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[Last Updated = Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 01:17 pm SL Time]
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Sri Lanka is making its contribution to the economic integration in South Asia - Prime Minister

Jan 17 (CP) Davos- Sri Lanka is making its contribution to the economic integration in South Asia by making Sri Lanka the hub of Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. Addressing a press conference at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday along with Ministers Malik Samarawickrema, Ravi Karunanayake and Harin Fernando, the Premier said with Sri Lanka's hub concept, logistics and the business hub, the integration will become more viable.
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LEGAL - SITUATION

Jan 17 (CP) Toronto- An alleged fundraiser for Sri Lanka's vanquished terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has lost his battle to stay in Canada after a federal judge dismissed his appeal against deportation.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan national has been arrested by Tamil Nadu police for entering the state illegally by a ferry, Indian media reported. The 27-year-old Sri Lankan was arrested at Arichal Munai, 15 km from Rameswaram today after he arrived by an illegal ferry, the police said. The police had arrested another Sri Lankan from the same area four days earlier.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan Navy personnel Monday arrested two individuals transporting 45 kilograms of Kerala cannabis (Kerala Ganja). Naval personnel attached to SLNS Buwaneka located in Nachchikuda in the North Central Naval Command have arrested the two suspects with the consignement, in the sea area of Erukkulampiddi.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Hambantota District parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa today pleaded not guilty to contempt of court charges filed against him. Contempt of court charges against MP Namal Rajapaksa have been filed for neglecting orders of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- A Sri Lankan court today imposed a travel ban on the Chairman of controversial Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd Nissanka Senadhipathi and former Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Palitha Fernando.

Jan 17 (Island) The Government Analyst had determined that the fire that broke out at the Musaeus College auditorium on Nov. 04 in 2016 was caused by someone pouring kerosene on its stage and setting fire to it, the Cinnamon Gardens police yesterday reported to the Colombo Chief Magistrate.

Jan 17 (DM) National Freedom Front (NFF) MP Padma Udaya Shantha arrived at the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) this morning to give a statement over alleged misuse of state vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat.

Jan 17 (DN) Former Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge had told his family members that he had received death threats over the controversial MIG deal, the Criminal Investigations Department informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

More : LEGAL - SITUATION
* JO begins protest campaign to obtain release of Wimal (16 - Island)
* Rakna Lanka to appeal against SIAC verdict (16 - DN)
* Two cops assaulted (16 - DM)
More : LEGAL - SITUATION

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS

Jan 18 (CP) Stockholm- Sri Lanka's reconciliation process and bilateral relations were in the center of discussions when Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström Tuesday in Stockholm.

Jan 18 (CP) Colombo- The European Union has reiterated that implementation of 27 international conventions by the Sri Lankan government was the only criteria for the European Commission to recommend restoring the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) tariff concession to Sri Lanka.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Tuesday implemented a new computerized system for the Continuous Discharge Certificates of merchant navy personnel. Accordingly these discharge certificates of merchant navy personnel issued after their registration at the Merchant Shipping Secretariat will be issued under a protected computerized system.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 17 January 2017 between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the University of Kelaniya to fund the post of an ICCR Professor for Hindi Language at the University.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka has signed a US$125 million credit with the World Bank to help the country modernize its agriculture sector. Sri Lanka aims to make the sector more efficient and attractive as a modern business, more responsive to consumer demand, and more environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change, a World Bank statement said.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka has urged the members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) conclude negotiations early to broaden the trade agreements and expand into services to pave the way to further expansion of trade, investment and economic integration among the member countries.


FINANCE - TRAVEL

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's diversified conglomerate, John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) filed its first patent jointly with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - India, in the area of energy storage materials.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- American beverages giant Coca-Cola is interested in using Sri Lanka as a production hub and set up a plant, to cater to the Indian market, the Finance Ministry said today.

Jan 17 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee closed little changed in thin trade on Tuesday as dollar selling by foreign banks offset importer demand for the U.S. currency, even as the rupee is expected to weaken after the central bank allowed flexibility in the exchange rate, dealers said.

Jan 17 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks closed lower on Tuesday for a second straight session as investor sentiment took a hit on political uncertainty and as yields on short-term bonds rose.

Jan 17 (Island) De La Rue Lanka is celebrating their successful accreditation by external auditors to the Central Bank standard of ISO 14298. This is a notable achievement for the site and follows the completion of a series of security upgrades at the plant to enable it to qualify for the accreditation.

Jan 17 (DM) Royal Ceramics PLC (RCL), Sri Lanka’s leading floor tile and bathware manufacturer, yesterday said it was replacing its existing kiln at its Eheliyagoda manufacturing plant with the press, associated machinery and building at a cost of Rs.978 million.

Jan 17 (DN) Merchant Port Holdings (CMPort) China will invest over US dollars 400 million in the first six months of their operations in the Hambantota Port. This is for the purchasing of equipment for the container terminal.

Jan 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s first ever seven-star luxury apartment complex, Achilleion, is set to commence construction work this week, its developers said. Achilleion is undertaken by Blue Mountain Apartments which is part of the Blue Mountain Group.

Jan 17 (TDN) Movenpick Hotels & Resorts has opened a strikingly modern property in Colombo, introducing a unique hospitality concept that brings attitude and altitude to the Sri Lankan capital.

More : FINANCE - TRAVEL
* Sri Lankan rupee ends marginally higher on dollar sales (16 - Reuters)
* Sri Lankan shares end lower on rising rates (16 - Reuters)
* RPC estates leaving much to be desired, says agricultural specialist (16 - Island)
* Ravi K vows to reveal names of Central Bank saboteurs busting rupee (16 - DM)
* Sri Lanka Insurance to launch free insurance policy to all schoolchildren (16 - DN)
* Sri Lanka should fix basics, picking winners may create cronies: economist (16 - EN)
* Hayleys unveils Sri Lanka's largest capacity solar power plant in Welikande (16 - CP)
More : FINANCE - TRAVEL

POLITICS - GENERAL

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- The Delimitation Committee reviewing the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local government wards handed over its much-awaited final report to the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha today.

Jan 17 (CP) Tehran- Sri Lanka and Iran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on laboratory analysis for oil and gas. Sri Lanka's visiting Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha and Iran's Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari signed the MoU at a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday, Mehr News Agency reported.

Jan 17 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government has vehemently rejected the media reports which say that the government has agreed to 58 conditions to get the European Union's Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) tariff concession.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- The National Election Commission says that Local Government (LG) polls cannot be held before May this year. Speaking to media at the Elections Secretariat in Rajagiriya today, the Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said the LG polls cannot be conducted before April 30 even if the final report formulated by the National Delimitation Committee is submitted tomorrow.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Construction of 100 houses for families displaced by the landslide at Samasara Kanda in Aranayake last year was launched today. The construction work at a cost of Rs. 217 million is supported by the Government of China.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka faced with prolonged drought is seeking international assistance to provide relief to the affected people, especially farmers, and President Maithripala Sirisena Monday met with the top officials of international agencies to discuss relief measures.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera will visit Sweden at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström, from January 17-18, 2017.

Jan 16 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka did not even manage to increase the revenues from apparel exports twofold from 2003 to 2015 without the European Union's Generalized Scheme of Preferences plus tariff concession.

Jan 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today left the island for Switzerland, to attend the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting from 17-20 January 2017 in Davos-Klosters. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is scheduled to address the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on Tuesday (17) under the topic "Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia".

Jan 17 (ANI) New Delhi- Highlighting the changes taking place in Sri Lanka between the majority and Tamils, Field Marshal turned politician Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday said that there are no grouses with the majority community in the northern Sri Lanka regarding the 13th amendment.

Jan 17 (Island) Commissioner General of Agrarian Development M. A. Sunil Weerasinghe yesterday warned that there would be a severe shortage of rice in April as more than 20 per cent of paddy cultivation had been destroyed by the prevailing drought.

Jan 17 (DM) Uva Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake said yesterday he had decided to claim compensation from the British government for the damage caused to the Uva Province during the 1817-1818 rebellion. He told the media that the loans granted by the World Bank should be set off against the damage caused.

Jan 17 (DN) The Executive Presidency would be terminated along with the introduction of the new constitution, UNP Kurunegala district MP Nalin Bandara said. He was speaking at a media briefing at Sirikota yesterday. Bandara said confirmation of the delimitation committee report is being delayed.

Jan 16 (NIE) COLOMBO- The report of the European Commission's technical team which examined Sri Lanka's application for the restoration of General System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) duty concessions has concluded that the island nation now meets the eligibility criteria as set out in Art 9 (1) of the GSP regulations.

Jan 16 (PTI) India should rethink its opposition to Chinese investments in Sri Lanka and join the port development in the island nation instead of feeling "jealous", China's state media said on Monday.

Jan 16 (HP) Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He recently served as the Secretary of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF).

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Chamal calls for new faces in Opposition (16 - Island)
* Rathana Thera to function independently in House (16 - DM)
* Changes cannot be made without referendum: TNA (16 - DN)
More : POLITICS - GENERAL

SPORTS

Jan 17 (SLC) Colombo- Bouncing back graciously from a crushing defeat, Sri Lanka’s youngest test team led by Captain Angelo Mathews engaged in a lengthy discussion with President of Sri Lanka Cricket Hon. Thilanga Sumathipala this afternoon. During the meeting, the captain affirmed his team’s commitment to re-strategize for the upcoming T20 and ODI in South Africa.

More : SPORTS

Jan 17 (SCMP) Sri Lankan dynamo Tillakaratne Dilshan – the man behind the famous “Dilscoop” shot – will bring his brand of innovative and exciting cricket to Tin Kwong Road when he lines up for City Kaitak in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz from March 8-12. The 40-year-old former test captain is a made-for-T20 player with his aggressive batting, outstanding fielding and off spin.

Jan 17 (CC) Sri Lanka suffered an embarrassing 0-3 whitewash against South Africa. To be precise, Sri Lanka lost sixteen wickets in three sessions to suffer this shambolic defeat. They never looked to be in the game throughout the series and were completely undone by Faf du Plessis and co. Sri Lanka were first bowled out for 131 in the first innings of the final Test, as Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada took 3 wickets each which was followed by an enforced follow-on.

Jan 17 (ESPNCI) AB de Villiers has said he is not retiring from Test cricket, squashing speculation over the last few days that he was going to give up the longest format. "I'm not retiring out of Test cricket, I'm not retiring out of any format, that's for sure. I am not prepared to do that," he told South African radio station 702 on Tuesday.


WORLD

Jan. 17 (ANI) Dhaka- In a landmark ruling, a Bangladesh court has handed down death penalty to 26 of the 35 guilty for the murder of seven people in Narayanganj in 2014. Narayanganj District and Sessions Judge's Court handed down death penalty to 26 people including expelled ruling Awami League member Nur Hossain,...

More : WORLD

Jan 17 (BBC) US astronaut Gene Cernan - the last man to walk on the Moon - has died aged 82. America's space agency Nasa said it was "saddened by the loss" of the retired spaceman. Captain Cernan was one of only three people to go to the Moon twice and the last man to leave a footprint on the lunar surface in 1972.

Jan 17 (BBC) The search for the Malaysian airliner that disappeared three years ago with 239 on board has been suspended. In a statement, Australia, Malaysia and China said the decision was taken with "sadness" after a fruitless search in more than 120,000 sq km (46,300 miles) of the Indian Ocean.

Jan 16 (BBC) Swiss police have arrested 32 pro-Tibet activists who were protesting against a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The group, made up of Tibetans and Swiss nationals, were detained on Sunday for flouting restrictions set up by police in the capital, Bern. One man was also prevented from setting himself on fire, said police.


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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