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Mar 6 (LBO) The SAARC countries met last week for the first round of trade talks to take the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) forward. The meetings in Nepal resulted in a ‘road map’ for future trade talks before SAFTA trade liberalisations begin in 2006. more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Mar 6 (SLA) One thousand five hundred and ninety (1590) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 27 February 2004 and 04 March 2004. more..

Eastern LTTE cadres check for infiltrators

Mar 6 (SLA) LTTE cadres in the general area of SITTANDY, about 24 km northwest of BATTICALOA town were seen conducting checkings on 04 March 2004, on the buses that ply along the roads in search of any possible WANNI LTTE infiltrators in to the area. more..

More and more Indian poachers in Sri Lankan water

Mar 6 (SLA) Naval troops on duty in general sea areas of KANKASANTHURAI north and northeast of DELFT ISLAND in the JAFFNA PENINSULA continue to sight Indian trawlers poaching inside Sri Lankan waters. more..

UNICEF provides school building for Nochchikulam students

Mar 6 (TN) About fifty students of resettled families in Nochchikulam village in the Morawewa division in the Trincomalee district Thursday moved into a new building, which has been constructed with the funds provided by the UNICEF. more..

Sri Lanka’s Mahanama appointed ICC match referee

Mar 6 (AFP) Former Sri Lankan opening batsman Roshan Mahanama has been appointed an International Cricket Council match referee, the cricket board said Friday. Mahanama began his playing career for Sri Lanka in March 1986 against Pakistan and went on to play 52 Test matches and 213 limited-over international matches. more..

Sri Lankan School holds athletics meet

Mar 6 (TOO) The Sri Lankan School-Muscat has held its annual inter-house athletics meet at the ROP grounds in Wattayah. A large number of parents and well-wishers attended the function. Said bin Mohesin, director of community schools, was the chief guest and Dr Nasz Haniffa, Sri Lankan ambassador to the Sultanate, was the guest of honour. more..

Factional war fears rise as Sri Lanka rejects deal with renegades

Mar 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka's fragile peace process faltered with fears the country could slide back into civil war after the government rejected a breakaway Tamil Tiger commander's request for a defence pact and separate truce. more..

Sri Lanka to host Asia Cup in July

Mar 6 (Reuters) Six nations will participate in the Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka from July 15 to August 1, cricket officials said on Saturday. Nepal and another country to be named later would join the four test-playing nations of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the tournament. more..

Time running out for Lee

Mar 6 (CI) Brett Lee may be losing his race to be fit in time for the opening Test against Sri Lanka, which starts on Monday. Lee, who injured his left ankle during Australia's practice match against a Sri Lanka Board President's XI, sat out training on Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka v Australia - Preview

Mar 6 (Sky) The Australian selectors face dilemmas in every department of the team for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, which starts on Monday. After winning the one-day international series 4-1 and showing fine form in the warm-up games, skipper Ricky Ponting has admitted he will be forced to omit three players who merit a place in the team. more..

Don’t waste money on posters – DIG Elections

Mar 6 (SN) DIG Elections, Mr Navaratne Bandara asked party secretaries today in the evening not to waste money on posters since the Police Election Secretariat has decided to remove all election posters in the country. Election Commissioner has allocated Rs 8 million for this purpose. more..

Take over state media by Election Commissioner – Hela Urumaya

Mar 6 (SN) Mr Udaya P Gammanpila, Deputy Secretary of Jatika Hela Urumaya urged election commissioner yesterday to take over state media and to appoint a Competent Authority. He made this request at weekly party secretaries meeting at Election Secretariat. more..

Truce monitors show their duplicity

Mar 6 (SN) SLMM has come forward to patch the split in the LTTE leadership claiming it is essential for survival of the so called peace process. When there was in fights in the South in November 2003, the SLMM and Norway blamed the president for disturbing the peace process. more..

Wayamba PC Polls on 24th April

Mar 6 (SN) Election Commissioner announced today that provincial council elections for Wayamba Province will be held on 24th April. 13 parties and seven independent groups contest this election. more..

Special ballot paper for Jaffna

Mar 6 (SN) Mr Dayananda Dissanayake, Election Commissioner informed party secretaries today that he had arranged to print the ballot paper for Jaffna electoral district in that district itself because of logistical difficulties. Printing ballot papers will be assigned to a local printer by the Returning Officer for Jaffna. more..

Crisis in Tiger territory deepens

Mar 6 (Gulf) The crisis within the Tamil guerrilla movement over one of their top commanders showing dissent towards some of the senior guerrilla members deepened further yesterday. more..

Karuna-Prabha crisis would reduce TNA votes

Mar 6 (LT) The seats TNA would get from the North and the East at the forthcoming General Election would be greatly reduced as a result of the rift between Velupillai Prabhakaran and Karuna say political analysts. more..

Perpetuation of CBK's political life - only reason for elections: GL

Mar 6 (DM) Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy, Investment Promotion and Constitutional Affairs said that the SLFP should be reminded of the era when their own MPs were under death threats from the JVP. more..

Sri Pada poised to become World Heritage Site

Mar 6 (DN) The Peak Wilderness Protected Area (Sri Pada) is poised to become a World Heritage site to be declared by UNESCO. Recommendations in support of the declaration have already been submitted to the UNESCO headquarters. The Peak Wilderness area covering 22373 hectares was declared a protected area on October 25, 1940. more..

LTTE dubs rebel leader Col Karuna a 'traitor'

Mar 6 (HT) The LTTE on Friday dubbed Col Karuna, the rebellious special commander of the eastern district of Batticaloa-Amparai (BA), a "traitor" and discharged him from the organisation. Karuna's deputy, Ramesh, has been appointed in his place. more..

Renegade rebels retreat to jungles after sacking: military officials

Mar 6 (AFP) Thousands of renegade Tiger rebels have withdrawn to their jungle bases in eastern Sri Lanka raising fears of a showdown over the sacking of their regional commander, military sources said. more..

Tiger Rebels Expel Renegade Leader

Mar 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers expelled a renegade leader on Saturday, but said their command structure was in place and the internal crisis would not threaten the island's two-year-old peace process. more..

Tamil Tiger police, courts in disarray after split

Mar 6 (AFP) A parallel administration run by Tamil Tiger rebels in eastern Sri Lanka was in disarray following a split in the guerrilla leadership, residents said on Saturday. Police and courts run by the LTTE were closed in the district of Batticaloa where the regional commander led a breakaway faction challenging the authority of Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Won't give up command despite dismissal - Karuna

Mar 6 (AP) A powerful Tamil Tiger commander who split from the main rebel army refused Saturday to relinquish his command, one of his senior officers said, hours after guerrilla leaders announced that he had been dismissed and replaced by his deputy. more..

Karuna removed from the LTTE

Mar 6 (TN) Liberation Tigers announced today that their Batticaloa-Amparai district commander Karuna has been discharged from the LTTE and has been relieved of official responsibilities. "The Tamil Eelam National leadership has appointed Mr. T. Ramesh as special commander, more..

Jaffna Bishop urges Tamils to cast their votes without fail

Mar 7 (TN) The Jaffna Bishop Rt.Rev. Thomas Soundaranayagam Saturday appealed to Tamil people to exercise their franchise without fail to clearly express their desire for permanent peace. "Several Tamil political parties are contesting the forthcoming general election under one wing and it will signify a landmark event to the future of Tamils," more..

PMG urged re-open Point Pedro post office

Mar 7 (TN) Jaffna District Superintendent of Post Offices Mr.S.Sivarajasingham appealed to the Post Master General to take steps to relocate the Point Pedro General Post Office in its own building located in the high security zone. The Sri Lanka Army is occupying the post office buildings, sources said. more..

Water Cutting festival held in Trincomalee

Mar 7 (TN) The special Water Cutting festival which happens once every twelve years (Maha Maham Theertham), took place in Trincomalee Back Bay Sea Saturday morning in the presence of chief deities of about twenty Hindu temples in Trincomalee. more..

USAID Director visits Trincomalee

Mar 7 (TN) Mr.David Taylor, Director, Office of Transition Initiatives Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance of the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) based in Washington paid a one-day official visit to Trincomalee Saturday. more..

Lanka ready with spin web for Aus

Mar 7 (AP) Sri Lanka will enter its first Test against Australia at the southern city of Galle on Monday strengthened by some reassuring statistics. Since Galle International Stadium became a Test arena in 1997, Sri Lanka has won seven of the nine Test matches played here. more..

Setting the stage for war

Mar 7 (SL) With it becoming increasingly clear the outcome of the April 2 general election will be a hung parliament and greater instability in the country, first signs of a possible return to war were also emerging from the Wanni amidst reports preparatory work was already underway. more..

Confessions of Vijaya's killer

Mar 7 (SL) One hundred and forty one closely typewritten pages of the confession of the man who gunned down Vijaya Kumaratunga, today serves as a spine chilling reminder that the JVP 16 years ago, meticulously planned and executed the assassination of Sri Lanka's best loved political leader. more..

Tea trade concerned about workers being used for election campaigns

Mar 7 (SO) There is widespread fear among the Colombo tea trade that plantation workers will be used for political campaigns, leading to absenteeism and a consequent drop in tea prices, which the industry, hit by escalating losses, could ill-afford. more..

LTTE urges support for TNA in Pt.Pedro election rally

Mar 7 (TN) "The national leader of the LTTE Mr.V.Pirapaharan fully supports the TNA in the forthcoming general elections. We appeal to Tamil voters to vote for the TNA for its policy. We will not ask voters to cast their votes for particular individual candidates in the TNA lists," more..

"Will handle the problem in Batticaloa with caution"- Ramesh

Mar 7 (TN) "Our leader has given us strict instructions that no harm should befall our people and our fighters in the Batticaloa- Amparai district in dealing with Karuna’s problem. We have devised plans to do this very carefully and with great caution. We have already started to implement these plans. more..

Karikalan condemns Karuna as Pol Pot

Mar 7 (TN) "Karuna will be seen as a Pol Pot if he continues to act irresponsibly towards our people", said Mr. Sivagnanam Karikalan, one of the senior leaders in the East to arrive in Kilinochchi Sunday morning for discussions with his leadership about the situation in Batticaloa. Mr. Karikalan is a close confidante of Mr. Karuna, more..

Sri Lanka offers new challenge

Mar 7 (BBC) There are two inescapable facts about playing cricket in Sri Lanka. Firstly, the conditions are oppressive - very, very hot and very, very humid. The second is that the majority of the play revolves around spin bowling on dry, dusty, turning pitches. more..

Sri Lanka to play just one seam bowler in first test

Mar 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will play one fast bowler and pack their bowling attack with spinners on a sun-baked Galle pitch for the first test against Australia starting on Monday. The groundsman has prepared a grassless, biscuit-dry surface for the first of three tests that is expected to offer extravagant turn from the start. more..

Effigies of Prabhakaran & Ramesh burnt

Mar 7 (LT) About 3000 people marched from Valachchena along the Batticaloa road to Chenkaladi burning effigies and photographs of Prabhakaran, the tiger supremo and Ramesh, the leader appointed to Eastern Province by the tiger organization after removing Karuna from that post and later held a massive agitation. more..

Dyson backs his men to beat Australia

Mar 7 (CI) John Dyson, Sri Lanka's coach, has reasserted his pre-series belief that Sri Lanka can beat Australia if they play to their potential. "That view still hasn't changed," Dyson said. "Australia are the world champions and they are a very good team. But if we play to our potential we've got every chance of beating them. more..

Kumaratunga: Sri Lanka's daughter of destiny, mother of destruction

Mar 7 (AFP) Described as both the "daughter of destiny" and "mother of destruction," Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's rule has been marked by contradictions as she battled to keep a grip on the country. more..

Tamil rebels liken renegade to Pol Pot

Mar 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, facing an unprecedented internal struggle that threatens the island's fragile peace process, went on the offensive, likening a renegade commander to Cambodia's Pol Pot on Sunday. more..

Karuna says attacks planned against him

Mar 7 (AP) A powerful renegade rebel commander Sunday accused the Tamil Tigers' top leadership of dispatching "killer squads" to attack him and has ordered his forces on alert while local newspapers warned Sri Lanka may return to civil war. more..

Sri Lanka on red alert as Tigers, troops brace for factional war

Mar 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops are bracing for fighting between Tamil factions, a military official said, as breakaway rebels claimed their leader was being targeted by death squads and vowed to hit back. more..

Karuna’s supporters protest in Valaichenai

Mar 7 (TN) Supporters of the renegade LTTE commander, Karuna, Sunday held a protest in Valaichenai, 32 kilometres north of Batticaloa, amidst reports that more troops and military officers who were under his overall command were co-ordinating their operations in the east with Mr. T. Ramesh, the new commander for the Batticaloa-Amparai district. more..

Lankans serve up mini Sahara

Mar 7 (HS) SHANE Warne and Stuart MacGill were set for a double act and Andrew Symonds for his Test debut as Australia reacted to a shamelessly doctored Test wicket last night. Test captain Ricky Ponting last night expressed his bewilderment at Sri Lanka's modest offering for his first Test as national captain in Galle today. more..

Buddhist monk pulls out of race

Mar 7 (TP) A Buddhist monk contestant at the April 2 parliamentary poll has pulled out of the race but not given reasons for his withdrawal. Dr Veralugastenne Rahula, a Jathika Hela Urumaya candidate for the central Matale district, sent a letter to election officials on Friday withdrawing his candidature but did not say why. more..

Fowzie’s home attacked

Mar 7 (TP) Political goons attacked the residence and some supporters of senior opposition politician A H M Fowzie at his Bambalapitiya residence in the heart of Colombo on Thursday night. The former minister was having a discussion with his party supporters at the time when the attacking group who came in three trishaws and a van stormed the house but caused minor damage. more..

SLMC candidates under threat from SLFP-JVP alliance candidates

Mar 7 (NW) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem has intimated the need for extra security for his party candidates mainly in the Digamadulla District due to fear from the United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA) Muslim candidates contesting from the district. more..