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[Last Updated = Tue, Dec 6, 2016, 12:42 am SL Time]
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Religious freedom has been ensured and strengthened in Sri Lanka - President

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has assured that religious freedom in the island nation has been established at its utmost and strengthened. "Religious freedom had been established at its utmost in Sri Lanka and everyone is enjoying it," the President stressed. "Spiritual philosophies of all faiths lead to do good since the spiritual concept was what assisted the people to become disciplined and well-behaved.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi has asserted that there is no truth to the rumors spread by the extremists that security in North and East are in danger.

Dec 05 (US Marines) Marines and Sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, embarked aboard the USS Somerset (LPD 25), participated in a Theater Security Cooperation exchange, training side-by-side with the recently inaugurated Sri Lankan Marine Corps Nov. 22-25 at Sri Lanka Naval Base, Trincomalee.

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today rejected granting bail to the former LTTE leader turned deputy minister of the former Sri Lankan government Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman who was arrested by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) of the Police last week.

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court on Monday granted bail to the former General Secretary of the United National Party Tissa Attanayake, who was charged with three counts over preparation of a forged document.

Dec 05 (Island) KANDY– Kandy police in a pre- dawn operation on Saturday (03) arrested six men transporting eight cattle in an air-conditioned luxury van on Hanguranketha-Kandy road. Among the eight cattle were a pregnant cow and several calves. At the time of the raid around 3.00 a.m. some men were found seated on the cattle whose feet were bound and made to lie on their side, police said.

Dec 05 (DM) The FCID had sought a court order to obtain a detailed report from a State Bank on release of Rs.4, 012 million for the Nilwala River Diversion Project. The Financial Crimes Investigations Division said they needed this information to conduct an investigation under the Money Laundering Act

Dec 05 (DN) A Corporal travelling in a Kandy bound SLTB bus from Jaffna on home leave sustained injuries in the head when a saboteur hurled stones at the bus at a place between Ikirigollewa and Rambawa in Medawachchiya on December 2, the day private buses went on strike, is lying in a critical condition at the ICU of the Anuradhapura Hospital New Surgical Ward.

Dec 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, welcomed a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) ship arrived at the Port of Colombo Sunday.

Dec 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has launched an inquiry into a doctor at the Prison hospital, for maintaining relationships with imprisoned elite individuals, the state TV reported.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Mobs attack 128 buses, 30 injured, soldier critical: Govt. backtracks in face of strike threat (4 - ST)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art technology facility in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe and LSEG Chairman, Donald Brydon opened the new technology hub headquartered in the TRACE Expert City precinct of Colombo.

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena would visit Russia next year and would hold discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 23, Russia's Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alexander Karchava has said.

By Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera The UN established an essential Convention (2007 March) on the Rights of People with dis-Abilities (CRPD) as a set of legally binding instruments and enforceable obligations on all countries. It came into force on 3 May 2008. Sri Lanka ratified the CRPD last February.

Dec 05 (BBC) Large crowds are gathering outside a Chennai hospital after one of India's most popular and powerful politicians, J Jayalalitha, suffered a heart attack on Sunday night. The news has sparked fresh fears about her condition as Ms Jayalalitha has been receiving treatment for months.

Dec 04 (CP) Colombo- The World Bank will provide Sri Lanka US$ 70 million to modernize the estates and factories of Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs), the Ministry of Plantation Industries said in a statement. The funds will mainly be utilized for replanting, improving roads and tea factories, and water management to deal with climate change impact.


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Dec 05 (CP) Manama- Gulf Air has announced flight timetable for its five weekly flights to/from Bandaranaike International Airport which will be launched from 19 January 2017.

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Tiles and Sanitary Ware Importers Association (TSIA) have welcomed the support of Budget 2017 for maintaining the duty and cess reduction for the import of tiles and sanitary ware.

Dec 05 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares rose for a third straight session on Monday to close at a near three-week high as investors sought bargains in banking shares after the benchmark index fell to a near eight-month low last week.

Dec 05 (DM) Sri Lanka’s export earnings rose for the second consecutive month in September 2016 to US $ 898 million, recording an increase of 5.7 percent from a year ago, according to latest Central Bank data. Earnings from exports had been falling for 17 months in a row starting from March 2015 before they picked up in August.

Dec 05 (DN) The pre-sales of both residential tower projects of ‘Cinnamon Life’ continue to be encouraging, according to John Keells Holdings PLC Interim Report for six months ended September 30, 2016.

Dec 05 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s 15.6 percent increase in the average room or daily rate (ADR) for tourism during the first ten months of the year puts its performance ahead of other countries in Southeast Asia in terms of rate growth, including, India, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, STR said in a research note.

Dec 04, Colombo: Global Enabling Trade Report 2016, published by the World Economic Forum and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation has ranked Sri Lanka 103rd out of 136 counties. The Enabling Trade Index (ETI) assesses the extent to which economies have in place the factors facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destination.

Dec 04 (GT) NEW DELHI- Indian Railways has got the export order of supplying 10 locomotives and six DMU train sets to Sri Lanka. The total size of the order is Rs700 crore.

Dec 04 (ECONOMYNEXT) Sri Lanka's rulers are once again trying to target two pension funds made up of money from private sector workers, a media report said, with attempts for the Treasury whose interests are directly opposed to those of the beneficiaries.

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* Asian Alliance General Insurance re-brands as Fairfirst Insurance (4 - Island)
* Cigarette sales drop cuts tobacco tax revenue by half (4 - ST)
* Full steam ahead for three FTA agreements including ETCA (4 - SO)
More : FINANCE - TRAVEL

POLITICS - GENERAL

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the modernized Thriposha factory situated in Kandana, Monday (05). The government has allocated 500 million rupees from Budget 2016 for the renovation works of the Thriposha factory in Kandana

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- Researchers have discovered a strong association between El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions in the Pacific to observed weather and dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka, reports Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) of European Commission.

Dec 05 (CP) Kathmandu- Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Nepal W Swarnalatha Perera has invited the Himalayan nation's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to visit Sri Lanka to mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between the two countries in 2017.

Dec 05 (CP) Nuwara Eliya- A Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) delegation on a fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka visited a tea plantation today in this town nestled in the Central Highlands. The delegation, led by the Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, who is also UniMAP Chancellor, visited the Blue Field Tea Gardens PVT

Dec 05 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has planned to establish a Joint Operation Center to prevent the drug trafficking in Sri Lanka, said the Minister of Law, Order, and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake.

Dec 05 (NIE) COLOMBO- Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned that both India and Sri Lanka will break up if the powers now enjoyed by the Governors of the States or Provinces are taken away and handed over to the Provincial Chief Minister and the Provincial Council.

Dec 05 (NIE) COLOMBO- Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned that both India and Sri Lanka will break up if the powers now enjoyed by the Governors of the States or Provinces are taken away and handed over to the Provincial Chief Minister and the Provincial Council.

Dec 05 (DM) The Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) today urged the government to ban the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in order to ensure democracy in Sri Lanka. Addressing a media briefing, PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said the TNA was the main opposition of Parliament, and that was the gravest misfortune of the nation.

Dec 05 (Island) C B Ekanayake, Managing Director, Orient Residencies says that the Company's flagship luxury residential complex in Nugegoda will strictly adhere to best practices in the construction industry.

Dec 05 (Island) It would be difficult to conduct parliamentary affairs if all political parties brought their supporters to Parliament roundabout to show their strength, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said on Saturday.

Dec 05 (DM) The Elections Commission has issued a deadline on Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to settle its internal dispute with regard to the post of Party Secretary who would deal with matters concerning elections with the Commission.

Dec 05 (HM) Sri Lanka’s president has praised the work of the Catholic Church in helping the poor and underprivileged. President Maithripala Sirisena also thanked Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for his advice in difficult situations.

Dec 05 (DN) Jathika Hela Urumaya National Organiser and Media Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe alleged yesterday that certain defeated Joint Opposition politicians were behind the private bus strike launched on Thursday. Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo, he said the government should arrest the leaders of all private bus associations who participated in the strike which had caused great inconvenience to commuters.

Dec 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's state owned public bus service has received a record income during the private bus operators' strike, the government claimed. According to the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Ramal Siriwardena, the SLTB has received a record income of more than Rs. 110 million during the private bus operators' strike on Friday (02).

Dec 04 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has focused its attention on establishing an authority to regulate the three-wheeler transport in the country in the wake of the protests and road blocks staged by the three-wheeler drivers last week.

Dec 04 (DC) Chennai- PMK founder S.Ramadoss on Saturday demanded that fishermen from Tamil Nadu should be allowed to take part in the festival in St. Anthony’s church in Katchatheevu in Sri Lanka on December 7.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Sri Lanka achieves ‘Malaria Free Country’ status for fourth successive year (4 - Island)
* Indian academic’s proposal for joint fishing rejected by Mannar fishers (4 - ST)
* LG elections: Old system, if all parties agree - Kiriella (4 - SO)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Dec 05 (HT) Michael Hussey is on the verge of becoming the stand-in coach for Australia during the Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka in February 2017. Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday that they are looking for a caretaker coach for the series against Sri Lanka and Hussey seems to be the front-runner at the moment.

More : SPORTS

Dec 05 (ESPNCI) Zealand must have left the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday night thinking, "if only". If only they had asked for a review when Steven Smith was given not-out by umpire Mick Martell after being trapped lbw on 14, the first ODI might have unfolded quite differently. Trent Boult's fine delivery had swung in and trapped Smith in front, but New Zealand declined to refer Martell's decision upstairs. "There was plenty of chat afterwards about that," New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said.

Dec 04 (ESPNCI) On December 5, the Supreme Court of India will reconvene to address the long-standing impasse between the BCCI and the Lodha Committee. Since July 18, when it approved a majority of the recommendations proposed by the Lodha Committee for best practices in the BCCI and its state associations, the court has directed the Indian board to implement them.

Dec 04 (ESPNCI) India's dominance in the women's Asia Cup extended as they sealed their sixth title in as many editions with a 17-run win over Pakistan in Bangkok. It was the second consecutive time India had beaten Pakistan in an Asia Cup final, having done so in 2012-13 as well. The win also ensured India remained unbeaten in this year's tournament, which was being played in the T20 format for the second time.


WORLD

Dec 05 (ANI) Hong Kong- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has accused China of keeping its currency artificially low and militarising the South China Sea to the level of it being a tense territorial dispute "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?

More : WORLD

Dec 05 (BBC) John Key has announced that he will resign as prime minister of New Zealand, after eight years in the job. Called it "the hardest decision I've ever made," an emotional Mr Key said "I don't know what I'll do next". Deputy PM Bill English is likely to take over until the National Party holds a caucus to choose a new PM.

Dec 04 (BBC) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Donald Trump "a clever man" who should "quickly understand" his role. In an interview with state-controlled NTV, he said the US president-elect "is already a statesman". Mr Putin has previously voiced hopes that the Trump administration will help improve US-Russia relations.

Dec 04 (BBC) Parts of the US state of Hawaii have received a winter weather warning, with up to three feet (90cm) of snow over the past few days. Weather experts say that it is not unusual for snow to fall in tropical Hawaii, but rarely has it fallen so heavily at such low altitudes. The snow is heaviest around two of the island's highest peaks, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.


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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