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[Last Updated = Sat, Feb 28, 2015, 01:02 pm SL Time]
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Opinion: Without an opposition in Parliament, there is no democracy in Sri Lanka

Feb 28, Colombo: In the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, there were only a few productive opposition voices in parliament. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka and United National Party parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva were among the few. Despite the opposition they raised, or facts presented, at every debate on the government's bills and acts to show that those are not reasonable or detrimental to the country, the Rajapaksa regime won the battle and passed the bills, because there were not enough votes in the opposition in parliament to defeat them.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Feb 28 (CP) Colombo- A Central Committee member of Sri Lanka's Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Wasantha Samarasinghe has given evidence to the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on several complaints lodged by him.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka's CID questions former minister and former monitoring MP

Feb 28 (CP) Colombo- Newly appointed Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Lieutenant General Chrishantha De Silva has assured that national security will be given highest priority and will not be compromised at any cost.

Feb 28 (Island) Justice and Labour Relations Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, has said in London that the government hasn’t decided to launch a fresh investigation into accountability issues during eelam war IV. Minister Rajapakshe was responding to a query in an interview with BBC Sinhala Service.

Feb 28 (DM) Controversial leftist party activist Kumar Gunaratnam, who went underground defying immigration laws is learnt to have allegedly stolen the identity of another man who already lives in Australia by the name Noel Mudalige, highly placed sources said.

Feb 28 (DN) A man was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike at Mahanama Vidyalaya in Walgama, Matara. The incident took place around 8.30 pm yesterday and the body has been sent to the Matara General Hospital mortuary.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lanka Police say that the Judicial Medical Officer's report into the death of former Havelock's captain and Sri Lankan rugby player, Wasim Thajudeen, had revealed that his death could not have been due to natural causes.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka Police to commence fresh probe on the mysterious death of national rugby player

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A court in Sri Lanka has ordered the management of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) to pay compensation to a female doctor who was paralyzed due to an accident at the premises. The Colombo District Court today ordered a payment of Rs.187 million as compensation to Dr. Samitha Samanmali

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A court in Sri Lanka today granted bail to former Minister Wimal Weerawansa's wife Shashi Weerawansa who was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Sunday.

** Related Story ::Update: Former Sri Lankan minister's wife arrested for passport fraud transferred to prison hospital

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- As many as 86 Indian fishermen have been arrested and their 10 fishing boats seized by the Sri Lanka Navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, PTI reported. The fishermen were arrested Thursday night off the eastern coast of Mullaitivu, Naval spokesman Commander Indika Silva said.

Feb 27 (CP) New York- The New York-based human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Thursday called on Sri Lanka's new government to advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Former Senior Superintendent of the Sri Lanka Police and Police Spokesperson, Prishantha Jayakody who was in exile has returned to the country. Former SSP Jayakody returned to Sri Lanka from Australia and claimed that he fled the country due to threats from former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and some of his loyalists.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Champika riled by Avant Garde chief going abroad despite CID probe (27 - Island)
* 148 Kg of explosives found in Chavakachcheri (27 - DM)
* Six BBS monks noticed to appear before courts (27 - DN)
* Court rejects request to transfer former Sri Lankan minister's wife from Prison Hospital to National Hospital (27 - CP)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Feb 28 (CP) Colombo- The Under Secretary General of the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Sri Lanka Saturday on a four-day visit from 28 February to 3 March 2015.

Feb 28 (CP) Chennai- Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam today asked the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately instruct the Ministry of External Affairs to get the 29 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 3 boats released from the Sri Lankan custody.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena says introducing laws alone is not sufficient to prevent malpractices and corruption at public institutions to make the public services free of such misdeeds. The attitudes of those who hold responsible positions in public service should also need to be changed for good governance, the President emphasized.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has said that it will not make any decision on Chinese projects that are currently being reviewed until it consults China. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who is on a two-day visit to China at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, has assured that the new government would welcome Chinese investors.


FINANCE

Feb 28 (Island) Janashakthi Insurance PLC recorded profit before tax in excess of LKR 1 Bn as of December 31, 2014, showing healthy growth amidst regulatory change in the insurance sector. The Gross Written Premium of Non-Life Insurance segment of the company was LKR 6.8 Bn compared to LKR 6.5 Bn previous year.

Feb 28 (DM) Amăna Bank, Sri Lanka’s one and only licensed commercial bank operating in full conformity to the non-interest based Islamic banking model, has recorded its first profitable quarter for Q4 2014.

Feb 28 (DN) “The Government is aiming at creating an environment where people will want to participate in the stock exchange activities knowing that they have the equal challenge in either losing or making money.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's diversified conglomerate John Keells Holdings has informed Fitch Ratings Lanka, a rating agency that it will terminate its rating agreement with the company with effect from 27 March 2015, the company said in a stock market disclosure.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's leading ship builder Colombo Dockyard handed over the second passenger vessel it built for the Government of India at a ceremony held Thursday under the patronage of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI) , declined considerably to 2.9 percent in February 2015 from 3.2 percent in the previous month on a year-on-year basis, the Central Bank reported on Friday.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- Fitch Ratings has affirmed Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC's (DIST) National Long-Term Rating at 'AAA(lka)'. The Outlook is Stable. Leading Alcohol Manufacturer: DIST continues to be the market leader in alcoholic beverage production in Sri Lanka due to its strong brands, which drive demand and access to retail points across the island.

Feb 27 (XInhua) COLOMBO - Helped by growing Chinese travelers, Sri Lanka's post-war tourism industry hit yet another high ending 2014 with unprecedented 1.5 million arrivals, the Central Bank said here on Thursday.

More : FINANCE
* Rupee steady, currency reserves adequate: Finance Minister (27 - Island)
* HNB Group PAT surpasses Rs 10 b (27 - DN)
* Shift Solutions use Oculus Rift technology to create an immersive brand experience (27 - DM)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Feb 28 (CP) Colombo- Power and Energy Minister of Sri Lanka Patali Champika Ranawaka said an internal probe conducted by his Ministry regarding the alleged irregularities that had taken place when importing coal for the Norochcholai coal power plant in 2013, has been completed

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan government appoints committee to probe alleged irregularities in coal imports

Feb 28 (Island) The JHU-led National Council for a Clean Tomorrow is planning to launch a new campaign to ensure that Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration achieved its much publicised objectives in constitutional reforms, good governance and accountability.

Feb 28 (DM) Public Order Minister John Amaratunga yesterday said a probe will be launched into the manner in which diplomatic passports had been issued during the previous regime to non-diplomats.

Feb 28 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena will visit the northern and eastern areas starting on March 3, his first visit to the former war battered provinces since assuming office on January

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- The Under Secretary General of the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Jeffrey Feltman will arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow on a four-day visit from 28 February to 3 March 2015.

** Related Story ::Senior UN official to visit Sri Lanka during the weekend

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A Maldivian opposition party delegation arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday and held discussions with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the present political crisis in the Maldives. A joint delegation from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) are also meeting with diplomatic missions in Colombo

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government today condoled the loss of lives in Afghanistan from the deadly avalanches and extended sympathies to the bereaved. "The Government and people of Sri Lanka are deeply saddened by the loss of over 187 lives, injury to over 129 people and damage to property resulting from the deadly avalanches...

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today issued an order halting the local government elections for two councils in the Mullaitivu District in the Northern Province scheduled for Saturday (28).

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A senior minister of the Sri Lankan government has said that President Maithripala Sirisena will visit the United Kingdom on March 7th this year. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who is attending the Global Law Summit in London, said in an interview with the BBC that President Sirisena is scheduled to visit the UK on March 7.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- The United States has noted the progress that has taken place in Sri Lanka under the new government that assumed office last month. US Secretary of State John Kerry has noted the marked progress in Sri Lanka after the new government took office.

Feb 27 (CP) Colombo- A senior minister of the Sri Lankan government says that the next general election will be held only after fulfilling all promises made during the Presidential election and that it could even go beyond the government's 100 day programme.

Feb 27 (CP) Teheran- Iran will see to the completion of projects that are underway in Sri Lanka with Iranian funds, a senior Iranian government official said. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi has announced Tehran's readiness for completion of projects that are underway as well as inking new contracts and implementing different ventures in Sri Lanka.

Feb 27 (CT) United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) constituents commenced a campaign to get 1 million signatures on a petition urging the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and UPFA leadership to bring former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the next Prime Ministerial candidate.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Gov.t’s pro-western policy counter-productive -LSSP (27 - Island)
* 13 principals told to submit Grade-5 admission details (27 - DM)
* National Executive Committee meeting ends without agreement (27 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Feb 28 (ESPNCI) Is Lasith Malinga hero or pariah? Where does Sri Lanka stand on that as a nation? Because through the course of the World Cup it has become clear that in opposition dressing rooms, in foreign stadiums, cafes, and bars, there is rarely much dispute: he is admired - even celebrated. Now, as Sri Lanka move into a more intense phase of their campaign, which increasingly appears as if it will be defined by Malinga's own form, it is a question worth pondering again.

More : SPORTS

Feb 28 (ESPNCI) If social media is to be believed, England's players have been enjoying themselves in Wellington. Several have been spotted in bars and restaurants. Others have been snapped on the waterfront. Perhaps they're hoping to feel comfortable in the city in which they suffered the massacre at New Zealand's hands, eight days ago. Maybe they're hoping to keep minds fresh and loose, still hoping to mount a World Cup surge. They had been dominant against Scotland, as Moeen Ali and Ian Bell galloped to a graceful 172-run opening stand, and Eoin Morgan rediscovered a little of his confidence.

Feb 27 (AFP) Melbourne- Sri Lanka flew back to New Zealand on Friday grumbling about their World Cup travel following a hectic dash across the Tasman sea for just one game even as some other teams enjoyed a relaxed schedule. Angelo Mathews' men played their first two matches in New Zealand and then flew across to Australia to complete a 92-run drubbing of Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

After a slow start against New Zealand in this ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, I am starting to like what I am seeing from Sri Lanka. True, since that heavy loss to the co-hosts on the opening day of the tournament Sri Lanka have played two of the less-fancied sides in their pool in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. And in the Afghanistan match it took an excellent partnership between Mahela Jayawardena and Angelo Mathews to haul the team out of trouble.


WORLD

Feb 28 (BBC) A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.

More : WORLD

Feb 28 (BBC) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is presenting its first full budget in what is seen as a key test of his appetite for reform. Mr Modi won last year's general elections on a promise to reform the economy and attract foreign investment.

Feb 28 (BBC) A British-based Nepalese army officer ordered the torture of two suspected rebels during the country's civil war, the Old Bailey has heard. Lt Col Kumar Lama, 47, who now lives in St Leonard's, East Sussex, was in charge of a barracks in Nepal at the height of the conflict in April 2005.

Feb 27 (MT) A prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka on Thursday, police said, with the atheist writer's family claiming he had received numerous threats from Islamists.


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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