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Tamil Tigers seek guarantees from Norway over ceasefire

Nov 13 (AFP) The Tamil Tiger rebels on Thursday asked peace broker Norway to provide "guarantees" the group's ceasefire with the Sri Lankan government remained valid despite the political crisis on the island. more..

Spin wizard promises new tricks for England

Nov 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan claims to have new tricks up his sleeve for England's batsmen, who arrive in the country on Thursday for a six-week tour. Muralitharan, an unorthodox and controversial off-spinner, is planning a tough time for touring captain Michael Vaughan's team. more..

Sri Lanka committed to peace with Tamils, President tells IMF

Nov 13 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga has told the International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank that she's committed to a negotiated settlement with rebel Tamils, her spokesman said. more..

Fate of internally displaced hangs in balance

Nov 13 (OW) With talks between Sri Lanka's President and Prime Minister ending inconclusively Wednesday, the fate of the country's 730,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remains uncertain, with chances of a formal mechanism to assist them, receding further. more..

“Co-habitation, not confrontation” say Catholic Bishops

Nov 13 (PRIU) The Catholic Bishops have appealed to President Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Wickremasinghe and other political leaders to seriously consider an immediate resolution to the current political situation through dialogue and compromise. more..

Armed men rob bullock cart

Nov 13 (SLA) Four unidentified armed men, suspected to be from LTTE robbed a bullock cart worth Rs 50,000 (about US$ 521) belonging to a civilian from the general area close to KANDAKADUWA Farm Bridge, KANDANADUWA in WELIKANDA on 11 November 2003. more..

Abducted Muslim suffers from blood pressure

Nov 13 (SLA) The wife of an LTTE abducted man in the general area of AKKARAIPATTU alleged that her husband, who has been released by LTTE on 09 November 2003, is now suffering from blood pressure. more..

Defence portfolio will continue with President: Amunugama

Nov 13 (DM) The main Opposition yesterday said the Defence portfolio remains firmly with the President and will continue to be with her in future. "There will be no reversing of the decision. It is an 'inalienable' right vested in the President." PA Spokesman Sarath Amunugama told more..

Sri Lanka Song Contest aims to stop war

Nov 13 (TS) Sri Lanka's president and prime minister have agreed to take part in a Karoke contest to ease the country's constitutional crisis. It was the two leaders first decisive move since the president fired top ministers and suspended parliament last week. more..

Tamil Tigers seek guarantees on truce amid political crisis

Nov 13 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels agreed Thursday to honour a truce but demanded similar guarantees from squabbling Sri Lankan leaders, saying the political turmoil here had shaken their confidence in the Norwegian-brokered peace process. more..

Chandrika moots MoU between defence forces and peace negotiators

Nov 13 (HT) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has suggested to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that there be some kind of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the security forces and the government's peace negotiators to prevent military situations on the ground from jeopardising the peace process or talks with the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka rebel leader says committed to peace bid

Nov 13 (Reuters) The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels told Norwegian peace mediators on Thursday he had no plan to return to war but said a power struggle between the president and prime minister had to end for talks to resume. more..

President postpones merger referendum

Nov 13 (PTI) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has put off a controversial referendum in the island's northern and eastern provinces by another year despite calls against it by her Marxists ally, officials said. more..

Tamil rebels seek peace guarantee

Nov 13 (BBC) Tamil Tiger rebels say political stability is needed for peace talks with the government to continue. But rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has reaffirmed his commitment to the peace process and the ceasefire. The comments come after Norwegian envoys met Mr Prabhakaran at a secret location. more..

SL President and PM congratulate President Gayoom

Nov 13 (HD) President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka have sent messages of congratulations to President Gayoom on his assumption of office as President for a new term, and on the completion of twenty-five years of office as the elected President. more..

International media watchdog calls for unbiased TV news

Nov 13 (AP) An international media watchdog Thursday urged Sri Lanka to release two state-run TV stations from government control, saying that their news coverage has become slanted since being taken over by the president earlier this month. more..

Opportunity lurks under crisis of troubled nation

Nov 13 (IPS) Though much of the attention around political crisis centres around the instability it has caused, the current standoff could actually result in firmer cohabitation between the feuding camps of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- and give a boost to peace talks. more..

Murali targets 650 Test wickets

Nov 13 (BBC) Muttiah Muralitharan has announced his principal aim before retiring - to demolish Courtney Walsh's world record by taking 650 wickets. At 31, the Sri Lankan stands on 459, still notably short of Walsh's 519. more..

Chandrika extends olive branch to the Tamils

Nov 14 (HT) After making an assurance that she would support the peace process and the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Thursday made another friendly gesture to the Tamil minority. more..

Sri Lankan press urges unity

Nov 14 (BBC) Many of Sri Lanka's papers blame the current crisis on the politics of confrontation and the history of division. There are calls for President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe to focus on the main issues facing the country and to strive for unity. more..

Cops in karaoke bar brawl

Nov 14 (Island) The Officer-in-Charge of a Wayamba police station is under investigation for having exchanged blows with a subordinate ,at a posh Colombo karaoke bar, where several shots were fired in the air in the early hours of Thursday. more..

Security tightened in Colombo after businessman's killing

Nov 14 (DN) Colombo DIG Sirisena Herath yesterday morning directed his senior officers to strengthen and intensify security in the Colombo city to prevent suspects involved in crimes escaping after committing the deed. more..

Tamils' confidence eroded, says Prabakaran

Nov 14 (Hindu) The LTTE chief, V. Prabakaran, today said that the southern political stalemate had "undermined the trust of the Tamil people" in the peace process and sought "guarantees" from the Norwegian facilitators that the Sri Lankan Government "will continue with its commitment to the ceasefire agreement". more..

Norwegian envoy briefs Chandrika, Ranil on meet with LTTE

Nov 14 (UNI) Visiting Deputy Foreign Minister of Norway Vidar Helgesen today briefed Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe about the outcome of his 'crucial deliberations' with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

SriLankan plans to buy seven aircraft

Nov 14 (GD) SriLankan Airlines is acquiring seven more aircraft as part of a growth plan that will increase flights to existing destinations, open new routes and launch air taxi services within Sri Lanka. Two Airbus A340s joined the fleet in October this year. more..

English cricketers arrive in Sri Lanka, face tough series

Nov 14 (AP) The England cricket team arrived in the Sri Lanka capital early Friday to play a three test and three one-day series after a tour of Bangladesh where they whitewashed the opposition. By the time the team checked into Taj Samudra Hotel, it was too late for Sri Lankan fans to greet them. more..

Textbook Takeover

Nov 14 (LBO) Cabinet has given the Treasury the go-ahead to sell off its 49 percent stake in Colombo International School (CIS) to major shareholder Ceyko Projects. A senior Treasury official confirmed today that it would sell 49 percent or 490,000 shares to its current owners, at a cost of Rs. 86.73 mn. more..

Teen Talk

Nov 14 (LBO) MasterCard International on Thursday came out with a credit card primarily designed for Sri Lanka’s burgeoning teenage market. Hatton National Bank, its local partner hopes teenagers would make use of this opportunity to learn basic banking habits of accountability, responsibility, ownership and financial discipline. more..

Witch Hunt

Nov 14 (LBO) ‘Daya* rushed to the local witchdoctor, distraught that his wife had left him. The spells were chanted. Rs.25,000 changed hands, and a guarantee that she would come back. Furious that she doesn’t,he stormed up to the Consumer Affairs Authority’. more..

Herding Cattle

Nov 14 (LBO) Ernst & Young went into the cattle business Thursday, advising the PERC on restructuring the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB). The state farm giant owns nine farms across the island, primarily involved in breeding and rearing livestock. more..

Don't sacrifice peace for political gain - NPC

Nov 14 (TN) "The ongoing power struggle between the President and Government has reached a stage where it is clearly endangering the peace process", warned the National Peace Council (NPC), a Colombo based Sri Lankan peace group, in a media release today. more..

'We're eager to start off': Atapattu

Nov 14 (CI) Marvan Atapattu has announced that the Sri Lankans are ready for international cricket after a much-needed four-month break. England will play three Tests and an equal number of one-day internationals in a six-week tour which begins later this week. more..

'England can expect harder cricket': Dyson

Nov 14 (CI) John Dyson, the new coach of the Sri Lankan team, has suggested that England can expect a much tougher challenge from the Sri Lankans than they did on their recent tour of Bangladesh. more..

The political economy of the “peace process” - Part 2

Nov 14 (WSWS) The IMF endorsement of Wickremesinghe’s so-called Poverty Reduction Strategy Program earlier this year opened the way for the next stage of Sri Lanka’s integration into the circuit of global finance—at the Sri Lanka Donors’ Conference, convened in Tokyo last June. more..

The political economy of the “peace process” - Part 1

Nov 14 (WSWS) If events surrounding President Kumaratunga’s attempted constitutional coup last week tended, at times, to assume something of a comic opera character, the reason is not to be found primarily in the conduct of the principal political actors. more..

Facilitators tell President, “Peace process in good shape”

Nov 14 (PSL) The Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen, Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar and Tomas Stangeland of the Norwegian Embassy called on President Chandrika Kumaratunga last evening at President’s House. more..

Business community has fingers crossed over annual budget

Nov 14 (Gulf) The much talked about annual budget, due for announcement on last Wednesday but which has been in the doldrums after President Kumaratunga fired three key ministers and suspended parliament on November 4, is expected to be announced on Wednesday, November 19, more..

Move to block Speaker from summoning Parliament

Nov 14 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party backed by the Marxist JVP has moved to block Speaker Joseph Perera from re-summoning Parliament before a two-week suspension ofParliament imposed by the president officially ends. more..

Amid crisis, Buddhist monks wade into politics

Nov 14 (AP) In a monastery prayer room, where only the rattle of a ceiling fan disturbs the midday stillness, a Buddhist monk insists he wants peace for his country. But pacifism, he says, can only go so far. more..

Profits up at Sri Lanka's Commercial Bank

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Commercial Bank of Ceylon Ltd posted slightly higher nine-month profits on Friday but said the fourth quarter would depend on the state of politics in the island. more..

Pakistan free trade pact with Sri Lanka to boost trade

Nov 14 (AP) The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Sri Lanka would be finalised and executed after removing the bottlenecks, if any, to step up the pace of trade volume between the two countries. more..

Stocks crash as Norway suspends peace bid

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan share prices fell 7.00 percent Friday after Norway announced it was suspending its efforts to broker a peace with Tamil Tiger rebels due to the political crisis in the island, dealers said. The All Share Price index closed at 1,167.33, shedding seven percent. more..

PM withdraws from peace process

Nov 14 (TN) Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Friday said that he has informed the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge to take in charge of the peace process as he is unable to take forward such process launched two years ago due to current political crisis." more..

Muslim leader for confidence building among warring groups

Nov 14 (IANS) The leader of SLMC has called for confidence building between the country's feuding president and prime minister. Rauff Hakeem, an ally of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, said here Thursday: "It is very important to build confidence before any talks on forming a national government." more..

Who's in charge? Govt. demands answer

Nov 14 (DM) The government yesterday reiterated its concern that the current political turmoil could cause grave damage to the peace process and called for issues regarding responsibility to be clarified immediately. more..

Sri Lanka rebel 'capital' revives on death highway

Nov 14 (Reuters) When Srijeeva returned to the war-scarred northern Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi last year after 10 years away, there was not much to go back to. "There were no buildings. Everything had been destroyed by the war and there was a horrible smell all around," more..

Chandrika accepts controversial LTTE proposals as basis for talks

Nov 14 (HT) In a significant move away from her earlier hard line, the President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, told the Norwegian facilitators here on Thursday, that she was willing to accept the LTTE's controversial proposals for a ISGA in the North Eastern Province (NEP), as a starting point for peace talks. more..

Norway sees no peace role until Sri Lanka crisis ends

Nov 14 (Reuters) Norway Friday withdrew as a key mediator in Sri Lanka's peace process, saying it would only return when a power struggle ended between the island's president and prime minister. more..

Quiet between troops, Tigers despite crisis: monitors

Nov 14 (AFP) Scandinavian peace monitors reported Friday a dramatic drop in complaints of violations of the truce between Tamil rebel and government troops in an unexpected spin-off of Sri Lanka's power struggle. more..

Chandrika offered post of dy defence ministership to Ranil

Nov 14 (HT) As part of a compromise arrangement to end the political crisis, President Chandrika Kumaratunga had offered Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the Deputy Defence Ministership, the number two position in the Defence Ministry, which she had taken over from his Government earlier. more..