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Return of the tourists: Boom time ahead?

Mar 31 (SAMN) To get to the reality behind the hype around speculation about an impending tourist boom, the most recent edition of BENCHMARK focussed on tourist arrivals for January and February this year, which are up some 40-plus per cent over last year, with hotels reporting high occupancy rates. more..

Rice mills to be modernised

Mar 31 (DN) The Institute of Post Harvest Technology (IPHT) has made arrangements to modernise rice mills countrywide to encourage rice mill owners to upgrade the quality of the rice they produce to meet the quality in international markets. Under this programme, IPHT has made arrangements to modernise rice mills in several major rice producing districts more..

Recruiters of child soldiers targeted for prosecution

Mar 31 (IPS) The United Nations and international human rights organisations have long campaigned against recruiters of child soldiers, urging their prosecution as war criminals. But the first break came only last week when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague decided to arrest Thomas Lubanga, more..

India to advocate Sri Lanka 'consensus' to Ranil

Mar 31 (IANS) India will urge Sri Lankan opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to work for a 'southern consensus' to give a push to the island's peace process when he comes here Sunday to meet Indian leaders. The former prime minister, who heads the UNP, will arrive Sunday night on the invitation of the external affairs ministry and spend two days meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, more..

Tsunami survivors marry in Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (BDT) JUST over a year after escaping the devastating tsunami which killed more than 200,000 people, a Bridlington couple have returned to Sri Lanka to get married. And Sarah and Michael Josefsen said the local people whose lives were ruined by the disaster pulled out all the stops to make sure their big day was perfect. more..

Indo-Pak peace process slow: Pervez

Mar 31 (HT) On the eve of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to Islamabad, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said that a country's armed forces could not be expected to solve political conflicts. They could only help political leaderships "buy time" to settle conflicts, he added. more..

Sri Lankan president arrives in Pakistan to discuss trade, defense ties

Mar 31 (AP) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse arrived Friday for a three-day official visit to Pakistan, hoping to cement better trade and defense ties, officials said. Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz welcomed Rajapakse at an airbase near the capital, Islamabad, where the Sri Lankan leader inspected a guard of honor. more..

Monks, Marxists routed in Sri Lanka local polls

Mar 31 (AFP) Marxists and the main party of Buddhist monks, who both oppose Norwegian-backed peace moves, were routed as the president's party headed for a landslide victory in local council elections. Official results Friday showed that President Mahinda Rajapakse's People's Alliance had won 205 out of the 247 councils declared so far after Thursday's local government election for 266 councils. more..

President stronger as party wins local vote

Mar 31 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapakse's government took a strong lead in local poll results on Friday, boosting his position despite gains by his hardline Marxist allies ahead of key talks with Tamil Tiger rebels. Rajapakse's UPFA won control of 145 of the first 165 councils announced, and while his Marxist JVP coalition partners -- running independently -- boosted their share of the vote, they won less than some expected. more..