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With compensation taking time to reach them villagers sit admidst 
the rubble of their cyclone ravaged houses in Trincomalee. 
See for full report. 
Pic by Ranjith Perera

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Thais deport LTTE agent to Norway

The Sri Lankan born LTTE activist who was found to have made a secret submarine in Southern Thailand has been deported to his country of residence Norway.

The Phuket Criminal Court in Thailand imposed a fine of 6,000 Baht, (SL RS. 12,000) on Christmas Day on Christy Reginold Lawrence, an LTTE activist who holds a non-Sri Lanka passport. The Court also ordered that he be deported to his country of residence Norway.

He had been indicted by the Phuket Police under the Communication Act of Thailand on charges of importing, possessing and utilising communication equipment without the approval from the Telecommunication Authority of Thailand. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.

Mr. Lawrence was arrested on April 9, 2000 by the Phuket Marine Police who recovered several items including radio communication equipment, global positioning systems, sonar, satellite equipment and telephones. They also found LTTE propaganda material, including LTTE calendars, posters, photographs, video and audio cassettes.

The submarine was reportedly being made in a manner that it could lay mines or conduct raids.

The ship yard was partly owned by a Tamil separatist sympathiser. The boat parts were believed to have been imported by Mr. Lawrence.


Well done Murali!

Sri Lanka's world-record breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan reached a millennium milestone yesterday when he took his tally beyond the 300 mark. With a sensational spell which brought him six for 39 in the 2nd innings of first test against South Africa, Muralitharan went up to 302 wickets second fastest only to the legendary Denis Lillee who hit the 300 target in 55 tests. Only two other spinners, Lance Gibbs and Shane Warne, have topped the 300 mark, but our Murlitharan has done it faster,

No money for Maligawa security

By Shane Seneviratne
The Police Department has no funds to enhance security for one of Buddhism's most venerated shrines in Sri Lanka the Sri Dalada Maligawa, according to a senior police officer.

He has asked the Mahanayakas of the Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters as well as the Diyawadana Nilame the lay custodian of the Maligawa to raise funds on their own by appealing to the public and private sector organisations.

The response came from Central Province DIG Mahinda Balasuriya to an appeal made by the Mahanayakas and the Diyawadana Nilame.

The appeal was prompted by the inconvenience devotees are being now subjected to. They have to remain in queues for long period before being body checked and allowed into the Maligawa. 

The prelates and the Diyawadana Nilame have also been unhappy about the movement of policemen carrying pistols within the Temple precincts and felt such practices in a place most sacred to Buddhism could be obviated by the use of sophisticated electronic devices. Hence the appeal to the Police. DIG Balasuriya said the Police had not been able to provide full security to the Maligawa since it did not possess necessary equipment.

"The Police will be able to improve the security arrangements at the Maligawa if the equipment is made available by way of donations from state institutions, banks and other recognised private organisations," the DIG said.

He was responding to a series of appeals to the government to provide additional equipment needed to improve the security of the Maligawa which was attacked by the LTTE in January 1998.

The items needed for extra security included three electronic search gates, ten hand-held metal detectors, twelve 1000 watt tracker lights, 15 emergency lamps, 50 torch lights, ten hand sirens and six vehicle search mirrors.

The DIG has suggested that due to lack of funds, the Mahanayakas and the Diyawadana Nilame could appeal to the Lotteries Board, state and private banks, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, gem and jewellery shop owners and other industrialists in Kandy and from a private company in Matale.

Earlier Central Province Governor T. K. Dassanayake and Buddha Sasana Ministry's former secretary Nimal Samarasundara had appealed to the government to provide additional security equipment. Presidential Secretary K. Balapatabendi in a letter to the Defence Secretary in October also had told him to make arrangements to provide the required equipment, but it was not done.


Troops regain A-9 in Jaffna

In a surprise four-hour military operation that began at dawn yesterday, security forces ousted LTTE guerrillas from territory they held near the northern capital, Jaffna and gained control of the entire A-9 main highway including the Navatkuli bridge.

These significant military gains came during phase seven of 'operation Kiniheera'.

General Rohan de S. Daluwatta, Chief of Defence Staff, said yesterday troops were now in full control of the A-9 (Jaffna-Kandy highway) within the Jaffna peninsula - from Eluthumaduval through Chavakachcheri to Jaffna town.

The two bridges along the south, the one at Kaithady captured earlier and Navatkuli captured yesterday had been blasted by the LTTE guerrillas. The former is now being repaired while work on the latter is due to begin shortly.

With the LTTE guerrillas withdrawing from the area, there was no heavy fighting. Only two soldiers were injured in anti personnel mine blasts.


Clean up or be fined

By Faraza Farook
State institutions, including schools, which do not keep the buildings clean will be fined from next month though the fines are ridiculously low.

The Colombo municipality's chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said a warning would be given first and the institution would be prosecuted if remedial action was not taken within a week. 

But the crack down in being launched under archaic provisions of the Nuisance Ordinance or the Mosquito Breeding Ordinance which provide for ridiculously low fines ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1000.

But Dr. Kariyawasam said that though the fine was small, they hoped the action would pressurise institutions to keep their buildings clean.

He pointed out that railway yards from Fort to Maradana were badly neglected while transport board depots which pile tyres for mosquito breeding would also be targeted in the cleanup campaign.


Aid: much ado but how much?

With media reports, ministers and the Ministry of Finance giving different or contradictory interpretations of the recent Sri Lanka Development Forum meeting in Paris, questions still remain as to how much aid Sri Lanka will get.

In this backdrop, President Chandrika Kumaratunga did not attend a scheduled news conference after the Paris meeting on the advice of her media advisors who apparently did not want the Sri Lankan media to question her on the de-escalation of the war, 

The Hindu said: "Ms. Kumaratunga was scheduled to address a press conference at the World Bank's European Headquarters here at the end of the two-day meeting on December 19. Journalists from Colombo were invited to participate via a satellite uplink. But as the questions from Sri Lankan journalists on 'de-escalation' and an eventual Army withdrawal became persistent, Ms. Kumaratunga's media advisors decided she ought not to participate in the press conference. Journalists in Paris who rushed to the bank entrance overheard an exchange to this effect between World Bank officials and Sri Lankan delegates. There they found Ms. Kumaratunga waiting in her car for a signal to attend the press meet."

The Finance Ministry in a statement on Wednesday gave details of various aid pledges and referred to a total of US $ 3,000 million but all that was for the current year. Minister S. B. Dissanayake who recently got an additional post as deputy finance minister, is reported to have given another figure of US $ 1,000 milion while Minister Indika Gunewardene who also attended the meeting reportedly said no definite pledge was made but assurances were given that needs would be met when they arose. 

The final decision on the forum's allocation of aid for the coming year has been put on hold, until a team arrives here next March to ascertain the ground situation and assess vital sectors, sources said. It is learnt that donors have stressed the need to de-escalate the war and implement a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

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