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Last updateTue, 24 Jan 2017 8pm


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Russia says ready to talk to Trump about nuclear arms and Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to talk to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's new administration about nuclear weapons and Syria, saying the two countries could together solve many of the world's problems. Lavrov, speaking days before Trump's inauguration, used an annual news conference to flag potential areas of cooperation and to belittle what he described as malicious attempts to link Trump to Russia in a negative light.

India starts building the world's biggest cricket stadium.

India has started building the world's biggest cricket stadium that will accommodate 110,000 spectators and cost around 100 million dollars. Since the capacity of Kolkata's Eden Gardens was reduced as part of a major rebuilding project, Melbourne Cricket Ground has held the title of the sport's largest stadium with seating for around 100,000. But speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday in western Gujarat state,

officials said a new stadium in the city of Ahmedabad would be able to welcome 110,000 people. Gujarat Cricket Association vice president Parimal Nathwani put the overall cost of the project at seven billion rupees, saying the venue would house other facilities.

Sri Lanka will have the access to four major international markets.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe says Sri Lanka will have access to four major international markets very soon. Therefore, he requests the local and international investors to start ventures in Sri Lanka. He made these appeal at the World Economic Forum held in Switzerland. At a special press briefing held in the media village premises of the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday he said Sri Lanka will launch a number of decisive economic reforms in the next few months.

Joining this occasion Minister Malik Samarawickrema said this year is very significant to Sri Lanka in its development process. The new economic development plan will be implemented this year. Sri Lankan products will have market opportunities in the entire Europe after the GSP plus concession is reestablished.

The government has already implemented special economic strategies to attract more investors into the country. Sri Lanka will also have free trade agreements with China, Singapore, India and many other countries. Ministers Ravi Karunanayake and Harin Fernando also explained Sri Lanka’s economic plans to over three hundred the international business partners who participated in this conference. 

UN grants 500 million US dollars for drought relief.

State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says about 1,500 million US dollars are needed to provide relief to the people who have been affected by the prevailing drought. About 600 bowsers are also needed to provide water to affected areas.

The United Nations and its affiliated bodies have agreed to provide 500 US dollars and take a serious note on the impending drought situation in Sri Lanka. The government is now having discussions with many other countries to obtain financial assistance for drought relief. 

1,250 new irrigational wells will be constructed in dry areas.

Director General of Irrigation Department Saman Weerasinghe says irrigational wells will be used as an alternative to provide water to cultivations in the drought hit areas. 1,250 new irrigational wells will also be constructed and 1,000 old wells will be renovated. In addition the dried up irrigational tanks will be cleaned and dug up with the help of people in the relevant areas.

Participating in a programme over the SLBC this morning Irrigation Director said alternative methods should be used to get water for the day today needs. Joining the programme director of the National Disaster Management Centre Chaminda Pathiraja said owners of water bowsers will be registered to get their services to provide water to vulnerable areas. The Treasury has allocated funds for this purpose. In addition water tanks will be distributed among divisional secretariats to store water

Iran and Sri Lanka start new talks on oil research in the Indian Ocean.

Minister of Science, Technology and Research and Iran’s Vice-President for Science and Technology signed an MoU for cooperation on laboratory analysis for oil and gas. In a meeting with Sorena Sattari in Tehran, Minister Susil Premajayantha lauded Iran’s many scientific and technological achievements in spite of years of sanctions. Iran has given support in the field of science and technology. There are various grounds for cooperation on conversion of raw materials by Sri Lanka and exporting them for creating added value for the island. 
Minister Premajayantha held negotiations on joint cooperation in various fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, ICT and advanced materials. He expressed hope that the talks would reach a positive result as soon as possible.

Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence.

President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010. The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17 May instead of her scheduled 2045 release. She was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for her role in leaking diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group. The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.

The vouchers for school uniforms are being distributed among the Grade One students.

Secretary to the State Ministry of Education Tissa Hewavitharana says the vouchers for school uniforms are being distributed among the Grade One students. The distribution of vouchers was delayed as counting the exact number of students enrolled into schools took time. The Secretary said that the students were enrolled to Grade One classes on the 11th of this month.

The distribution of the vouchers will be completed this week. Meanwhile, Commissioner General of Educational Publications Padmini Nalika Weliwatta said that the distribution of school textbooks for year 2017 has already been completed. 

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