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Uncertainty causes blip in booming Sri Lanka tourism

Apr 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka attracted fewer tourists in March than a year earlier, for the first time in 20 months, tourism officials said on Tuesday, amid fears political uncertainty could crimp the booming industry. more..

Concern over freed child soldiers

Apr 27 (BBC) The United Nations children's agency, Unicef, says that more than 1,300 child soldiers have been released by Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka. Unicef say their investigations have revealed that the releases took place after recent factional fighting in the east of the island. more..

Karu Jayasuriya sorry and concerned

Apr 27 (DN) Gamapaha District MP and UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya has expressed sorrow and concern about the propaganda carried out against the Maha Sangha following the situation which had arisen consequent to the elections held to the post of Parliamentary Speaker. more..

Govt to increase taxes on booze

Apr 27 (NW) The Finance Ministry is now examining a proposal for levying extra taxes from casinos, betting centres, liquor bars, wine stores, night clubs and top of the shelf luxury items to raise revenue for implementing the UPFA's pledges to the people, the Daily News learns. more..

More Lankans travel to US

Apr 27 (NW) Many more Sri Lankans are applying for tourist and business visas to travel to the United States, the US Embassy said yesterday, adding that prospective travellers should apply early for visas to the US. more..

A woman paralyzed after a lethal injection

Apr 27 (NW) Was paralysis due to dog bite? Or was it medical negligence? Medical authorities will have to provide the answer to the unfortunate paralysis of a woman admitted to hospital after being bitten by a dog. more..

LTTE has not so far requested for Norway’s mediation – Norway

Apr 27 (AT) So far Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has not requested the Norwegian Government to facilitate the Peace talks on their behalf, to start the stalled negotiation with the Sri Lanka Government. more..

EU monitors urge Sri Lankan Army, Rebels to hold talks

Apr 27 (AP) European monitors urged the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday to hold talks to defuse growing tensions after unidentified gunmen shot and killed seven guerrillas in a daring ambush in the country's East. more..

Sri Lanka increases focus and commitment to Middle East

Apr 27 (AME) The Sri Lanka Tourism Board (SLTB) has doubled its exhibition space at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2004 and has launched a new public relations campaign in the Middle East to raise its profile throughout the region. more..

Second-string Sri Lanka too strong

Apr 27 (CI) The allround skills of Kumar Sangakkara and Upal Chandana carried a dangerously weakened Sri Lanka through to a 72-run victory over Zimbabwe in the fourth one-day international at Harare Sports Club. Sangakkara scored 63 and pulled off five dismissals behind the stumps; more..

Nimalarajan murder inquiry report handed over to AG

Apr 28 (TN) Mr.Ranjith de Silva, Officer-in-charge of the Special Investigation Unit of the Jaffna Police, Tuesday told Jaffna Magistrate Mr. R.T.Viknaraja that he had submitted the dossier of his inquiry into the murder of Jaffna based journalist Mr.Mylvaganam Nimalarajan to the Attorney General, legal sources said. more..

13 civilians remanded for allegedly torching EPDP camp

Apr 28 (TN) The Kayts Magistrate, Mr.A.Premshankar, Tuesday ordered remand for thirteen suspects who were produced by the police in connection with the alleged burning down of a camp of the EPDP in Analaitivu following the April 2 general election, legal sources said. more..

SLA prevents Muslims from resettling in Chavakachcheri

Apr 28 (TN) The Sri Lanka army has prevented Muslim refugees who came back recently to Chavakachcheri, the second largest town of the northern peninsula, from repairing and resettling in their war-destroyed homes, a spokesman for the returnees told TamilNet Tuesday. more..

Tyronne Fernando resigns from UNP to join UPFA

Apr 28 (TN) Mr.Tyronne Fernando, who was a parliamentarian of the UNP from the Moratuwa electorate and Foreign Minister in the former United National Front government, Tuesday sent in his resignation letter to the leader of the UNP, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe. more..

Norway minister to go to Sri Lanka for peace bid

Apr 28 (Reuters) A Norwegian delegation including deputy foreign minister Vidar Helgesen will travel to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on May 1 to prepare for new talks to end two decades of war on the island, Oslo said on Tuesday. more..

A Tiger mutiny disintegrates

Apr 28 (AT) In the context of the heady display of power and self-confidence by "Colonel Karuna", throughout the month of March, what appears amazing is not so much his failure to sustain his challenge to Velupillai Prabhakaran's hegemony over the LTTE, but the speed at which he succumbed to the military onslaught launched by the Vanni high command. more..

LTTE urges SLMM to probe army role in Eastern killing

Apr 28 (UNI) Tamil Tiger rebels have claimed they have credible evidence that the Vavunativu Army camp was involved in the killing of seven of its cadres in Eastern Batticaloa in Sri Lanka on Sunday. more..

The Buddha Bikini Controversy

Apr 28 (BNN) The manufacturer of the controversial "Buddha bikini" swimsuit has apologized to Buddhists who have written in to complain about the product. Ondademar have also said that they have pulled the offending products out from the market. more..

“Sinhalese political leadership lacks maturity” - Sampanthan

Apr 28 (TN) “The late Tamil leader, Mr. S.J.V.Chelvanayakam, laid the path for the freedom struggle, advocating Tamils should be recognized as a distinct nationality with their traditional homeland and right of self determination,” said the TNA parliamentary group leader, Mr.R.Sampanthan, more..

Sri Lanka probes Tiger links in Colombo shooting

Apr 28 (AFP) Police called in anti-terrorism units to investigate a gunbattle here that left at least one man dead and another seriously wounded, officials said. The probe was launched following the overnight exchange of fire between two groups of unidentified men in the Colombo's commercial area of Maligawatte, more..

LTTE suspects paramilitary groups

Apr 28 (Hindu) The LTTE today alleged that "paramilitary groups working alongside the Sri Lanka Army" could be behind the killing of seven of its cadres in the rebel-held areas of the eastern Batticaloa district on Sunday. Sri Lankan defence sources denied any involvement more..

Going Private

Apr 28 (LBO) Stakes in SriLankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Telecom will be divested as proposed under the Rs. 13 billion-privatization programme, says Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama. Amunugama says government will continue the UNF government’s Rs. 13 billion privatization programme proposed for 2004, but with some readjustment. more..

Avrudu Bash

Apr 28 (LBO) Commercial Bank’s ATMs dispensed a staggering Rs. 625 million over the five-day ‘Avurudu’ weekend in April, the Bank said this week. Nearly 151,000 cash withdrawals were made during this period and due to heavy usage most ATMs had to be reloaded with cash several times during the period. more..

Cost Cutting

Apr 28 (LBO) The government could look at increasing the surcharge in import duties on food commodities like sugar, onions and chilli and other items in its attempt to divert more funds towards welfare spending. Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said that the government would look to get back the monies going out to subsidise the imports of certain commodities. more..

Stocks fall, lower tourist arrivals weigh

Apr 28 (Reuters) Stocks closed lower on Wednesday, dragged down by market heavyweights Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd and John Keells Holdings Ltd , with the market jittery after news of a decline in tourist arrivals. The key Colombo all-share index ended down 1.12 percent, or 13.67 points, at 1,203.38. more..

US Ambassador inaugurates BRAVA mission in Jaffna

Apr 28 (TN) Mr.Jeffry J.Lunstead, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, wednesday inaugurated the US military humanitarian medical mission in Jaffna teaching hospital. "We are able to visit Jaffna because of peace in this country. US government will continue to support the peace process in Sri Lanka," Mr.Jeffry Lunstead said more..

Injured LTTE woman cadre delivered back to parents

Apr 28 (SLA) An LTTE female cadre, who had allegedly received injuries during recent LTTE internal clashes in the general area of VERUGAL, BATTICALOA, has been reportedly delivered back to her parents by LTTE on 26 April 2004. more..

Explosion sounds heard

Apr 28 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in the general area of KODDIYAR Bay, about 05 km south of TRINCOMALEE town heard the sound of a mortar bomb explosion and small arms firing on 27 April 2004. more..

Government to recover taxes

Apr 28 (Rupavahini) The government focuses special attention on the recovery of taxes from several sectors. These sectors have not been taxed due to political reasons. Finance minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama expressed the belief that the election pledges of the Freedom Alliance including the comprehensive improvement in the education sector and the granting a subsidies to farmers could be fulfilled soon. more..

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister to meet Indian leaders

Apr 28 (UNI) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who is arriving here tonight on a two-day visit, is expected to apprise the Indian leadership of the the moves initiated by the new government to resume peace talks with the LTTE. more..

2004 GDP to grow 5% if reform pace maintained

Apr 28 (DJ) The Asian Development Bank expects Sri Lanka's economy to grow 5% in 2004 and 5.5% in 2005 if political uncertainty doesn't slow economic reforms. In its Outlook report, the development bank said higher exports of mainly textiles on a pickup in global demand and stronger tourism would drive the economy. more..

54 Tamil fishermen released from Sri Lanka

Apr 28 (Sun) Fifty four fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who have been languishing in Sri Lankan jails for the past 8 months, have been released. They were handed over to the Indian coast guard by the Sri Lankan navy. The fishermen were, in turn, handed over to their relatives at Mandapam. more..

Make State institutions people friendly

Apr 28 (DN) President Kumaratunga has requested all Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers to start the process of transforming State institutions into people friendly ones by organising shramadana campaigns to mark May Day to clean up and streamline their Ministries and institutions under their purview. more..

Tyronne resigns from UNP alleging Ranil refused to move against corrupt cabinet ministers

Apr 28 (AT) Former Foreign Minister and UNP stalwart Tyronne Fernando made serious charges against former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he refused even to lift a finger against corrupt politicians in his cabinet of ministers, in a letter of resignation from the party. more..

JVP to tow in line while Norwegians are expected to jump start the process

Apr 28 (AT) While Norway confirmed that it is sending a two member delegation to Sri Lanka to meet the Government leaders as well as the Leaders of the LTTE, JVP, the junior partner in the ruling UPFA, it is learnt had given an assurance that, they would not in any way oppose any future Talks with the Tamil rebel outfit. more..

The Politics of Neutrality

Apr 28 (AT) No one would dispute that the members of the JHU were elected to be the lifeguards of the nation to prevent it from drowning in the current stormy seas. But at the first critical sign of distress, the JHU MPs took up three different positions: more..

A shocking scandal Exposed

Apr 28 (NW) A shocking trade scandal whereby Sri Lanka would have lost billions of rupees has been exposed through a joint investigation by Sri Lanka and British Customs, an official said yesterday. more..

Sri Lankan army denies involvement in killing of Tamil rebels

Apr 28 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan army has denied any involvement in what the Tamil Tiger rebels have alleged the killing of seven of their members in the eastern Batticaloa district, the official Daily News said on Wednesday. more..

Police on alert in Colombo after shooting

Apr 28 (Gulf) Police in Colombo have been placed on alert after a shooting incident in the capital which killed a person believed to be a loyalist of deposed regional rebel military wing leader and injured another. This raised fears yesterday that factional fighting between the guerrillas could spill into the city. more..

Sri Lanka Jan-March tourist arrivals Up 9.5%; slow growth

Apr 28 (DJ) The number of tourists in Sri Lanka in the first three months of 2004 rose 9.5% to 131,952, but growth was slow due to political uncertainty which has delayed the revival of a stalled peace process, said an official at the Ceylon Tourist Board. more..

Govt may sell Airline, Telecom stakes

Apr 28 (DJ) The Sri Lankan government may sell its stakes in SriLankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. this year, the Lanka Business Online reports, quoting Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama. more..

A crusader for soccer in Sri Lanka

Apr 28 (Gulf) He has the charisma of a crusader. Despite the loss of a left hand, due to an accident way back in 1969 in a cracker blast, Telesphor Dias never allowed this handicap to act an impediment in his gutsy drive to turn small-time criminals into soccer players. more..

President to hold talks with Norway peace brokers

Apr 28 (AFP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga will hold talks with Norwegian envoys at the weekend on kick-starting the island's stalled peace talks, her office said. Kumaratunga last week asked Norway's Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik to resume Oslo's peace brokering more..

Marxists become ministers in cabinet expansion

Apr 28 (AFP) Four Marxist legislators were sworn in as cabinet ministers by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, ending a bitter stand-off over sharing of portfolios among coalition partners. more..

Sri Lanka to attract foreign investment on a large scale

Apr 28 (ANI) The new head of Sri Lanka's promotional body, the Board of Investment, has said he is confident of the island attracting foreign investment despite political uncertainties since a snap poll returned a left-leaning, minority government. more..

Sri Lankan ambassador will work on illegal immigrant problem

Apr 28 (DS) Sri Lanka Ambassador Mohammed Farouq told Labor Minister Asaad Hardan that his embassy will encourage illegal Sri Lankan workers to leave the country. Speaking after a meeting with Hardan on Tuesday, Farouq said discussions focused on how to exempt illegal workers from fines in order for them to go back to their country. more..

LTTE accuses Lankan army of staging attacks

Apr 28 (HT) The leader of the LTTE's political wing, SP Tamilselvan, has accused the Sri- Lankan army of trying to use the name of the renegade LTTE commander, Col.Karuna, to stage attacks inside territory held by them in the Eastern districts of Batticaloa and Amparai. more..

US military team treats landmine victims in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (AFP) A team of US military medical specialists has begun treating landmine victims in Sri Lanka's war-torn northern Jaffna peninsula, the US embassy here said. more..

School uniforms not supplied to Jaffna students

Apr 29 (TN) Students in the Jaffna district government schools have not received their free uniforms supplied by the line Ministry of Education even after the second term of academic year has begun. According to the Education Ministry in Colombo, all students should get their uniforms in the beginning of the year, more..

Workshop on HIV/AIDS for Trinco media persons

Apr 29 (TN) North East Provincial Ministry of Health Tuesday held a one-day workshop for media personnel in the Trincomalee district, soliciting their co-operation to create awareness among the masses in the prevention and control of HIV AIDS in the northeast. more..