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For the first time since 1866, three lunar events will coincide on the same day; a 'Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse', a 'Super Moon' and a 'Blue Moon' will be visible to us today,

For the first time since 1866, three lunar events will coincide on the same day; a 'Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse', a 'Super Moon' and a 'Blue Moon' will be visible to us today, at moonrise in the eastern horizon, after 6.15pm.

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Putin says US sanctions list targets all Russians

Russian President Vladimir Putin says a list of officials and businessmen close to the Kremlin published by the US has in effect targeted all Russian people. The list names 210 top Russians as part of a sanctions law aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the US election.

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The General Secretary of the United National Party epitomizes the arduous task the present good governance regime has undertaken to bring to realization the aspirations of the Rainbow Revolution.

General secretary of the United National Party Kabeer Hassheem issuing a statement says that the present good governance regime has performed an arduous task to realize the citizen's aspirations that sphere headed the Rainbow Revolution that ushered in the present era. The 19th amendment to the constitution is significant among the many tasks executed. In a further strengthening  move of reaffirming democracy in the country, the first steps in formulating a new constitution were taken. The minister pointed out that when the first and second republican constitutions were formulated in 1972 and 1978, public opinion was not sought. The very first task the present government embarked upon in this endeavour, was to collate public views and ideas. Therefore, the mandate given to the good governance regime at the presidential election on the 8th of January 2015 and the 18th of August 2015, cannot be spurned. The minister emphasizes that the stakeholders of the government need to uphold the aspirations of the citizens who gave them this mandate, and should not leave room for the surreptitious motives of those who were defeated into political wilderness by the people's mandate, to surface.  He observed that those who snub the pro-people's agenda, will take frantic efforts to topple the present regime and plunge the country back into dictatorship.

Initial steps taken for the implementation of the proposed new court system to hear cases pertaining to serious acts of fraud and corruption.

Deputy minister Ajith P.Perera says that initial steps have been taken for the implementation of the proposed new court system to hear cases pertaining to serious acts of fraud and corruption. He projected that the said court system could be made operational from next March onwards.  Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo today he stated that although the PRECIFAC report recommends stripping off civic rights of the wrong doers, the government has no direct intention to do so. The government will follow legal proceedings for the wrong doers to be punished.

The parliamentary debate on the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC reports, to take place on the 6th of next month

The parliamentary debate on the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC reports, will take place on the 6th of next month, at 10.30am. The date was fixed upon a request made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.
At the party leaders meeting that was presided over by speaker Karu Jayasooriya this afternoon, the premier requested for parliament to be convened on the 6th, in accordance with Standing Order 14.

Argentine President bans nepotism

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has announced government job cuts, aimed at reducing the deficit, while attacking a 'patronage system' in place for decades. Thereby, Ministers will be forbidden from employing close family members, while those currently in such posts will have to resign. One in four positions appointed by ministers will also be cut. Mr Macri, who has just returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has said "what we have proposed is much more than economic change, it is cultural change".
Within hours of his announcement, several close relatives of Ministers, left their jobs.

Sri Lankan tea factories that adulterate black tea to be shut down.

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Rohan Pethiyagoda says, Sri Lankan tea factories that adulterate black tea to get higher prices will be shut down from next month. The latest abuse uncovered is factory managers adulterating their tea with sugar, a practice that everyone in the industry is concerned about, as it could damage the image of Ceylon Tea.
Detecting tea adulterated with sugar is difficult, given the several hundred chemical compounds involved. However, experienced tea tasters are able to spot it. The Tea Board has been trying to weed out factories engaged in the practice, but since tea adulterated with sugar fetches high prices, it acts as an incentive for unscrupulous factories.

Dates set for the T-20 World Cup to be held in 2020

The dates have been set for the T-20 World Cup to be held in the year 2020. Thereby the men's tournament will be held from the 18th of October to the 15th of November 2020. The women's tournament will be held from the 21st of February to the 8th of March in the same year.
Ten teams will be participating in the tournament which will be held across 13 stadiums in Australia.

Andrew McCabe, FBI deputy director, quits after Trump criticism.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's deputy director, whom US President Donald Trump repeatedly accused of political bias, has resigned.Andrew McCabe was forced to step down ahead of his official retirement date on 18 March, reports CBS News.

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The President says, corrupt individuals cannot share the same stage with the SLFP on a chaste political journey.

President Maithripala Sirisena says, corrupt individuals cannot share the same stage with the SLFP in a chaste political journey. He further stated that the defected party that has been formed outside the SLFP with the ulterior motive of protecting and liberating thieves can never embark on an unblemished political journey.

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The Prime Minister says although the parties in the consensus government contest separately at the local government polls, the National Unity Government will continue until 2020.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe says although the parties in the consensus government contest separately at the local government polls, the National Unity Government will continue until 2020. He expressed these views participating at the public rally held in Kaduruwela in Polonnaruwa yesterday.  The Premier highlighted the fact that the United National Party enjoys the majority in parliament.

A special work plan to bring down cost of living and to solve unemployment problem within two years.

Minister Susil Premajayanth says a special work plan will be devised to bring down cost of living and to solve unemployment problem within two years. The Minister made these remarks at a media conference held at SLFP headquarters yesterday.

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Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera says, the PRECIFAC report recommends stripping former Minister of Economic Affairs Basil Rajapakse off his Civic Rights.

Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera says, the PRECIFAC report recommends stripping former Minister of Economic Affairs Basil Rajapakse off his Civic Rights, as he is accused of serious misappropriation of public funds amounting to 470 million rupees. The commission has also proposed that a case be filed in the High Court against him. The Minister disclosed these at a media briefing held in Colombo today. He further disclosed that the 26 million rupees that Namal Rajapaksa and Yoshitha Rajapaksa had to pay in connection with misuse of state aircraft, was paid by a military person. The commission has stated that an inquiry needs to be conducted as to how such a colossal some of funds were earned. The Minister also pointed out that the Rajapaksas are able to fund their election campaign due to unaccounted accumulated wealth. He pointed out that it is over to the bribery commission to conduct a stringent inquiry into these observations.

Responding to a question raised by a journalist the minister reiterated that the United National Party has no intention in postponing the Local Government Polls. He pointed out that all preparations for the polls thus far were made by the ruling UNP. He added that the UNP's stance is that voters should select candidates who are able to bring about development at village level.

The Ministry of Education points out that the economy of Sri Lanka has leaped forward to a progressive and rapid growth in spite of the natural catastrophes.


Deputy General Secretary of the UNP Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says that the economy of Sri Lanka has leaped forward to a progressive and rapid growth in spite of the natural catastrophes that posed a challenge to economic growth. The International Monetary Fund and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have confirmed this development. The minister said that World Bank reports depict a 5.5 growth as of January 2017, reflecting the clear three year economic vision of the present government. He pointed out that no source of government revenue has been privatized. On the contrary the government has been able to produce an excess of 22 billion rupees in revenue, after 63 long years. 14 statistics, he pointed that state revenue which was 13.5 percent in 2015, rose to 14.2 percent in 2016. According to the 2016 Central Bank report, the entity earned a profit of 22 billion rupees in the said year. He called to mind that the government was able to minimize its borrowings and thereby implement effective economic management which aided in delivering the country from the debt trap it had plunged into.

The necessity for a de-politicized police service has been re-emphasized.


Minister Sagala Rathnayake says if the police is unable to enforce law and order even under the present context in which the police service is given full professional independence to carry out its duties, then it is a problem that needs to be addressed in the police service. He raised this point participating at a public rally held in Pasgoda. The minister further emphasized that the police service needs to be de-politicized and police personnel should be given the freedom to conduct their duties without any interference.

Focusing his attention on the various development projects that need to be carried out in the country, he said that many of the 'white elephant projects' that were launched under the previous regime will be repositioned in order to earn dividends to the economy. The Hambantota Harbour is the foremost amongst these. He added that the government has prepared a plan for an industrial town parallel to the Hambantota port project. This will result in generating employment opportunities.

A 'Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse', a 'Super Moon' and a 'Blue Moon' will be visible to Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

For the first time since 1866, three lunar events will coincide on the same day; a 'Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse', a 'Super Moon' and a 'Blue Moon' will be visible to us on the 31st of January 2018, at moonrise in the eastern horizon, after 6.15pm. The eclipse begins at 4.21pm and will end at 9.38pm. The eclipse in total can be seen after 6.22pm with the moon entering completely into the umbra of the Earth. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 6.59pm.
When two full moons fall on the same month, the second full moon is called the 'Blue Moon'. This is just a name and the moon does not appear blue in colour.
When a Full Moon takes place, while the Moon is near its closest orbit to Earth, it is called a 'Super moon'. As a result, the moon appears 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.
A Micro moon, on the other hand, is when a Full or a New Moon is at its farthest point from Earth. It’s also known as a Minimoon, and in this year the smallest full moon is due on the 27th of July. There will a total lunar eclipse on that day too.
A total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a 'Blood Moon', because of the reddish colour the Full Moon takes on, when fully eclipsed. As the Sun’s rays pass through the earth’s atmosphere, some colours in the light spectrum are filtered out, due to scattering. Red wavelengths are least affected by this effect, so the light reaching the Moon’s surface has a 'reddish hue'. This caused the fully eclipsed Moon to take on a red colour.

This eclipse is visible to many countries in Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North America.

Philippines to phase out its beloved cheap but rickety 'jeepneys'

Jeepneys, the flamboyant passenger trucks of the Philippines are nearing the end of their reign, as the “Kings of the Road”. However, they’re not going down without a fight.
Government moves to overhaul outdated public transport, in order to make transport modes safe and environment friendly, will put the brakes on this mode of travel, that has long been the cheapest option of transport in the Philippines. However, operators and drivers of the 200,000 jeepneys that have plied the nation’s roads for decades, denounce moves to oust them as “anti-poor” and a "threat to their livelihoods".
Jeepneys have evolved from surplus army jeeps left behind by the US military after World War Two. They are brightly-painted vehicles festooned with religious slogans, horoscope signs or family names.

The president met party leaders on future actions of bond commission report. And Party leaders will meet tomorrow.

President Maithripala Sirisena held a meeting with all party leaders this morning at the president's secretariat.
The president held discussions with the party leaders regarding the future activities of the bond commission report and to take quick measures to file case against the culprits.

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Proving identity is compulsory for voting at the LG polls.

The election Commission says proving identity of voters is compulsory for voting at this election. The national identity card, valid passports, driving license, pensioner's identity card, identity issued for senior citizens and any other type of document issued by the department of Registration of Persons are valid at the polling booth.

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Private hospitals will be regulated from next month.

Health minister Dr.Rajitha Senarathne says, all private hospitals in the country will be regulated from next month in order to  provide concessions the patients who take treatment from private hospitals.  The World Health Organisation has decided to celebrate the World Health Day in Sri Lanka this year.

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Bilingual policy will be implemented in private sector as well.

The chairman of the  state languages commission Ranjith Uyangoda says, the required legal provisions  are being prepared  to implement the bilingual policy in the private sector as well.  Participating in a programme over the SLBC this morning Mr Uyangoda said the government is committed to provide services to people both in Sinhala and Tamil Languages.

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