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SLFP programmes for 55th anniversary

Aug 31 (SAMN) The SLFP has planned to initiate countrywide development, welfare and religious programmes to coincide with their 55th anniversary, which falls on September 2. The SLFP was initiated by the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, on September 02, 1951. The party has a proud history. It has governed the country for a number of years, under four distinguished leaders. more..

Stocks up on President's visit to London

Aug 31 (SAMN) Sri Lankan stocks closed slightly firmer on Wednesday on hopes President Mahinda Rajapaksa's sudden visit to London might augur good news for the peace process, but most buyers remained cautious. The Colombo All Share index up 0.13 percent to close at 2,151.98 points. Turnover was 162.6 million rupees ($1.58 million), less than the recent daily average so far this year. more..

SLMC to raise Guruparanís abduction

Aug 31 (SAMN) The SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem who met the released Sooriyan FM news editor Nadaraja Guruparan hours after he was released by the abductors last morning, had told Mr. Guruparan that he was going to raise the issue of his abduction in parliament and ask for a thorough investigation into the matter. more..

CMC standards have plummeted - Sally

Aug 31 (DN) The Former Deputy Mayor of Colombo M. Azath Sally has directed a scathing attack on the Municipal Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Liyanage for the present state of affairs in the Colombo City and the Municipality. Meeting the media at his private residence in Colombo yesterday he said that the present public service standard of the CMC has declined to very low levels. more..

Call to rehabilitate Tamil refugees as per UN norms

Aug 31 (NIP) The Peopleís Forum for Human Rights has called upon the Central and State Governments to rehabilitate Sri Lankan Tamil refugees as per the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) norms. A resolution on the refugee issue and other issues was adopted at the state executive committee meeting of the Peopleís Forum for Human Rights recently. more..

Sri Lanka: Oxfam acts for displaced people

Aug 31 (OW) The humanitarian situation in the north and east of the country continues to draw attention of the aid agencies. While a few displaced families have returned to their homes, thousands of displaced families are still in camps in Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Batticaloa and Jaffna districts. more..

300,000 Marian devotees gather to pray for peace in Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (UCAN) In conflict-torn Sri Lanka, 300,000 devotees from all over the country came to the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka to pray for the sick, as they do every year, but also for lasting peace. The basilica, which is just north of Colombo, observes an annual day for the sick on the last Sunday of August, which fell on Aug. 27 this year. more..

Eyewitness: Life on the edge in Jaffna

Aug 31 (BBC) Heavy fighting has continued in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. Many foreign nationals trapped by the fighting in the north were evacuated on Sunday. Here, a Sri Lankan aid worker who stayed behind describes the conditions for people displaced in the Jaffna peninsula. more..

Zahira primary (Hambantota) builds back better assisted by the UK national committee for UNICEF

Aug 31 (RW) More than 500 children, teachers and parents of Zahira Primary School, in Hambantota district, will today be the proud recipients of new primary school buildings. This is the second project, completed under the UNICEF Schools Infrastructure Reconstruction Programme. Earlier this month, the new buildings of Siddartha Primary school in Galle district were handed over. more..

Alarm over missing South Asians

Aug 31 (BBC) The international "war on terror" has led to new patterns of disappearances in South Asia, human rights group Amnesty International says. Hundreds of suspects had been removed without explanation in Pakistan, the group said in a report on Wednesday. Fears were also voiced over Sri Lanka and Nepal, echoed by the UN, where civil wars have taken their toll. more..

Sri Lanka must guarantee aid worker safety - U.N. envoy

Aug 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka must guarantee the safety of hundreds of humanitarian staff involved in tsunami relief and conflict projects, a United Nations envoy said, after truce monitors accused the military of killing 17 aid workers. The execution-style murders of local staff of aid agency Action Contre La Faim this month as a new bout of civil war flared in northeast Sri Lanka have triggered international outcry. more..

Sri Lanka's top general says rebel territory in east will fall within days

Aug 31 (AP) Sri Lanka's top-ranking general on Thursday vowed that within a few days the military would take control of an eastern, Tamil rebel-held enclave where fierce fighting since the weekend has killed scores of combatants. The military launched a major assault to recapture the Sampur region on Sunday, saying that in the hands of Tamil Tiger rebels it posed a threat to the strategic Trincomalee naval base. more..

U.N. warns may halt Sri Lanka work after aid killings

Aug 31 (Reuters) The United Nations threatened overnight to suspend aid operations in Sri Lanka after truce monitors accused the security forces of executing aid workers. Nordic truce monitors on Wednesday formally accused the security forces of being behind the execution-style murders of 17 local staff of aid agency Action Contre La Faim earlier this month in the northeast. more..

Sri Lanka demands proof of massacre charges

Aug 31 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government demanded proof Thursday of allegations by Nordic truce monitors that security forces were responsible for the massacre of 17 aid workers of a French charity. "It is premature to blame the government without any supporting evidence," Sri Lankan government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said in Colombo. more..

Blair meets Sri Lanka leader amid Tamil turmoil

Aug 31 (AFP) Prime Minister Tony Blair has met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse for private talks on the political situation in Sri Lanka, a spokeswoman for Blair has said. The two leaders, meeting at Blair's country residence Chequers, northwest of London, also discussed "general global issues", the spokeswoman told AFP Thursday, without giving further details. more..

U.N. to stay in Sri Lanka despite charge of government involvement in aid worker slayings

Aug 31 (AP) The U.N. said Thursday that it will keep its aid workers in Sri Lanka despite the accusation by European truce monitors that Sri Lankan security forces were behind the killings of 17 private relief agency employees this month. The finding prompted U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland to say Wednesday that, "We cannot continue in this area unless we know that people will be held accountable for the execution of 17 of our colleagues." more..