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[Last Updated = Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 11:13 pm SL Time]
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US - Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Council adopts action plan to boost bilateral trade

Apr 29 (CP) Washington, DC- Sri Lanka's Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema led a delegation to the 12th US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting on Thursday April 28, in Washington DC. The meeting was Co-chaired by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Sri Lanka Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Hundreds of Sri Lankan journalists and media rights activists staged a protest today in capital Colombo to demand the new government start a fresh investigation into the abduction and killing of a popular Tamil journalist 11 years ago.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Former Minister of Civil Aviation and current State Minister of Law, Order and Prison Reforms Priyankara Jayaratne and former Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Nishantha Wickremesinghe have appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, welcomed a French naval ship arrived at the Port of Colombo on Friday. The French Navy frigate 'Aconit' arrived at the Port of Colombo on 29th April 2016 on a goodwill visit, the Navy said.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today has issued an interim order preventing the group of parliamentarians called 'joint opposition' from holding their May Day rally at the state-owned Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita on Sunday.

Apr 29 (CP) Chennai- India's Coast Guard has arrested over 1200 Sri Lankan fishermen in the last five years on charges of illegally entering and fishing in Indian waters, according to a senior Coast Guard official. A total of 1,205 Sri Lankan fishermen and 241 fishing boats were arrested in the last five years, Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma has said

Apr 29 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces on Wednesday assured that he would inquire into recent arrest of LTTE cadres in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. President Maithripala Sirisena was responding to Velayutham Thayanidhi alias Daya Master, one-time head of the LTTE media unit.

Apr 29 (DN) UNP MP Nalin Bandara yesterday urged the law enforcement authorities and investigative bodies to question former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Minister G L Peiris to ascertain the whereabouts of former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) in a statement said the 26th International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting between the representatives of Navies and Coast Guards of Sri Lanka and India was held onboard SLNS Sagara at the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line off Kankasanthurai on 28th April 2016.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi says a group of former LTTE leaders were arrested last week in relation to the investigations into the last month's discovery of a stock of explosives and a suicide jacket in the North.

Apr 28 (Asia Times) COLOMBO– The Sri Lankan government is taking steps to prevent the entry of Islamic State (IS) militants to the island nation amid threat of their infiltration across Asia.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* Govt: Mahinda-Udayanga meeting in Thailand under investigation (28 - Island)
* Opp. Leader should give prior notice when visiting Army camp: Ruwan (28 - DM)
* Thirteen university students injured in accident (28 - DN)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today held discussions with medical experts from Cuba and El Salvador on launching a trilateral cooperation for eradication of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu).

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday that it has reached a staff level agreement with Sri Lanka on a three-year US$ 1.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Apr 29 (CP) Washington,DC- Highly praising the "extraordinary progress" Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's administration has made in the sixteen months since his election in January 2015, a high ranking United States official said Sri Lanka's leadership is committed to seeking a durable peace, an accountable democracy, a new relationship with the outside world, and expanded opportunities for all.

Apr 28 (CP) New Delhi- While projecting Sri Lanka's economy to grow 5.4 percent in 2016, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) says Sri Lanka's fiscal condition will not improve significantly unless tax reforms and expenditure rationalization are implemented.


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Following the immensely successful launch of its Young Entrepreneurs Development programme last year, Colombo Leadership Academy (CLA) is hard at work grooming the latest generation of young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.

Apr 29 (CP) Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed will lead a trade and investment mission to India and Sri Lanka next week in a continuous effort to promote Malaysia as a profit and regional center for businesses and investments, state news agency Bernama reported.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI) , increased to 3.1 percent in April 2016 from 2.0 percent in the previous month, the Department of Census and Statistics reported on Friday.

Apr 29 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed more than 1 percent up on Friday, trading in high volumes after the International Monetary Fund said it had reached a staff-level agreement with the island nation for a $1.5 billion three-year loan.

Apr 29 (Hindu) Sri Lanka, which is in the midst of a crisis over the deterioration of the balance of payments (BOP) position, has got the much-needed reprieve with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreeing to provide $ 1.5 billion through a three-year-long Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Apr 29 (Island) Union Bank of Colombo PLC (The Bank) and its subsidiaries UB Finance Co. Ltd. and National Assets Management Ltd. (The Group) ended the first three months of 2016 with an impressive performance, reflecting a continued growth momentum with forward looking expectations.

Apr 29 (DM) The prices of imported vehicle would be increased due to the major foreign currency fluctuation with no change in the present situation in tax regime, Chairman of Lanka Vehicle Importers' Association Mahinda Sarathchandra said.

Apr 29 (DN) Sri Lanka’s domestic savings as a percentage of GDP has declined to 22.6 percent in 2015.This was 24.0 per cent in 2014. The deceleration in domestic savings was a combined outcome of the slowdown in private savings and the widening of government dis-savings,

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's investment promotion agency, Board of Investment (BOI) said it signed a total of 19 new investment agreements in several sectors last month. The investment agency in a statement said the agreements signed in the month of March have an estimated value of US$ 139 million

Apr 28 (CP) Dubai- Sri Lanka Tourism is participating in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the tourism industry's leading travel and tourism exhibition within the Middle Eastern and Pan Arab regions, in Dubai from 25 -28 April, 2016.

everjobs launches Sinhala website to expand into smaller cities and towns

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Job seekers want to feel confident in their career choices and are most comfortable when the job listings are in their native language.

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* Sri Lanka Secures $1.5 Billion IMF Loan to Help Bolster Finances (29 - Bloomberg)
* No reason to keep exporter’s money abroad: Central Banker (28 - LBO)
* Sri Lanka shares end higher led by large-caps (28 - Reuters)
* Barefoot Luxury Comes to the South Shore of Sri Lanka: Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle (28 - Forbes)
* Vehicle price hike predicted from May 2 (28 - Island)
* Seylan Bank 1Q net edges up amid narrowing margins and gilt-edge losses (28 - DM)
* Union Bank excels in first quarter performance (28 - DN)
More : FINANCE - TRAVEL

POLITICS - GENERAL

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Two special rapporteurs of the United Nations have arrived in Sri Lanka today on a joint visit at the invitation of the Sri Lankan government. Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Mönica Pinto and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez will visit the island from 29 April to 7 May 2016.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva blasted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for misleading people on the new VAT increase, saying that there is no new increase of the VAT has been introduced for the education sector.

Apr 29 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan Government plans to take action against the estate sector employers who avoid passing the benefit of the Rs.2,500 salary increase, which was made compulsory earlier this year, to the workers, the Government Information Department said.

Apr 29 (Island) Confirming their participation at the Kirulapone May Day rally, young parliamentarians in the Joint Opposition yesterday said they would not give up the struggle against the UNP-led government despite the SLFP General Secretary’s threat to take disciplinary action against those who attended other rallies instead of the party’s official rally in Galle on May 01.

Apr 29 (DM) A portion of the profits earned by our national carrier SriLankan Airlines will be allocated for the development of the health and education sectors once it is converted into a Public-Private Partnership (PP), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Apr 29 (DN) No one will be able to splinter or divide the SLFP. All SLFPers will firmly stand behind the party leadership during the May Day Rally to be held in Galle, said Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today that people should rise up as one against the impending tax increases because the yahapalana Government was trying to find the money for their political survival through increased taxes on the very people they deceived in order to win power.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage, in a media release, informed all the media institutions and journalists that using the term 'Joint Opposition' to describe a group of parliamentarians in the Sri Lankan parliament is in violation of the law.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga says the Joint Opposition is attempting to destroy the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Speaking at an event held in Kandy today, Minister Ranatunga said the Joint Opposition is a small group consisting of members from various political parties, who are attempting to destroy the SLFP.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Japan and Sri Lanka inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote international academic research cooperation in the field of science and biotechnology.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena handed over letters of appointments to eleven new electorate and district organizers of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government plans to implement a five-year national agribusiness development program to empower the farmers in the rural areas. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a program proposed by President Maithripala Sirisena to improve farm productions, provide entrepreneurship training for youths in low income families and provide them loans of small amounts to further improve the benefits of this program.

Apr 28 (CP) Colombo- Several political parties have expressed their willingness to join the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to make the UPFA May Day rally a success, President's Media Division said.

Apr 28 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has termed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s statement on Tamil Eelam as an election ploy. Last week during an election rally in Tiruchi, the TN CM said she would continue to work for ushering in a separate Tamil Eelam.

Apr 28 (CNBC) Seven years after the end of a devastating civil war, Sri Lanka's northern province lags behind the rest of the country on economic development, and the catch-up process is proving long and tough.

Apr 28 (BBC) It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass – a strategically important gateway controlling access to and from Jaffna, the captial of Sri Lanka's northern province - was the focus of bitter fighting between the separatist Tamil Tigers and the security forces.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* UNP using Kirulapone-Galle issue to cover up its failure – Dullas (28 - Island)
* NPC wants Regional Council for hill country (28 - DM)
* JO rally begins from Shalika grounds as planned (28 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Apr 29 (ESPNCI) The Pakistan Cricket Board has joined Sri Lanka Cricket in agreeing in principle to a proposal from the England & Wales Cricket Board to implement a points system for their tours of England later this summer. The PCB have given their blessing to the same suggestion that was put to SLC earlier this month, ahead of their own tour of England in May and June. The idea comes in the wake of the successful implementation of a similar system for the last three Women's Ashes contests.

More : SPORTS

Apr 29 (Cricket.com) Allan Donald will preach a 'go hard or go home' message to his troupe of quicks when he takes over as Australia’s fast bowling coach for the three-Test tour of Sri Lanka later this year. Donald, the former South African pace ace who says he would "love" to stay on with the Australia team at the completion of his interim stint in Sri Lanka, brings to the role a wealth of experience in sub-continental conditions as well as a reputation as one of the game’s most feared fast bowlers.

Apr 29 (ESPNCI) Mumbai Indians batting coach Robin Singh lauded Kieron Pollard's maturity in finishing games after his unbeaten 51 off 17 balls sealed a six-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders. With 49 runs required off five overs, Pollard smashed three sixes in the space of four balls off R Sathish. Two overs later, he hit three more sixes within four deliveries, off Jaydev Unadkat, to take Mumbai to their fourth win of the season.

Apr 29 (ESPNCI) Cricket Australia has struck another obstacle in its plans to play back-to-back day-night Tests next summer, with Australia's players arguing that one is sufficient. The final Test of the summer's first series against South Africa will be a day-night fixture in Adelaide if CA can convince the players of both sides to agree, while the first Test of the second series will be a day-nighter against Pakistan at the Gabba. However, South Africa's cricketers have expressed their concerns about playing under lights with a pink ball,


WORLD

Apr 29 (BBC) A 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who set himself on fire at Australia's detention centre on the island of Nauru has died. Australia's immigration department confirmed the man died at Brisbane Hospital on Friday. His actions were a "political protest", according to the Nauruan government.

More : WORLD

Apr 29 (BBC) Helicopter firms are carrying out unauthorised sightseeing flights over the upper reaches of Mount Everest, Nepalese officials say. Sherpas have expressed concerns that vibrations caused by the helicopters could trigger avalanches.

Apr 29 (BBC) North Korea has sentenced a US man to 10 years of hard labour for spying. Kim Dong-chul, a 62-year-old naturalised US citizen born in South Korea, was arrested last October.

Apr 28 (Hindu) An armed policeman stood guard outside the 300-year-old gurdwara in north-west Pakistan. He kept a watchful eye on everyone who passed him on the narrow street, looking for a suspicious gesture, or a bulge beneath the clothes that hints at a hidden gun or a bomb. Earlier this month, the gurdwara in Peshawar’s crowded Old City opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in 73 years.


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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