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Sri Lanka poll watchdog can't bark without a head

Aug 23 (IANS) Amid speculation that Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga may announce provincial council elections, the Election Commission remains non-functional because of her refusal to clear a chief for it, reports more..

Sri Lankan PM keeps date with Kerala astrologer

Aug 23 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, eager to restore peace to his country, arrived in Kerala on Friday, to consult one of the state's leading astrologers. more..

Sri Lanka economic growth on track – ADB

Aug 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka, emerging from the shadow of 20 years of war, will meet its economic goals this year and should see even stronger growth in 2004, the Asian Development Bank said yesterday. more..

Govt. servants at meeting on Pongu Thamil face SLA action

Aug 23 (TN) The government servants who participated at a meeting held last Sunday, August 17, in Vavuniya, in preparation for the Pongu Thamil celebrations in the city to be conducted on September 15, have been asked to provide an explanation for their attendance at the meeting by the Sri Lanka Army, sources in Vavuniya said. more..

More tecahers on the way

Aug 23 (IL) Education Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku said yesterday that around 3000 school teachers will be recruited on approval obtained from the Treasury despite the government's decision to stop all state sector appointments. more..

TNA opposes Muslim recruits as police officers

Aug 23 (IL) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which met Interior Minister John Amaratunga yesterday had conveyed that the party opposes any move to recruit Muslims as Reserved Police Officers as there's a chance of it aggravating the volatile situation in the East. more..

JVP on a 4-day procession

Aug 23 (IL) A massive procession against the Green Tigers (government), Black Tigers (LTTE) and White Tigers (Norwegian Facilitators) will be held from August 25 beginning from Galle. The procession will end in Colombo on August 28 at the Lipton Circus by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. more..

India unaware of Lankan situation: Kadirgamar

Aug 23 (HT) Lakshman Kadirgamar, foreign affairs advisor to the Sri Lankan President, complained that India was not conscious of the grave situation developing in Sri Lanka as a result of the Wickremesinghe government's policy of appeasing the LTTE. more..

IGP gags the cops

Aug 23 (Island) The Ministry of Interior has decided to issue a circular, through the Inspector General of Police, to all high ranking police officers that include officers in charge of police stations that all information to the media should only be disclosed from the ranks of OIC of police stations to the Inspector General of Police. more..

President’s party slams Norway, Japan over peace bid

Aug 23 (AFP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s party launched a scathing attack against Norway and Japan over Sri Lanka’s peace bid and accused her cohabitation government of abdicating its powers to foreigners. more..

Paris ignores Tamil Tigers meeting

Aug 23 (Dawn) In what some political observers are characterizing as an about-face, the French foreign affairs ministry says that its role with regard to the organization in Paris of a meeting of LTTE is limited, at least for the moment, to "authorizing the arrival on French soil of the persons who are to take part in the reunion." more..

Dora offers a taste of Sri Lanka in Beirut

Aug 23 (DS) If there’s one place in Beirut that can indeed be called “the crossroads of East and West,” it is Dora. Around the lively square just past Bourj Hammoud, French, English and Arabic go hand in hand as they do almost everywhere in Lebanon. more..

US to train Lanka army in demining

Aug 23 (KT) The United States yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka to provide humanitarian demining training to the local Army. An American outfit earlier cleared 240,000 square metres of land of mines in the former war-torn northern peninsula. more..

Minister wants force used against LTTE

Aug 23 (AN) A prominent leader of the Sri Lankan Muslims who is visiting the Kingdom has slammed the “lackadaisical” attitude of the Sri Lankan government in dealing with anti-Muslim violence in the island’s eastern province. more..

CBK fires her guns again

Aug 23 (DM) President Chandrika Kumaratunga in her latest battle with the UNF government yesterday blasted the head of the CID, the Interior Minister and others accusing them of endangering her security by failing to properly probe a threat to her life. more..

Elephants under threat in Lanka

Aug 23 (BT) Sri Lanka’s wild elephants, the pride of the island’s animal kingdom, are becoming an endangered species thanks to relentless human encroachment on their jungle habitats. more..

Cells in cells ring trouble for prisons

Aug 23 (DN) Although the life of a prison inmate inside a dark cell is said to be lonely and miserable, the mobile phone has changed the lifestyle of prison inmates to the extent that they are not lonely any more. more..

Tamils call peace offer "ambiguous", discuss counter-proposal

Aug 23 (AFP) Top Tamil Tiger leaders meeting in Paris on Saturday described a peace offer from the Sri Lankan government to restart a faltering peace process as "ambiguous" and said they would come up with their own counter-proposition by the middle of next week. more..

Sri Lanka rebels plan next move in peace talks

Aug 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers gathered 10 rebel leaders and expatriate Tamil experts in Paris on Saturday to map out the next stage of their suspended peace talks with the Colombo government. more..

Ranil for bridge connecting India, Lanka

Aug 23 (UNI) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the proposed land bridge between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka would be a major step for sub-regional economic integration even as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had opposed it. more..

'Public has lost confidence in Sri Lankan police’ -AHRC

Aug 23 (TN) The people of Sri Lanka do not have much trust in the Sri Lankan police, said Mr. Basil Fernando, the Asian Human Rights Commission’s Executive Director, at a press briefing Saturday in Colombo, adding that police officials in charge should be held responsible for the human rights violations taking place in police stations. more..

LSSP contemplates leaving PA

Aug 24 (TN) The leadership of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), one of the constituents of the main opposition Peoples Alliance (PA), is seriously considering pulling out of the PA before the provincial and local elections, which are expected to be held during the first part of next year 2004, political sources said. more..

University non-academic employees continue their strike

Aug 24 (TN) The Inter University Trade Union Federation (IUTF) Saturday rejected an appeal made by the Tertiary Education Minister Mr.Kabir Hashim to abandon its strike and to return to work. The IUTF said it would continue its trade union action until their demands are met. more..

CBK's spanner in the peace process

Aug 24 (SL) While the government planned in the upcoming budget to pass on the economic benefits of stringent fiscal discipline practised by the UNF since assuming office in December 2001 to the people and resume peace talks for greater stability, President Chandrika Kumaratunga threw a well calculated spanner in the works last week to derail the entire process. more..

Questions over billion rupee deal

Aug 24 (SL) A 1.2 billion rupee project to equip a children's hospital at Peradeniya has been approved by the cabinet of ministers despite a cabinet appointed committee of inquiry having in a 10 page report pointed out massive discrepancies and malpractices involved in the allocation of this tender to an Austrian consortium. more..

PM calls for South Asian farming to go hi-tech

Aug 24 (AFP) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called Saturday for his country and neighbouring India to embrace modern technology and organisation to become successful agricultural exporters. more..

Forces maintain tight vigil in East

Aug 24 (SO) Police and Army units are maintaining a tight vigil throughout the Eastern Province as tension remained high in the wake of the sporadic incidents of clashes in the past week. more..

Equity for government in exchange for prime city site

Aug 24 (Island) Singapore’s giant Shing Kwan Group has together with the Bank of Ceylon won the right to develop what is commonly perceived as Colombo’s most valuable unutilised real estate extending over 14 acres on Havelock Road at Wellawatte. more..

Susanthika out of 100m

Aug 24 (Rediff) Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka's fastest woman, made a surprising exit from the women's 100m event at the World Athletics Championship in Paris, France, on the opening day today. more..

Rosy outlook for Sri Lanka

Aug 24 (TS) SRI LANKAN High Commissioner Rosy Senanayake is already gearing up to promote Sri Lanka with renewed hope as her country regains its status as a peaceful nation. more..

Suggestion to Balasingham

Aug 24 (Hindu) Sri Lanka's former Foreign Affairs Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, on Friday suggested that the LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton S. Balasingham, pen a book on the latest peace process. He even came up with a title for the book — The End of Ambition. more..

LTTE worried `only about India', says Kadirgamar

Aug 24 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan President's senior adviser on Foreign Affairs, Lakshman Kadirgamar, is of the view that the LTTE is worried "only about India", and is "not afraid of taking on" any international player in the island's latest peace process. more..

Chandrika asks PM to oust LTTE from Manirasakulam

Aug 24 (HT) In a controversial move that could threaten the fragile peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to oust the LTTE's "illegal" military camp from Manirasakulam in Trincomalee district. more..

Armed Muslim groups emerging

Aug 24 (ST) Intelligence sources in the Eastern Province confirmed the emergence of organised armed Muslim cadres as the government moved in to quell growing tension between the LTTE and Muslim civilians in the area. more..

War shattered town seeks freedom to bury

Aug 24 (TN) Three years ago the people of Chavakachcheri saw their town being bombed and shelled into gnarled ruins and dusty rubble heaps. The guns have fallen silent and the fortunate few are keenly rebuilding. more..

Police recruitment begins in the east

Aug 24 (TN) Interviews began Saturday to select 550 new recruits for Sri Lanka’s police service in the eastern province at police stations in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Amparai, Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu, Muttur and Pottuvil, eastern region Deputy IGP, Mr. Neville Wijesinghe, said Saturday. more..

WFP conference explores protracted relief program

Aug 24 (TN) At a conference held recently in Vavuniya at the Suvarka hotel by the United Nations' World Food Program, participants discussed the problems and barriers faced at the field level in implementing the WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) for the Mother and Child Nutrition program, and possible solutions and alternatives, WFP sources said. more..

In Sri Lanka, Militancy Grows

Aug 24 (AP) On Fridays after dusk, groups of young Muslim men gather in the palm-fringed garden of the town's main mosque. Once they talked about work, or played carom - the local version of pool - in an adjoining room of the 80-year-old mosque. more..

India should support Colombo to deal with Tigers

Aug 24 (IANS) The peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been stalemated over the last three or four months because of various procedural and political reasons. more..

Farmers await SLA's permission to clear mines

Aug 24 (TN) The Jaffna Government Mr.S.Pathmanathan Saturday requested the Sri Lanka Army's Jaffna area commander located at Palaly main base to grant permission to remove landmines and other unexploded ordnance from the paddy fields released from the Thenmaradchchi High Security Zone for rain fed cultivation this year, more..

36 Indian fishermen still held in Jaffna prison

Aug 24 (TN) Of the thirty six Indian fishermen now being detained at the Jaffna prisons on the orders of the law courts, cases have been filed only against four in the Jaffna High Court. No cases have been filed against the other thirty-two Indian fishermen, legal sources said. more..

PM calls for closer integration with Indian economy

Aug 24 (AFP) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wrapped up a weekend trip to India Sunday with an appeal for the two countries to integrate their economies so the region can catch up with the rest of Asia. more..

Swamy against India taking part in Lankan peace process

Aug 24 (PTI) Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy today said India should not participate in the peace process in Sri Lanka. In a statement here, he said India must have nothing to do with the current peace negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the "terrorist" outfit LTTE. more..

PA meet to decide on PC elections

Aug 25 (TN) The Central Committee of the People's Alliance (PA) will hold a meeting on September 1st to decide whether to hold the elections to the provincial councils in the south simultaneously or at the expiry of their life term, PA general secretary Mr.D.M.Jayaratne said Sunday. more..

2000 appear for police recruitment interviews in the east

Aug 25 (TN) More than 2000 persons appeared for the two-day interview held by the Police Department Saturday and Sunday at Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Amparai, Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu, Muttur and Pottuvil police stations to recruit 550 new personnel for serving in the eastern province, more..

JVP anti-peace Foot March from Galle to Colombo

Aug 25 (TN) The four-day "Foot March " (Pada Yatra) by the Sinhala nationalist cum Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will commence Monday from Galle, deep south of the country, Monday in protest to the present peace initiative of the UNF government. more..

Sri Lankan air chief arrives on week-long visit

Aug 25 (DT) Air Marshal G D Perera, commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, and his wife Dr Ranjiani Perera have arrived in Pakistan for a weeklong official visit as guests of the Pakistan Air Force. more..

Railroad operator seeks 200 million for upgrade

Aug 25 (IHT) Sri Lanka's railway is seeking $200 million from a foreign investor to modernize a 139-year-old company that has not made a profit since 1943. The state-owned railway was transformed last month into the semi-independent Sri Lanka Railway Authority - a first step to free it of state control - amid union protests. more..

Tough action against tax amnesty evaders

Aug 25 (DN) Tough action will be taken against those who do not reveal their earnings and assets during the tax amnesty period, which expires after August 31, the Government warned yesterday. more..

More youth missing in East

Aug 25 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem cut short his official visit to Saudi Arabia and returned home on Sunday morning as the Scandinavian truce monitors reported four more disappearances in the east. more..