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Sri Lankan housing aid announced

Apr 19 (CM) A MULTI-million dollar housing settlement, a community centre and a children's playground will be built in Sri Lanka as part of the Victorian government's contribution to post tsunami reconstruction. Premier Steve Bracks made the announcement today during his visit to Seenigama in Sri Lanka's south-west. more..

Norway's exit will kill peace process: Peiris

Apr 19 (IANS) Sri Lanka's tottering peace process will collapse if Norway is forced out as facilitator under pressure from Sinhalese hardliners, former minister G.L. Peiris warned Wednesday. "Norway's removal will lead to a breakdown of the process," Peiris, who was earlier Colombo's chief negotiator at peace talks more..

Norway's envoy begins mission to save faltering cease-fire; violence continues

Apr 19 (AP) A Norwegian peace envoy met with Sri Lanka's prime minister Wednesday in a bid to save a faltering cease-fire with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, while two sailors and three others including a South Korean were wounded in two separate mine blasts, officials said. more..

Two blasts as Norway bids to revive Sri Lanka talks

Apr 19 (Reuters) A top Norwegian peace envoy was to meet Sri Lankan government officials on Wednesday to try to secure peace talks, but with two new attacks blamed on the rebels negotiations looked increasingly unlikely. More than 70 people have died since the first week of April in suspected rebel Tamil Tiger attacks, more..

Five Tamils killed in northern Sri Lanka; mine explosion wounds sailors, military says

Apr 19 (AP) A Norwegian peace envoy met with Sri Lanka's prime minister Wednesday in a bid to save a faltering cease-fire with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, while two sailors and three civilians were wounded in two separate mine blasts, officials said. Jon Hanssen-Bauer met Ratnasiri Wickramanayake ahead of talks with rebel leaders on Thursday, more..

More bloodshed as Norway pushes for Sri Lanka peace

Apr 19 (AFP) Another 10 deaths were reported in Sri Lanka's embattled north and east as Norway's new peace envoy launched a fresh attempt to salvage the island's collapsing ceasefire. Two Claymore mine attacks also rocked the troubled regions Wednesday, wounding at least five people including a Korean businessman and two of his Sri Lankan associates, more..

SL playing into LTTE's hands, says Tamil leader

Apr 19 (HT) By not providing adequate relief to the Tamils hit by the recent ethnic riots in Trincomalee, the Sri Lankan government is driving them into the waiting arms of the LTTE, says Dr K Vigneswaran, General Secretary of Akhila Ilankai Tamil United Front (AITUF). more..

Thousands flee homes after Sri Lanka unrest

Apr 19 (Reuters) Thousands have fled their homes in Sri Lanka's northeast after rioting last week which a pro-rebel newspaper said was reminiscent of ethnic violence that launched the island into civil war more than 20 years ago. Some 3,000 are living in camps near the port city of Trincomalee, home to a mix of majority Sinhalese, ethnic minority Tamils and Muslims, more..

4.3 million rupee super luxury vehicle for CPC Chairman

Apr 20 (LeN) While the prices of a liter of patrol, diesel and kerosene were increased claiming that the economy cannot no longer sustain the fuel subsidy, a super luxury 307 Peugeot car for 4.3 million rupees has been purchased for Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman Jaliya Medagama. The payment for the car was made on April 10th. more..

Central Bank reports highest ever cash outlay last week

Apr 20 (LBO) Central Bank issued 165 billion rupees in cash, the highest ever so far, to meet last week's New Year shopping spree, an official said Wednesday. "There was high demand for currency due to the holiday season and the recently concluded election," the bank's Senior Deputy Governor W A Wijewardene said. more..

Will Norway be asked to go home?

Apr 20 (LeN) An urgent question has now arisen whether Norway should be retained as facilitator of the peace process. This was due to the President's decision not to grant a meeting with him to the special Norwegian peace envoy. Norway was elected as facilitator by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the subsequent Ranil Wickremesinghe administration too opted for Norway to play the facilitator's role. more..

Task of JobsNet is to match the job seekers with the vacancies available

Apr 20 (AT) JobsNet was set up in an effort to promote employment opportunities and act as an information referral system primarily with regard to job opportunities for Sri Lankans either in the island or overseas. As any modern Employment Services Delivery system would do, it is invariable that we also provide referrals for Training and Education as well, more..

Lebanon's Sri Lankan maids tell their story

Apr 20 (AZ) The film Maid in Lebanon is a tale of exile, occasional abuse and even death. It documents the fate of Sri Lankan women seeking better wages abroad to support their families. The documentary, shot by Carol Mansour, both in her native Lebanon and in Sri Lanka, opens on a hopeful note. more..

President's appointments challenged

Apr 20 (BBC) The Appeals Court in Sri Lanka has granted leave to proceed to two petitions against the recent appointments made by President Rajapaksa to two public bodies. The court postponed the hearing on petitions by Avadhi Lanka and Simogh Organisations against appointments made to National Police Commission (NPC) and Public Services Commission (PSC) to 28 April. more..

Lankan army denies charges of killing Tamil youth

Apr 20 (UNI) Sri Lankan military today denied charges levelled by the Tamil Tiger rebels of killing five Tamil youths in the restive northern Jaffna peninsula yesterday. The Jaffna police today morning found the bodies of five Tamil youth killed overnight near a military camp in Puttur in the Jaffna peninsula where a mine attack wounded two soldiers on Monday. more..

Govt tries to keep peace talks alive: spokesman

Apr 20 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Wednesday that it has done everything possible to make the proposed Geneva truce talks with the Tamil Tigers alive despite continued acts of violence blamed on the rebels. "We have gone that extra mile and done everything possible despite barbaric acts of terrorism by the LTTE," Keheliya Rambukwella, more..

Norwegian passport scandal reveals involvement of more Police Officers

Apr 20 (AT) The Police officer Herman Olav Nyhusmoen (“Herman”) who has admitted stealing nine passports on the orders of Mike Daniel Jeya ("Mike") told the court that he used a fellow officer to distract the attention from the passport storage. "Herman" made a lunch appointment with police officer Hans Olav Leite ("Leite"). more..

Issue commemorative stamp in honor of Late A. Amirthalingam – TULF Branch, UK

Apr 20 (AT) Appeals are being made to issue commemorative postal stamp in honor of Late A.. Amirthalingam, a former a Member of Parliament and the Leader of the Opposition, on his 17th death anniversary, that falls on 13 July 1989. Dr. Nicholas Pillai, President of the UK branch of the TULF has made an urgent appeal more..

Search for New U.N. Chief under scrutiny

Apr 20 (IPS) When Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden was elected the second secretary-general of the United Nations on the first day of April in 1953, he was neither a declared candidate nor did he lobby for the then-coveted job. As former U.N. Under-Secretary-General Brian Urquhart of Britain recounts the story, Hammarskjold thought perhaps "it was an April Fool's joke". more..

Karuna group armed with captured LTTE weapons

Apr 20 (AT) Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) yesterday interviewed Pradeep, the Political leader of TVMP (Karuna’s group), projecting Col Karuna’s group as the new political entity that is emerging as formidable force in the Sri Lankan crisis. more..

Failed LTTE commanders removed from their posts

Apr 20 (AT) LTTE has decided to remove the present special commanders of the East of Sri lanka – Colonel Bravo Bahnu of the Batticaloa and Colonel Sornam presently of Trincomalee districts – from their current posts. The Vanni command considers that both have been failures. more..

Gateway to the Emerald Isle

Apr 20 (TP) The golden sandy beaches surrounded by lush green hill sides covered with tea plantations, the untouched landscape, the cascading water falls and the breath taking scenery make Sri Lanka the resplendent island. In Sri Lanka you can find the right blend of culture and tradition that can be felt even in the air you breathe. more..

Delay in compensation pushes widow to attempt suicide

Apr 20 (TP) Undue delay in compensation payment to the heirs of a Sri Lankan engineer who died in a worksite accident here in 2002, led his widow back home to poison herself and her three children in a bid to end their lives as they were left with no source of income. more..

Sri Lankan Army, Tamils trade charges over attack on civilians

Apr 20 (BB) Sri Lanka's army and Tamils blamed each other for the killing of five civilians shot dead near Jaffna, the latest violence that threatens peace talks scheduled to be held next week in Geneva. The civilians were shot by soldiers April 18 after being arrested at Vatharavathai, about 8 miles northeast of Jaffna as part of a "terror campaign" in the region, more..

Sentiments from 1994 -- the lost chance for peace

Apr 20 (ISL) An even darker gloom hangs over the future of the country and particularly the Tmils followng the bomb explosion in Colombo where a suicide bomber ended her life together with the lives of 55 others, including that of the UNPs presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayeke. more..

Troops Gun Down LTTE Terrorist In Retaliatory Fire

Apr 20 (SLA) TROOPS ON FOOT PATROL IN KANNIYA area, TRINCOMALEE Thursday (20) morning at about 7.00 a.m. were forced to overpower an LTTE terrorist by opening retaliatory fire when hiding LTTE terrorists attacked the troops with hand grenades and small arms fire. more..

One More Army Truck Under LTTE Claymore Attack

Apr 20 (SLA) LTTE TERRORISTS USING A FISHING DINGHY detonated one more claymore mine Thursday (20) noon while an Army truck was proceeding past URANI area in BATTICALOA. Explosion of the LTTE claymore mine, fitted on to a stationary dinghy on the shore by the roadside damaged the truck and wounded the Army driver. more..

LTTE Men On Terrorist Mission Arrested

Apr 20 (SLA) TWO LTTE MEN ON TERRORIST MISSION carrying a hand grenade were arrested by the troops on Wednesday (19) when they were roaming in order to attack the newly opened LTTE KARUNA faction ( Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal) political office in BATTICALOA town. more..

LTTE Pistol Men Butcher EPDP Political Activist

Apr 20 (SLA) LTTE PISTOL MEN butchered one more political activist of a rival Tamil party Thursday morning while the victim was inside the public market at BATTICALOA. The EPDP activist, SELLADORAI SIVAKUMAR (32) of SINNAURANI, BATTICALOA was among the public inside the market when LTTE pistol men shrewdly approached him and shot him at close range. more..

STF Troops Narrowly Escape Death From LTTE Explosion

Apr 20 (SLA) SPECIAL TASK FORCE (STF) TROOPS on route-clearing duties this morning (20) around 8.45 a.m. along KOTTE-KALLAR road in KALAVANCHIKUDY, BATTICALOA narrowly escaped death when LTTE terrorists exploded a new sophisticated explosive device, about 100 meters, ahead of advancing troops. more..

Stocks fall as Tigers put off talks

Apr 20 (LBO) Stock market dipped for the second straight day Thursday, following reports that the Tamil Tiger rebels had indefinitely put off peace talks in Switzerland, traders said. The Colombo All Share dropped 29.20 points or 1.25 percent to 2,300.37, as politically sensitive investors cashed out on mounting security fears more..

LTTE reiterates stand, says GoSL responsible for stalemate

Apr 20 (TN) Political Head of the LTTE, on Thursday reiterated LTTE's stand on safe travel of their eastern special commanders Col. Sornam and Col. Bhanu in preparation to the second session of the talks in Geneva, when he met the Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer at LTTE's Political Secretariat in Kilinochchi Thursday. more..

Meat sales by the roadside to be banned

Apr 20 (LT) On a directive by the Minister of Environment, Mr Maithreepala Sirisena, sale of meat by the roadside will be banned with effect from 2nd May 2006. This is in lieu of the 2550 anniversary of Buddha being fallen on the Wesak Poya Day this year. The Minister has pointed out that hindrance on animals should be evaded setting an example in a Buddhist society. more..

Extra cost of Rs 1.5 million per diem with the time change

Apr 20 (LT) Turning the clock back by half an hour has increased the electricity usage in the country resulting an extra cost of Rs 1.5 million daily. The increase in electricity usage is between 0.8% and 1% according to the CEB sources. It was reported that the readjustment was decided to minimize the electricity cost. more..

Jayawardene: 'There's nothing we can't handle'

Apr 20 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, expressed the fullest confidence that his team could overcome English conditions and England if they perform to their capabilities. "There are no fears out there. There's nothing we can't handle. It's just how we prepare ourselves mentally and physically and what we want to do," more..

Govt. optimistic: Goes ahead with plans for Geneva talks

Apr 20 (PIS) An optimistic government yesterday said it was going ahead with the logistical arrangements for peace talks with the LTTE in Geneva next week despite the negative signals coming from Killinochchi and with the LTTE expected to present new conditions to the Norwegian facilitators today. more..

Charity suspends donations over terror laws

Apr 20 (PIS) A Charity suspected of raising money in Australia to fund terrorist attacks by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka has suspended hundreds of thousands of dollars in overseas donations amid concern they may be breaching federal anti-terrorism laws. more..

India, Pak, Lanka to cut duty by 40 pc

Apr 20 (OW) Developing countries - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - will lower customs duty by 40 per cent in 2006 for the products originating from the least developed countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives - under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement. more..

Army says TamilNet story nonsense

Apr 20 (PIS) The Army yesterday categorically denied the TamilNet website story that five civilians were shot dead by the army at Puthur east in Jaffna. In a statement the Army Headquarters said: “The Army categorically denies having anything to do with that incident and regards the TamilNet story as nothing more than another attempt to tarnish the army’s image by publishing nonsensical and malicious stories, more..

No compensation even after 23 years

Apr 20 (LNP) Several Tamil families in Deraniyagala have complained that although inquiries into their applications for compensation for 1983 violence have been completed, payment was not forthcoming from the Presidential Secretariat. A victim said that he had awaited nearly 23 years since submitting the claim. more..

Tanks reach spill level

Apr 20 (LNP) Four major tanks in Polonnaruwa have been filled to capacity and farmers can begin paddy cultivation for the Yala season without any inconvenience. `The Parakrama Samudraya, Minneriya Wewa, Girithale Wewa and Kaudulla Wewa have filled completely. Of them, Kaudulla Wewa is already spilling over. The others too have reached the spill level. more..

Hands off the Auditor General

Apr 20 (LNP) The Organisation of Professional Associations yesterday came down hard on the Treasury Secretary who blamed the Auditor General for criticizing the public sector, calling the Secretary`s behaviour 'unwarranted.' Citing media reports where the Treasury Secretary has criticized the Auditor General for exposing certain wrongdoing in the public sector, more..

Commission to probe ‘special house’

Apr 20 (SAMN) Following the shocking revelation that some of the country’s notorious criminals were provided special facilities at Welikada Magazine Prison, the Justice Minister on the direction of President Mahinda Rajapakse, appointed a commission to probe allegations of such facilities. more..

UNP yet to take final decision on CMC

Apr 20 (SAMN) The UNP nomination board meeting failed to take a final decision on the agreement to accommodate their candidates through an independent group to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). The party’s nomination list for the CMC was rejected this time, and now the case is pending in the Supreme Court. more..

Private buses on strike from Monday

Apr 20 (SAMN) Private bus owners Wednesday threatened to launch a countrywide strike from Monday; the day schools are to reopen for the second term, if the fare hike proposed by the National Transport Commission (NTC) was not granted, a spokesman for the private bus operators said. more..

Whoever defrauds State will be prosecuted -Senior State Counsel

Apr 20 (DN) Whoever is involved in defrauding the State and whatever their position or status in life will be prosecuted under the law Senior State Council Haripriya Jayasundera observed when hearings in connection with the VAT scam came up before Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Nimal Balalla yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka's hospitality industry shows record growth in March

Apr 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's leisure industry greeted record 54,746 visitors in March, as key western countries warned nationals to avoid traveling to the north east of the country as violence intensified in the region. The tsunami-hit island welcomed 54,746 visitors (up 8.6 percent over 2005) in March, more..

India worried over Sri Lanka turmoil

Apr 20 (IANS) India is seriously concerned over the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka where rapidly rising killings and counter-killings have the potential to suddenly blow up. Even if Colombo and the LTTE do meet in Geneva, the understanding here is that there is an urgent need for both sides to rebuild mutual trust. more..

Norway envoy begins talks with Tamil separatist leaders amid bloodshed

Apr 20 (AP) A Norwegian peace envoy began talks with senior Tamil Tiger guerrilla leaders Thursday, hoping to save a faltering truce amid a spate of bloody attacks blamed on the insurgents. Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was expected to try to persuade the Tamil Tiger leadership to attend crucial peace talks with the Sri Lankan government more..

Tamil Tiger rebel shot dead in eastern Sri Lanka; rebels kill rival activist

Apr 20 (AP) Sri Lankan troops shot dead a Tamil Tiger guerrilla and suspected rebels killed a rival activist in eastern Sri Lanka Thursday, the military said, as rebel leaders said they won't attend peace talks because of spiraling violence. In the first incident, soldiers killed a rebel of the LTTE when their army patrol came under fire in Trincomalee district, more..