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[Last Updated = Mon, Dec 22, 2014, 09:14 pm SL Time]
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Top cabinet minister in Sri Lanka decides to support common candidate

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- A top cabinet minister of Sri Lankan government has decided to common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the forthcoming presidential election. Announcing his decision today the former Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said he made the "crucial career call of his political life" to support the former Health Minister for President as the "need for national unity underpins his crucial decision."
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan housemaid has committed suicide in the bathroom at her employers' house in Saudi Arabia and the police are investigating the incident. The maid's Saudi employer found the maid dead after he broke the bathroom door when she failed to answer his repeated calls, 'Sada' newspaper said.

Dec 22 (Island) Maithripala Sirisena’s Campaign Office yesterday alleged that UPFA supporters led by Hambantota Mayor Eraj Fernando had attacked a group of Opposition activists who were about to stage a protest at Hambantota bus stand yesterday morning.

Dec 22 (DM) A 22-year-old youth was found hanging in a cell at the Embilipitiya Police and pronounced dead upon admission to the Embilipitiya Base Hospital today. He had been arrested this morning on charges of robbing several houses.

Dec 22 (DN) A wall of a house collapsed on a mother and her daughter killing them on the spot last Thursday. The two were sleeping when the wall collapsed on them killing them instantly.

Dec 21 (Island) -Police attack on a group of civilians lead by Ampitiya Sumana Ratana Thero, in B'loa who were proceeding to hand over a petition to the President. A group of civilians including Buddhist priests led by Rev Ampitiye SumanaratnaThero yesterday alleged they were attacked by the police at around 6.30 p.m. on Friday in front of the Batticaloa Police Station.

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More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- A new British High Commissioner will replace current British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives in April next year. Mr James Dauris has been appointed British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives in succession to Mr John Rankin, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced today.

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- Common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena will share his vision for a united and prosperous future for Sri Lanka with the business community at a key forum on Tuesday 23rd December from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at King's Court, Cinnamon Lakeside.


FINANCE

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks ended little changed on Monday amid moderate trading, but stockbrokers expect volatility until the Jan. 8 presidential poll with fresh defections from the ruling party raising political uncertainty.

Dec 22 (Island) Sri Lanka kicked off its first ever industrial chemical technical sessions on 17 December-and a top team from The Hague's (Netherlands) OPCW- which conducted widely publicised Syrian chemical weapon inspections in October 2013-is here to upgrade Sri Lanka's industrial chemical expertise to the next level.

Dec 22 (DM) Sri Lanka’s small investors will soon be able to invest in large scale real-estate such as office space, shopping malls and apartment complexes through the stock exchange, as the capital market regulator, is currently working with the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to introduce a realestate-based securities product next year.

Dec 22 (DN) The Sri Lankan Capital market is one of the key areas which has witnessed an impressive growth in the post war period and the amount raised by companies up to December 2014, from the Capital Market during the last three years has passed the Rs. 160 billion mark.

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Amăna Takaful PLC to transfer its life insurance business, Family Takaful to Amăna Takaful Life Limited with effect from 1st of January 2015, the company said in a media release.

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More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- Leader of a major Tamil party in Sri Lanka has said that the Tamil people should use their voting rights without fail in the upcoming Sri Lankan presidential election. Jaffna district parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah, the leader of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK), major constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has said that the TNA had not taken a final decision on the upcoming presidential election but it had decided that Tamil people should cast their votes.

Dec 22 (CP) Colombo- The leader of Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has decided to support the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the upcoming Presidential election. The leader of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), V. Anandasangaree announced today his party's decision to support Sirisena.

Dec 22 (Island) The UNP-led Opposition yesterday declared that a victory for Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena at January 8, 2015 poll would help settle accountability issues/war crimes charges raised by the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Dec 22 (CT), Colombo- Executive powers will not be given to the Provincial Chief Ministers and it will not be taken away from the President under a government headed by the common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

Dec 22 (DN) Legal action will be taken against Common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena for presenting himself as the SLFP General Secretary, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa who is also the SLFP General Secretary said yesterday at the annual summit of the Mahajana Pubudu Ekamuthuwa Women’s Organisation.

Dec 22 (DM) With a monthly income of Rs. 16,000 for airport, the Rajapaksa government will take 140,000 years to settle the Rs. 27 thousand million loan it has taken to build Mattala airport, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) General Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka said today.

Dec 22 (DE) COLOMBO- Sri Lanka made global headlines in 2014 with few positives as it faced censure from the UN for its human rights record while President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered snap presidential polls seeking a record a third term amid efforts to address the vexed fishermen issue with India.

Dec 22 (CG) Colombo- The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) says it is looking to reach a consensus on which candidate to support at the Presidential elections. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, speaking at an event in Kandy today, said that while opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has made public his election manifesto and President Mahinda Rajapaksa will release his this week, it is difficult to decide who to support simply based on a manifesto.

Dec 22 (Xinhua) More than 40,000 people have been displaced in the north central and east regions of Sri Lanka as torrential rains made dams overflow and hampered transport, an official said on Sunday. The eastern town of Batticaloa is the worst hit with an estimated 30,000 people displaced from their homes, an official said.

Dec 21 (NIE) COLOMBO- The Friday Forum, a grouping of Sri Lankan intelligentsia, has asked for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Higher Education, S B Dissanayake, for saying on TV that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga should “be put down on the ground, trampled and stripped naked, and made to run along the streets.”

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Dec 22 (ESPNCI) Sri Lankan's rookie offspinner and seamer were the major movers and shakers on the second and final day of the drawn warm-up match in Queenstown, as they claimed three wickets apiece to help reduce the New Zealand Chairman's XI to 125 all out. Quick Dushmantha Chameera and offspinner Tharindu Kaushal only bowled 7.5 overs between them, but claimed 3 for 13 each. Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella also hit fifties in the second innings.

More : SPORTS

Dec 22 (ESPNCI) Sri Lanka's premier one-day bowler Lasith Malinga will return to international cricket towards the tail-end of the seven-match ODI series in New Zealand in January 2015. Malinga underwent surgery on a troubled left ankle in September and is currently recuperating. He missed Sri Lanka's last two ODI series played against India and England. "Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. He will return for the last two ODI games in New Zealand," assured Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu.

Dec 22 (ICC) The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced Sachin Tendulkar as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Ambassador. It will be the second successive time that the India maestro will be the Ambassador of ICC’s pinnacle tournament, after he fulfilled the role in the previous event, which was co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka in 2011. In his role as ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Ambassador, Tendulkar will promote and support a variety of ICC initiatives to enhance the profile of the tournament, which is the third biggest sporting event in the world and will take place in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March.

Dec 22 (Stuff) Sri Lanka fared better in their second innings against a Chairman's XI in Queenstown today as they warmed-up for the first cricket test against New Zealand, starting in Christchurch on Boxing Day. The visitors only posted 173 for nine in their first dig but fared better at their second attempt, making 261 for eight from 62.2 overs in the two-day match at the Events Centre.


WORLD

Dec 22 (BBC) A dense fog has enveloped the capital, Delhi, and parts of northern India, causing massive travel chaos. Visibility at runways at the airport in Delhi dropped to below 50 metres and reports say that at least 36 flights were delayed.

More : WORLD

Dec 22 (BBC) China's foreign minister has told US Secretary of State John Kerry that his country is "against all forms of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism". The remarks came in a phone conversation in which the two discussed the hacking of Sony Pictures

Dec 22 (BBC) Police in Pakistan say they have arrested several people suspected of involvement in last week's Peshawar school massacre. Pakistan's interior minister said the men were "facilitators" in the attack, which left 141 people dead, including 132 children.


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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