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[Last Updated = Thu, Mar 5, 2015, 01:46 pm SL Time]
TOP STORY
IMF denies Sri Lanka's request for a fresh bail-out

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday denying a request by Sri Lanka for a fresh bail-out said Sri Lanka's economy is not in an immediate crisis as it was when the lender granted the US$ 2.6 billion Stand-By Arrangement in 2009. The Sri Lankan government had expected to obtain low-interest loans of about US$ 5 billion from the global lenders IMF and World Bank to restructure the high-interest Chinese Debt taken by the previous government.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- The Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka prepares to hand in an interim report regarding the missing persons' cases to the President Maithripala Sirisena, the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. H. W. Gunadasa has said.

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police have arrested four persons over an alleged coal import racket and are looking for a fourth suspect, Police Media Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ajith Rohana said. The arrests were based on the information provided by the Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding the racket.

Mar 05 (Island) Ex-senior Sea Tiger cadre Jeyaganesh Murugesu Pakeerathy (41), who was taken into custody at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Monday (2) has been granted French permanent resident status. The Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) arrested her soon after her arrival at the airport to leave for France.

Mar 05 (DN) A 45 year old businessman has been shot dead in Maharambaikulam, Vavuniya, by an unidentified gunman, Police Media Unit said. The businessman, who was a restaurant owner, had been shot dead while he was on his way home after work around 10.30 p.m.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed the Pakistan naval ship PNS Zulfiquar arrived at the Port of Trincomalee Tuesday, March 03, on a four-day goodwill visit.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- The Attorney General of Sri Lanka has today requested the Colombo High Court for more time to decide on a case regarding former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) of the Sri Lanka Police has summoned former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's second son, Navy Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa to record a statement. Police Media Spokesperson said a statement will be recorded from Yoshitha Rajapaksa in connection with the light aircraft that was found from the Economic Centre at Narahenpita on January 13th this year.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had inquired from Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe about the passport of the Chairman of Avant Garde, the security firm that owns a ship containing weapons docked at the Galle Harbor, as the PM has received several questions over the matter.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Prime Minister denies existence of secret detention camps (4 - Island)
* Two gunmen with full faced helmets rob Mount Lavinia bank (4 - DN)
* Traumatised mother, son claim Rs. 260M (4 - DM)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Sri Lanka Parliament on March 13,local media reports said. It will be the first time an Indian leader will address the Sri Lankan parliament.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the new government would probe the payments made by the previous government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the lobbying firms in the United States.

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan government cancels agreements with US lobbying firms - report

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today addressing the parliament initiated the debate on the National Medicinal Drug Policy which was formulated during his tenure as Health Minister in the previous government.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has assured an international media delegation visiting the country that the long-awaited Freedom of Information bill would be tabled this month and passed in parliament before the upcoming general election.


FINANCE

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake says that over 90% of the entire estimated income of the government is spent on repaying the annual debt installment and interests. The Minister made this comment in response of a question raised by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Mar 05 (Island) World renowned home appliance giant Whirlpool entered into an agreement with Sri Lanka’s Softlogic Retail (PVT) Ltd with the aim of further widening their availability in Sri Lanka through the Softlogic Retail network.

Mar 05 (DN) Browns Investments PLC has acquired 50,000,000 shares of F L C Joint Venture Company (Pvt) Ltd, which is 50% of the stated capital of the Company, from Perpetual Holdings Limited on March 3, 2015 for Rs. 651,200,000.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's US$ 1.5 billion Port City Project launched by the previous government in partnership with China has been temporarily suspended pending the investigative report ordered by the Prime Minister, Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim said today.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's national carrier, SriLankan Airline's net losses increased by 24 percent in 2014 amounting to Rs. 32.4 billion, data in the 2013/2014 annual report submitted to parliament showed. The carrier incurred a loss of Rs. 26.1 billion in 2013.

Mar 04 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks fell to a three-week closing low on Wednesday in thin trade a day after a sudden spike in market interest rates, while political uncertainty also weighed on investor sentiment.

More : FINANCE
* MBSL ends 2014 with ‘aggressive growth’ (4 - Island)
* DFCC Vardhana posts Rs 1.12 b PAT (4 - DN)
* Singer 4Q growth helps annual revenue to surpass Rs. 29 bn (4 - DM)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) under his Ministry to take stern legal action against the errant traders who have not yet provided the benefits of the government's recent price reductions to consumers.

Mar 05 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has reiterated the need for the government to continue to probe the allegation of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa attempting to stage a coup on the night of the Presidential election on January 8th.

** Related Story ::Slow pace of investigation into alleged coup plot concerns Sri Lanka Marxist party leader

Mar 05 (Island) Former Economic Development Minister and ex-SLFP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa has told MP Sarana Gunawardena that he had given up politics and therefore he would not seek nominations to contest the next parliamentary election. Gampaha District MP Gunawardena told The Island that MP Rajapaksa had told him he was not planning to return to Sri Lanka in the near future.

Mar 05 (DM) The cabinet has decided to hold the General Elections after the new electoral reforms are approved, Cabinet Spokesman and minister Rajitha Senaratne told the cabinet briefing a short while ago.

Mar 05 (DN) It is not only a civilized government, but also a civilized media culture would be created under the Maithri Rule (compassionate rule), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday. Making a ministerial statement, the Prime Minister said the prime intention of this government was to establish good governance in the country by eliminating corruption and fraud.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Former ruling party of Sri Lanka, the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has called on the government to ensure implementation of legislation to curb powers of the executive presidency and introduce electoral reforms simultaneously.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today handed over a load of files containing details of alleged corruption of the former regime to the Anti-Corruption Secretariat set up by the government.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka has accepted a request from India to revive the talks between representatives of the Sri Lankan and Indian fishing communities, the Government Information Department said.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's United National Party (UNP) says the next general election will be held as stated by the new government. General Secretary of the UNP, Minister Kabir Hashim told a news conference today that the next general election will be held according to the promise made by the current government during the Presidential election.

Mar 04 (CP) Colombo- Chairman of Sri Lanka's Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and convener of the Pivithuru Hetak organization, MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera has expressed disappointment over the government's failure to honor the promises made to the people during the presidential election.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Mahinda among those invited to opposition rally on Friday (4 - Island)
* Nothing to hide from international community - PM (4 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Mar 05 (ESPNCI) Bangladesh tackled the pressure of a stiff target - they had to chase down 319 - and losing their specialist opener to injury in the field to post their highest ODI chase to beat Scotland by six wickets and keep their chances of making the quarter-final alive. Scotland, powered by Kyle Coetzer's magnificent 156 towards their 318 for 8 in 50 overs, lost their best chance to win a World Cup match.

More : SPORTS

Mar 04 (ESPNCI) One win. One washout. One loss. Australia wouldn't have thought that the first half of their World Cup group matches would pan out this way. But you cannot control the weather, which was really bad in Brisbane, and as Michael Clarke said, Australia were beaten by a quality New Zealand side in Auckland. Afghanistan may just run into a keyed-up outfit determined to put that narrow loss behind them.

Mar 04 (IC) Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic players of Pakistan, Shahid Afridi registered his name into record books reaching the milestone of 8,000 ODI runs in 395 matches. Needing two runs before the Group B fixture clash against United Arab Emirates, Afridi pulled Amjad Javed for a six and in the process getting to 8000-run ODI mark. But Afridi did not stop at the milestone as he played the role of perfect cameo hitting 21 runs off just 8 deliveries to take Pakistan total to 339/6.

Mar 04 (BDN) The Tigers will take on the Scots at the Saxton Oval in Nelson on Thursday. The match is set to start on 4am Bangladesh time. "Nothing is bigger than a win. Victory will boost confidence. The players will think of raising confidence personally. But to me winning comes first," he said at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.


WORLD

Mar 05 (Reuters) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will offer island nations in the Indian Ocean a broad range of military and civilian assistance next week in a bid to wrest back some of the influence China has gained by spending billions of dollars in the region. Mr. Modi will make the pledges during a visit to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles after decades of neglect by successive Indian governments. H

More : WORLD

Mar 04 (Dawn) ISLAMABAD- Refusal of polio vaccination to children declined in the country this year, an encouraging development but not significant enough to raise hopes for quick eradication of the crippling disease. Data available by Dawn says that 36,510 parents refused the vaccine in February compared with 54,061 in January.

Mar 04 (Telegraph) Amid violent anti-government protests in Bangladesh - which has killed over 100 people since January - all eyes will be on two Dhaka courts tomorrow and the day after as the judgments will decide the future of Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Mar 04 (BBC) Police in India have secured a court injunction blocking the broadcast of an interview with one of the Delhi gang rapists on death row. The Delhi court order also prevents publication of the interview, which has angered many in India.


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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