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September 29, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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US Congress passes legislation to benefit victims of 9/11 attacks. Image Credit - palinchak / depositphotos

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Government aims to raise tourism revenue

The Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, has reiterated the government’s target of attracting 4 million tourists, and USD 10 billion in tourism earnings, by 2020. Minister Amaratunga made this statement at the Tourism Leaders’ Summit and International Research Symposium, held in Colombo on 28 September.

Minister Amaratunga emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving this goal. He noted the benefits of the symposium, stating that it provided ‘policymakers the opportunity to benefit from the wealth of knowledge’ disseminated during the event.

Finance Minister meets Prime Minister of Singapore

The Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, has traveled to Singapore to explore the possibility of Sri Lanka adopting that country’s investment promotion models. Minister Karunanayake met with the Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Teo Chee Hean.

Prime Minister Lee highlighted opportunities for the promotion of tourism in Sri Lanka, and stated that Singapore will support Sri Lanka’s effort to develop its tourism.

President emphasises need for right to information

President Sirisena has stressed the importance of the right to information while speaking at an international conference in Colombo to commemorate the International Right to Information Day.

President Sirisena emphasised the media’s role in ensuring the proper implementation of the Right to Information Act, and noted that the right to information plays a critical role in preventing fraud and corruption.


US Congress votes for Justice Against Terrorism Act

The US Congress has voted to pass the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), overriding President Barack Obama’s earlier veto. This is the first time the US Congress has overridden a veto by President Obama.

The JASTA allows relatives of the victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for their alleged involvement in the attacks.

Philippines to end joint military exercises with the US

Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has announced that the military exercises scheduled in October, between the Philippines and the US, will be the last under his administration.

US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, stated that an official notification ending joint military exercises had not been received from the Philippines, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Perfecto Yasay, stated that President Duterte’s words had been misinterpreted.

US to send additional troops to Iraq

President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, have agreed to increase the number of US troops in Iraq, to assist Iraqi forces liberate Mosul from ISIS. Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city, which is occupied by ISIS.

The US is expected to send approximately 600 troops to Iraq, bringing the total number of US troops in Iraq to approximately 5000. Any changes to the level of US troops in Iraq must be approved by the Iraqi government.

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