77 Reports

Darkness looms over SL as power crisis deepens

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 February 2002, 16:43 GMT]
The United National Front government Thursday announced that the present two and a half hour power cut would be extended to five hours from Friday as the water level of the reservoirs has decreased drastically. The Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe would issue a statement Friday regarding the island's power crisis, government officials said.
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SLA recruits, restructures for greater efficiency

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 February 2002, 12:14 GMT]
(News feature) The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is at the cross roads today, warily eyeing the prospect of a long peace and the schemes of the modern technocrats of the new government who might be inclined, as the negotiations progress, to prune its lavish budget and compact it to its 'natural size'. But the United National Front has sought to allay the SLA's apprehensions by promising to help it achieve greater efficiency.
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UNF cabinet reshuffled after five postponements

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 February 2002, 09:31 GMT]
The five times postponed swearing in ceremony of eight new Cabinet ministers took place Thursday noon at the Presidential Secretariat. Mr.S.B.Dissanayake, one time ally and now an archrival of President Chandrika Kumaratunge took oaths as Minister of 'Samurdhi' (Poverty Alleviation) in addition to his Agricultural Ministry.
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Sihala Urumaya urges President to nullify MoU

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 February 2002, 20:18 GMT]
The Sihala Urumaya (SU), the hard-line Sinhala nationalist party, declared Tuesday that it would launch a campaign among the Sinhalese to urge President Chandrika Kumaratunga to use her executive powers to invalidate the cease-fire agreement between the United National Front government and the LTTE. Mr. Tilak Karunaratne, leader of the Sihala Urumaya (SU), addressing a press conference in Colombo Tuesday said that his party has decided to file a case on Thursday in the Court of Appeal seeking the nullification of the MoU and the cease-fire agreement as these, according to him have contravened the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
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Despondent paramilitaries mull arms surrender

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 February 2002, 15:48 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army has given 48 hours to Tamil paramilitary groups operating in the Batticaloa district to disarm or join the military and serve outside the Northeast, the regional Tamil daily, Thinakathir reported Tuesday, quoting sources in SLA's 23-3 Brigade Headquarters in the eastern town.
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President threatens to cancel ceasefire

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 February 2002, 11:56 GMT]
(News Feature) Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga Monday threatened to derail the permanent ceasefire between the United National Front government and the Liberation Tigers with a single letter to the Army commander, a press report said Tuesday. President Kumaratunga also stepped up the war of words with the UNF government of Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, dealing a heavy blow to the latter’s efforts to sustain governance by ‘cohabitation’ between Parliament and the office of the President, the Daily Mirror reported. Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance (PA), along with the Janatha Vimukthi Pramuna (JVP) and the paramilitary Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) intend to mount a legal challenge to the permanent ceasefire, press reports said Monday.
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Parliamentary debate date on MOU advanced

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 February 2002, 16:40 GMT]
The Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Monday evening decided to summon the parliament on March 4 to debate the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Earlier the parliament was scheduled to meet on March 5.
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Chandrika urged not to derail the peace process

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 15:52 GMT]
The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) Sunday, a constituent of the main opposition People's Alliance (PA) appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunge and the leaders of other political parties not to derail the peace process which is gathering momentum after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United National Front (UNF) government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
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MoU debate in parliament on March 5

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 15:50 GMT]
The United National Front (UNF) government Sunday said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the government and the LTTE could be debated on March 5 when the parliament resumes its sittings. "We are ready to reconvene the parliament as early as possible to debate the MoU", said sources close to Prime Minister's office.
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'LTTE is close to Tamil hearts'- UNF MP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 15:41 GMT]
(Photos) "The Tamil people of the north and east have accepted in their hearts the leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Velupillai Pirapaharan, as their sole leader. The elections to the Parliament established that the Liberation Tigers are the sole representatives of the Tamil people," said Mr. M. A. M Mahroof, United National Party MP for Trincomalee, addressing a peace rally in the eastern port town Sunday. About ten thousand people from all walks of life thronged Trincomalee Sunday morning for the peace march and the rally. Many marchers carried large photographs of Mr. Pirapaharan.
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'PTA will not be repealed' -Prime Minister

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 12:00 GMT]
"We cannot be too rigid in regard to the talks. We have to first bring the LTTE to the negotiating table. We should not put too many prohibitions, too many restrictions, and too many conditions that would prevent them from coming to the negotiating table.
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UNF rejects President's accusation on truce signing

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 February 2002, 17:08 GMT]
The United National Front (UNF) government Saturday rejected the accusations made by the Presidential Secretariat on the cease-fire agreement signed between the government and the Liberation Tigers were entirely incorrect. The Presidential Secretariat Friday blamed the UNF government that it signed the Memorandum of Understanding without informing the Cabinet.
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JVP wants urgent Parliament debate on MoU

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 February 2002, 17:08 GMT]
The Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Saturday said that a memorandum with the signatures of forty parliamentarians has been submitted to the Speaker to summon the parliament immediately to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)signed between the United National Front government and the Tamil Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Friday.
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General Ratwatte's sons surrender to CID

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 February 2002, 15:48 GMT]
The two sons of the former Deputy Defence Minister, General Ratwatte who had been absconding arrest since December last year in connection with the murder of ten Muslim youths at Udathalawinne in Kandy Saturday surrendered to the Criminal Investigation Department.
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International community hails permanent ceasefire

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2002, 22:43 GMT]
The international community Friday welcomed the signing this week of a permanent ceasefire between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lanka government. India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan released statements urging a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.
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Kumaratunga expresses 'shock and dismay' over truce signing

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2002, 19:15 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, expressed her "shock and dismay" at the government's hurried signing of a permanent ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers. In a statement released by the Presidential Secretariat, she lashed out at her arch-rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for not seeking her prior approval, describing his entering into the truce as "an undemocratic act."
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Ranil visits A9 entry point to mark MoU signing

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2002, 11:30 GMT]
(Photos) Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the main entry point on the A9 highway to the LTTE held Vanni region Friday afternoon to mark the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a permanent cease-fire between the Liberation Tigers and Colombo. The Prime Minister was accorded a reception at the last SLA point on the edge of the no man's land supervised by the ICRC.
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Norway announces permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2002, 10:16 GMT]
The Norwegian government Friday declared the commencement from Saturday of a permanent ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers. In a statement, Jan Petersen, Foreign Minister of Norway, said his government had been asked to make public the agreement signed by LTTE leader Vellupillai Pirapaharan and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
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Amended Local Govt. Ordinance bill passed

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 February 2002, 17:40 GMT]
The amended Local Government Ordinance bill was passed by a majority of fifty-four votes in the parliament Thursday night after two days' debate. One hundred and twenty two parliamentarians voted for the bill. Sixty-eight parliamentarians belonged to the main opposition People's Alliance and the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna voted against the amendment.
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AG orders the release of Katunayake attack suspects

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 February 2002, 17:36 GMT]
The Attorney General has directed the Negombo Magistrate to release all the thirty-two Tamils arrested and remanded in connection with the attack on Sri Lanka Air Force head quarters at Katunayake on July 24 last year. All the suspects have been detained at Kalutara prisons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
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UNF govt to hold parliamentary debate on MoU

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 February 2002, 12:02 GMT]
The United National Front government said Thursday that it is willing to conduct a full parliamentary debate on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and the Liberation Tigers as soon as it is signed. "The MoU between the UNF government and the Liberation Tigers has not yet been finalised. The meeting of leaders of the political parties represented in the parliament would be summoned to fix the date for the debate, once the MoU came into force. The government is willing to hold a full debate on it if the opposition wanted," Mr.W.J.M.Loku Bandara, Leader of the House and Minister of Justice told parliament Thursday morning.
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Mullaitivu incident no obstruction to cease-fire agreement -Minister

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 February 2002, 12:00 GMT]
Media spokesman and a senior minister of the United National Front Government Professor G.L.Peiris told a press conference this morning that clashes between the Sri Lanka Navy and the Liberation Tigers, Thursday morning would in no way obstruct the signing of the cease-fire agreement between the government and the LTTE. Defence Ministry sources in Colombo said a Sri Lanka Navy officer was killed in the clashes that took place off the northeastern coast of Mullaithivu. The clashes erupted when navy patrol boats intercepted a flotilla of LTTE boats. Sri Lanka Air Force jets were called in to assist the navy, the sources said.
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Up-country Tamils support struggle in NE -UNF minister

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 19:18 GMT]
More than thirty thousand people took part in the 'Pongu Thamil' rally in Batticaloa Wednesday. "The Tamil people are struggling for the right to live. The Tamils are asking for the right to live like the other people of the world. The Tamils of the hill country express their solidarity with the struggle of the Tamils of the north and east," said Mr. P. Chandrasekeran, Minister for Estate Infrastructure, addressing the Pongu Thamil rally Wednesday.
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Gen. Ratwatte indicted in massacre case

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 17:02 GMT]
The Attorney General Wednesday decided to indict the thirty-three suspects, including General Ratwatte in the Udathalawinne Murder case before a Trial at Bar inquiry. At a conference presided by the AG at his office Wednesday afternoon, it was decided to request the Chief Justice to nominate three High Court judges to the Trial at Bar inquiry, legal sources said. AG department sources said that this decision was taken to treat the Udathalawinne murder case as a special one.
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TNA appeals to PA, JVP to abandon chauvinist stance

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 14:43 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Wednesday made a passionate plea to the Sri Lanka's main opposition party, the People's Alliance (PA) and the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to conduct themselves with the a greater sense of responsibility and look upon peace as some thing very sacred which this country can no longer fail to achieve. "Both PA and JVP should act with a better understanding of the real ground situation in regard to the preservation of democracy and the democratic rights, particularly of Tamil people. Otherwise you would be driving the Tamil people to a position where they would think and come to a conclusion that the parliament in Sri Lanka is not at all concerned about their being afforded the opportunity of exercising their democratic rights," said Mr.R.Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance parliamentary group leader speaking during the debate on the amended draft bill of Local Government Ordinance.
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Gen. Ratwatte remanded till March 4

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 05:52 GMT]
The former Deputy Defense Minister General Anurudhha Ratwatte was remanded Wednesday by the Teldeniya Magistrate Ms Inoka Ranasinghe until March 4. The Magistrate made the order overruling several objections raised by a group of attorneys appeared on behalf of General Ratwatte.
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'Pongu Thamil' draws thousands in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 01:30 GMT]
(Photos) More than fifteen thousand people from all parts of the Batticaloa and Ampara districts thronged the east coast town for the Pongu Thamil rally and cultural program Wednesday. The main approach roads to the town were clogged with thousands who came for the event from places as far away as Pottuvil, 112 km. south of Batticaloa. The Pongu Thamil upsurge was organised by eastern university students, the local traders associations, teachers unions, trade unions and fishermen's societies and the Tamil National Alliance.
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Former Defence Minister General Ratwatte arrested

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 February 2002, 19:37 GMT]
Former Defence Minister and presently Kandy district parliamentarian General Anurudhha Ratwatte was arrested Tuesday night by a team of Criminal Investigation Department ( CID ) officials at his Rajagiriya residence in Colombo. General Ratwatte was preparing himself to be hospitalized at the time of arrest, police sources said.
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"Amended Local Govt. Ordinance in order"- Supreme Court

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 February 2002, 19:31 GMT]
The Supreme Court has held that the amended draft Local Government Ordinance bill, which empowers the Commissioner of Elections to postpone elections to local authorities under extra ordinary circumstances in certain areas, is not contrary to the present Constitution.The Speaker Mr.Joseph Michael Perera Tuesday informed the determination of the SC when the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Mr.Alick Aluwihare tabled the amended draft bill in parliament.
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Cabinet revision postponement causes political tension

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 February 2002, 19:26 GMT]
The Presidential Secretariat Tuesday at the eleventh hour postponed indefinitely the swearing in ceremony of the seven non-cabinet ministers of the United National Front government as cabinet ministers. Reasons were not given for the postponement, ruling United National Front sources said. However political sources said that the main reason for the sudden postponement was that the President had opposed the appointment of Mr.S.B.Dissanayake, who was her one time ally and now an arch rival, as the Minister of Samurdhi (Poverty Alleviation) in the UNF government.
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"MoU contents will be divulged to nation" -UNF

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 February 2002, 19:22 GMT]
The United National Front Government said Tuesday that it would submit all details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and the Liberation Tigers on a long-standing cease-fire to the nation and the parliament once the parties concerned reached an agreement. "We have not finalised the contents of the proposed MOU brokered by the Norwegian facilitation. It is premature to express opinion on the proposed MoU based on news reports appeared in media," said Professor G.L.Peiris, a senior minister in the UNF government Tuesday in parliament.
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UNF minister meets Karikalan in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 February 2002, 18:55 GMT]
Mr. Thondaman (right) and Mr. Karikalan.

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UNF govt to reduce 2002 defence expenditure

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 February 2002, 18:19 GMT]
The United National Front government (UNF) said Monday that the country's defense expenditure would be reduced in the new budget, which is scheduled to be tabled in parliament on March 18. "The current cessation of hostilities would continue even if the government and the Liberation Tigers failed to sign the Memorandum of Understanding before February 24. Both the UNF government and the LTTE would have to sign a common programme of action to make the cessation of hostilities a permanent ceasefire," said the Defense Minister Mr.Tilak Marapone addressing a press briefing Monday.
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PTA indictments withdrawn for want of evidence

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 February 2002, 18:10 GMT]
The Supreme Court Monday allowed an application by the Attorney General to withdraw indictments against four Tamil civilians under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for want of evidence. Hence the SC made order discharging the accused.
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A9 opening

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 February 2002, 06:22 GMT]
(Photographs) The TamilNet correspondent for Vavuniya visited the Vanni after the A-9 highway was reopened on Friday, February 15 from Vavuniya up to Killinochchi, as part of ongoing efforts to de-escalate the conflict. The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) opened the A9 highway northwards from Omanthai and the Liberation Tigers opened the southern end of the section of the road which falls within their areas.
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JVP criticised for sabotaging peace efforts

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 February 2002, 19:44 GMT]
The Colombo based Sinhalese weekly 'Hiru' has criticised the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) for its chauvinistic stance on the current peace initiatives by the United National Front government. "The JVP has violated all socialist norms by keeping silent on the political and economic rights of the Tamils in the Northeast province", the paper said in its political column Sunday.
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'Parthenium' weed destroys agricultural lands in NEP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 February 2002, 19:41 GMT]
The deadly weed of Parthenium is now spreading fast in the Tamil dominated Northeast province in Sri Lanka leading to loss of crop yield up to fifty percent, causing retardation of crop growth and skin disorders to people, provincial agricultural experts said. The first appearance of this weed was noted in 1988 near sites mainly at the School of Agriculture when occupied by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) at Vavuniya in the northern province. The IPKF arrived in Sri Lanka during the latter part of 1987 under the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord in an attempt to resolve the country's ethnic conflict.
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LTTE denies Maldives venue reports

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 February 2002, 16:24 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Sunday denied news reports in a popular Colombo-based Tamil daily that suggested that negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE would be held in the Maldives on the 16th of April. Mr. Anton Balasingham, the LTTE’s chief negotiator and political advisor, when queried by TamilNet over the report in the Virakesari said that there is no truth to the story.
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People's Alliance warned against chauvinistic approach

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 February 2002, 18:24 GMT]
The Lanka Sama Samaja Party, a constituent in the People's Alliance (PA) led by President Chandrika Kumaratunge Saturday warned that it would withdraw its support to the PA if it indulged in inciting communal feeling during the forthcoming local government elections. The Leader of LSSP and the former Minister of Justice in the PA government Mr.Batty Weerakon said in a statement that "it would be a national crime if the main stream political parties deviated from the present supportive action to the peace initiatives mooted by the United National Front government
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Tamil paramilitaries’ extortion under scrutiny

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 February 2002, 20:51 GMT]
The Vavuniya Magistrate, Mr.M.Ilancheliyan, Friday directed police to investigate several complaints made by civilians about cadres of a Tamil paramilitary group, working alongside the Army, which has been extorting money from villagers in suburbs of Vavuniya claiming they were representing Liberation Tigers, court sources said.
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LTTE prepared to open Kilinochchi-Jaffna highway

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 February 2002, 15:37 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Friday that they are willing to open the remaining part of the A-9 highway from Kilinochchi to Jaffna in the near future, if the Sri Lankan Government responded favourably. This was stated by Mr.Thangan (Sutha), Political Administrative Secretary of the organisation when speaking at the ceremonial function of the opening of A-9 highway from Vavuniya to Killinochchi Friday morning.
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A9 highway reopens

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 February 2002, 11:14 GMT]
(News Feature) Sri Lanka's main A9 highway, the target of an abortive and bloody 18-month Army offensive in the mid nineties was reopened Friday morning from Vavuniya up to Killinochchi, as part of ongoing efforts to de-escalate the conflict. The move provides greater access for people and supplies to the Liberation Tigers held Vanni region on which successive government in Colombo clamped an economic embargo for more than a decade. Goods were scheduled to flow into the area Friday, while seven hundred people waiting on either side of the former separating line had been cleared to cross. "Civilians would be allowed to travel to and from LTTE held Vanni region through these roads after their identities are checked and only five days a week between 8 am and 5 pm," authoritative sources told TamilNet.
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AG to withdraw indictments under section 5 of PTA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 February 2002, 17:41 GMT]
The Attorney General has instructed all State Counsels who appear on behalf of the AG's department in High Courts to withdraw two categories of cases filed under Section 5 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Tamil youths who have been indicted for failing to provide information about the LTTE members in their respective areas and those who have been indicted on their own confession purported to have been made due to severe torture after the arrest are to be freed according to AG's instruction, legal sources said.
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'Poverty is prevalent in northeast'- ADB Director

[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 February 2002, 17:38 GMT]
The Asian Development Bank's Country Director Mr.John R.Cooney said Thursday that about seventy percent of the people in the war torn northeast province in Sri Lanka are below poverty line and their average monthly income is less than one thousand rupees. "This is very much high compared to other provinces in the island". Mr.Cooney made this observation Thursday morning at the inaugural event of the Project Management Office of the North East Community Restoration and Development Project (NECORD) in Trincomalee.
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"Restriction on medicines to north lifted" -MoD

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 February 2002, 21:18 GMT]
The United National Front government Wednesday announced that the restriction on transfer of medicines and equipment to "uncleared areas (that are not under the control of State armed forces) has been lifted. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) Wednesday said in a press release that "it has decided to do away with the restrictions on transfer of medicines and equipment with immediate effect."
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Supreme Court scrutinises amended Local Government Act

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 February 2002, 18:46 GMT]
The Supreme Court Wednesday after considering the proposed Local Government Ordinance amendment bill referred to by the Executive Presidency to determine its constitutionality, announced that it would convey its determination to the President and the Speaker of the Parliament in due course. The bill was taken up for scrutiny Wednesday before a three member bench comprising of Justices S.W.B.Wadugodapitiya, D.P.S.Gunasekara and Ameer Ismail.
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Local Govt. Ordinance amendment bill before SC

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 February 2002, 15:11 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunge Tuesday made a special request under Section 122 of the Constitution to the Chief Justice to report to her within twenty-four hours whether the proposed amendment to the Local Government Ordinance is consistent with the present Constitution. The President made this request on receipt of the proposed amendment bill from the United National Front (UNF) government.
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Jaffna travel restriction relaxed -MoD

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 February 2002, 20:31 GMT]
The United National Front Government Monday announced that no approval from the Ministry of Defence will be required hereafter by Sri Lankan citizens to travelling to Jaffna. "However their identities should be proved at the point of embarking when they travel by air or ship at security force/check points established by the Government", the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a press statement released Monday.
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SC cancels police promotions by previous govt.

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 February 2002, 20:22 GMT]
The Supreme Court held Monday that the Inspector General of Police and the former Defence Ministry Secretary had violated the basic human rights of petitioners and ordered the cancellation of 34 promotions provided to police officers as Superintendents of Police by the previous regime. The fundamental rights petitions filed by 46 Assistant Superintendents of Police Monday came up for inquiry before a three member bench of the Supreme Court comprised Justices Mark Fernando (chairman) C.V.Vigneswaran and Asoka de Silva.
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Tigers say ready to open A9 highway as scheduled

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 February 2002, 06:09 GMT]
In a statement issued in the Vanni Sunday, the political wing of the Liberation Tigers said that the A9 highway and the Uyilankulam road in Mannar would be opened on Friday 15 February. The two roads would be the only access arteries to the LTTE held Vanni region on which successive government in Colombo clamped a harsh economic embargo for more than a decade. The Vavuniya GA told TamilNet last week that the district secretariat was ready for opening the A9 on 15 February.
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Mined rice fields cause hunger -survey

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 February 2002, 18:52 GMT]
In a survey conducted the North East Community Restoration and Development Project ( NECORD ) which is funded by the Asian Development Bank, it has been found that "the ban on fishing and mined agricultural lands within security zones in the northeast province have made it impossible for farmers and fishermen to pursue their occupations with a consequent deterioration in living conditions including vulnerability to hunger and disease".
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Jaffna supply snag despite A9 euphoria

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 February 2002, 18:49 GMT]
The Pt. Pedro jetty in Jaffna will now operate till 10 p.m. Sri Lankan government officials in the north told TamilNet Sunday. The move would increase the quantum of supplies that can be unloaded from ships, they said. But shippers are reluctant to hire additional vessels to increase supplies to the peninsula as the A9, the main highway to Jaffna, is expected to reopen after the Liberation Tigers and Colombo sign the Memorandum of Understanding on a ceasefire, according to a senior official. An entry point on the highway for civilian traffic into the Vanni is scheduled to open on 15 February at Vilakkuvaiththa Kulam, 18 kilometres north of Vavuniya.
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CID to expedite Nimalarajan, Kumar murder investigations

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 February 2002, 18:44 GMT]
The Attorney General (AG) has directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police to expedite the investigations into the murders of Mr.Maylvaganam Nimalarajan, a Jaffna based Tamil journalist and Mr.Kumar Ponnambalam, leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, legal sources said. The Attorney General would shortly review the progress of the investigations so far conducted by the CID in this regard, the sources said.
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CID records statement of General Ratwatte

[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 February 2002, 14:41 GMT]
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police Saturday recorded the statement of the former Deputy Defense Minister and Kandy district Peoples Alliance (PA) parliamentarian General Anurudhha Ratwatte in connection with the Udathalawinne massacre that took place on December 5 last year. General Ratwatte Saturday went to CID office to make a statement on a directive issued by the Police.
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Tamil festival spurs war ravaged district

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 February 2002, 22:46 GMT]
The festival's cultural programs began with traditional Naathaswaram music. (Please click on the image for larger photo)

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Jaffna fishermen agitation continues

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 February 2002, 21:08 GMT]
In spite of the announcement by the Defense Ministry relaxing the restriction on fishing in some areas in the peninsula, Jaffna fishermen Thursday continued their picketing in front of the Jaffna Secretariat demanding the complete withdrawal of ban on fishing. The Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it would allow fishing in Vadamarachchi sea from Thondamanaru to Point Pedro from 4.30 am to 6 p.m. using traditional crafts. Earlier the Defense Ministry had completely banned fishing in sea from Thondamanaru to Point Pedro.
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SLAF officers jailed for threatening journalist

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 February 2002, 21:02 GMT]
The Colombo High Court Thursday found guilty two Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) officers who had threatened to kill Mr.Iqbal Athas, Consultant Editor of the Sunday Times in 1998, and sentenced them to nine years rigorous imprisonment. Delivering his order the High Court Judge Mr.Sarath Ambepitiya said, "Media personnel have the freedom to criticise any member of any rank of the society. The accused had committed the offence to prevent the complainant from exposing corruption and malpractice of the Sri Lanka Air Force".
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Tamil festival for self-determination on 'pearl coast'

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 February 2002, 19:28 GMT]
More than twenty thousand, including Muslims, thronged the seaside village of Mutharipputhurai in Mannar Thursday for the 'Tamil is our Being' (Thamil Engal Uyir) celebration. The organisers of the event made a declaration that the homeland of the Tamils and their right to determination should be recognised; that the Liberation Tigers should be accepted as the sole representatives of the Tamils and that the ban on the LTTE should be removed; that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be repealed and all Tamil political prisoners held under this draconian law should be released.
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"Vanni woes continue" -CTTU

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 February 2002, 14:23 GMT]
The Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) said Thursday that "the Vanni intelligentsia feel that the United National Front government has failed to take concrete steps in taking forward the peace initiative." Mr.T.Mahasivam, General Secretary of the CTTU told TamilNet that "the Vanni people still live in misery and are eagerly awaiting to enjoy the benefits of the humanitarian assistance programme which was announced by the United National Front government last month."
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Kumaratunga ally denounces UNF-LTTE peace talks

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 February 2002, 16:04 GMT]
The radical Sinhala nationalist - socialist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a key ally of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, vowed Wednesday to fight Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe's government if it "dared to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers".
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LTTE rejects President's child-recruitment charge

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 05 February 2002, 19:58 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tuesday categorically denied allegations by Sri Lanka's President Kumaratunga that the organisation is engaged in the forcible recruiting of children for war effort under the guise of ceasefire. When contacted by TamilNet regarding the President's statement issued Tuesday, the LTTE's political advisor and chief negotiator, Mr. Anton Balasingham, rejected the accusation and said Kumaratunga was attempting create controversy and apprehensions with the intention of undermining the ongoing Norwegian peace initiative.
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45,685 sick civilians treated by LTTE - radio

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 05 February 2002, 13:33 GMT]
Mobile medical units of the Liberation Tigers treated 45,685 civilians in the Vanni last year, according to a Voice of Tigers report this week. The civilians were mainly from the remote parts of the region, with little access to the mobile medical services of the ICRC. The largest percentage of these patients was treated for anaemia, the report said. Malnutrition and anaemia are rampant among children and adults in Vanni, induced by the decade long embargo clamped on the region by successive governments in Colombo and the acute shortage of food, medicines and drugs, including aspirin.
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Trinco to join Jaffna fishermen protest

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 05 February 2002, 11:07 GMT]
The Trincomalee District Fishermen Co-operative Societies Federation ( TDFCSF )Tuesday decided to join the protest campaign by the Jaffna fishermen if the United National Front government failed to remove all restrictions and the ban on fishing in sea. The Federation in its news release said "It is high time for the new government to show their goodwill by allowing Jaffna fishermen to do fishing freely in sea".
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People nab soldier for molesting girl

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2002, 19:12 GMT]
The people of Orr's Hill, a suburb in Trincomalee town nabbed a soldier of the Sri Lanka Army Monday evening around 4.45 when he allegedly attempted to molest a seven year old Tamil girl. The other two soldiers of the SLA who accompanied the suspect fled from the scene when the people of the area came to the rescue of the victim hearing her cries. The angry crowd later had tied the suspect soldier to a tree and sent word to the Trincomalee Police.
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Vavuniya-Trinco road opens after a decade

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2002, 19:11 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government re-opened the highway from Vavuniya to Trincomalee through Horawapotana Monday. The Sri Lanka army closed the road ten years ago. The highway is the shortest route- 96 kilometres - from Vavuniya to the eastern port town. A bus service to Trincomalee was started on the road Monday.
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Paramilitaries stirring communal tension through crimes - LTTE

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2002, 16:09 GMT]
Agent provocateurs under the guise of being members of the Liberation Tigers are engaged in criminal activities in the Batticaloa district in a bid to provoke communal tension and undermine the ongoing Norwegian peace efforts, the LTTE's political section for the Batticaloa and Amparai districts said Sunday. In a Tamil-language statement issued in the eastern districts, the LTTE said paramilitary groups working with the Sri Lanka armed forces were responsible for a string of thefts, forcible removal of property from Muslim homes and businesses and extortion. The LTTE appealed to all Tamil speaking people in the region to be united against such efforts to spread alarm.
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'Torture Elimination Day' mooted

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2002, 15:41 GMT]
The Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission and the JanaSansadaya (People's Dialogue), a Sri Lankan organization specializing in monitoring torture said the island's 54th Independence Day should be observed as 'Torture Elimination Day'. In a joint statement thetwo organizations said "The theme for the day is "Implement Act 22 of 1994", which was issued under the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This theme has been chosen to highlight the widespread practice of torture in the country, against Act 22 of 1994".
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Fishermen hoist black flag for Independence Day

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2002, 08:14 GMT]
Protesting fishermen who are urging Colombo to lift the restrictions and ban on fishing in the northern peninsula Monday flew black flags in the Jaffna District Secretariat. Jaffna’s Government Agent, Mr.K. Shanmuganathan, could not hoist the Sri Lankan national flag and hold the customary ceremony at the secretariat Monday to mark 54th anniversary of the island’s independence from British rule because of the fishermen’s protest, officials said.
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Covert moves to scuttle peace in east – Karikalan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 February 2002, 21:51 GMT]
“Corrupts elements in the Sri Lanka army and paramilitary groups operating with it are making covert attempts in the east to scuttle the peace negotiations between the Tigers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe’s government”, said the deputy leader of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Karikalan, addressing a press conference Sunday in Kokkaddicholai, 14 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa.
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'I'll don the stripes if UNF peace fails' -Chandranehru

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 February 2002, 21:43 GMT]
"A river of blood will flow in this island if the United National Front government fails to make every effort to bring about peace. Why? Even I, Chandranehru, will wear the LTTE uniform and go to the battlefield. This is the last chance for Sri Lanka to solve the Tamil problem politically. The three communities of this country yearn for peace today.
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Presidential Security chief surrenders to court

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 February 2002, 21:41 GMT]
The Director of the Presidential Security Division (PSD) Mr.Nihal Karunaretna Sunday afternoon surrendered to the Kandy Chief Magistrate. The Chief Magistrate Mr.C.V.Rajapakse last Tuesday issued arrest warrant on him on an application made by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that he was wanted in connection with a complaint that he had threatened the Officer-in-Charge of the Hanguranketha Police with death.
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“Remove fishing ban , release PTA suspects" -TNA

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 February 2002, 15:51 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance ( TNA ) Sunday appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunge to exercise her wide power to release all Tamil political prisoners who have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA ) under the general amnesty. The TNA further appealed to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to take urgent steps to remove fishing ban in Jaffna district.
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TNA rally exhorts political prisoners' release

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 February 2002, 12:19 GMT]
"There will soon be a permanent ceasefire, normalcy might gradually be restored, we may even have freedom of movement in our land - but we must not let all these distract us from our goal and slacken our resolve to struggle on for our rights as a nation", said Mr. K. Thangavadivel, the Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa, addressing a meeting at the conclusion of a 'Paatha Yaaththirai' (foot pilgrimage), Sunday from the southern and northern quarters of the eastern town urging Colombo to release Tamil political prisoners and lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers.
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‘Basket of humanitarian issues remain’ - PM

[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 February 2002, 21:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister last week acknowledged that more needed to be done to alleviate the considerable difficulties of the Tamils living in areas not controlled by the Sri Lanka Army, the state press reported Saturday. Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday that while food and essential items were reaching the people of Wanni there was yet “a basket of humanitarian issues that needs to be addressed by the government to alleviate the conditions of the Northern citizens,” the Daily News reported.
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War strategy flop costs thousands their hospital

[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 February 2002, 15:09 GMT]
The bombed out shell of the Kilinochchi District hospital stands mute witness to a failed Sri Lanka army strategy. The hospital was the largest government medical facility in the Vanni until Sri Lanka Air Force jets destroyed it in bombing raids in early 1996. Dr.S.Vigneswaran, the District Medical Officer, says rebuilding the Kilinochchi hospital would cost more than 150 million rupees (approx- 1.6 million USD. 1 USD = 93 LKR). He now runs the hospital out of a small medical centre in the interior village of Akkarayan south of Kilinochchi.
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Tamil political prisoners fast for 'trial or release'

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 February 2002, 14:05 GMT]
Tamil political prisoners in scores of jails and detention centres across Sri Lanka began a protest fast Friday demanding that they be acquitted or be released as they are being held for extended periods without any legal proceedings being instituted against them in courts by the Attorney General's Department.
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Stringent embargo continues to afflict Mutur east

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 February 2002, 07:33 GMT]
The embargo on the free supply of food, fertilizers, kerosene and most essentials, including boxes of matches and sugar, to Mutur east in the southern part of the Trincomalee district is still strictly enforced by the Sri Lanka army at the Kattaiparichchaan entry point, according to the TamilNet's correspondent in the eastern port town who visited the region Thursday. However, "Help for Peace" says a new signpost in English and Tamil at the SLA's Kattaiparichchaan entry point. From Tuesday, the SLA eased stringent controls on civilians from other parts of the district entering Mutur east following several appeals to the Sri Lankan security forces commander for Trincomalee.
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