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[Last Updated = Sun, Dec 21, 2014, 01:23 am SL Time]
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Sri Lanka's migrant workers' organization pledges support to opposition candidate

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- A powerful migrant workers' organization in Sri Lanka, All Island Middle-East Employees Organization today pledged support to the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the next month's presidential elections. Addressing media at the common opposition candidate's operational headquarters president of the organization Ranjith Nanayakkara assured the support of 149,000 families in his organization to ensure the victory of the opposition candidate. The organization had supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his reelection in 2010.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Dec 20 (CP) Haputale- Supporters of Sri Lanka's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have allegedly attacked the attendees of an opposition political rally staged by the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in Haputale today.

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) of Sri Lanka today issued a landslide warning for 4 districts in the country, if prevailing inclement weather conditions continue in the next 24 hours.

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed two Russian naval ships arrived at the Port of Colombo on Friday. Two Russian Naval Ships belonging to the Black Sea Fleet, "Moskva" and "Cola", arrived at the port of Colombo on 19th December 2014 for replenishment and crews, the Navy said.

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- India has received an order from Sri Lanka to build two warships for the island's navy, an Indian minister said. Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh Saturday said India will export two warships to Sri Lanka after delivering a warship to Mauritius for the first time, IANS reported.

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- The police had launched an investigation on an incident where a deputy minister of Sri Lanka ruling party has forcibly taken away three suspects, arrested for the arson attack on an opposition stage in Wanduramba, Galle, from the police custody.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Japan has deported 26 Sri Lankans including asylum seekers on Thursday, after their applications for refugee status were rejected. The government of Japan has determined that they did not qualify for refugee status rejecting each individual's application twice, a Japan Times report said.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today granted bail to Danuna Tilakaratne, the son-in-law of former Army Commander and Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka after he surrendered to the court Friday (19). Colombo High Court judge Iranganie Perera released Tilakaratne, who appeared in court through legal counsel, on a cash bail of Rs. 400,000 and two sureties.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- The lone survivor of the Sri Lanka military transport plane crash on December 12 succumbed to his injuries Thursday night at the Colombo National Hospital. Leading Aircraftsmen G.K.N. Chaturanga was being treated at the intensive care unit of the Colombo National Hospital Following the crash of the Sri Lanka Air Force Antonov-32 in Hokandara on December 12.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Schoolboy’s body washed ashore (20 - Island)
* RI, fine for murder (20 - DN)
* ‘Maga Maruwa’ arrested for burgling Aravinda’s house (19 - Island)
* Bodies of mother and daughter found in Padiyathalawa (19 - DM)
* Best training for troops here and abroad - Army chief (19 - DN)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Dec 20 (CP) Ampara- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said all the pledges made by the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in his election policy manifesto are being implemented at present by the government under the budget proposals.

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- Heavy rains lashing Sri Lanka with over 150 mm rainfalls have made number of reservoirs in the island's north central region to overfill threatening low lying areas with floods. The authorities opened sluice gates of 6 reservoirs including Parakrama Samudraya in Polonnaruwa today due to incessant showers.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's common opposition Friday pledged to reform the country's foreign relations to reflect the government's national opinion if it wins the January 8 election against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.


FINANCE

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- Jewels-2014 International Gem, Mineral & Jewellery Trade Show opened Friday at the BMICH in Colombo. Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha opened the three-day trade show that will be held from December 19 to 21.

Dec 20 (Island) Construction Expo 2015 expected 12th through 14th June 2015 at the BMICH will elevate the construction industry to multifunctional status.

Dec 20 (DN) Ceylinco Life said the company's Life Fund exceeded Rs 60 billion at the end of November 2014 and is a strong indication of the financial strength of the company.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has placed an order with India's Bajaj Automobile Company for 125,000 motorcycles.

Dec 19 (CP) New York- Sri Lanka's low tax revenues and high government debt have contributed to the country's rank at the 89th place in Forbes' ninth annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business.

Dec 19 (Reuters) COLOMBO- Mithripala Sirisena, who is challenging Mahinda Rajapaksa's bid for a third term as Sri Lanka's president, will cancel a casino licence given to Australia's Crown Resorts Ltd if he wins the vote, his party's manifesto said.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's national carrier and oneworld member, SriLankan Airlines, continuing its extensive wide-body re-fleeting programme, took delivery of its second Airbus 330-300, on Friday, 19 December 2014.

More : FINANCE
* Sri Lankan stocks end at 2-week high; blue-chips lead (19 - Reuters)
* GSK wins four National Business Excellence Awards (19 - Island)
* JAAF signs seven companies as preferred partners (19 - DN)
* Sri Lanka’s Siyapatha Finance debenture issue oversubscribed (19 - LBO)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Dec 20 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya has asked employers to grant leave for their employees on January 8, 2015 to cast their votes at the presidential election. According to the Clause 110 of the Electoral Regulations Act 15 of 1981, all permanent and casual workers are entitled to leave with pay for casting their votes.

Dec 20 (CP) New York- The United Nations General Assembly Thursday adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Sri Lanka initiated this resolution, with the assistance of the G77 & China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development.

Dec 20 (ENS) CHENNAI- TNCC president EVKS Elangovan on Friday compared Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa with LTTE leader V Prabhakaran and said that he considered both as 'evils'.

Dec 20 (Island) General Secretary of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) V. Anandasangaree yesterday urged the Tamil electorate to vote for incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa or Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the January 8, 2015 presidential election, regardless of the instructions given by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Dec 20 (DN) If President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not wipe out terrorism from this country, we too would have experienced savage terrorist attacks like that of Pakistan even today, said Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today charging that certain groups are attempting to sell the state resources to the private sector, said the country does not need a management of the Singaporean strategy.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not participate in a debate where there are no facts and figures, the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella referring to the challenge extended by the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena for a debate.

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- A peaceful candlelight vigil to commemorate the innocent people, who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in Peshawar, will be held Friday, 19 December,2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Viharamahadevi Park, opposite Colombo Municipal Council (CMC).

Dec 19 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena has presented his election manifesto this morning at the Viharamahadevi Park amid disruptions to the program. Read the opposition candidate's election Manifesto in English/Sinhala

Dec 19 (NK) Five hundred Goans will be granted financial assistance of Rs.12,000 each for a trip to Sri Lanka for the canonisation ceremony of Blessed Joseph Vaz early next year, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said Friday.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Polls chief bans propaganda activity at state institutions (19 - Island)
* Church cannot withdraw invitation to Pope: Cardinal Ranjith (19 - DM)
* Stability essential for development - GL (19 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Dec 20 (BBC) Alastair Cook has said he is "gutted" to be left out of England's World Cup squad after Eoin Morgan was confirmed as the new one-day captain. Cook, 29, has been dropped from the 15-man squad to play matches in Australia next month and the World Cup. "I'm gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment," he said. England announced their World Cup squad on Saturday morning.

More : SPORTS

Dec 20 (Gleaner)Three of Sri Lanka's biggest cricket stars - Mahela Jayawardene, Tilakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga - will be available for the Caribbean Premier League Draft which is set to take place in early 2015. The competition bowls off in June next year. The trio will join a host of top class T20 stars, including South African icon, all-rounder Jacques Kallis, as well as the Caribbean's world-famousT20 stars that have included the likes of André Russell, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo.

Dec 20 (AFP) Abu Dhabi- Skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor hit half-centuries while paceman Matt Henry recorded career best bowling figures as New Zealand thumped Pakistan by 68 runs in the fifth and final one-dayer in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Williamson’s 97 and Taylor’s 88 were the cornerstone of New Zealand’s 275-4 before Henry’s 5-30 helped dismiss Pakistan for 207 in 43.3 overs for a 3-2 series win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Dec 20 (ICC) The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 begins on February 14 when New Zealand takes on Sri Lanka in the tournament opener in Christchurch. With less than two months to go, ICC has launched ‘Your Greatest XI’, which will allow fans a unique chance to pick their Greatest All-Time Cricket World Cup XI from the previous 10 editions of the event. The ICC database consists of over 100 of the greatest World Cup players of all-time.


WORLD

Dec 20 (BBC) Four Afghan detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison have been sent back to their home country, the Pentagon says. Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir were repatriated after a thorough review of their cases.

More : WORLD

Dec 20 (BBC) North Korea has offered to hold a joint inquiry with the United States into a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, strongly denying US claims that it is behind it. The North's foreign ministry accused the US government of "spreading groundless allegations" and said a probe would refute the allegations.

Dec.20 (ANI) New Delhi- The Institute of Human Development organized an international conference here on "Meeting the Challenges of Employment and Social Protection in South Asia" in collaboration with International Labour Organization (ILO) United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada in New Delhi.

Dec 19 (BBC) Pakistan has carried out two executions, the first since a death penalty moratorium was lifted after a deadly attack on a Peshawar school. One of those executed was convicted over an attack on Pakistan's Army HQ in 2009, the other over an assassination attempt on ex-leader Pervez Musharraf.


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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