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An accelerated programme gets underway to promote low cost housing technology

Jan 18 (SLBC) An accelerated programme will be implemented to promote low cost housing technology. The Ministry of Housing and Construction says the programme gets underway this year. Secretary to the Ministry P. Weerahandi opines it will be launched in Ampara, Kurunegala, Matara and Colombo. Accordingly, a house can be built at a cost of 175 thousand rupees. more..

Expats, fatigue and a Sri Lankan surprise

Jan 18 (CI) Two ground records were broken at the Gabba in the past eight days but today there were only 9388 spectators, a return expected for a healthy Queensland ING Cup match. VB Series games between the touring teams are a recipe enjoyed by expats, genuine enthusiasts and corporate guests who couldn't get tickets for Australia. more..

LTTE 'will not return to war' -Norway

Jan 18 (BBC) The Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka says that the Tamil Tigers will not return to war. Hans Brattskar was speaking to journalists in Kilinoachi after meeting S.P Thamilselvan, leader of the LTTE political wing. He said that he had no reason to believe that the Tamil Tigers will go to war and was optimistic that the LTTE wants to come to the negotiation table. more..

TNA MPs agitate - Parliamentary sittings suspended

Jan 18 (LeN) A protest by TNA parliamentarians in the parliamentary chambers this morning forced Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara to suspend sittings until 9.30 tomorrow morning. They were protesting against the killing of civilians in the North and East and arresting and harassing of the Tamil people through joint Army - Police cordon and search operations. more..

Getty Images

Jan 18 (GI) Sri Lankan police officers check for explosives during a search of a truck in Columbo. Fresh violence since early last month has killed 135 people, including 78 security personnel. more..

Ranil keeps sword and gives sheath to Karu

Jan 18 (LeN) United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was able to keep at bay the struggle launched by a dissident group, which was calling for a change in the party leadership by offering a newly created post of Executive Chairman to Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya at yesterday's (16) parliamentary group meeting. more..

Letter from Trincomalee

Jan 18 (BBC) We were prevented from entering the port because our arrival coincided with a suspected Tamil Tigers grenade attack on a police checkpoint, which prompted the security forces to seal off the road. Our departure was complicated by a virtual blockade of the city by the JVP whose half-drunk supporters had surrounded our vehicle earlier that day and threatened to beat us up. more..

Balasingham to visit Wanni next week to meet Norway peace envoy

Jan 18 (UNI) In a fresh bid to resume the peace process, LTTE's London-based chief negotiator and political advisor, Anton Balasingham, will visit the Tiger-held Wanni region next week to assist the elusive rebel leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran at the forthcoming meeting with Norway's special peace envoy Erik Solheim. more..

End the traffic congestion - Entrepreneurs

Jan 18 (AT) The leading garment manufacturers in Sri Lanka urged the government to improve internal road network to ease the present traffic congestion. They said that traffic congestion would minimize their productivity. The Investors also said that all garment manufacturers and other industrialists need cheap electricity resources and quick transportation system to handover their products and the services on time. more..

A Muslim beaten to death

Jan 18 (LT) Members of wanni tiger organization beat to death a Muslim and seriously injured another at Akkaraipattu today at about 3.30 p.m. Ahamedlebbe Abdul Baheer (35) was beaten to death when he was travelling in a motorbike with his friend Nahurthamby Athambaba Lebbe (25) when they were beaten up by a group of wanni tigers. more..

Hullabaloo about ‘Helping Hambantota’ was a sham

Jan 18 (LT) Attorney General has informed Supreme Court that it was not necessary to proceed with the inquiry on the controversial ‘Helping Hambantota’ accounts. This was informed by Mr. Palithe Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General who acted for Attorney General when the Fundemental rights petition filed more..

Jaffna University students suspend studies

Jan 18 (AT) Jaffna University students’ union has announced the stoppage of continuing with their daily classes, their studies at the university and other educational activities provided by the university until normalcy prevails in the region. more..

All Party Conference: Déjà vu?

Jan 18 (TW) There is no denying that however elusive it has proved to be, a consensus of all parties in the south or in parliament on a political settlement is necessary for peace. In particular, a consensus amongst predominantly Sinhala parties is crucial, since it cannot be implemented without public support and legitimacy and will therefore require approval at a referendum. more..

Tigers chase out Sinhala, Muslim students from Jaffna varsity

Jan 18 (ANN) Seventy eight Sinhala and Muslim undergraduates, studying at the Vavuniya Campus of Jaffna University, were chased out by the LTTE and are now seeking placements in Southern universities, university sources said. They had informed the University Grants Commission that they were ordered to leave their courses of studies by the LTTE. more..

Tamil Tigers’ (LTTE) “Hit & Run” game with grenades continues

Jan 18 (SLA) AN EXPLOSION INSIDE a motor spare parts shop on the main street, MARATHADIYA, TRINCOMALEE Tuesday (17) morning at about 10.45 a.m. injured one of the employees working inside the shop. The Police claimed that suspected Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in the area had triggered the explosion. more..

AKKARAIPATTU rises against LTTE killings

Jan 18 (SLA) TENSION IN AKKARAIPATTU rose on Wednesday (18) as hundreds of Muslims and other civilians gathered on major roads in the town and declared a day of Harthal (protest) against continued LTTE murders and other atrocities. Tuesday’s (17) murder of a Muslim man and injuries caused to another Muslim by Tamil Tiger gunmen sparked off the total shutdown of the town. more..

Tamil Tiger repeats the grenade game at the entrance to hospital

Jan 18 (SLA) HAVING GONE INTO HIDING AMONG VISITORS AND PATIENTS to the CHAVAKACHCHERI hospital in JAFFNA, a Tamil Tiger (LTTE) this morning (18) around 9.30 a.m. lobbed a hand grenade at a group of soldiers on duty in front of the entrance to the hospital and injured a soldier. more..

Prabhakaran is worst afraid of federalism -Douglas Devananda

Jan 18 (ISL) Douglas Devananda in his interview with the Sinhalese newspaper published by the Sunday Leader publications last week said,”In 1976, the Jaffna supermarket was like the Majestic City today in Colombo. There were young men and women everywhere. There was a cheerful nature in their presence. more..

Special Committee To Probe NGO Activities

Jan 18 (ISL) A special committee under the leadership of JVP Parliamentarian Nandana Gunatilake had been formed to monitor the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations in the country. more..

Consensus in Govt needed before national consensus says UNP

Jan 18 (ISL) Although the government had called for a all party concensus on the national issue, the government itself must first establish a concensus among its parties said a leading UNP official who spoke to The Independent. more..

More STF units sent to Akkaraipattu to defuse tensions

Jan 18 (ISL) As tension prevailed soon after the killing of LTTE cadres in Akkaraipattu, special units of the Special Task Force had been sent to Akkaraipattu in Eastern Sri Lanka to defuse the tension prevailing on the areas. LTTE agents in the East are increasing their attacks on Muslims soon after the killing of the LTTE cadres. more..

“SLMM should exercise its CFA mandate” says Tamilselvan

Jan 18 (ISL) “Our leadership is deeply shocked and wishes to express its concern over the attack on the SLMM in Batticaloa and would urge SLMM to exercise more care and become vocal in its exposure of the elements responsible for this type of dastardly acts that are planned on a political agenda to do away with the presence of SLMM” more..

Jaffna University: The silent majority speaks

Jan 18 (ISL) Following our comment on the LTTE wanting the Jaffna University closed, we have received a whole lot of responses appreciating our stand on this issue. We are aware the undergraduates want to be left free to get on with their studies having got their places in the university through highly competitive entrance requirements. more..

Tamils moving towards LTTE controlled areas amidst speculations of war breaking out

Jan 18 (AT) Amidst speculations of a possible war, the LTTE leadership has requested Tamil civilians living in certain areas of the Trincomalee and Jaffna districts to take refuge in areas under their control. more..

Disaster if Solheim-Prabha talks fail, warns LTTE

Jan 18 (LM) The LTTE yesterday warned that the present volatile situation would deteriorate if the Norwegian Minister and special envoy Erik Solheim failed to deliver a positive message from the Sri Lankan government when he meets the rebel leadership next week. more..

LTTE keeps its promise of war this year ?

Jan 18 (LeN) It is learnt the LTTE is gearing for a major offensive in the North, immediately after Norwegian Development Minister Eric Solheim concludes his visit to Killinochchi on 24th January, if President Mahinda Rajapaksa fails to accept Oslo as the immediate venue for starting 'talks'. more..

Sri Lankan authorities mount increasing attacks on media freedom

Jan 18 (wsws) Police and military harassment, intimidation and physical attacks directed against Sri Lankan media personnel, mainly targeting Tamil journalists, have been mounting since Mahinda Rajapakse assumed the presidency last November. more..

Garment industry bogged down by traffic snarls

Jan 18 (F2F) Exports of garment manufacturers in Sri Lanka suffered due to poor internal road network, and hence they have requested the government to sort out regular traffic jams. As traffic snarls affect their productivity, garment manufacturers want cheap electricity resources and quick logistics and transportation system to deliver their products and their services on time. more..

JVP condemns continuous disruptions in Parliament by TNA Parliamentarians

Jan 18 (LT) The Parliament was suspended for twenty minutes amidst the commotion continued for the second day by the Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians in the House this morning. They were obstructing the entrance of the Speaker compelling the Speaker enter through the rear entrance. more..

UNP to launch a campaign to free SB again

Jan 18 (LT) According to United National Party sources, it will commence a campaign to free former Parliamentarian Mr S B Dissanayake from custody. The Party has decided to organize Satyagrahas, protests and meetings from the 1st of February. They are planning to hold the first rally at Vihara Maha Devi Park on the 1st. more..

Trickle of refugees likely to continue for some time

Jan 18 (Hindu) After a day's break, another group of five Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, three of them children, arrived in Rameswaram on Tuesday. This has taken the total number of arrivals in the past week to at least 44. The police and Intelligence agencies expect the trend to continue for some time. more..

State terrorism up in North East: MPs

Jan 18 (SAMN) "Violence and terror unleashed by the State armed forces is on the increase in the North East province. Fifty Tamil civilians have been abducted in the Jaffna district within few months. From December 1 to January 12 the State armed forces and para military groups in Jaffna have killed thirty-one Tamil civilians. Forty-two Tamils have been killed in other districts of the province," more..

Microsoft flees 'window of terror'

Jan 18 (SAMN) Global software giant Microsoft Corporation’s Sri Lanka branch on Monday temporarily shifted operations from its World Trade Centre office in Fort to a different location, after weekend newspapers reported that there was a security threat to key economic targets in Colombo. more..

Survey of mosquito breeding grounds

Jan 18 (SAMN) Public Health Inspectors attached to the National Institute of Health Sciences in Kalutara have decided to conduct a survey of mosquito breeding spots as they have detected thirty two persons affected by dengue in Kalutara and the surrounding villages. more..

To solve N-E problem Prabhakaran not an enemy: Ganeshan

Jan 18 (LNP) People`s Alliance Western Provincial Councillor Prabha Ganeshan said yesterday that the Sinhalese cannot expect a solution to the North-East problem as long as they treat Prabhakaran as an enemy. Mr. Ganeshan made this point when UNP Councillor Sirikamal De Silva presented an urgent bill requesting the central government to introduce an effective program to ensure the security of the people. more..

Annan deplores attack on SLMM

Jan 18 (LNP) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has, in a statement issued through his spokesman, condemned the attack on the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission but has failed to name the attackers. The statement said `The Secretary-General is very concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Strong public sector needed - Media Minister

Jan 18 (LNP) The Government will take immediate steps to establish a strong public sector in this country by reviving and revitalising inactive public ventures and institutions in keeping with the `Mahinda Chintanaya` program, said Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. more..

Tories would list tigers as terrorists

Jan 18 (NP) A Conservative government would add the Tamil Tigers to Canada's list of outlawed terrorist groups, deputy leader and public safety critic Peter MacKay said yesterday. "The short answer is yes," he said when asked by the National Post if the Tamil Tigers would be listed if the government changed on Monday. "We would list them." more..

Negombo Mayor in bribery scandal

Jan 18 (DN) Negombo Mayor Henry Fernando was arrested by Bribery Commission sleuths yesterday along with his arachchi while accepting a bribe from a security service operator to offer security services to the Council. The Mayor had accepted Rs. 25,000 from a security company to offer him the tender to manage the security service for the Negombo Municipal for 2006, more..

Lanka set to make Indian Vanaspati Industry extinct

Jan 18 (ANI) The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement signed in 2000 is taking toll on the health of the Indian Vanaspati industry. The lucrative zero percent import duty clause under the FTA has led to an exodus of big vanaspati manufacturers of India to Sri Lanka, to avail concessions, thereby sounding the death-knell of the domestic industry by rendering it non-competitive. more..

Sri Lanka to speed up oil exploration in deep sea

Jan 18 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government will expedite oil exploration operations in the deep sea around the country to discover more oil and gas deposits within the next three years. "We are expecting to discover oil deposits within the next three years, which will help us become one of the richest nations in the region," more..

Sri Lanka deploy more troops in restive Trincomalee, one soldier wounded in grenade attack

Jan 18 (AP) The Sri Lankan military deployed more troops in the strategic port city of Trincomalee on Wednesday, a day after European cease-fire monitors suspended operations there, local residents said. more..

Sri Lanka enacts tough law to stop rebels from laundering money

Jan 18 (AP) Parliament on Wednesday enacted a tough new law against money laundering to fight crimes like terrorism and drug trafficking - and to help track Tamil Tiger rebel finances - a government spokesman said. The new law did not name the Tamil Tigers rebels, but Sri Lanka's army routinely calls them "terrorists." more..

Tamil rebels keep pressure on Sri Lankan president amid war

Jan 18 (DPA) After four years of peace, the fear of renewed civil war has gripped Sri Lankans again, with escalating violence in the north and eastern parts of the country prompting some residents to flee their homes to safer areas. more..

Accept 'devolution', US tells LTTE

Jan 18 (IANS) The US has made it clear to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas that the only way to end the ethnic conflict is to accept devolution of power in the island nation. In a communiqué to the pro-Tamil Tiger website Nitharsanam, US ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead said there could be no military solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic crisis. more..

Ex-IRA negotiator sees North Ireland parallels in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka can learn from the Northern Irish peace process as it tries to avoid a return to civil war, former senior Irish Republican Army (IRA) member and Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness said on Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka sends troops as Nordic monitors pull out of Trincomalee

Jan 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka poured more troops into the restive northeastern port district of Trincomalee fearing more rebel attacks, as Scandinavian monitors pulled out of the volatile area, officials said. more..

Action to be filed against SLFP Secretary's 'Media Godfather' statement

Jan 19 (LeN) A statement issued by SLFP General Secretary Maithreepala Sirisena said the complaint made by Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga to the Inspector General that President Mahinda Rajapaksa called his mobile phone and heaped abused on him was an absorbing fictitious drama. more..

Weerawansa's three fold fright

Jan 19 (LeN) The immediate challenge faced by the country after the presidential election is to decisively defeat the psychological operation launched from Colombo by the Velupillai Prabhakran's Tamil racist terrorism, JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa said. more..

Attorney General stalls 'Helping Hambantota' probe

Jan 19 (LeN) The Attorney General has decided not to proceed with the complaint made to the Police Headquarters against then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding the transferring of funds amounting to Rs. 82,958,247.70 from the Prime Minister's Tsunami Relief Fund to a private bank account titled 'Helping Hambantota'. more..