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Last Updated = Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 02:08 pm SL Time

* Maha Siva Rathri Day is a symbol of co-existence and harmony - PM

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe, in a message to celebrate the Hindu festival Maha Siva Rathri today said the occasion is a deeply symbolic of co-existence and harmony among all and is also an ideal time for reflection.
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* Religious way of life is essential to build a better society - President

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena says the religions provide great relief to the people in today's competitive world and the religious way of life is as an essential ingredient for building a better society. Issuing a message to mark the Hindu holiday Maha Shivaratri Day today, President Sirisena said the prime expectation and the noble vision of all religions is to promote spiritual and moral well-being of humankind.
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* Mahinda openly encouraged elected government representatives to be corrupt - Chandrika

Feb 24 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa openly encouraged elected government representatives to be corrupt, says Ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Whenever Mahinda held meetings, especially with local councillors, he always reminded them to collect their 20 percent Commissions from any project under their purview, as if it was a legal right, she told a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association in Colombo, last week.
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* Innocent military personnel will not be punished: President on firm stance

Feb 24 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena is on a firm stance that innocent military personnel should not be punished. He was also of the view that those who had committed offences should be dealt with, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.
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* Food security and livelihoods assistance priority during Sri Lanka's drought

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), an academic and research Institution based in Switzerland says Food security and livelihoods assistance priority is a priority during Sri Lanka's prevailing drought due to prolonged crop damage and agricultural loss as agriculture is an important source of both food and income.
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* Chinese Communist Party pledges support to make Sri Lanka the economic hub of the Indian Ocean

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- A high ranking official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) today pledged China's full support to Sri Lanka's efforts to make the island nation a hub of the Indian Ocean. The head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China Song Tao, who is leading a delegation to the country, gave this assurance when the delegation met with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees today.
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* Sri Lanka Red Cross trains the youth to be better leaders of society

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) launched its latest novelty project aimed at empowering the country's youth today under the direction of the Director General of SLRCS Neville Nanayakkara.
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* U.S. Zydeco Band 'Mo' Mojo' visits Sri Lanka to strengthen cultural connections

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- Mo' Mojo, an American zydeco band, concluded its five-day tour of Sri Lanka on February 16 with a high-energy, free, public concert for an appreciative crowd in Colombo. The U.S. Embassy-sponsored visit included public performances in Jaffna and Colombo; workshops for music students; and master classes for Sri Lankan musicians.
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* Japan to provide five waste collection trucks to Galle MC for 'Clean and Green Galle'

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- The Ambassador of Japan Kenichi Suganuma and the Municipal Commissioner of Galle Municipal Council Ranil Wickramasekara signed a grant contract worth US$ 103,487 (approx. 15 million Sri Lankan Rupees), on 20th February 2017 at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo, aimed to upgrade solid waste management process of Galle by providing five Japanese waste collection trucks (compacters).
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* Sri Lankan ambassador interested in global role discussion at two sessions

Feb 23 (China Daily) Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Karunasena Kodituwakku said he is interested in discussions at the coming two sessions concerning China's international role. In a written interview with China Daily on Wednesday, the ambassador said: "The volume of China’s international trade and foreign direct investment in other countries is becoming a critical factor for many countries."
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* Govt. faces fiery questions on women’s rights at UN

Feb 23 (DFT) The Government of Sri Lanka faced tough questions from the UN women’s rights watchdog in Geneva yesterday, as it presented its four yearly periodic report and pleaded with the Committee to acknowledge advances and improvements on the condition of women in the country.
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* NFF declares its independence from UPFA

Feb 23 (Island) National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa requested from Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday in parliament to accept five NFF MPs including him as an independent group since they have severed all their connections with the UPFA. Speaker Jayasuriya said that he would refer the matter to the party leaders’ meeting scheduled for today and will inform the outcome to the House.
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* COPE directs UGC to submit report

Feb 23 (DN) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) yesterday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to submit a report within two weeks giving details as to how the degree awarding status was granted to the SAITM.
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* Wimal Weerawansa's NFF withdraws from UPFA, will function as independent group in parliament

Feb 24 (CP) Colombo- The National Freedom Front (NFF) led by parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa has formally informed the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of its withdrawal from the alliance. The NFF has sent a letter to UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera to officially withdraw from the UPFA, local media reported.
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* MR hits out at CBK

Feb 24 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a statemet, hit out his predecessor Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for vilification of the Army, stating that soldiers are sexually harassing war widows in the former in the North.
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* China, Pakistan Ukraine, Russia, Israel supplied us arms: Gota

Feb 24 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said China, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia and Israel were the countries that supplied military equipment in the fight against terrorism at that time whereas India helped immensely in the provision of training for the security forces.
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* Sri Lanka: A small-state response to a multipolar Asia

Feb 24 (Interpreter) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's recent visit to Australia gives us an opportunity to learn more about Sri Lanka than its treatment of returned asylum seekers. In particular, Sri Lanka can provide valuable lessons on how small states are responding to the growth of a multipolar Asia.
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* ONUR denies former Sri Lankan president accused army of sexually exploiting Tamil women

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo-The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) today responding to the Army Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne categorically denied that former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga accused the army of sexually exploiting Tamil war widows.
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* Chinese Communist Party to enhance relationship with Sri Lanka Freedom party

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- A delegation of Chinese Communist Party visiting Sri Lanka today has assured that China will stand with Sri Lanka as a true friend in the future too. The delegation led by the head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Song Tao made this remark when they met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the President's official residence, today (23).
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* Indonesian President invites Sri Lankan President for a state visit to Indonesia

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- The President of Indonesia Joko Widodo has invited Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to pay a state visit to his country immediately after latter's scheduled participation at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Summit meeting to be held in Jakarta.
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* Sri Lanka Tamil party to support the government despite lack of progress in resolving Tamil people's issues

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance in Parliament yesterday extended its fullest support to the government in the process of formulating a new constitution while expressing party's dissatisfaction in the government's lack of progress in resolving the Tamil people's issues.
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* National Hospital of Sri Lanka to be developed into a state-of-the-art modern hospital

Feb 23 (CP) Colombo- The Sri Lankan government plans to allocate Rs. 2.4 billion to develop the National Hospital in Colombo into a state-of-the-art modern hospital and the Cabinet of Ministers has given its approval to the plan.
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* Are Tamil leaders losing patience?

TNA leader says he’s ‘extremely unhappy’ with the way Tamils are treated by govt.

Feb 23 (Hindu) After two years of engaging the Sri Lankan government on reconciliation and constitutional reform, the country's Tamil polity seems to be losing patience, if Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan's address in Parliament is any indication.
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* Reveal findings of SAITM shooting – JVP

Feb 23 (CT) The JVP in Parliament yesterday demanded that the government discloses to the people the whole truth behind the shooting incident near the South Asian Institute of Medicine and Technology (SAITM) in Malabe.
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* Vehicle registration files removed by a fmr. commissioner: DMT

Feb 23 (DM) A number of vehicle registration files had been allegedly removed by a former Commissioner Administration at the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT), Commissioner General A.H.K. Jagath Chandrasiri said.
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