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[Last Updated = Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 10:16 pm SL Time]
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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 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka police today found a German tourist who went missing in a forest area in the hill country yesterday. The 78-year old woman lost her way last evening while she was trekking the Dothurugala Mountain in Hunnasgiriya area in the Central Province along with a group of German tourists.

Oct 25 (CP) Chennai- Indian fishermen have sought the help of BJP leader and an ally of the Sri Lankan government Dr. Subramanian Swamy to get their boats released from Sri Lankan custody. Representatives of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen Trust on Friday met BJP leader and former Union Minister seeking his help for the release of 79 mechanized fishing boats now in the custody of Sri Lanka.

Oct 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera will leave for India tomorrow on a five-day visit Navy Media Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. The Spokesman said that the Navy Commander will leave for India on an invitation extended to him by his Indian counterpart.

Oct 25, Colombo: A Buddhist monk who was arrested for allegedly abducting a nine-year-old boy from the Batuwita area in Horana has been remanded by the court until 7th November. The abducted child was found unharmed near the Jethawana ramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura, a day later, Friday morning, Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said.

Oct 25 (DM) Ten sex workers were arrested during a raid by the Organised Crimes Investigation Unit on an alleged brothel being run under the guise of an Ayurvedic Medical Centre in Boralesgamuwa yesterday, police said. They said another man and woman were also arrested for managing the brothel.

Oct 25 (Island) The Manipai police recently took into custody a suspect who had burgled 90 houses in Manipai and surroundings and stolen goods worth over Rs. 10 million. Investigations revealed that the suspect maintained his wife and four paramours. The suspect had started burgling houses as he had no money to maintain the five women and their families.

Oct 25 (DN) Three suspects were arrested with fraudulently produced driving licences and implements by Boralesgamuwa Police on Thursday near the Narahenpita Motor Traffic Department.

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).

More : SECURITY - SITUATION
* Police had no hand in bail for suspect driver, SSP Rohana (24 - Island)
* Businessman attempting to smuggle currency nabbed at BIA (24 - DN)
* Missing boy found in A’pura (24 - DM)
More : SECURITY - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Oct 25 (CP) New Delhi- Indian president Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday released a commemorative stamp on Anagarika Dharmapala, the Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist and writer, at the official presidential residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Oct 25 (CP) New Delhi- Indian government officials are trying to work out a schedule for Sri Lanka's Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next month. An NGO, People's Union for Civil Liberties has said that Chief Minister has been invited to give a public lecture on November 9 and he has accepted the invitation.

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.


FINANCE

Oct 25, (CP) Colombo- INFOTEL, the popular Sri Lankan ICT exposition organized by the Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) opened yesterday at the BMICH in Colombo.

Oct 25 (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 25 (Island) DFCC Vardana Bank launched Lanka Money Transfer on Thursday. Chief Guest, Deputy Governor, Central Bank, P. Somasiri said the banking system in SrI Lanka should develop to relate to international standards.There should be a system for virtual currency transfers.

Oct 25 (DN) Sadaharitha Plantations and the world's largest sandalwood and agar wood trader, Wescorp in Australia will jointly invest to build a wood oil extracting plant in Sri Lanka.This will be a BOI venture and construction will begin in 2016.

Oct 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka government to increase replanting subsidy to small medium tea planters from 875,000 rupees to one million rupees per acre, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said presenting a budget for 2015.

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 (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,

More : FINANCE
* Sri Lanka 2015 budget to cut VAT, target deficit at 4.6 pct of GDP (24 - Reuters)
* Sri Lankan stocks gain for second day on banking shares (24 - Reuters)
* Sri Lanka's 2015 budget focused on long term development - Central Bank Governor (24 - CP)
* SriLankan’s FlySmiLes partners with Cinnamon Air (24 - DM)
* Benefits of Islamic Banking for everyone, irrespective of faith: Amana CEO (24 - Island)
* DFCC Vardhana Bank partners six banks for money transfer (24 - DN)
* Sri Lanka business chamber to host seminar on bilateral trade with UK on October 29 (24 - CP)
More : FINANCE

POLITICS - GENERAL

Oct 25 (CP) Chennai- A Tamil Nadu Tamil political leader today criticized the Indian government's policy regarding Sri Lanka and charged the government of acting against the minority Tamils. The general secretary of the MDMK, V. Goplasamy aka Vaiko warned the BJP-led central government that its policy on Sri Lanka may have its repercussions in the future.

Oct 25 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Sabaragamuwa University, closed more than three weeks due to student protests, is to re-open for the first year students on Monday (27). Addressing a media briefing at the University Friday, Vice Chancellor Professor Chandana Udawatta said the university will be opened for other students on the 3rd of November.

Oct 25 (Island) Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday maintained that since 2012 the Lanka Coal Company (LCC) which was the sole importer of coal to Sri Lanka had been doing so without adhering to proper tender procedure.

Oct 25 (DM) Western ‘creationists’ were trying to rob Sri Lanka of crucial data related to extra-terrestrial life to further their agenda and undermine Buddhist teachings on the universe, Minister Wimal Weerawansa has said.

Oct 25 (DN) The private sector hailed Budget 2015 maintaining that it was a development oriented one giving numerous benefits for the SME, agriculture, and dairy sectors -- and also state and private sector employees.

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) 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

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 (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”.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Cabinet sub-committee on CKD met only once since Nov 2012 (24 - Island)
* TU leaders confident of people-friendly budget (24 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Oct 25 (ESPNCI) Cuttack will host the first ODI between India and Sri Lanka on November 2 while Ranchi will host the fifth and final game on November 16, according to the schedule released by Sri Lanka Cricket. Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Kolkata will host the second, third and fourth ODIs on November 6, 9 and 13. All the five matches will be day-night. The Sri Lanka team will begin the tour in Mumbai on October 30 with a practice day game against India A at Brabourne Stadium.

More : SPORTS

Oct 25 (ESPNCI) There are innocents who believe that sport is immune from history. Sport loves to see itself as an ideal pastime, safe from the follies and foibles of a changing world, but sport changes as fast, if not faster, than anything else. Sometimes this happens with the force of revolution, like the ending of the amateurism regulations in tennis, rugby union and track and field; sometimes it is part of a slow and apparently inevitable process, as with the commercialisation of the Olympic Games that began in Los Angeles in 1984.

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.

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.


WORLD

Oct 25 (NDTV) BURDWAN- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said that all four persons arrested in connection with the blast in West Bengal's Burdwan on October 2 are members of the terror group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The agency also said that the accused were preparing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for transporting them to Bangladesh for possible terror attacks.

More : WORLD

Oct 25 (BBC) Police in New York say an axe attack on two officers was a terrorist act carried out by a radicalised Muslim convert. Zale Thompson, 32, was shot dead after wounding the two officers, one critically, in Queens on Thursday. Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson was not on any watch lists but had browsed al-Qaeda web sites and watched beheadings.

Oct 25 (BBC) Activists from India's governing party have vandalised a coffee shop, complaining of immoral behaviour. Members of the BJP's youth wing were shown on TV waving the party flag and smashing windows, chairs and tables. Local BJP chief V Muralitharan said the youths had merely gone to check whether "TV video of young boys and girls behaving inappropriately" was accurate.

Oct 25 (BBC) A Burmese journalist has been shot dead while trying to escape from custody, the army has said. A military statement said that Aung Naing was arrested in Mon state at the end of September while covering clashes near the border between Thailand and Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. The military accused him of working for an armed group in the area.


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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