Russian people will choose his successor via ballot box: Putin

WorldIn today's News Garbage disposal declared an essential serviceVladimir Putin said on Thursday that only the Russian people will choose who succeeds him as president, through the electoral process. Russia will hold a presidential election in March next year. Putin has not said whether he will run or not, but is widely expected to go for what would be his fourth term. “The president's successor will be decided by the Russian people only during a democratic election and by nobody else,” Putin told a Kremlin meeting. Most Russian analysts believe Putin, who has dominated the Russian political landscape for the last 17 years, will serve one last term before handing over to a successor in 2024.

April 20, 2017 12:33 UTC

UN, Russia set for Syria meet without US

WorldThe UN's Syria envoy said Thursday that he will hold talks with Russian officials next week but without the US present after previous plans for a trilateral meeting were “postponed”. UN peace mediator Staffan de Mistura said his meeting with Russia's deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov is set for Monday in Geneva. “The trilateral meeting is not off the table, it is simply being postponed”, de Mistura told reporters. De Mistura has previously asked for more clarity from Trump's administration on its vision for the Syria talks. He also restated his desire to convene a sixth round of UN-backed talks involving Syrian rivals next month.

April 20, 2017 12:11 UTC

China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal

News(REUTERS) China launched its first cargo spacecraft on Thursday, taking another step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China's space program to strengthen national security. The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft lifted off early evening on a Long March-7 Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan. The cargo spacecraft mission will provide an "important technological basis" for the construction of China's space station, according to state media. \Long March-7 rocket and Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft are seen as they are transferred to a launching spot in Wenchang, Hainan province, China, April 17, 2017.

April 20, 2017 11:48 UTC

Trump to attend three Asian summits

WorldIn today's News Garbage disposal declared an essential serviceU.S. President Donald Trump will attend three summits in Asia in November, Vice President Mike Pence said in Jakarta during a visit to the headquarters of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday. Pence said in a statement after meeting the secretary general of ASEAN that Trump would attend the U.S.-ASEAN summit and the East Asia summit in the Philippines, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam. He said the Trump administration would work with ASEAN on security issues and trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, but has overlapping claims with a number of Southeast Asian countries. JAKARTA, REUTERS

April 20, 2017 11:37 UTC

Iran FM slams 'worn-out' US nuclear accusations

WorldIran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday criticised “worn-out” US accusations that it was seeking a nuclear weapon to threaten the region and the world. “Worn-out US accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance” with a 2015 nuclear deal, Zarif wrote on Twitter. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes but signed a deal with world powers to restrict its fuel enrichment for 10 years in exchange for sanctions relief. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Tehran has so far met its obligations, but that the deal could only delay Iran's development of a nuclear weapon. Trump described the accord as the “worst deal ever negotiated” during his campaign and threatened to tear it up, but analysts say that is increasingly unlikely.

April 20, 2017 10:52 UTC

Grodno State Medical University negotiates to open a branch in Sri Lanka: Report

NewsIn today's News Garbage disposal declared an essential serviceThe Grodno State Medical University in Belarus intends to open a branch in Sri Lanka, the university's Rector Viktor Snezhitsky, told Belarus News. A delegation of the Grodno State Medical University is reported to be busy negotiating in Sri Lanka. If the plans are implemented, Sri Lanka will be the first country with a branch of the Grodno State Medical University of its own. The Grodno State Medical University has trained foreign students for more than 20 years. At present two-thirds of foreign students at the Grodno State Medical University are instructed in English during the entire six-year period of education, the website claimed.

April 20, 2017 10:19 UTC

Japan to test mass telecommute for 2020 Olympics

WorldJapanese commuters will be encouraged to work from home for one day in a nationwide exercise for the 2020 Olympics that authorities hope will ease congestion on roads and public transport. Tokyo has declared July 24 -- exactly three years before the openingceremony of the summer games -- as “Telework Day” and wants firms and government departments to let employees work remotely. London introduced a similar measure during the 2012 Olympics with 80 percent of businesses in the city participating, according to Japan's Internal Affairs Ministry, which announced the plan on Tuesday. “During the Tokyo Olympics, we are expecting serious traffic congestion particularly on the day of the opening ceremony,” said Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi. “We believe telework will have a significant impact in easing traffic congestion and commuter crowding.” More than 60 companies, including big names such as beverage firm Suntory, Japan Airlines and Microsoft, have so far pledged to participate.

April 20, 2017 10:18 UTC

Pence tours Southeast Asia's biggest mosque, talks trade in Indonesia

WorldU.S. Vice President Mike Pence toured Southeast Asia's largest mosque on Thursday during a visit to Indonesia, calling the Muslim-majority nation's tradition of following a moderate form of Islam “an inspiration to the world”. “FAIRER TRADE” After meeting President Widodo, Pence said his administration wanted fairer trade with Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Indonesia is one of 16 countries under review for having a trade surplus with the United States. Official data from Indonesia's trade ministry puts total trade between the countries at $23.44 billion in 2016, with Indonesia recording a surplus of $8.84 billion. Widodo said at the joint news conference with Pence that the two countries would “increase the strategic partnership... which will focus on cooperation and investments”.

April 20, 2017 10:07 UTC

Pakistan's top court orders PM be investigated for corruption

Two suspects who were transferring 1.2 g of heroin in Pamunugama area arrested yesterday by Naval officers following a tip-off, the Navy said. Features & AnalysisYoung student wins under 15 Scrabble title at ASTAR Scrabble ChallengeJanul de Silva of Royal College became the Under 15 Champion at the ASTAR Scrabble Challenge International (ASCI...Nuwara Eliya Flower Show gets underwayThe Annual Flower Show in Nuwara Eliya was declared open at the Victoria Park today by chief guest Assistant Hig... When the Fawlty Tower's gang took over Mount Lavinia HotelWhen the Fawlty gang took over the Maitland State Room of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, guests and patrons sat eagerly awa...English Writers Cooperative of Sri Lanka to hold workshop on the 'Short Story'The English Writers Cooperative of Sri Lanka will hold a half-day workshop on the Short Story by an experienced acade...

April 20, 2017 10:07 UTC

Chinese, Iranian firms to sign first nuclear plant redesign contracts

WorldCompanies from China and Iran will this weekend sign the first commercial contracts to redesign an Iranian nuclear plant as part of an international deal reached in 2015 over Iran's nuclear programme, China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. In the redesign, the heavy water reactor will be reconfigured so it cannot yield fissile plutonium usable in a nuclear bomb. Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the contracts for the plant's redesign would be signed on Sunday in Vienna with initial agreements having already been reached in Beijing, describing it as an important part of the Iran nuclear deal. China and the United States are joint heads of the working group on the Arak project, and progress has been smooth, Lu told a daily news briefing. “The signing of this contract will create good conditions for substantively starting the redesign project,” Lu said.

April 20, 2017 09:00 UTC

SAITM shares to be offered on the stock market

NewsIn today's News Garbage disposal declared an essential serviceThe ownership of the SAITM (South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine) is to be broad-based with its shares to be made available for sale in the stock market, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He said the decision has been taken as a further solution to the SAITM issue in addition to previous government decisions which have already been announced. He said that the Inter University Students Federation too have complained about the ownership of SAITM and therefore the move will enable any person to purchases shares of the company. He said that the government's policy was to promote non-state education. The President was addressing heads of media institutions and editors.

April 20, 2017 07:52 UTC

Changes in the administrative structure in two weeks:President

NewsPresident Maithripala Sirisena today announced that major changes including shifting of existing officials will take place in the next two weeks in a bid to improve efficiency in the administrative system . He said the changes were being put into effect after a study of the system and amidst complaints that the administrative system was not functioning properly. The President addressing heads of media institutions and editors said that they will also fix dates for district level review meetings to ensure that the meetings are held regularly as currently the meetings are not being held on schedule on the grounds that the politicians were not available. The president in response to a question whether cabinet changes will take place before the Vesak, he said 'wait and see for the changes', without giving a direct response.

April 20, 2017 07:41 UTC

Malaysian High Court dismisses bid to transfer Sri Lankan envoy's assault case

NewsAn application to transfer a case involving Sri Lanka's High Commissioner from the Sepang Sessions Court to Kuala Lumpur was dismissed by the High Court in Malaysia, the Star reported. The application was reportedly made because of High Commissioner Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, one of the prosecution witnesses, feared for his safety if he had to testify in Sepang. On Friday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim had argued that the envoy was concerned for his safety if he had to attend the trial. DPP Suhaimi said Ibrahim should be given a chance to appear and give evidence without fearing for his safety. He argued that the Sepang court, like any other Malaysian court, was a secure place to hear the trial, and no evidence was adduced by the prosecution to imply otherwise.

April 20, 2017 07:07 UTC

Former judge to submit report on Meethotamulla: President

NewsA retired judge will be appointed to submit an independent report on the reasons leading to the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump within a month, President Maithripala Sirisena announced today. President Sirisena addressing heads of media institutions and newspaper editors said that any persons or organisations will be able to submit their submissions. ‘The objective is to ascertain whether there was any shortcomings and whether any persons responsible for the collapse of the dump’, he said. In response to a question whether any persons will be charged for any omissions, he said that it will depend on the report. He said meanwhile persons displaced will be given housing facilities while the number of other persons to be relocated are being identified.

April 20, 2017 07:07 UTC

Australian & NZ dairy heifers to be shipped to Sri Lanka

NewsThe West Australian cattle exporter Wellard will soon be looking for dairy heifers from Australia to fill contracts it has in Sri Lanka, The Weekly Times reported. The company has sourced 2000 pregnant Friesian-Jersey cross heifers from New Zealand as the first shipment to fill a 20,000 head contract. Wellard breeding and dairy general manager Colin Webb said the NZ shipment was timed to coincide with the completion of cattle handling and dairies being built in Sri Lanka. “Our next consignment will be sourced from Australia and we will be seeking similar categories of heifers once we start our Australian procurement program,” Mr Webb said. Wellard said the live cattle export program would help Sri Lanka produce fresh milk for the local market rather than rely on expensive, imported milk powder.

April 20, 2017 07:07 UTC

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