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Talks with a govt. sans defence impractical - Balasingham

Jan 1 (TN) “It is impractical to hold peace negotiations when one party talks to the Tigers while another keeps the defence ministry in Sri Lanka. The international community, including Norway, has accepted this," more..

TNA MP says Muttur bridge on the verge of collapse

Jan 1 (TN) The Kattaiparichchan bridge, which divides the Liberation Tigers-held villages in Muttur east from the rest of Muttur town controlled by the Sri Lanka Army, is on the verge of collapse, said TNA parliamentarian from Trincomalee, Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham, more..

Tigers say lifting tariffs to improve Vanni economy

Jan 1 (TN) The Liberation Tigers said they are lifting all tariffs on equipment, machinery and other inputs for agriculture, fisheries and livestock from 1 January with the aim of promoting the growth of these sectors and achieving self-sufficiency in the regions they control. more..

Jaffna village asks SLA to open access road

Jan 1 (TN) Men, women and children from Koilamanai, a farming village near Kodikamam in Jaffna, sat in protest at the entrance of the Thenmaradchi Divisional Secretary’s (DS) office in Chavakachcheri Thursday demanding that the Sri Lanka army should vacate a camp blocking the only access road to their area. more..

Thampalakamam market reopens after thirteen years

Jan 1 (TN) The public market in the traditional Tamil village Thampalakamam, which is located 27 km southwest of Trincomalee town, was re-opened Thursday after about thirteen years. Thampalakamam divisional head of the LTTE Mr.Thirumalai declared open the public market. more..

President, PM should work jointly for peace - Jaffna Bishop

Jan 1 (TN) The Bishop of Jaffna Rt Rev.Thomas Saundranayagam Thursday in a New Year message appealed to President and the Prime Minister to jointly work together for the dawn of permanent peace in the country in the New Year adopting a policy of give and take, said officials of Jaffna diocese. more..

President’s New Year Message

Jan 1 (PSL) It is customary around this time for all the elected leaders to wish their people a happy and prosperous New Year. These wishes have sadly become mere words. There can be no prosperity without peace. Peace in a pluralistic society emerges from basic respect for each other, respect for each other’s faiths, customs and traditions. more..

Police begin investigations into two mysterious deaths

Jan 1 (SLA) The dead bodies of two civilians, who went reportedly missing on 30 December 2003 from the general area of POMPAIMADU, VAVUNIYA were found lying in a location close to POMPAIMADU on 31 December 2003. more..

Trespasser arrested and delivered to Police

Jan 1 (SLA) A suspicious man, who attempted to cross the Forward Defence Line (FDL) at MARATHUMADU, WANNI for reasons best known only to the suspect, was taken in for questioning by Police on 31 December 2003. more..

LTTE cadre gives up

Jan 1 (SLA) An LTTE cadre surrendered to OMANTHAI Forward Defence Line (FDL) for protection on 31 December 2003 after claiming that he gave up LTTE. The surrendered LTTE cadre from CHENKALADY area was delivered to OMANTHAI Police station for further investigations and necessary onward actions. more..

Chandrika rejects US criticism on peace talks

Jan 1 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has rejected US criticism that she was responsible for delaying the peace process and declared that on the contrary she was 'doing everything possible to get the process started'. more..

Sri Lanka ready for council elections: Govt

Jan 1 (PTI) Government on Thursday said that it was ready for local council elections and planned to turn the vote into a referendum on President Chandrika Kumaratunga's attempted power grab, even as it began informal talks with peace broker Norway to help resume aid from foreign donors. more..

Sri Lanka revelry injures 345

Jan 1 (N24) At least 345 people were wounded in New Year-related accidents in and around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo while seven others tried to commit suicide, the main hospital here said on Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka in talks to ensure aid flows despite feud

Jan 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is talking with peace broker Norway to ensure aid to the war-torn island was not cut off despite a political feud that has delayed its peace process, the government said on Thursday. more..

UNF politico behind human smuggling

Jan 1 (DN) The CID and Police hunting for the suspects behind the recent human smuggling attempt where 269 Italy bound illegal migrants were taken into custody by the Navy on December 23 near Iranawila had uncovered evidence pointing to the involvement of a leading UNF politico, in the racket, more..

SB denies secret swearing-in

Jan 1 (DM) Giving a new twist to the controversy surrounding President Chandrika Kumaratunga's alleged secret swearing-in ceremony about one year after the inauguration that followed her election to office in 1999, Minister S.B.Dissanayake yesterday strongly denied such an event had taken place saying he would have been in the know of it because he was the general secretary of the SLFP at that time. more..

Business leaders push for political truce

Jan 1 (Kyodo) A powerful business lobby in Sri Lanka urged President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday to resolve the country's political crisis, warned that the political confrontation could lead to "utter chaos" in the country. more..

Sri Lanka, Norway envoy start talks on peace process

Jan 1 (AP) The Sri Lankan government said Thursday it has started informal talks with a Norwegian envoy so that stalled peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels can resume and the country get some of the $4.5 billion pledged by donor countries. more..

SLA allows restricted use of Koilamani access road

Jan 2 (TN) The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Friday opened the only access road to a farming village Koilamani near Kodikamam in Jaffna district subject to restrictions that that the residents could use the road from six in the morning till the seven in the evening and thereafter they should obtain prior permission from the army sentry located at the entrance of the access road, more..

SIRUP monitoring office opened in Trincomalee

Jan 2 (TN) The Trincomalee District Monitoring Office of the Small-scale Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project (SIRUP), funded by the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), was declared open Thursday, the first day of 2004 inside Fort Frederick. more..

Gazette notification accommodates CTTU demands

Jan 2 (TN) Ministry of Education agreed to issue an amended gazette notification accommodating some of the demands made by the Ceylon Tamil Teachers’ Union regarding the recruitment of 1000 GCE (Advanced Level) qualified Tamil medium teachers to northeast Tamil medium schools more..

UGC blamed for discrimination in University Admissions

Jan 2 (TN) The Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union (CTTU) Thursday wrote to Sri Lanka's President, Prime Minister and Higher Education Minister to take immediate steps to eliminate discrimination in admitting Tamil students to universities in the New Year. more..

Islamabad set to host the SAARC summit amid tight security

Jan 2 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga would be among the seven SAARC heads of states and governments attending the 12th SAARC Summit from January 4 – 6, 2004 in Islamabad, Pakistan. more..

New secretaries appointed

Jan 2 (PSL) President Kumaratunga appointed three Ministry Secretaries by the powers vested in her under Article 52 (1) of the Constitution. Ms. V. Jegarajasinham as Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, Mr. J. Abeywickrema, Secretary Ministry of Plantation and Ms. R.M.G.C. Udugampola as the Secretary to the Ministry of Rural Economy.

President felicitates Cuba

Jan 2 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga sent good wished to Cuban President Fidel Castro on the country’s national day, which fell on January 1. [Full text of the message] more..

Three more abducted LTTE youngsters surrender

Jan 2 (SLA) Three youths, who had been abducted by the LTTE approximately two and half months ago had escaped from THORABORA LTTE camp in THOPPIGALA area and surrendered to KANDEGAMA Police post, about 30 km southeast of POLONNARUWA for protection on 31 December 2003. more..

Sri Lanka eyes Anti-Conversion Law

Jan 2 (Zenit) Sri Lanka hopes to introduce a law that will limit conversions from one religion to another, the country's Minister of Religious Affairs announced. The Colombo government will promote a legislative disposition directed to those who use a variety of "incentives" to convince others to change their religion. more..

Colombo in bid to lift aid freeze

Jan 2 (GD) Sri Lanka has opened talks with peace broker Norway to help resume the flow of millions of dollars in foreign aid suspended due to the power struggle here, a government spokesman said yesterday. more..

Govt says president's tenure to end in 2005

Jan 2 (Xinhua) The government said on Thursday, Jan. 1, that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's term of office will come to an end in December 2005 as the Sri Lankan people voted in her favor on the basis of a six-year term in the presidential elections in December 1999. more..

Court further extended restraining order from holding CC meeting of the TULF

Jan 2 (AT) Colombo Additional District Judge Lalith Jayasuriya further extended the restraining order issued on 17th December till 14 January, preventing the 1st and 2nd respondents of the TULF from holding the Central Committee meeting as scheduled earlier for 21 December at Ampara, pending the deliverance of a final court order on the matter. more..

Oh Lord Ranil...! How can I forget Lord Prabah...?

Jan 2 (AT) A local Jaffna businessman turned politician and at present the Minister of Hindu Affairs – a non-Cabinet status Minister is continuously treading and slithering on a very thin line of the slippery slope of the Sri Lankan political arena. more..

Early Bonus

Jan 2 (LBO) Minimum take home pay for workers has been raised to Rs. 3,000 to keep in line with the government sector salary increment. So far, 12 sectors ranging from apparels to security trade have been ordered by the Wages Board to revise their salary structure with immediate effect, more..


Jan 2 (LBO) Horoscopes, palm reading, star signs and light reading could not predict the sudden fall in the Colombo Stock Exchange after a ten month long record breaking ascent in 2003, driven by the prospects of lasting peace and returning investor confidence. more..

Paid to Leave

Jan 2 (LBO) Laid off workers will not only be paid for past and future service foregone, by employers but will also get paid by the state to go home. The government rubber-stamped a compensation formula to streamline worker lay-offs during restructuring, through a gazette notification on December 31, 2003. more..

India offers funds to upgrade Sri Lankan air base

Jan 2 (IANS) The Indian government has offered to provide Rs.500 million to Sri Lanka to upgrade an air base in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the official Daily News said Friday. more..

Asia Gasoil-Sri Lanka shifts to low-sulphur retail

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's oil retailers have begun to sell low-sulphur gas oil to meet new tougher environmental controls, company sources said on Friday. From January 1, Sri Lanka switched to selling gas oil for use in automobiles with a sulphur content of no more than 0.3-percent and 0.05-percent, more..

Jan-Oct government revenue rises

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka government revenue in the first 10 months of 2003 was 225.3 billion rupees, compared to 213.1 billion rupees in the same period in 2002, the central bank said on Friday. Total spending in the 10 months was 348.9 billion rupees, compared to 330.6 billion in the same period the previous year. more..

Midnight mayhem in Manana

Jan 2 (DM) The Manana area in Kalawana arose to a horrifying New Year yesterday with an armed gang on the rampage after a prominent businessman and another person were killed in a highway tragedy. more..

Alarming rise in road accidents

Jan 2 (DN) Confirming fears of more accidents, the number of road accidents caused by reckless driving on December 31 night showed an alarming rise. At the Colombo National Hospital alone, the number of victims increased, with the majority cases attributed to drunken driving. more..

Lankan Muslims' proposal puts spokes in LTTE wheel

Jan 2 (HT) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem's suggestion that Sri Lankans go in for an Interim Constitution for the entire country rather than give an Interim Administration only for the Tamil-dominated North-Eastern Province (NEP), has put spokes in the LTTE's wheel. more..

President’s ally slams Armitage

Jan 3 (TN) The Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the main political ally of President Kumaratunga, slammed US Assistant Secretary of State Mr. Richard Armitage for interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs in a strongly worded statement Friday. more..

Lanka opens talks with peace-broker Norway over foreign aid resumption

Jan 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka has opened talks with peace broker Norway to help resume the flow of millions of dollars in foreign aid suspended due to the power struggle here, a government spokesman said on Thursday. more..

Symbols of renewed hope on every horizon

Jan 3 (TO) I hacked my way through the undergrowth and into the hotel to find monkeys in reception, goats around the swimming pool and frogs in the bedrooms. The Moonlight hotel, on Nilaveli Beach in northeast Sri Lanka, is being reclaimed by the jungle, more..

Sri Lanka's 'state within a state'

Jan 3 (BBC) To get into the areas of northern Sri Lanka controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels you have to go through two sets of check points - the first run by a government security team, the second by the Tigers themselves. more..

NECORD to assist Kanniya village rehabilitation

Jan 3 (TN) The Asian Development Bank funded North East Community Restoration and Development (NECORD) project Friday signed an agreement with its partner organization, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), to rehabilitate the war-ravaged Kanniya village in the Trincomalee district. more..

Buried trawler discovered in Batticaloa

Jan 3 (TN) Villagers of Onthachimadam, a beachtown in Batticaloa, discovered a trawler type ship buried nearly 30' below ground. The ship was found close to the beach now filled with mud by a village resident who went to look for old plastic goods for resale in the village market, sources said. more..

Jaffna students to file legal action against UGC

Jan 3 (TN) Students in Jaffna district affected by the alleged discrimination in the admission to the Engineering Faculties have decided to file legal action against the University Grant Commission, local media reported. more..

Tigers – TNA discuss stratagem for elections

Jan 3 (LT) A discussion between the Members of Parliament of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and tiger organization to decide on the stratagem to be used in a future general election is to be held at Vanni during this week. more..

Disrupted Peace Conference held in London

Jan 3 (AT) A London based “Peace Conference,” organized by the Centre for Culture, Peace and Development, was suddenly disrupted by a few rowdy coolie elements, alleged to be led by one Muruganandan, who tried to disrupt the speech delivered by V.Sivalingham, a well known Tamil political analyst and a Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate. more..

First outing for Chandrika since the crisis

Jan 3 (AT) Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka would leave today for Islamabad, Pakistan to participate in the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit conference to be held from 4 – 6 January, 2004. more..