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[Last Updated = Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 11:10 pm SL Time]
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Sri Lanka opposition candidate says no foreign conspiracy behind decision to challenge President

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena Saturday dismissed the government's charge that a foreign conspiracy is behind his decision to come forward to challenge the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election. Refuting the allegations levelled against him in a TV program aired on the Sirasa TV, the former health minister said he has been a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party for 47 years and he is still a member of the party although the government has said that he was expelled from the SLFP. (Video)
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SECURITY - SITUATION

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy today arrested 14 Indian fishermen along with their three trawlers for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary line and fishing in the country's waters.

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police had put on hold transfers of some 10,000 police officers due to the forthcoming presidential election. Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana told media that the transfers scheduled to come into effect on 1 January, 2015 have been postponed for a month.

Nov 23 (CP) Rameswaram- Sri Lanka navy personnel are accused of chasing away a group of Indian fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu while fishing in the Palk Strait. Fisheries officials said the Sri Lankan Naval personnel chased away more than 20 fishermen who were fishing in mid-sea near the maritime borders.

Nov 23 (Nation) Police have still not been able to apprehend the suspects involved in the shooting of a former United National Party (UNP) Pradeshiya Sabha member on Friday evening (November 21). When contacted, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said no arrests had been made

Nov 23 (Island) Senior members of the Association of Retired Flag Rank Officers (ARFRO) of tri-services on Friday received an update on the Army’s ongoing involvement in nation-building tasks and its all-time readiness against any recurrence of terrorist threats from Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake.

Nov 23 (ST) No arrests have been made in connection with the break-in at the Colombo museum last week. This follows the break-in in 2012 that made headlines. The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and the Cinnamon Gardens Police launched an investigation after it was found that robbers had broken the door lock to enter a room on the upper floor where rare clay items and clothing are on display.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- Ministerial security provided for former government Minister Maithripala Sirisena, who declared himself as the common opposition candidate, has been removed with effect from today, the police said.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- A local politician of the opposition United National Party was shot and injured in the first violent incident related to the presidential polls in Sri Lanka. Chamila Ranasinghe, a former UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member was wounded and hospitalized in a shooting incident in the Maggona area in Beruwala electorate of Kalutara district last night.

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Trishaw driver fined for damaging judge’s vehicle (22 - Island)
* Illegal construction demolished (22 - DN)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), an election monitoring NGO in Sri Lanka said it is dismayed by the lack of action taken by the Police on the first election-related shooting that injured an opposition party politician Friday (21).

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan government is considering a major reshuffle in the cabinet soon, political sources in the country say. Certain local media reports say it would take place within 72 hours and a change in Prime Minister's position is under consideration.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday declared open the Deduru Oya irrigation and hydro power project, the largest irrigation project in North Western Province. The Deduru Oya irrigation and hydro power project, located in Kurunegala District, will supply drinking water to 50,000 families and irrigation water for the cultivation of 33,000 acres of lands

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- The deputy leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has pledged to extend his 'utmost support' to Maithripala Sirisena, the common opposition candidate challenging the incumbent president at the presidential polls.


FINANCE

Nov 23 (Nation) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka which last week kept the policy rates unchanged noted that a healthy growth of credit disbursements to the private sector by commercial banks were observed for the second consecutive month in September 2014.

Nov 23 (Island) The launch of a proposed 350-roomed Hotel and Residence Complex, the newest addition to the tourism firmament in Sri Lanka was initiated last week. The proposed ITC project, on completion, will enhance Colombo’s landscape to take it out of the hum drum context of the fast rising ‘concrete jungle’ that Colombo would soon become.

Nov 23 (ST) Deliberately ignoring the country’s constitution, budgetary provisions and fiscal management responsibility, government authorities have begun distributing motor cycles worth Rs.200,000 at a subsidised price of Rs.50,000 to provincial politicians and policemen even before the conclusion of the 2015 budget.

Nov 23 (SO) Investments in the country have increased by 74 percent from 2005 to 2014. Infrastructure facilities have also been developed by the same percentage, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- The Colombo Stock Exchange announced Friday that it has in principle approved the application for listing the debt securities of Hatton National Bank (HNB). Accordingly, the HNB will issue 30 million, senior unsecured redeemable rated debentures at Rs. 100, each, with the option open to sell a further 10 million debentures in the event of an over-subscription.

More : FINANCE
* AIA Sri Lanka announces progress in third quarter 2014 (22 - Island)
* Amăna Takaful’s 9 months PAT up by 36% (22 - DN)
* Sri Lanka Union Bank upgrades to 'BB+ (lka)' : Fitch Ratings (22 - LBO)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Nov 23 (CP) Dambulla- A protest launched by the big onion farmers in Sri Lanka temporarily shut down the island's main north-south highway that links Colombo to Jaffna in North. Big onion farmers in Dambulla this morning staged a protest blocking the Jaffna- Kandy A9 highway near the Dambulla Economic Center in the city.

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Some minor political parties in Sri Lanka that pledged support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier have started to reconsider their decision after former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced his candidacy for President as the common opposition candidate, political sources say.

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- The application procedure for postal votes for the upcoming Presidential Election will commence from Sunday (23), the Department of Elections announced. Additional Elections Commissioner U. Amaradasa said applications will be accepted until the 4th of December.

Nov 23 (CP) Matara- Sri Lanka's first female driver who drives a bus on Southern Expressway held a protest this morning at the Matara bus stand. The female driver parked her bus blocking the way to the other buses and launched her sit-in protest campaign on a disaster monitoring tower.

Nov 23 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the forthcoming presidential election is pretty certain with the kingpin rice mafia and fish mafia who opposed the supply of rice and fish at an affordable price joining forces with the Ranil Wickremesinghe bandwagon, according to political analysts.

Nov 23 (CP) Colombo- Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Sri Lankans to help achieve the national development goals of the country, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Robyn Mudie said recently.

Nov 23 (Nation) Following the cross over of former SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena and several other ruling party parliamentarians to the opposition, a lot of horse-trading is being done at the provincial council level to seize the power of at least three provincial councils before the next presidential election. Highly placed political sources told The Nation that three provincial councils – namely Uva, Western and Central – are vulnerable to an unexpected development of that nature.

Nov 23 (Island) About a dozen SLFP MPs have been identified as potential defectors and action would be taken against them, the AFP news agency reported yesterday quoting an official close to the president who asked not to be named.

Nov 23 (ST) Government seniors were this week considering the possible early dissolution of Parliament, the Sunday Times learns. Consultations at the highest levels were held on the pros and cons of dissolving Parliament. This comes against the backdrop of the revolt by a section of ruling UPFA Ministers and MPs who have opted to back the opposition’s common candidate, former SLFP General Secretary and Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena at the January 8th presidential election against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- There is a foreign hand behind the decision to nominate former government minister and the general secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala as the common opposition candidate, the new general secretary of the party Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's private television service providers have allegedly blocked the common opposition candidate's first TV interview, media reports said here. Peo TV cable television network and Dialog TV satellite television network have reportedly blocked the Sirasa TV from broadcasting the "Satana" program which interviewed the common opposition candidate and several other members of opposition. The program was live streamed on the internet.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- The secretary of Sri Lanka Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Tilvin Silva said that the party was observing the developments in politics and take a decision soon regarding the presidential poll.

Nov 22 (CP) Colombo- Minister of Petroleum Industries, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has been appointed as the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent party of Sri Lanka's ruling alliance.

Nov 22 (HT) To write about a train, you don't need to run with it. So I will, instead, first talk about Jaya Perera, a hairdresser from Muscat, who in the 1970s, had married a man from Jaffna, had his child, whom they had taken to meet his grandparents on a train, with her wearing a sari and speaking in self-conscious Tamil, to escape being noticed she was Sinhala.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* CBK, Sirisena asked for UNP approval before going public (22 - Island)
* House takes up expenditure heads of Transport Ministry (22 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Nov 23 (ESPNCI) England tour of Sri Lanka, Tour Match: Sri Lanka A v England XI at Colombo (PSS) -Match abandoned without a ball bowled. The England hierarchy have a discussion at a wet P Sara, Sri Lanka A v England XI, Tour match, P Sara Oval, Colombo, November 23, 2014

More : SPORTS

Nov 23 (IBN) Bengaluru- Riding high on confidence after notching an innings win in the one-off Test at Mysuru last week, the Mithali Raj-led Indian women's cricket team will seek to carry the momentum into the one-day series against South Africa commencing Monday. All three One-Day Internationals (ODI) will take place here Nov 24, 26 and 28 as part of the seven-round ICC Women's Championship, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup.

Nov 23 (ESPNCI) Saeed Ajmal is pleased with the progress he has made with the remedial work on his bowling action, and has said he is targeting the 2015 World Cup for his international comeback. Ajmal recently underwent unofficial tests on his bowling action at the ICC-accredited testing centre in Loughborough, where biomechanist Dr Mark King noted "substantial improvement" in his action, even though the straightening of his elbow still exceeded the permitted 15-degree mark.

Nov 22 (ESPNCI) Moeen Ali had readily admitted that he liked the sound of an opening role should it ever come along. His opportunity came sooner than he might have expected, in England's first warm-up match of their Sri Lanka tour. A scoreboard reading 25 for 0 after only two overs, one of which was a maiden to Alastair Cook, told that he could not have begun the job much more emphatically. "I said to Cookie at the end of the over that I didn't mean to hit six fours, it just happened," Moeen said, all matter-of-factly


WORLD

Nov 23 (TOI) ISLAMABAD- Pakistan plans to buy the fourth generation stealth fighter aircraft from China to boost its defence capability, according to a media report. The matter was being discussed with Chinese authorities, minister for defence production Rana Tanveer Hussain was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

More : WORLD

Nov 23 (IT) Protests broke out in Janakpur and other places in Nepal on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his scheduled visit to these towns and decided to restrict his tour only to the SAARC Summit to be held in Kathmandu from November 26-27.

Nov 22 (BBC) US troops in Afghanistan will be allowed to target Taliban fighters in Afghanistan from 2015, US officials say, expanding their role after the end of major combat operations. Guidelines approved by President Barack Obama will also provide air support for Afghan missions, US media report.

Nov 22 (FP) It is to state the obvious that Narendra Modi is now emerging as a significant global leader in his own right and that the prestige of India has soared in the six months he has been our Prime Minister. This is the kind of prestige we have not commanded since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, and if we play our cards right, India will be the world's sixth powerhouse - after the US, China, Germany, Japan and Russia - over the next decade.


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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