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Sri Lanka allows local airlines to compete for intl routes with SriLankan Air

May 19 (AFX) The government is set to allow local private airlines to operate international flights using its air service agreements with other countries, to compete with national carrier SriLankan Airlines, which is partly owned by the Emirates of Dubai, the aviation minister said. more..

Dangers of the LTTE's air capability

May 19 (Hindu) Since the end of last year, the Sri Lankan media have reported off and on about the newly acquired air capability of the LTTE. In February 2005, a press report said President Chandrika Kumaratunga had even told the two former American Presidents, about this in the course of her briefing on the tsunami disaster and relief work organised by her Government. more..

Govt hopes to reduce the number of poor people by 50% in five years

May 19 (RW) The government hopes to reduce the number of poor people by 50% in five years, from 36 million at present to 18 million in 2010, says a senior minister. "The number of the poor in the country now reached 36.1 million, which is 1.6% of the total population of 210 million, down from 37.34 million in 2003, or 17.42% of the total population," more..

Indian Cabinet approves Sethusamudram canal project

May 19 (Reuters) The cabinet has approved a 24 billion rupee ship channel project to make it easier for ships to travel between the east and west coasts of the country, a government statement said on Thursday. The Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project will involve dredging of a ship channel in the shallow portion of the sea between India and Sri Lanka more..

Japan welcomes moves towards Joint Mechanism

May 19 (PIS) The international donor community including Japan strongly endorse the idea of setting up of a Joint Mechanism to bring all the communities and stakeholders to manage post-tsunami activities in North-East, Kazuo Kodama, Deputy Director General of Economic Cooperation Bureau of Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry said yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom Q1 group net jumps 40 pct

May 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka Telecom said on Thursday its first-quarter net profit jumped 40 percent, as the firm benefited from higher interest income and a decision to book losses from Asia's tsunami in last year's accounts. more..

Trincomalee a ghost town

May 19 (PIS) Trincomalee which was affected by an LTTE inspired hartal on Tuesday remained a ghost town yesterday as well with shops closed and streets deserted with hardly a sign of life visible. more..

Elephants charge at Cocks over JM

May 19 (SAMN) The UNP is furious over a CWC claim that the main opposition party was trying to jeopardise the ongoing efforts to establish a Joint Mechanism (JM), which would give the LTTE a hand in tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction work, in the northern and eastern provinces. more..

Probe into Trincomalee violence

May 19 (SAMN) Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday directed the IGP to hold a comprehensive and impartial inquiry into Tuesday's grenade attack in Trincomalee which left one person dead and sparked tension in the area. The Premier told Parliament that the Government would ensure the tension in Trincomalee did not escalate. more..

Executive must first decide on JM: Ranil

May 19 (SAMN) The UNP parliamentary group this week met at the parliament complex. The following points were raised and discussed by the MP's present. Rauff Hakeem MP informed the parliamentary group about a rumour that a final decision regarding the joint mechanism would be taken only after consulting the members of parliament. more..

Police patrols stalled due to fuel cut

May 19 (SAMN) Police patrols in Colombo have come to a standstill as more than 15 police vehicles belonging to the 19 police stations in the Greater Colombo area were stalled while 20 other vehicles have limited their routine patrols due to a heavy curtailment of the fuel quota by the department. more..

Sri Lanka, Iran enter oil deal

May 19 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan and Iranian governments have entered a new crude oil deal, the state radio said Thursday. Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said that during the talks held in Tehran last week, Sri Lanka's Ceypetco, a government owned subsidiary of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had agreed to purchase 1 million tons of crude oil from Iran. more..

Thirty complaints against officials handling tsunami relief

May 19 (DN) Seven officials charged with pilfering tsunami aid have been interdicted and investigations are proceeding. The Women's Empowerment and Social Welfare Ministry have received about 30 complaints regarding Tsunami relief malpractices, Acting Social Welfare Minister S.M. Chandrasena said. more..

Air missiles seized from house

May 19 (LNP) Fifteen anti-aircraft missiles and several uniforms were recovered from the house of an airman at Meegahawela, Nattandiya yesterday morning, police said. On a tip off Koswatta police raided a house belonging to the airman and seized the anti-aircraft missiles of different calibres as well as several Air Force uniforms and some ammunition pouches. more..

Implement UN rights recommendations

May 19 (LNP) The UNP has urged the government to immediately implement the Geneva based UN Human Rights Committee recommendations with regard to `the remedies for the rights violations that have been the subject of communications by several Sri Lankans over the recent past. more..

Cops to be rewarded for 'handy' work

May 19 (LNP) Fifty eight policemen are to be rewarded for successfully handling the high profile investigation into July 2001 attack on the Bandaranaike International Airport and the adjacent Airforce base, the worst act of LTTE terrorism in the entire Eelam war. more..

STF escort hit by tigers

May 19 (LM) A bus containing prisoners including a Karuna faction cadre was targeted by a claymore mine in Amparai this morning causing injuries to a Police constable, in what Police believe was an LTTE bid to kill the Karuna cadre who was being taken to the Ampara Courts. more..

Trinco still tense as Buddha statue crisis simmers - partial Harthal continues

May 19 (LM) Trincomalee town remained tense, though eased in comparison with yesterday's crisis level, with the LTTE sponsored Harthal , demanding removal of a replacement Buddha statue, only partially in force. more..

No acceptance of Lanka's sovereignty, says LTTE

May 19 (HT) The LTTE has refuted Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's claim that it has accepted Sri Lanka's sovereignty by agreeing to work with the government in a Joint Mechanism for post-tsunami reconstruction in the Tamil-speaking North East Province. more..

Former mayor shot and wounded in Sri Lanka's east

May 19 (AP) A former mayor was shot and seriously wounded in Sri Lanka's northeast, police said. Unidentified gunmen shot Surya Murthi, 65, late Wednesday, and left him in a pool of blood at his home, said Neiville Wijesinghe, the region's police chief. more..

Tigers push for tsunami deal with Sri Lankan government

May 19 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels pushed for "serious engagement" with Sri Lanka's government to share billions of dollars of tsunami aid despite official fears that such a deal threatens the president's life. more..

Competition for SriLankan, new Katunayake runway mulled

May 20 (TN) The Sri Lankan government is set to allow local private airlines to operate international flights using its air service agreements with other countries and thereby competing with the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, press reports quoted the aviation minister as saying. more..

Trincomalee tense

May 20 (TN) Tension escalated in Trincomalee after one person was injured Friday at 12.30pm following an explosion close to the vegetable near the site where the controversial Buddha statue stands and at least three persons were admitted to the Trincomalee general hospital with cut injuries Friday in incidents that took place in the suburbs of the town, security sources in Trincomalee said. more..

Child soldier figures wrongly quoted- Save the Children

May 20 (TN) Mike Aaronson, Director General of Save the Children UK, in a letter to LTTE's Head of Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, expressed regret that the figures for child soldiers including girl soldiers have been "wrongly quoted" in a recent report released by the UK based organisation. more..

Do Sri Lanka's defense forces have conventional warfare capability?- Taraki

May 20 (TN) In an article in the Virakesari, on March 27, Dharmaretnam Sivaram, analyzed the history of Sri Lanka's defense forces and argued that from the very beginning, the Sri Lankan forces' mission was to confront internal crises that the country's ruling elite feared as grave threats, without the strategic thinking required for conventional warfare or to confront external threats. more..

LTTE minors surrender in their hundreds

May 20 (SLA) Unspeakable cruelty and suffering, torture, violent training, brutal harassment, restricted movement and forced detention meted out by LTTE to their youth conscripts, teenagers and minors, have prompted hundreds of them to sever relations with LTTE during past three years and surrender to Security Forces for safety and protection. more..

BATTICALOA Court upholds Police action at SANDILIVELI

May 20 (SLA) The BATTICALOA Court after its hearings on the recent shooting incident at SANDILIVELI, BATTICALOA where one civilian was killed after LTTE unleashed violence on Security Forces at SANDILIVELI roadblock has ruled that the Police shooting had been effected in self-defence under their gright to private defence.h more..

LTTE attempting to create tension in Trinco

May 20 (SLA) Hostility prevailed among civilians grew worse after an incident of attack on a shop in the general area of TRINCOMALEE today (20) afternoon. According to information, a group of unidentified persons have lobbed a hand grenade at a shop in the TRINCOMALEE town around 1.00 p.m. today and damaged the shop belonging to businessman in the area. more..

More and more hand grenades explode in TRINCOMALLE

May 20 (SLA) Two more incidents of violence are reported from trouble-torn TRINCOMALEE and its suburbs when suspected LTTE men exploded two hand grenades last night (19 May 2005) causing damages to two vehicles and a hotel. more..

LTTE attackers run leaving their weapons behind

May 20 (SLA) During a subsequent search conducted by the Special Task Force(STF) personnel in the general area of the 9th MILE POST on AMPARA-MONARAGALA road, immediately after the claymore mine attack by the LTTE on Thursday (19), one grenade pistol and one claymore wire to the length of 75 m have been recovered from the location. more..

EPDP members in protest at SLMM office

May 20 (SLA) Members of the Eelam Peoplefs Democratic Party (EPDP) had organized a protest in the general area of BATTICALOA town on 19 May 2005 around 11.30 a.m. condemning the continuous killings of their members by the LTTE. more..

Dependancy mentality growing among tsunami victims

May 20 (LBO) The slow pace of resettlement and employment generation is creating dependency mentality, says a local NGO. PAFFREL a local election monitoring NGO says that tsunami victims are developing dependency mentality on aid and that the 100m buffer rule compounds the problem. more..

Danish Youths on a cultural tour to East of Sri Lanka

May 20 (AT) A group of Danish youths including Danish Tamils are to leave on an intercultural exchange program to the East coast of Sri Lanka to volunteer their services in rebuilding a tsunami affected school in the Amaparai district in the Eastern province of the tsunami ravaged country. more..

Tsunami warning system in place soon - UN

May 20 (Reuters) An interim tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean should be in place by October, mainly through upgrading an existing network of tide gauges, the head of the United Nations oceanographic body said on Thursday. more..

Central Camp Ampara Hospital deplorable says Hakeem

May 20 (LM) The Central Camp Hospital in Ampara district is in an abandoned state, the maternity ward that was built a few years ago remains just a building, there's no personnel, no essential equipment. Equipped with one hundred beds and OPD facilities, it is manned by a single visiting doctor who covers many stations including the Central Camp Hospital. more..

Muslim University Students c..Crisis or just callous brutality ?

May 20 (LM) Angry parents of stranded Muslim and Sinhala Medical students called on the government to get its education priorities right before establishing open schools for drop-outs. 'Some parents scoffed at government's decision to establish open schools for drop-outs while our own children are kicked out from universities with no explanations given. more..

'Govt. will comply court decision'

May 20 (SAMN) Leader of the House Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that the Government would abide by the court decision in dealing with the dispute surrounding the erection of a Buddha statue in Trincomalee town. more..

Tea exports still top earner for Sri Lanka

May 20 (ANN) John Keells Limited announced Thursday that Sri Lankafs net tea exports are on par with the countryfs net apparel exports. This was one of the findings reported in its recently published study of the countryinternationally renowned tea industry titled "Tea Review 2004". more..

JVP demands TV time to reply President

May 20 (SAMN) The JVP charged yesterday that some of the statements made by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in her Rupavahini interview last Monday were false, misleading and malicious. In a tough letter to the Chairman of the Rupavahini Corporation the JVP demanded TV time to reply the false charges and wrong statements made by the President. more..

Hambantota Port project to start soon

May 20 (SAMN) The Government is determined to go ahead with the Hambantota Port project despite tangible pressure from various international forces that oppose the setting up of a port at this strategic location, Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera declared yesterday. more..

EPDP for Joint Mechanism

May 20 (SAMN) The JVP appears to be fast losing backing for its hardline stand on the proposed Joint Mechanism (JM) to carry out tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction in northern and eastern provinces. Despite President Chandrika Kumaratunga's pledge to go ahead with the proposed exclusive structure, the JVP continues to oppose the arrangement. more..

Karuna group sabotages Tigers` plan

May 20 (LNP) Rival LTTE factions, fighting for supremacy in Batticaloa, on Wednesday interfered with the funeral of a youth killed at Mamamgam, Batticaloa last Tuesday. An authoritative Batticaloa based military official said that the Vanni group ordered a major demonstration against the killing of 22-year-old Sivalingam Arun, a three wheeler driver. more..

Trinco attacks aimed at chasing out Sinhala Buddhists - JHU

May 20 (LNP) Parliamentary Group Leader of the JHU, Ven. Athuraliye Ratana thero said the Government must take action to arrest those who carry weapons in Trincomalee and to conduct search operations in Colombo. There are plans to chase out Sinhala Buddhists from Trincomalee, the thero told the House yesterday. more..

Aid windfall tsunami silver lining for Sri Lanka

May 20 (Reuters) Unexpected and unabated waves of aid should allow Sri Lanka to use some of that money to tackle poverty and rehabilitate war-ravaged parts of the island, the chairman of the tsunami reconstruction agency said on Friday. more..

Tamil rebels have recruited 137 children since tsunami: UNICEF

May 20 (AP) Sri Lankas Tamil Tiger rebels have recruited 137 children into their ranks since the Indian Ocean tsunami, nine of whom were taken directly from relief camps, the UN children agency said Friday. more..

Tensions mount as more blasts rip through Sri Lanka town

May 20 (AFP) More explosions have ripped through a northeast Sri Lankan port town in the grips of the fourth day of a strike called by minority Tamils, police said. Two men were wounded in clashes triggered by two grenade attacks on shops which defied the strike called by Tamils in Trincomalee, more..

JVP again blasts joint mechanism, JHU warns - paper

May 21 (TN) The JVP strongly and totally rejected the joint mechanism between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE - charging it would be unconstitutional, undemocratic and create chaos not only in the country but in the whole South Asian region, the Daily Mirror reported. more..

Tsunami aid inflow puts Sri Lanka balance of payments in the black

May 21 (LBO) The influx of aid since December's tsunami disaster will lift Sri Lanka's balance of payments into the black this year, the central bank said Friday. Sri Lanka's overall balance of payments showed a surplus of 179 million dollars in the first quarter to March 31, 2005 thanks to the tsunami aid inflows, more..

Sri Lanka poised to name Moody as coach

May 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka are expected to name Australian Tom Moody as their national coach next week following India's appointment of Greg Chappell. Sri Lanka were forced to delay their recruitment process until after India had finalised interviews with Moody and Chappell. more..

Sri Lanka day in Cannes festival

May 21 (BBC) Cannes film festival is often seen as an antidote to the dominance of the world film market by Hollywood and the US industry. Apart from beautiful starlets posing on the beach as the cameras click, or perhaps the victorious progress of world-famous directors along the red carpet in front of cheering crowds of fans, this years Cannes has another appealing side. more..