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Sri Lanka sees record no of tourists in 2003

Feb 6 (DJ) Sri Lanka could attract a record half a million visitors this year, the chairman of the country's Tourist Board predicted, expecting ongoing peace efforts to keep last year's robust revival in the tourism sector intact. more..

Government, rebels resume talks with human rights focus

Feb 6 (AP) The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels are set to focus on human rights in their new round of peace talks to end one of Asia's longest-running civil wars, participants said Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka beefs up sea surveillance to prevent arms infiltration

Feb 6 (AP) Sri Lankan security forces stepped up surveillance Thursday after receiving intelligence about a suspected arms ship in the international waters off the island's east coast, a military source said. more..

Child soldiers to figure at Sri Lanka peace talks

Feb 6 (AFP) Negotiators from the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels gather in Berlin on Friday for the fifth round of face-to-face talks in an increasingly delicate peace process aimed at ending three decades of war. more..

Buddhist monks demand expulsion of Norwegian ambassador

Feb 6 (TN) The National Bhikku Front (NBF) Wednesday held a demonstration in Colombo, demanding that the government put a halt to foreign mediation in finding a solution to the ethnic conflict, sources said. more..

War threatens South Asian tea

Feb 7 (BBC) Tea producers from the world's leading exporters - India and Sri Lanka - have warned a war with Iraq will seriously affect their businesses. "Already the Indian tea industry is in a bad shape and the situation could take a turn for the worse if there is a war in Iraq," said D.M. Jain, president of the Indian Tea Association (ITA). more..

India, Pakistan suffer stunning losses while Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka cruise

Feb 7 (AP) India and Pakistan suffered stunning losses in World Cup warmup games on Thursday. Champion in 1983, India tumbled to the KwaZulu Natal Dolphins by 32 runs in Durban while 1992 titlist Pakistan went down by 26 runs to Easterns at Benoni. more..

Indian Air Force chief to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (PTI) Chief of Indian Air Force S Krishnaswamy is due in Sri Lanka next week on an official five-day tour, officials said in Colombo on Thursday. He is due to arrive on February 12 and leave on the 16th, the officials said. more..

UK, Sri Lanka sign prisoner transfer pact

Feb 7 (PTI) Britain and Sri Lanka today signed an agreement under which Lankan prisoners here can apply to serve the remainder of their sentence in their country and vice-versa. There are 85 Sri Lankan nationals currently held in prisons in England and Scotland, though there are no British prisoners in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan truckers ready to help if war breaks out in Iraq

Feb 7 (AFP) A group of Sri Lankan truck drivers would be deployed to Kuwait to help with relief operations in case of war in Iraq, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka coast to victory against Free State

Feb 7 (CI) Sri Lanka eased themselves to a five-wicket victory against Free State on Thursday in their last practice game before their tournament opener against New Zealand on February 10. more..

Kanniya Tamil School reopens after twenty years

Feb 7 (TN) The Kanniya Government Tamil School Thursday re-opened after twenty years. Trincomalee district TNA parliamentarian, Mr.R.Sampanthan, Thursday morning ceremonially re-opened the school and inaugurated the distribution of schoolbooks donated by the UNICEF to newly admitted students. more..

Stitch In Time

Feb 7 (LBO) Following a framework agreement signed last year, Sri Lanka has been lined up for talks on a US-Lanka bilateral agreement in the fourth quarter 2003. Top level representations to the US government last year set the ball rolling, with a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) being signed. more..

Please Reply

Feb 7 (LBO) The Court of Appeal Thursday asked Central Bank to file objections on a case brought against them by Pramuka Bank’s Directors. The Central Bank last December cancelled Pramuka’s licence on alleged financial irregularities. more..

Appointment of Elections Commission delayed over a nominee

Feb 7 (Island) The appointment of the Elections Commission is being delayed because President Chandrika Kumaratunga has disapproved one of the nominees proposed by the Constitutional Council, political sources said yesterday. more..

Big No

Feb 7 (LBO) The cabinet has taken a firm stand to disconnect the licence of any telecom operator who refuses to toe in line with the new telecom liberalization policy. Cabinet also took the decision to inform foreign principals of local operators, who refuse to comply with the government’s decision. more..

Berlin talks: Agreements likely on two major issues

Feb 7 (DM) The government and the LTTE are expected to enter into a preliminary agreement for the protection of human rights when the two sides meet in the German capital today for the fifth session of the peace talks, informed sources said. more..

Dr Heiberg appointed Advisor for Women Issues

Feb 7 (TN) Dr. Astrid Heiberg, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Oslo, who has a broad experience in human rights and humanitarian advocacy has been appointed for the sub-committee in gender issues, a Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release said. more..

Three sea tigers die in boat blast

Feb 7 (TN) Three cadres of the LTTE Friday afternoon around 12.40 p.m.killed themselves by blowing up their trawler following an inspection by the monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, SLMM sources said. The full text of the press release by the Norwegian embassy follows: more..

Two teenagers run away from LTTE camp

Feb 7 (SLA) Two teenaged girls, abducted by LTTE on 8 December 2003 from the general area of THIRUKKOVIL while they were returning home, had managed to run away from the LTTE women’s training camp and sought protection from the Army camp at VALACHCHENAI on 6 February 2003. more..

Fisherman threatened by armed LTTE men

Feb 7 (SLA) Two LTTE cadres, armed with a T-56 weapon and dressed in camouflage uniforms had threatened a fisherman on 6 February 2003 around 4.00 p.m., saying that he should keep off from fishing in the general area of KATTAPARICHCHAN bridge in TRINCOMALEE. more..

Army men show restraint and avoid dispute

Feb 7 (SLA) An attempt by a group of seven LTTE men to harass two Army personnel on duty on 6 February 2003 around 12.30 noon at THARANIIKULAM in the general area of NELUNKULAM, was foiled by Army personnel showing restraint. more..

Wanted suspects nabbed at entry/exit point

Feb 7 (SLA) An LTTE cadre, S. IRAIMAGAN and a civilian named K.SIVARASA were arrested by Police at the entry/exit point at UYILANKULAM, about 9 km. southeast of MANNAR town on 05 February 2003 around 5.50 p.m. for their alleged involvement in an act of extortion. more..

More and more Indian trawlers sighted

Feb 7 (SLA) Naval troops on duty on 4 February 2003 around 5.00 in the morning have observed about 800-1000 Indian fishing trawlers poaching in Sri Lankan waters in the general sea area west of THALAI MANNAR. more..

Non imposition of VAT on wholesale, retail sectors will help consumers - Bandula

Feb 7 (DOI) The Government's decision to postpone the imposition of VAT on wholesale and retail sectors, which was to come into effect from July 1, 2003 is a move to remove an additional burden on consumers in the event of a war situation in the Gulf, Deputy Finance Minister, Bandula Gunarwardana said. more..

Thai PM to be chief guest Vesak Festival on a grand scale this year

Feb 7 (DOI) The Government has made arrangements to celebrate this year's Vesak Festival on a grand scale and invited Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be the Chief Guest. The festival will be given a more religious look to promote the traditional values of the Buddha Dhamma locally and internationally. more..

Meegoda wholesale and export trading complex opens today

Feb 7 (DOI) The Meegoda Wholesale and Export Trading Complex, the largest Special Economic Centre in Sri Lanka constructed at a cost of Rs. 70 million will be declared open at 4 p.m. today, under the patronage of Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya and a large number of Parliamentarians. more..

French State Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (Xinhua) French Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Renaud Muselier is due to arrive here on Sunday for a four-day visit to Sri Lanka, according to the French embassy here. This will be the first visit by a French cabinet minister since1996, a statement issued by the French embassy and made available on Friday said. more..

LTTE calls for SEP members in northern Sri Lanka to be “wiped out”

Feb 7 (wsws) On the eve of two court cases involving its members, the LTTE has intensified its threats against Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members on Kayts Island in northern Sri Lanka. On Monday night, copies of a notice appeared in several places on the island calling on “all people to wipe them and their party’s work from the island areas.” more..

Bush names ambassadors to Argentina, Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (AP) President Bush on Thursday announced his picks for ambassadorships in Argentina and Sri Lanka. Lino Gutierrez, now a senior adviser for international affairs at the National Defense University's National War College, is Bush's nominee for the top diplomatic post in Argentina. more..

Murali fit to play

Feb 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka received a boost on Friday ahead of their opening World Cup game against New Zealand with the news that star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was fit to play. more..

Shares end lower; more selling on Iraq worries

Feb 7 (DJ) Sri Lankan shares ended weaker in a shortened session Friday as retail investors continued to sell amid concerns over a possible U.S.-led strike on Iraq, brokers said. A one-off foreign trade in John Keells Holdings helped lift volumes, they added. more..

Sri Lankan main opposition, leftist party in joint front against gov't

Feb 7 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main opposition People' s Alliance (PA) party and the leftist JVP, or the People's Liberation Front, have joined hands to put up a united front against the government, opposition spokesman said Friday. more..

Sri Lanka to participate in Indian naval exercise

Feb 7 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka navy will participate in a naval exercise conducted by the Indian navy in the Andaman Islands in the east coast of India in collaboration with all navies in the territories of the Indian Ocean. more..

Thirty Sinhala students enter Jaffna campus

Feb 7 (DN) The first batch of Sinhala students to enter the Jaffna campus after 20 years are currently attending lectures there, an official attached to Jaffna University said yesterday. These undergraduates have mainly entered the Medical Faculty. more..

LTTE expected to agree to two key demands

Feb 7 (IANS) The rebel Tamil Tigers are expected to agree to two key demands as they meet Sri Lankan government negotiators in Berlin Friday for a fifth round of peace talks. The LTTE has agreed in principle to allow freedom of speech and the right of any party to engage in political activity in the northeast. more..

New round of peace talks, pressure for results

Feb 7 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels are under pressure to produce results in the fifth round of face-to-face peace talks starting here Friday aimed at ending three decades of brutal civil war. more..

Two top opposition parties unite in attempt to oust the government

Feb 7 (AP) Upset with rising prices and concessions made to Tamil rebels in peace talks aimed at ending the nation's 19-year civil war, Sri Lanka's two biggest opposition parties joined forces Friday in a bid to replace the current government. more..

Rebels commit suicide after truce violation

Feb 7 (Reuters) Three Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up at sea on Friday after being caught with a cache of weapons, highlighting the legacy of mistrust from Sri Lanka's civil war just hours ahead of peace talks in Germany. more..

Tiger boat with anti-aircraft gun found on eve of peace talks

Feb 7 (PTI) A Tamil Tiger boat armed with an anti-aircraft gun was found today on the eve of fresh peace talks between the government and the guerrillas, Scandinavians monitoring a truce between the two sides said. more..

Weapons find on rebel boat to be first topic at peace talks

Feb 7 (AP) Peace talks between Sri Lanka's government and ethnic Tamil rebel were clouded Friday when truce monitors announced the discovery of a weapons cache on a rebel trawler hours before negotiations were to resume. more..

Govt, rebels say boat blast will not affect peace talks

Feb 7 (AFX) A ceasefire violation off the Sri Lankan coast this morning was the result of an "apparent communication failure" between LTTE naval commanders and cadres in the field, and will not affect the fifth round of face-to-face peace talks in Berlin, government and rebel officials said. more..

Suicide blast raises doubts over Tiger motives: President

Feb 7 (PTI) Even as the LTTE and Sri Lanka government began the latest round of peace talks Friday, President Chandrika Kumaratunga said the incident of three rebels blowing themselves up after the discovery of an anti-aircraft gun on their trawler raised doubts over the genuineness of Tamil Tigers' commitment to the peace process. more..

Chandrika not opposed to peace process: Rajapakshe

Feb 8 (Hindu) "President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, is not against the peace process. It was she who initiated the process and got Norway to act as a facilitator", Sri Lanka's Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mahinda Rajapakshe, said here today. more..

The people's President

Feb 8 (IL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has advised North Central Province Chief Minister, Provincial Ministers and officials to give priority to projects which would benefit the majority of the people. more..

Educating the public, JVP

Feb 8 (IL) The JVP will visit nearly 2 million houses in a two-week programme to educate the public on the present political scenario facing the country. A statement issued by the politburo of the party stated that the programme will begin on February 8 and will go on till the 21st. more..

Suicide blast won't derail Sri Lanka talks, say participants

Feb 8 (AFP) A suicide explosion threatened to derail Sri Lanka's fragile peace process Friday but government and rebel negotiators quickly vowed to press on with dialogue as they launched a new round of talks here. more..

Gen. Nambiar visits Batticaloa

Feb 8 (TN) Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Satish Nambiar, the Indian defense expert invited by the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to report on high security zones (HSZs) in the North-East, visited Batticaloa on Friday morning and held discussions with Sri Lankan military and police officials and Tamil paramilitary groups, sources said. more..

Contempt of court lands him in jail

Feb 8 (Island) The Supreme Court on Thursday declared a litigant guilty of contempt of court, and sentenced him to one year imprisonment. He was found guilty of contempt for continuously disturbing the court, despite a warning by the court not to do so. more..

Cooling Off

Feb 8 (LBO) Tension between key telecom operators and the government eased Friday with both parties forming a working group to iron out issues. The working committee will meet on February 13 to untangle issues on local access charges, ways to prevent illegal access and rules to prevent cross subsidies. more..