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Boycott looms as Zimbabwe prepare for Sri Lanka test

May 4 (Reuters) Zimbabwe will be forced into fielding an inexperienced team in this week's first test against Sri Lanka if their cricket board does not agree to arbitration with 15 experienced rebel players on Tuesday. more..

President’s call for peace talks fuels tensions in government ranks

May 4 (WSWS) President Chandrika Kumaratunga took the first tentative steps towards reviving stalled peace talks with the LTTE last week by formally inviting the Norwegian government to resume its mediating role. more..

Vindication of truth: The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

May 4 (Hindu) AT LONG last, we have an authentic and interesting narration of the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, that rocked the country in May 1991, and that too from the horse's mouth — the head of the CBI's Special Investigation Team — D.R. Kaarthikeyan and his colleague Radhavinod Raju. more..

World-Wide Protests Over "Buddha-Bikini"

May 4 (NW) The use of the revered image of Lord Buddha for marketing purposes has been catching up, particularly in the Western world, with the latest being a bikini bearing the image of Buddha sold under the famous Victoria's Secret catalogue earning the wrath of the Buddhist world. more..

Britisher Held for Child abuse

May 4 (NW) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) made a significant breakthrough by securing the conviction of a 65-year-old British National through the Wood Green Court in England for sexually abusing Sri Lankan children, a NCPA spokeswoman said. more..

PM’s office open to public

May 4 (TN) The Parliamentary complex and the Prime Minister’s official residence Temple Trees will be open to the public during the Wesak season, the Daily Mirror reported. These decisions were made by new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and new Speaker W J M Lokubandara in a rare gesture. more..

Vesak Day messages

May 4 (DN) Most sacred day for all Buddhists - Malwatta Mahanayaka Thera
Most Ven. Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi Mahanayaka Thera of the Malwatta Chapter said there is no other day more sacred to the Buddhists the world over than Vesak Full Moon Poya Day which marks the birth, enlightenment and the passing away (Parinibbana) of the Buddha. more..

Buddhist monks seek Indian role in Sri Lanka

May 4 (PTI) Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy today asked the government to involve India in the island's peace process while calling for the expulsion of Norwegian facilitators. Accusing Norway of bias towards Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the all clergy National Heritage Party said they were against Oslo's mediation. more..

Weather and gods calm wasps at Sigiriya

May 4 (AFP) Venomous wasps which attacked tourists at a Sri Lankan rock fortress have calmed down after offerings to deities and improved weather, officials said, amid plans to reopen the World Heritage site. more..

Sri Lanka frees 2,000 prisoners on Buddhist anniversary

May 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka has freed some 2,000 prisoners, including 269 jailed for trying to travel illegally to Italy, under a presidential amnesty to mark a Buddhist festival, prisons chief Rumy Marzook said. more..

Sri Lanka Muslims press for separate team at peace talks

May 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Muslim minority community has told Norwegian peace brokers they wanted their own delegation at future talks between the Colombo government and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Norways pushes for peace talks, despite protests

May 4 (NW) Despite protests by the Jathika Hela Urumaya and other parties regarding Oslo's role, a Norwegian envoy yesterday pushed ahead with peace efforts by holding talks with the LTTE, a day after meeting President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Sri Lanka gives peace another chance

May 4 (AT) Sri Lanka has begun a brand new chapter in the resolution of its 21-year-old civil war by inviting Norway back to broker a peace accord with the LTTE, even as Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar warned that Oslo was being asked to return under "seriously redefined parameters, [which] included a much shorter leash". more..

LTTE ready for talks any time, any where

May 4 (HT) The government has been officially told about the LTTE's readiness to commence peace talks without any preconditions at any time convenient to the government. The Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim, Ambassador Hans Brattskar and Lisa Golden, conveyed this to the Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar here on Tuesday. more..

Norway minister to visit Sri Lanka on peace talks

May 4 (Reuters) Norway's foreign minister will visit Sri Lanka next week to try to revive stalled peace talks between Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels, Oslo said on Tuesday. Jan Petersen will hold separate meetings with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran during the May 10-11 visit, more..

Tamil media Alliance slams raid on journalist's home

May 5 (TN) The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) said Tuesday it strongly condemns the Police raid on journalist Sivaram Dharmeratnam’s home in Colombo on World Press Freedom Day. more..

SLN bans carrying camera equipment to Jaffna islets

May 5 (TN) The Sri Lanka Navy has totally banned the transport of video cameras and other photographic equipment to the islets in the Jaffna peninsula from the Jaffna mainland. This ban has come into effect from Monday as a "security measure," SLN sources said. more..

Expelled Sri Lankan teenager escapes to Hong Kong

May 5 (NZH) A 16-year-old Sri Lankan expelled from New Zealand to her homeland has fled to Hong Kong rather than be forced to testify against a sexually abusive uncle. She is staying with her mother, who has worked in Hong Kong as a domestic servant for more than eight years, but she has only a one-month visitor's visa as she is too young to be allowed to work there herself. more..

Mysterious 109th voter was an SLMCer?

May 5 (IL) Amidst ‘very strong rumours’ that the 109th voter who voted in favour of the Government candidate for the Speaker post on the 22nd of April was a SLMC Parliamentarian, the SLMC Secretary General Hasan Ali yesterday denied these rumours saying that his party had taken a collective agreement to vote in favour of W.J.M. Lokubandara of the Opposition UNP. more..

Motorbike hijacked, complains the owner

May 5 (SLA) A motor bicycle belonging to a civilian has been hijacked by an unidentified armed person from the general area of ALLIMULLA junction in AKKARAIPATTU on 04 May 2004 around 1.00 p.m., states a complaint made at the SAMMANTURAI Police station. more..

Foreign NGOs’ projects in NE do not benefit people – Thooyavan

May 5 (TN) “Many foreign NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] are claiming in international forums that they are engaged in development work in the North-East, but the reality on the ground is that no development of benefit to the people has been completed,” said Mr. S. K. Thooyavan, more..

Norwegians brief Government after Killinochchi visit

May 5 (PSL) The Norwegian delegation comprising Erik Solheim, Ambassador Han Brattskar and Lisa Golden briefed Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on 3rd May on their return from Killinochchi where they had conveyed to the LTTE the results of their consultation with the President. more..

China’s gift – National Arts Centre

May 5 (LT) Chinese Government has expressed its willingness to speed up the construction work of the National Arts Centre that is being built in Sri Lanka. The National Arts Centre that is being built with the mediation of Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chinese Government is being completely funded by the Chinese Government. more..

Today's Vesak Day - for some devotees

May 5 (ST) DEVOTEES at the Sri Lankaramaya Buddhist Temple are celebrating Vesak Day today - although the public holiday falls on June 2 - and this 7.6m-tall revolving lantern will be a highlight. more..

SriLankan earmarks Dubai route for increase in frequency

May 5 (AME) SriLankan Airlines has set its sights on double daily Dubai services to complement a growing Middle East and Gulf network. Barry Brown, the carrier's regional manager said: 'Without doubt, Dubai is the most progressive tourism draw-card on any airline's Middle East network, and as the city continues to expand, it is our intention to grow right alongside her. more..

Rights groups demand government explain raid on journalist’s home

May 5 (AFP) Local and international media rights groups demanded an explanation from the government on Wednesday for a police raid on a ethnic Tamil journalist’s home. An association of minority Tamil journalists and the Paris-based RSF, or reporters without borders, also expressed fears for the life of journalist Sivaram Dharmeratnam, more..

Norwegian peace broker says ‘many difficulties’ expected in peace talks

May 5 (AP) Sri Lanka’s new hardline government and Tamil Tiger rebels will likely run into many difficulties once they resume stalled peace talks to end the island’s 20-year civil war, a top Norwegian peace broker said ahead of his departure on Wednesday. more..

Revival of peace talks progressing

May 5 (AT) The revival of the stalled Peace Talks is on course and progressing. The latest development in the bid to revive the peace process is the scheduled visit of Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Peterson who is expected to visit Sri Lanka at the weekend to help revive the stalled peace process. more..

Rauff Hackeem's Appeal - "A Voice in the Wilderness"

May 5 (AT) Rauff Hakeem the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress wanted the participation of separate Muslims representation in the peace negotiations expected to take place between the Government of Sri Lanka and LTTE. more..

We expect to re-create CTB - Transport Deputy Minister

May 5 (DN) The masses in this country have placed a great responsibility in our hands and it is the bounden duty of the UPFA to fulfil the needs of the masses and usher in an era of peace and prosperity, said Maheepala Herath, Kegalle District Parliamentarian and the Deputy Minister of Transport, more..

Heavy Rains Lashes Sri Lanka

May 5 (NW) The Meterological Department yesterday ruled out any possibility of floods as torrential rains lashed many parts of the country leaving many roads and large tracts of land under water. more..

Sri Lanka In Line for US Aid

May 5 (NW) Sri Lanka is among a list of 17 countries likely to qualify for US aid under a new Government program that provides cash in exchange for reforms. US President George W. Bush is expected to announce the countries that qualify next week, more..

22,000 Sri Lankans Die due to Smoking

May 5 (NW) Research done in Sri Lanka has revealed that 50% of heart diseases and 40% of cancers are caused by tobacco consumption. "A high percentage of strokes, chronic obstruction pulmonary diseases and 80% of lung diseases are also due to the use of tobacco. more..

Arjuna Ranatunge Deputy Tourism Minister

May 5 (NW) The dispute between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and World Cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga has been sorted out and he will take oaths tomorrow as Deputy Minister of Tourism, Industries and Investment Promotion, government sources said yesterday. more..

Lankan oppn to back Chandrika on peace talks

May 5 (KT) The Norwegian facilitators have said resuming the stalled peace talks between the Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan government was likely to take some time which analysts attribute to the divergent positions held by coalition partners of the new administration. more..

No quick resumption of Sri Lanka talks - peace envoy

May 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels are eager to resume stalled peace talks but face-to-face negotiations are unlikely to take place soon and will be difficult, a Norwegian peace envoy said. more..

Norwegian peace envoy meets TNA delegation

May 5 (TN) "Peace talks between the UPFA government and the LTTE should be held on the basis of the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposal. The UPFA government should not use the opportunity of holding peace talks as a device to strengthen its position in the parliament and to obtain foreign aid," more..

Tamil Tigers, President, to Talk Peace

May 5 (Bloomberg) Tamil Tiger rebels said they are willing to talk peace with the island's new government, in a potential boost to the $18 billion economy. Investors such as Aberdeen Asset Management's Devan Kaloo say an agreement will be difficult to forge. more..

Chandrika faces major split in new alliance

May 5 (Gulf) President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday faced the tough choice of ceding to rebel Tamil Tiger (LTTE) demands to resume peace talks and thus face a major split in her newly formed Freedom Alliance (UPFA). more..

Norway battles to salvage Sri Lanka peace bid

May 5 (AFP) Norway is seeking to jump-start Sri Lanka's stalled peace talks, but faces a challenge to bridge a "gulf of confidence" between the new government and Tamil rebels, diplomats said. Norway's foreign minister Jan Petersen is to arrive here this weekend for talks more..

Zimbabwe rebels boycott first Sri Lanka test

May 5 (Reuters) Four Zimbabwe players including former captain Heath Streak have ruled themselves out of the first test against Sri Lanka by refusing to train on Wednesday. Quick bowler Streak, left arm spinner Ray Price, all rounder Sean Ervine and batsman Trevor Gripper, more..

India unlikely to raise involvement in Sri Lanka

May 5 (MO) India is unlikely to deviate from its policy towards Sri Lanka despite mounting demands from the new government here for a higher involvement of New Delhi, diplomatic sources said. more..

Questions about motion cloud Muralitharan's remarkable achievements

May 5 (IHT) That there are no certainties in sport is part of its appeal. Some things, though, are highly probable. It would be a considerable shock if Muttiah Muralitharan were not the highest wicket-taker in test cricket's 127-year history by the end of the series of two five-day tests against Zimbabwe, more..

Solheim briefs Ranil

May 5 (TN) Mr. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian peace envoy, Wednesday met with Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, and briefed him on the outcome of the talks he has had with the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, LTTE, SLMC and the TNA since he arrived in Colombo Saturday, more..

Sri Lanka all set to kick-start peace process

May 6 (UNI) The stalled peace process of Sri Lanka is all set to resume with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, his deputy Vidar Helgesen and LTTE's chief negotiator Anton Balasingham scheduled to arrive in the island nation later this week. more..

Sri Lanka tea continue to woo the world

May 6 (IL) The new Ceylon Tea Promotion Unit of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Tokyo, launched its advertising and promotional program at FOODEX 2004 in Tokyo, Japan last month represented by twelve tea exporting companies. The momentum continued with the Tea Board Office in Tokyo participating in Shanghai in March at the Sial China Fair. more..

UK investors assures that they are ready to invest in Sri Lanka

May 6 (IL) Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman, Lalith de Mel, early this week met Directors of two of UNited Kingdom's biggest Investment Fund companies. Lord Cairns and other senior Directors of Actis have assured de Mel that if appropriate investment opportunities are available, they are willing to invest in large projects in Sri Lanka. more..

Solheim optimistic about resumption of peace process

May 6 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE have both "clearly stated their commitment" to the two-year-old ceasefire agreement, the Norwegian Government's Special Adviser to the island-nation's peace process, Erik Solheim, said here on Tuesday. more..

Segev tried to sell arms to Sri Lanka

May 6 (HD) Former minister Gonen Segev allegedly approached the Sri Lankan army and offered to provide it with Israeli weapon systems at a cheaper rate than they were paying, the Defense Ministry confirmed on Thursday. more..

Net closing on hiding Sri Lankans

May 6 (BBC) Police hunting two men due to face charges connected with the death of a Northants teacher told a court they are near to uncovering their hiding places. Ratnam Yogan is accused of causing the death of Deborah Peaty and her unborn baby by dangerous driving in October. more..