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[Last Updated = Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 11:41 pm SL Time]
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Momentum building up in Sri Lanka for abolition of executive presidency

July 25 (CP) Colombo- In a rarely seen unity, leaders of Sri Lanka's opposition political parties and civil organizations convened Thursday to build the momentum to call for abolishing of the Executive Presidency. Leaders of Sri Lanka's major opposition parties, led by the popular Buddhist leader and convener of the National Movement For Social Justice, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, gathered at the New Town Hall in Colombo Thursday to launch a 'Road Map' to abolish the Executive Presidential System and reactivate the 17th amendment. Ven. Sobhitha Thero, who is promoted by certain sections as the common Presidential candidate at next Presidential elections, led the program.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

July 25 (CP) New Delhi- The Indian government has been consistently taking up on the reports of alleged attacks on Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters with the Sri Lankan government, the Defense Minister of India Arun Jaitley said Friday.

July 25 (CP) Colombo- The three-member international panel of experts appointed to advise Sri Lanka's Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons will arrive in the island next week, sources said.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka President appoints international expert panel to advise Missing Persons Commission

July 25 (CP) Colombo- A married Sri Lankan couple who applied together for UK visas were arrested yesterday for using deception in their applications and unofficially tampering with their passports, the British High Commission in Colombo said in a release.

July 25 (CP) Colombo- Australian authorities will transfer157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers detained in a Australian Customs ship to a detention center in Western Australia, ABC news reported. The ABC has learnt that the 157 men, women and children are being transferred to the Cocos Islands, and from there will be flown to the Curtin detention center in remote Western Australia.

July 25 (Island) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Spokesperson Rupert Colville said that the Sri Lankan government could provide comments on both the oral statement and comprehensive report in September and March 2015, respectively, though it wasn’t cooperating with the investigation.

July 25 (ST) A married Sri Lankan couple who applied together for UK visas were arrested yesterday for using deception in their applications and unofficially tampering with their passports,UK Visas and Immigration Operations Manager, Tony Williams said.

July 25 (DN) Panadura and Wadduwa Police filed two separate cases against a Police Constable of the Vauniya Police Division for assault. Panadura Additional District Judge and Chief Magistrate Ruchira Welliwatte fixed the trials of the 10-year-old cases for July 27.

July 25 (E24/7) An Afghan woman has been sitting at the security entrance to the front office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for several days asking the UNHCR office to grant refugee status for her Afghan husband, Ceylon Today said.

July 24 (CP) Chennai- The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State in India, J. Jayalalithaa today urged the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant visa to the United Nations team conducting the probe into Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes.

** Related Story ::India refuses visa to UN team probing Sri Lanka

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police say that although large hauls of heroin are seized on a regular basis, the supply has not been weakened in the local market.

** Related Story :: Large heroin haul of over 100 kg seized in Sri Lanka

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has proposed to the government to build an aircraft maintenance center to maintain Chinese aircraft belonging to the Air Force. SLAF media spokesman Wing Commander Gihan Seneviratne said that the Air Force has a large fleet of Chinese aircraft and a large amount has to be paid to China for their maintenance.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Army says that it has gradually returned a large extent of land to the original owners after reducing the size of army camps in Jaffna. Military Spokesman and Ministry of Defence, Media Center Director Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the land occupied by the Army now has been reduced to 6,500 acres from the original 26,000 acres.

July 24 (AJ) Seated in a tea shop on a beach in Sri Lanka's western coastal town of Negombo, Viganamoothy looks around nervously before checking his phone. He has made several calls in a space of fifteen minutes. He finally looks up and apologises: "I am sorry but my job is no more than a telephone operator."

July 24 (DNA) Fed up with frequent arrests and 'harassment' by Sri Lankan naval personnel, fishermen from this coastal town today said they would proceed to the island nation with their families on August 2 and surrender to officials there "to at least survive and earn their livelihood peacefully."

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Hostile reception greets TNA Provincial Councillor at Mullaithivu Courts (24 - DN)
* Police ask Hirunika to disclose Kolonnawa drug barons’ names (24 - Island)
* Four sentenced to death for murder (24 - DM)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

July 25 (CP) Colombo- Maternal deaths during the pregnancy period or due to post-partum complications have reduced dramatically in Sri Lanka's war-torn Northern Province since the end of the conflict. This was revealed at the National Maternal Death reviews conducted recently in Jaffna and Vavuniya for the year 2013.

July 24 (CP) Geneva- Sri Lanka expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of civilian lives, and extensive damage to property and condemned "all acts of deliberate attacks causing mayhem and loss of life of civilians."

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka has progressively improved in human development over the years and is ranked 73 in the category of High Human Development Country in the Human Development Report (HDR) 2014 released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


FINANCE

July 25 (CP) Colombo- SSri Lanka Finance Ministry said the special commodity levy on imported grain and lentils will be reduced with effect from midnight today. Accordingly, special commodity levy Mysore dhal will be reduced from 26th July by Rs. 3 per kilogram, green gram by Rs. 32 per kilogram, Cowpea by Rs.30. per kilogram, and Watana by Rs. 7 per kilogram.

July 25 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has received approval from the cabinet of Ministers to amend the legislation regarding refuse tea and several waste tea grades to enable the authorities to impose hefty fines on the unscrupulous tea traders

July 25 (Island) Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million owns 22 million mobile phones, 4.7 million motorcycles and 1 million scooters, which indicate there is something noteworthy happening in the country, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning said yesterday.

July 25 (DN) Tenaga Car Parks(Pvt) Ltd, a BOI certified company plans to invest over 1.2 million Euros in the unique solar powered street parking machine venture with CALE Access the Swedish giant specializing in parking, public and entry solutions.

July 25 (LBO) Profits at Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings rose 35 percent to 2.14 billion rupees, in the June 2014 from a year earlier helped by 1.9 billion rupees in net interest income, interim accounts showed.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today entered into a Bilateral Agreement to gain access into each other's securities markets. The agreement will enable the CBSL to further diversify its reserves management activities into Indian rupee denominated assets

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Subway, the US-based fast food franchise popular for its submarine sandwiches has opened its first store in Sri Lanka. Subway has opened its first store in R.A.de Mel Mawatha in Colombo.

More : FINANCE
* Sri Lanka will 'set the pace' for India in milk yield and quality: Wellard (24 - DR)
* Sri Lanka shares slip on profit taking; foreigners buy (24 - Reuters)
* SAARCFINANCE Group Meeting and SAARCFINANCE Governors’ Symposium held in Colombo (24 - CBSL)
* BOC Seychelles operation viable' (24 - DN)
* BOC launches forex risk hedging mechanism (24 - Island)
* Singer appointed exclusive distributor for Sony Mobiles (24 - DM)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

July 25 (CP) Colombo- Norway will support Sri Lanka's Peradeniya University to launch post-graduate programs in Water and Environmental Engineering and the cabinet of ministers has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard.

July 25 (CP) Colombo- A major split has occurred in the powerful government doctors' union of Sri Lanka, Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) after the Central Working Committee of the union has decided to remove two trustees.

July 25 (CP) Colombo- Supplementary staff in Sri Lanka state hospitals will launch a strike from August 08 if the health authorities failed to meet their demands by then, the Joint Trade Union Federation of Professions Supplementary to Medicine, said yesterday.

July 35 (E24/7) The baby elephant that was kept illegally at Dewram Vehera Pannipitiya in Sri Lanka was taken to the Uda Walawe Transit Home after a Court Order on July 18, 2014. The baby elephant was later released from the temple.

July 25 (Island) The government will enhance foreign remittances by raising the minimum monthly wage of Sri Lankan migrant workers from September 01 this year. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera yesterday said that the minimum monthly wage for Sri Lankan foreign workers would be increased to USD 350 from the current USD 300.

July 25 (LBO) While noting that children's health is vital for the nation's progress, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed that he strongly believes that proper nutrition helps give every child the best start in life. President Rajapaksa asserted the above at the launching of "Nutrition for a Healthy Life,"

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Coalition party of Sri Lankan government National Freedom Front (NFF) said today that the party would not hesitate to contest the Uva Provincial Council election separately if nomination is not granted to them.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent a message to the athletes representing Sri Lanka at the 20th Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. "All of you were selected through rigorous competition and hard-work to be included in the national team," President Rajapaksa said.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, has conveyed his warm greetings to the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Prince Tunku Imran for the 20th Commonwealth Games that got under in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by the main opposition United National Party (UNP) against the redistribution of seats in the Uva Provincial Council.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka main opposition hands over petition to Supreme Court against redistribution of seats in Uva Provincial Council

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Supreme Court of Sri Lanka today ordered the Attorney General to issue instructions to all public institutions not to obstruct people who wear traditional Muslim attire. Chief Justice Mohan Peiris said that the traditional Muslim attire was well within the identity of the Sri Lankan culture and Muslim women have a right to wear such attire as it causes no harm to anyone.

July 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka opposition parties, civic organizations and individuals are to meet today to sign a petition calling for the abolishing of executive presidency. At the meeting former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the Opposition and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe will sign a petition calling for the abolishing of the abolishing of executive.

July 24 (Asian Age) It is a measure of Sri Lanka’s return to "normal" democratic politics that conspiracy theories are once again resonating in Colombo. Compared to the situation just three years ago when "politics" continued to centre on the 30-year-long bloody civil war that mercifully came to an end in May 2009

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Social conciliation should be present at all levels’ (24 - DN)
* Ranil takes up cudgels for NGOs again (24 - Island)
* Deplorable security by Britain (24 - DM)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Sri Lanka 421 South Africa 98/3 (52.0 ov)

July 25 (ESPNCI) Flattest track in the world, eh? Ask the South Africa batsmen. They started to bat at the SSC midway through the second session of the second day, and during the 52 overs till stumps the run-rate never crossed two. Sri Lanka's trio of spinners teased and probed, Suranga Lakmal extracted some reverse swing, and the bad balls were virtually non-existent. Rangana Herath needed five balls to get his first wicket. Offspinner Dilruwan Perera needed only three.

More : SPORTS

Sri Lanka 421 (121.4 ov)

July 25 (ESPNCI) The last time Sri Lanka handed a Test debut to a young wicketkeeper, Dinesh Chandimal responded with a couple of sparky half-centuries that were crucial to their celebrated win over South Africa in Durban. This time Niroshan Dickwella, who earlier this week was in England with the A side and not even in the Test squad, responded with a similarly enterprising half-century that drove Sri Lanka towards 400 at the SSC.

July 24 (ESPNCI) A palm-lined beach, a curry swimming in coconut milk, and spiked with red chilli - though this Sri Lanka team enjoy their travel, there is nothing quite like returning to the comforts of home, they said, as they began their first assignment on the island this year. But so far, they have not made the best of being in Sri Lanka. They were undone in the ODIs, on a turner in Colombo, then at windy Hambantota.

July 24 (ESPNCI) The last time Mahela Jayawardene batted against South Africa in a Test at the SSC, he made 374, the highest score ever made by a right-handed batsman in Test cricket. Today he walked off to applause for an unbeaten 140 as his 34th Test century held together Sri Lanka's innings after Angelo Mathews won the toss on what looks another SSC batting beauty.


WORLD

July 24 (BBC) Opposition MPs in India have demanded an investigation into reports that some Hindu MPs tried to forcibly feed a Muslim man fasting for Ramadan. The MPs from the right-wing Shiv Sena party reportedly took their anger out on a government canteen worker because of the "poor quality of food".

More : WORLD

July 24 (BBC) Australia's top rights official says the situation at the Christmas Island asylum detention centre has "significantly deteriorated", leaving people "plagued by despair". Gillian Triggs visited the centre on 14 July after reports of several incidents of self-harm or suicidal detainees.

July 24 (BBC) UK investigators are to start examining the flight data recorder from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch in Farnborough will start the process almost a week after the plane crashed in eastern Ukraine. Whitehall sources, meanwhile, say information shows some evidence was tampered with at the crash site.


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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