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Ravana Balaya invades Ministry of Buddhist Affairs again
Monks of Ravana Balaya, an extremist Buddhist group in Sri Lanka, again invaded the Ministry of Buddhist Affairs today demanding a discussion with the Minister who is also the Prime Minister.

The militant Buddhist monks led by Ravana Balaya leader Ittekande Saddhathissa Thero entered the Ministry headquarters and had a discussion with the Secretary to the Ministry. (Colombo Page)

Centre's approach negative on Sri Lanka: DMK chief M Karunanidhi
Charging the BJP-led Union government with pursuing a "negative approach" in dealing with Sri Lanka by supporting it, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today urged the Centre to adopt a stance protective of Tamils there.

Referring to a defence conference to be hosted by Sri Lanka, slated to be held between August 18 and 20, he quoted a Tamil proverb and said India's decision to participate in the meet was tantamount to betrayal. (Economic Times)

Sri Lanka securities regulator licenses the country's first ever dollar fund
Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) of Sri Lanka today licensed the country's first ever dollar denominated unit trust today (30 July) with the approval of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Finance.

The new open-ended Fund that offers US Dollar returns, invests exclusively in dollar denominated Sri Lankan sovereign bonds, bank and corporate issued dollar bonds. (Colombo Page)

Uva PC polls: JHU won’t contest on UPFA ticket
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday said that it wouldn’t contest the forthcoming Uva Provincial Council polls on the UPFA ticket.

The JHU is the second UPFA constituent to decide against contesting the Uva PC polls. National Freedom Front (NFF) leader, Wimal Weerawansa on Tuesday (29) announced that his party wouldn’t field candidates on the UPFA ticket over a simmering dispute over policy matters, including handling of accountability issues/war crimes. (The Island)

Rajarata University to reopen on August 04 after a month-long closing
The Vice Chancellor of the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka said that the academic work of all the faculties that have been closed for nearly a month would resume on August 04.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Ranjith Wijewardena said the decision was taken at a discussion with the deans of all the faculties. (Colombo Page)

Teenage boy defrauds Rs.17.8 Mn
A 17-year-old boy was produced in the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today on charges of having defrauded a private bank of Rs.17.8 million using an ATM card.

The boy, who is a resident of Polonnaruwa, had in January opened an account at a private bank in Ja-Ela with Rs.163,000. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan Minister warns of severe debt crisis if revenues not increased
Sri Lanka Minister of Technology and Research Patali Champika Ranawaka said today that the country is currently confronting a worsening economic crisis as the debt accumulation exceeds the annual household income.

The Minister, who represents nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya, a party of the ruling coalition, said that the impact of this crisis will escalate in near future, if the government fails to come across a practical plan to defray heavy foreign debts. (Colombo Page)

Buddha Sasana under threat: Ranil
Opposition United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today proposed the setting up of a parliamentary monitoring committee to look into the threats faced by the Buddha Sasana.

“We have already suggested the setting up of a parliamentary committee to monitor the development of various important sectors and it would be possible to set up such a monitoring system to look into the threats faced by the Buddha Sasana,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said at a meeting he had with a group of professionals on safeguarding the Buddha Sasana. (Daily Mirror)

Factions of Sri Lanka doctors' union at national hospital clash
A tense situation erupted at the Colombo National Hospital of Sri Lanka due to a clash between two groups of doctors.

The clashed groups belonged to two factions of the powerful doctors' union, Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA). (Colombo Page)

Seychelles and Sri Lanka capital cities twinned: tourism and fisheries initiatives set to increase
The bustling capital city of Colombo in Sri Lanka, with its metropolitan population of 4.5 million inhabitants is a far cry from the commercial centre of the Seychelles, which contains only a handful of streets and even fewer newly-installed traffic lights.

However, the two cities, as different as they may seem, may have a lot to offer each other in terms of tourism, fisheries and commerce. This is the hope of the mayors of the two towns, Colombo’s A.J.M Muzammil and Victoria’s Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, who recently signed a twinning agreement between the two capital cities. (Seychelles News Agency)

Election Commissioner to meet party secretaries tomorrow on Uva PC elections
The Election Commissioner of Sri Lanka Mahinda Deshapriya has summoned all the secretaries of the political parties expected to contest for the Uva Provincial Council election.

The meeting will be held at the Election Secretariat in Colombo tomorrow at 10 a.m. (Colombo Page)

Tamils issue an internal matter of Sri Lanka: Chari
Seshadri Chari, the National Convener of BJP's Foreign Policy Cell, on Wednesday denied a report quoting him as saying that India has told Sri Lanka that the Tamils issue should be resolved for making progress on bilateral trade and commerce.

Referring to a a news agency's report from Singapore last week in this regard, he said he never spoke these words in a seminar there. (Zee News)

Sri Lanka cautioned on foreign borrowings by IMF, inflation watch urged
The International Monetary Fund has cautioned Sri Lanka on foreign borrowings by the state and banks and urged authorities to watch inflation closely and be prepared to raise rates.

"Recent improvements in the trade and current account balances notwithstanding, Sri Lanka remains vulnerable to external shocks," the IMF's executive board said following report by a mission which engaged in annual Article IV consultations with the country. (Lanka Business Online)

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka hopes to advance America's interests at the UN
The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison says, if confirmed as the Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, she will work towards advancing America's interests at the UN.

"If confirmed, I will actively pursue our shared priority of ensuring that American taxpayer resources are used effectively to advance U.S. goals and objectives," at the UN, Sison told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing Tuesday. (Colombo Page)

A contradictory US diplomatic cable from Colombo
How the media influenced Blake to believe P’karan, 300 terrorists committed suicide on the night of May 16/17
Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the Sri Lankan government has spent a colossal amount of taxpayers’ money to counter war crimes allegations directed against the leadership, political as well as the military.

Expensive foreign PR firms have engaged in unsuccessful propaganda campaigns on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka. The foreign PR projects were in addition to the government’s own initiatives, both here and abroad. (The Island)

Disable-friendly buses in Colombo soon
A fleet of luxury and semi luxury buses from Colombo to the suburbs with facilities for differently-abled people to embark and disembark without a hassle will be operated by the SLTB and a purchase order has been placed with an Indian company, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said.

He told Daily Mirror that its objective was to contribute to the Government’s Colombo City modernisation programme. (Daily Mirror)

Maternal deaths drop in Northern Province
Maternal mortality rates have dropped in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province since the end of the lengthy conflict in the region, officials say.

Dr Kapila Jayaratne, national programme manager for maternal and child morbidity and mortality surveillance at the Family Health Bureau, said that just five women were believed to have died as a result of pregnancy or childbirth in the province in 2013. (FIGO)

Guest of Honour” at the diplomatic garden party on French National Day
Sri Lanka had the unprecedented distinction of being the Guest of Honor” at the Gala Diplomatic Garden Party organized by the prestigious Diplomatique” journal in celebration of the French National Day on July 14th.

The event was sponsored by several top-tier French transnational corporations and held at the majestic Pavilion Dauphine in Paris. (Lankaweb)

Don't take part in Sri Lanka defence meet, Vaiko urges Centre
An ally of BJP in Tamil Nadu, today urged the Union government to not participate in a defence conference which is to be hosted by Sri Lanka next month.

"It is shocking to learn that an Indian delegation, comprising senior military personnel, officials and BJP leaders, including Subramanian Swamy, will be participating in a defence conference being organised by Sri Lanka," MDMK general secretary Vaiko said in a statement here.(Economic Times)

Sri Lankan asylum seekers arrive in Australia after weeks held at sea
A group of 157 migrants, thought to be Sri Lankan asylum seekers, arrived at a detention camp in Australia, government officials said on Monday, after having been held at sea by authorities for almost a month.

The asylum seekers are the first to reach Australian shores by boat since December, testing the conservative government's policy of turning back boats carrying potential refugees, which has been criticised by rights group and the United Nations. (REUTERS)

JVP leader discharged from hospital after accident
Leader of Sri Lanka Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka was discharged from the hospital this evening after receiving treatment for injuries sustained in accident yesterday.

He was sent home with orders to rest for few days before he starts working again, JVP sources said. (Colombo Page)

Pope to visit Sri Lanka, Philippines Jan. 12-19
The Vatican has confirmed the dates for Pope Francis' second trip to Asia, a weeklong visit Jan. 12-19 to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Francis had already announced his intention to visit Sri Lanka and meet with victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed some 6,300 people, left another 1,060 missing and devastated parts of the central Philippines last year. (abc News)

BBS continues to promote anti-Muslim campaign - US
The International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 released by the US State stated that the Bodu Bala Sena(BBS) continued to promote its anti-Muslim campaign, which was linked to violent activities last year.

The report released at the US State Department by US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that, local media and NGOs noted strong linkages between the BBS and the government. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lankan navy arrests 50 Indian fishermen, allegedly for poaching
The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 50 Indian fishermen for illegal poaching in its waters, a navy official said Tuesday.

The official said that majority of the Indian fishermen were arrested off Point Pedro in northern Sri Lanka while the rest were arrested off Delft Islands, Xinhua reported. (First Post)

Eco-friendly hotel in Sigiriya
A 650 million rupees eco-friendly hotel will be build in Sigiriya in central Sri Lanka by Union Resorts and Spa Ltd, the state investment promotion agency said.

The hotel branded Water Gardens will have 30 luxury villas will us renewable resources and be eco-friendly, with a reduced 'carbon footprint' the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka which gives tax breaks to new projects, said. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lanka to host Global Rubber Conference 2014
Sri Lanka has been selected to host one of the world's leading conferences on natural rubber Global Rubber Conference (GRC) 2014.

The three-day international event will be held from 27 to 30 October 2014 at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka’s external vulnerability still high, but improving: Moody’s
Sri Lanka’s short-term debt obligations against its official reserves - a measure of the country’s external sector vulnerability - still remains elevated but the United States-based rating agency said it was on a declining trend.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s debt maturing within 12 months is over and above the country’s official reserves, at 118.6 percent in 2014, Moody’s External Vulnerability Indicator (EVI) showed. (Daily Mirror)

Pak diplomat in Sri Lanka on terror radar
Amir Zubair Siddiqui, a Pakistani diplomat named as the person managing ISI activities in India from Sri Lanka, was on the radar of Indian intelligence agencies since 2012.

He was first booked by the Tamil Nadu police after they picked up a suspected ISI agent, Thameem Ansari, in September 2012. Siddiqui is said to have provided an ATM card to Ansari and sent money to him from Colombo. (Times of India)

Ranil meets Anura in hospital
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today visited the JVP leader who was receiving treatment at the National Hospital. Sources said Mr. Dissanayake had a cordial chat with Mr. Wickremesinghe to whom he had explained the ordeal he had in Ratnapura this evening.

JVP sources said Mr. Dissanayake was on his way to Badulla to participate in the election campaign of his party.Sources said he would be back in the election campaign within a few days. (Daily Mirror)

JVP leader has close shave
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had a narrow escape when the double cab he was travelling in collided head-on with an on-coming tipper truck at Holipitiya on the Horana–Ratnapura road yesterday around 11.30 a.m. Following preliminary treatment at the Ratnapura General Hospital he was transferred to the National Hospital, Colombo.

Police Media spokesman’s office said the accident had occurred when MP Dissanayake’s vehicle driven by another person tried to overtake a tipper truck transporting sand. (The Island)

Sri Lanka a potential location for Japanese SMEs to invest - Japan's State Minister
Sri Lanka's strategically located new infrastructure such as Hambantota airport and port make the island a potential location for Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest, a visiting Japanese minister has said today.

Japan's State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kazuyoshi Akaba said Sri Lanka is an option for Japanese SMEs looking for locations to invest, when he called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees Monday. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka president congratulates new Indonesian president elect
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has telephoned the newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo to offer congratulations and invite the latter to visit the island, External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The telephone conversation had taken place last Thursday. (Global Post)

Sri Lankan gas station clerk surprises thieves with fighting skills

US raises concerns over media freedom in Sri Lanka
The United States today said it is deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of a journalism training session in Colombo over the weekend.

“The eventual cancellation of this training, which was focused on digital security for Jaffna-based journalists and financially supported by the U.S. government, was accompanied by a series of threats and intimidation of training participants and other journalists around the country, including threats against at least one journalist who made a statement criticizing the government over the cancellation.” (Ada Derana)

UNP to propose candidates with clean hands
The United National Party (UNP) will abide with the request made by the election monitoring body People’s Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) and put forward a set of candidates with clean hands.

“No one would be able to point his or her finger at our candidates as we will put forward a clean team of candidates for the two districts in the Uva Province,” party spokesman Gayantha Karunatilleke told a media briefing today. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka gives sweeping tax breaks for project on acquired land
Sri Lanka has proposed sweeping tax breaks for a controversial project where lands of private citizens were taken over for a commercial development.

The 429.5 million US dollar project in Colombo's Slave Island area including 130 million US dollars of foreign investments will get a 10 year corporate income tax holiday and a 06 year tax holiday for profits on sale of apartments. (Lanka Business Online)

CJ steps down from Golden Key case
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris today stepped down from the Bench inquiring into the Golden Key Credit Card Company case stating there was a scurrilous letter being circulated against him and as such he should not hear the case in the greater interest of the judiciary.

At a special hearing held today Chief Justice Mohan Peiris said: “I am doing this in the greater interest of this court, to protect its dignity. This court has been through turbulent and critical times in the past, but now it has stabilized itself. I don’t want the Court to go through any of that in the future.” (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka SEC asks for lower interest on margin credit
Sri Lanka's securities regulator has asked margin providers and stockbroker to reduce loan interest rates as overall lending rates fell in the broader economy.

SEC Deputy Director General Dhammika Perera in a letter to stockbrokers and margin providers said Sri Lanka's average weighted prime lending rate had "decline considerably in the recent past" but some brokers and margin providers had not reduced lending rates. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lankan government spends millions for lobbying to improve relations with the US - report
Sri Lankan government has spent millions of dollars to lobbying firms in the United States to defends its status globally, especially in the U.S., but the relationship with the superpower has soured gradually over the last few years despite the colossal amount spent, a local media report said.

Local newspaper, Ceylon Today reported that the Sri Lankan government has spent over US$ 100 million to four lobbying firms in the U.S. to defend the country. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan government spends millions for lobbying to improve relations with the US - report
Sri Lankan government has spent millions of dollars to lobbying firms in the United States to defends its status globally, especially in the U.S., but the relationship with the superpower has soured gradually over the last few years despite the colossal amount spent, a local media report said.

Local newspaper, Ceylon Today reported that the Sri Lankan government has spent over US$ 100 million to four lobbying firms in the U.S. to defend the country. (Colombo Page)

China-Sri Lanka ties at new high, focusing on trade
China and Sri Lanka’s cooperation has grown significantly, the Chinese ambassador has said, noting that greater trade relations and mutual understanding would further enhance bilateral ties.

Chinese investment is in Sri Lanka’s need to diversify investment in different sectors, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. (Daily Times)

Only fresh meeting between Tamil nadu-Sri Lanka fishermen will solve problems
Only a fresh meeting between fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka will solve the problems of the fishing community of the state, TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan said here today.

Speaking to reporters here, he suggested that Tamil Nadu government arrange for talks between fishermen of both nations with the help of the Centre. The Centre should also pressurise the island nation to ensure that attacks did not recur. (dna)

India to inform Sri Lanka about terror cloud on Colombo Pakistan Embassy official
India will be informing Sri Lanka about an official working with the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo who was allegedly playing a key role in planning terror strikes at the behest of ISI on the US and Israeli consulates in the southern part of this country.

The information will be shared with Sri Lankan authorities by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed between the two countries in 2010, official sources said. (Economic Times)

Police deny arresting media personnel coming to capital for workshop
Sri Lanka police had vehemently denied that they have arrested a group of media personnel, who were traveling to Colombo to attend a workshop, at a checkpoint in Omanthai in the North.

Police spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana has told local media that only the vehicle the journalists were traveling in was taken into custody and the police were not aware that the passengers were media personnel. The police have later released the vehicle. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka looking for high profile foreign coach for WC
Sri Lanka Cricket’s hierarchy is clearly of the view that a high profile foreign coach should take them to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next February-March.In that aspect two names that have been thrown up for the post of either consultant coach or head coach are that of Tim Nielsen and Chris Adams.

Nielsen, a former South Australian state cricketer is a former coach of the Australian team and former head coach of the Commonwealth Bank Centre for Excellence in Brisbane, while Adams, a former England cricketer and county captain and coach was hired as consultant coach during Sri Lanka’s recent successful tour of England where they won their first Test series as well as the ODI series. (The Nation)

Sri Lanka Army rejects US Embassy claim on Commission to Investigate Missing Persons
Sri Lanka Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya yesterday rejected the claims of skepticism by an unnamed spokesman of the US Embassy in Colombo regarding the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons.

A spokesperson at the US Embassy in Colombo has told The Sunday Leader newspaper, that there are reports of security forces threatening and intimidating witnesses to the Commission appointed by the President to investigate cases of missing persons during the war. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka protesters scuttle media training for Tamils
Dozens of pro-government activists blocked ethnic Tamil journalists from holding a training program in Sri Lanka on Saturday, marking the latest harassment of the minority community, a media rights group said.

Journalists from the northern Jaffna peninsula, a former war zone, had travelled to Colombo for an electronic media workshop. (Global Post)

MR directs Rajarata VC to forgive Uni. students
President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed the Vice Chancellor of the Rajarata University to pardon the university students and to reopen the university immediately, during the District coordinating Committee Meeting held in Anuradhapura today.

The president had inquired the Vice Chancellor Professor Ranjith Wijewardane about the situation of the university. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan asylum seekers to be taken to Australia
A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers that has been languishing on board an Australian customs vessel for weeks will temporarily be brought to Australia's mainland and may be sent to India, Australia's government said Friday, following a court challenge and outrage from human rights groups.

Two boats of Sri Lankans were intercepted by Australia's border patrol in the Indian Ocean in late June. (abc News)

Abolishing Executive Presidency would be Opposition Presidential candidate’s manifesto - Wickremeratne
A draft constitutional amendment abolishing the Executive Presidency within a definite time frame and reintroduction of the 17th Amendment would be the manifesto of the Oppositions Common Presidential candidate.

Leading Constitutional lawyer Jayampathi Wickremeratne, addressing a meeting organised by the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) at the New Town Hall yesterday, calling for the abolition of the Executive Presidency said that a draft constitutional amendment was in the making and would be made public soon. (The Island)

Sri Lanka condemns loss of civilian lives in Gaza
Sri Lanka expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of civilian lives, and extensive damage to property and condemned "all acts of deliberate attacks causing mayhem and loss of life of civilians."

"One cannot remain unmoved by the cruel fate of children who are innocent victims of violence. We offer our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and for the devastation and grief they have suffered recently," Sri Lanka's. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said. (Colombo Page)

Jaya urges PM to give visa to UN team
Expressing surprise over reports indicating denial of visa by the Centre to a United Nations team probing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant them visa to enable them to hold a fair probe.

In a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday which was released to the media today, Jayalalithaa said, "if the media reports are true, this would be a bitter disappointment to the people of Tamil Nadu who are determined to ensure that the Sri Lankan regime is held to account for its heinous acts against Tamils." (Daily Mirror)

Boycott won’t deprive GoSL of chance to counter charges
‘Inquisition’ team still remains a mystery
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Spokesperson Rupert Colville said that the Sri Lankan government could provide comments on both the oral statement and comprehensive report in September and March 2015, respectively, though it wasn’t cooperating with the investigation.

Colville was responding to a query by The Island as regards a July 5, 2014 dated letter sent by Human Rights chief Navanethem Pillay to External Affairs Minister Prof G. L. Peiris seeking Sri Lanka’s cooperation to proceed with the investigation. Pillay assured Prof. Peiris that an opportunity would be given to the government of Sri Lanka to comment on both the oral statement and the comprehensive report. (The Island)

Sri Lanka shares slip on profit taking; foreigners buy
Sri Lankan stocks slipped on Thursday for a second straight session, moving further away from Tuesday's 34-month closing high as investors booked profits, brokers said.

The main stock index ended 0.04 percent, or 2.58 points lower at 6,781.40, slipping further away from the highest close since Sept. 20, 2011, hit on Tuesday. It has gained 6.35 percent so far this month. (REUTERS)

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