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US Government eases military trade restrictions on Sri Lanka
The United States government has eased long-standing military trade restrictions imposed on Sri Lanka, the US Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has announced.

The DDTC confirmed that licensing restrictions on defence exports to Sri Lanka had been lifted and that it will now review licence applications on a case-by-case basis, the Janes Defence website reported. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka arrests 5 Indians with over 100 kg cannabis
Sri Lankan Navy has arrested five Indians from the country's territorial waters for allegedly trying to smuggle 120 kg of 'Kerala cannabis' to the country.

The Indians were arrested by the Navy on Wednesday while they were transporting a stock of 'Kerala cannabis' through the sea. A Sri Lankan national was also arrested for helping them transfer the banned drug, Colombo Page reported. (Business Standard)

Major General Sumith Manawadu of Sri Lanka Army passes away
Major General Sumith Manawadu of Sri Lanka Army passed away this morning at the Colombo National Hospital after sustaining life threatening injuries when a wooden beam fell on his head. He was 55 years old.

Major General Manawadu suffered head injuries on Wednesday after a wooden beam fell on him when he was inspecting construction work at his private property in Old Kasbewa Road, Delkanda, Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka’s trade gap narrows 9.1-pct in January 2016
Sri Lanka’s exports fell 2.5 percent to 893.9 million US dollars in January 2016 from a year earlier while imports fell at a faster 5.5 percent to 1,589.1 million US dollars, official data showed.

The deficit in the trade account contracted in January 2016, by 9.1 percent from a year earlier to 695 million US dollars compared to 765 million US dollars in January last year. (Lanka Business Online)

Yoshitha's application to travel abroad declined by Courts
Yoshitha Rajapakse’s application for permission to travel abroad accompanying his father former President Mahinda Rajapakse to participate at celebrations relating to the assumption of duties of Ugandian President, was declined by Kaduwela Courts today. The Courts also directed the declined application to be forwarded to the Colombo High Court.

Yoshitha Rajapakse who is charged against fraudulent transactions of the Carlton Sports Network under the Money Laundering act, along with four other directors, are presently enlarged on bail under conditions that had been imposed with a ban on foreign travel. (Daily Mirror)

JO, JVP allege vote rigging in Parliament
The Joint Opposition yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake after a recount of a vote taken at the end of yesterday’s debate to give approval for a supplementary estimate of Rs 55 mn for the government revealed original result had been distorted. The Joint Opposition said that the Secretary General of Parliament had assured a recount. Parliament meets tomorrow.

Presiding member UNP Kandy District MP Lucky Jayawardana that 33 members voted for the supplementary estimate and 31 voted against. (The Island)

Decision over MR's security won't be reversed: Ruwan
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said the government’s decision to withdraw the army from the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security division and deploy only the police would not be changed under any circumstance.

He told the media during his visit to the Mihintale Raja Maha Vihara yesterday that it was a decision taken by the Security Council Headed by the President and the Prime Minister. He pointed out that only the police had been deployed to provide protection to the President and the Prime Minister and other VIPs. He said it was not possible to change the decision of the Security Council and deploy the army to provide protection only for the former president. (Daily Mirror)

JHU leader wants maximum security for ex-President
Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera yesterday called for maximum possible security for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the JHU saw that there was a threat to his life from the LTTE.

The Thera said: "The LTTE cells operating overseas are hell bent on carving out a separate state and some of them will get the remaining Tiger cadres here to assassinate political leaders." (The Island)

Tamil parties form new coalition in Sri Lanka
Among the parties are the Tamil United Liberation Front of V. Anandasangaree; Eelam People’s Democratic Party of Douglas Devananda and Democratic People’s Congress of Praba Ganesan. Only a few days ago, Mr. Devananda and Mr. Ganesan had met President and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party chief Maithripala Sirisena and declared their allegiance to him.

Explaining the purpose behind the coalition’s formation, Mr. Devananda told The Hindu that the parties which claimed to have brought in the existing government had not been able to take care of the interests of Tamils. (The Hindu)

Asylum seekers who reached Cocos Islands could be back in Sri Lanka
Asylum seekers who arrived on the Cocos Islands by boat this week appear to have been returned to Sri Lanka by the Australian government.

On Monday, a wooden vessel, which observers said was probably carrying asylum seekers from Sri Lanka based on the boat’s appearance, travelled into the islands’ bay under its own power and without interception until it nearly made it to shore. (The Guardian)

Central Bank appoints five new assistant governors
The Monetary Board of Sri Lanka's Central Bank has promoted five senior staff officers as Assistant Governors.

The Monetary Board, at its meeting held on 05th April 2016 has promoted five Staff Class Grade IV officers Ms. K Saravanamuttu Mr. E A Hettiarachchi, Mr. R A A Jayalath, Mr. K M M Siriwardana and Mr. S J A Handagama to the post of Assistant Governor with effect from 05th April 2016, 16th April 2016, 12th June 2016, and 18th June 2016, respectively. (Colombo Page)

Maj. Gen. Sumith Manawadu passes away
Major General Sumith Manawadu (55) has passed away while receiving treatment at the National hospital, Colombo, this morning, Military Spokesman Brig. Jayanath Jayaweera said. (Daily Mirror)

Prabhakaran was no hero but a terrorist the LTTE was his army
Most men and women in Sri Lanka are ‘reasonable’ individuals. Whether they come from remote parts of the country or cities, their foundation of values remains grounded on solid logic, argument and judgment.

Whether one’s educational background is university or higher, elementary or secondary or no formal education whatsoever, a reasonable man or woman makes reasonable judgments on matters that concern them. (Daily Mirror)

Votes on Rs 55m supplementary estimate tied
The result of voting on the supplementary estimate of Rs 55 million moved by the Government for the fiscal year 2016 has been announced as a tie with 31 votes for and against.

A fresh vote on the supplementary estimate is expected to be taken in Parliament. (Ada Derana)

Tire market in Sri Lanka expected to reach US$488 Million in 2016
ire industry in Sri Lanka has been growing over the last five years due to rising automobile sales and fleet, on account of increasing income levels, growing infrastructure sector and easy availability of automobile loans at lower interest rates. During 2013-2015, the automobile market in Sri Lanka witnessed growth on the back of increasing new vehicle registrations, with motor car sales and motorcycle sales standing at 105,628 units and 370,889 units in 2015

This in turn positively influenced demand for two wheeler tires in the country over the last couple of years. Moreover, growing supply chain and logistics sector in the country is anticipated to drive expansion of commercial vehicle fleet over the next five years, which is expected to boost demand for commercial vehicle tires in the coming years. (Business Wire)

Colombo Stock Exchange announces a change in the methodology of calculating Price Multiples
Sri Lanka's Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has announced a revision in the methodology of calculating Price Multiples (P/E, P/BV and DY).

The Price‐Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio) and Dividend Yield Ratio (DY) will be calculated taking into consideration "Rolling Four Quarterly Earnings" instead of the current practice of sourcing earnings from the annual results of respective listed companies. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka suspends 2 MPs after worst brawl in 12 years
Sri Lankas parliament today voted unanimously to suspend two of its members for their role in a violent clash on Tuesday in which several lawmakers were injured in the worst brawl in the House in 12 years.

A three-member panel recommended punitive action against the two Members of Parliament after which the report was submitted to the House Committee. The parliament then voted unanimously to suspend them, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. (India Today)

No bail for IP Sumith Perera, remanded until May 12
Former Crime OIC of the Narahenpita police Sumith Perera, who was arrested for allegedly hiding evidence in the murder of Wasim Thajudeen, has been further remanded until May 12.

The suspect was remanded after being produced before the Colombo Additional Magistrate this morning (05), Ada Derana reporter said. (Ada Derana)

Frustrated Sri Lankan FM rails against rich nations’ green hypocrisy
Sri Lanka’s finance minister, who has helped engineer a growth recovery, tells Emerging Markets that he is fed up with “pontificating” Western politicians telling him to adopt green policies that would end up adding costs for his citizens

Sustainable development will not be an option for Sri Lanka until the costs involved are lowered, Sandresh Ravindra Karunanayake, Sri Lanka’s minister of finance told Emerging Markets in an exclusive interviw (Emerging Markets)

Karaikal fishermen to boycott polls over arrest by Sri Lanka
Fishermen of Karaikal in Puducherry, India, have decided to boycott the Assembly elections in protest over several issues, including the failure by the Indian Government to free Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody.

The Hindu newspaper reported that at a meeting held at Karaikalmedu, Karaikal fishermen decided to boycott the polls in support of their demands. (Colombo Gazette)

Govt., PCs must react to NPC resolution: JHU
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said today the Government and other provincial councils should respond to the resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council just as was done by the Western Provincial Council which passed a resolution opposing it.

JHU Leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera wanted to know why other provincial councils could not oppose the resolution adopted in the Northern Provincial Council and asked whether they were acting to please western forces and Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.(Daily Mirror)

Amarapura prelates requests MS to maintain MR’s military security
Amarapura Chapter Mahanayake the Most Ven. Dawuldena Gnanissara Thera has written to President Maitripala Sirisena requesting him to continue with the military security provided to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa considering the fact that he gave leadership to the erradication of terrorism from the country. (Daily Mirror)

New Tamil party alliance in the offing in Sri Lanka
A new Tamil political alliance, being seen as an alternative to the main Tamil party TNA, will be formed with the participation of 10 parties representing the community, according to political sources.

A preliminary discussion about what would be called the Tamil National Front was held here today. (Business Standard)

Strict disciplinary action against MPs involved in clash
The report compiled on the clash which broke out in Parliament yesterday recommends the highest possible disciplinary action against MPs Palitha Thewarapperuma and Prasanna Ranaweera for causing the tense situation to escalate into an exchange of blows, according to sources.

Cabinet Minister for Regional Development Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was delivering a statement regarding the decision to replace the military security of the former President with police personnel when certain opposition MPs raised objections clashed with government MPs on Tuesday(Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka shares snap 5-day winning streak on tax woes
Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Wednesday, snapping five straight sessions of gains, as worries about tax hikes dented sentiment.

Brokers said investors were worried over a tax hike, which takes effect from Monday, as it could hit the bottomlines of companies. However, a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund last week limited the fall. (REUTERS)

EU lifting ban on Sri Lankan fishing good for prices not environment
Sri Lankan Catholic fishermen have largely welcomed the European Union lifting its ban on the country's fisheries exports but some remain wary of its positive implications.

"Lifting of the EU ban will help to increase fish sale prices particularly of tuna, which was exported to the EU previously," Joseph Peter of the Boat Owners Association told (UCA News)

Packer on a secret mission in SL: JO
Sri Lanka's Sinhala-majority Western Province has opposed a recent resolution by Tamil-dominated The Government should reveal the purpose of Australian billionaire James Packer’s visit to Sri Lanka, even after he had been told by the current government that he was not welcome in Sri Lanka, the joint opposition claimed today.

Opposition MP Weerakumara Dissanayake told a news conference that they had been informed by reliable sources that Mr. Packer had arrived in the country yesterday and is currently staying at Hilton Hotel in Colombo. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka's Western Province opposes federalism for Tamil north citing constitutional issues
Sri Lanka's Sinhala-majority Western Province has opposed a recent resolution by Tamil-dominated northern provincial council on a federal solution to grant political autonomy to Tamils, calling the move "constitutionally and legally incorrect".

The Western Provincial Council on Thursday passed a resolution against the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Provincial Councilor Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said. (First Post)

Mawilmada to head Sri Lanka Megapolis investments
Nayana Mawilmada has joined Sri Lanka’s Western Region Megapolis Planning Project (WRMPP) as head of investments, leaving his role as director general of the Urban Development Authority.

Aside from continuing to lead some of the planning efforts, Mawilmada will function as the primary interface between the Megapolis project and potential investors both local and international.(Lanka Business Online)

Pre -war and post - war periods need two mindsets
Crowds do not mean much at May Day rallies but MP’s on stage read the minds of the voters. An elected-not a nominated-MP sits at a rally where his constituents want to vote for him.

A snapshot of a difference between the North and South. f(Daily Mirror)

Disciplinary inquiry against former police media spokesperson
The Ministry of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Rathnayake had informed the IGP yesterday to conduct a disciplinary inquiry at Department level against the former police spokesperson ASP Ruwan Gunasekera relating to his conduct.

The report of the disciplinary inquiry is to be forwarded to the Minister Rathnayake within three days. (Daily Mirror)

Man bolts minus part of tongue
Intrepid teenage girl foils rape
An 18-year-old schoolgirl in the Mawathagama Police area recently succeeded in freeing herself from the clutches of a man who tried to rape her. She bit off part of his tongue.

The girl handed over the severed part of the man’s tongue to the police. It is being kept in a freezer to be produced in court. (The Island)

UNP MPs started to attack us: Jt.Opp
The Joint Opposition said UNP MPs had started the brawl inside the Parliament chamber, when some Joint Opposition members were conducting a peaceful protest inside the chamber today.

Speaking at a media briefing in Colombo, Joint Opposition leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena said the Joint Opposition had sought permission from the Speaker to express their views on the removal of army personnel from the security detail of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka lawmakers engage in fist fight over Rajapaksa guards
Sri Lankan lawmakers engaged in a fist fight at the parliament Tuesday after an argument over the removal of army soldiers from the guards of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The fight occurred after the parliament started its session. There was an argument between opposition lawmakers and the parliamentarians supporting the government.(Press TV)

Media secretary to be removed
The government has decided to remove Nimal Bopage from the post of Secretary of the Ministry of Parliamentary reforms and Mass media.

This decision had been arrived at after considering the impact of a statement made by the secretary on the media policy of the government of good governance, and acting in contravention of the efforts of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to establish an independent media environment by issuing such statements.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka rupee up on IMF loan, bond issue boost
The Sri Lankan rupee edged higher on Tuesday as a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund last week and the announcement of a $1.5 billion bond issue boosted sentiment.

The central bank, which had been trading the spot rupee at 143.90, has started buying it at 145.70 through state banks, two dealers said . Officials from the central bank were not available for comment.(REUTERS)

Sri Lankan court: Right to information bill needs two-thirds
Sri Lanka’s highest court has declared that parts of a right to information bill contravene the constitution and it will need a two-thirds majority in Parliament to become law, the speaker announced Tuesday.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the Supreme Court found five articles of the bill contravene the basic charter.(WTOP)

Sri Lankan lawmakers brawl in parliament over bombing claim
Sri Lanka's parliament erupted in brawls between rival lawmakers Tuesday, after a former army chief said a bomb blast apparently targeting ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse's brother 10 years ago was an "inside job".

Legislators from Sri Lanka's ruling party traded blows with those loyal to Rajapakse who became enraged after Sarath Fonseka said the 2006 bombing was aimed at winning sympathy for the then-ruling family.(Daily Mail)

Boat carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers arrives in Cocos Islands: locals
A boat carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers has reportedly arrived at the Cocos Islands, according to locals.

The ABC is reporting the vessel arrived on Monday morning in bad weather.(The Australian)

Security provided to former President is more than sufficient - SF
The former President has no ethical right to make blames about his security, former Army chief and Minister Sarath Fonseka claims.

The observation was made while speaking at the Parliament this afternoon (03).(Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka seeks to raise US$685mil in revenue from taxes
Sri Lanka is seeking to raise 100 billion rupees (US$685.6mil) in revenue in 2016 by increasing the value added tax (VAT) and new taxes effective from Monday, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (pic) said late on Sunday.

The VAT will rise to 15% from 11% and will be imposed on private sector health services as the government struggles to reduce a ballooning budget deficit amid a debt crisis.(The Star)

KLM resumes flights to Colombo after nearly 20 years
At the start of the 2016 winter schedule, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will resume direct service to Sri Lanka's Colombo International Airport from October, the airline said in a statement Monday.

The first flight to Colombo is scheduled to depart on Monday, 31 October 2016. This marks KLM's return to Colombo after an absence of almost 20 years. KLM suspended service to the Sri Lankan capital (then served via Abu Dhabi) in 1997 as the war escalated.(Colombo Page)

Former President Rajapaksa's son alleges political witch-hunt by government
With the army being removed from his family's security detail, former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa's son on Monday accused the government of carrying out a political witch-hunt and said they have been facing such "harassment" from a long time.

"The change comes into force today. We have been facing this kind of harassment for a long time now. This is nothing surprising. The government fears us more so after yesterday's big crowd that was seen at our May Day rally," Namal Rajapaksa, an MP, and the elder son of the former strongman told reporters.(dna)

Reconsider MR's security withdrawal: Joint Opp.
While denouncing the Government’s move to assign Police personnel for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security detail, the Joint Opposition requested both the President and the Prime Minister, to call off the move.

Joint Opposition Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena said unlike other past leaders Rajapaksa should be entitled to VVIP security, since it was he who defeated the LTTE. (Daily Mirror)

Former Tamil Tiger cadre arrested in Sri Lanka
A former top ranked man from the Tamil Tiger rebel outfit was arrested by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in eastern Sri Lanka on Monday, local media reported.

The ex-cadre, known as Krishnapillai Kalainesan alias Praba, was taken into custody in Eravur, Batticaloa, to be interrogated, Xinhua news agency reported.(Indian Express)

Police Media Unit temporarily suspended
The Media Unit of Sri Lanka Police has been suspended with immediate effect on the instructions of IGP Pujitha Jayasundara, the Ministry of Law and Order said.

According to a report in Economynext, official sources on Monday have indicated that there is a "serious issue" with the present Police Media Spokesman Assistant Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka Lanka to probe 'each and every' national in 'Panama Papers'
Sri Lanka has set up a special panel to probe its nationals named in the "Panama Papers", the finance minister said On Monday while promising to investigate "each and every" Sri Lankan tax evader who may figure in the leaked documents.

Sri Lankans are said to figure in the leaked documents and the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which came to power in January on a promise to clean up corruption, said it would probe "each and every Sri Lankan" whose names were likely to figure in the documents to be made public on May 9.(dna)

Mustapha: LG polls not this year
Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizser Mustapha today ruled out the possibility of elections for local authorities this year, because of work involved in delimitation

The Minister said the committee, assigned for sorting out anomalies in delimitation of electoral wards, would be given an extra month to finish the task. (Daily Mirror)

Decision to be made against absent SLFPers - Dissanayake
A decision will be taken on the steps to be taken against the SLFP members who did not attend the party’s May Day rally held in Galle, Minister Duminda Dissanayake says.(Ada Derana)

Sri Lankan President calls for a firm commitment to make the victories achieved by working people a reality
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena honoring the working people on the International Workers' Day, today called for a firm commitment to make the victories achieved by working people a reality as the nation enters into a new political and economic process.

"We should take a firm determination to fulfill the aspirations of our people with a firm commitment to make the achieved victories a reality in this May Day in the present context of the Nation entering into a new economic and political process with the new democratic and free approach won on January 08, 2015," the President said in his May Day message.(Colombo Page)

We will turn Sri Lanka into a high income country ; PM
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government would create an independent fund to manage all profits made by state owned enterprises, “we will work towards getting these profits back to the people. We will not privatize any state enterprise”, he said.

The UNP Leader who addressed the May Day rally at Campbell Park also said the government was working towards a fairer pay model for all workers by 2020.(Daily News)

UNP conspiracy to destroy the SLFP - Mahinda
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is now in danger of losing its identity as a political party, says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The observation was made while speaking at the May Day rally of the Joint Opposition in Kirulapone this afternoon (01)(Ada Derana)

Chava explosives: Key suspects flee to India
Investigations reveal that some of those wanted in connection with the chance detection of an explosive haul including a suicide vest at Chavakachcheri during the last week of March have fled to India.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera yesterday told The Island that a person identified as S. Sivakaran arrested in Mannar on April 27 was believed to have helped the wanted persons escape.(The Island)

Northern Province CM issued notice to appear in apex court over NPC resolution - report
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has issued notice for Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and three others to appear in the Court over a petition filed against a resolution recently passed by the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) calling for a federal solution and merger of the North and East.

The respondents of the petition include Chief Minister, leader of ITAK Mavai Senathirajah, NPC Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam and NPC Secretary S. Pathmanathan. They are ordered to appear in the court on May 12, 13 and 17, Asian Mirror reported.(Colombo Page)

Newly-elected Sri Lanka Cricket officials spend millions on song, handouts
The musical show and ceremony held in March for the Sri Lankan cricket team's departure for the ICC World Twenty20 and the production cost for a song to commemorate the tournament has cost the island's cricket board 40 million rupees, according to a recent report.

Part of the costs have been borne by sponsors Dialog, the state-run Sunday Observer reported.(Island Cricket)

Media has become biggest threat to free media - PM
The biggest threats to the free media environment existing today is also coming from the media and not from anyone else, says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He was speaking during an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum in Colombo today. (Ada Derana)

Deputy Minister slams former president for misleading people on VAT
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.

"MR please don't mislead the people. There is NO VAT on any education service," the Deputy Minister said in a Facebook post.(Colombo Page)

JO condemns govt. bid to control media
Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday said that a controversial missive issued by newly appointed Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Secretary Nimal Bopage advising the media not to use the term ‘Joint Opposition’ to denote the dissident group of the UPFA should be examined against the backdrop of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) recognising the group loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Claiming that the continuous use of the term Joint Opposition was illegal, immoral and unethical and breach of media freedom, attorney-at-law Bopage warned individual journalists as well as television and radio presenters of legal action unless they discontinued the practice.(The Island)

Court prevents Joint Opposition from entering Shalika grounds
An interim order has been issued by Court preventing members of the “Joint Opposition” and SLTB trae unions from entering Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita for 14 days from today, police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said.

The May Day rally of the self-styled Joint Opposition was scheduled to commence from Shalika Grounds and at Kirulopane Grounds on Sunday (May 01). (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka reaches USD1.5Bln support deal with IMF
Sri Lanka has reached a technical agreement with the International Monetary Fund for 1.5 billion dollars, a statement said.

The loan program will need approval by the IMF’s executive board, which is due to consider it in early Jun (Lanka Business Online)

Swedish FM declines the request of CV
The Swedish Minister of Foreign Ms. Margo Wolstorm presently on a visit to Jaffna stressed on Tuesday, that as Sri Lanka had now assumed a position of a middle income country, her country was not in a position to assist the North and East separately.

The Swedish Foreign Minister made this declaration, when she met the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial council C.V. Wigneswaran at the latter’s office in Jaffna and a request was made to her to assist the areas in the North and East. (Daily Mirror)

LTTE revival bid confirmed: TNA youth leader arrested
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. (The Island)

Media Ministry Secretary’s statement is not govt’s stance - Gayantha
Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs Gayantha Karunathilaka says that the letter issued by the Secretary of his ministry Nimal Bopage regarding the term ‘Joint Opposition’ is not the government’s stance and only a personal request by the latter.

The newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media issued a statement to all media organisations today regarding the legality of a group of MPs going by the name “Joint Opposition” despite the clear representation of the Government and Opposition in parliament. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lankan 5-day rupee forwards retreat on importer dollar demand
Sri Lankan five-day rupee forwards ended slightly weaker, erasing early gains as importer dollar demand surpassed greenback sales by foreign banks to facilitate buying of government securities, dealers said.

"Foreign banks sold dollars today. Rupee ended weaker as there was some importer demand, which came in later in the day," said a local bank currency dealer, requesting not to be named.(REUTERS)

Sri Lanka's investment agency signs 19 agreements worth US$ 139 million in March 2016
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 and are expected to generate 3,100 direct new employment opportunities.(Colombo Page)

IMF reaches staff level agreement for $1.5 billion, three-year Sri Lanka loan
The Sri Lankan authorities and the IMF have reached a staff-level agreement on a 36-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF)," for a $1.5 billion loan, Todd Schneider, IMF mission chief for Sri Lanka said in a statement.

"This agreement will be subject to completion of prior actions and approval by the IMF’s Executive Board, which is expected to consider Sri Lanka’s request in early June."(Fiscal Times)

Media Ministry Secy. sends missive to media over Joint Opp.
Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage in a media release today said that there were reports of some media organisations and journalists engaging in what he called ‘illegal and unethical use’ of media to promote a section of the MPs belonging to one main Governing party, who call themselves the ‘Joint Opposition’

He warned the journalists that such misuse could make them legally liable. (Daily Mirror)

President appoints 11 new SLFP organisers; Geetha & Salinda removed
President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed 11 new district and electoral organisers for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The letters of appointment were handed over to the new organisers by the President at the Presidential Secretariat his morning, the PMD said.(Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka shares end higher led by large-caps
Sri Lankan shares rose for a third straight session on Thursday led by large-caps on positive sentiment after the central bank left rates steady earlier this week.

However, analysts said investors were cautious and awaited the outcome of a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.(REUTERS)

Fake stones threaten to undermine Sri Lanka’s gem trade
From the Queen of Sheba to Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, Sri Lanka’s sapphires have adorned royalty through the ages, but a flood of cheap imitations is threatening the island’s reputation for the precious stones. Ceylon sapphires, known after the island’s colonial-era name, enjoyed a huge boost five years ago when it was revealed that one formed the centerpiece of the engagement ring Prince William gave Catherine Middleton.

They are renowned as the best sapphires in the world, but gem traders say artificial stones-colored glass that to the untrained eye are virtually indistinguishable from sapphires-are being passed off as the real thing to unsuspecting buyers. They fear that is tarnishing the image of the gems, seen as a major potential income stream for an economy still recovering from decades of civil war.(Kuwait Times)

Sri Lanka to establish diplomatic mission in Ethiopia
Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers at its weekly meeting on Tuesday has granted approval to the government to establish a diplomatic mission in Ethiopia.

The mission will be established in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa where the Headquarters of the African Union is situated.(Colombo Page)

Statement shows Govt. helpless: Wimal
The statement made by Media Ministry Secretary on the Joint Opposition indicated the ‘bankrupt’ status of the Government and how ‘helpless’ the Government had become before the Joint Opposition, National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader and MP Wimal Weerawansa said today.

While condemning the statement, the MP said there was no need to ask for permission from the Secretary of the Media Ministry on using a name and asked what his issue was over using the name ‘Joint Opposition’.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka cuts Airbus order
Sri Lanka has cancelled half its order for eight Airbus A350 planes as its cash-strapped national carrier struggles with mammoth debts, the prime minister said Tuesday.

Ranil Wickremesinghe also said the government had decided to take on state-owned SriLankan Airlines’ USD3.25 billion debt and restructure the airline as a joint venture with private capital.(TTR weekly)

Shocking police nexus in Jeyaraj's assassination
Shocking police nexus in Jeyaraj's assassination
The assassination of Highways and Road Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, at Shanthi grounds, Weliweriya on the morning of April 6, 2008 had also been masterminded by Colombo-based LTTE operative Morris, two years after his failed bid to eliminate Army Chief, the then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

Minister Fernandopulle was 55 years at the time of his killing. The influential Catholic Minister held the post of the SLFP Treasurer and was one of the staunchest defenders of the ruling coalition, both in and outside Parliament.(The Island)

Sri Lanka to set up Fisheries and Aquatic Research Development Center with China's support
Promoting China- Sri Lanka cooperation, China has offered assistance to establish a Fisheries and Aquatic Research Development Center associated with the Matara-Mirissa Fishery Harbor in the south, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera said.

A five- member delegation from China led by the Deputy Administrator of State Oceanic Administration of China, Zhang Hongsheng recently visited Sri Lanka in order to make observations regarding the proposed facility.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka government stable, cannot be toppled, says Sirisena
Rejecting reports of “internal disputes” in the party, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday said his government was completely stable and could not be toppled.

Addressing the heads of media institutions here, Sirisena said the group supporting former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was less than 50 in the 225-member assembly.(Hindustan Times)

President responds to NPC resolution, won’t allow Sri Lanka to be divided
The government will never allow any harm to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, referring to a recent resolution by the Northern Provincial Council, the President emphasized.

Addressing the heads of media institutions at the President’s House in Colombo today, President Maithripala Sirisena added that even though anybody could pass any resolution, the government will never allow Sri Lanka to be divided or bifurcated.(Lanka Business Online)

Sanath Jayasuriya returns as Sri Lanka chief selector
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Wednesday announced the return of Sanath Jayasuriya as the chief selector, a little more than a year since he stepped down from the post.

The new selection committee will start its operation on May 1 and will serve for two-year term. The four-member panel comprises wicketkeeper-batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana, former offspinner Ranjith Madurasinghe and former fast bowler Eric Upashantha, besides Jayasuriya.(dna)

Danuna goes to HRC against Wijeyadasa
Danuna Thilakaratne, the son-in-law of Minister Sarath Fonseka, today lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, claiming that the minister had refused to release the monies that were contained in his bank accounts that were frozen as a result of him being named as a suspect in a case brought against Hi-Corp, even after he was acquitted.

Mr. Thilakaratne said he had made a request from Minister Rajapakshe to release the funds that were contained in his personal bank accounts that were frozen as he had been acquitted from the case but the minister had not responded to his request so far.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan 5-day rupee forwards firmer on bank dollar sales
Sri Lankan five-day rupee forwards were slightly firmer on Wednesday due to dollar sales by a foreign bank, while importers awaited direction on the currency, dealers said.

The central bank kept benchmark rates steady late on Tuesday, as expected, as it gauges the effect of the recent tightening amid final stages of talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $1.5-billion loan to tide over a payments crisis.(REUTERS)

Seven Indians rescued from Sri Lanka return home
Seven Indians, allegedly working in hostile conditions in a Sri Lanka factory, were rescued and reached home at the Sujru village in India, the Press Trust of India reported

According to police SSP KB Singh, a complaint was lodged by Tohid Ahmed, a family member of one of the bonded labourers, against Asif and Mehbood, the two contractors accused of cheating the workers by sending them to Sri Lanka with fake promises of better pay, accommodation and food.(Colombo Gazette)

World Bank approves USD45mn to protect Sri Lanka’s natural habitats
The World Bank Board has approved a 45 million US dollars credit to help protect Sri Lanka’s natural habitats and resources from degradation and exploitation.

The credit for this project is provided by the International Development Association – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm –with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.(Lanka Business Online)

UN experts on torture and the independence of the justice system to jointly visit Sri Lanka
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Tuesday announced that the human rights experts Mónica Pinto and Juan E. Méndez will carry out a visit to Sri Lanka from 29 April to 7 May 2016

They will visit Sri Lanka to assess recent developments and identify challenges related to the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to the independence of the justice system.(Colombo Page)

Cabinet approves amalgamation of SriLankan Airlines
Cabinet had granted approval for SriLankan Airlines to amalgamate with a private entity. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe elaborated on subject.

Following independence from Colonial Rule, Sir John Kotelawala commenced Air Ceylon in 1948 as the flag carrier airline of Sri Lanka , in a bid to showcase independence and pride of the country. After an open economy policy was introduced to the country in 1977, Air Ceylon was rebranded as Air Lanka, and modernised.(News 1st)

TNA demands probe over ‘illegal occupation’ by Sri Lankan Army
Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance on Wednesday called for a probe on the alleged illegal occupation of civilian lands by the military in the Northern Province.

The Tamil National Alliance was responding to accusations that on April 16, a group of party legislators led by the main opposition leader R Sampanthan had forcibly entered a military installation at Paravipanjan area in the northern Kilinochchi district.(The Hindu)

Sri Lanka says no discussions with India over building sea bridge
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said it had not held any discussions with India over constructing a sea bridge and tunnel connecting the two countries.

Government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne told Xinhua that despite media reports stating that Sri Lanka and India were in discussions over the connectivity bridge, there had been no talks held between the two countries.(Shanghai Daily)

Northern PC says its demand to merge North and East is not for separatism
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) -controlled Northern Provincial Council (NPC), which with a majority vote passed a bill on Friday calling for the merger of the North and East into a federal Tamil speaking unit, says the demand for federalism should not be misinterpreted as separatism.

On the significance of the resolution adopted, The NPC is not for special powers to be provided to the proposed State, its chairperson C.V.K. Sivagnanam has told The Hindu.(Colombo Page)

FSP urges Tamils to beware of TNA motives
Tamils should not harbour any hopes of solutions for their problems through a federal set up in the North and the East, the Frontline Socialist Party said yesterday.

Propaganda Secretary of the FSP Pubudu Jagoda, addressing a press conference at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana, said the TNA was fishing in troubled waters.(The Island)

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