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Former FARC rebels take seats in Colombia congress

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has welcomed former FARC rebels, as they took their seats at the opening session of Parliament.
The new members of congress took their seats yesterday, as part of a peace deal reached in 2016.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is now a political party known as: The Revolutionary Alternative Common Force.
It has five seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives.

Five billion rupees has been set aside for interest relief in the loan schemes offered under Enterprise Sri Lanka

Minister of Finance: Mangala Samaraweera, joining in the inauguration of the 'Enterprise Sri Lanka Lending Counter' at the Bank of Ceylon Branch in Mullaithivu said, five billion rupees has been set aside for interest relief of the loan schemes under Enterprise Sri Lanka. These loans are provided under half-interest rates or as interest free loans.

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The first Agricultural Entrepreneurship Model Village project commences from Kahaththewela-Haputale

The first Agricultural Entrepreneurship Model Village project commenced from Kahaththewela-Haputaletoday. It is being implemented under the Cultivation Development Programme of the Ministry of Agriculture titled: 'Api Wawalai Api Kanne'. The cost of this project is estimated at 80 million rupees. Thereby, the main canals in the Kahaththewela Village which are the Yatala-Ela and Sirimal-watte-yaya Ela will be fully reconstructed.
In addition, the implementation of Agriculture Development Projects, the establishment of the Kahaththewela Fruit Village, bee-farming, development of roadways in agriculture areas, the planting of 5000 jak saplings, and the development of religious sites will be carried out.

Around 160 families in the Kahaththewela Village will benefit by this project.

Complaint lodged with the CID, regarding fraud at the Anuradhapura Municipal Council, amounting to millions of rupees

Mayor of the Anuradhapura Municipal Council: S.P.Somadasa says, he has made a complaint to the CID, upon yesterday's release of the Auditor General's report regarding fraud at the municipal council amounting to millions of rupees. The swindled sum is over 3 billion rupees. The chief Clerk of the Salaries Division and her husband who is the Revenue Inspector are directly connected to the fraud.  As per the Auditor General's investigations, the funds have been deposited in 19 personal bank accounts. The Clerk in question, together with 6 others, have been suspended.

Construction work of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, commences tomorrow

Construction work of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, will commence tomorrow, under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. This hospital is being constructed upon the wishes of the President, through a 'full grant' by the Chinese government. It will be the largest Nephrology Hospital in South Asia. The cost involved is 12 billion rupees. The hospital will consist of an ultra- modern Laboratory, and many other facilities supported by high technology. The hospital will comprise; a ward complex consisting of 200 beds, an OPD unit which will have one hundred dialysis machines, a Renal Diseases Clinic, and 6 modern theatres in which Kidney Transplant Surgeries can be performed.

The objective is to complete the project within 24 months.

The second test between Sri Lanka – South Africa

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Stumps, Day 1

Sri Lanka 1st innings 277/9 (DM de Silva 60 & MD Gunathilaka 57

India's Lok Sabha discusses No-Confidence Motion against the government while Japan's No-Confidence Motion is voted down

India's Lok Sabha is discussing a No-Confidence Motion against the government. The motion was moved by the Telugu Desam Party. Participating in the debate, Congress President: Rahul Gandhi accused the government for giving only "lofty promises" to the people. He alleged that farmers, Dalits, women and youth have been victims of the Government’s "empty promises".
As ruling members objected to these remarks and created noisy scenes, the Speaker adjourned the House for ten minutes.

Meanwhile,

Japan's Lower House has voted down a No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet. The motion was submitted by six opposition groups, and was seen as a last ditch effort to block the passage of a controversial Casino Bill.
The leader of the main opposition party accused the Cabinet of focusing on the Casino Bill, instead of concentrating on efforts to help people in western Japan recover from the recent floods and landslides.
The motion was voted down by lawmakers from the ruling coalition, who hold the majority in the House.
Coalition lawmakers are expected to pass the bill, legalizing casinos in Japan, for the first time.

A batch of graduates awarded teaching posts

A ceremony was held at Temple trees today to present letters of appointments to a batch of graduates, for teaching posts.  Speaking at the event Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said, the Mandatory 13 Year Education Programme was introduced with the intention of producing trained individuals for the country.

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A discussion on holding the Provincial Council Elections as soon as possible, held at the Parliamentary Complex, today

A discussion focussing on holding the Provincial Council Elections as soon as possible, was held under the patronage of Speaker Karu Jayasooriya, at the Parliamentary Complex, today.
At the commencement of the discussion the Speaker said, party leaders should jointly arrive at a decision, regarding under which Electoral System the election needs to be held.
The public and Citizens' Organisations have pointed out the necessity to elect members who are responsible to their constituencies. They reject the Preferential Voting System. The Speaker emphasized, the citizens will not approve increasing the number of elected members, in any way.

Many ideas were shared throughout the lengthy discussion, and all parties were of the opinion that further discussions are needed, in order to arrive at a final decision. Participating at the discussion, the Chairman of the Elections Commission and the Chairman of the Delimitation Committee said, if a final decision is agreed upon before the end of October, the Provincial Council Elections can be held on the 5th of January.
A Review Committee in this regard, has been appointed, chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
The next meeting will be held next Thursday, under the patronage of the Premier.

The Gamperaliya National Programme, expanded to the Northern Province

The Gamperaliya National Programme is being expanded to the Northern Province. Thereby, a number of development projects will take effect in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullativu districts, under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, tomorrow and the day after.
Loans will be provided through the Enterprise Sri Lanka Loan Scheme, as well.

Meanwhile, the 2nd stage of the Suwa Seriya Emergency Ambulance Service will begin from Jaffna tomorrow. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe will be the chief guest at the launching ceremony, to be held at the Jaffna Municipal Council grounds. The Prime Minister of India: Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the event live, over television. The Indian government has granted 1.5 billion dollars for the launch of the 2nd stage of Suva Seriya. These funds will be utilized to deploy more than 200 new ambulances.
The first stage of Suva Seriya is already underway, across six districts in the Western and Southern Provinces

The island-wide programme to take Siri Kotha to the villages begins from the Kegalle District tomorrow

The island-wide programme to take Siri Kotha to the villages begins from the Kegalle District tomorrow.  It is the first meeting among the meetings organised under the restructuring programme of the UNP. The 2nd meeting will be held in the Polonnaruwa District tomorrow evening.  The meeting in the Anuaradhapura District will be held on Sunday. At these meetings, the strategy of the party to bounce back onto the path of victory at future elections, will be outlined. Views and suggestions of party members will be obtained. This series of meetings will also be made use of to identify issues and challenges faced by reginal party leaders and members.  Meetings in other districts will be held in future.

England served notice of their World Cup-winning credentials by crushing India in the third one-day international to take the series 2-1

England served notice of their World Cup-winning credentials by crushing India in the third one-day international to take the series 2-1. The home side eased to their target of 257 with 33 balls and eight wickets to spare - Joe Root hitting the winning runs to complete a second successive century and Eoin Morgan ending on 88 not out. That India were restricted to a modest 256-8 was down to England's excellence with the ball and in the field. Shikhar Dhawan made 44 before being run out by Ben Stokes, while Virat Kohli looked ominous for 71 until he was bowled by a lovely Adil Rashid delivery. With England's limited-overs summer now at an end, the first of five Tests against India begins on Wednesday, 1 August.

The President addresses an international summit in Georgia today

President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Gerogia yesterday to attend the 5th Session of Open Government Partnership. The President arrived in the Shota Rustavelli International airport in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, where he was welcomed by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, George Sharvashidze.

The President will attend the 5th Open Government Global Summit. The OGP 2018 Global Summit will focus on civic engagement, fighting against corruption, and public service delivery.

Sri Lanka was offered membership of the Open Government Partnership in 2015, following the election of President Maithripala Sirisena, whose commitment to fight corruption gained international attention. President Sirisena will take part in the summit’s key High Level panel discussion today. President Sirisena will also hold a bilateral meeting with the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

The Prime Minister says government's aim is to make Sri Lanka a trade hub

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe says government's aim is to make Sri Lanka an international trade hub. To achieve this target Sri Lanka needs a group of professionals who are expertize in providing goods and services. Sri Lankan manufacturers should be competent enough to secure the right quota in world trade. The Prime Minister made these remarks at a ceremony held in Colombo yesterday. Hambantota and Colombo harbours will be developed.

Unemployed graduates to be employed, within the course of 2018/2019

State Minister Dr Harsha De Silva says, all unemployed graduates will be provided with employment, within the course of this year and next year. Speaking in Parliament yesterday he said, this move will come into effect under 4 stages.

Thereby, all those who have graduated before the 30th of June 2018, will be employed. The State Minister further stated, although the upper age limit for recruitment was 35 years, with cabinet approval it was extended to 45 years. He added, when providing employment opportunities, both internal and external degree holders, will benefit alike.

The new model village Kanchadeva-gama built at Siribopura in Hambantota will be vested in the public today

The new model village Kanchadeva-gama built at Siribopura in Hambantota will be vested in the public today under the patronage of Minister Sajith Premadasa. This village has 34 houses will all infrastructure facilities. In line with the opening ceremony, the minister will distribute housing loans and loans for self employment for over 200 beneficiaries.

Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit

US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

President Maithripala Sirisena will tour Georgia today to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2018

President Maithripala Sirisena will tour Georgia today to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2018. The objective of this summit is to work against corruption. Various topics including 'Empowering Citizens' and 'Promoting Transparency' will be taken up for discussion. President Sirisena is due to address this summit as well.

Meanwhile, the President attended the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry and the 6th World Forest Week in Rome.

Addressing the summit the President said that Sri Lanka is committed to protect the present forest cover and to develop the forest cover, up to 32 percent. The President said that, Humans get many social and economic benefits from forests. He further said that, all member countries should collectively commit themselves to overcome challenges although the agenda is complex. He said the government is implementing several programmes including planting of five million plants by 2020.

The sessions will explore the contributions that forests can make in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The prime minister says, tee aim of the government is to eliminate drug trade by disrupting the supply chain

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe says that, the aim of the government is to disrupt drug supply chain and to eliminate that drug trade. He said that, the previous government took legal action only against the people who distribute drugs and political protection as given to large scale drug racketeers. The Prime Minister said this at the opening of Ibbagamuwa district secretariat auditorium recently.

Meanwhile, JVP leader parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake also expressed his views on this subject. He said in parliament that many drug kingpins operated during the Rajapaksa regime. These drug dealers had close links with Rajapaksas.

Addressing the House Minister Duminda Dissanayake said the main drug dealers during the previous regime were given political protection and backing. The country at present is undergoing problems related to drug menace due to these passed incidents.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasised the importance of providing necessary powers and strengthening the police to control the drug trafficking in the country

Allocating seats on the buses from the home through the telephone service has been launched

Allocating seats on the buses from the home through the telephone service has been launched. The new service will provide the commuters and passengers of long distance bus transport to book their tickets without any hindrance. The service is known as 'SLTB Express'. Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation says Sri Lanka Transport Board has made these arrangement for the benefit of the commuters. The commuters can book their tickets through online service available in the web. They can select the location of the seat inside the bus. This will give a comprehensive facility for the commuters and passengers

Another housing scheme for estate workers with the support of Indian government

Another housing scheme will be implemented for the benefit of estate workers with the support of Indian government. Minister of Upcountry, new villages and rural Development P. Digambaran made these remarks after placing foundation stone for the construction of another 80 houses. The Minister further said this project is being implemented under the guidance of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. The Minister also stated this housing scheme will be further extended by 2020. The Minister wishes the Prime Minister that Mr. Wickremasinghe will become the leader of this country in 2020. 50 housing units in Agarapathana and 25 houses in Bogawanthalawa will be constructed.

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