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[Last Updated = Wed, Apr 1, 2015, 12:23 am SL Time]
TOP STORY
EU considering Sri Lanka's request to grant GSP+ concession, lift ban on fish exports

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- The European Union is reevaluating Sri Lanka's request to grant the GSP plus concession for its exports to EU and to lift the restrictions imposed on export of fish products. European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka, David Daly expressing deep appreciation over the new government's policies on improving human rights and strengthening democratic institutions when he met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today, said the EU is seriously considering Sri Lanka's request.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Police used tear gas to disperse a group of students of Sri Jayewardenepura University who were in a protest march near the Temple Trees this afternoon. Students of the Marxist party JVP affiliated Inter-University Students Union marched from the Sri Jayewardenepura University in Kotte to Temple Trees to protest against several issues in the higher education system.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Maldivian Police have busted an international drug network operated by a group of Maldivians in Sri Lanka following a two-year long operation. A joint operation conducted by the Maldives' Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and the Sri Lankan Narcotics Bureau has nabbed three Maldivians with 165 grams of heroin and a large amount of cash, Minivan News reported.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today granted bail to a United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarian facing a bribery case. The Colombo Magistrate's Court granted bail to UPFA MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena on two sureties of Rs 1 million each when the case filed against him by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption was taken up this morning.

** Related Story ::Former Sri Lankan ruling party MP summoned to Bribery Commission

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka has arrested three former Navy personnel and detained them in connection with the killing of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Nadarajah Raviraj and a policeman providing security to him in 2006.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- A court in Sri Lanka today granted bail to a businessman who was in remand for allegedly misappropriating millions of rupees of public funds. The Colombo High Court has today granted bail to businessman Ravi Wettasinghe on a surety of Rs. 100,000 and another two sureties of Rs.1 million each.

** Related Story ::Controversial Sri Lankan businessmen arrested on an open warrant remanded till Tuesday

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka today dismissed a fundamental rights petition filed against the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The apex court issued the order after having considered a fundamental rights petition filed by Duminda Nagamuwa, the candidate nominated by the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) for the January 8, 2015 presidential election.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka Supreme Court issues notice on former president

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Supreme Court will take up the fundamental rights violation petitions filed against the Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran and the Chairman of the Treasury Bond Tender Committee P. Samarasiri on April 28 and May 5, 2015.

Mar 31 (Island) KANDY – Chairman of the Central Provincial Council Mahinda Abeykoon was yesterday sentenced to RI for two and a half years by Central Provincial High Court Judge of Kandy Menaka Wijesundara.

Mar 31 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena and his entourage was not provided with adquate security at the Katunayake International Airport during their departure to Bejing, China on March 25, said a group of the airport staff.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court has ordered to impound the passport of a Chinese executive of a Chinese engineering contractor, involved in several mega construction projects in the country. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya has ordered to impound the passport of San Ya Peng, the Director of China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) when he was presented in court.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- A court in Sri Lanka has today directed the police to arrest former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa upon his return to the country. Kaduwela Magistrate, Dhammika Hemapala issued the order Monday to arrest the younger brother of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

** Related Story ::Police unable to deliver court order to former President's brother Basil Rajapaksa

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- A British woman has been killed after falling off of a moving train in Sri Lanka, while riding on the foot board of the train, local media reported. The unidentified woman was reportedly riding on the foot board of the train, which was heading towards, Colombo when she fell off in Payagala and died.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- The Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) of Sri Lanka police has questioned the former Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal in connection with the controversial hedging deal. Police Media Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said the FCID has recorded a statement from the former governor today.

Mar 30 (PTI) Sri Lanka's new government today warned that there is a real danger that the LTTE could regroup and wage another war for an independent Tamil homeland, six years after they were militarily defeated.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Gold gets into Customs officer’s socks in toilet (30 - Island)
* Rathgama PS Chairman's killing: suspect arrested (30 - DN)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka sports minister Navin Dissanayake has appointed former Test opener Sidath Wettimuny to head a nine-member interim committee to run the cricket board, Sri Lanka Cricket. The committee will be effective from Wednesday (April 1) and function until an election is held or until further notice.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe Tuesday unveiled the energy sector plan for the next ten years formulated to achieve the ambitious goal of 100 percent energy self-sufficiency by 2030.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI) , decreased to 0.1 percent on an year-on-year basis in March 2015, from 0.6 percent recorded in February 2015, the Central Bank reported on Tuesday.


FINANCE

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Given that the Russian economy is strangling with economic embargoes that has resulted in the currency depreciation by almost one hundred percent and Russian arrivals to Sri Lanka plunging by 32 percent, Sri Lanka tourism went on to invest in the market with strong brand building with focused relationship with key travel agents and tour operators at the key Russian fair MITT that was staged in Moscow last week.

Mar 31 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares rose on Tuesday, recovering from a more than eight-month closing low hit in the previous session and snapping a six-session losing streak, due to window dressing ahead of the quarter-end, though political uncertainty weighed on sentiment, brokers said.

Mar 31 (SCMP) The war of words over the stalled Colombo Port City project escalated yesterday as China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) called the Sri Lankan government’s recent statement on the matter "factually incorrect".

Mar 31 (ET) SINGAPORE- Lanka IOC, the Sri Lankan arm of Indian Oil Corp, is seeking 30,000 tonnes of gasoil and gasoline for delivery in April, a tender document showed on Tuesday.

Mar 31 (Island) Focusing on the EU withdrawal of the GSP+ concession to Sri Lanka and its consequences, EU ambassador to Sri Lanka David Daly said regranting GSP + hinged not only on Tshirts or fishing rights, but on also factors such as human rights protection, labour rights sustenance and upholding of the Rule of Law locally.

Mar 31 (DN) Hatton National Bank's Chief Human Resource Officer Chiranthi Cooray was the recipient of the Global HR Excellence HR Leadership Award presented by the World HRD Congress at a ceremony held at the Taj Lands End Hotel, Mumbai, India on February 15, 2015.

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka should be invested in because of the beauty of the country, people and environment, deputy Minister of highways, higher education and investments promotions, Eran Wickramaratne said. He was answering a question put forward by Suresh Shah, Chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Within a day after Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) held discussions in Colombo to reinstate the sought after GSP Plus trade concession to boost Sri Lanka's apparel exports, another coveted technical breakthrough has been extended to Sri Lanka through a surging EU economy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Hatton National Bank has entered into a landmark agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to raise US$ 100 million by way of a seven-year senior debt. This is the largest transaction by ADB with a Sri Lankan private sector bank

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka is keen to attract foreign investment to stimulate export-led growth and help alleviate poverty, and therefore, needs to ease barriers of entry for foreign investment, the Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has said.

More : FINANCE
* Sri Lanka's Cinnamon Lakeside hotel partially closed for repairs (30 - CP)
* Sri Lankan shares fall for 6th session on margin calls, political woes (30 - Reuters)
* Vietnam to facilitate Sri Lanka's entry into ASEAN economy (30 - Island)
* People’s Bank posts best ever results in 53 years (30 - DN)
* Sri Lanka to grow as a knowledge based economy: Doors open for private sector : Eran Wickramaratne (30 - LBO)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- An ally of the Sri Lankan government, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The JHU in its petition has noted that the proposed devolution of powers among the heads of State and Government was vague and the amendment itself was a violation of the election manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has today convened a special party leader's meeting to discuss the controversy over the post of Opposition Leader. Party leaders had discussed the issue of whether Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarian MP Nimal Siripala de Silva could hold the post of Opposition Leader in parliament after the SLFP had decided to join the government.

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has yet again criticized the media institutions in the country. The Premier earlier criticized media heads, owners as well as senior journalists. This time around Wickremesinghe has reportedly criticized sports and business media saying they could be bought over like politicians.

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan Prime Minister takes a jab at local media

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Former Secretary of Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera is being questioned by the police Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) today. Police Spokesperson ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said Dr. Jayasundera is being questioned over the controversial oil hedging deal in which the government had lost US$ 200 million.

** Related Story ::Former governor of Sri Lanka Central Bank questioned on hedging deal

Mar 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya are scheduled to meet the President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday (April 02) to discuss their proposals to change the electoral system.

Mar 31 (Hindu) Amid claims by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the new Sri Lankan government is carrying out a “political witch hunt” against his associates, more senior officials of his administration were grilled by investigators on Tuesday.

Mar 31 (Island) Democratic Left Front (DLF) leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa emphasised that they wouldn’t cooperate with Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva under any circumstances.

Mar 31 (GR) The United States has no genuine interest in accountability or reconciliation in Sri Lanka, but is seeking a strategic military base in Asia, says Tamara Manimekhalai Kunanayakam, onetime Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Holy See.

Mar 31 (DM) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today criticised the sports and business media saying they could be bought over like politicians. “Front pages of Newspapers are talking of corruption. The sports pages are defending the corrupt.

Mar 31 (DN) A special project for the development of Galle District cities such as Galle, Hikkaduwa and Weligama, has been initiated under the Strategic Urban Planning Programme sponsored by the World Bank, Project Director Champika de Silva said.

Mar 31 (LA Times) This remote coastal scrubland, a haven for wild elephants and migratory birds that is several hours away from the nearest city, seems like an odd place to attempt to create a major commercial hub.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- A complaint has been lodged against the Industries and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. The complaint was lodged by the Sinhala National Front against the Minister for allegedly obtaining lands in the Wilpattu National Park.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Fulfilling a pledge given in the 100-day plan of the new Sri Lankan government, the government commenced a program to provide free Wi-Fi facility to all the people in the country. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera launched the program opening the first free Wi-Fi facility at the Colombo Fort Railway Station.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs has asked the United Nations to assist evacuating Sri Lankan migrant workers in Yemen amid growing unrest in Yemen as Saudi air strikes against the rebels continued. According to the Foreign Ministry, over 120 Sri Lankan maids have been stranded near the Yemeni capital Sanaa and are awaiting repatriation.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- The Urban Development Authority (UDA) of Sri Lanka is reportedly struggling to continue the payment of rents for 582 families evicted to make way for India's Tata Housing company's US$ 429.5 million mixed development project in Slave Island district of Colombo.

** Related Story ::Tata Housing warns Sri Lankan government's plans to review its project erode investor confidence

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe is to hold a discussion at Temple Trees this evening with leaders of political parties on the proposed electoral reforms. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya is also scheduled to participate in the meeting today.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- A senior minister of the Sri Lankan government says that the Central Bank Governor should resign from the post since the Bank has lost its credibility over the recent events. Higher Education Minister and former Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama has said that the Central Bank Governor should resign.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has decided to recommence all the main and provincial road development projects in the island nation with China, a senior government official has said. According to the Ministry official, extension of the Southern Expressway is one of the projects to immediately recommence work.

Mar 30 (CP) Colombo- The University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka has appointed Professor Lalitha Mendis as the Acting Vice Chancellor at the University of Colombo following the leave of Vice Chancellor Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Kiriella proposes road through Udawattekele reserve (30 - Island)
* Ransom, commissions in power and energy sector Report to me - Patali (30 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Mar 31 (AS) The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have upheld Vernon Manilal Fernando's lifetime ban after the former FIFA Executive Committee member lost his appeal on Monday. FIFA imposed a life ban on Fernando in 2013 after the Sri Lankan - a close ally of Qatari football administrator Mohamed bin Hammam - appealed against his initial eight-year suspension for multiple ethics violations, including bribery, conflicts of interest and accepting gifts.

More : SPORTS

Mar 31 (PTI) Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is set to take over a role with the country's cricket administration to develop the infrastructure of the local game at the feeder level. Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake said that Jayawardene, 37, has consented to a futuristic role in restructuring the schools and junior level cricket.

Mar 31 (Age) In a corner of the glowing image of Australia's World Cup triumph is a blot that no amount of rubbing ever will remove. It is the disposition of the Australians at the dismissals of three New Zealanders during a largely one-sided final. Brad Haddin mocked Martin Guptill by clapping his gloves in Guptill's face after he was bowled by Glenn Maxwell, while Grant Elliott and Daniel Vettori were sent on their respective ways with volleys of words. It was the sort of ugliness the ICC had promised to crack down on in this tournament.

Mar 30 (AP) ISLAMABAD— Pakistan named Azhar Ali as captain for limited-overs cricket on Monday after ignoring the middle-order batsman for the Cricket World Cup, where it was eliminated in the quarterfinal. Ali, who played the last of his 14 one-day internationals in 2013, replaces Misbah-ul-Haq, who has retired from ODIs. Misbah will continue to lead in test matches, where Ali will be vice-captain.


WORLD

Mar 30 (WP) A rhinoceros entered the town of Hetuada in southern Nepal on Monday, creating chaos and killing at least one person. The wild creature's rampage was documented by a number of social media users.

More : WORLD

Mar 30 (BBC) More than 1,000 men have reportedly been arrested in India's Bihar state over the use of impersonators and false papers for police recruitment tests. The fraud was uncovered when identity papers and fingerprints provided for different tests did not match up, a police official told AFP news agency.

Mar 30 (BBC) A blogger has been hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, a month after a prominent atheist writer was killed in a similar attack. Washiqur Rahman was attacked close to his home in Dhaka's Begunbari area, a police official told AFP news agency.


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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