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[Last Updated = Sun, Jul 24, 2016, 12:07 pm SL Time]
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Sri Lankan President instructs to raise VAT on tobacco and remove from private healthcare charges

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said he has instructed the relevant sections to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) on cigarettes and completely remove the private hospital charges from the tax. President Sirisena made this announcement addressing the 104th anniversary ceremony of the Sri Lanka Temperance Council held at BMICH on Saturday (23). Speaking at the event, President Sirisena stressed that he will take every possible measure to protect future generations from tobacco and drugs that destroy human life.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan Navy personnel have recovered a stock of 'Kerala Ganja' abandoned on the northwestern coast after spotting a suspicious boat in the seas off the area. Navy personnel who were on duty at the Radar Station at SLNS Therapuththa in Silawathurai belonging to the North Western Naval Command, detected a suspicious craft in the seas off Arippu on Friday.

July 24 (DM) The bodies of three families members hacked to death were found in Vellawali, Batticaloa early this morning, Police said. The victims were identified by the as a 25-year-old woman, her farther and her 18-month old daughter.

July 24 (Island) A public interest litigation activist has filed a Fundamental Right petition seeking an Interim Relief with a direction to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to suspend any further action on the request made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe urging a ruling from the Speaker on the constitutionality of a Supreme Court judgement popularly known as the Singarasa case, until the final determination of the petition.

July 24 (ST) Fishermen in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu launched an indefinite strike from Friday in protest against the “arrest” of fishermen and “impounding” of their trawlers by the Sri Lankan Navy.

July 24 (SO) Only two scanners of the four meant for container examinations at the Customs Yard were in working condition, while the Customs requires six such scanners to carry out functions smoothly. However, the Authorities were in the process of buying four new machines, Customs Media Spokesperson and Director Dharmasena Kahandawa said.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police today arrested a Sri Lankan Muslim man dressed in a burka arrested at the country's international airport in Colombo. The 30-year-old man, a resident of Colombo, was arrested at the arrival lounge of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning for suspicious behavior.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) of Sri Lanka police has cleared the former consultant to the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and former chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Vidya Amarapala of financial fraud allegations.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- The case against former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former director General of the Divi Neguma Department R.A.A.Kithsiri. Ranawaka will be taken up for hearing on December 06.

July 23 (HP) Sri Lanka's civil war pitted the almost exclusively Sinhalese military against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE fought for a separate Tamil state in the northern and eastern parts of the country. In May 2009, Sri Lankan military forces militarily defeated the LTTE.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Body of SL expat worker to be buried in Saudi (23 - DM)
* Lasantha's killing and Ekneligoda disappearance Army Courts of Inquiry reports to CID soon (23 - Island)
* No fraud charges against Amarapala: FCID informs ministry (23 - DM)
* Policeman dies in motorcycle crash (23 - DN)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

July 24 (CP) Colombo- A high-level delegation of defense officials including the Secretary of Defense Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Commander of Army Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva on Saturday visited and evaluated the status quo of the Army-released civilian lands in Jaffna and the progress of the ongoing house construction projects of the Army for accelerated resettlement of the displaced persons.

July 23 (CP) Kandy- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today singled out some print media outlets for attempting to bring the 'thieves' back to power and topple the government. The PM said the "thieves who were rejected by the people on the 8th of January, are trying to come back to power to steal again" and the unity government cannot be toppled by the pressures exerted by the rogues.


FINANCE - TRAVEL

July 24 (CP) Islamabad- Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said it is in negotiations with the SriLankan Airlines for the wet lease of four wide-bodied A-330 aircraft. Pakistan's national carrier had advertised for leasing wide body aircraft last month and Sri Lanka's national carrier expressed interest

July 24 (Island) Planters are now more on their mobile phones instructing their support staff on their allocated tasks, rather than visiting work sites. These trends are quite contrary to what was traditionally the norm for planters, who dedicated their lives to tending their fields

July 24 (ST) The US$650 million-Krrish square project on the 4.3 acre Transworks house building site in Fort has been temporarily suspended owing to a case pending at the Colombo Magistrate Court and ongoing investigations into an alleged payment of Rs. 70 million (US$ 500,000) to MP Namal Rajapaksa.

July 24 (SO) A group of Lankan business leaders visiting China recently urged the Chinese business community to join hands with Sri Lankan private companies, which have the resources as well as experience to identify and launch joint ventures.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- Exceptional occupancy rates and top-notch revenue generation by Renuka City Hotel resulted in the hotel winning Booking.com's Award for Best Performance in 2015.

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* A polished entrance: Unger joins the Spotless portfolio (23 - CP)
* BOC excels at Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards – 2016 (23 - Island)
* Hotel Show showcases futuristic displays and innovations (23 - DM)
* Mihin Lanka to wind up this year (23 - DN)
More : FINANCE - TRAVEL

POLITICS - GENERAL

July 24 (CP) Colombo- All arrangements are in place for the President Maithripala Sirisena to deposit the treasure items (Nidhan Wasthu) in the main dam of the Moragahakanda - Kalu Ganga reservoir project tomorrow.

July 24 (SLG) I am very happy to note that even without some Provincial Councils in operation, Sri Lanka seems to be managing quite well with the network of public officials, even with their lethargic bungling.

July 24 (Island) The present government did much to further Namal Rajapaksa’s political career by arresting him. The government’s contention was that he had taken a bribe from a property developer on the pretext of a promotional campaign for rugby.

July 24 (ST) The Power and Energy Ministry will ask Cabinet to decide whether to cancel a controversial multibillion rupee coal tender and face a substantial compensation claim, or to continue with a contract which was awarded in a manner that the Supreme Court said had shocked its conscience.

July 24 (SO) All 40 SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition (JO) will participate in the Jana Satana Paada Yathra which will kick off at George E.de Silva Gardens, Kandy on July 28 at 8.00am after religious observances at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, UPFA Ratnapura District MP Ranjith de Zoysa told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

July 23, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government is considering buying power from private producers while promoting individual residential solar systems to electrify public homes. Power and Sustainable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the Government is prepared to add power generated by the private producers to the national grid by paying them a fair price.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena stressed that he will not allow the politicians or public officials to hide behind the label of "Yahapalana" and commit bad acts. The President said if everyone in the government does not work according to their conscience, the public would lose hope they placed in the government.

July 23 (CP) Riyadh- Sri Lankan tea fulfils the specifications of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), a government official, who was leading a delegation to the Saudi capital of Riyadh has said, according to a report in Arab News.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs with the technical assistance of ICTA, has prepared an Integrated Social Welfare Register to reduce ghost beneficiaries. According to the Government Information Department, the register is based on the National Identity Card (NIC) numbers of the beneficiaries

July 23 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government condemning the Friday's shooting at a Munich shopping Centre which left nine people dead and 16 more injured, extended the condolence to the families of the victims. "Sri Lanka condemns the shooting in Munich. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and wish a quick recovery to those injured," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Twitter message.

July 23 (CP) Colombo- The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a regional non-governmental organization that monitors human rights in Asia, heavily criticized the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's recent statement on the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) established by the current government to investigate the enforced disappearances during the war.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Ravi: Rs. 4,500 mn spent on Suriyawewa stadium which actually cost only Rs. 850 mn (23 - Island)
* Find Elara’s tomb; do as Dutugemunu said: Douglas (23 - DM)
* Petroleum Resources Minister criticised for failure to answer questions (23 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

July 24 (cricket.com) Sri Lanka's skipper not fazed after being singled out as Australia's No.1 target head of the first Test Angelo Mathews has already been singled out as the No.1 target for the touring Australians, but the Sri Lanka skipper says he’s well and truly up for the fight. Mathews enters the three-Test series as one of the most experienced competitors on either side, with his 59 Test caps only trailing teammate Rangana Herath’s 70 matches.

More : SPORTS

July 23 (BBC) Usain Bolt proved his fitness before next month's Olympics as he dominated the men's 200m at the Anniversary Games in London's Olympic Stadium. The six-time Olympic champion clocked 19.89 seconds - 0.15 ahead of Panama's Alonso Edward in second. Britain's Commonwealth silver medallist Adam Gemili was third in a season's best 20.07.Bolt's performance will have eased concerns after he missed the Jamaican trials earlier this month with injury.

July 23 (ESPNCI) Virat Kohli continued his efficient and energetic accumulation of runs to bring up his maiden first-class double-hundred, setting up India's declaration on 566, their joint fourth-highest score against West Indies. Promoted to No. 6, R Ashwin enjoyed some luck in the first hour of the day before strolling to his third hundred against West Indies, taking his average against them to 64.67. Given 16 overs, the Indian bowlers tried desperately for a breakthrough, and succeeded less than 10 minutes before the end of play on the second day.

July 23 (ESPNCI) In the absence of Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach, West Indies' long-time new-ball pair, their fast bowlers are still "learning the art", their bowling coach Roddy Estwick said after the second day's play of the Antigua Test. With their captain Virat Kohli moving to his maiden double-hundred, India swelled their overnight score by 264 runs before declaring on 566 for 8. Having experienced another punishing day on the field, West Indies were 31 for 1 at stumps.


WORLD

July 24 (BBC) Afghanistan is observing a day of national mourning following the suicide bombing of a protest march in the capital, Kabul, that killed 80 people and wounded 230. So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind Saturday's attack on members of the Shia Hazara minority. In a televised address, President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take revenge against those responsible.

More : WORLD

July 23 (BBC) So-called Islamic State has said it was behind an attack on a protest march in the Afghan capital, Kabul, that killed 80 people and wounded 230. The IS-linked Amaq news agency said two fighters "detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shia" in Kabul. The attack in Deh Mazang square targeted thousands from the Shia Hazara minority who were protesting over a new power line, saying its route bypasses provinces where many of them live.

July 23 (BBC) An Indian military plane with more than 20 people on board has gone missing over the Bay of Bengal, the Indian air force (IAF) has confirmed to the BBC. The Antonov-32 transporter aircraft took off from Chennai (Madras) at 08:30 local time (03:00 GMT), bound for Port Blair in the eastern archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar. It was scheduled to land at 11:30.

July 23 (CNA) WASHINGTON DC- Hillary Clinton on Friday (Jul 22) tapped Tim Kaine, a popular Spanish-speaking senator from the swing state of Virginia, to be her running mate in the White House showdown against Donald Trump. The pick comes three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where Clinton – and now Kaine – will be elevated as the nominees to the party's presidential ticket.


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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