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[Last Updated = Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 02:01 pm SL Time]
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Sri Lanka Finance Minister promises to reduce current taxes and pass benefits to people

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake says Sri Lanka has been able to build a positive international image subsequent to its ability to reform the economy during the last two years. The Minister has pointed out that although such changes in the local economy have been recognized internationally, it is not palatable to certain extremist politicians.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Mar 29 (CP) Colombo- Former Sri Lankan minister and leader of National Freedom Front MP Wimal Weerawansa, who is on a hunger strike demanding his release, has been transferred to the Colombo National Hospital from the Prison Hospital.
 

Mar 29 (Island) Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and Chairman of its Tender Board P. Samarasiri yesterday, testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged CBSL bond scams, said that on the instructions of the then Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran the original resolutions of its Public Debt Department had been changed.
 

Mar 29 (DN) The van said to have been used to abduct journalist Keith Noyahr was recovered from Piliyandala by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) earlier today. The vehicle was found parked at a house belonging to a woman closely acquainted to Major Bulathwatta, who was arrested on February 18.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan said that his ministry has constructed over 11,000 houses in war affected areas. According to the Minister, 11,253 houses in war affected areas in Northern and Eastern provinces and in border villages in Puttalam, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa districts have been constructed in 2016.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal today issued an order directing the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of police to find the three navy intelligence officers who were acquitted of the murder of Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj.

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan court acquits all suspects in Tamil MP Nadarajah Raviraj's murder
 

Mar 28 (CP) Ramanathapuram- India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized 16.32 kg of gold in Ramanathapuram on late Sunday night. The DRI teams from Thoothukudi and Coimbatore have intercepted a courier van at the coastal Devipattinam, near Ramnad on Sunday night, and seized smuggled gold bars, The Hindu reported.
 

Mar 28 (Reuters) War crime investigations backed by some Western countries and the United Nations will exacerbate the differences between Sri Lanka's two main ethnic groups instead of uniting them, former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Monday.
 

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Probe committee head faults IGP for not heeding request for policemen (28 - Island)
* Application made to Court seeking suspension of sale of Malwana land (28 - DN)

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Mar 29 (CP) Washington, DC- Sri Lankan Human Rights Activist Sandya Eknelygoda is among the 13 recipients of this year's International Women of Courage (IWOC) award presented by the United States Secretary of State.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- The United States Marines and Sailors will work with their Sri Lankan counterparts in a training exercise focused on the infantry and logistical skills necessary to implement humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, the US Navy said in a press release on Monday.
 


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Mar 29 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankans living in Melbourne and Auckland caught a rallying call to be a part of Sri Lanka's growth at Invest Sri Lanka forums recently organized by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), the CSE said.
 

Mar 29 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Laugfs Terminals Limited will obtain a long term loan of US$ 42.6 million from People's Bank to fund construction of its gas terminal in the Hambantota Port, the company said in a stock exchange filling.
 

Mar 29 (Island) Fairfirst Insurance is the amalgamated entity of two prominent general insurance companies of Sri Lanka namely, Union Assurance General and the former Asian Alliance General Insurance. Fairfirst recently entered into a strategic partnership with Stafford Motor Co. (Pvt) Ltd. the sole distributor for Honda.
 

Mar 29 (DN) People’s Bank declared an impressive financial performance for the financial year 2016, showcasing a striking upward trajectory in the Group’s performance. The Group posted a Profit Before Tax of Rs 25.4 bn, an incline of 5.4%. The Group’s also posted a Profit After Tax of Rs 18 bn, inclining from Rs 15.1 bn .
 

Mar 29 (LBO) Economic policies of the present Sri Lankan government are falling far short of expectations, driven by lack of confidence in the finance minister, Joint Opposition MP Tharaka Balasuriya said in parliament.
 

Mar 29 (IPS) RATNAPURA- As the mercury rises higher, Kamakandalagi Leelavathi delves deeper into the lush green mass of the tea bushes. The past few afternoons there have been thunderstorms.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Parisian couture brand, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), launched its makeup range in Sri Lanka during a formal cocktail event at the Galle Face Hotel. The event was attended by VIP customers of the luxury fragrance, skin care and cosmetics retailer, Exclusive Lines of the Pee Bee Group.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has assured that the country's largest state owned retail network chain Lanka Sathosa is strengthened by the government and will not be privatized.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka clarifying its position on media reports that carried "erroneous facts" on the proceedings of the Monetary Board meeting held recently, said the Monetary Board has decided to commence disciplinary proceedings against any wrongdoing if there is evidence.
 

Mar 28 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed slightly stronger on Tuesday, recovering from a more than one-year closing low hit in the previous session, as foreign investors bought battered stocks while block deals pushed the day's turnover to a one-month high.
 

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* Sri Lankan rupee ends weaker on dollar demand from state bank (28 - Reuters)
* R3 invites Sri Lanka’s Central Bank to join blockchain initiative (28 - LBO)
* CSE seen as one of the most attractive capital markets in South Asian region (28 - Island)
* Leading emerging market fund buys stake in HNB Grameen (28 - DN)
* Indo Lanka FTA to benefit Lanka’s apparel sector (28 - DN)

POLITICS - GENERAL

Mar 29 (CP) Honolulu- Kapiʻolani Community College Professor Emerita Kusuma Cooray was honored by the U.S. Pacific Command for her work as Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka from 2001 to 2017. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the United States Pacific Command, presented Cooray the Distinguished Public Service Award on March 24
 

Mar 29 (Island) The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has urged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure that a real UNPer secures the health portfolio at the next Cabinet reshuffle. GMOF President Dr. Rukshan Bellana has emphasised the importance of the UNP taking over health portfolio
 

Mar 29 (DN) Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has asked that the 40-year-old district quota system for universities be amended instead of promoting SAITM as the solution for the problems caused by the district quota system.
 

Mar 29 (India Today) After cancelling his trip to Sri Lanka, superstar Rajinikanth has written a letter to Sri Lankan Tamils thanking them for their love. 'Let good things happen. When time is right we will meet. I pray almighty for your well-being,' he wrote in the short letter.
 

The singular focus on international rights intervention is killing a once-vibrant local rights movement

Mar 29 (Hindu) Froom the time Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, international actors have infused narratives of the war with stories of human rights abuses.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has informed the Chief Ministers to prepare for elections to three Provincial Councils. President Sirisena has conveyed this information when he met with Chief Ministers representing the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the President's official residence last night, the state run TV said.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- The High Commission of India, Colombo announced today that Government of India has decided to hold Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) 2017 in Colombo for admission of meritorious Sri Lankan students in prestigious IITs for the academic session 2017-18.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator exploring the most pressing issues with regard to utilities including electricity plans to launch guidelines on planned and unplanned power outages.
 

Mar 28 (CP) Colombo- Former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says he has not yet taken a decision regarding the next presidential election but hasn't given up the idea of entering politics either. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa expressed his views about politics when he addressed Sri Lanka's Foreign Correspondents Association at the Galle Face Hotel Colombo March 27, 2017.
 

Mar 28 (War on the Rocks) Why were Sri Lankan schoolchildren dancing to a U.S. Navy band? Sri Lanka has just finished welcoming a U.S. military operation that seeks to build relationships in the Indo-Pacific region.
 

Mar 28 (ER) Russia and Sri Lanka have signed various agreements to increase trade and commerce, economic investment and defense cooperation between the two countries, specifically establishing cooperation in several sectors, including fisheries, defense and tourism.
 

COLOMBO: Following a statement by Rizwe Mufthi, President of the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), that the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) is "perfect in the present state" and does not require changes, Sri Lankan women groups have termed his view a blocking of fundamental rights and called upon the government to intervene.
 

Mar 28 (ER) As the midday sun rises higher over Gulf of Mannar, a drone hovers over the blue mass of sea water. Below, a motley crowd of fishermen gathers, straining their eyes at a drone.
 

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Not averse to Rajinikanth visiting Sri Lanka when situation improves: VCK (28 - PTI)
* Anti-SAITM protests to take ominous turn next week - GMOA musters forces to launch spate of strikes (28 - Island)
* Govt.ensures full transparency: Minister Madduma Bandara (28 - DN)
* Tabs for fishermen (28 - DM)

SPORTS

Mar 29 (ESPNCI) Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has lauded Steven Smith as "Bradman-like," while confirming that the way the tourists pushed India to the brink of losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has set a marker for how the team intends to play from here on. The 2017 Australians were not the team of snarlers who wrested the Ashes back from England in 2013-14,
 

Mar 29 (CW) Kusal Mendis scored a scintillating century to take Sri Lanka to 311 runs before heavy rains lashed out in Dambulla, not allowing any further action, thereby ending the second One-Day International against Bangladesh without a result. Bangladesh now have taken an unassailable of 1-0 in the series following their 90-run win in the first ODI at the same venue.
 

Sri Lanka 311/7 (49.2 ov) Bangladesh

Mar 28 (ESPNCI) Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Upul Tharanga, playing in his 200th ODI, decided to bat first against Bangladesh in a must-win second ODI in Dambulla. The hosts rejigged their bowling attack by including Dilruwan Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep in place of Lahiru Kumara, Lakshan Sandakan and Sachith Pathirana.
 

Mar 28 (ESPNCI) TOm Harrison, the ECB chief executive, has defended the introduction of a new T20 tournament, slated to get underway in 2020, by insisting that the concept will "future-proof" the game in England and Wales. Harrison also stated he would like "as much cricket as possible" to be broadcast free...
 


WORLD

Mar 29 (BBC) A missing Indonesian man was found dead inside the body of a python, according to local police. Akbar went missing on Sunday on the island of Sulawesi, after leaving to harvest palm oil. In the search for the 25-year-old, police told BBC Indonesian that they had found a huge snake they suspected had swallowed the man.
 

Mar 28 (ANI) Beijing- Beijing and Kathmandu agreed to cooperate more in jointly building the Belt and Road initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday. During the meeting, Xi said friendly ties between China and Nepal are in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, reports Xinhua.
 

Mar 28 (ANI) New Delhi- Russia's Head of the Department of Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov visited India for the annual round of bilateral consultations during which discussions were held on wide range of issues including nuclear, terrorism, and nuclear energy.
 

Mar 28 (BBC) A powerful cyclone carrying winds of up to 263km/h (163 mph) has reached the coast of Queensland, Australia. More than 25,000 people were urged to evacuate ahead of Cyclone Debbie. The category four storm has already left at least 23,000 homes without power and caused damage on the popular Whitsunday Islands.
 


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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