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For mine clearing expert, Sri Lanka truce a godsend

Jan 26 (Reuters) While a Norwegian peace envoy held talks with Tamil Tiger leaders in northern Sri Lanka, one man waited anxiously for hours for news that the government and the rebels would resume peace talks. Charles Frisby is the head of the largest mine-clearing team in the war-ravaged region, more..

Sri Lanka peace talks: war cancelled or delayed?

Jan 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to meet for peace talks in Geneva, reducing the risk of an imminent return to conflict, but many analysts are warning the island is far from safe from a new war. more..

Australia ease to five-wicket victory

Jan 26 (CI) Australia showed they could survive without their resting captain as a Simon Katich half-century and crucial middle-order contributions steered them to a victory that gave them a five-point lead at the top of the VB Series table. The team had a strange look with Ricky Ponting relaxing on the Australia-Day holiday, more..

Welcome to LTTE’s ‘de facto state’

Jan 26 (AFP) The guards at the checkpoint into Tamil rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka do not ask to see your passport, but they might just as well. It is here that Tamil Eelam, the homeland that rebels have fought for decades and so bloodily, is taking reality. more..

Sri Lanka peace hopes soar on ceasefire talks

Jan 26 (AFP) Shares soared in Sri Lanka as fears of a return to full-scale war faded after the government and Tamil Tiger rebels agreed to their first face-to-face meeting in three years. The announcement that Norwegian-brokered talks would take place next month in Geneva more..

Tamil rebel leader killed by rival faction

Jan 26 (DPA) A Tamil rebel leader was Thursday shot dead in the northeastern Sri Lanka as the government and rebels prepared for next month's peace talks following a major breakthrough by the Norwegian facilitators in renewing negotiations. more..

More Sri Lankans flee to India despite talks breakthrough

Jan 26 (AP) Twenty Tamil civilians fled from Sri Lanka and sought refuge in India on Thursday, police said, despite an agreement between Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels to begin talks aimed at ending spiraling violence in the island nation. more..

Sri Lankan navy detains Indian vessel allegedly carrying detonators for Tamil rebels

Jan 26 (AP) A Sri Lankan navy patrol boat detained a privately owned Indian vessel attempting to smuggle tens of thousands of detonators for anti-personnel mines, a weapon often used by Tamil Tiger rebels, the navy spokesman said Thursday. more..

Yahoo Photos

Jan 26 (Reuters) A Tamil man loads a coffin on his vehicle in Jaffna city, northern Sri Lanka, January 26. Sri Lanka's peace process is back on track but patience is sorely needed and will be key to any success, more..

Sri Lanka to repeal ancient law on Indian immigrant labour

Jan 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka will repeal an ancient law governing Indian immigrant labour while also changing laws dealing with industrial disputes, the government said Thursday. “A Cabinet paper was submitted to repeal the Indian Immigrant Labour Ordinance, which was set up with the objective of regulating the inflow of Indian labour,” more..

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka drops by 3% in 2005

Jan 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry struggles back to its feet after the tsunami, to be knocked down by internal politics. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board on Thursday, reported a 3 percent reduction in tourist arrivals for the year 2005, compared to 2004, but says industry revival after the tsunami, is good. more..

Education, marriage hurdles for Tamil refugees

Jan 27 (IANS) Even as Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka continue to land in southern India, the many thousands already here for years are complaining about lack of educational - and even marital - prospects. Nearly 150 Tamils have taken refuge in Tamil Nadu this month, more..

Truce Deteriorates in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (NPR) The two sides in the Sri Lanka conflict are to meet next month in Geneva. The government in Colombo and the Tamil Tiger guerrillas will be attempting to salvage a ceasefire that has threatened to unravel with almost daily assassinations and bombings. more..

Truce under test

Jan 27 (FL) AS violence continued to escalate in the northern and eastern districts of Sri Lanka, a flurry of diplomatic, political and propaganda activity began in order to ensure that the February 2002 ceasefire agreement between the LTTE and the government was not cast away. more..

Clash erupts a day after peace deal

Jan 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger rebels both said they came under attack on Thursday, a day after the two sides agreed to hold fresh peace talks in Geneva. The rebels said the army had killed one of their men in an ambush, while the military said unidentified attackers had fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at a bunker. more..

Promotion of the export of agricultural produce through greenhouse farms

Jan 27 (FP) A leading local vegetable and fruit export company, the International Food Stuff Agro-Bio-Tech Private Ltd [IFCO] based in Colombo with farms in Bandarawela, Boralanda and Rathaba now produce export crops and purchase vegetables and fruits from the small scale growers, especially greenhouse farmers to end the role of middlemen in the Uva region. more..

Deal on talks reflects Sri Lanka's enduring troubles

Jan 27 (NYT) The agreement between Sri Lanka's warring parties to begin talking to one another again, after more than 18 months of deadlock over a site for peace talks and with scores of killings in the meantime, is a measure of how intractable this country's ethnic conflict is. more..

Army Commander felicitated at his old school

Jan 27 (AT) Lieutenant General Fonseka in his address, assured that he would do everything possible to achieve peace with dignity. The Sri Lanka’s Army Commander declared this when he visited his old school, Ananda College in Colombo to participate in a ceremony in his honor. more..

Peace hinges on talks with Tamil rebels in Geneva

Jan 27 (IPS) Another February promises a period of hope for Sri Lankans struggling to reclaim normalcy after over 20 years of civil war. This time, government negotiators and Tamil Tiger rebels are to meet in Geneva to help breathe life into a faltering ceasefire agreement. more..

Norway funds for temples

Jan 27 (BBC) The Norwegians are committed to peace and they have no other agendas in Sri lanka said the Norwegian Minister for International Development. Erik Solheim was speaking after declaring open a Buddhist meditation centre at Aluthgama in the Kalutara district. more..

Another attempt to bring peace in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (Hindu) IT WAS the news that Sri Lanka's peace process was waiting for. On Wednesday, the Government and the LTTE agreed to hold direct talks on the implementation of the ceasefire agreement in Switzerland. This marks a revival of negotiations that have remained stalled for nearly three years. more..

Yahoo Photos

Jan 27 (AP) An unidentified Tamil girl looks on at a welfare center for displaced people in rebel stronghold Kilinochchi town, about 280 kilometers north of Colombo, Jan. 24, 2006. Thousands of Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka have fled into rebel-held areas more..

Colonel Karuna's loyalist in the LTTE's delegation for talks

Jan 27 (AT) Colonel Jeyam, one of Colonel Karuna’s loyalists, has been included in the delegation of the LTTE, for the forthcoming peace talks to be held in Geneva, most probably after the second week of February. He is popularly known as Periya (big) Jeyam in the midst of the LTTE cadres, is about 42 years old and hails from Vavuniya. more..

The world's lost people: neither refugees nor citizens

Jan 27 (CSM) In a camp for displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka, Kandhaya Kaliyankumar's voice softens as he describes the tragedy that destroyed his home and killed his brother. He knows that he was lucky to escape the devastation along with his wife and four children. more..

We will not allow LTTE to recruit Eastern children says Tamil National Force

Jan 27 (ISL) The Tamil National Force members who spoke to the Amparai correspondent of The Independent said that they will use their power to defeat the LTTE efforts to recruit Tamil children to LTTE ranks. The Tamil National Force is led by the renegade LTTE commander Karuna Amma more..

Anton Balasingham was paid in kind by Karuna's men

Jan 27 (AT) Killing a total of 11 LTTE cadres in two separate incidents yesterday in the Eastern province was the response given to Anton Balasingham, the Chief Negotiator of the LTTE, for his reprehensible remarks made against the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal and it’s leader Colonel Karuna alias V. Muralitharan, more..

War or peace, tension high on Sri Lanka's death road

Jan 27 (Reuters) A long disused and weed-covered railway line runs for miles alongside the potholed single-lane road leading into rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka. No trains have run here for decades. Indeed, the road itself was inaccessible until four years ago, heavily mined and bitterly fought over by government troops and the LTTE during a two-decade civil war. more..

Emerging political scenario in Sri Lanka: A response to Rajasingham

Jan 27 (AT) This is in response to K. T. Rajasingham’s article "Will Mahinda Rajapakse preside over the disintegration of Sri Lanka?" appeared in Asian Tribune, which I consider a candid and a forthright exposition on the current situation in Sri Lanka. Obviously there are points that I agree, and others I disagree. more..

Govt wants speedy resumption of talks based on mutual trust

Jan 27 (ANN) The government said Thursday that it wants to speedily resume peace talks with the LTTE based on mutual trust. Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, addressing Thursday's Cabinet press briefing, said that the government does not want to waste any more time and was adopting a practical approach to resuming peace talks. more..

Geneva gladly throws open gates

Jan 27 (PIS) Switzerland yesterday welcomed a breakthrough in Sri Lanka's stalled peace process between the government and the LTTE and said it was ready to host both sides next month. Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway clinched a deal between the government and the LTTE to resume talks in Geneva next month to salvage a ceasefire agreement. more..

Tamils have absolute right to their historic habitation

Jan 27 (ISL) The people of Sri Lanka – Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and others – are fellow citizens. They inherit a rich multi-dimensional ethnicity that has over hundreds of years bonded into a unique Sri Lankan culture and helped to develop into a nation. more..

Pathetic story of Jaffna University

Jan 27 (ISL) The closure of the Jaffna University, or rather the injunction on the University from conducting it’s usual business by the LTTE is a severe blow on the morale of majority of the university students except for a small percentage of pro-LTTE students. more..

LTTE is root cause for paramilitary situation says EROS Nesan

Jan 27 (ISL) EROS Nesan (Son of the late Shankar Raji) welcomed the LTTE’s acceptance to hold the peace talks in Geneva with the GSOL, however the EROS leader reiterated the fact that that this should not confuse anyone or constitute the LTTE as being the sole representatives of the Tamil community within Sri Lanka and abroad. more..

Tamil Democratic Congress commends Peace Talks and mocks Anton Balasigham

Jan 27 (ISL) Tamil Democratic Congress in a statement welcomed the decision of the Tamil Tigers to engage in talks with the Sri Lankan government in Geneva. TDC also congratulated the Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim on his concerted efforts to strike this agreement. more..

Thousands of garment workers retrenched

Jan 27 (wsws) About 10,000 jobs have been slashed so far in Sri Lankan garment factories since the end of the international quota system on January 1, 2005. In order to protect profits, companies are passing the burden of the new “free trade” regime onto workers, closing down factories and attacking working conditions. more..

Sinhala - Muslim clashes in Dharga Town Beruwela

Jan 27 (LM) A forcible removal of several mobile phones from a shop owned by a Muslim trader resulted in clashes between Sinhala and Muslim groups in Dharga Town, Beruwala last night and the area turned into a mini battlefield today as a result of sporadic clashes between the two groups. more..

LTTE RPG & Hand Grenade Attacks Reported

Jan 27 (SLA) BARELY TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER THE LTTE on Wednesday (25) assured that it would not resort to violence hereafter, an Army post at VADUMUNAI in WELIKANDA came under LTTE Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) attack Thursday (26) evening injuring one soldier. more..

Police Post Comes Under Suspected LTTE Grenade Attack

Jan 27 (SLA) A POLICE POST AT VEERAMUNAI, attached to SAMANTHURAI Police Station came under a hand grenade attack this morning (27) around 10.35 a.m. but the explosion failed to cause any casualties or damages. more..

JHU against talks in Geneva

Jan 27 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is opposed to holding the peace talks in Geneva. The talks must be held in Sri Lanka and the JHU will not agree to any other venue for peace talks. If the government holds in another country, it would be violating the Mahinda Chinthanaya manifesto, more..

Plea against CBK relisted for hearing

Jan 27 (SAMN) The petition filed by three lawyer in the Supreme Court challenging the Cabinet decision of August 2005, granting excessive retirement benefits to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, was called before the Court yesterday, for a second time, and re-listed for February 3, 2006. more..

'Cabinet ministers increase unavoidable'

Jan 27 (SAMN) The increase in the number of cabinet of ministers is unavoidable in the present context the government claimed Thursday. Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told journalists that they had to expand the cabinet to more than the promised 25 ministers to accommodate UNP parliamentarians Mahinda Samarasinghe and Keheliya Rambukwella who joined government ranks on Monday. more..

Luxury cars for those who crossed over, says UNP

Jan 27 (LNP) The UNP yesterday charged that the government had ordered ten luxury vehicles worth millions from a leading vehicle importer for UNP parliamentarians who crossed over to the government on Wednesday. Party Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said those who crossed over claimed that they were supporting the government for a national programme. more..

LTTE may contest local polls

Jan 27 (LNP) The LTTE is reportedly planning to contest the forthcoming local government elections as an independent group. Highly placed sources in the Wanni yesterday said the Tigers were considering contesting the 53 local councils in the North and East as an independent group - a move which aims at giving the organization legitimacy to carry out political affairs. more..

Airport rapists catch a tartar!

Jan 27 (LNP) The alleged raping of a Middle East job aspirant at the Bandaranaike International Airport by five persons, including two airport securitymen, sent shock waves throughout the country. It also revealed that the practice has been in operation for sometime. more..

Sri Lanka conflict: Fishermen’s Livelihoods are Threatened

Jan 27 (OW) The tsunami killed more than 35,000 Sri Lankans. A year later and media attention on the country still focuses on that horrific event. But away from the international spotlight a simmering conflict between the government and the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam has claimed many more lives. more..

Govt following UNP's peace moves - Attanayake

Jan 27 (DN) The United National Party (UNP) is happy to note that slowly but surely the Government was following in the footsteps of the UNP in resolving the ethnic strife in the country, UNP Deputy Secretary General and UNP Kandy district MP Tissa Attanayake said. more..

Tsunami still pounding tourism in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (AFP) The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka dropped three percent last year as the tropical island struggled to recover from the destruction caused by a tsunami, officials said. The Indian Ocean republic welcomed 549,308 visitors in 2005 compared to a target of 600,000, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board said. more..

Sri Lanka markets end weaker, uncertain about peace

Jan 27 (Reuters) Stocks and the rupee currency ended weaker on Friday as investors turned cautious about peace initiatives between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.7 percent down at 2,103.96, after rising in early trade on optimism about fresh talks between the two sides in Geneva. more..

Jayasuriya back for key one-day clash

Jan 27 (AFP) Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya is expected to resume his place in the team for Sunday's vital triangular series clash with Australia in Perth after recovering from a thigh strain. more..

Japan, Britain applaud Sri Lanka peace breakthrough

Jan 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's key foreign backers welcomed on Friday an agreement by the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume peace talks and urged them to work to halt violence. Japan, the largest aid donor to the country, praised Norway for breaking on Wednesday a three-year deadlock in the peace process more..