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May 23, 2017 [GMT]
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British PM announces snap general election
[Tuesday 2017-04-18 18:00]

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an early general election for June 8 in an announcement that has stunned Westminster, The Telegraph reported a short while ago. The Prime Minister had earlier repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020. However, speaking outside the Prime Minister's Office, she said the Cabinet had agreed to call an early election.


Meethotamulla tragedy: 30 missing, death toll rises to 28
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

The number of deaths reported due to the collapse of a part of the Meethotamulla garbage dump, had increased to 28 today, the Police said. They said 12 victims were undergoing treatment at the National Hospital, Colombo. Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said at least 30 people were missing in the incident.It said at least 980 people from 228 families had been displaced due to the tragedy while 80 houses have been completely destroyed and 17 houses have been partly damaged.


15kg bomb found buried in Vavuniya
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

A high powered explosive device had been recovered from a house compound in Ukkulan Kulam Vavuniya, today, the Vavuniya Police said. “The bomb weighing 15 kg and 150 g has a mark ‘Captain Bavan (Aiya) 99,” an officer said. The bomb had been recovered when the resident tried to excavate his garden. Finding the mystery device the resident had alerted the area Police, who in turn brought in the Bomb Squad to de-fuse it and take it into their custody, sources said.


Opposition Leader urges government to ensure no future catastrophes of landfill collapse
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

Sri Lanka's Opposition Leader and leader of the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance MP R. Sampanthan today urged the government to restore the lives of the people affected by the New Year Day collapse of the garbage dump in Meethotamulla and ensure that such catastrophes will not happen in the future. "This incident has shattered the lives of hundreds of families in the area. I urge the government, to continue to take all steps necessary to restore the lives of the affected people and ensure that such a catastrophe does not recur in the future," MP Sampanthan said in a statement.


Ravi meets Arun
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

A meeting between Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley was held recently. The two ministers drew attention to several economically important issues for both countries. Having prolonged friendship between the two neighbours, both ministers pledged to further strengthen the friendship. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the South Asian Sub Regional Economic Cooperation Summit held recently in New Delhi.


No foreign investigators – Swaminathan
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Prison Reforms D.M. Swaminathan has said that the investigation into the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka could be carried out within the jurisdiction of the island and no foreign investigators would be admitted to look into the issue in the island.


Ranil cuts short visit
[Monday 2017-04-17 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who reached Vietnam last afternoon had decided to cut short his visit because of the tragedy at Meetotamulla, sources close to him told journalists today. Sources said he decided to cut the visit short as a result of the disaster at the Meetotamulla garbage dump, which has killed over 25 people. The Prime Minister was to get back to Sri Lanka on Wednesday April 19. However he is expected return to Island before that date sources added.


Rs. 1 billion worth jewellery and gold to be returned to owners soon
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

The Defence Ministry has decided to fast-track the process of returning almost Rs one billion worth of gold and other valuable ornaments seized by the military from the custody of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and found in abandoned houses during the final phases of the conflict, a senior official said. “The committee which was appointed to look into this forwarded its recommendations to the President recently. A high level meeting with all stakeholders has been fixed for next week to determine the next steps to be taken in this regard,” Additional Defence Secretary R.M.S Sarath Kumara told the Sunday Times.


Meethotamulla tragedy: Death toll climbs to 21
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

The number of deaths reported due to the collapse of a part of the Meethotamulla garbage dump, had risen to 21 by today, the Police said. They said a woman who was receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital succumbed to injuries early this morning while another body was also recovered from the dumping site. Police said another 7 victims were undergoing treatment at the hospital.


Opposition leader calls on to strengthen bonds of unity among different communities
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

Sri Lanka's Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in a message to celebrate the Easter today, called on the nation to follow the example of Jesus and strive to strengthen the bonds of unity among the different communities. "It is my hope that as a nation, following the life and example of Jesus, we would strive this Easter to strengthen the bonds of unity among the different communities and break down the barriers of distrust among us," Sampanthan said.


Sri Lanka one of the most religious countries in the world- survey
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

Sri Lanka one of the five most religious countries in the world as 99 percent of Sri Lankans agreed, according to a survey conducted by The Telegraph of UK. To mark the Easter weekend, The Telegraph has mapped the world's most - and least - religious countries. Their map was based on the results of three Gallup polls, taken in 2008, 2009 and 2015. Each asked respondents whether or not they felt religious. The Telegraph included the most recent figures available for each country.


Japanese PM condoles Sri Lanka's landfill disaster, offers assistance for recovery efforts
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe has extended his heartfelt condolences, and that of his government and people, on the recent disaster at the Meethotamulla landfill in the capital city of Colombo. In a message of condolence, received by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Saturday, Prime Minister Abe has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Sri Lanka on the recent disaster at a garbage dump in Sri Lanka, which had led to the unfortunate loss of life and property.


Packet of tea free for tourists
[Sunday 2017-04-16 17:00]

Tourists arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport will receive a free packet of tea, courtesy the Government of Sri Lanka. The move follows a recommendation to the Cabinet of Ministers by Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake. Ministers have decided that the Plantation Industries Ministry should also consult the Tourism Ministry in carrying out this task. Some suggest it may be better to give the pack when they are leaving, otherwise they will have to carry it all over the country on their tour, or drink the blessed thing.


16 killed in Sri Lanka as massive mound of garbage collapses
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

At least 16 people were killed and more than 600 others fled their homes after a massive mound of garbage collapsed on part of a poor neighbourhood near Sri Lanka’s capital during festivities to mark the local new year, officials said Saturday. Four people were rescued from underneath the mound, but it was unclear whether any others were buried, said military spokesman Roshan Seneviratne. Soldiers were searching the site. Seneviratne said 625 people whose homes were either destroyed or under threat were being housed in nearby schools.


Thanabalasingham allegedly confessed to murder before he was arrested
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

Sivaloganthan Thanabalasingham, whose murder case was placed under a stay of proceedings last week, allegedly confessed to killing his wife before he was even arrested. The chilling detail was among the evidence presented to a Quebec Court judge in 2014 during Thanabalasingham’s preliminary inquiry. The length (11 months) of that complicated hearing is one of the reasons Superior Court Justice Alexandre Boucher cited when he ruled, on April 6, that it took the Crown too long to bring the case to trial.


Wigneswaran says concerns of Tamils have hardly changed
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran says the concerns of Tamils have hardly change over the years gone by. He said that even today the Tamils in the North still speak of losing their loved ones, losing their property and unemployment. Wigneswaran said that during the traditional Sri Lankan New Year, the hope of all Tamils is that their issues will be addressed.


Sri Lanka Prime Minister to visit Vietnam following Japan tour
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his spouse will pay an official visit to Vietnam from April 16-19 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. During the visit Sri Lankan Premier will discuss international and regional issues of mutual concern with his Vietnamese counterpart, the official Vietnam News Agency said. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is currently on an official visit to Japan from April 10-16 at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


British Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma to visit Sri Lanka next week
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

British Minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alok Sharma will visit Sri Lanka next week. Apart from holding meetings with the government officials, Sharma will also speak at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute on the 21st of April on "Challenges in post Brexit World". The British government has told the UN Human Rights Council recently to give Sri Lanka time to implement the October 2015 resolution.


Belgian cigar manufacturer J Cortés moves factory from Ireland to Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-04-15 17:00]

The century old Belgian cigar manufacturer J. Cortés is closing the cigar factory in Ballaghaderreen, Ireland in the next six months and moving its operations to Sri Lanka. J. Cortés acquired the Exclusive Cigar Manufacturing Ireland plant, a family cigar company based in Ballaghaderreen, in January this year and has assured job security for the 38 employees of ECMI. However, on Thursday, the large Belgian tobacco company has informed the ECMI that they are proposing to close the factory in Ireland and move its operations to an existing plant in Sri Lanka in order to rationalize the business and save on wage costs.


UN expects Sri Lankan peacekeeping troops to be vetted before deployment
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

The United Nations expect the member states contributing troops to peace keeping operations to ensure that none of the soldiers being deployed to UN missions are not implicated in any sexual abuse, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said Thursday. The Spokesman said the UN expects Sri Lanka to do the same and ensure that everyone being deployed is vetted for past implication of sexual abuse.


U.S. Envoy calls for punishing UN peacekeepers including Sri Lankans for sexual abuse in Haiti
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday urged all countries including Sri Lanka that provide troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions to hold soldiers accountable for sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children in Haiti. The U.S. Envoy's appeal came after an Associated Press investigation into a child sex ring in Haiti found that UN peacekeepers including over 100 Sri Lankan troops allegedly sexually exploited vulnerable women and children in Haiti.


Met Dept warns naval and fishing communities
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

The Meteorology Department today warned navel and fishing communities to be vigilant because of the possibility of sudden roughness of the sea associated with sudden increase of wind speed up to 70-80kmph. Issuing a warning at 12.30 p.m. today for the next 24 hours, the department said the deep and shallow sea areas off the coast extending from Colombo to Trincomalee via Galle, Hambantota and Batticaloa could be rough due to the active cloudiness associated with a low level disturbance in the Bay of Bengal which is in the east of Sri Lanka. “Heavy showers can also be expected in these sea areas,” it said.


Lankan woman stranded on sand dune with three kids, rescued
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

The Tamil Nadu police at Mandapam rescued a Sri Lankan woman and her three children stranded on a sand dune off the Dhanushkodi coast in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday morning, The Times of India reported. Local fishermen spotted the woman and her children on third sand dune beyond Arichalmunai and alerted the marine police.The woman and her children were brought to the marine police station at Mandapam.


Pakistani arrested at BIA with heroin, handed over to PNB
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

A 37-year-old Pakistani national who was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake last evening on charges of attempting to smuggle in 1.12 Kgs of heroin had been handed over to the Police Narcotics Bureau at (PNB) the Airport, Police said today. The suspect, who arrived from Dubai, UAE, was arrested by the Customs officials. Police said the heroin haul was found concealed in the suspect's shoes. He is to be produced in Negombo Magistrate's Court on Friday.


Prime Minister says Sinhala, Tamil New Year time for unity
[Friday 2017-04-14 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the Sinhala and Tamil New Year brings a message of prosperity and unity to the nation, acknowledging the role of the Sun in the agrarian society and its blessings towards a greater harvest.


Crucial discussions with EU in reviving GSP+
[Thursday 2017-04-13 16:00]

Coming weeks will be crucial for Sri Lanka as important discussions could take place with the European Union in reviving the GSP plus status, government sources said. A three member team from the European Union including EU Parliament MP Anne-Marie Mineur, Lola Sanchez Coldentey and Ben Vanpeperstraete are already in town to study the Sri Lanka situation while there is a possibility of Chairperson International Trade Committee of European Union visiting Sri Lanka shortly.


Colombo envoy wants assault trial transferred from Sepang to KL
[Thursday 2017-04-13 16:00]

Sri Lanka High Commissioner Ibrahim Sahib Ansar fears for his safety if he has to testify in the Sepang Sessions Court in an assault trial, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur heard. The court was told Thursday that the case needs to be transferred to the Sessions Court here for the envoy's safety and convenience. DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim argued that the diplomat fears for his safety in attending the trial in Sepang on the assault case where three men have been charged with rioting, mischief and causing hurt against him.


SL WON’T SUPPORT MILITARY ACTIVITY IN INDIAN OCEAN: PM
[Thursday 2017-04-13 16:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday emphasised that Sri Lanka would not support or be part of any military activity in the Indian Ocean and was committed instead to ensuring peace and maritime security in the region. The Prime Minister in his second day of bilateral talks in Japan met Japanese government officials; Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Defence Minister Tomomi Inada and Finance Minister Taro Aso.

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