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Last updateFri, 23 Mar 2018 4pm

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The Office of Missing Persons, now functional.

The Office of Missing Persons is now functional. The Commissioners appointed to this office received their letters of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena recently. President's Counsel Saliya Peiris heads the commission. The other members are retired Major General Mohanti Anternet Peiris, Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Jayadeepa Punyamurthi, Mirak Raheem, Somasiri K. Liyanage and Kanapathipillei Vendhan.

The Office of Missing Persons is an independent body answerable to the Parliament. 1.3 billion rupees was allocated from the 2018 budget for its establishment. It is the first step in Sri Lanka's home-grown mechanism of ensuring reconciliation and transitional justice.

The US expresses its eagerness to expand trade with Sri Lanka.

The United States has expressed its eagerness to expand open, fair and reciprocal trade with Sri Lanka. Director of the International Trade Administration Advocacy Centre at US Department of Commerce, Stephen Renna, recently met with US companies in Colombo, to discuss opportunities to increase US exports to Sri Lanka. US Ambassador in Colombo, Atul Keshap, emphasized that American companies are some of the most dependable business partners found anywhere in the world.

Trump slaps big tariffs on metal imports

Despite fierce opposition from within the White House, US President Donald Trump is to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports next week, hitting producers such as Canada and China. The country imports four times more steel than it exports, and is reliant on steel from more than 100 countries. The news is likely to provoke an angry reaction from China, and analysts have expressed fears of the prospect of a new trade war.

'Guwan Hamuda Paapedi Sawariya 2018' begins today

The Sri Lanka Air Force celebrates its 67th Anniversary today. As a part of its 'Air Force Day' celebrations, the SLAF will hold its annual cycling race, 'Guwan Hamuda Paapedi Sawariya 2018', in collaboration with the Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka. The Men's race will commence today from the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo. Competitors have to cover a distance of 445 kilometers passing through Puttalam, Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa, before reaching the finish line in front of the Youth Centre in Ampara.

Today is Medin Full Moon Poya Day. Pinkam, Bodhi poojas conducted island-wide.

Today is Medin Full Moon Poya Day. This Poya Day is important in the Buddhist calendar as it is on a day as this that Prince Siddhartha Gautama, after leaving the Royal Palace, visited the city of Kimbulwathpura for the first time as the “Samma Sambuddha”

It was on a day like today that the Buddha, along with a retinue of 20,000 disciples, trecked from Veluwanaaramaya, to Kimbulwathpura, to meet his father King Suddhodana, relatives and friends of the Sakya clan. Princess Yasodara, Taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and the ordination of her son Rahula and Prince Nanda were some of the important events that took place on this day.

Many Buddhist religious observances are organized in Buddhist temples and viharayas island-wide. The devotees will conduct special poojas to invoke blessings to their family members.

The Prime Minister commences Singapore tour today.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe's tour of Singapore begins today. The premier will attend the Invest Sri Lanka Summit organised by the Colombo Stock Exchange. Many pioneering investors in the region will participate in this summit, which is to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Singapore. The summit will add a boost to the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement that was signed this year.

A report of UNP with regard to the prioritized relief assistance to be given to the general public will be released tomorrow.

A report of UNP with regard to the prioritized relief assistance to be given to the general public will be released tomorrow. Earlier a committee headed by Minister Sajith Premadasa was appointed under the instruction of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to prepare a report on this matter. The report is expected to highlight the shortcomings of relief assistance to the public in the past. The UNP restructuring report will be submitted to the Prime Minister next week. A committee was also appointed with the chairmanship of Minister Ruwan Wijewardena to prepare this report. These reports will focus on the shortcomings and drawbacks which led to adverse results in the recently concluded LG polls.

10,000 houses for the estate people living in Nuwara Eliya and Badulla.

Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said the cabinet has given approval to establish and agreement between Sri Lanka and Indian government to construct 10,000 houses for estate people living in Nuwara Eliya and Badulla Districts. This proposal was agreed earlier during the Indian Prime Minister's tour to Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the cabinet has approved another proposal to construct a stroke treatment unit in Jaffna Teaching Hospital. The cabinet also approved a proposal submitted by Minister Duminda Dissanayake to provide fertilizer subsidy to Yala season cultivators from 1st week of April.

Close Trump aide and White House communications chief resigns

Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of President Trump's longest-serving advisers, is to step down, the administration says.The 29-year-old former model and ex-Trump Organization employee has been by Mr Trump's side for years.She is reported to have told colleagues she felt she had accomplished all she could in the White House.She is the fourth person to serve as White House communications chief.

Roger Federer named World Sportsman of the Year 2017

Twenty-time tennis grand slam champion Roger Federer has won the 2017 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards. The 36-year-old Swiss won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2017 after seven years without a major. "I didn't believe I would ever come back to this level," said Federer. "The year I had was something else." Serena Williams took the World Sportswoman of the Year award after winning her 23rd grand slam in 2017. "This means the world to me," added world number one Federer. "The comebacks are always extremely emotional. Last year was a dream come true." (BBC)

North Korea 'providing materials to Syria chemical weapons factories'

North Korea has been sending equipment to Syria that could be used in chemical weapons manufacturing, US media report, citing findings by UN experts. The materials include acid-resistant tiles, valves and pipes, reports say.


The Prime Minister says that the drug menace in the country will be eliminated with the support of all factions.

Prime Minister Ranil Wicremasinghe says that the drug menace in the country will be eliminated with the support of all factions. The Prime Minister made these remarks while attending a passing out parade and the 35th anniversary of the Police Special Task Force. The event was held at the Katukurunda Police STF training school yesterday.

Many new projects will be implemented under the Mahaweli Development Program by the year 2020.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says that many new projects amounting to more than 100 Billion rupees will be implemented under the Mahaweli Development Program by the year 2020. Participating in to the progress reviews meeting of the Ministry, he added that 2,400 small tanks will be renovated under the project. Water will be provided for the thousands of acres of paddy lands.

The Technical Group Meeting of the G- 24 countries was inaugurated by Finance and Mass Media Minister today.

The two-day Technical Group Meeting of the G- 24 countries was inaugurated by Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the BMICH today. Over 45 delegates consisting of Secretaries of the Finance Ministry and Governors of the Central Bank or their representatives at very senior level from member countries participated at meeting. The G-24, a chapter of the Group of G-77 countries, was established in 1971 to coordinate the positions of developing countries on international monetary and development finance issues and to ensure that their interests were adequately represented in negotiations on international monetary matters. The G–24 group, which was officially called the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development, receives the secretariat services from the IMF. The G-24 Bureau is the executive arm of the G-24 and consists of the Chair, First Vice-Chair, Second Vice-Chair, and two previous Chairs. Currently the Bureau is headed by Finance and Media Minister, Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera.

German court allows ban on diesel cars in cities

A top German court ruled on Tuesday in favor of allowing major cities to ban heavily polluting diesel cars, a move likely to hit the value of 12 million vehicles in Europe's largest car market and force carmakers to pay for costly modifications. Analysts have said the ruling of the Leipzig court will be crucial in shaping demand across Europe where diesel-car sales have been declining for months on the back of a regulatory backlash and amid signs of widespread rigging of emission tests among carmakers.

The term of office for Councillors elected at the recently concluded Local Government Polls is to commence on the 20th of next month.

The term of office for Councillors elected at the recently concluded Local Government Polls is to commence on the 20th of next month. Minister Faizer Musthapa disclosed this decision at a media briefing held at his ministry, today. The discussion was held with civil society representatives regarding the 25 percent women's representation. The minister stated that the government is dedicated to ensuring the 25 percent representation of women. In the local government bodies in which this quota can be allocated, the 25 percent representation will be ensured. However in the local government bodies in which the quota cannot be determined a decision will be made depending on the court ruling.  He requested all political parties to ensure that the 25 percent is met.  An advisory committee comprising 5 members was appointed to discuss problems that have arisen and to provide solutions.

3000 Language Assistants to be recruited to the Public Service.

3000 Language Assistants who are conversant in the Sinhala and Tamil languages will be recruited. Students who have succeeded in their GCE Advanced Level examination, but have not been selected to university, are eligible to apply. The Ministry of National Co-existence Dialog and Official Languages states that applications will be called in the near future. Applicants need to have obtained a minimum credit pass for the Sinhala Language and the Tamil Language and the GCE Advanced Level Examination. Recruitment will take place in three stages. Under the 1st stage, 500 new recruits will undergo a six month training at National Colleges of Education.

The Ministry has initiated this move as a solution to the language difficulties faced by the public when they approach state entities to obtain services. These recruits will be attached to state entities across the island. Priority will be given to the Northern and Eastern provinces. It is intended to appoint one language assistant each, for police stations, provincial councils, divisional secretariats, urban councils and Pradeshiya sabhas.

A new programme to alleviate mal-nutrition among children in the Estate Sector

Minister Dr.Rajitha Senarathne has instructed officials  to streamline the distribution of Triposha  among the estate sector children  in order to  alleviate mal-nutrition. The mister gave these instructions at a meeting  held at  the ministry  recently.  Lengthy discussions took place regarding nutritional deficiencies of children in the estate sector and the necessity to provide a wholesome nutritious meal for pre-school students.  Thereby a nutritional biscuit brand will be distributed over 4 months. Over the past year more than one million Triposha packets were distributed across the estate sector. The minister requested that this distribution be streamlined.

Last rites of UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, to take place in Colombo.

The last rites of UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Una McCauley, will take place in Colombo. This is in accordance with her wishes.

The remains will lie at the Jayaratne Funeral Parlour on Friday the 2nd of March from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. The cremation will be at 4.00pm at the New Crematorium at the Borella Cemetery.

Representing the UN Secretary-General and on behalf of UNDP, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Haoliang Xu, will arrive in the island.

The Director of the UN Development Operations Coordination Office, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, will also attend the funeral service.

Sri Lanka seeks assistance from all quarters for the total eradication of tobacco by 2020.

The Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention states that it intends to totally eradicate tobacco cultivations by 2020. At a media briefing held in Colombo today, assistance was sought from all quarters for this purpose. Representatives of the Study Circle at the University of Colombo that conducted studies into the societal effect of tobacco, were also present. Director of the Circle Dr Mahesh Rajasooriya and Director of the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention Samantha Kumara Kithalawarachchi also took part in the study. They point out that even those who engage in tobacco cultivation are faced with health risks.  Agriculture Director Hemantha Amarawickrema joining in the media briefing emphasized that the Department of Agriculture will provide  no assistance for tobacco cultivators.

Uneasy calm in Syria's Ghouta as Russian-backed truce begins

The Syrian rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region was mostly calm, as a five-hour ceasefire called by Russia took effect today, bringing a pause to a government onslaught that has killed hundreds of people for over a week. Russia, which backs the Syrian government, ordered the daily truce from 9.00am to 2.00pm, together with the creation of a “humanitarian corridor” to let civilians leave the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus. However, Syrian State Television reports that militants are trying to shell the corridor to prevent people crossing.

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