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[Last Updated = Fri, Mar 24, 2017, 12:10 am SL Time]
TOP STORY
Sri Lanka, Russia pledge to enhance economic cooperation

Mar 23, Moscow: Sri Lanka and Russia have pledged to enhance long term economic cooperation and affirmed to build a strong foundation to take bilateral relations to a new high. These sentiments were expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Maithripala Sirisena during the historic meeting at the Green Room in Kremlin Thursday, President's Media Division said.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court Thursday granted bail to the Ukrainian Captain of the MV Avant Garde ship, Gennady Gavrilov, who was charged with possessing and transporting illegal weapons.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy on Wednesday has arrested 16 Indian fishermen in two separate occasions and impounded their fishing trawlers for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- Major General Mahesh Senanayake, currently serving as the Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SFHQ-J), has been appointed as 50th Chief of Staff (CoS) of the Sri Lanka Army.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- The officials of the Air Intelligence and Customs at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru have arrested a 39-year-old Sri Lankan woman, who was smuggling contraband drugs to Colombo, according to a report in Deccan Herald.
 

Mar 23 (Island) Australia has deprived Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage of an opportunity to visit his brother, an Australian citizen on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations against the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).
 

Mar 23 (DN) Police investigating the shooting at the two prison buses transporting remand prisoners at Ethanamadala, Kalutara North on February 27, arrested a main suspect wanted in this connection. The suspect was arrested from a hideout in Sella-Kataragama on March 21.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Colombo- The annual Army-to-Army Staff Talks (AAST) between the Sri Lankan Army and the Indian Army were inaugurated for the sixth consecutive year today (22) at BMICH in Colombo.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Geneva- Sri Lanka today reaffirming its commitment to the reconciliation process and commitments articulated in the UN Resolution 30/1, announced that it will be co-sponsoring UN resolution 34/1 which will grant Sri Lanka two more year to implement the 30/1 proposals.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Colombo- Former Sri Lankan minister and leader of National Freedom Front MP Wimal Weerawansa, who is currently in remand prison on allegations of misusing state vehicles, has begun a fast unto death campaign demanding his release.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today issued a warrant for the arrest of Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Dr. Suren Batagoda for failure to appear before the court as a witness.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Johor Baru- Malaysian police on Monday have arrested a Sri Lankan national for sexually and physically assaulting two women in Bandar Baru Uda, a township in Johor Baru, according to a report in New Strait Times.
 

Mar 22 (AFP) COLOMBO- The brother of Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapakse denied on Tuesday involvement in war-era death squads, blaming the then army chief for an alleged secretive campaign of extrajudicial murders.
 

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Sri Lanka ex-leader’s brother denies role in killings, shifts blame (22 - AFP)
* Police point finger at prison officers Prison bus massacre probe (22 - Island)
* Mahendran allowed to monitor affairs of the Commission (22 - DM)
* Three cops at BC for demanding bribes (22 - DN)

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Mar 23 (CP) Moscow- President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin met with Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena who is on an official visit to Moscow at Mr Putin's invitation at the Kremlin on Thursday. Here is the report from Kremlin;
 

Mar 23 (CP) Geneva- The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Thursday without a vote adopted the consensus resolution on Sri Lanka to which proposes to give two more years beyond 2017 to Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments for reconciliation and transnational justice.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Moscow- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena received a Guard of Honor during the official welcoming ceremony at Kremlin in the national capital of Russia today. President Sirisena visited the Red Square to place a wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain has said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are respectively located at two global strategic junctions on the land and maritime silk route that had always been the meeting places of global civilizations, trade and cultures.
 


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- The India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) (A Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Commerce, Government of India) is organizing India Sourcing Fair, Colombo, Sri Lanka from 24 to 26 March 2017 at Hall No. C of BMICH in which more than 30 companies from India are participating.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- The private sector technical committee appointed by joint Chambers and Trade Associations to study the government's plan to abolish the current Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) system has proposed to hold off the move and maintain the current SVAT mechanism until a robust refund mechanism is put in place.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government in its initiative to reform key sectors plans to introduce new legislation instead of amending the old Acts that do not meet present day needs. The government has proposed replacing several acts and the Cabinet of Ministers has given its approval to the proposals.
 

Sri Lankan shares fell for a second straight session on Thursday to a more than one-year closing low as expectations of an interest rate hike continued to drag down the market ahead of the central bank's monetary policy review.
 

Mar 23 (Island) The recent steep rise in duty and tax imposed by the government on synthetic lubricants effective mid-November is causing alarm in the market, as lubricant suppliers are now starting to pass on the hike to the end users, a press release said.
 

Mar 23 (DN) Sri Lanka has reached agreement to sell 80 percent of Hambantota port to China though a joint venture an option to reduce the Chinese stake to 60 percent in 10 years, Deputy International Trade Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said.
 

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s proposed Inland Revenue Act is to be drafted in conformity with the announced policy design of capital gains tax, the government said. Budget 2017 proposed a capital gains tax to be introduced with effect from 1st April 2017 at a rate of 10 percent.
 

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* POLL-Views split on Sri Lanka rate hike, tightrope walk for cbank (22 - Reuters)
* Sri Lankan shares fall to 1-yr closing low, breaching key barrier (22 - Reuters)
* EFL marks 35 years, establishes itself as sub continent's first global logistics provider (22 - CP)
* HNB once again wins Best Retail Bank and Best Micro Finance Product of the Year at Asian Banker Awards 2017 (22 - Island)
* Boost for local tech firms expected from SL-Singapore FTA (22 - DM)
* IPM Sri Lanka to expand to Maldives (22 - CP)
* NDB’s international rating affirmed at ‘B’ with Stable Outlook (22 - DN)

POLITICS - GENERAL

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- The United Kingdom welcomes the co-sponsorship of the new UN Human Rights Council resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka, which reaffirms commitments made in resolution 30/1 in October 2015, for the next two years, the British High Commission in Colombo said in a statement.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka on Thursday strongly condemned yesterday's terrorist attack in London that killed at least five people including a police officer and the attacker and injured at least 40 others. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said "Sri Lanka is shocked by the terrorist attack at the British Parliament yesterday, 22 March 2017, resulting in death and injury."
 

Mar 23 (CP) Geneva- The United States while commending Sri Lanka for the important steps taken since 2015, toward implementing its key human rights, justice, and reconciliation commitments, suggested the government to make public a strategy and timetable for implementation of the reforms and commitments outlined in the UN Resolution 30/1.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Islamabad- Pakistan will participate in the 14th UN International Vesak Festival to be held in Sri Lanka from May 12th to 14th this year, a Pakistani official said. Pakistan will display Buddhist and Gandhara heritage relics at the three-day Vesak festival in Colombo, according to the official.
 

Mar 23 (CP) Mapakadaweva- Students and teachers from Keselpotha Maha Vidyalaya in Uva Province joined representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Tuesday to inaugurate a rainwater harvesting system at their school, providing clean drinking water year-round.
 

Mar 23 (PTI) India today said it will go with the consensus at the UNHRC on the US-sponsored resolution which proposes to give two more years beyond 2017 to Sri Lanka to fulfil its promises on protecting the interests of Tamils there.
 

Mar 23 (Island) The government had, for its political survival, betrayed the aspirations of the very same people who elected it to power, the JVP said in parliament yesterday. People had voted in the present government to punish those who misappropriated public funds.
 

Mar 23 (DN) Forty-five percent from the capital expenditure of the country consists of expenditure incurred to develop the road system, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
 

Mar 23 (UN) Presenting an oral update on the rights situation in Sri Lanka, the top United Nations human rights official today said that a general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system in the country regarding past violations and continuing “unwillingness or inability” to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake Tuesday paid a surprise midnight visit to the Sri Lanka Customs Department to observe the operations of the key department under his Ministry.
 

Mar 22 (CP) Geneva- The United Nations expressing concern over Sri Lanka's slow progress in establishing transitional justice mechanisms to address the accountability during the decades-long armed conflict, called for international participation in such mechanisms...
 

Mar 22 (CP) Colombo- The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) appealed for USD 1 million in funding to support Sri Lanka during its ongoing drought.
 

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Sri Lanka should develop timetable for full implementation of its UN commitments - HRW (22 - CP)
* UK urges Sri Lanka to develop a comprehensive, time bound strategy to implement Geneva proposals (22 - CP)
* Sri Lankan President arrives in Moscow on state visit (22 - CP)
* Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka's 10th annual research conference opens tomorrow (22 - CP)
* The Era of Prof. Valentine Joseph (22 - Island)
* New laws to legalize previous bond sales (22 - DM)
* Former MP Sarath Weerasekera never sought meeting with UNHRC Chief (22 - DN)
* Sri Lankan President leaves for Russia on a state visit (22 - CP)
* Tamil Nadu CM alleges Sri Lanka Navy of preventing a diplomatic solution to share waters between India and Sri Lanka (22 - CP)

SPORTS

Mar 22 (ESPNCI) Mahmudullah hit an unbeaten 71 off 68 balls and strode into some form in Bangladesh's practice match against the Sri Lanka Board President's XI, but his half-century could not see the visitors through as they lost by two runs, chasing 355. Also making fifties in the high-scoring encounter were Sabbir....
 

Mar 22 (CC) Nepali cricketers are set to host Sri Lankan legends in a three-match T20 series beginning from April 27. The matches will be played on April 27, 29 and May 1 at the Tribhuvan University stadium in Kathmandu. This series is to mark the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Nepal and Sri Lanka.
 

Mar 21 (BBC) Cricket Australia has offered to more than double what it pays international women players, to around £110,000. The package will allow women a greater chance to be full-time professional cricketers, chief executive James Sutherland said. Men's pay will also be increased under the proposed deal, with internationals to earn £504,000 by 2021-22.
 

Mar 21 (ESPNCI) Ravindra Jadeja has overtaken R Ashwin at the top of the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, after taking nine wickets against Australia in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Cheteshwar Pujara was also a major gainer as his 202 off 525 balls propelled him above Virat Kohli to become the top-ranked India batsman in Tests. He was at No. 2, behind Australia captain Steven Smith.
 


WORLD

Mar 23 (ANI) New York- The United States is reportedly building a case implicating North Korean government of orchestrating an USD 81 million cyber heist from the Bangladesh central bank's account at the New York Federal Reserve, according to media reports.
 

Mar 23 (BBC) Leaders of countries affected by recent terror attacks have voiced solidarity with the UK after the deadly attack near the Houses of Parliament. A lone attacker was shot dead after he used a car to run down pedestrians, killing three, and stabbed a police officer to death outside Parliament.
 

Mar 22 (Reuters) An assailant stabbed a policeman and was shot by police just outside Britain's parliament building in London on Wednesday in what police described as a "terrorist incident". Amid confusing scenes, it appeared the incident may have unfolded in several locations, including on the nearby Westminster bridge ....
 

Mar 22 (BBC) Pakistan's lower house has passed a bill to reinstate secret military courts, despite criticism from human rights activists. Military courts were first set up as a response to the bloody 2015 attack on a military-run school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 134 children.
 


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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