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Sri Lanka to sign FTA with China
Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive here on Tuesday, on a significant visit to the island nation, during which Beijing and Colombo are expected to firm up a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Sri Lanka will also join China’s efforts in the 21st Silk Road trade cooperation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Xinhua in a recent interview. (The Hindu)

India says Sri Lanka is committed to 13A
Sri Lanka has assured India that it is committed to implementing the 13th amendment in its constitution, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said today.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that Sri Lanka has assured and re-assured it is committed to the full implementation of the 13th amendment. (Colombo Gazette)

China becomes Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner
With the first Chinese leader in 28 years due here today, China has leapfrogged to become Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner and source of imports next to India.

Describing President Xi Jinping’s two day state visit as historic the Chinese Ambassador in Colombo Wu Jianghao said yesterday that it indicated the significance of bilateral relations built on a solid platform and nurtured at a healthy momentum. (The Hindu)

Minister puts disputed memo in limbo
In order to settle a major dispute among officials that has threatened to destroy Sri Lanka’s most popular sport, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has given instructions to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials to shelve a controversial memorandum presented by President Jayantha Dharmadasa recently to the SLC exco, outlining a new administrational and management structure.

Minister has asked them to stick to the system that was in place. (Daily Mirror)

President violates election laws: JVP
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of indulging in the most numberof election-law violations in the election campaign being carried out by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in the Uva Province.

“The President is in the lead where election-law violations are concerned. He is engaged in the campaign like this is a presidential election.There are numerous opening ceremonies even for unwanted and useless projects with the participation of the President and the police can’t do anything because they can’t take action against the President,” JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said. (Daily Mirror)

India to stop Sri Lankan asylum seekers
Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Home Minister N Chinarajappa says efforts will be taken to stop Sri Lankans from attempting to go to Australia by boat via India.

On international human traffickers’ bid to use the Prakasam coast to illegally transport Sri Lankan Tamils to Australia, he said more marine police stations would be opened to step up surveillance along the coast, The Hindu newspaper reported. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lankan Film ‘Ira Sevaya’ Screened in Kathmandu
“Dhammo Hawe Rakkhathi Dhamma Chari”, this is Lord Buddha's saying that those who are committed to the path of Dhamma [Virtues] are Protected by the Dhamma itself.

A Sri Lankan feature film “Ira Sevaya - Sun Rise”, (a spiritual film) was screened as its premier show on 5th September 2014 at the Russian Centre of Culture and Science, Kathmandu. The film has been directed by Mr. Rodney Widanapathirana, popular drama producer, film maker and travel writer of Sri Lanka. (Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Access to finance is a major barrier for Sri Lanka's creative productivity
Lack of access to finance, shortage of skilled labor and the country's generous leave policy are some of the factors that had led an Asian Development Bank report to rank Sri Lanka in the bottom six of 22 Asian economies.

Sri Lanka is ranked 19th out of 24 economies in terms of its creative productivity in the Creative Productivity Index (CPI) built by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The United States and Finland are included in the report for comparison purposes. (Colombo Page)

Mahela Jayawardene stamp and commemorative cover to be issued by Sri Lanka’s postal department
Mahela Jayawardene will soon have a stamp and a commemorative cover in his honour in Sri Lanka. Jayawardene is one of the greatest batsmen produced by Sri Lanka and played his last Test against Pakistan in August. He has continued to play One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and is aiming to play the ICC World Cup 2015.

The Island reported on Sunday that there were many requests for the stamps to the postal department. This came from fellow cricketers and students of Jayawardene’s alma mater Nalanda College. However, Sri Lanka’s postal department is only allowed to release 35 commemorative stamps in a year, which has been done this year. Hence, they wouldn’t be able to release that in Jayawardene’s honour. (Cricket Country)

Sri Lankan firm buys local MFI
US-based investment bank Developing World Markets Asset Management (DWM) has sold the controlling stake in Cambodia’s fifth-largest microfinance institution, Thaneakea Phum Cambodia (TPC).

A statement issued on Friday says DWM sold a 55 per cent equity stake in TPC to LOLC Micro Investments (LOMI), a subsidiary of publicly listed Sri Lankan financial services conglomerate Lanka Orix Leasing Company. DWM will retain a 37 per cent stake in TPC. (Phnom Penh Post)

Sri Lanka ranked 19th in creative productivity index by ADB
Sri Lanka ranked 19th in creative productivity index which was jointly developed by Asian Development Bank and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to give policy makers a to assess how best to foster creativity and innovation in 22 Asian economies.

“As countries seek to innovate to avoid middle-income traps, all governments especially those with limited resources need to be sure that their investments boost both efficiency and productivity, benefiting their economies and people, and move to a knowledge-based economy,” Bindu N. Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development at Asian Development Bank was quoted in a statement. (Lanka Business Online)

Pakistan hiring Sri Lankan Muslims as spies spooks intelligence agencies
The arrest of a third Sri Lankan spying on India on behalf of Pakistan in less than 10 months has got intelligence agencies to train their focus back on growing radicalization among Tamil-speaking Muslims in eastern Sri Lanka where Pakistan has been fishing for a long time.

Although the latest Pakistani spy in the Indian net, Arun Selvarajan, is a Colombo-based Tamil Hindu, two others arrested since April are Tamil-speaking Muslims belonging to eastern Sri Lanka. (Times of India)

President Karzai hosts ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy in Kabul
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy, as part of its global tour, on Saturday visited Kabul, Afghanistan, where it was received by President Mr Hamid Karzai.

Also present with the trophy during this historic visit to the President’s office were Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi and star player, Nawroz Mangal, as well as other senior officials of the Afghanistan Cricket Board. (ICC)

Detentions and deportation of asylum-seekers continue in Sri Lanka
A new round of arrests, detentions, and deportation of asylum-seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka has once again been recorded, according to the UN's Refugee Agency .

UNHCR was informed that between 3 and 11 September, 62 Pakistani and three Afghan asylum-seekers were arrested and detained; 40 people had been subsequently deported. (Gamagusta Gazette)

Acknowledging our ‘politically precarious’ plight
The ‘Focus on Rights’ column on the Uva provincial polls being more of a battlefield than an election (Sunday Times, August 31st 2014) has been responded to by former Inspector General of Police, Frank de Silva in a manner that raises several interesting issues.

A central point in this response is the unequivocal acknowledgement that police officers on duty in ‘politically precarious situations’ are themselves appointed by and function under the administrative authority and control of a political appointee, the Secretary, Defence. (Sunday Times/Columns)

Government is strengthening free education with technical laboratories in schools
The government is strengthening free education with the establishment of Mahindodaya technical laboratories in schools for the students to meet the future needs of the country as well as the world, the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Sunday.

Speaking at the ceremonial openings of seven Mahindodaya Technical Laboratories in the Uva Province, the President said the aim of the project is to strengthen education sector by increasing the IT literacy among Sri Lankan students. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka main opposition party promises one million jobs under a future government
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party says that a future government under the party will take measures to provide one million jobs to the island youth.

Addressing an election rally at Lunuwatta, Uva-Paranagama in Badulla district, the leader of Opposition and the party, Ranil Wickremasinghe said that out of the one million, 100,000 jobs will be given to the youth who work for the party. (Colombo Page)

Tattoo helps father identify body of TN fisherman in Lanka
A Tamil Nadu fisherman’s body, which was washed ashore in Delft Island (Nedunthivu) in North Sri Lanka, has been identified as that of Gnanaprakasam (45) son of Siluvaimuthu (75)in Ramanathapuram district.

Siluvaimuthu identified the body of his son by the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol tattooed on the leg, U Arulanandam, head of the Association for the Release of Innocent Fishermen, told Express over phone from Rameswaram on Saturday. (Indian Express)

‘Grease Yaka’ tried to abduct three other girls
No woman was willing to live with him after his wife had deserted him and, therefore, he wanted to abduct a little girl, raise her and then marry her when she grew up, the suspect (31) in the abduction of four-year-old Keshani has confessed to sleuths of the Criminal Investigation Department under questioning.

The interrogation of suspect Nimal Wickremesinghe, alias ‘Grease Gamini’ or ‘Grease Yaka’ has revealed that he is of limited intelligence. (The Island)

Savour Sri Lanka delicacies
Eye-catching traditional masks in the corridors leading up to Pondichery Café of Sofitel BKC greet you and while lanterns adorning the exteriors of many buildings are common in Sri Lanka,

Pondichéry Café showcases our neighbour’s flair with lanterns lighting its walls as well. (Free Press Journal)

President to Chair CHOGM meetings on the sidelines of UN General Assembly
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will leave for the United States on September 22 on an official visit, Presidential Secretariat sources said.

He will arrive in New York to attend the 69th UN General Assembly which starts on September 24. The President will address the UN General Assembly on Thursday, September 25. (Colombo Page)

STF bust large scale ‘Kerala Ganja’ transporting racket
Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel have arrested a bus driver and conductor along with marijuana worth over Rs 2.5 million after uncovering information regarding ‘Kerala Ganja’ transportation racket using long-distance luxury buses.

The ‘Kerala Ganja’ is being transported from Jaffna to be distributed in various partsof the country including Colombo, STF said. (Ad Derana)

Mission heads to carry responsibility for DPL bags
Heads of Sri Lanka diplomatic missions overseas — Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives — will be held personally responsible for the secure despatch of DPL bags from their stations to Colombo.This is the highlight of special instructions sent out to them by External Affairs Ministry Secretary Kshenuka Seneviratne.

The move follows the detection of irregularities in the use of DPL bags. It was found that jewellery belonging to a deceased worker in South Korea has been despatched in a DPL bag to Colombo. The gold had been sold to a jewellery shop in the Pettah after the items were surreptitiously removed. (Sunday Times)

Indian Coast Guard arrests ten Sri Lankan fishermen in two boats
The Indian Coast Guard has arrested ten Sri Lankan fishermen along with their two boats on Saturday for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Indian waters off the Chennai coast.

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship and its fixed wing aircraft on a coordinated patrol duty has apprehended the boats and fishermen about 70 nautical miles off north east of Chennai on September 13, an ICG release has said. (Colombo Page)

UNP says Sri Lanka has two worlds
The opposition United National Party (UNP) says there are two world’s in Sri Lanka, one which is enjoyed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family and another where the ordinary man lives and suffers.

UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera, speaking at a Uva Provincial Council election rally, said that the public today are suffering more than they did during the war. (Colombo Gazette)

UPFA makes a din: JVP
A novel strategy has been put in place by the leaders of the UPFA to prevent meetings of other parties in the Moneragala District, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) charged today.

JVP accused that some higher-ups in the ruling UPFA in Monerala prevented the JVP from holding an election rally on Saturday by holding a rival meeting at the same venue. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka: Magical mystical tour
It's our first day on the road and already I've filled half my notebook with interesting bits of information. I've discovered the national flower of Sri Lanka is the blue water lily, the national gemstone is the blue sapphire and the national bird is the colourful Sri Lankan jungle fowl.

I've learnt that Sri Lankans like to consume herbal soup at least twice a week for breakfast - because the greens in the soup are purifying - and 70 per cent of the population are Theravada Buddhists who consult astrologers for everything from where to build a house to whom to marry. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sri Lankan, Chinese Presidents commission Lakvijaya Phase 2
The Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai is now fully ready for commissioning of its second phase on Tuesday (September 16) by the Presidents of Sri Lanka and China, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) insisted.

CEB Media Spokesman Senajith Dassanayake said repairs to Units 1 and 2 of the plant, which were both knocked out of action last month due to technical faults, were now complete. As such, Lakvijaya was now generating 600 Mega Watts to the national grid, he added. (The Nation)

Puzzles and paradoxes of the Sri Lankan economy
Many aspects of the Sri Lankan economy are confusing even to economists.

Unravelling these puzzles and paradoxes of economic statistics is more interesting than enlightening. (Sunday Times)

Police arrest the chief suspect of four-year-old's abduction
Sri Lanka police today arrested the chief suspect in the abduction of a four-year-old girl on early Tuesday from her home Gonagama, Wellawa in Kurunegala district.

Wallawa police arrested the suspect, known as "Grease Gamini" among the locals, following a special operation launched by the Wellawa police and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka Army to produce its own steel needs
The Sri Lanka Army recently began its own manufacture of barrack equipment, machinery tools and all steel accessories at the main workshop of the Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) at the former Plywoods Corporation complex at Kosgama,just beyond Homagama.

The project, initiated by Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, would sharply cut costs to the army incurred annually on the purchase of those steel stocks from private sector producers, an Army media release said. (Sunday Times)

Police chief tours Moneragala district prone to election violence
Sri Lanka Inspector General of Police N.K. Ilangakoon visited the Uva Province today and toured areas in Moneragala district which were prone to election related violence.

Police media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the Inspector General of Police has instructed the police officers to take all measures to prevent violence ad election malpractices. (Colombo Page)

Fishermen's body found washed ashore off Sri Lankan coast
The body of one of thethree Tamil Nadu fishermen, who went missing after they put to sea on August 25, has been washed ashore in Velvattithurai coast off Sri Lanka, a senior functionary of a local Fishermen's Association on Saturday said.

Quoting officials, President of Fishermen's Association T Sesuraja said that body of Isron, who belong to this island, was recovered and sent to Jaffna hospital for post-mortem. (IBN Live)

CEB in a dilemma, more fisher-folk demand infrastructure development In Norochcholai
Though the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) recently settled the grievances of a section of the Norochcholai-based fishing community through a Rs. 100 million Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project, the institution is now facing fresh problems with more fisher-folk demanding infrastructure development estimated to cost another Rs. 500 million, The Sunday Island learns.

When contacted for comment, CEB General Manager, Shavindranath Fernando retorted "ask the details from those who gave you the story".CEB Deputy General Manager, Business and Corporate Strategy and Media Spokesman, Senajith Dassanayake said that earlier Rs. 100 million was released through Provincial Councils and the relevant Pradeshiya Sabhas for development work. (The Island)

Remembering Rajani
Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, a prominent human rights activist and author, a medical doctor, and head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Jaffna, was assassinated near her home in 1989 at the age of thirty-five.

Her death was an immense tragedy for the community and was symbolic of a climate of terror and human disregard that ultimately left hundreds of thousands dead throughout the country. (The Island)

Sri Lanka's expulsion of refugees goes to highest court
Six human rights defenders have petitioned the Supreme Court to challenge the expulsions, which are being carried out despite warnings that Sri Lanka is in breach of its international obligations, lawyer Lakshan Dias told AFP.

"The case is coming up on September 29," Dias said. "We feel that some of the people who are being sent back face real danger. They have life-threatening conditions if they go back. That is why local rights defenders decided to file this case." (SBC )

New Silk Road crucial for Sri Lanka's development: president
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping's initiative of 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, saying the economic corridor bears significance to the island nation's development.

The Sri Lankan president said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua at the President Palace that his country will join China's efforts in the Silk Road trade cooperation. (XinhuaNet)

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