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India, Sri Lanka to conclude Defence Pact 'at the earliest'

Oct 21 (HT) India and Sri Lanka have agreed to commence discussions on a Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with a view to concluding it "at the earliest". A statement issued from New Delhi on Tuesday at the end of talks said that India maintained an "abiding interest in the security of Sri Lanka." more..

Indian Oil to export diesel, jet fuel to Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (Reuters) State-run Indian Oil Corp Ltd will export 60,000 tonnes of diesel and 20,000 tonnes of jet fuel to Sri Lanka in the next two months, the company's chairman, M.S. Ramachandran, told reporters on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka buzzing as investors, tourists return

Oct 22 (AFR) Armed with a belief that Sri Lanka won't slide back into violence, foreign investors are returning to the island in record numbers. This year, the country is set to receive a record $US300 million ($432 million) in foreign investment, which is 24 per cent more than last year. more..

Over a half-million children get polio vaccination in Northeast

Oct 22 (UNICEF) Over half a million children in Northeast Sri Lanka were immunized against polio last Saturday during the UNICEF-supported Subnational Immunization Day. The day marked the final round of this year's polio vaccinations, the first of which took place six weeks ago and achieved 96 per cent coverage. more..

SU not for devolution

Oct 22 (Island) The Sihala Urumaya is against any type of devolution of power either to the districts or to the provinces which they claim was a concept created by the colonial rulers to divide and rule, a spokesman for the party said on Monday. more..

India hopes LTTE response will be reasonable

Oct 22 (Hindu) Without naming the LTTE, India today said it expected the "response" to the proposals made by the Sri Lankan Government in July 2003 to set up an interim administration "will be reasonable and comprehensive". more..

`LTTE must get the message'

Oct 22 (Hindu) The LTTE "must get the message" that India will only support a solution that would not divide Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Tyronne Fernando, said here today. Mr. Fernando said the LTTE must stick to the path of finding a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka or face international wrath. more..

Wekanda Walawwa nominated for Oscar race

Oct 22 (AFP) A record 55 movies entered the race to win nominations for next year's best foreign film Oscar, including Sri Lankan, Palestinian and Mongolian offers, organisers said on Monday. Sri Lanka's entry is Wekanda Walawwa (Mansion by the Lake) by renowned director Lester James Peries. more..

Engagement Ring

Oct 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom on Tuesday took a step further to seal its marriage to Lanka Bell, by agreeing to start work on a due diligence study, its Chairman said. The dominant fixed access operator has been courting Lanka Bell for the past few weeks and last month signed a non-disclosure agreement to actively pursue the relationship. more..


Oct 22 (LBO) Fraud, mismanagement and a lack of funds is driving the Fisheries Harbour Corporation to the brink of extinction. The Corporation’s financial statements for 2002 reveal that it is struggling to generate even up to 50 percent of its recurrent expenditure from its operations. more..

LTTE abduct two teenagers from home

Oct 22 (SLA) Two teenaged children in the general area of CHENKALADY, KOMMANTHURAI, about 15 km northwest of BATTICALOA have been abducted by LTTE on 14 October 2003 from their residences. Information as regards this abduction has been intimated to troops only on 21 October 2003 for fear of LTTE reprisals. more..

LTTE abducts another civilian

Oct 22 (SLA) A civilian has been abducted by a group of LTTE men from the general area of SIVANANDA SCHOOL GROUND, KALLADY on 10 October 2003 around 8.00 a.m. LTTE’s JEGAN attached to their KALLADY office was among those five LTTE men who abducted the civilian, SHANKAPPAN JEGAN of MUSIC COLLEGE Rd, NAVAKKIDA. more..

Shooting and grenade explosion kill barber and injure four

Oct 22 (SLA) A Tamil hair-dresser was killed and four Muslims were injured in the general area of GALLELLA, POLONNARUWA following gunfire and explosion of a hand grenade, believed to have been triggered off by suspected LTTE men around 8.30 p.m. on Tuesday (21 October 2003). more..

Indian poachers chased away

Oct 22 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in the general area of USSIMUKKANTHURAI, about 2.5 km north of MANNAR town on 20 October 2003 around 9.00 p.m. were compelled to fire a few warning shots into the air to chase away a group of about ten Indian trawlers poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

Indian Southern command meets Army Commander

Oct 22 (SLA) India’s General Officer Commanding-in –Chief, Southern Command Lt. Gen G. S Sihota, currently on a visit to Sri Lanka, paid a courtesy call on Sri Lanka’s Army Commander Lt. Gen L. P Balagalle on Wednesday (22) morning. more..

NECORD opens new building in Trinco Nalanda College

Oct 22 (TN) The Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mr.John R. Cooney Tuesday evening declared open a two-storied block at the Chinabay Nalanda College in Trincomalee, which had been constructed at a cost of about four million rupees under the ADB funded NECORD project. more..

Sri Lankan unions shut down health strike

Oct 22 (WSWS) At the end of last month, Sri Lankan trade union leaders shut down an island-wide strike by 80,000 health workers without achieving any of the initial demands of the campaign. more..

Telekom Malaysia: No talks to buy Sri Lanka Telecom stake

Oct 22 (DJ) Telekom Malaysia Bhd., Malaysia's largest telecommunications company, said it isn't in talks to buy a stake in Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. "We wish to inform the exchange that Telekom Malaysia is not engaged in any discussion or talks with any party to acquire a stake in Sri Lanka Telecom," it said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka receives 10 bids for third Petroleum player license

Oct 22 (DJ) Sri Lanka has received 10 bids from international, regional and local players shortlisted for the third slot in the country's retail petroleum sector, the government's privatization body said Wednesday. more..

Textile sector hopes FTA with US will offset competition

Oct 22 (BT) United States is the largest export market of Sri Lanka that accounts about 61 per cent of Sri Lanka's total garments and apparel exports. With the free trade agreement with United States the textile and garment industry hopes that such deal will help offset competition from low-cost countries such as China if a deal is reached before the end of next year. more..

Lanka musical show to raise funds

Oct 22 (Gulf) A Sri Lankan musical show in aid of victims of recent floods and landslides in the island nation will be held tomorrow in Dubai and the day after in Abu Dhabi. The programme has been organised by a group of Sri Lankan social workers in association with the Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai. more..

Keells raises $34 mln in share issue

Oct 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's top conglomerate, John Keells Holdings Ltd , has raised $34 million through a new share issue to fund a hotel takeover, a company official said on Wednesday. The island's second-largest stock had placed 24 million shares at 134 rupees ($1.4) a share with foreign institutional investors, more..

Lankan Commandant calls on Air Marshal Masood

Oct 22 (PNS) Major General D S Wijesooriya, Commandant Army Command and Staff College of Sri Lanka visited Air Headquarters Chaklala on Tuesday along with members of delegation. He called on Air Marshal Masood Ahktar, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Training), Pakistan Air Force. more..

Norway rejects Tamil newspaper claims

Oct 22 (Aftenposten) A Tamil newspaper reported that Norway's government will recommend to the USA that the LTTE be removed from the American list of terrorist organizations. The claim has been denied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after it was picked up by the United News of India. more..

Stormy sea between Navy and Defence Ministry

Oct 22 (DM) A senior Defence Ministry official warned yesterday that the breakdown of communications in the sharing information between the Navy and the ministry was leading to an "unhealthy dangerous situation". more..

MoU neglects Muslim concerns says Kadirgamar

Oct 22 (PRIU) Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, in parliament yesterday said Muslim representation at peace talks was essential for a successful ‘homegrown’ solution to Sri Lanka’s decades old ethnic conflict. more..

Sri Lanka - 2003 Annual report by Reporters Without Borders

Oct 22 (RSF) The good will of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's government and the peace process have brought about a great improvement in press freedom. But journalists still fall prey to political and ethnic intolerance. more..

Sri Lanka ready to meet any military challenge from rebels: FM

Oct 22 (AFP) The Colombo government is ready to meet any military challenge from the island's Tamil Tiger guerrillas should the peace process collapse, Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando has warned. more..

Rebels set date to hand over power-sharing plan

Oct 22 (AP) After several delays, Tamil Tiger rebels have set a date next week for handing over a long-awaited power-sharing plan hoped to kickstart fresh peace talks with the Sri Lankan government. "We have contacted the Norwegians and will hand over the proposal next Friday," more..

Sri Lanka government shows rare unity over Indian defence deal

Oct 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's usually squabbling main parties united in a rare display of unity to support increased defence and economic cooperation with neighbouring India. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party which is bitterly opposed to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday welcomed the outcome of his two-day visit to New Delhi more..

India finally draws the line in Sri Lanka

Oct 22 (IANS) For the first time since the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, India has emphatically shed its "hands off" policy vis-à-vis Sri Lanka that had made it a fringe player in the island. more..

Long line-up of Tamil films for Diwali weekend

Oct 22 (IANS) It's the festive season and the Tamil Nadu film industry has a long line of films awaiting release with several producers keeping their best projects under wraps until now to maximise on the holiday season. more..

2005 Diversity immigrant Visa program announced

Oct 22 (USE) Application to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program for 2005 (DV-2005) will open on November 1 and close on December 30, 2003. This has been announced by the U.S. State Department of State in Washington, DC. more..

Police block anti-peace demonstrators reaching Trinco SLMM office

Oct 22 (TN) The East Peoples Front, which is locally considered as a front organization of the JVP Wednesday held a hartal (general shut down) and demonstration in Trincomalee town against the presence of the SLMM and the establishment of an Interim Administration for northeast province. more..

Norway makes fresh bid to arrange peace talks

Oct 22 (AFP) Norwegian peace brokers are expected to visit Sri Lanka early next month to arrange a face-to-face meeting between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to revive stalled peace talks, officials said Wednesday. more..

JVP holds meeting to publish 'National Program'

Oct 22 (TN) The Marxist and Sinhala Nationalist Jantha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today held a public council meeting and produced what it called a ‘National Program’ for building up the country at the open theater inside the Viharamahadevi Park in downtown Colombo. more..

CII lauds aviation pact with Lanka

Oct 23 (FE) Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has lauded what it calls the pragmatic decision of permitting scheduled private airlines to fly to Sri Lankan destinations as decided under an agreement reached between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

SriLankan keen on more flights to India

Oct 23 (BL) THE move to allow domestic scheduled private airlines to fly to Sri Lanka is not going to end up as a one-way traffic. In a swift response, the national airlines of Sri Lanka - SriLankan Airlines - has decided to lap up the fresh opportunity that has come knocking on its door. more..

UN praises UTHR (J) for risking lives to protect children

Oct 23 (Island) Olara Otunnu, the UN secretary general’s special representative for children and armed conflict, this week applauded the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) for highlighting violations against children at risk to their own lives. more..

No change in demonstration plans - SLFP

Oct 23 (DN) The SLFP yesterday said they will definitely conduct their Janasena demonstration and protest rally against the Government tomorrow. The 'Janasena' protest rally will be held at the CMC grounds, Colombo under the patronage of President Kumaratunga at 4 p.m. more..

Sri Lankan companies can now raise funds in India

Oct 23 (ET) Regional co-operation with Sri Lanka will nurture India 's global dreams for its financial centres — Sri Lankan companies will be the first foreign firms to be listed on Indian bourses. This will be the first time that India allows foreign corporates to tap domestic capital. more..

LTTE begins talks with Tamil leaders on counter-proposals

Oct 23 (Hindu) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam today commenced a series of meetings with Tamil political leaders before submitting its "counter-proposals" to the Sri Lankan Government on October 31. more..

Billing Options

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom launched its new US$ 20 mn billing system on Wednesday, with ambitious plans to spin it off into a separate revenue generating business unit. Officials say once the system is fully in place, they will consider other commercial applications that can be added on and also tap its customer database. more..

Safe House

Oct 23 (LBO) The Employees Trust Fund on Wednesday signed on with Seylan Bank to offer low cost housing loans to its 2.2 mn members. The state provident fund has lent Rs. 250 mn to Seylan Bank initially, with a promise to raise the limit, depending on the bank’s performance. more..

Soldiers scuttled boats, allege Munai fishermen

Oct 23 (TN) Fishermen in Munai alleged Thursday that Sri Lanka army troops in the area had scuttled five boats and cut the moorings of another two in retaliation to Wednesday’s incidents in this coastal village on the outskirts of Pt. Pedro town in Jaffna. more..

Skirmish between fishermen and troops brought under control

Oct 23 (SLA) An Army soldier on sentry duty in the general beach area of POINT PEDRO, who tried to prevent some fishermen from boarding an unauthorized boat, came under attack on 22 October 2003 around 4.00 p.m. causing tension in the area. more..

Canadian passport holder held for filming HSZ

Oct 23 (SLA) A Canadian passport holder, who had filmed the High Security Zone (HSZ) in the general area of JAFFNA from inside a bus was held at KADDUWAN roadblock, about 13 km northeast of JAFFNA town on 22 October 2003 around 10.30 a.m. more..

LTTE take away one more bullock cart demanding ransom

Oct 23 (SLA) Civil cloth-clad LTTE men, who forcibly took away a bullock cart belonging to a civilian in the general area of SINHAKANDA, about 12 km southwest of TRINCOMALEE town on 22 October 2003 around 10.00 a.m., wanted a sum of Rs.20,000 (US$ 208) in exchange of its release. more..

Public agitation against SLMM cripples work in TRINCOMALEE

Oct 23 (SLA) A public agitation demanding the immediate withdrawal of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) from Sri Lanka was held in TRINCOMALEE on Wednesday (22), attended by several hundreds of placard and banner holding members of the public. more..

LTTE men threaten LTTE deserter’s wife

Oct 23 (SLA) Two LTTE cadres, who stormed the house of an LTTE deserter who subsequently surrendered to troops for protection in the general area of KALKUDAH, BATTICALOA have threatened the wife of the surrendered youth on 21 October 2003 saying that he would be killed by LTTE anyhow for his failure to re-join the LTTE. more..