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Sri Lanka Feb tourist arrivals up 23 pct

Mar 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 23 percent in February to 39,081 visitors comapred with the same period in 2002, Sri Lanka's Tourist Board said on Wednesday. A Ceylon Tourist Board official said the largest number of visitors came from Britain, followed by India and Germany. more..

Commonwealth Secretariat delegation visits Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (TN) A four-member delegation of the Commonwealth Secretariat (CS) is now on a visit to Sri Lanka from March 16 to March 29 for discussions with representatives of local, national and international level non-governmental organizations and government agencies to promote the peace process. more..

Stocks close up as John Keells gains

Mar 26 (Reuters) Stocks rose on Wednesday led by gains in John Keells Holdings Ltd , but brokers said many investors were wary of investing due to uncertainty over the war in Iraq. The key Colombo all-share index finished up 0.89 percent, or 6.36 points, at 718.97 points. more..

Farmers’ protest brings civil admin to standstill in Mannar

Mar 26 (TN) More than 1500 farmers in Mannar demanding fair prices for their rice harvest and the removal of Sri Lankan armed forces units which continue to occupy fields and buildings in the region blockaded the District Secretariat Wednesday and brought all government administration in the Northwestern island town to a standstill. more..

No Sharjah Cup in Colombo - Sri Lanka Cricket Board

Mar 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka has been ruled out as a possible venue for the troubled Sharjah Cup cricket tournament due to be held in the United Arab Emirates, cricket officials said here. The Sharjah Cup involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa was to take place in Sharjah from April 1 to 8. more..

Lanka govt, monitors meet to discuss sea movements

Mar 26 (AP) Sri Lankan defence officials and European truce monitors held talks on Wednesday on how to avoid deadly sea battles between the government and Tamil rebels that could threaten their ceasefire agreement, officials said. more..

Sri Lankan SC verdicit on right to vote

Mar 27 (Hindu) In what is termed as a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the right to vote cannot be compromised in the name of security and ruled that preventing those living in areas under the control of the LTTE from voting in polling stations located in Government-held territory during the 2001 Parliamentary elections was an infringement of fundamental rights. more..

Sinhala Chat

Mar 27 (LBO) The next release of Microsoft Windows will include Sinhala text support, a Council For Information Technology (CINTEC)committee is working on the details to get there. more..

Billionaires Club

Mar 27 (LBO) State-run People’s Bank hopes to transfer about Rs. 9 bn of its hard-core large non-performing loans to the upcoming asset management company. The bank managed to bring down its old bad loan portfolio by 9 percent to Rs. 23,105 mn in 2002. more..

Workers in Colombo walk out against privatisation

Mar 27 (TN) Hundreds of workers in state run banks and major public enterprises walked out of their offices in Colombo Wednesday to protest against plans by the UNF government to privatise their institutions. The protesting workers also demanded better wages. more..

Muslim MPs meet Norwegian envoy

Mar 27 (TN) A delegation of Muslim parliamentarians met Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Jon Westborg, at the Norwegian embassy on Wednesday and requested that Muslims of the North-East be allowed to have separate representation in the peace talks currently being conducted between the Government and the LTTE, more..

CAET appeals to PM in support of volunteer teachers

Mar 27 (TN) The Council for Advancement of Education of Tamils (CAET) which has its headquarters at Paravipanchan in Killinochchi Thursday appealed to the Prime Minister to take meaningful action to give permanent appointment to the volunteer teachers who are carrying out a protest supported by teachers from many districts of Northeast. more..

SLRC provides assistance to Trinco displaced eye patients

Mar 27 (TN) The Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) Wednesday launched a special project 'Sight Restoration and Vision Correction Programme-2003' with the financial assistance of the UNHCR to provide specialized treatment to the displaced people in Trincomalee district who suffer from eye diseases, sources said. more..

LTTE take away civilian’s three-wheeler

Mar 27 (SLA) A three-wheeler belonging to a Muslim civilian has been forcibly held by LTTE on 25 March 2003 around 7.00 p.m. from the general area of SAMPOOR, about 13 km. southeast of TRINCOMALEE. more..

Man with coded messages taken in for questioning

Mar 27 (SLA) A suspicious man loitering in close proximity to the gate at Naval DOCKYARD area in TRINCOMALEE has been taken in for questioning by Naval troops on duty at TRINCOMALEE HARBOUR on 26 March 2003 around 9.30 a.m. more..

Driver with empty ammunition cases arrested

Mar 27 (SLA) A suspicious man, who tried to enter into cleared areas with empty ammunition cases on 26 March 2003 around 12.00 noon, has been arrested by Police on duty at the entry/exit point at UIYLANKULAM. more..

Three Sri Lankan women cricketers missing in London

Mar 27 (AP) The captain and two other members of Sri Lanka's women's cricket team have gone missing during a stopover in London following a tour of the West Indies. Sudarshini Sivanathan, the captain of the 16-member squad and all-rounders Ramani Perera and Hiroshi Abeysinghe failed to board a Colombo-found flight in London. more..

Stocks up sharply as volumes surge

Mar 27 (Reuters) Stocks surged higher on Thursday in vastly improved activity, as institutions came back into the market ahead of the financial year-end on March 31. "My feeling is there is not genuine investment coming in. The year-end for most companies is March 31, so they want to push the market higher," said one broker. more..

Colombo's tea auction picks up due to high and medium growns

Mar 27 (DOI) Colombo's Tea Auction, picked up yesterday with the high and the medium grown teas selling around 3.3 million kilos following Tuesday's debacle where 1.4 million low grown teas were withdrawn due to lack of buyers largely attributable to the Iraq war. more..

Electricity for five villages in Lunugamvehera

Mar 27 (DOI) The Bogahawewa, Devramvehera electricity supply scheme set up at a cost of Rs.14.24 million by the World Vision Lanka (WVL), an NGO engaged in social welfare activities in Sri Lanka will open on April 3 at 4.00 p.m. more..

Overstaying Sri Lankans to return to country

Mar 27 (DOI) The Kuwaiti Government has decided to permit over 20,000 Sri Lankans whose visas have expired to leave the country without facing any action. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told reporters on Tuesday that the Kuwaiti Government has decided not to file any action on these employees due to the war situation in Iraq. more..

More facilities for internally displaced families

Mar 27 (DOI) The Ministry of Vanni Rehabilitation has undertaken measures to provide basic facilities including small-scale self employment and income generating projects to uplift the living standard of the internally displaced families this year. more..

LSSP declares solidarity with people of Iraq

Mar 27 (Island) Batty Weerkoon, General Secretary, LSSP on Tuesday declared its solidarity with the people of Iraq in their struggle to defeat the US-British attack. The LSSP said that the party supports their struggle to defeat the aggressors and invaders and drive them away out of Iraq. more..

Govt. blamed for killing of army informants by LTTE

Mar 27 (DM) Media spokesman of the SLFP Mangala Samaraweera in a statement issued has expressed the party's strong concern over the failure of the UNF government to stop the killing of informants in the intelligence unit of the army by the LTTE under cover of the ceasefire. more..

PA and JVP dumb founded by verdicts, says UNP

Mar 27 (DN) The People's Alliance and the JVP has been dumbstruck by the recent verdicts of the Supreme Court that the probationary government they formed in 2001 took actions that violated the democratic rights of the people, the UNP said yesterday. more..

Story of sunk Chinese trawler survivors believable: SLMM

Mar 27 (PN) The SLMM has said the evidence supplied by survivors of a Chinese fishing trawler is credible, the official Daily News said on Thursday. The SLMM will give a ruling on the sinking of a Chinese fishingtrawler off Mullaitivu in the north of the country by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

HIV/AIDS prevention project launched

Mar 27 (PRIU) Health Ministry today launched the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project. The World Bank funding for the project is 12.6M US Dollars. The primary objective of the project is to limit the spread of HIV infection in Sri Lanka among its highly vulnerable sub-populations and the population at large, without stigmatizing those engaged in high-risk behaviour. more..

Buddhist monk hacked roommate to death, court told

Mar 27 (BNN) A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk hacked a fellow countryman to death with a meat cleaver and then dumped his body in a suitcase outside a railway station, a court heard today. Nalaka Thero Rathmalane, 36, had an argument with Siriwimala Thero Patapiliyagoda, 30, in a staff bedroom in the Audleys Wood Hotel in Basingstoke, Hants on December 20, 2001, Winchester Crown Court heard. more..

Sri Lanka awaits re-confirmation of Sharjah tournament

Mar 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka was awaiting re-confirmation of the troubled Sharjah Cup cricket tournament due to be held in the United Arab Emirates, cricket officials here said. Sri Lanka was hoping that the tournament could go ahead and had informally received confirmation from the other participating nations that the series was on, more..

Police quibble over spent ordnance

Mar 27 (TN) The Police Thursday produced in the district court of Mannar a person arrested allegedly for transporting empty casings of artillery shells. Police told court that they had found six empty casings, each two feet long, in a lorry bringing scrap metal from the Vanni at the Uyilankulam entry point in Mannar. more..

Court orders arrest of key suspect in Nimalarajan murder

Mar 28 (TN) The Jaffna Magistrate Mr.R.T.Viknarajah Thursday afternoon ordered the Police to arrest and produce a key suspect Napoleon in court in connection with the murder of journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. more..

LTTE, Muslim parley on key issue

Mar 28 (TN) “Muslims enjoy the same rights as Tamils in areas under our control. There is no need for them to ask us for their fields because we did not take any. They could not cultivate their lands because of the war. Now they are free to come here and engage in agriculture”, said Mr. T. Ramesh, more..

A-9 can be used by forces say monitors

Mar 28 (Island) Truce monitors yesterday said that the government should take advantage of a ceasefire agreement reached in February last year to use the Jaffna-Kandy A9 road for the transport of off-duty police and service personnel. "We don’t see any problem in working out the required modalities," Teitur Torkelsson told more..

Sachin, Sourav, Jayasuriya set to sizzle in charity match

Mar 28 (UNI) World Cup runners-up, India and Cup semi-finalists Sri Lanka will lock horns in a charity cricket match organised by the Lata Mangeshkar Medical Foundation in aid of the Pune-based 'Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital' on Saturday in Mumbai. more..

Army infiltrated Wanni during Balasingham's stay: Media Report

Mar 28 (UNI) A hit squad of the Sri Lankan Army's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRPs) was allegedly well into the rebel-held areas in the Wanni at a time of the chief negotiator of the peace talks Anton Balasingham's visit early this month for consultation with its elusive leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, according to media reports. more..

Jungle Management

Mar 28 (LBO) The immaculate splendour of an exotic luxury resort carefully woven around the tranquil and wild beauty of the Deer Park Hotel, is being transformed into a Banyan Tree Group managed retreat. more..

New camps will damage peace process - JDCHA

Mar 28 (TN) The Jaffna District Consortium of Human Agencies (JDCHA) Thursday sought intervention of Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe to stop moves by the Sri Lanka Army to establish new army camps in Jaffna Municipal grounds, said sources in Jaffna. more..

Bullock carts and bulls held against ransom

Mar 28 (SLA) Six bullock carts and their bulls belonging to Muslim firewood cutters in the general area of MUTTUR have been robbed and held by four armed LTTE cadres on 26 March 2003, demanding a ransom of Rs 5,000 from each if they were to release their bullock carts and bulls. more..

LTTE plans a sea movement

Mar 28 (SLA) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) at TRINCOMALEE has been informed of an intended sea movement of about 300 LTTE cadres from KATHIIRAWELI to South of TRINCOMALEE in the future. The Navy has informed the SLMM of this future movement.

Protest in Colombo against the US war on Iraq

Mar 28 (wsws) More than 1,000 people rallied in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, on March 21 against the US-led invasion of Iraq. The demonstration, which included Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, began at the Colombo Town Hall after Muslim prayers and marched through the city to Maligakanda. more..

Stocks end flat, investors fear long war

Mar 28 (Reuters) Stocks closed virtually flat on Friday, with light activity in select stocks as investors remained worried that a long war in Iraq could hurt the domestic economy. The key Colombo all-share index ended up 0.01 points at 734.12. more..

Sri Lanka end-Jan foreign reserves up 0.9 pct

Mar 28 (Reuters) The Central Bank said the country's gross official foreign exchange reserves at the end of January stood at a provisional $1.72 billion, up 0.9 percent from $1.70 billion in December 2002. more..

World Bank pledges unconditional support to Lanka

Mar 28 (DOI) The World Bank has pledged unconditional support for Sri Lanka's Development Programmes. The Land Titling Programme of the Lands Ministry is also supported by the World Bank, Lands Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media yesterday. more..

Government assistance for tea sector

Mar 28 (DOI) The Government has offered a series of benefits to the tea industry following the crisis in the aftermath of the Iraqi war. They include storage space for tea stocks which do not move in the auctions and increase of the limit for packing credit from 90 days to 120 days. more..

GCE O/L results by first week of April

Mar 28 (DOI) The GCE ordinary level examination results will be released within the first week of April. Examinations Commissioner Mahinda Wijesiri said yesterday that a problem concerning the school based assessment reports sent by individual schools have caused a small delay otherwise the results could have been released by the end of this month. more..

Women cricketers are not 'missing'

Mar 28 (DN) Apropos the story on page one yesterday headlined " three women cricketers go missing ", Gwen Herat, President, Women's Cricket Association of Sri Lanka informs us that the three women cricketers have not defected or violated any immigration laws. more..

Tortured child in dog's chain

Mar 28 (DM) Orugodawatte was in a violent uproar yesterday after the horrifying discovery of a 13- year old girl being tied under a bed with a dog's chain and an alleged police cover-up of a businessman and his wife who had allegedly tortured the child. more..

Police fire tear gas to break up anti-war protest

Mar 28 (AFP) Police fired teargas at about 5,000 anti-war demonstrators who tried to march to the US embassy here Friday, officials said. Police broke up the march a short distance away from the tightly guarded US embassy building, a police official said. more..

SLMM say no conclusive evidence that Tamil rebels behind attack on Chinese boat

Mar 28 (AP) European truce monitors in Sri Lanka said Friday there was no conclusive evidence to show that Tamil Tiger rebels were behind a deadly attack on a Chinese fishing boat that killed 17 people. more..

PA-JVP said closer to formula for capturing power

Mar 29 (TN) Sri Lanka’s main opposition parties said Friday they were closer to striking a deal on forming an alliance to bring down Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government. The PA and the JVP had discussions on formulating the crucial clauses of a memorandum of understanding to cement the alliance at the President’s House in Colombo Friday. more..