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Demand to decommission LTTE weapons gathers steam

Feb 4 (OWSA) With a rise in human rights violations against certain political and ethnic groups by Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the demand for decommissioning their weapons is gaining momentum here. more..

NE Tamils ignore Independence Day celebrations

Feb 4 (TN) Except a handful of government servants, other officieals and majority Tamils including students kept away from participating in the country’s 55th Independence Day functions held at district secretariats in the northeast province Tuesday, sources said. more..

Sri Lanka pin hopes on three-in-one captain

Feb 5 (AFP) Sleepless nights appear to be in store for World Cup bowlers as Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya returns to his big-scoring ways. The aggressive left-handed opener hammered back-to-back centuries to help his team thrash hosts Australia and England in last month’s triangular series and reinforce the belief that Sri Lanka rarely lose when he fires with the bat. more..

Sri Lanka easily beat Griquas

Feb 5 (SAPA) Sri Lanka defeated Griquas by seven wickets in a World Cup warm-up match here on Tuesday. Light but persistent morning rain resulted in the match being reduced from 50 overs to 36 overs per side. more..

Chandrika calls for transparent approach to peace process

Feb 5 (Hindu) Sri Lanka celebrated its 55th Independence Day today, with the President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, calling for "a transparent and democratic approach" to the ongoing peace process. With a ceasefire between the Government and LTTE in place, the absence of war came as a different backdrop to the annual celebrations. more..

Chief suspect in Katunayake bomb blast to be indicted

Feb 5 (Island) The Attorney General will shortly indict, P. Nirmala Ranjan (Sea Tiger), the chief suspect of the Katunayake airbase bomb blast, in July 2001. Riyaz Hamza, State Counsel yesterday requested the Supreme Court for further time to finalise the documents, pertaining to the indictment. more..

Assault case rocks Council

Feb 5 (DM) A dispute in the Colombo Municipal Council reached crisis proportions again when the Colombo Deputy Mayor Azath Salley allegedly assaulted the Municipal Commissioner Jayantha Liyanage on Monday- provoking employees to threaten strike action. more..

16 South Indian fishermen caught fishing illegally

Feb 5 (TN) Local fishermen from Mannar rounded up and brought to shore sixteen South Indian fishermen in four boats for illegally entering and fishing in Erukalambity seas in Mannar, sources said. more..

Mullaitivu schools function with 50% of teaching staff

Feb 5 (TN) In Mullaitivu district, five schools have not been functioning from 1990, and only 50% of the teacher vacancies have been filled placing the educational welfare of children in the district in an unacceptable state, educational sources in Mullaitivu said. more..


Feb 5 (LBO) The upcoming interconnection agenda will pull together a common database of phone numbers, which will be managed by the telecom watchdog. The common records will act as the base for networks to provide their customers with phone numbers of competing service providers. more..

Dry Run

Feb 5 (LBO) The country’s largest city is running short of water as the state looks to the private sector to bridge a widening gap in supply to Greater Colombo. A privately operated and managed 40 MGD – Million Gallons per Day (185,000 cubic metre) treatment plant is to take off on the right bank of the Kelani River. more..

Mother identifies her son’s abductors

Feb 5 (SLA) The mother, SINNATHAMBY PILLAI AMMA of the teenager, INDRA KUMAR (19) on 3 February 2003 has complained to the VALACHCHENAI Police station that her son has been abducted by eight unidentified men on 23 January 2003 while he was at the residence of a relative. more..

Armed LTTE cadres wanted to cross but not allowed

Feb 5 (SLA) A group of about 50 armed LTTE cadres in military attires had assembled in the general area of NAVALADI, about 4 km northwest of VALACHCHENAI on 04 February 2003 around 6.00 p.m. in order to cross the Main Supply Route (MSR). more..

Civilians threatened to pay ransom

Feb 5 (SLA) Two civilians returning from MANNAR towards MEDAWACHCHIYA on a lorry have been threatened on 3 February 2003 around 9.45 a.m. in the general area of MANNAR by two LTTE cadres, saying that their lorry should be turned back. more..

Stable economy Government's aim, says Minister

Feb 5 (DOI) The Government's aim is to build a stable economy through development activities, said R. A. D. Sirisena, Minister of Samurdhi Development. Speaking at a UNP convention at the Town Hall, Nuwara Eliya recently, he spelled out the UNP and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's principles. more..

Bribery Dept. Inspector files Rs. 10 million damage suit

Feb 5 (DN) A police officer has filed a Rs 10 million damage suit in the Colombo District Court against the Chairman of the Commission to investigate Bribery or Corruption, challenging the suppression of his post as Chief Investigator Bribery. more..

Lanka opens pilgrim office in Madinah

Feb 5 (AN) Sri Lanka has opened a permanent office in Madinah to cater for its pilgrims. Called Sri Lanka House, the Madinah office will work in cooperation with the country’s decades-old Ceylon House in Makkah. more..

Anura hints at poll alliance with JVP

Feb 5 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's brother Anura Bandaranaike has hinted that his party would contest future elections with the Marxist JVP (People's Liberation Front) in a bid to get a larger majority in Parliament. more..

Shares end up; retail buying in select stocks

Feb 5 (DJ) Shares ended higher Wednesday boosted mainly by retail buying in select stocks on expectations of strong earnings, but volume was spread thin, brokers said. The Colombo All Share Index gained 2.20 points, or 0.3%, to 803.48, more..

A worried Communist

Feb 5 (IL) The Communist Party of Sri Lanka has expressed its grave concern at the attitude adopted by the United States over Iraq. "Irrespective of the results of the UN weapons inspection team, regardless of growing concerns of the international community, heedless to the opinion of the United Nations, the United States appear to be determined to go to war against Iraq", it said. more..

Lighting a catholic shrine

Feb 5 (IL) Under a government programme to provide electricity to places of religious worship, the Tewatte Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, a Catholic shrine, which attracts thousands of devotees, every week, was provided with National Grid power recently. more..

Human rights to take center stage at peace talks

Feb 5 (AP) Human rights are expected to take center stage during this week's talks between Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tigers rebels, officials said Wednesday. The two sides have not yet discussed human rights since peace talks began in September. more..

Sri Lanka prepares to celebrate first anniversary of the cease-fire with Tamil rebels

Feb 5 (AP) The Sri Lankan government is planning countrywide celebrations later this month to mark the first anniversary of a cease-fire signed with the Tamil rebels, a minister said Wednesday. more..

Child soldiers to be issue at peace talks

Feb 5 (Reuters) The issue of child soldiers could dominate peace talks this week in Germany between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers to end two decades of civil war, diplomats said on Wednesday. more..

India should join peace process: Sri Lanka veteran

Feb 5 (IANS) A top Sri Lankan opposition leader Wednesday urged India to give up its hands off policy towards Sri Lanka and get "actively involved" in the Norwegian brokered peace process which he fears may soon "go to pieces". more..

Some Tamil children rushing marriage to avoid rebel recruiters

Feb 5 (AP) In this village of coconut groves and modest brick-and-clay homes, parents are rushing to marry off their children. But there are no elaborate celebrations, no brides draped in jewels and red saris in this mostly Tamil village of 150 families on eastern coast. more..

Donors see foreign aid to Sri Lanka doubling

Feb 5 (Reuters) International donors said on Wednesday economic aid to Sri Lanka could double in the next few years to support a delicate peace process to end two decades of conflict that had devastated the South Asian nation. more..

Japan's new embrace of peace diplomacy

Feb 5 (AT) Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi's visit to conflict areas and minefields in Sri Lanka at the start of the year says volumes about the major changes under way in Japan's traditionally conservative policy on foreign aid. more..

Sri Lanka's tricky transition to peace

Feb 5 (BBC) As Sri Lanka's peace talks enter their fifth round this week it is clear the honeymoon is over. The overall picture may still be positive but some of the developments on the ground are worrying. more..

Sri Lanka talks shift to Berlin amid uncertainty at home

Feb 5 (AFP) For Sri Lanka's president, peace talks opening in the German capital Friday are a charade, but for her cohabitation government they remain the best hope of ending three decades of bloodshed. more..

‘Humanitarian, Security issues demand gradual approach to HSZ’ – Nambiar

Feb 5 (TN) Speaking at a conference held at the Jaffna district secretariat Wednesday evening, Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, retired Deputy Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, said that the humanitarian issue of the high security zone (HSZ) is very important, but the security aspect should not be ignored, and a gradual approach to the issue is warranted, more..

Govt urges Tamil rebels to join prayer for peace

Feb 5 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government hopes that the Tamil Tiger rebels will join the rest of the country in a prayer for permanent peace in the island nation, a senior government official said Wednesday. more..

Child recruitment continues

Feb 6 (IL) The EPDP yesterday accused the LTTE of continuing with abductions and child recruitment, irrespective of international pressure. Citing a recent complain a mother of nine lodged with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, the EPDP said the LTTE had demanded the woman to hand over at least two of her children to the LTTE, if she wanted her eldest son, abducted 14 months ago, released. more..

Haj on Wednesday

Feb 6 (IL) The Colombo Grand Mosque yesterday announced that the Haj Festival will be celebrated on February 12. The Grand Mosque said the first moon of Zul Haj was sighted on February 2 and therefore the festival should be celebrated on February 12, the tenth day of the Muslim month Zul Haj. more..

Government peace delegation leaves for Berlin peace talks

Feb 6 (TN) The leader of the Government peace delegation Minister Mr.G.L. Peiris Wednesday morning left Colombo accompanied by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Austin Fernando to attend the fifth round of peace talks between the GOSL and LTTE which is scheduled to begin Friday at Berlin in Germany. more..

'Don’t use HSZ as a bargaining tool’ – NGOs

Feb 6 (TN) At a conference held Wednesday evening at the Jaffna district secretariat in which the Indian defence expert, Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, participated, representatives of people’s welfare organizations and non governmental organizations (NGOs) in Jaffna made a public plea to the Government not to use the high security zone (HSZ) issue as a bargaining tool in the peace talks between the LTTE and the GOSL, more..

Daunting mission for Nambiar in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (Hindu) The former head of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Yugoslavia, Satish Nambiar, today visited the Jaffna peninsula as part his weeklong trip to the island to study sensitive military issues related to the ongoing peace process. more..

Three Tamil youngsters flee LTTE camp

Feb 6 (SLA) Three Tamil youngsters surreptitiously taken away on 01 February 2003 from the general area of MONERAGALA by two unidentified Tamil men alleging that they could earn as much as Rs 600/= (US $7) per day for work in paddy fields, have sought protection from HULANNUGE Police post, about 40 km south of AMPARA town after they fled the KANCHIKUDIARU LTTE camp. more..

Gagged women say they have no freedom

Feb 6 (SLA) A group of gagged protesters, who claimed that there was no freedom for them marched to the Government Agent’s office at VAVUNIYA on 4 February 2003 and handed over a letter containing their demands. The group comprised about 75 women cadres who had covered their mouths with black stripes of cloth.

Protesters want Govt -LTTE talks end fast

Feb 6 (SLA) A group of students from HINDU college at VALACHCHENAI, about 29 km northwest of BATTICALOA town had staged a protest campaign in front of the school premises on 4 February 2003. more..

Shares end weaker; Iraq worries prompt selling

Feb 6 (DJ) Shares ended weaker Thursday as lingering worries over a possible U.S.-led strike on Iraq triggered retail selling, brokers said. "Despite an anticipated strong earnings season, most retail investors are selling due to the Middle East tensions," said Naren Godamunne, more..

Tamil resettlement studied

Feb 6 (Gulf) A former senior military official of the Indian Army yesterday met with Sri Lankan army, politicians, civilians and government officials to seek a resolution to a dispute over resettlement of tens of thousands of displaced people from army-occupied areas. more..

PM accepts invitation to visit Pakistan

Feb 6 (PNS) Prime Minister of Sri Lanka has accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan. The invitation was extended to him by Rais Munir Ahmed, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism on behalf of Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. more..

Telecom industry against reforms

Feb 6 (DM) Telecom Service providers Sri Lanka Telecom, Suntel, Lanka Bell, Dialog, Mobitel and Celltel- are opposing some key changes announced by the government to liberalise the telecommunications sector and are expected to drastically reduce call costs to the consumers. more..

Security of Sri Lankan armed forces not to be undermined

Feb 6 (Xinhua) Indian military expert General Sathis Nambiar has reiterated that the security of the Sri Lankan armed forces should not be undermined when steps are taken on the issue of high security zones in the North of the country, the official Daily News said on Thursday. more..

Lower visa fees, ‘SAARC nationals’ counters in the region

Feb 6 (Island) Proposals to create uniformity in the visa regime among SAARC countries, including reduction of visa fees to a reasonable level and the opening of dedicated immigration counters for SAARC nationals at international airports in the region are under review of the SAARC secretariat. more..

Sri Lanka to use sea sand for construction to save environment

Feb 6 (AP) In a landmark decision that could have a far reaching effect on the country's environment, the Sri Lankan government has decided to use sand from the sea for construction work, a state-run newspaper reported Thursday. more..

Minister leads industrial drive in East

Feb 6 (DN) A team of local and foreign investors, bankers and top officials led by Industries Minister Rohita Bogollagama will leave today for Batticaloa on a rural industrial development campaign in the Eastern Province. more..

Tamil Nadu Government should stop Indian Fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters

Feb 6 (AT) Indian fishermen continue to poach in the Sri Lankan waters in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait regions. Unfortunately the Tamil Nadu Government closes its eyes to the breach of law by its fishermen. more..

Sri Lanka 2002 provisional trade deficit widens

Feb 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's provisional trade deficit for 2002 reached 130 billion rupees as exports rose eight percent from the previous year while imports jumped 20 percent, the customs department said on Thursday. more..