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[Last Updated = Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 07:42 am SL Time]
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Sri Lanka accuses Canada of using Commonwealth funds as a political tool

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry said Tuesday that Canada's decision to use the voluntary funds to the Commonwealth as a political tool based on dictates of electoral compulsions was regrettable. Responding to the Canada's announcement that it will suspend the $10 million annual voluntary contribution to the Commonwealth for the next two years over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the current chair of the 53-member organization, Sri Lanka said it is not surprised by the Canadian Government's action.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Apr 17 (CP) New Delhi- India's Supreme Court on Friday will hear a writ petition for a probe by a Special Investigation Team into the alleged role of the Indian Army in the war in Sri Lanka. A petition has been filed in the apex court by Ram Sankar, an advocate and human rights activist saying that a probe was necessary

Apr 17 (DM) The news directors attached to two private television channels were yesterday ordered to hand over unedited video footage to the police, to conduct further investigations into the alleged commotion made by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organistion, disrupting a media conference organised by the Jathika Bala Sena (JBS) on April 9.

Apr 17 (DN) Colombo Additional Magistrate Roshini Fernando directed the Colombo Crime Division to obtain instructions from the Attorney General in connection with the drug case of Wellampitiya OIC Bandara Munasinghe and inform the Court on the next date April 29.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- An extremist Sinhala Buddhist organization in Sri Lanka, the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) has been named as a terrorist organization by an international body called Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC).

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka security forces have commenced investigations on the people who had close links with the three LTTE operatives killed earlier this month during a confrontation with the Sri Lankan army.

Apr 15 (CP) Colombo- An ally of Sri Lanka's governing party, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen has called for a Commission of Inquiry to look into the incident where the Buddhist extremist group, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) acted in an unruly manner at a press conference organized by the Jathika Bala Sena (JBS) and incidents against the minorities.

Apr 15 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police have arrested seven Chinese nationals in two separate incidents for engaging in illegal activities. Colpetty Police last evening arrested five Chinese nationals for illegally transporting live marine creatures.

Apr 15 (CP) Colombo- During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays 30 people have been killed in 26 fatal road accidents in Sri Lanka, the police said. Police media spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said the number of road accidents have gone up as a whole although the number of overall accidents has seen a significant reduction.

Apr 15 (CP) London- The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will soon begin the process of establishing an investigation on Sri Lanka's alleged violations of human rights and assessing the evidence.

Apr 16 (ITV) The family of Khuram Shaikh, who was killed while on holiday in Sri Lanka, say they are shocked by the decision to bail four men accused of his murder - half way through their trial. The 32-year old from Rochdale was on holiday on Christmas Day in 2011 when he was stabbed and shot at his hotel.

Apr 16 (Hindu) City police are investigating into allegations of a Colombo-based kidney racket in which a youngster from Hyderabad lost a life.

Apr 16 (DN) During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, 38 people died in 34 road accidents, the Police said. The Police said there had been 383 road accidents in total during the holidays starting from April 10 until yesterday morning.

Apr 15 (Nation) A former member of the Weligama Pradeshiya Sabha has been taken into custody in connection with a clash in Matara yesterday where two people were shot and wounded. The incident had occurred at Mahasenwatta, Garanduwa last afternoon, where shots had been fired.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- Abu Dhabi-based airline Rotana Jet commenced flights to Sri Lanka's Colombo and Mattala airports from Wednesday April 09. As a part of airline's expansion, Rotana Jet has added Sri Lanka as the airline's first international destination outside the Gulf region.

Apr 16 (CP) New York- Sri Lanka has been ranked as the fourth worst place for journalists worldwide in the updated Global Impunity Index published by the New York based-Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). While no apparent progress was made in any cases in Sri Lanka, CPJ did not record any new murders in the country from 2009 to 2013.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- The government of Sri Lanka says it is open for discussion with the organizations that were recently proscribed for allegedly having links with the LTTE. The government recently proscribed several Tamil Diaspora organizations as 'foreign terrorist' entities and Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has told the media that the government is open for discussions with the organizations.

Apr 16 (CP) Putrajaya- Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made a courtesy call on the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at his office in Perdana Putra Building in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday. Sri Lankan Defense Secretary and Malaysian Prime Minster had a discussion that lasted about half-an-hour, the Prime Minister's office said.

Apr 15 (CP) London- Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Tuesday expressed disappointment at Canada's decision to suspend voluntary contributions to the Commonwealth over Sri Lanka's human rights situation but looked forward to the resumption of the contributions.


FINANCE

Apr 17 (TDN) BANGKOK- Sri Lanka is slowly emerging as a desirable destination for world travellers, following the return of peace in the last decade. Growing popularity is observed through high growth rates of international travellers:

Apr 17 (DN) Tapro Spa Resorts (Pvt) Ltd, Foot prints’ total Beruwela will invest over Rs. 175 million this year to introduce four suites and also for a minor refurbishment of the property placed in a picturesque location in Moragolla Beruwela.

Apr 16, Colombo: Condé Nast Traveler, the world's premier travel magazine, on its online home has featured Sri Lanka's traditional string hopper mold as a souvenir. "The Strange-Looking Sri Lankan Souvenir All Foodies Will Love" is how The Daily Traveler section has featured the simple wooden mold that every Sri Lankan household has as a must-have item.

Apr 15 (CP) Colombo- Aviation authorities in Sri Lanka have received two new applications to commence domestic air services. Director General of Civil Aviation has received the two applications seeking certification to commence domestic private and charter services.

Apr 16 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan share index rose to a more than two-month high on Wednesday, led by blue chips and foreign inflows. The main stock index ended up 0.44 percent at 6,118.85, its highest close since Feb. 11.

Apr 16 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee traded slightly weaker on Wednesday on light importer dollar demand in the absence of export dollar conversions and inflows from remittances after a long holiday, dealers said.

Apr 16 (HS) IT’S a small island off the south coast of India and it’s being touted as the new Bali. So what is it about Sri Lanka that has travellers sitting up and taking notice?

Apr 16 (DN) The Central Provincial Tourism Ministry has identified 450 places in Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya to be included in a Central Province tourism development program. Out of this, 210 places are historic sites, a report said.

Apr 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's sovereign credit could be upgraded on a steadily narrowing budget deficit and a lower external debt burden, which were weaker than similarly rated countries, Fitch Ratings has said.

More : FINANCE
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Apr 17 (DM) Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera, said today he and the Maha Sangha were ready to take to the streets, unless the Government amends the Bim Saviya Land Registration Act immediately.

Apr 17 (DN) The Technology Development and Application Policy pursued by Sri Lanka will benefit the masses, Technology and Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. He said the Arthur C. Clarke Institute recently initiated a program to promote certain selected applications of space technology

Apr 17 (Hindu) At her only public rally in Tamil Nadu for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi refrained from any criticism of the DMK or the AIADMK, save for a brief reference to the latter, on Wednesday.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Justice Minister of Sri Lanka Rauf Hakeem has discussed the issues over the admission of students to the Law College with the Chief Prelate (Mahanayake Thero) of the Malwathu Chapter.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Parliamentarian of Sri Lanka's Tamil National Alliance (TNA) P. Ariyanethran has said that the President had made a good New Year message promoting peace and harmony. However, he has said that peace and harmony were yet a distant dream for the people in the North and East.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Authorities in Sri Lanka have set up a monitoring center to keep a tab on tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) has set up a Monitoring and Information Center for Industry Interference of Tobacco, Alcohol and Illicit Drugs.

Apr 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health has warned the public to refrain from purchasing medicinal drugs online. Director of the National Drugs Authority, Dr. Hemantha Benaragama has said that sale of drugs online is not regulated and many places sell low quality drugs which do not meet the standards.

Apr 16 (AFP) COLOMBO- Four macaws belonging to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse have escaped his tightly-guarded official residence in Colombo, his office said Wednesday as it appealed for help to trace the colourful long-tailed birds.

Apr 16 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Tamils issue appears to have taken a back seat in the campaign for the April 24 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, much to the disappointment of active pro-Tamil groups in the State.

Apr 16 (NIE) There is a new landmark in Colombo's spiritual landscape - a Thatthuva Kovil or a Philosophical temple - which is conceptually different from the other Hindu temples in Sri Lanka.

Apr 15 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has decided to appoint co-organizers to several electorates. UNP sources say that an additional organizer will be appointed to the electorates where the party had lost at the recently concluded provincial council elections.

Apr 15, Colombo: Following the government's measure to set a guaranteed price for big onions, more farmers in Sri Lanka have decided to cultivate big onions in the forthcoming season. Big onion cultivators received a higher price for their crops during the last cultivation season with the government's guaranteed price of Rs. 60 for a kilogram.

Apr 15 (Platform) The recently passed UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka marks a high point in terms of the country’s road towards peace. The US backed UNHRC resolution paves the way for an international investigation into the war crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan government (GOSL) during the final military battles of the war.

Apr 15 (CP) Ottawa- Canada has decided to suspend voluntary funds to the Commonwealth over Sri Lanka's human rights issue during Sri Lanka's tenure as current chair of the Commonwealth.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Land deeds for Mahaweli families (16 - DN)
* Medical camp for those who resettled (16 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Apr 16 (ESPNCI) Kumar Sangakkara has confirmed he will represent Durham for two to three Division One matches of the County Championship in preparation for Sri Lanka's tour of England. He will likely miss Sri Lanka's two ODIs in Ireland, but will join the squad before their first ODI against England on May 22. He may also be available for one of the two 50-over warm-up matches against Essex and Kent.

More : SPORTS

Apr 16 (AFP) LAHORE- Pakistan authorities need to restore the confidence of the cricketing world to bring international activity back to the country, an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) official said on Tuesday. Pakistan has not hosted any international cricket since a brazen militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief executive Ashraful Haque said the situation was improving but that Pakistan needed to do more to convince teams to tour there.

Apr 15 (Age) The Melbourne Renegades have turned to Tom Moody, the former Australian allrounder and Sri Lanka coach, to scour the cricket world for players capable of propelling the team up the Big Bash League ladder. Moody has accepted a role as director of cricket with the Renegades, placing him in charge of recruitment, list management and talent identification.


WORLD

Apr 16 (BBC) China's economy expanded by 7.4% in the first quarter of the year, better than what many were expecting. But it is a slowdown from 7.7% growth in the final quarter of last year. Other data released with the gross domestic product (GDP) figure showed industrial output rising 8.8% in March from one year ago.

More : WORLD

Apr 16 (BBC) A major rescue operation is under way after a ferry carrying 476 people capsized off South Korea. The ferry, carrying mainly school students, was travelling from Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju, officials said. More than 50 ships and helicopters were at the scene to rescue passengers.

Apr 15 (BBC) A robotic submarine deployed to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean has had its first mission cut short. The Bluefin-21 was sent to search the sea floor for wreckage after signals believed to be consistent with "black box" flight recorders were detected.

Apr 15 (Xinhua) KABUL- An Afghan deputy minister of public works was kidnapped Tuesday morning in northern Kabul, sources said. "Gunmen kidnapped the Deputy Minister of Public Works Ahmad Shah Wahid in Khair Khana locality. One of his security guard was wounded in a short exchange of fire," a security official told Xinhua anonymously. Officials of the Afghan interior ministry confirmed the kidnapping.


About Sri Lanka ::-
Introduction to Sri Lanka ::-

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island paradise in the Indian Ocean with white sandy beaches lush greenery, exciting adventures, amazing wildlife, cascading waterfalls and a rich heritage. The island of Sri Lanka is roughly pear-shaped. The total area of Sri Lanka is 65,610 sq km. Sri Lanka’s coastline is about 1,340 km (about 833 mi) around.

The people in Sri Lanka are warm and friendly. Sri Lankans are known for hospitality in all over the world. People in Sri Lanka ethnically fall into four main categories. The population of Sri Lanka is about 20 million. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate. Sri Lanka has a democratic government. Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country. Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948. Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Sri Lanka became a plantation economy, famous for its production and export of cinnamon, rubber and Ceylon tea, which remains a trademark national export. By 1996 plantation crops made up only 20% of export, and further declined to 16.8% in 2005 (compared with 93% in 1970), while textiles and garments have reached 63%. The GDP grew at an average annual rate of 5.5% during the early 1990s, until a drought and a deteriorating security situation lowered growth to 3.8% in 1996. The economy rebounded in 1997-2000, with average growth of 5.3%.

Sri Lanka, with an income per head of $1,350, still lags behind some of its neighbors including Maldives and Mauritius but is ahead of its giant neighbor India. Its economy grew by an average of 5% during the 1990s during the 'War for Peace' era. According to the Sri Lankan central bank statistics, the economy was estimated to have grown by 7% last year, although inflation had reached 20%.

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