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New alliance stirs political waters

Feb 4 (IPS) A new political alliance forged between President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party and a Marxist political group with a bloody past is sending tremors through Sri Lanka's already restive political landscape. more..

Peace dividend hard to come by in war-torn region

Feb 4 (IPS) Visitors driving through Sri Lanka's war-battered northern region are struck by lush vegetable fields ready for harvest, rows of coconut trees whose tops have been sliced off by constant bombing -- and miles of unused land. more..

Indonesian manpower minister visits Trincomalee

Feb 4 (TN) Indonesian Minister for Manpower and Transmigration, Mr. Jacob Nuwa Wea, and a trade delegation arrived in Colombo on February 2. The Minister held discussions with the Employment and Labour Minister Mr.Mahinda Samarasinghe and officials of the National Chamber of Commerce in Colombo, political officials said. more..

"No agreement on peace process with PM" - Kumaratunge

Feb 4 (TN) Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe's insistence to take control of the defense ministry is the main obstacle in concluding an agreement to end the current political impasse, said the Presidential Secretariat in a media release issued Tuesday. more..

1500 political activists in tiger dungeons -EPDP

Feb 4 (LT) More than 1500 political activists of various political organizations against the tiger organization are being held in dark, underground dungeons in the North and the East by the tigers says EPDP. more..

63% in North & East say UNF cannot achieve peace

Feb 4 (LT) Under the UNF government National security has been seriously jeopardized says 63% of the people in the North and the East and 41% from other areas of the country. This information has been revealed in a survey to examine the socio-political and economic changes done by the Org Marg Smart Institute. more..

Attack on Tony Fernando

Feb 4 (AHRC) The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on 9 January 2004 informed the Sri Lankan government that, in pursuant of Rule 86 of the committee’s rules of procedure, the state party (Sri Lanka) should adopt all necessary measures to "protect the life, safety and personal integrity of the author (Michael Anthony Emanuel "Tony" Fernando) more..

Sri Lanka and Tamils' Standards to flutter for the 56th Independence Day

Feb 4 (AT) The Lion standard of Sri Lanka and the Standard of the Tamils – Black flags, would be hoisted to celebrate the 56-independence day of Sri Lanka. Since 1802, when the Maritime Provinces of the Island became a British Crown Colony, more..

Batticaloa deserted for Independence Day

Feb 4 (TN) Batticaloa town was deserted Wednesday in response to a call by local organisations to boycott Sri Lanka’s Independence Day and to observe it as a black day for Tamils. Shops, offices and public buildings were closed. Very few people and vehicles were on the roads in the eastern town. more..

Jaffna IDPs begin fast unto death

Feb 4 (TN) Two groups of persons demanding that they be allowed to resettle in their villages garrisoned by the Sri Lankan armed forces in Jaffna's Thenmaradchi and Valigamam North Divisions began fasting unto death Wednesday Sri Lanka's Independence Day. more..

Protest, shut down in Jaffna on Independence Day

Feb 4 (TN) Jaffna town was deserted Wednesday while Sri Lankan armed forces hoisted lion flags and observed Independence Day amid tight security in many parts of the peninsula. Several civil society groups and public organisations urged the people of Jaffna last week to observe Independence Day as a black day. more..

Tires burn in Mannar, A9 blocked in Vavuniya

Feb 4 (TN) Tires were burnt and black flags were flown in several parts of Mannar town Wednesday. Police said that some protestors had pulled down Sri Lanka’s lion flags that were hoisted by Sri Lanka army on the entrance to Mannar town Tuesday night to mark Independence Day. more..

Fresh Cuppa

Feb 4 (LBO) The Tea Association plans to re-haul criteria used to fund new Ceylon tea brands, when it takes over some of the Tea Board’s functions this month. Every year, the Tea Board doles out a quantum of money to exporters keen on establishing a brand and who meet the selected criteria. more..

Double Edge

Feb 4 (LBO) The State is losing an estimated average of Rs. 450 million in revenue each month in its effort to subdue a rise in the cost of living due to higher world market prices. more..

56th Independence Day Celebrated

Feb 4 (SLA) Sri Lanka, the resplendent isle of the east on 4th February 2004 marked its 56th National Day (Independence Day) at the historic Independence Square in the centre of Colombo amidst pomp and pageantry. more..

Let’s build PNM to be a major force

Feb 4 (LT) When India gained independence through a liberation struggle this country was able to get only a partial independence said Mr. Wimal Weerawanse, Member of the Founder Committee of People’s National Movement. more..

Sri Lanka's tea exports hit record in 2003

Feb 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka remained the world's largest tea exporter in 2003, shipping record amounts even as total production fell two percent. The island exported 298.3 million kgs of tea last year, beating the previous record in 2001 by 3.77 million kgs, more..

Soldier escapes with severe injuries

Feb 4 (SLA) An Army soldier of intelligence corps who is attached to 233 Brigade had been shot by an unknown person whilst he was on leave. This incident took place in KESELWATTA HOPTON LUNUGALA – PASSARA around 7.00 p.m. on 03 February 2004. more..

Saudi-Sri Lanka relations poised for major growth

Feb 4 (AN) The recent signing of the General Agreement on Economic, Trade, Investment, Scientific, Technical, Cultural, Youth and Sports Cooperation between the Assistant Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Dr. Nizar Obeid Madani and the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Tyronne Fernando was a landmark event in bilateral relations between the two countries. more..

Sri Lanka I-Day celebrations in Qatar

Feb 4 (TP) Sri Lankans in Qatar will celebrate their country’s 56th Independence Day with various events planned for today. A flag-hoisting ceremony will be held at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Al Hilal area at 8.30am. more..

The Wonders of Ceylon Tea

Feb 4 (AN) Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is the world’s largest tea producer. Most of the island’s tea estates are situated at elevations between 3,000 and 8,000 feet in two areas - east of Colombo and in the Galle district at the southern tip. Sri Lanka’s finest teas are produced mainly above 4,000 feet. more..

The Land of Gems

Feb 4 (AN) Sri Lanka was named “Ratnadeepa”, the land of gems, as it was renowned for a wealth of gems since early times. Arabs called it the island of gems and even the Chinese described it similarly in their own language. Early travelers too defined it as the “Pearl of the East” for its abundant gem mines. more..

A Captivating Island

Feb 4 (AN) It is a land of smiling people and traditional hospitality. Visitors to Sri Lanka are received in a friendly and cordial manner. For many centuries, the island has captivated such visitors as Ibn Batuta, Omar Pasha and, more recently, Prof. Arthur C. Clark who has chosen to live in Sri Lanka. more..

A Peep at Serendip

Feb 4 (AN) A week in November hardly qualifies me as an expert on Sri Lanka. What did impress me, however, was the number of organizations there that still have the word “Ceylon” in their names. To say nothing of tea. This suggested to me that whatever colonialism may have meant to the island, it was not so bad that the name was thrown off as soon as the foreign masters had left. more..

Massive investment opportunities for foreign businessmen

Feb 4 (AN) Sri Lanka remains one of the most attractive destinations for investors in the Asia-Pacific region. The island’s strategic Indian Ocean location on major air and sea routes between Europe and the Far East gives it an advantage as a global logistics hub. more..

President appeals for unity among political forces to acheive lasting peace

Feb 4 (PSL) Sri Lanka’s 56th Independence Day commemoration was held this morning at the Independence square in Colombo. The President, the Prime Minister, members of the Government, the opposition and the Diplomatic corps were present at the ceremony. more..

President defends take over of Defence Ministry

Feb 4 (Sun) President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called for continued negotiations to break the political deadlock gripping the country. In her speech during the Independence Day celebrations, Kumaratunga said talks are the only way to resume the stalled peace process. more..

Ranil offers fresh proposals

Feb 4 (Hindu) Officials representing the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, today submitted a set of detailed proposals aimed at the "sharing of Defence powers." The proposals were part of the efforts to find a solution to end the island's three-month-long political standoff. more..

State tea bombshell

Feb 4 (DN) All government controlled tea institutions are to be privatised shortly, well informed sources told the Daily News yesterday. They include the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority, the Tea Research Institute (TRI) and the National Institute of Plantation Management. more..

Party funds not enough for general elections: CBK

Feb 4 (DM) Despite assurances of not dissolving Parliament President Chandrika Kumaratunga is yet to take a final decision and she has reportedly indicated she would wait for at least two months mainly due to lack of party funds to go for a general election, party sources said yesterday. more..

Tamils mourn Sri Lanka freedom day as president vows no more war

Feb 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's minority Tamils protested the island's independence anniversary by holding a day of mourning, as President Chandrika Kumaratunga vowed their would be no return to war. more..

No hint of snap poll in Chandrika's I-Day oration

Feb 4 (HT) There was no hint of snap parliamentary elections in Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Independence Day oration in Colombo on Wednesday. more..

President seeks talks, no hint of polls

Feb 4 (Reuters) President Chandrika Kumaratunga called for talks to end months of political deadlock on the island, but gave no hint that she planned snap elections. "I believe that all political forces should be united to find solutions to the serious problems of our nation," she said more..

TNA MPs boycott as Trinco celebrates independence

Feb 4 (TN) "When peace talks resume, I firmly believe that hopes of everyone yearning for a permanent end to conflict by reaching a just and enduring solution will be attained", said the North East Governor Major General Asoka Jayawardene addressing the country's fifty sixth Independence Day celebration held in Trincomalee more..

Lankan govt gesture to wards of refugees

Feb 4 (NT) Around 7,000 Sri Lankan Tamil children born in various refugee camps in Tamilnadu will get Sri Lankan citizenship as the island nation had relaxed norms for registration and also decided to do away with the citizenship fee for such children, Sumit Nakandala, Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in southern India, said today. more..

CID arrests another Lankan gang with illegal weapons

Feb 4 (AT) A reliable security source was quoted as saying personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have arrested another gang of Sri Lankans for allegedly possessing arms and ammunition, reports Al-Anba daily. more..

USAID official to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (IANS) USAID official Mark S. Ward will pay a four-day visit to Sri Lanka, the US embassy here announced. Ward, the highest-ranking USAID official covering South Asia, will visit the country from Feb 11 to 14, Xinhua reported. more..

Sri Lanka holds massive show of force

Feb 4 (AP) For the first time in six years, Sri Lanka on Wednesday celebrated independence day with a military parade of tanks and other heavy weaponry. Despite a faltering two-year cease-fire with the island's Tamil Tiger rebels, for whom the show of force might have been intended, President Kumaratunga stressed the need for peace. more..

Jaffna marks Lanka's 56th Independence Day as 'Black Day'

Feb 5 (UNI) Sri Lanka's war-ravaged Jaffna peninsula, the heartland of Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for autonomy, today marked the country's 56th anniversary of Independence as a 'Black Day'. more..

Sri Lanka offers trade potential ­ and red tape, too

Feb 5 (NBR) Sri Lanka offers increasing potential for Kiwi businesses and exporters but bureaucratic delays and cumbersome procedures can be frustrating, a senior trade official says. more..

Colombo airport closed after Russia cargo plane crash lands

Feb 5 (PTI) Sri Lanka's only international airport in Colombo was closed on Wednesday after a Russian cargo plane made an emergency landing blocking the runway, an airport official said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. more..

Quick Fix

Feb 5 (LBO) Succumbing to heavy lobbying from the leasing industry, the Finance Minister on Tuesday allowed certain bus owners to be exempted from paying 15 percent value added tax. Prior to January 1, all lease rentals in relation to public passenger transport buses (with 28 or more seats), were exempted from VAT. more..

Fresh Cuppa

Feb 5 (LBO) The Tea Association plans to re-haul criteria used to fund new Ceylon tea brands, when it takes over some of the Tea Board’s functions this month. Every year, the Tea Board doles out a quantum of money to exporters keen on establishing a brand and who meet the selected criteria. more..

Fasting farmer says threatened, troops look for flags

Feb 5 (TN) Mr. Sellakkili Anandaranjan, the Jaffna farmer who began a fast unto death protest Wednesday in Chavakachcheri alleged that some Policemen had threatened with death on Tuesday night. Meanwhile Sri Lanka army troops Wednesday afternoon searched houses on Kachchai Road in Chavakachcheri for lion flags that had been pulled down by unknown persons. more..

Troops assault, detain LTTE political workers

Feb 5 (TN) Two members of the LTTE's political division in Jaffna were severely assaulted and detained in a camp by Sri Lanka army troops in Tellipalai Thursday morning. more..

LTTE death penalty extends to parents of deserters

Feb 5 (SN) Imposing death penalty by the LTTE for desertion was reported in SinhalaNet on 2nd February 2004. They have now extended the penalty to parents of the deserters as well. On 27th January 2004, in Urelu North, Chunnakam in the Jaffna District, more..

LTTE publishes their version of Sri Lankan history

Feb 5 (SN) The LTTE has recently distributed two history books to students in Jaffna peninsula. These books have attempted to build proofs for a Tamil civilization in Sri Lanka distorting the historical facts. They have not forgotten to add “national flag” and “national anthem” of Tamil Eelam to these books. more..

Ranil against dissolution of parliament

Feb 5 (Gulf) The ruling United National Front (UNF) government is seeking an assurance from President Chandrika Kumaratunga not to dissolve Parliament for one year while extending government's support to ensure a "structured cohabitation" between the two sides. more..

New Areas of Saudi-Sri Lanka Cooperation Identified

Feb 5 (AN) Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka are identifying new areas of cooperation, said Sri Lankan Ambassador Ibrahim Sahib Ansar. He was speaking to an audience of Sri Lankans at the 56th Independence Day celebrations at the embassy yesterday. more..

Muslims seek jobs in Lankan police

Feb 5 (Dawn) The Council of Muslims, a body with a base in eastern Sri Lanka, has urged the President and the Prime Minister to immediately recruit 2000 Muslims from the East to the police force on an "urgent and priority" basis in order to provide security to the Muslims, and put a stop to the ethnic cleansing process carried out by the LTTE. more..