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Schedule leaves skipper Tillakaratne perplexed

May 2 (AP) Sri Lanka's new captain Hashan Tillakaratne says he's confused with the messy scheduling of the home series against New Zealand after the first test ended on a tame draw on a placid track and the second was headed for a watery fate. more..

Two former State Dept workers charged in visa scheme in Sri Lanka

May 2 (AFP) Nine persons, including two former US State Department workers, have been charged with illegally selling US entry visas out of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Justice Department officials said Thursday. more..

Rebels suspend Peace Talks

May 2 (AP) For more than 14 months, the guns have been silent in Sri Lanka's northern war zone after the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels signed a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire. But the rebels' sudden decision to stop participating in peace talks last week has awakened fears that war may soon return to this tropical South Asian island. more..

The North – East: Democracy on Death Row

May 2 (UTHR) Contrary to hopes raised by the ceasefire and the MoU, impunity persists in the North-East, especially on the part of the LTTE. The two crucial and inseparable areas of violations that we have consistently highlighted are child conscription and attacks on political opponents. more..

Fear of army withdrawal leads to flight of capital from Jaffna

May 2 (HT) Afraid that the Sri Lankan army will one day withdraw from the Jaffna peninsula and the LTTE will take over, many Jaffna businessmen are moving their capital to Colombo in South Sri Lanka, says the latest report of the University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna (UTHR-J). more..

MP denies embezzling legal aid, wants museum in Jaffna Fort

May 2 (TN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) take steps to transform the Jaffna fort into a museum, said northern Parliamentarian Mr. M. K Sivajilingam, speaking to the press Friday. He said the TNA will strongly oppose any move by the SLA to build a camp in the Jaffna fort. more..

'Hinduism Sri Lanka’s oldest religion' – Ranil

May 2 (TN) Inaugurating the Second World Hindu Conference in Colombo Friday, Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Hinduism is the oldest religion practiced in Sri Lanka and that it played a great role developing the island’s culture. more..

Military sleuths gunned by LTTE trigger concern

May 2 (WO) Following a spate of killings of military intelligence (MI) operatives by the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government has appointed a three-member committee to suggest security measures to guard persons attached to the sensitive unit. more..

US visa scandal rocks western embassies in Sri Lanka

May 2 (AFP) The arrest of two US nationals employed by the US embassy in Sri Lanka has rocked the Colombo-based diplomatic community amid fears that many more could be involved in visa rackets, officials said. more..

India briefed on Sri Lanka peace "snags"

May 2 (IANS) The crucial importance of India's support for the success of Sri Lanka's peace process was underlined Friday with three major players in the Norwegian-brokered initiative arriving here to brief New Delhi about the "current snags". more..

India hopes Lankan peace process in back on track

May 2 (PTI) India today hoped that Sri Lankan Government-LTTE peace process, which has suffered a setback, would be back on the rails as soon as possible and said it was having close consultations with several major players involved in it. more..

Sri Lankan drug smugglers no longer count on local help?

May 3 (Hindu) With enforcement authorities stepping up vigil, drug smugglers seem to have changed their strategy to hoodwink their pursuers. As huge stakes are involved in the illegal operations, details of which have to be kept a closely-guarded secret, smugglers of drugs to Sri Lanka may be changing the composition of the gang as a recent major haul by the Narcotics Control Bureau reveals. more..

Legislation to combat any outbreak of SARS

May 3 (DN) The Governemnt will introduce new legislation right away to combat any possible outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is rapidly spreading in many Asian countries. more..

Top level confab to avoid Navy - Sea Tiger clashes at sea

May 3 (Island) SLMM head Major General (Retd.) Tryggve Tellefsen yesterday met with Defence Secretary Austin Fernando and Navy Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri to discuss ways and means of reaching consensus on a mechanism to avoid clashes between the navy and Sea Tigers. more..

Indian FM holds talks with Sri Lanka peace negotiator

May 3 (AFP) The Sri Lanka peace negotiator Friday held talks with Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant SInha and briefed him about the peace process, a foreign ministry spokesman said. Economic Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda called on Sinha earlier in the day and discussed the "ongoing developments in the peace process", more..

Defence minister seeks divine help for protection

May 3 (AFP) Defence Minister Tilak Marapone has sought divine intervention to strengthen his security and seek protection from evil eyes, official sources said Friday. Marapone organised a ritual at his tightly-guarded Colombo home last week to exorcise evil spirits, the sources said. more..

Lions in Limbo

May 3 (LBO) Lion Brewery is refreshing old expansion plans, in preparation for a perceived high demand situation when the government eventually, implements its 2003 budget proposal to relax regulation of soft liquor licensing. more..

Large peace demo in Mannar town

May 3 (TN) More than 3000 people demonstrated in support of peace in Mannar Saturday, demanding full implementation of the ceasefire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers. At the conclusion of the meeting, a memorandum was submitted to the additional government agent of Mannar. more..

Few in Jaffna get resettlement aid

May 3 (TN) Forty thousand families in the Jaffna have applied to the Government Agent for assistance to resettle in their homes in the war ravaged northern peninsula, a senior official said. more..

Mannar farmers said facing ruin

May 3 (TN) “Mannar rice farmers are facing ruin for they cannot market their produce. Each farmer will have to lose more than 9000 rupees per acre (92 USD) of paddy if they do not find means to market their rice at reasonable prices”, more..

Boat in restricted zone arrested

May 3 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in the General Sea area of TRINCOMALEE have intercepted a Fiber Glass Boat with out board mortor while it was fast moving in to the restricted zone of the hourbour from the General area of SAMPOOR, about 13 km south east of TRINCOMALEE on 02 May 2003 around 11.50 a.m. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

May 3 (SLA) One thousand two hundred and twelve lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 25 April 2003 - 01 May 2003. more..

Immigrant from Sri Lanka gets a second chance

May 3 (SP) Last week, it seemed nothing could prevent Bernard Gurusinghe from being deported to war-torn Sri Lanka. His last days in the United States were rapidly slipping away in federal detention. more..

World Bank seeks push in Lanka peace process

May 3 (AFP) The World Bank Friday called for progress in Sri Lanka’s fledgling peace process and said only greater political stability could ensure foreign and local private investments in the embattled island. more..

Plans ready for take over government says Mahinda

May 3 (DM) "There is no urgent need to topple this government, but there is a comprehensive plan to form a peoples' government after overthrowing the present government at an appropriate time. This had been said by President Chandrika Kumaratunga too. All plans have already been now finalised", opposition leader, Mahinda Rajapakse stated more..

First day's play in second Test called off

May 3 (AFP) The opening day's play in the second and final Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand was called off without a ball being bowled due to a slushy outfield at the rain-ravaged Asgiriya stadium. more..

FMM urges government to speed up media reform agenda

May 3 (IFEX) On May 3, 2003, the day the world marks World Press Freedom Day, the Free Media Movement (FMM) calls on the government to speed up the media reform agenda. The UNF government took office promising a broad democratic reform programme, including media freedom. more..

PM reiterates peace commitment

May 3 (KT) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday he was ready to face any challenge to establish a just peace in Sri Lanka and called on all parties to renounce violence a day after the US government stepped up pressure on the Tamil rebels to give up terrorism. more..

Norwegian mediators to talk with Sri Lankan govt and rebels

May 3 (AP) With peace talks between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tiger rebels on hold, two Norwegian peace mediators were to visit the country on Sunday to discuss ways of resuming the negotiations, an official said. more..

Jaffna to get daily mail delivery

May 3 (TN) Imtiyaz Bakeer Markar, Minister of Communications, is expected to ceremoniously open the Vavuniya Main Post Office renovated at a cost of Rs.3m at 9.30am tomorrow, sources in Vavuniya said. A modern communication center with e-mail, internet, and telephone facilities will also be opened in another event to be attended by the Lankan minister. more..

Meeting resolves to prevent communal unease in Musali

May 4 (TN) Representatives of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Catholic Church, the Liberation Tigers, Sri Lanka Police, several civil society groups and local community leaders met Saturday in Murunkan in the Mannar District to discuss measures to promote and cement Tamil, Muslim amity in the Musali region. more..

SLMM head meets Thamilchelvan

May 4 (TN) SLMM head Major General (retired) Tryggve Tellefsen met with LTTE head of the political section Thamilchelvan saturday afternoon at 2.45pm for three hours on issues related to avoiding future incidents at sea, locating High Security Zones (HSZ) within population centers in Jaffna and other matters, more..

Ex-EPDP Chairman shot dead in Jaffna

May 4 (TN) Former chairman of the Karaveddy south/west Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Mr.Tharmarajah Jeyarajah was shot dead Saturday around 6 p.m. at Thumpalai Maniayakaran junction near Point Pedro by unidentified gunmen who came in a motorbike, police sources said. more..

Putting the peace talks back on track

May 4 (SL) After a stormy week which led to panic reactions that the peace talks were heading for a breakdown with the prospect of war, backroom diplomacy and cool heads saw the government and the LTTE by week's end moving towards a compromise for the resumption of early negotiations. more..

Muslim Congress to be unified soon

May 4 (SL) The politically fragmented SLMC will be unified by the end of this month if current moves to forge unity succeed. Informed Muslim sources told The Sunday Leader that efforts by concerned Muslim politicians and community leaders to unite the party have been remarkably successful so far and that if “God wills” all three SLMC factions would come under one umbrella again. more..

Killing of Tamil informants: No formal complaint by Govt. — AOSLMM

May 4 (Island) The Norwegian-led truce monitoring mission said that it has not received a formal complaint from the government regarding a spate of killings of Tamil informants and soldiers by the Tigers. more..

LTTE decision after May 7 : Peace activities shift to Colombo & Vanni

May 4 (SO) The nucleus of activities on the Sri Lankan peace process centered in New Delhi during the last 48 hours shifts to Colombo and Vanni from today onwards with the return of the negotiators to Colombo yesterday. more..

Ministers clash over top UN post

May 4 (ST) The controversy surrounding Sri Lanka's nominee for a prestigious UN post -- the special rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers -- took a new twist with a row in cabinet over whom they should support. more..

Gayoom to make official visit to Sri Lanka

May 4 (HNS) President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Nasreena Ibrahim are to make an official visit to Sri Lanka on the invitation of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga. During the visit from 6 to 9 May, Gayoom will meet Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe more..

Tourists return to the beaches of Sri Lanka

May 4 (TO) Some of Asia's most beautiful beaches will be opened up to British package tourists this summer with dive specialist Barefoot Traveller leading the way into Trincomalee in north-eastern Sri Lanka, featuring beaches that have been off the travel circuit for two decades. more..

The Cabinet’s Axe

May 4 (LBO) The Cabinet of Ministers rejected a decade old draft Companies Act over its departure from English Law principles. A Cabinet sub committee that had a look at the draft Act, which is based on the New Zealand Companies Act, says it goes against the English Law practiced in the country. more..

Adding Glitter

May 4 (LBO) As a British colony, Ceylon was favoured for sourcing raw material and other commodities to satisfy the boundless tastes of the English. From its teas to exotic spices all exports went out in raw commodity form. Over half a century after independence, things have changed very little. more..

Malaysia, Sri Lanka to enter new level of trade, investment

May 4 (Bernama) Outgoing Sri Lankan High Commissioner Daya Liyanage told BERNAMA that both countries had established connections and were entering a second phase, in which he hoped for a lot of investment in Sri Lanka. more..

Lankans bewail delay in renewing passport

May 4 (BO) Sri Lankans in Bahrain complain of alleged bureaucratic red tape and gross inefficiency on the part of embassy officials who look after their interests from Kuwait, particularly when it comes to issuing of new passports with some having waited six months without getting it. more..

Foreign envoys to woo LTTE

May 4 (IANS) A Japanese envoy is in Sri Lanka to meet Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran along with Norwegian peace facilitators to woo the rebels back to the negotiating table. Yashushi Akashi, who arrived in Colombo Saturday, will tour the northern town of Kilinochchi and the jungles of Vanni in the north Wednesday. more..

LTTE to discuss resumption of peace talks

May 4 (IANS) The LTTE will hold a crucial meeting Monday to discuss the resumption of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government. LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and key theoretician Anton Balasingham will be present at the group's central committee meeting expected to take place in the Vanni region. more..

LTTE accused of killing rival Tamil party leader

May 4 (IANS) Gunmen shot dead a political leader opposed to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka's troubled north Saturday night, police said. Thamaraja Jeyarasa, the former chairman of a local council and organiser of the EPDP in the Jaffna peninsula, was shot dead Saturday night, police said. more..

End of killing fields mark Sri Lanka recovery

May 4 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels have proved ferocious in battle and have busted the national budget, but their truce with the government has sparked a dramatic turnaround in the economy. more..

Tamil leaders seek guns for self-defence

May 4 (ABC) amil political parties have asked for guns to protect themselves following a spate of slayings blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. Party officials say the EPDP is calling for weapons following the weekend killing of one of its regional political leaders in the northern peninsula of Jaffna. more..

Sri Lanka in Russian roulette with peace bid

May 4 (AFP) Peacemaking in Sri Lanka is a risky business. History has recorded the failures of past attempts, but such a lousy track record has done little to divert Norwegian and Japanese envoys from working overtime to prevent a return to war. more..