Fund (CCF) more..

Mullaitivu Institute targets producing skilled workers

Feb 20 (TN) The Economic Consultancy House (TECH), a Non-Governmental Non-Profit Sharing Organization registered with the Government of Sri Lanka, is building a new Technical Institute in Mullaitivu to train Masons, Carpenters, Electricians, Fitters, Machine operators and other skilled workers more..

Documentation nightmare of the displaced

Feb 20 (BBC) The Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka is taking steps to help people get copies of official documentation lost due to the Tsunami. According to Sunil Jayaratna, presidient of the Mathara Bar Association, people are facing numerous problems regarding identity and ownership of land as a result of losing official documentation. more..

Friends of Unawatuna

Feb 20 (FOU) Cresenta and I had been married and living in Sri Lanka for just over a year when the water came. Three of our closest friends, Zvoni, Krista and Petia, had arrived in Colombo from Boston to commence a five day road trip around the island. more..

US Army prepares to a come back

Feb 20 (LT) The US armed forces those came to Sri Lanka are to be send again to the island. According to the White House statements there are two phases in tsunami relief operations. As the first phase a donation of $ 120 million worth assistance was given. more..

Opportunity for cohabitation politics extinct - Ranil

Feb 20 (LT) The opportunity for cohabitational politics has elapsed says Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of opposition. He says there was an opportunity created for cohabitation politics with tsunami catastrophe but it was lost. more..

Tiger’s Waterloo?

Feb 20 (AT) In three days time the UN Security Council will debate Secretary General, Kofi Annan’s proposal to impose international sanctions on the LTTE and a number of other organisations engaged in child conscription. more..

Tilvin Silva, JVP Secretary hits round the wicket

Feb 20 (AT) In an exclusive interview given to the “Asian Tribune,” Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP, dealt with a range of issues, including the current frictions with its main coalition partner in the government, President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Dilshan takes North Central past 600

Feb 20 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan added a cultured 134 to Avishka Gunawardene's double-century yesterday as North Central Province piled up a huge total on the third day at the Sinhalese Sports Club. Mahela Jayawardene called a halt when Dilshan was finally out, more..

Lanka IOC to take on Shell's LPG dominance

Feb 20 (GT) The Sri Lankan unit of Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) plans to challange Royal Dutch/Shell's dominance in the domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market this year, its boss said. Lanka IOC intends to enter the LPG market in the next six months more..

17 SLA recruits hospitalized, food poisoning suspected

Feb 20 (TN) Seventeen Sri Lanka Army (SLA) new recruits were transported to the Anuradhapura General Hospital by special helicopter after being admitted to the Vavuniya Hospital emergency ward with suspected food positioning, medical sources said. The soldiers are from the Kokkoveli army camp in Vavuniya district. more..

US Seventh Fleet flagship Blue Ridge on a visit to Colombo

Feb 20 (TN) Barely a few hours before the grand and maiden arrival of the US former Presidents, Bill Clinton and H.W. Bush to Sri Lanka, the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet, USS Blue Ridge, arrived in Colombo harbour this morning on what is described as "a brief goodwill visit". more..

Paramilitary cadre injured in shooting

Feb 20 (TN) A young person was shot and injured by unidentified gunmen Saturday night around 10.15 in Oddamavady, 34 kilometres north of Batticaloa, Police said. The man, Mr. Vadivel Ravichandran, 22, of Kiran, told Police he was a member of the paramilitary Karuna Group. more..

Indian soldiers help reconstruct Arugam Bay bridge

Feb 20 (TN) Soldiers of the Indian Army contingent that arrived in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of tsunami disaster have started construction of temporary spans over the partially but heavily damaged Arugam Bay bridge in Amparai district. more..

Rare species of animals are now appearing in the Yala National Park

Feb 20 (SLBC) Director of Wildlife Dayananda Kariyawasam says that rare species of wildlife are appearing in the Yala national park these days. He stressed that no physical changes will be made in the tsunami affected ecological system. more..

Fears for the orphans of Sri Lanka in aid limbo

Feb 20 (TO) AMONG the orphans of the tsunami, Manju Dissanayake, 12, is one of the lucky few. He lost his parents when the wave crashed ashore on the beaches of southern Sri Lanka. But he now lives with his aunt in a tent erected in the tranquil grounds of a Buddhist temple called Naga Rama Purama. more..

Kauna ask not to provide security to Thamilselvan in Upcountry

Feb 20 (LNP) Karuna , the leader of Eastern Tigers has asked the government not to provide security to SP ThamilSelvan who is to be touring in estate areas in the upcountry. He is a leader of a separatist communalist Wanni Tigers. He must not be given chances to spread communalism in the estate areas. more..

Sri Lanka train makes maiden journey on tsunami death track

Feb 20 (AP) Almost two months after the tsunami swept away a passenger train, killing nearly 2,000 people, Sri Lanka prepared Sunday to send its first train along the repaired coastal tracks in a symbolic journey meant to show life was slowly returning to normal. more..

Tsunami aid disappears

Feb 20 (LNP) Sri Lankan government and international donor community have expressed serious concern over the channelling by local NGOs of $2 billion funds donated by the international NGOs and people of many countries. more..

Govt playing local politics with UN: Jayalath

Feb 20 (LNP) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, accused the government of playing local politics with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's recent comments on the killing of several LTTE cadres including their Ampara-Batticaloa LTTE political leader Kaushalyan. more..

Attempts to release captured fishermen

Feb 20 (BBC) Politicians and religious leaders in north-western Sri Lanka are trying to secure the release of five Tamil fishermen detained by Tamil Tiger rebels last week. TNA's member of parliament Selvam Adaikalanthan, said he and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Royappu Joseph had sought a meeting with the Tamil Tigers in Kilinochchi to defuse the situation. more..

Norway to mark Sri Lanka truce anniversary with fresh bid to save talks

Feb 20 (AFP) Norway's peace envoy Erik Solheim will mark the third anniversary of a ceasefire in Sri Lanka with a fresh bid to salvage talks between Colombo and Tamil rebels and speed up tsunami relief efforts, a diplomat said. more..

In Sri Lanka, loans take on key role in disaster relief

Feb 20 (WSJ) The world has pledged more than a $1 billion to help this island nation care for its tsunami victims. But when Jasindra Maheshwaran needed cash to rebuild her life, it didn't come from that vast charitable outpouring. She got a loan. more..

Sri Lanka faces shortage for tsunami rebuilding

Feb 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka, an exporter of skilled labour to the Middle East, is now facing a severe shortage of workers for its giant post-tsunami reconstruction plan. Sri Lanka needs at least 100,000 workers for building projects as it grapples with the reality that it will need many more for other long-term infrastructure projects. more..

US Geo Survey: Tsunami hit up to 1 km inland

Feb 20 (ANN) The tsunamis that hit Sri Lanka in December had travelled more than one kilometre in some parts of the country, with distances showing an increase along the east coast towards the south, an international tsunami survey team has found. more..

Former US presidents begin Sri Lanka tsunami visit

Feb 20 (AFP) Former US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush began the third-leg of their four-nation tour of tsunami-hit countries with an overnight visit to Sri Lanka where nearly 31,000 people perished. more..

'Forced to eat' explosives

Feb 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military launched an investigation into the poisoning of 17 soldiers on Sunday amid allegations they had been forced to eat plastic explosives during a training exercise. more..

Tsunami Survivors, Families In Camps Give Anguishing Accounts

Feb 20 (TBO) When T.D. Kamaldeen's toddler son asks where his Mama is, he tells him she's working abroad, making money to buy him chocolate. Or maybe a bicycle. Sometimes the 3-year-old boy with big brown eyes wants to call and talk to Mama. Kamaldeen doesn't know what to say. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 20 (Yahoo) Former presidents Bill Clinton (L) and George Bush sign a guest book upon their arrival at Colombo's International Airport February 20, 2005. more..

Food aid distribution completed in LTTE controlled areas, claims Gov.

Feb 20 (IL) The Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation (RRR) while contesting the figures of tsunami victims in Batticaloa and Ampara said the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) has returned nearly 25,000 World Food Aid Ration (WFAR) cards after distributions were completed in the LTTE controlled areas. more..


Feb 20 (IL) As Sri Lanka copes with the worst natural tragedy in recorded history, the country cannot languish in despair and desperation. Instead, in a spirit of hope, we need to look positively at the solution, at relief and reconciliation, at reconstruction and rebuilding. more..

Sri Lanka lost opportunity to forge national unity

Feb 20 (Xinhua) The leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe said Saturday that the government had missed an opportunity to forge national unity through the tsunami relief effort. more..

Sri Lanka relief log : February

Feb 20 (BBC) Daisy Lowe, the president of the Sri Lankan Association of South Wales, has travelled to Sri Lanka to help in the aftermath of the tsunami. The disaster has left more than 30,000 in the country dead and 835,000 have been made homeless. more..

Paramilitary ambushed in Polannaruwa, one killed

Feb 21 (TN) A paramilitary cadre was killed and another wounded when gunmen ambushed them near the Batticaloa-Polannaruwa district border Sunday around 11.45 a.m. Sri Lanka Police in Welikanda said. The two men, both cadres of the Karuna Group, were traveling on a motorbike from Karapola to Muththukkal, villages in the interior of Polannaruwa District, more..

Police should remove language barriers, says Trinco Bar President

Feb 21 (TN) Mr.Kasinather Sivapalan, newly elected President of the Trincomalee District Bar Association (TDBA) said he would request the police to appoint Tamil speaking personnel in all police stations in the Trincomalee district to record complaints in Tamil language and also to submit reports in courts of law at least with Tamil translation. more..

Final DART members headed home from tsunami zone

Feb 21 (CTV) The remaining members of Canada's disaster response team in tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka are heading home after a strenuous 40-day mission. Since Jan. 6, 200 members of Canada's DART have been working along Sri Lanka's hard-hit coastline to help prevent a disease outbreak among the survivors. more..

President vow to be stern against those who destroy non-Buddhist religious institutions

Feb 21 (AT) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga lambasted the extremist Buddhist elements in the country who goes on a rampage attacking the other religious institutions and torching them. more..

Bush and Clinton arrives in Colombo and will visit the South, but not North and East

Feb 21 (AT) Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush Snr. arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday evening, in a special flight, at the Katunayake International Airport, more..