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[Last Updated = Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 01:16 am SL Time]
TOP STORY
President presents Sri Lanka's next year budget promising relief for all sectors

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance Minister presented the National Budget 2015 to parliament today. The National Budget proposed under the theme of 'Unstoppable Sri Lanka' is said to be aimed at creating an innovative, knowledge-based and self-reliant advanced economy. The 2015 budget has proposed many concessions including pay hikes for all sectors. To accommodate the proposed pay hikes a news salary structure will be introduced for the public sector from January.
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Oct 24 (CP) Chennai- Three Sri Lankan nationals alleged of spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI were charged in an Indian court Thursday. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the alleged espionage attempts by the Sri Lankans filed preliminary charges against Zahir Hussain, Siva Balan and Mohammed Saleem in Chennai city court.

Oct 24 (Janes Defense) India is augmenting defence co-operation with Sri Lanka and Maldives by offering them military training and materiel: part of a strategy to counter China's growing strategic and economic heft in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Oct 24 (Island) The Mundalama Police had done their investigations impartially and it was the Acting Magistrate who had bailed out the driver responsible for the two deaths, including a female doctor attache to the Puttalam hospital, police spokesman told media in a hurriedly organised briefing at the police headquarters yesterday.

Oct 24 (DN) A businessman from Maradana who attempted to smuggle foreign and local currency valued at Rs. 6 million was arrested by Customs officers at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake yesterday.

Oct 24 (DM) The 9-year-old boy, who went missing yesterday morning in Horana was found in Anuradhapura, a short while ago. Police said the monk who accompanied the boy, was arrested. They were found near the Jethawanaramaya in Anuradhapura.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police have launched a special operation with effect from today to round up beggars who use children in begging. The move by the police comes after a missing child was found in the custody of a beggar who claimed he was the child's father.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today ordered the lawmakers of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) who visited the Sri Lanka Port Authority to appear before the court.

** Related Story ::Opposition MPs say election materials are being prepared in Sri Lanka Port Authority Defense Training School

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- An explosion at a Sri Lanka Air Force camp this morning has injured three airmen, local media reported. The airmen were reportedly injured in a blast at the weapons testing range of the Kandakuliya Air Force Training Camp.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka fears that the de-proscription of the Tamil tiger terrorist group, LTTE in the European Union will lead to the heightening of activities of the terrorist organization.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed the Russian naval ship "Moskva" arrived at the Port of Colombo today. The Russian naval ship arrived at the Port of Colombo on 23 October 2014 on a replenishment and goodwill visit, Sri Lanka Navy said.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- A raging fire broke out last night in a three-story building at the First cross street, Colombo, has completely destroyed a row of shops, the Police said. Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that the fire was extinguished with the assistance of the fire brigade and the Fort police, within few hours. Ten fire brigade units have assisted to douse the fire.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Missing child found after ten months with beggar (23 - Island)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning presented the 2015 Budget proposals in parliament Friday. Some of the proposals are highlighted below.

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- The United Nations (UN) says post-war Sri Lanka has made significant progress in relation to the resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in a short span of slightly over five years and the agency is continuing its work with the Sri Lankan government to resolve remaining issues.

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from 25-29 October 2014 to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the achievement of objectives and implementation of work set at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November 2013, Commonwealth said in a release today.

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's budget for next year is prepared with the focus on long term development to strengthen the nation and is not presented targeting future elections, the Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said today.

Oct 24 (CP) Beijing- Sri Lanka as a founding member joined twenty other Asian countries Friday to sign the memorandum of understanding to establish the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Oct 24 (CP) Washington, DC- The government of Sri Lanka has hired its eighth lobbying firm in the United States this year to defend its global status, especially in the U.S. amid the worsening relations with the superpower.

** Related Story ::Sri Lankan government spends millions for lobbying to improve relations with the US - report


FINANCE

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka will hold a seminar session next week to discuss the bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and the UK. High Commissioner of UK in Colombo John Rankin will be the special guest speaker at the session on "Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka and UK"

Oct 24 (Easier) How much do you really know about Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo? Since 2009 – the culmination of the island's long-running civil war – Colombo has come on leaps and bounds. Where once dining and nightlife used to be confined to five-star hotels, today's Colombo is buzzing, awash with exciting independent restaurants,

Oct 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka in 2015 will trim its value added tax and reduce its budget deficit to the lowest level since 1977, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told parliament on Friday while presenting the 2015 budget.

Oct 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks gained on Friday for the second straight session as investors bought banking shares, but the turnover was moderate as the market awaited cues from 2015 budget announcement.

Oct 24 (DM) FlySmiLes, the national carrier’s frequent flyer programme, and Sri Lanka’s acclaimed domestic air services provider, Cinnamon Air, entered into a partnership that allows the FlySmiLes members to earn and redeem miles when flying with CinnamonAir

Oct 24 (Island) 'Traditionally, the market perception is that Islamic Banking is only for Muslims. As an industry we need to be focussed and committed to change this perception through our actions.

Oct 24 (DN) DFCC Vardhana Bank (DVB), announced its ground-breaking Lanka Money Transfer (LMT) service effective from 15 November. This new offering is a remittance service...

More : FINANCE
* Holcim (Lanka) wins silver as Turnaround Brand of the Year (23 - RM)
* Sri Lankan stocks up ahead of 2015 budget; block deals push turnover (23 - Reuters)
* Motha Investments Corporation sells 35% stake in TVSAP (23 - Island)
* Sri Lanka National Chamber conducts Budget Seminar 2015 (23 - CP)
* Huge potential for Thai investment in Sri Lanka (23 - DN)
* MRL Corporation starts key test work on Sri Lanka graphite (23 - CP)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's former Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka today asserted that he is not liable for the Rs. 1.5 billion loss to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in coal purchases for the Norochcholai coal power plant during his tenure as minister.

** Related Story ::Sri Lanka CID investigates Rs. 1.5 billion fraud in purchasing coal for Norochcholai power plant

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- Retired Major General of Sri Lanka Army Nanda Mallawarachchi assumed duty today as the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports. He was the former secretary of the Ministry of Law and Order.

Oct 24 (CP) Colombo- A senior lawyer in Sri Lanka says the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has paved the way for the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest for a third term. Raising counter arguments to the opposition view that President Rajapaksa is ineligible to contest the Presidential election for the third time, senior Lawyer, President's Counsel Ali Sabri said the 18th Amendment was brought to remove the legal barrier for all presidents including the incumbent to get elected to the office for more than two terms.

Oct 24 (Bloomberg) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is banking on South Asia’s fastest economic growth to boost spending on pre-election handouts without halting a record improvement in public finances.

Oct 24 (Island) Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake yesterday acknowledged in Parliament that he couldn't remember precisely how many times 16-member Cabinet sub-committee appointed in November 2012 to look into chronic kidney disease had met.

Oct 24 (DN) Addressing the media at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday, Public Service Trade Union Federation President W. H. Piyadasa said that the present government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa always tries to provide maximum benefits to the working people of the country.

Oct 24 (NIE) NEW DELHI- China does not want to overstep into India’s sphere of influence by bringing Sri Lanka and Maldives into the maritime New Silk Road, according to an official of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Oct 24 (NIE) COLOMBO- It is rumoured that the snap Sri Lankan Presidential election will be held in January 2015 with the possible dates being January 8, 17 or 26. Rajapaksa watchers say that he considers these astrologically determined dates as being “lucky” for him because they all add up to “8”.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- A resolution has been passed in a Sri Lanka Freedom Party meeting on October 22nd demanding that the party secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena appointed as prime minister before the presidential election.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today told the Election Commissioner that the incumbent president holding a snap poll when two years left to his term is unconstitutional.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi said in parliament today that an investigation is underway by the Criminal Investigation Department of police regarding a loss of Rs. 1.5 billion to the Ceylon Electricity Board.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Solicitor General Yuwanjana Wanasundera Wijayathilake was sworn in as the 28th Attorney General of Sri Lanka this afternoon before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. Wijayathilake became an attorney in 1979 and joined the legal department as an advocate in 1980.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Following Wednesday's shooting in Canada's parliament, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today expressed concern over the escalating terrorism in the world. The President in a Twitter message said that it is "Very disturbing to see increasing terrorist acts in many countries, now even in Canada," and called on the countries to unite in fighting terrorism.

Oct 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning will present the 2015 budget to parliament tomorrow (October 24) for its first reading.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* GMOA confident its proposals included in tomorrow’s budget (23 - Island)
* IUSF to take forward joint protest campaign (23 - DM)
* 'Unite to defeat various plots' (23 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Oct 24, Colombo: The 2014 Murali Harmony Cup will be launched on 29 October, organizers announced in a press release on Thursday. The tournament will be played at five grounds across Northern Sri Lanka in the towns of Jaffna, Oddusuddan, Mankulam and Kilinochchi from 29 October to 2 November. The Murali Cup is designed to promote unity, goodwill, teamwork, the spirit of fair play and service to disadvantaged rural communities.

More : SPORTS

Oct 24 (OST) The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack commissionerate police today had the first preparatory meeting on security arrangements for the one-day international match between India and Sri Lanka to be played at Barabati stadium in Odisha’s Cuttack city on November 2. It was decided at the meeting that the police would take charge of security in and around Hotel Mayfair, where the players of both the teams would stay, on October 29, a day ahead of their arrival here.

Oct 24 (ESPNCI) If I was a West Indian cricketer with an IPL contract who had just pulled out of the Indian tour, I would be nervous. In order to appear in the IPL, each player must be issued with a no-objection certificate by his own board of control. If the WICB is of a mind to teach its employees a lesson, it has it right there, in the palm of its hand. But it won't. It is one thing to mess with the BCCI's tour schedules, quite another to play loose with the IPL.

Oct 23 (C365) The International Cricket Council have finally weighed in on the dispute between India and the West Indies, saying they are 'concerned' about the situation and are monitoring it, but aren't keen to get involved. The Windies pulled out of their tour to India last week due to a salary dispute, costing the BCCI millions of dollars. As a result, the furious Indian board suspended all bilateral series between the nations, and threatened to sue.


WORLD

Oct 23 (BBC) A man who jumped the White House fence was attacked by dogs before being arrested, in the latest security breach at the president's official residence. Dominic Adesanya, 23, was stopped on a lawn near the building. He was unarmed. Video footage of the incident showed him kicking and punching Secret Service dogs who had been set on him.

More : WORLD

Oct 23 (BBC) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to strengthen the nation's terror laws one day after a gunman rampaged through parliament. The leader said plans would be expedited to give more powers to surveillance and security agencies.

Oct 23 (BBC) At least 13 people have been killed and 29 injured in attacks in the Pakistani city of Quetta, officials say. Eight Shias were killed by gunmen who fired on a bus at a market. A ninth was shot dead in another attack soon after.

Oct 23 (BBC) Indian PM Narendra Modi marked the festival of Diwali with a brief visit to the Siachen glacier before inspecting flood damage caused last month in Indian-administered Kashmir. "Today India sleeps peacefully because you stay awake day and night," Mr Modi told the soldiers stationed at Siachen.


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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