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Changing Caps

Feb 8 (LBO) Secretary to the Economic Reforms Ministry, Mr. G. Hewagama will take over duties as Chairman of PERC with immediate effect. Mr. Hewagama takes over from Dr. P. B. Jayasundera who stepped down as Chairman with effect from January 1 this year, PERC said in a statement on Friday. more..

Dropping Stitches

Feb 8 (LBO) Apparel exports have been dipping consecutively for the past three years, from US$ 2.7 bn in 2000 to an estimated US$ 2.2 bn in 2002. A combination of high local prices, rapidly emerging regional competition and comparatively low productivity has been blamed for the decline. more..

Executions to resume

Feb 8 (DN) Interior Minister John Amaratunga said yesterday that the government intended resuming executing convicts sentenced to death. Minister Amaratunga yesterday visited the Welikada Prison to inspect the gallows which have not been used for more than 20 years. more..

Troops on alert after Delft blast

Feb 8 (DM) As the fifth session of the peace talks began in Berlin yesterday, three LTTE cadres who were carrying arms and ammunition in a trawler blew it up with themselves in a dramatic sea episode south of Delft Island yesterday afternoon. more..

'SA will win; Sri Lanka to surprise'

Feb 8 (IOL) It's doubtful that Herschelle Gibbs will be requiring any special pep talks when South Africa begin their campaign to win an elusive World Cup title on Sunday. The hosts of the eighth cup play the West Indies in the opener at Cape Town, amid high expectations they will finally go where no other South African side have gone before - to the winner's podium. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Feb 8 (SLA) Seven hundred and seventy three lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 31 January 2003 – 06 February 2003. more..

Swiss organization donates vehicles to Pattipallai health office

Feb 8 (TN) International voluntary organization, Terre des homme (Tdh) which has its head quarters in Switzerland, Friday, donated a pickup truck and three motorbikes to the Pattipalai Health office in the LTTE controlled region 15 km southwest of Batticaloa town in eastern province, more..

Sri Lanka v New Zealand match factbox

Feb 8 (Reuters) Factbox on the World Cup Group B match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand on Monday: TEAMS: Both sides are dangerous floaters in the draw. Sri Lanka, with their explosive batting backed up by Muttiah Muralitharan's extraordinary off-spin, are a major threat to any side on their day. more..

Sri Lanka peace hopes 'still good'

Feb 8 (BBC) Talks on the Sri Lankan peace process are set to continue in Berlin for a second day, in the shadow of the deaths by suicide on Friday of three Tamil Tiger rebels. The Sri Lankan Government's chief negotiator told the BBC that both sides were still deeply committed to the process. more..

Black flags flown after rebel suicides

Feb 8 (Reuters) Black flags went up in northern Sri Lanka on Saturday to honor three Tamil Tiger weapon smugglers who blew themselves up in an act that shows the deep mistrust despite talks to end the island's ethnic war. more..

Tissa wins Lankan mini-marathon

Feb 8 (TP) A large number of Sri Lankan expatriates assembled on the Corniche yesterday morning for the 11th Annual Lanka Lions Mini-marathon event to mark the 55th anniversary of their country’s independence. more..

SAARC Cultural Ministers meet President Kumaratunga

Feb 8 (PSL) Cultural Affairs Ministers of SAARC countries met with President Chandrika Kumaratunga at Presidents House in Colombo, yesterday. The Ministers are in Sri Lanka to participate in a three-day Conference of Cultural Ministers of SAARC countries. more..

SLMM and SLN must bear responsibility for loss of lives - LTTE

Feb 8 (TN) Failure of SLMM to handle the incident in a fair and responsible manner, and the provocative, belligerent conduct of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) have resulted in three of our cadres taking their own lives, said Voice of Tigers (VoT) in its nightly broadcast Friday. more..

Troops on alert as suicide blast rocks truce

Feb 8 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops were placed on alert after Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up together with an arms-laden trawler, even as the two sides opened peace talks in Berlin, officials said Saturday. more..

Sri Lankans resume peace talks in Berlin

Feb 8 (AFP) Sri Lankan government and rebel negotiators met for a second day of talks here Saturday as security forces stood at alert around the country and army commanders reported more alleged ceasefire violations. more..

Peace talks focus on political future after progress on human rights

Feb 8 (AP) After making progress on human rights, Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebel negotiators discussed their country's political future Saturday in their latest round of talks aimed at ending one of Asia's longest civil wars. more..

The Jaffna Library now in crisis

Feb 9 (IL) The rebuilt Jaffna Library, scheduled to be reopened next Friday has run into fresh disputes over who should get credit for what. An EPDP official accused the TNA controlled Jaffna Municipality and the Mayor of trying to open the library prematurely before the scheduled dissolution of the Council on February 17. more..

No oil worry, says Ravi K.

Feb 9 (IL) The government assured yesterday that it had taken adequate measures to cushion out the impacts of a possible outbreak of a short run war in the Gulf region. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake said a Cabinet paper was submitted three weeks ago on providing redress to consumers in case of a war and the government is presently seeking methods on cushioning the impact of a prolonged war on the economy. more..

Rebels, government say peace momentum is "irreversible"

Feb 9 (AP) After making progress on human rights, Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebel negotiators wrapped up a round of peace talks Saturday with fresh commitments on resolving the country's political future and said the momentum toward peace was now unstoppable. more..

'Development before peace won't benefit Tamils' - Sampanthan

Feb 9 (TN) The TNA Saturday said that peace and development in the Tamil dominated northeast province should take place simultaneously. "If development takes place first and the peace comes later then the beneficiaries will not be Tamils but some others," said Mr.R.Sampanthan, more..

Only peace will permit development - Minister

Feb 9 (TN) Only because of the prevailing climate of peace and the progress that is being achieved in the on-going talks between the Government of SriLanka and the LTTE that we are able to visit here and actively engage in promoting industrial development, said Industries Minister Rohitha Bogollagama more..

High Courts without Judges worsen PTA accused woes

Feb 9 (TN) The Eastern High Court which has jurisdiction over two districts, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, is without a permanent High Court Judge or an acting judge since second week of December last year holding up bail applications in murder cases and Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) cases forcing accused to be kept on remand and without any relief from high court, more..

Sea incident, Rights, Resettlement, Children's issues discussed in Berlin talks

Feb 9 (TN) At the fifth round of peace talks held in Berlin, the Government and LTTE negotiators agreed to work out safeguards to prevent Nedunthivu sea incidents from happening in the future, agreed to establish three committees in Eastern Province to address local land and other issues, agreed to request Amnesty's Ian Martin to prepare for discussion a roadmap of human rights issues. more..

Tigers vow to end child recruitment

Feb 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers pledged on Saturday to stop recruiting child soldiers, one of the biggest obstacles to the rebels' hopes of being seen as a legitimate political party. more..

Government takes stock

Feb 9 (SL) Ranil Wickremesinghe might not be the favourite son of the country to some in Sri Lanka, especially among the lot who consider him selling out to the Tigers. Be that as it may, none could take the achievements away from his fledging administration. more..

Oluvil declaration proclaims advent of Muslim thesam

Feb 9 (SL) Muslim politics in this country underwent a defining moment on January 29 this year. Around 30 to 35, 000 Muslim people mainly consisting of youths - students, undergraduates, teachers and Moulavis - were involved in an impressive demonstration at Oluvil in the Amparai District of the Eastern Province. more..

No schools for war heroes, children

Feb 9 (SO) A large number of children of national war heroes eligible for year one school admission this year are forced to idle at home because of political interference and the indifference of the Educational Ministry officials in the Western Province. more..

Government agencies pay taxes to LTTE

Feb 9 (ST) Tiger guerrillas have begun collecting "taxes" from Government organisations marketing goods in the Wanni and the Jaffna peninsula. An investigation by The Sunday Times has revealed that this dubious exercise, by which the LTTE is in fact siphoning off large sums of money, is being carried out through state trading organisations more..

Defence, SLMM differ over explosion

Feb 9 (Island) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) yesterday disputed an official defence ministry claim that LTTE cadres on board the fishing trawler which exploded on Friday had first requested SLMM members to jump overboard before setting it on fire. more..

Sri Lankans appeal for world to back peace plans

Feb 9 (AFP) Sri Lankan government and rebel peace negotiators appealed for the world's continuing financial support Saturday despite the likely strains on the international aid budget if there is war in Iraq. more..

Sri Lanka puts troops on alert

Feb 9 (Gulf) Sri Lankan troops went on red alert yesterday as Tamil rebels opened fire and ordered residents to fly black flags to mourn three colleagues who blew themselves up aboard an arms-laden trawler, officials and the guerrillas said. more..

Aravinda De Silva prepares himself for swangsong

Feb 9 (CI) Aravinda de Silva, the Sri Lanka's highest run scorer in Tests and ODIs, is preparing himself for the final chapter in a glorious career that has spanned nearly two decades. more..

Sri Lanka seen as highest tourist generating market for India

Feb 9 (Bernama) Sri Lanka is slowly becoming the largest tourist generating market for India, according to Sri Lankan Airlines' officials. While hundreds of Indians are visiting Sri Lanka, the reverse is also happening, according to G.T. Jayaseelan, more..

Scandinavian monitors slam Tigers over gun running

Feb 9 (AFP) Scandinavian monitors Sunday rejected denials by Tamil Tiger rebels and said they had been caught smuggling arms and ammunition into Sri Lanka in violation of a ceasefire brokered by Norway. more..

South Africa World Cup kicks off with Safari spectacular

Feb 9 (Reuters) South Africa opened the 2003 cricket World Cup with a safari spectacular on Saturday, sending African warriors, township dancers and stampeding zebra on to the pitch as the drums of political controversy continued to rumble. more..

Analysis: Sri Lanka keeps talking

Feb 9 (BBC) Two days of peace talks in snowy Berlin have made some progress though they were overshadowed by events at home. The news that three members of the Tamil Tigers had blown themselves up with their boat off Sri Lanka's northern coast rather than surrender to the navy was a sobering reminder of how fragile a process this is. more..

NZ firepower could be too much for Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (IOL) New Zealand enter their opening World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Bloemfontein on Monday knowing that victory is imperative if they are to qualify for the Super Six stage of the competition. more..

Jayasuriya concerned about Murali's future

Feb 9 (CI) Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya is concerned about Muttiah Muralitharan 's future, claiming that unfair criticism and huge expectations could combine to "destroy" his prize spinner. more..

Smith reopens Murali debate

Feb 9 (PA) Former New Zealand cricketer Ian Smith has turned up the temperature ahead of Monday's clash between the Kiwis and Sri Lanka by reopening the debate on star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. In his book, which is to be published on Monday, and in a South African newspaper Smith has labelled Murali "a chucker". more..

Human Rights Sub Committee formed in Jaffna

Feb 10 (TN) In a conference organized by the Jaffna regional office of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) held at the Jaffna office of the UNHCR, Sunday, representatives of UNHCR, UNICEF and HRC appointed a sub committee to ensure better human rights situation in the Jaffna peninsula, sources said. more..

Jaffna remembers late Tamil leader G.G.Ponnambalam

Feb 10 (TN) The twenty sixth-death anniversary of the late Tamil leader Mr.G.G.Ponnamabalam, the founder president of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) and a popular leader of Tamils in the 50s was observed in Jaffna today, according to sources in Jaffna. more..

SLA bans LTTE women cadres from using waist-belts

Feb 10 (TN) Ms Kayalvizhi, the leader of the women wing of the LTTE in Jaffna district, lodged a complaint with the SLMM in Jaffna, Sunday, against the ban imposed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on LTTE women cadres from using waist belts when they enter the army controlled areas in Jaffna district, more..

LTTE blast: telltale marks led to discovery of arms

Feb 10 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) today refuted the LTTE's claim that the anti-aircraft gun found in one of their trawlers last week was moved from another LTTE fast boat and said that the rebels had clearly violated the ceasefire agreement. more..

Panels to tackle critical issues in eastern Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (Hindu) The fifth and abridged round of talks between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in Berlin on February 8, has decided to appoint three committees to address issues of concern in eastern Sri Lanka. more..

Lara inspires West Indies to upset win

Feb 10 (Reuters) Brian Lara inspired West Indies to an upset three-run victory over hosts South Africa after an extraordinary finish to the opening World Cup Group B match on Sunday. Lara struck a masterful 116 after being dropped first ball to help West Indies rack up 278 for five from their 50 overs. more..

Shares end Dn; continued selling on Iraq worries

Feb 10 (DJ) Shares ended weaker in a shortened session Monday as retail investors continued last week's selling on worries over a possible U.S.-led strike on Iraq, brokers said. A one-off foreign trade in John Keells Holdings helped lift volume, they added. more..

Telecom cos support Govt liberalization efforts

Feb 10 (DJ) Sri Lankan telecommunications operators Monday endorsed the government's plans to liberalize the telecom sector, despite a few worries over specific policy changes. more..

Activist Lectures on Sri Lankan Problems

Feb 10 (CD) Recent violence in the nation of Sri Lanka was the subject of a lecture entitled "Accounting for Peace as Violence by Another Name? Heretical Thoughts From the Margins of the Sri Lankan Conflict" by Dr. Arjuna Parakrama of the University of Peradeniya last Friday in Sibley Hall. more..

Urgency to complete NIAP projects on schedule stressed

Feb 10 (TN) Officals working on North East Irrigation and Agriculture (NIAP) which is being carried out with the assistance of World Bank should ensure that the projects are completed according to established schedule, said Mr. S. Rangarajan, more..

Soldier on leave threatened

Feb 10 (SLA) A soldier, who was on leave had been threatened by two LTTE cadres while he was at his residence in the general area of KALUWANKERNI, about 14 km north of BATTICALOA town on 07 February 2003 around 3.00 p.m. more..