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[Last Updated = Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 12:44 am SL Time]
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Sri Lanka tenders apology to Indian PM and Tamil Nadu CM for article on Defense Ministry website

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka today tendered an "Unqualified Apology" to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa over a derogatory op-ed article posted on the Defence Ministry website. The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development said the article had been published without appropriate authorization and it is not reflecting any official position of the Government of Sri Lanka or the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. "We extend an unqualified apology to the Hon Prime Minister of India and Hon Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the Defence Ministry said in a a statement posted on its website.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- A special investigative team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sri Lanka police has rescued the four-year-old boy abducted by a gang of armed men on Sunday. The Police Spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Ajith Rohana told local media that the child, Danindu Yasen Lankanath Kumara Ekanayake, was rescued by a CID team from the Galgamuwa area Friday evening.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- General Secretary Sri Lanka Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Tilvin Silva today rejected the allegations against the party over killing of popular TV presenter and songwriter Premakeerthi de Alwis.

Aug 01 (CP) Puttalam- The body of a crucial witness of a case, in which a ruling party politician of Sri Lanka was sentenced, was found in a well today. The deceased, R.A.M.P. Bandara, was the fourth witness of the case against former Western Provincial Councilor Ananda Sarath Kumara who was charged for making a female teacher to kneel down in the school for taking disciplinary action against his daughter.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- A Swiss national, who was swept into the beach in Sri Lanka's Southern Province Wednesday night after his sailboat hit a rock and smashed near the shore, will be handed over to the Embassy of Switzerland today, the police said.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) today asked the government take immediate steps to curb the day-by-day escalating crime in the country. Referring to the recent abduction of a four-year-old boy from his home after stabbing the parents, the opposition party said an unfortunate time has risen in the country where the parents cannot protect their children even inside their own home and the incident is another indication of the country's sad situation.

** Related Story ::Abduction of a four year old child shocks Sri Lanka as police remain clueless

Aug 01 (Island) Three of the four persons convicted by the High Court in the killing of Khurram Sheikh and the gang rape of his Russian girlfriend Victoria Alexandrovna have appealed to the Court of Appeal against the conviction of culpable homicide, the conviction of gang rape, and the concurrent sentence of 20 years rigorous imprisonment imposed as penalty.

Aug 01 (DN) Seven suspects produced in the Panadura High Court on charges of murdering a man at Pinwatte in Panadura on August 14, 2005 were sentenced to death yesterday. Colombo High Court Judge Mohammed S. Mohammed Razeen presiding at the Panadura Provincial High Court yesterday, found all seven accused guilty of murder.

Aug 01 (DM) The President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) complained to the police again about continual intimidation by men in plainclothes at his office in Colombo 3 yesterday.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Police Narcotics Bureau has revealed that the drug kingpins Mohammed Siddik and Wele Suda live in Peshawar in Pakistan. Sri Lanka police had sought the support of the Pakistan police and International Police (Interpol) to arrest the two suspects who are reportedly handling the drug business in Sri Lanka.

July 31 (CP) Colombo-The Sri Lankan government is likely to release all the Indian fishermen arrested by the country's Navy before their colleagues from Rameswaram start a journey to breach the International Maritime Boundary Line between India and Sri Lanka and invade the Sri Lankan side.

July 31 (IANS) Then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi decided to send Indian troops to Sri Lanka in 1987 without consulting his officials, former external affairs minister Natwar Singh has said.

July 31 (TPI) MADURAI- The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Thursday sought a reply from the Central Government on a petition filed against India's participation at a defence conference to be held in Sri Lanka in August.

July 31 (DNA) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa skipped the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of possible security threats from the Tamil diaspora groups based in the UK, a top minister said on Thursday. "Security concerns are of paramount importance", Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Information and the government spokesman said.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* People have not forgotten UNP's destructive policies - Minister (31 - DN)
* Borella police catch one more drug baron (31 - Island)
* Accident kills 3 in Gampaha (31 - DM)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Aug 01 (CP) Chennai- The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa has said that although the Sri Lanka Defense and Urban Development Ministry "surreptitiously removed" an offensive op-ed article published on its website, the "damage has already been done."

Aug 01 (NU): The external world recognized Sri Lanka as a just society and the pearl of the Indian Ocean thanks to the peace, cohabitation and prosperity that prevailed in this island in the past. Unfortunately that has completely turned upside down and Sri Lanka is now placed among the most abhorred states in the world. Newspapers are filled with news of murder, abductions, ransom taking, rape and child abuse. The latest of this dreadful series of crimes is abduction of a four year old child of Hunupolagama area of Meegalewa police area.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, this evening at Temple Trees, met with officials to discuss arrangements for the next meeting of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP). Sri Lanka will be hosting the next International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) from September 18- 21, 2014, under the theme "Building an Asian Community."

July 31 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government today charged that the actions of the United States targeting a specific community in the island can seriously hamper the fragile reconciliation process.


FINANCE

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's troubled non-medical glove maker, the Hayleys Group subsidiary, Dipped Products posted steady financial performance in the first quarter of 2014. In a filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange, Dipped Products reported a turnover of Rs. 8.741 billion and a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 441 million for the quarter ending June 30.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- The Monetary Board of Sri Lanka's Central Bank has approved 19 proposals for consolidation of island's financial institutions. Updating the progress on the financial sector consolidation during the month of July, the Central Bank said today in a statement that the consolidation process has made significant process during the month.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government plans to rehabilitate four sugar plants with the view to increase local production up to 40 percent of the annual sugar requirement of the country by 2020.

Aug 01 (DM) The Commercial High Court yesterday ordered former Touchwood PLC Chairman/CEO Lanka Kiwlegedara to hand over all documents pertaining to assets to the liquidator of the company prior to August 7, 2014.

Aug 01 (Island) The Sri Lankan multinational Haycarb PLC reported a turnover of Rs. 2.4 billion and profit before tax of Rs. 170 million for Q1 2014/15. The profit after tax stood at Rs. 143 million.

Aug 01 (DN) Twelve leading local and foreign companies have lined up to invest in mass scale production facilities in the industrial city that is being developed adjacent to the Hambantota Ruhunu Magampura Port, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Wickrama said.

Aug 01 (LBO) Profits at Sri Lanka's National Development Bank rose 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 843 million rupees, helped by higher net interest income, amid falling interest expenses, interim accounts showed.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Fairfax Asia Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada-based insurance holding company Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, has agreed to buy a 78% holding in the Union Assurance PLC, a subsidiary of John Keells Holdings (JKH), a stock market disclosure said today.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI) , rose to 3.6 percent in July 2014 on a year-on-year basis after dropping to a 28-month low of 2.8 percent in June, figures released by the Census and Statistics Department Thursday showed.

July 31 (GLC) India travel specialist Cox & Kings has launched an escorted tour to Sri Lanka featuring an introduction into the diversity of the country’s wildlife. This is the company’s second escorted tour to the country, which focusses on the abundance of birdlife, flora, fauna and marine life.

More : FINANCE
* Sri Lankan stocks gain slightly on expectation of better earnings (31 - Reuters)
* Sri Lanka's Bank of Ceylon to woo more private customers (31 - LBO)
* NDB feted for investment banking in the region (31 - DN)
* CSE introduces E-statement service to CDS account holders (31 - Island)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Aug 01 (CP) Kandy- Sri Lanka's premier Buddhist procession, the historic Esala Perahera in the hill capital of Kandy got off to a start today with the first Kumbal Perahera parading the streets. The Kumbal Perahara would parade the streets for the first five days from August 1st to 5th and the Randoli Perahara will begin after that and continue until the August 10th.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera said that the government has allocated Rs. 1.9 billion to provide relief to the people affected by the drought in the country's dry zone.

Aug 01 (CP) Matara- Southern Provincial Councilor of Sri Lanka's major opposition United National Party (UNP) Kapila Weppappili passed away this morning. He was receiving treatment at the Kalubowila Hospital for liver failure at the time of his death.

Aug 01 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government says a considerable increase in the number of foreign and local tourists visiting the botanical gardens in Sri Lanka has been observed last year and as well as this year.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka to establish ten new botanical gardens

Aug 01 (DNA) Slamming the derogatory article on the Sri Lankan Government defence website, DMK President M Karunanidhi on Friday demanded that the Centre convey its strong condemnation as it had 'besmirched' both the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the Indian Prime Minister.

Aug 01 (OW) The single limestone aquifer, which is the main source of freshwater in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula, is gradually depleting through overuse, researchers say. "The area suffers from severe groundwater imbalance which might reach crisis proportions in the future," Shanti de Silva, one of two scientists who carried out the research for the agricultural department of the University of Jaffna, said.

Aug 01 (Island) Director of National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) Dr. Anil Jasinghe yesterday said that a group of over 30 consultants had met at the auditorium of the Neuro-Trauma Unit (NTU) consequent to the disruption of their meeting at the canteen of the doctors’ quarters earlier in the day.

Aug 01 (DN) separate desk has been opened at the Department of Registration of Persons to provide National Identity Cards for those who don't have NICs and have to vote at the forthcoming Uva Provincial Council Election.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- The Chairman of the Sri Lanka's state owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Hudson Samarasinghe has proposed several measures to streamline the national radio, the oldest radio station in South Asia, its trade union sources say.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- A coalition party of the Sri Lankan government, Jathika Hela Urumaya said today that the party is worried about the path the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has taken.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion announced that the Korean language proficiency test for the Sri Lankans applying for jobs in Korea will be held on October 11 and 12.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa today officially named the road between the national television station Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the national radio Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation as Premakeerthi de Alwis Mawatha in honor of the artist.

July 31 (CP) Colombo- Bilateral discussions that took place between Sri Lankan and Singapore recently focused on expanding economic relations and cooperation in defense and security spheres. Expansion of economic relations in the atmosphere of peace and stability prevailing in the country was the central focus.

July 31 COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Sri Lanka's government will roll out a relief programme to help vulnerable farmers cope with the effects of a worsening drought, as part of a wider effort to protect people from the frequent extreme weather events that are threatening the country’s steady economic gains.

July 31 (OW) New Delhi- Switzerland Ambassador in Sri Lanka Thomas Litscher said that Switzerland is willing to continuously extend its utmost support to Sri Lanka. He also pointed out the need to strengthen trade ties between the two countries.

Jul 31 (NU), Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe met with the National Professionals' Association today in Colombo. Addressing the professionals, the Opposition Leader said that a government that is engaged in corruption and drug deals would not survive for long.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Sri Lanka Election Commissioner bans Muslim women wearing burqa or niqab when voting (31 - CP)
* Committee appointed to draft amendments to Constitution to abolish executive Presidency in Sri Lanka (31 - CP)
* Per Capita income to top US$ 4000 in 2015 - President (31 - DN)
* Some hospital workers stage strike (31 - Island)
* Buddha Sasana under threat: Ranil (31 - DM)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Aug 01 (NZS) Hashim Amla of South Africa has returned to the top three, Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews has achieved a career-best ranking and Ian Bell of England has earned a place in the top 20 of the latest Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released on Friday morning. Amla, who scored 139 not out and 25 in Colombo to inspire his side back to the number-one Test ranking, has earned 34 ratings points for his achievement, which has help him leapfrog Australia’s David Warner and Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies into third position.

More : SPORTS

July 31 (ESPNCI) Dropped from the Test side after a series of low scores, Dinesh Chandimal was sent to England to join the A squad. He made a difference in his first match on tour, scoring a century and extending Sri Lanka A's winning run on tour. Chandimal's 100 took Sri Lanka to 275 but the Yorkshire batsmen succumbed to spin, losing nine of their ten wickets to the slower bowlers at Headingley and falling short by 26 runs. Chandimal and Danushka Gunathilaka added 101 for the second wicket after Sri Lanka opted to bat. Gunathilaka made a patient 65 off 110 balls before he was dismissed by Jack Leaning.

July 31 (ESPNCI) Sri Lanka have left out wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal and spinner Ajantha Mendis from their 15-man squad for the Pakistan Tests starting next week. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep returns to the squad after missing the recent South Africa Test series due to injury and youngster Niroshan Dickwella keeps his place as wicketkeeper after an impressive debut earlier this week. Lahiru Thirimanne remains the vice-captain, though he was dropped for the previous Test against South Africa.

July 31 (ESPNCI) South Africa’s former captain Graeme Smith has praised the team for regaining the top spot in the ICC Test ranking. Smith, responding to the Proteas’ 1-0 away series triumph over Sri Lanka, posted on his Twitter account that it is great to see that the team is back at number 1, but still couldn’t quite understand how it managed to get manipulated away. The Proteas lost their grip on the No 1 position, after the rare home loss, despite having beaten Australia in each of their last two series Down Under, and boasting a particularly glowing away record.


WORLD

Aug 01 (BBC) Japan says it will give Vietnam six naval ships for patrols in the South China Sea, amid regional tension over competing maritime claims with China. The offer, worth 500 million yen (£2.9 million, $5 million), was announced during a visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to Hanoi.

More : WORLD

Aug 01 (Xinhua) Israel and Hamas agreed in the early hours of Friday to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in their bloody conflict in the Gaza Strip, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon announced separately on Thursday. The ceasefire will begin at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) on Friday, Aug. 1, they said in a joint statement, which also noted that "forces on the ground will remain in place" while the truce is effective.

Aug 01 (BBC) A Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has arrived in the US. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children.

Aug 01 (BBC) Hopes of finding any more survivors from a landslide that buried a village on Wednesday are fading, as the number of bodies found passed 50, officials said. Bad weather is hampering rescue workers who are digging through mud in Malin village near Pune in Maharashtra state.


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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