Colombo - Voting in the first local elections since the defeat of Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka opened Saturday, officials said.
Elections are being held for municipal council in the Jaffna town, 396 kilometres north of the capital and urban council in Vavuniya, 240 kilometres north of the Colombo.
It is the first election in the northern province without the presence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas who held major influence for more than 26 years before they were finally crushed by the military in May.
Colombo - The new leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel movement has been arrested in South-East Asia and is being returned to Sri Lanka for questioning, Sri Lankan military officials said Friday.
The officials said Kumaran Pathmanathan, also known as KP, was arrested Thursday in Bangkok, but Thai police said he was arrested in Singapore and only transited through Bangkok early Friday en route to Colombo.
Colombo - Tamil rebels defeated by government forces in Sri Lanka two months ago have appointed a new leader as part of a restructuring, the rebels said Wednesday.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement issued Wednesday said they have decided to appoint Selvarasa Pathmanathan as their leader in place of Velupillai Prabhakaran, who was killed in a clash with the military on May 18.
Pathmanathan is believed to be the main arms procurement agent for the rebels. His whereabouts have been unknown in recent months.
Colombo - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will provide Sri Lanka with a 2.5-billion-dollar loan in what is seen as a major boost to the economy and the government in rebuilding the country after 26 years of civil war, an official said Tuesday.
The IMF has already announced a tentative agreement with Sri Lanka to provide the loan, but formal approval will be made on Friday.
Colombo - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has closed its offices in eastern Sri Lanka after the government called on the organization to scale down its operations now that the war with Tamil rebels is over, officials said Monday.
Four main offices of the ICRC located in Eastern Province have been closed down by the organization, but its operations in Northern Province remain, officials said.
Colombo - Scorching sun, swarming flies and dusty terrain greet visitors to camps in northern Sri Lanka where tens of thousands of civilians are housed after being displaced in the country's civil war.
Flies are rampant and hygiene is a life-threatening issue, a visitor to the camps told the German Press Agency dpa. "The flies are so infinite we saw merchants sitting inside makeshift nets selling things."
Sri Lanka will be looking to make a clean sweep in the series by 3-0 as they will take on Pakistan in the third and final test match of the test series at Colombo on Monday.
Sri Lanka has already been leading the series by 2-0 and the return of the experienced fast bowler Chaminda Vaas on their side will boost their morale to register win in the third test also.
Sri Lanka will also want to win this match for Vaas as he has announced to retire from the test cricket after this match although he will continue to play in the ODI matches and T20 cricket matches till 2011 World Cup.
Colombo - Thirteen-year-old Sopika Surendranathan was injured in a December mortar attack during the conflict in northern Sri Lanka but remains in a camp meant for tens of thousands of displaced people.
A lawyer retained on behalf of her family argued successfully before the Supreme Court last week for a medical examination of the girl because she was not getting the required medical attention in the camp.
Colombo - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is scaling down its operations in Sri Lanka following an order from the Sri Lankan government, the Red Cross said on Thursday.
The ICRC has decided to close its offices in Eastern Province and withdraw its expatriate staff from the area, a statement from the ICRC in Colombo said.
"The ICRC is in the process of reviewing its setup and operational priorities in Sri Lanka," said Jacques de Maio, the organization's head of operations for South Asia.
Colombo - Five doctors who worked in Tamil rebel-held areas claimed Wednesday that they gave false information about casualties and food and medicine shortages due to pressure from the rebels.
The doctors, who escaped into government-controlled areas a few days before the rebels were defeated by government forces in May, said they were forced to give inflated civilian casualty figures to the media by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Colombo - Sri Lanka's Parliament Tuesday extended a state of emergency by another month, claiming it was still needed to maintain law and order.
The extension was supported by 103 members while the main opposition boycotted the voting in the 225 seat Parliament, and 11 members of the minority Tamil National Alliance voted against.
The main opposition parties accused the government of misusing the state of emergency to suppress political opponents, the media and rights activists.
Colombo - The British government has relaxed travel restrictions on its citizens visiting Sri Lanka nearly five weeks after Tamil separatist rebels were defeated to end a more then 30-year war in the South Asian country, the British High Commission in Colombo said Friday.
Britain, which had imposed restrictions for its citizens to some of the popular tourist destinations on the southern and eastern coasts of the country, said in a statement that it would no longer discourage British people from visiting those areas.
Colombo, June 28 : The Sri Lankan Army's spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, has said that the government and the defence brass is determined not to allow the rebel Tamil Tigers to regroup.
Brigadier Nanayakkara was quoted by the Sri FM radio station that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) would not be left any room by the authorities to regroup in order to revert to their campaign for a separate state.
Colombo - Sri Lanka is planning to hold two local elections in the north of the country which will mark the first attempt to restore political administration in the region after the defeat of Tamil rebels, officials said Thursday.
Elections for two northern local councils have been fixed for August 8, the commissioner of elections announced.
Polls will be held for the municipal council in Jaffna, 397 kilometres north of the capital, and the urban council in Vavuniya, 257 kilometres north of the capital, after a gap of 11 years.
Colombo - Government troops continuing their search operations to recover arms left behind by the Tamil rebels who were defeated last month have recovered a small submarine, military officials said Monday.
The 24-foot submarine was recovered on the coast 390 kilometres north east of the capital on Sunday, the military said.
The area was one of the locations where Tamil rebels fought their final battles against the security forces before they were defeated on May 18.
Colombo - A Canadian member of Parliament is to be deported from Sri Lanka on the grounds that he was a sympathizer of the Tamil rebel movement, senior government officials said Wednesday.
Bob Rae, who arrived from the Indian city of Chennai, was detained at Sri Lanka's only international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport outside Colombo, before the government decided the Ontario politician should be sent back to Chennai.
Colombo - A fire broke out in the ammunition dump of a military camp in northern Sri Lanka Tuesday evening, causing a number of explosions in the area, a military spokesman said.
The fire broke out in a camp in Vavuniya, 254 kilometres north- east of the capital Colombo.
"There are no reports of any casualties, but I can hear loud explosions going off inside the camp," a journalist based in the area said.
Colombo - Sri Lanka's navy on Monday turned away a vessel carrying relief aid for displaced Tamils, after detaining the vessel and its crew for three days for questioning.
The Captain Ali, a Syrian-registered ship, was seized Thursday off the western coast of Sri Lanka and its crew members were questioned in detail as the navy carried out a full search on the vessel, officials said.
Colombo - Three doctors who provided information to the media during the height of the military operations against Tamil separatist rebels in northern Sri Lanka were being questioned by police before being charged in the courts, a police spokesman said.
Colombo - The Sri Lanka navy Thursday detained a vessel reported to be carrying relief aid from Britain for displaced persons in the northern part of the country, a military spokesman said.
The vessel, Captain Ali, was placed under custody some 150 kilometres west of the capital Colombo and is currently being guided under the escort of Navy warships to the harbour in the capital for further investigations, the spokesman said.