Putin gifts President Kandyan era sword

NewsPresident Maithripala Sirisena, who is on an official visit to Russia, held bilateral discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow yesterday. During their bilateral meeting, President Putin had given President Sirisena a significant gift symbolising the close relationship between the two countries. The special gift is a Royal Sword belonging to the Kandyan era. The sword had been taken to England back in 1906. It had later been bought by Russia at an archaeological artifact auction conducted by Sotheby's in England.

March 24, 2017 05:37 UTC

SL-Russia pledge to enhance economic cooperation

NewsSri Lanka and Russia have pledged to enhance long term economic cooperation and affirmed to build a strong foundation to take bilateral relations to a new high. These sentiments were expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Maithripala Sirisena during the historic meeting at the Green Room in Kremlin last afternoon (23), the Presidential Media Division stated. President Sirisena said that he is proud to mention the fact that the Founder of his party S.W.R.D. President Maithripala Sirisena and President Putin discussed ways and means of furthering bilateral relations. Following the bilateral discussions President Vladimir Putin hosted a luncheon in honour of the visit of President Sirisena and the delegation.

March 24, 2017 05:15 UTC

EU welcomes Govt's continued engagement with UNHRC

NewsThe European Union (EU) welcoming the government's engagement with United Nationas Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said it fully acknowledge progress made in Sri Lanka in terms of advancing the broader human rights agenda and restoring fundamental freedoms. Welcoming the High Commissioner's report on Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Government's continued engagement with this Council, the EU urge the Government to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with counter-terrorism legislation that is consistent with international standards. "Sri Lanka has come a long way through the Human Rights Council. The EU also call on the Government to fulfil the commitments made on transitional justice, including through the creation of an accountability mechanism which is credible, victim-centric and supported by international practitioners. "We further invite the Government to make publically available a transparent action plan with clear timelines for returning all remaining land to its rightful owners or paying appropriate compensation."

March 24, 2017 05:15 UTC

Interest rates increased up by Central Bank

NewsInterest rates are going up, according to an announcement by the Central Bank (CB) on Friday following a meeting of the Monetary Board. Policy interest rates, which dictate lending and borrowing rates, have been unchanged for many months until today (Friday). “Tthe Monetary Board decided to increase the key policy interest rates of the Central Bank, namely the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) by 25 basis points each, to 7.25 per cent and 8.75 per cent, respectively, with effect from Friday March 24,” the CB release said. The Monetary Board also took into account the notable improvements in fiscal operations, which have resulted in the overall budget deficit in 2016 declining to envisaged levels. The Board was of the view that these improvements, together with the substantial upward movements already observed in market interest rates, have reduced the required adjustment in policy interest rates, the CB said.

March 24, 2017 05:03 UTC

Rajapaksa at PCIS

Defence Counsel appearing on behalf of Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa today filed a bail application at the Fort Magistrate's Court. Features & AnalysisMalaysia 'to show uncut version' of Beauty and the BeastBeauty and the Beast will be released in Malaysia without any cuts, Disney says, days after it rejected censors' ...Australian musician Keith Potger performs at 'A Night On The Green'Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson recently hosted "A Night on the Green" at the Au...Jacqueline Fernandez to play tour guide to Justin BieberBollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez is to take Grammy Award winner and global pop sensation Justin Bieber on...Day two of the HSBC Colombo Fashion WeekDay two of the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week saw the opening of the Main Designer Showcase. Held at the Hilton Colombo Ba...

March 24, 2017 04:52 UTC

Cricket: ICC Champions Trophy unveiled in Colombo

SportThe official ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which is travelling to all eight participating nations, arrived in Colombo on Thursday (23). The Nissan Trophy Tour symbolises the global nature of the tournament and provides cricket fans in Sri Lanka and around the world the unique opportunity to engage with the coveted trophy. The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 will be held between June 1 and 18 in England and Wales. During the Sri Lankan leg of the tour, the trophy will be taken on a city tour. An event was held at the Sri Lanka Cricket premises on Thursday (23) morning which saw the trophy being unveiled by Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva and national player Angelo Mathews.

March 24, 2017 04:18 UTC

U-19 Cricket: 59th Battle of Mangoosteens from today at Kalutara

SportThe 59th ‘Battle of Mangoosteen’ Big Match cricket encounter of Kalutara between Kalutara Vidyalaya and Tissa Central College will be played today (24) and tomorrow (25) at the Kalutara Esplanade. The limited overs match between the two schools will be played on Sunday (26) at the same venue. The encounter was initiated in 1949 and so far 58 matches have been played. Kalutara Vidyalaya has won the encounter 22 times while Tissa Central has won six time as 29 games have ended in draws in addition to a solitary no decision. Kalutara Vidyalaya is led by Yasitha Umayanga while Tissa Central is led by Dulan Ashintha.

March 24, 2017 03:45 UTC

New Zealand to open High Commission in Sri Lanka

NewsNew Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will open a High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a government press release said. "Establishing a High Commission in Colombo is a sign of New Zealand’s commitment to strengthening the relationship between our countries," Mr McCully says. “Sri Lanka is rebuilding after a generation-long civil war, and we are keen to support that process politically and through a broader economic relationship. It is a growing economy, has a major dairy market and has expressed its interest in learning further about farming from New Zealand. The new funding was announced today as part of the launch of Trade Agenda 2030.

March 23, 2017 20:15 UTC

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

WorldAn Egyptian court ordered on Thursday a renewed corruption probe into ousted president Hosni Mubarak, who has been cleared for release after almost six years in detention, judicial officials said. The court ruling to reopen the investigation after it had been dropped would not affect a prosecution decision to release Mubarak after his acquittal in another case, the officials said. An investigative judge had agreed in 2013 to drop the probe after they paid back the amount, but the prosecution appealed. He was accused of inciting the deaths of protesters during the 18-day revolt, in which about 850 people were killed as police clashed with demonstrators. In January 2016, the appeals court upheld a three-year prison sentence for Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges.

March 23, 2017 13:41 UTC

UN's troubled Syria peace talks restart in Geneva

WorldUN-backed Syria peace talks resumed in Geneva on Thursday, with little hope of a breakthrough and the emboldened regime seen as unlikely to make concessions. The United Nations deputy Syria envoy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met government negotiators at a high-end hotel in the Swiss city, before heading to another hotel to see the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC). “We have started today preliminary talks,” Ramzy told reporters after his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's representatives. De Mistura is due back in Geneva on Thursday evening to take charge of the negotiations which have yielded little in four previous rounds. But unity among the opposition has remained elusive due to disagreements over core issues like Assad's future.

March 23, 2017 13:30 UTC

"Worst is yet to come" with 400,000 trapped in west Mosul - UN

WorldAn estimated 400,000 Iraqis are trapped in the Islamic State-controlled Old City of west Mosul facing food shortages and growing panic under shelling that could provoke a mass exodus, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday. Islamic State militants are now on the back foot, with their stronghold in Syria also under attack. The displaced told stories of a “dramatic” situation in the Old City, amid shortages of food, fuel and electricity, he said. He also said the militants' ability to send out car bombs had significantly diminished after the security forces sealed off most roads inside Old City. “The more you go without food, the more you become panicked and the more you want to run away.

March 23, 2017 12:22 UTC

Afghan Taliban capture key southern district

WorldTaliban fighters captured the strategic southern district of Sangin on Thursday, officials said, another setback for Afghan forces in opium-rich Helmand province ahead of the spring fighting season. The capture of Sangin, where US and British forces suffered heavy casualties until it was handed over to Afghan personnel, marks the culmination of the Taliban's year-long offensive to seize the district and underscores their growing strength. “Our forces have retreated from government offices, including the police headquarters and the governor's office in Sangin,” Helmand governor's spokesman Omar Zwak told AFP. “But we are preparing to take it back.” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said that insurgents had overrun the district centre. Last week, three US soldiers were wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire in Helmand, in the first known insider attack on international forces this year.

March 23, 2017 12:00 UTC

Exiled former Russian lawmaker shot dead in Kiev

WorldA former Russian lawmaker and key witness in a treason case against Ukraine's ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich was shot dead in broad daylight outside a hotel in central Kiev on Thursday, police said. Voronenkov fled to Ukraine with his wife last year and was helping the Ukrainian authorities build a treason case against former Ukrainian president Yanukovich. “A cynical murder of one of the witnesses involved in the state's case against ex-president Yanukovich,” said Ukraine's General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. “In broad daylight in the centre of Kiev, former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot. Yanukovich fled Ukraine during the 2013-2014 Maidan street protests, which he said were tantamount to a “coup” organised by armed nationalist radicals.

March 23, 2017 11:48 UTC

British PM May's statement to parliament after London attack

opinionMr Speaker, yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy. The threat level to the UK has been set at “severe” meaning an attack is highly likely for some time. Since June 2013 our police, security and intelligence agencies have successfully disrupted 13 separate terrorist plots in Britain. Mr Speaker, yesterday we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best. That they have lost one of their own in yesterday's attack only makes their calmness and professionalism all the more remarkable.

March 23, 2017 11:26 UTC

Cricket: Sri Lanka to play one-off Test against Zimbabwe in June

SportSri Lanka is set to play a one-off Test match against Zimbabwe in June later this year, soon after the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England. The Zimbabwe tour will also include five One Day Internationals in addition to the first-ever one-off Test between the two countries. When the two sides met last in a two-match Test series in Zimbabwe in November 2016, Sri Lanka won 2-0. Two Tests and three ODIs were in line in the original schedule but Zimbabwe has altered the plan to a one-off Test and five ODIs, according to reports.

March 23, 2017 10:18 UTC

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