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[Last Updated = Sat, Apr 18, 2015, 09:41 pm SL Time]
TOP STORY
Sri Lanka's progress in ICT highlighted at global gathering

Apr 18 (CP) The Hague- Sri Lanka with the support of World Bank has made substantial investments in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in key sectors of the economy under the "e-Sri Lanka Development initiative". Sri Lanka's Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera told a global gathering a large number of government services are now available on line to citizens through the country portal (LankaGate), facilitated by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Army has held discussions with China on improving military ties between the two countries. The discussions were held between the Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang and the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Chrishantha De Silva at the Army Headquarters on Friday (17).

Apr 18 (Island) Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after an extensive probe had arrested alleged mastermind (52) and four others who had sold land across the country using forged deeds to unsuspecting people, including drug dealers and taken vehicles on lease from leasing companies and sold those vehicles too on forged vehicle registration books, Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said yesterday.

Apr 18 (DN) An SLTB bus crashed into a private bus in Mampuriya on the Puttalam - Kollupitiya road yesterday, injuring 24 passengers, four seriously. Kalpitiya Police said among the injured were six women and three children who were admitted to the Puttalam Base Hospital.

Apr 18 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan Tamil couple with their three teenage daughters landed clandestinely at Arichalmunai, off Dhanushkodi in the early hours of Friday.

Apr 17 (CP) Galle- Sri Lanka Navy as part of upgrading ship maintenance facilities has commenced the expansion of the existing slip way at SLNS Dakshina in Galle to cater to the long line-up of under-water maintenance of the Sri Lanka naval ships and craft. (Sri Lanka Navy Photo)

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has appointed a special committee to formulate a report to be handed over with the party's proposals to the Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation.

Apr 17 (Island) Presidential aide Shiral Lakthilake yesterday said that preliminary investigations into five major corruption cases had been concluded and the Attorney General could decide on a future course of action. Relevant files had been forwarded to the Attorney General, attorner-at-law Lakthilake said.

Apr 17 (Hindu) Fundamentalism knows no boundaries. In India, it was Perumal Murugan who announced the death of the writer in him. In Sri Lanka, writer Sharmila Seyyid was 'raped' and 'murdered'online on March 28, marking a new low in the history of intolerance.

Apr 17 (Hindu) The Q Branch police have seized a Sri Lankan fibreglass boat found abandoned at Kannupalam seashore near Kundhukal in Thangachimadam, and launched a hunt for at least two Sri Lankans who could have clandestinely landed on the shore.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Woman killed, infant injured in train accident (17 - DM)
* Members of the Inter University Students' Strike action and sathyagraha (17 - DN)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Apr 18 (CP) Guruvayur- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe today offered worship at the famous Lord Krishna Temple at Guruvayur in Kerala state of India amid heavy security. The Prime Minister was accompanied by his wife Maitree Wickramasinghe and Sri Lankan Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan.

Apr 18, Colombo: Authorities in Sri Lanka have reportedly reached an agreement on continuing with the Lotus Tower project in Colombo following a discussion between several state institutions.

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan government to review Chinese funded Lotus Tower project

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Leaders of Sri Lanka's former ruling party, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) are expected to meet President Maithripala Sirisena during this weekend to discuss the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Apr 17 (CP) Washington, DC- Sri Lanka's Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake, who is on an official visit to the United States, had met several top U.S. officials. The Minister had a close-door meeting this morning with the Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal. The meeting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. today at the State Department.


FINANCE

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government as part of the 100 day programme today launched a relief measure to the tea smallholders of the country. In the present administration's 100 days programme the government proposed to pay a guaranteed price of Rs. 80 per kilogram of raw and tender tea leaves produced by small scale tea estate holders.

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P. Perera who is currently in The Netherlands leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the Global Conference on Cyberspace - 2015 (GCCS 2015) visited the Dutch Parliament on the sidelines of the conference on 15 April.

Apr 18 (DM) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) yesterday urged the President and the government to end the prevailing political uncertainty by holding the general election as soon as possible, preferably keeping to the dates announced in the ‘100-day program.’

Apr 18 (Island) Janathakshan (Gte) Ltd and People In Need, Czech Republic conducted an awareness workshop for the provincial level officials in the Central Province on March 30, at the Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy.

Apr 18 (DN) People's Bank's state-of-the-art ATM (automated teller machine) network recorded transaction volumes amounting to a staggering Rs. 10,743,741,700 during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festivity period from April 8 to 13.

Apr 17 (CP) Pinnawala- Sri Lanka's second Zoological Gardens and the first Open Air Zoo was declared open today by the Minister of Tourism and Sports Naveen Dissanayake and Minister of Higher Education, Highways and Investment Promotion Kabir Hashem.

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- The Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka has impounded the passport of the Governor of the Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendran following an order from the Bribery Commission.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka's Bribery Commission questions Central Bank Governor

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's economic growth is expected to decline to 6.9 percent in 2015 due to slowing construction activity, while South Asia is projected to steadily increase from 7 percent in 2015 to 7.6 percent by 2017 through maintaining strong consumption and increasing investment.

Apr 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's main stock index gained for a third straight session on Friday to a more-than-one-month closing high, on buying by local investors as lower interest rates dissuaded them from investing in risk-free government bonds.

Apr 17 (LA Toimes) Dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers and lavishly decorated elephants are all part of the pageantry during the Kandy Esala Perahera festival, the oldest and largest Buddhist festival in Sri Lanka.

More : FINANCE
* NSB seeking to set up branches in Bangladesh and the Maldives (17 - Island)
* Turkish firms keen on Lankan investment sectors (17 - DN)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered to reinstate all employees, who lost their jobs at the Road Development Authority, in service. The President has instructed to reinstate 235 laid-off employees of the Road Development Authority to report for duty on Monday.

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Cabinet Spokesperson in Sri Lanka Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne says there are no longer any second class citizens in the country. Dr. Senaratne has said that granting permission to sing the national anthem in the Tamil language has proven that there were no longer any second class citizens.

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- As a token of solidarity with the people of Vanuatu, the Government of Sri Lanka has sanctioned a cash contribution of US$ 50,000 for victims of Cyclone Pam that ravaged Vanuatu last month.

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has travelled to India this morning. Although details of his latest Indian visit are yet to be known, correspondents at the Katunayake International Airport have reported that Wickremesinghe has left for Cochin, India at around 7.40 a.m. today on SriLankan Airlines flight UL 165.

Apr 18 (CP) Colombo- Former leader of Sri Lanka's Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Somawansa Amarasinghe has discussed with Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya about forming a new political party.

** Related Story ::Former leader of Sri Lanka's Marxist party to start a new party

Apr 18 (DM) Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarainsghe, who resigned from the JVP, said that he would not rejoin the JVP. Responding to a JVP statement that the party was negotiating with the former leader to win him back to the fold, Mr. Amarasinghe said he would not rejoin it and would form another party at the first available opportunity.(YP)

Apr 18 (Island) The government’s efforts to introduce committee stage amendments to the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution ran into stiff resistance at yesterday’s party leaders’ meeting with Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody presiding.

Apr 18 (DN) An event providing assistance for the livelihood development of the northern people, was held recently at the Jaffna Vembadi High School. Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran participated as the Chief Guest.

Apr 18 (Xinhua) The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (CCCSL) on Friday rejected the accusation by the new government that the Southern Railway project in the island nation was constructed on a higher cost than the Northern Railway project.

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on Friday, April 17, clarified its stance on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Secretary of the BASL Ajith Pathirana in a media release said his Association will commit to establish and safeguard the supremacy of the law of the country.

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- The opposition United National Party (UNP) of Sri Lanka's Central Provincial Council has handed in a no confidence motion against the Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake. Opposition leader of the Central Provincial Council Ranjith Aluwihare said the no confidence motion against the Chief Minister of was handed in to the Governor of the Province Surangani Ellawala today.

** Related Story ::No faith motion against the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka's Central Province postponed

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- Party leaders of the Sri Lankan parliament will meet again on Monday (20) morning under the patronage of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to discuss the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka parliamentary party leaders to discuss 19th Amendment today

Apr 17 (CP) Seoul- Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa supported to elect Ban Ki-moon to the United Nations Secretary General post by persuading Sri Lanka's candidate Jayantha Dhanapala to withdraw, a late Korean businessman has revealed.

Apr 17 (CP) Colombo- Leaders of political parties representing Sri Lanka's former ruling party, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have reached a policy decision to urge for amending the electoral system. The decision was reached at a meeting of UPFA leaders that was held last evening under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Apr 17 (CP) Colomo- Sri Lanka' s previous government was intransigent on human rights issues of Tamils, press freedom and human rights of even Sinhalese people, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said.

Apr 17 (NIE) COLOMBO- India is “structurally unsuited” to be mediator or facilitator in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict because it is subject to the “emotional and electoral power” of one of its constituent states, namely, Tamil Nadu, argues former Lankan envoy at the UN in Geneva, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.

Apr 17 (AsianScientist) Experts are calling on Sri Lanka’s rice farmers to adopt flexibility in planting techniques in order to mitigate the impact of fluctuating weather patterns.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Former Marxist party MP of Sri Lanka exposes the party (17 - CP)
* Full implementation of 13 A never realistic – Mahinda (17 - Island)
* Sri Lanka parliamentary party leaders to discuss 19th Amendment today (17 - CP)
* UNP to decide forming a national government after next election (17 - CP)
* Public support sought to identify Environmental Protection Areas (17 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Apr 18 (Times) In a bizarre u-turn on Saturday, Proteas High Performance Coach, Mike Horn, claims his comments were taken out of context and that he is not aware of any political interference in the selection of the team for the World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand. The Times broke the story that the Proteas selection panel "had to okay four players of colour" for the match, in which Vernon Philander, who played alongside Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy, was chosen in place of an in-form Kyle Abbott as a move to meet apparent ‘quota’ requirements.

More : SPORTS

Apr 18 (Guardian) Cardiff is the place to be on Sunday. One of the greatest cricketers of this generation will be making a return to county cricket against Glamorgan. A treat is on the horizon for all cricket lovers and the press box will be unusually full for this Second Division contest. Yes, Kumar Sangakkara is making his debut for Surrey at the start of a season when an unusually high proportion of international stars are dipping into domestic cricket. Sangakkara is expected to bat at three.

Apr 18 (DT) COLOMBO- The appointment of an interim body to run Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) is in tune with laws governing the island nation, the country's sports minister said on Friday. The move came a day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to investigate possible ministerial interference following the government's decision last month to dissolve the SLC board. Sri Lanka's Sports minister - Navin Dissanayake - appointed a nine-member interim committee, headed by former Test opener Sidath Wettimuny, to run the sport from April 1.

Apr 17 (IBN) Colombo- Sri Lanka's sports minister Navin Dissanayake on Friday defended his decision to appoint an interim committee to oversee cricket, saying it was his "sovereign right". The comments came after the International Cricket Council said the move may amount to government interference, and that it would withhold payments to Sri Lanka unless the matter was resolved.


WORLD

Apr 18 (ET) Soon a brash naval captain may pose a bigger risk of triggering a nuclear crisis between India and Pakistan than a religious terrorist. China is likely to conclude a sale of eight conventional submarines during President Xi Jinping's visit to Islamabad on April 20, more than doubling Pakistan's fleet.

More : WORLD

Apr 18 (Star) Nearly two years after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,000 workers, Italian clothier Benetton announced Friday it would contribute more than $1 million to a fund for survivors. Benetton, one of 29 brands that sourced clothes from the ill-fated factory, is one of the last big-brand fashion houses to compensate the survivors of the Rana Plaza tragedy.

Apr 18 (RT) At least 33 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a series of explosions in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, according to police and local media. A blast took place outside a local bank, police chief Fazel Ahmad Sherzad told Reuters. According to some reports, the first explosion was shortly followed by another blast.

Apr 17 (BBC) Satellite images show China is making progress on building an airstrip on a reef in disputed territory in the South China Sea, a report says. The images, published by IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, show construction work on reclaimed land on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. The landmass could house a runway about 3,000m long, the report said.


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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