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Peace pays in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (BBC) A year into Sri Lanka's long-awaited ceasefire, the peace dividend is easy to perceive. After two decades of strife, normal life and trade is returning to both the Tamil-dominated north and the Sinhala-majority areas elsewhere. more..

Peace talks begin today

Mar 18 (DOI) The sixth round of peace talks between the Government and the LTTE is all set for today with the last of the delegates arriving at the picturesque venue of the Prince Hotel 89 kilometers West of Tokyo late yesterday evening after a flight delay. more..

No bus fare for visually handicapped

Mar 18 (DOI) The Private Bus Owner's Association (PBOA) has decided not to charge bus fares from the visually handicapped. Chairman of the Association Gemunu Wijeratne said as a preliminary step 400 blind people will be provided transport in private buses free of charge. more..

Drinking water may be the most expensive item in future - Minister

Mar 18 (DOI) "Today a litre of bottled water is Rs. 40.00. A litre of milk is Rs. 15.00. A litre of Petrol is Rs. 52.00. In another 25 years drinking water may be the most expensive of all things," said Minister of Irrigation and Water Management, Jayawickrama Perera more..

Japan seeks progress in Sri Lanka peace talks

Mar 18 (AFP) Japan called Tuesday for progress in Sri Lankan peace talks, due to open in this mountain spa resort, to clear the way for a major aid-pledging conference to help rebuild the war-ravaged nation. more..

Monitors says no evidence sunk ship carried weapons

Mar 18 (TN) Concluding an investigation into the sinking last week of an LTTE-owned vessel by the Sri Lanka Navy, international ceasefire monitors Monday confirmed the ship was a merchant vessel and said there was no evidence it was carrying weapons as claimed by the Navy. more..

Navy arrest three off TRINCOMALEE harbour

Mar 18 (SLA) Naval troops deployed on harbour protection duties had observed a fast moving fibre glass dingy in the general sea area of DUTCH BAY in TRINCOMALEE on 17 March 2003 around 2.15 a.m. more..

Abducted woodcutters released

Mar 18 (SLA) The two firewood cutters who had been held by six armed LTTE cadres after they were abducted while cutting firewood in the general jungle area of NIDANWALA on 14 March 2003 have been released by LTTE on 16 March 2003 upon threatening them. more..

Lawyer awarded Rs. 235,000 compensation

Mar 18 (DN) "Stifling the peaceful expression of Legitimate dissent today, can only result inexorably in catastrophic explosion of violence some other day observed Justice Mark Fernando when the Supreme Court awarded Rs. 235,000 as compensation and cost of a police assault on a lawyer on the day of the 'Jana Bala Meheuma' at Nugegoda in July 2001. more..

Sri Lanka peace negotiators meet to defuse tension

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka's warring parties held informal talks in Japan on Tuesday, hours before the official opening of peace negotiations which were threatened by the sinking of a rebel ship. more..

Govt and rebels want to move on from clash

Mar 18 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels want to put a recent naval clash behind them and seek progress at a fresh round of peace talks set to begin later on Tuesday, officials from both sides said. more..

Sri Lanka tame Aussies

Mar 18 (BBC) Sri Lanka soared into contention for a final berth by restricting Australia to a lowly 212 for seven in Port Elizabeth. A stylish 91 not out from Andrew Symonds stood out as the reigning champions again struggled with the pace of the dead St George's Park pitch. more..

Japan's role in Sri Lanka's peace process

Mar 18 (AT) The sixth round of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE were due to begin in Hakone, a northern city of Japan, on Tuesday as the culmination of Japan's involvement in the Sri Lankan peace process over the past six months. more..

Sri Lanka, now at peace, offers great deals to expats and tourists alike

Mar 18 (Time) It wasn't long ago that most South Asia tourists gave Sri Lanka a wide berth. As recently as 2001, Tamil Tiger separatists hit the international airport, destroying three Airbuses and killing seven soldiers. more..

Timeline on Sri Lanka's uneasy peace bid

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka's warring parties opened a fresh round of peace negotiations in Japan on Tuesday amid mounting tension at home over repeated violations of their fragile truce. The talks underscore Japan's increased political role in Sri Lanka, a small south Asian island of 18.66 million people in the Indian Ocean. more..

Japanese cash lure helps salvage Sri Lanka peace talks

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lankan negotiators salvaged their formal peace talks in the Japanese spa resort of Hakone on Tuesday thanks to Norwegian diplomacy and the prospect of Japanese cash, diplomats and officials said. more..

Child Conscription and Peace

Mar 18 (UTHR) This latest report by UTHR(J) examines the health of the peace process one year on, noting that for all the celebration internationally and in Sri Lanka, conditions on the ground are not encouraging. more..

Sri Lanka peace talks clear truce hurdle: negotiators

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka's warring parties meeting here Tuesday avoided a showdown over a sea battle that killed 11 rebels and agreed to expand the role of foreign truce monitors, negotiators said. more..

Australia defeats Sri Lanka to reach World Cup Final

Mar 18 (Bloomberg) Australia beat Sri Lanka by 48 runs in a rain-affected match in Port Elizabeth to reach a third straight cricket World Cup final and extend its record winning streak to 16 one-day matches. more..

Sad de Silva ends international career

Mar 19 (Reuters) A disappointed Aravinda de Silva announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday, moments after Sri Lanka were knocked out of the World Cup semi-finals by Australia. "I was hoping it wasn't the last one but unfortunately it's an emotional day for me," he said. more..

Resettlement should be about more than just politics

Mar 19 (TN) While the attention of the peace talks and in the international community focuses on the internally displaced Tamils of the northern peninsula, the Tamils of the east, forced out by the Muslim Home Guards of the Sri Lanka Government have been forgotten. more..

LTTE men aboard vessel arrested and produced before Magistrate

Mar 19 (SLA) Three LTTE cadres aboard a fast moving suspicious LTTE boat were produced before the Magistrate in TRINCOMALEE and subsequently released on surety bail after they failed to stop for Naval inspection on 17 March in the general sea area of CHAPEL ISLAND, TRINCOMALEE. more..

Feared civilians run away leaving things behind

Mar 19 (SLA) Two civilians, who went to see their paddy fields and cut firewood on a bullock cart in the general area of RIDEETENNA, about 8 km east of WELIKANDA on 16 March 2003 around 2.00 p.m. had seen three suspicious persons armed with T-56 weapons during their return journey. more..

Protests sans supporters abandoned

Mar 19 (SLA) Normalcy prevailed in BATTICALOA and VALACHCHENAI suburbs on 19 March 2003 regardless of an LTTE backed attempt to attract the general public for a protest (hartal) campaign planned for Wednesday (19). more..

Docs for stern action after March 30

Mar 19 (Island) Government medical officers expressing their grievances concerning a number of issues yesterday said that authorities had continuously ignored them because of their reluctance to take stern action since innocent patients would be affected. more..

LTTE recruits child soldiers amid peace talks: rights group

Mar 19 (PTI) A human rights organisation in Sri Lanka has accused Tamil Tiger rebels of recruiting child soldiers despite ongoing peace talks and pledges given to international envoys. more..

Stocks end down on Iraq,but foreigners buy

Mar 19 (Reuters) Stocks closed lower on Wednesday as most blue chips fell on worries over an imminent war in Iraq, but losses were curbed by some foreign buying. The key Colombo all-share index ended down 0.60 percent, or 4.29 points, at 705.60. more..

Health Ministry on alert to avert disease

Mar 19 (DN) Health Workers were put on alert yesterday although no cases of the newly formed pneumonia has been reported in Sri Lanka up to date. This highly contagious pneumonia which has broken out in parts of Asia and several other foreign countries is feared to have caused nine deaths and over 450 infected so far worldwide. more..

Tigers warn of new course if UNF falls

Mar 19 (DM) As the sixth session of peace talks began here today, the LTTE warned it would be compelled to look for an alternative to the peace process in the event of a sudden ouster or a collapse of the UNF government. more..

President directs AG to speed up legal action against Tamil detainees

Mar 19 (PSL) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has directed the Attorney General to expedite proceedings against Tamils held in detention. A large number of Tamil civilians are in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and are demanding that they be given a fair trial, without further delay. more..

SLMM says ceasefire intact despite difficulties

Mar 19 (PRIU) On Monday afternoon, seven clear days after the Sri Lanka Navy destroyed a LTTE vessel in the seas off Mullaitivu, the Scandinavian Monitors issued their much-awaited findings in a report. more..

Sri Lanka monitors role increased

Mar 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka's international monitors are to be given a greater role to ensure the ceasefire there holds. The move was agreed on the first day of the latest round peace talks, being held in Japan. more..

Sri Lanka let down by batting: coach

Mar 19 (AP) Dav Whatmore, who moulded Sri Lanka into a world champion team in 1996, has blamed poor middle-order batting for its failure to make the World Cup final this time. Chasing Australia's 212 in 50 overs, Sri Lanka was 7-123 before rain halted Tuesday's semi-final at St. George's Park. more..

Parliament OKs changes to Inland Revenue Bill

Mar 19 (DJ) Parliament Wednesday passed amendments to the country's Inland Revenue Bill as part of a larger ongoing tax reform program. The amendments will "eliminate the large variety of ad-hoc tax incentives and rationalize them in keeping with the needs of particular sectors of the economy that require encouragement for expansion," more..

Chandrika seeks action against airport official

Mar 19 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called for tough action against an airport official for allegedly helping the LTTE to smuggle unchecked items through the international airport to the northern guerrilla held region. more..

No middle path for hot and cold Sri Lanka

Mar 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka fly home from the World Cup later on Wednesday knowing they did only half the job right. If the batsmen had supported the bowlers, Sanath Jayasuriya's men may well have been playing in Sunday's final at the Wanderers here. more..

Japan gets directly involved in Sri Lanka peace talks

Mar 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's latest round of peace talks entered their second day here Wednesday with Japan participating in the negotiations under the Norwegian-led initiative for the first time, diplomats here said. more..

Peace negotiators concerned Iraq war may distract donors

Mar 19 (AP) Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger peace negotiators worried Wednesday that the looming U.S.-led war against Iraq could distract international donors, who have pledged millions to help rebuild the country's war-battered economy. more..

Sea clash sorted out, collapse averted

Mar 19 (AT) Negotiators for Sri Lanka's government and the LTTE used the first day of peace talks on Tuesday to iron out tensions surrounding a sea clash between the navy and the rebels - and to prevent similar incidents that could threaten the peace process. more..

Japan deepens Sri Lanka peace role

Mar 19 (TN) Along with hosting the sixth round of direct talks between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government, Japan this week signaled its determination to play a leading role in bringing peace to the strife-torn island when one of its top diplomats joined Norwegian officials at the negotiating table. more..

Peace talks focus on economic recovery, human rights

Mar 19 (AP) Rebuilding Sri Lanka's war-battered economy and ending the human rights abuses of the country's 19-year civil war were on the table Wednesday for another critical round of peace talks between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Peace negotiators must make "tangible" progress, Japan envoy warns

Mar 19 (AFP) Japan's special peace envoy to Sri Lanka on Wednesday warned the country's negotiators meeting here to make "tangible progress" within three months or risk losing millions of dollars in foreign aid. more..

Japan warns Sri Lanka over peace

Mar 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka has been told that it risks losing huge amounts of international aid if peace negotiations between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels fail to progress. The warning came from the Japanese special envoy to Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi, at talks being held in Hakone, Japan. more..

Sri Lankan national airline to reroute flights in case of war

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, Wednesday said it had put in place contingency plans to reroute flights in case of a military strike in Iraq. more..

Sri Lanka talks fail to clinch human rights deal

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's peace negotiators failed to clinch a human rights deal on the second day of their peace talks here Wednesday, but agreed to work towards a joint declaration by next month. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils 'arrested in India'

Mar 20 (BBC) Police in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu say they have arrested nine Sri Lankan Tamils who were trying to return to Sri Lanka without relevant travel documents. more..

Colombo security beefed up as LTTE gunmen kill informant

Mar 20 (Island) Police beefed up security in the city of Colombo yesterday as LTTE hit-and-run tactics to murder opponents looked re-activated with the third murder of a Tamil soldier soldier being carried out at Mt. Lavinia on Tuesday night. more..

Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese oppose federalism, minorities in favor

Mar 20 (AP) Most of Sri Lanka's minority Tamils and Muslims support a federal power sharing agreement between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, but the majority Sinhalese are opposed to the deal, a poll released Wednesday found. more..

Trincomalee Koneswaram temple festival begins

Mar 20 (TN) The annual twenty two-day festival (íMahotsavamí) of the historic Koneswaram Temple in the east port town of Trincomalee began Tuesday with the flag hoisting ceremony. The water cutting festival will be held on April 4 at "Papanasa Theertham" (sin destruction holy well), more..

Trinco St. Joseph's celebrates 136th annual college day

Mar 20 (TN) The St. Josephs' College in Trincomalee, one of the leading educational institutions in the eastern port town, Wednesday celebrated its 136th annual college day with religious observances and sports activities among teachers and students, sources said. more..