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Last updateSat, 23 Jun 2018 7pm

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Twelve dead in Grenfell Tower blaze in London

Twelve people have died in a west London tower block fire and the number of deaths is expected to rise, police have said. Firefighters rescued 65 people from Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, after they were called at 00:54 BST. Witnesses said people were trapped in the tower block, and that some jumped from windows in an effort to escape.


Pakistan qualified for the final of ICC Champions Trophy.

England's Champions Trophy hopes were ended by an eight-wicket semi-final thrashing at the hands of Pakistan in Cardiff. England struggled on a slow pitch against some brilliant Pakistan bowling and fielding, mustering only 211. Fakhar Zaman's 57 launched Pakistan's chase, while Azhar Ali made 76 as victory was sealed with 12.5 overs to spare.


Huge fire rips through London tower block.

Several people have died after a huge fire raged through the night at a west London tower block, a fire chief says. Firefighters are still tackling the blaze at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, where eyewitnesses said people were trapped inside, screaming for help. More than 50 people are being treated in hospital, says London Ambulance. The BBC's Andy Moore said the whole 24-storey block had been alight and there were fears the building might collapse.

Eyewitnesses said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children from windows. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said there had been "a number of fatalities" but he could not say how many because of the "size and complexity" of the building.

The government directs law enforcement authorities to take immediate action against instigators of violence and hate speech against religious and ethnic groups.

The Cabinet of Ministers issuing a statement said that it directed law enforcement authorities and the Attorney General to take immediate action against instigators and perpetrators of violence and hate speech against religious and ethnic groups. 
The National Unity Government, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena reaffirm commitment, in accordance with the mandates received from the people are to ensure that our nation never again returns to a conflict-ridden past, and instead resolve to guide our nation towards reconciliation, sustainable peace, and economic progress. Communal, ethnic and religious hatred and violence, and impunity have no place in the society that we strive to build.

Pakistan pledges the fullest cooperation to Sri Lanka on naval affairs.

The Chief of Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, who is currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka, called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s official residence in Colombo yesterday. During the meeting, the President thanked Pakistan for the close cooperation extended to Sri Lanka during the years of conflict and during peace times. He also referred to the close longstanding political and cultural relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Admiral Zakarullah pledged the fullest cooperation of the Pakistan Navy to the Sri Lankan Government and Navy.  The President and Navy Commander of Pakistan exchanged mementos to signify this occasion. Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Dr. Safraz Ahmed Khan Sipra, were also present on this occasion.

Over 600,000 individuals have been tested for HIV this year.

The National AIDS and Sexual Transmitted Diseases Control Movement says over 600,000 individuals have been tested for HIV so far this year. Over 100,000 tests have done by private laboratories. Director of the AIDS and STD Control Movement Dr. Sisira Liyanage says more people are keen on get the test done due to enhanced awareness programmes by the health authorities. The HIV can be controlled if it is identified at the early stage. About 120 cases have been tested positive for HIV. 

The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has come forward to grant five billion rupees for the construction of new houses for the flood affected people.

President Maithripala Sirisena instructs the relevant officials to implement a housing project to construct new houses for the people who have lost their houses due to recent flood and landslide disasters. The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has come forward to grant five billion rupees for this project. President Sirisena addressed a special meeting which was held this morning to focus on the progress of relief assistance work on the flood affected areas.


Former President's Secretary Lalith Weerathunga says he distributed sil cloths under the instruction of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunga says the former President's Secretary Lalith Weerathunga was charged with an allegation of using 600 million rupees of Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to distribute sil cloths from March to December 2014. This case was taken for hearing by High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunga.


The leader of SLFP Youth Front reiterates that SLFP Youth Front will focus on three important factors when formulating the new constitution.

The leader of SLFP Youth Front Shantha Bandara reiterates that SLFP Youth Front will focus on three important factors when formulating the new constitution. The unitary status of the nation should be assured. The responsibility of the government is to provide the due status to Buddhism and Buddha Shasana. Meanwhile, the constitution should have necessary clauses to support the other religious groups to practice their religious faiths without any hindrance. Mr. Shantha Bandara made these remarks at a media conference held at SLFP headquarters in Colombo today.


The number of deaths on the railway lines while using mobile phones has gone up in the recent past.

The Chief Security Officer of Railway Anura Premarathne says the number of deaths on the railway lines while using mobile phones have gone up in the recent past. 20 youths have lost their lives during this year. Most number of deaths has occurred on the coastal line. Few incidents took place at the Mount Lavinia coastal railway line due to excess entertainment of youth in the close proximity of this area. A total number of 300 deaths have been reported from railway accidents during this year.

Mosul displaced hit by food poisoning in Iraqi camp.

Hundreds of people have fallen ill and a child has died of suspected food poisoning at a camp for displaced people near the Iraqi city of Mosul. People were said to be vomiting and suffering dehydration after an iftar meal, to break the daily Ramadan fast. The Hasansham U2 camp, between Mosul and Irbil, houses people displaced by an Iraqi offensive to capture Mosul from so-called Islamic State. IS fighters are currently under heavy siege in the west of the city.

The government refutes the allegations made against it that conditions are made in gaining GSP Plus.

State minister Iran Wickremarathne says that Sri Lanka has not gone under any demands said by any international organization  or country  in obtaining GSP plus facility  to Sri Lankan exports  to European Union countries. Any of these organizations of these countries has not put forward  any condition to the Sri Lankan government the state minister observed.

There is a difference between GSP tax relief and GSP plus tax relief. Under GSP tax relief 7200 commodities can be exported to European union countries  under a 66 percent tax relief. But under the GSP plus tax relief commodities can  be exported to those countries without tax. Only 8 countries in the world have received GSP plus facility.

The Prime Minsiter to hold talks with the striking postal trade unions this afternoon.

Prime minister Ranil Wickramasingha is to hold discussions with postal Unions who are now engaged in trade union action demanding solutions for some of their issues. During the talks the prime minister is scheduled to look in to their problem's which led to the trade union action now taking place.
During the talks minister Abdul Haleem said, that Prime Minister will look into the demands of striking trade unions. In an inquiry made by us Postal trade Unions co-convener H.K.Kariyawasam said to resolve the problems they are looking forward to meet Prime Minister and the President.

Trump travel ban suffers new court defeat.

A US appeals court has upheld a decision blocking President Donald Trump's revised "travel ban" on people from six mainly Muslim nations. Ruling on a case brought by the state of Hawaii, the appeal judges found that the executive order violated existing immigration legislation It is a further legal setback for the president's efforts to get the ban he promised his supporters. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he disagreed with the ruling. "President Trump's executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe."

The President says it is the responsibility of the political leaders and public officials to properly spend the funds allocated for development activities.

President Maithripala Sirisena says it is the responsibility of the political leaders and public officials to properly spend the funds allocated for development activities. Development should be carried out under systematic plan. The President made these remarks participating in the progress review meeting of the Northern Province held in the Jaffna district secretariat yesterday. At this meeting the President inquired the officials how they are spending the funds given by the central government to the development in the North.

The President focused attention to the lapses and shortages of the infrastructure facilities in the Jaffna district. President also discussed the progress of resettlement in the North. The political representatives pointed out that there is a severe shortage of sand in the construction industry. Then the President instructed the relevant officials to give permission to obtain sand and gravel without causing any damage to the environment. The President instructed to appoint a special committee in this connection.

The committee which is headed by Additional Secretary of the President is also comprised with officials from Forest Conservation and Wilf Life Department and the Central Environment Authority. After the meeting the President met a group of parents of the persons of disappeared. They handed over a letter to the President requesting to find out where about of their children. 

Effective measures have been taken to restore the postal services in the flood affected areas.

The Post Master General Rohana Abeyrathne says effective measures have been taken to restore the postal services in the flood affected areas. Mr. Abeyrathne also said the cost of damage is estimated around 38.2 million rupees. 71 post offices were damaged during the recent flood disaster. Two post offices and eight sub post offices were damaged in Kalutara district. Nine post offices are affected in Galle district. Further 12 sub post offices were also damaged in that district.

Two post offices and 22 sub post offices are affected in Matara district. Two post offices and nine sub post offices are damaged in Rathnapura district.  The renovation and reconstruction activities have already commenced, he added. The damaged post offices and sub post offices are gradually coming back to the normal situation in the affected areas.

The applications for G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination will close day after tomorrow.

The closing date for the applications of G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination will end day after tomorrow. The school candidates should submit their applications through their respective school principals. The private candidates should submit their applications directly to the Examinations Department. The scheduled closing date was 31st of May. However, this date was extended due to the recent flood situation. The date was extended to help the flood affected students to apply for this exam. The date is extended up to 15th of this month. 

Government pays attention in regulating the quality service in passenger transport.

Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva says the time has come to regulate the services of passenger transport. Minister further noted that many problems have arisen due to substandard services. The main reason for this pathetic situation is the unnecessary competitive mindset of the private bus operators. These problems are common in a good governance government. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva also stated that a just and fair solution to satisfy the bus operators and the passengers will be found in near future. Minister made these remarks at a function held in Battaramulla yesterday. 

The necessity of a Common programme in tackling disaster management emphasized.

Southern province's Chief Minister Shan Wijeyalal de Silva says, that new laws and regulations should be composed in a way that provincial councils also can contribute in disaster management. Provincial councils should not do away with disaster management at a time of calamity,. The respective provincial councils should take part in disaster management by providing monitory assistance. The Chief Minister made these comments while participating at Subarathi discussion programme of SLBC this morning.

The chief minister pointed out the necessity of a national common programme in disaster management azt a time of a calamity.

Small and Medium scale industries are to be rejuvenate under a special programme.

Minister Rishard Bathi-Uddin says that his ministry will take all relevant steps to rejuvenate hampered medium and small scale industries by recent floods and torrential rains. The minister has advised the Industrial Development Board and National Entrepreneur Development Authority to conduct a immediate comprehensive survey to ascertain the damages done to small and medium scale industries. According to Minsiter's information 264 small and medium scale industries are reported as damage.

80 million worth of industrial equipment and machinery  have been destroyed by the floods. The damage done to buildings alone  exceeds 50 million rupees.  Nearly 1000 people have lost their employments. Initial estimates say, that at least 160  million rupees  will be required to re-establish the damaged industries.

Free lottery stalls to be provided for the lottery sellers in the flood affected areas.


Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayaka says that the National Development Lotteries Board contributes vastly to the nation just because of lottery sellers dedication over the country.  So far, they were provided with lottery stalls with a compensation of 50 percent.  The Minister said in the future stalls will be provided free of charge to the lottery sellers.  He also says he intend to increase the income of lottery sellers.


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