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[Last Updated = Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 01:57 pm SL Time]
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U.S. Congressional delegation applauds achievements of Sri Lanka's unity government

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- A bipartisan Congressional delegation of the United States today called on Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena at the President's Official Residence and held discussions on the steps to be taken to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. The eight-member delegation led by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and included four Democrats and four Republicans is the largest ever group of U.S. Congress to visit Sri Lanka.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- On receipt of intelligence information Sri Lankan Navy personnel in coordination with Police have arrested four individuals transporting 3.4 kg of Kerala cannabis (Kerala Ganja) in the general area of Mattakkuliya. The suspects were transporting the stock of cannabis by a three-wheeler when the arrest was made.

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- A Gazette notification was issued on Thursday by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva stipulating that a motorcycle and a pillion rider must wear a helmet that conforms to the new guidelines.

Feb 25 (CT) Hambantota District SLFP MP Namal Rajapaksa has sent a letter of demand to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga demanding a sum of Rs 250 million for defamation of character by the latter. aken against her.

Feb 25 (Island) A senior Prison official appointed to a committee to probe into an incident where a high ranking prison officer attached to the Pallekele Prison had allegedly obtained a bribe of two million rupees to extend favours to a prisoner convicted on a drug related offence, has declined to serve in the committee after he received death threats from the suspect.

Feb 25 (DM) One person was killed and four others were injured when a dhal storage container collapsed on them at a warehouse in Pattiwela, Kelaniya today, Police said.

Feb 24 (CP) Rameswaram- Four Tamil Nadu fishermen suffered serious injuries after they were attacked, allegedly by Sri Lankan fishermen, near Kodiyakarai off the island nation, PTI reported. The Sri Lankan fishermen first threatened them with hand guns and attacked them with sharp weapons, Pamban Country Boat Association leader S Arul said.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake have arrested a Sri Lankan man who was attempting to smuggle out gold worth Rs 2.4 million.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan Navy personnel Thursday arrested five individuals transporting over 150 kilograms of Kerala cannabis (Kerala Ganja) by a dinghy in the Northern seas. A Navy patrol craft, apprehended 3 suspects when they were transporting 154.6 kg of Kerala Cannabis by a dinghy in the seas northwest of Kankasanthurai yesterday.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- The New York-based international press freedom organization, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Thursday called on Sri Lankan authorities to fully investigate the 2009 murder of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and bring his killers to justice.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Panelist gets death threats (24 - CT)
* Civil society alleges Gotabhaya responsible for Noyahr abduction (24 - Island)
* Katukurunda boat tragedy: Skipper arrested (24 - DM)
* Objection overruled; Case against Rohitha fixed for trial (24 - DN)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- According to a new report from the World Bank, Sri Lanka is a middle performer in promoting the sustainable energy. Sri Lanka scored 61 out of 100 on the World Bank's RISE (Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy) Index placing in the yellow zone of middling performers.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- The global rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) member states to bring a credible follow-up resolution to the consensus resolution 30/1 adopted by the UNHRC in October 2015.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has called on the countries to cooperate on illegal migrants as they create health, social, economic and political issues for a country. "Similar to the way each country take decisions in national levels on the illegal migrants, they should act internationally with other countries regarding this matter," the President said.


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's premier business chamber, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will hold an informative event aimed at helping Sri Lankan businesses to become more agile and gear themselves to a rapidly changing business landscape.

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been recognized as the Best Internet Bank in Sri Lanka in 2016 by the prestigious Global Banking & Finance Review of the UK. Created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent in particular areas of expertise and excellence within the global financial community, the award acknowledges the high quality of service and innovation offered by Commercial Bank's Online Banking platform.

Feb 25 (Island) Norlanka, apparel manufacturers and exporters, conducted an information seminar recently to detail their new distribution network and moves to market garments originating in manufacturers here, to new markets world wide.

Feb 25 (DM) Delmege Forsyth & Company Limited, one of the leading diversified conglomerates in Sri Lanka, takes pride in introducing its latest product offerings to the local market. Delmege Hiru Kahata and Breeze BOPF teas, the latest products from the consumer cluster of the Delmege group, were launched recently with a fascinating and unique curtain raising event.

Feb 25 (ECONOMYNEXT) Inserting socio-economic rights into a constitution has backfired on the in several developing countries that has tried it, a political scientist has warned as Sri Lanka considers following on the same path.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says local investments are not sufficient to ensure development in the country and foreign direct investment and exports are needed. The Prime Minister made this statement at the launch of the 2017/2026 action plan for the rubber industry held at the Temple Trees on Thursday.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Colombo Port has been ranked among the world's best 25 ports according to the Alphaliner rankings in 2017, a Ports and Shipping Ministry statement said. In 2016 Alphaliner has ranked Colombo Port at the 23rd place, three notches up from the 2015 rankings.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC Group had excellent growth in Revenue and Net Income in the year 2016, the company announced. Group Revenue reached Rs. 46.9 billion, an increase of 21% over prior year.

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* Pan Asia Bank posts record high profit of Rs.1.8 billion for FY 2016 (24 - Island)
* Proposed Coke factory will reduce water resources: MP (24 - DM)
* SriLankan Aviation College to branch out overseas (24 - DN)
* Singer Sri Lanka to subdivide ordinary shares by April (24 - LBO)
More : FINANCE - TRAVEL

POLITICS - GENERAL

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Higher Education Ministry plans to introduce legislation in Parliament to standardize the degree courses offered by State and private universities, Minister of Higher Education Lakshman Kiriella said. Minister Kiriella said the government hopes to pass a 'Quality Assurance Bill' that would standardize the degrees offered by both state and non-state universities.

Feb 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Chief Justice K. Sripavan will retire from service on February 28 upon reaching the retirement age of 65. The Supreme Court will hold a ceremonial farewell on the same day. Supreme Court Justice Kanagasabapathy Sripavan was sworn in as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka before President Maithripala Sirisena on 30 January 2015.

Feb 25 (CT) The SLFP Chief Ministers on Thursday unanimously decided to boycott the Provincial Secretaries meeting which is scheduled to be held on 27 February, in protest over moves to absorb the powers vested with the PCs to the Central Government.

Feb 25 (Island) Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday lashed out at Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera for blaming Higher Education Ministry for approving the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to conduct the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme in 2011 in violation of the recommended procedure.

Feb 25 (DN) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday instructed the top ranking United National Party (UNP) officials to make proposals to reorganise the party. The Premier gave these instructions when leading officials of the UNP met him at Temple Trees last morning.

Feb 25 (DM) UNP seniors who are holding top positions in the party are to keep away from party activities and handover party promotional activities to another team, party sources said today. This decision has been made by party seniors who met party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday.

Feb 25 (NST) INDIAN magazine The Week caricatured the 1987 India-Sri Lanka Agreement in mythological terms: "Ravana need not kidnap Seeta to get Rama to invade Lanka — a mere pact is enough!"

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- To address the health challenges posed by increasingly mobile populations, Global health leaders gathered in Sri Lanka Thursday adopted the 'Colombo Statement' which calls for international collaboration to improve the health and well-being of migrants and their families.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe, in a message to celebrate the Hindu festival Maha Siva Rathri today said the occasion is a deeply symbolic of co-existence and harmony among all and is also an ideal time for reflection.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- The National Freedom Front (NFF) led by parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa has formally informed the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of its withdrawal from the alliance. The NFF has sent a letter to UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera to officially withdraw from the UPFA, local media reported.

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena says the religions provide great relief to the people in today's competitive world and the religious way of life is as an essential ingredient for building a better society. Issuing a message to mark the Hindu holiday Maha Shivaratri Day today, President Sirisena said the prime expectation and the noble vision of all religions is to promote spiritual and moral well-being of humankind.

Feb 24 (Interpreter) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's recent visit to Australia gives us an opportunity to learn more about Sri Lanka than its treatment of returned asylum seekers. In particular, Sri Lanka can provide valuable lessons on how small states are responding to the growth of a multipolar Asia.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* MR hits out at CBK (24 - CT)
* Mahinda openly encouraged elected government representatives to be corrupt - Chandrika (24 - Island)
* China, Pakistan Ukraine, Russia, Israel supplied us arms: Gota (24 - DM)
* Innocent military personnel will not be punished: President on firm stance (24 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Feb 25 (SLC) The National Selections Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket is set to meet on Tuesday (28) to decide on a formidable team that would play the first two test matches against the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka 2017 which begins on March 7th .Accordingly it has been announced that Angleo Mathews will not be able to play the first two test matches. The first test match is scheduled to be held in Galle while the second is to be held at the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium. Angelo Mathews would likely be available to play the One-day International and T20 matches thereafter.

More : SPORTS

Feb 24 (WI) Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain, urged fans and media to give some time to the talented but inexperienced Sri Lankan team, saying expectations are always high and prompt in the subcontinent. “I think talent is there but they have come to international cricket with little first-class experience,” said Jayawardene on Friday (February 24). “Expectations are always high in the subcontinent but this Sri Lankan team needs some time. Let them grow with time.”

Feb 24 (CB) The Sri Lankan cricket team returned home to a heroes' welcome in the early hours of Friday after their thrilling series win over Australia. Led by Upul Tharanga in the absence of injured skipper Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka won the first two T20Is at the MCG and Geelong - both off the last ball - to seal the series with a game to spare. Australia bounced back to win the final game in Adelaide, but Sri Lanka won the series 2-1.

Feb 24 (ICC) As the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifying competition came to an exciting conclusion in Sri Lanka, with the hosts qualifying along with India, Pakistan and South Africa, I am more convinced than ever that the ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in the United Kingdom this summer will be the best-ever staged. Even in the past 12 months, the game has evolved and there are girls across the world who are now household names, which is exciting in itself.


WORLD

Feb 25 (ANI) Muzaffarabad- Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has warned that delay in the settlement of the Kashmir dispute could 'spell disaster for regional peace'. "The (Indian) occupation forces have employed every brute tactic to suppress the Kashmiris...so much so that the pellet guns meant for hunting wild animals have also been ceaselessly used by them on the innocent and unarmed people of Kash­mir,

More : WORLD

Feb 25 (BBC) India has expressed shock after the fatal shooting of an Indian national in the US, amid reports that the attack may have been racially motivated. Srinivas Kuchibhotla died shortly after Wednesday's attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, and an American were hurt. Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

Feb 25 (BBC) Mexico has warned the US against imposing a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to finance a border wall, saying it could respond in kind. Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the government could place tariffs on selected goods from US states reliant on exports to Mexico. Earlier, US President Donald Trump vowed to start building the wall "soon, way ahead of schedule".

Feb 24 (BBC) President Donald Trump has said he wants the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, in his first comments on the issue since taking office. Mr Trump said it would be "wonderful" if no nation had nuclear arms, but otherwise the US must be "top of the pack". He told Reuter that the US had "fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity".


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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