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Petrol price increased

Petrol price increased by Rs 30 to Rs 400.

All other fuel prices remain unchanged.

oil p

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No power cuts for two days - CEB

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) says there will be no power cuts for two days as the Water Management Secretariat has decided to release water from reservoirs to avoid possible spilling as heavy rains are expected in catchment areas.

Accordingly, no power cuts will be imposed today (Jan. 30) and tomorrow (Jan. 31) as a result, the Chairman of the CEB Nalinda Ilangakoon said.

Meanwhile the PUCSL Chairman says that on the request of the commission made on February 29th, the Water Management Secretariat has released adequate water to generate power without any interruptions on January 30 and 31.

A decision will be made on Wednesday (Feb. 01) for the rest of the Advanced Level examination days, Janaka Ratnayake said.

Earlier today, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said that the Water Management Secretariat had agreed to release adequate amount of water from reservoirs in order generate sufficient hydro power for the next couple of days.

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US pledges support for Sri Lanka's recovery efforts

Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Wednesday (1).

She is on an official visit to the country, and she discussed the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, and the ongoing US assistance to the Sri Lankan people.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung accompanied Nuland for the meeting, where both sides further discussed ways both the United States of America and Sri Lanka are working together toward an inclusive, prosperous and secure future for all Sri Lankans.

According to the President's Media Division, the President in his meeting with Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, thanked the US Government for their support during difficult times.

Under-Secretary Nuland had pledged the US Government’s support for Sri Lanka's ongoing recovery efforts.

The discussion also focussed on the on-going discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the U.S. pledged to continue to support the negotiations with the aim of swiftly resolving the issues.

The President outlined the measures being taken in regard to the reconciliation talks with the minority parties in Sri Lanka, including the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.

Discussions also focussed on the on-going efforts to combat the growing narcotics trade, with the U.S. extending their assistance.

Moreover, Under-Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Chung met with the minority opposition party leaders to discuss their hopes for reconciliation.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung tweeted that a political solution to Sri Lank's history of ethnic conflict was also discussed.

"When those with different perspectives work together toward solutions, democracy is strengthened," said the Ambassador.

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Veteran dramatist and screen writer K.B. Herath passes away

Veteran Sri Lankan dramatist and screenwriter K.B. Herath has passed away this morning (Jan. 29) at the age of 81.

K.B. Herath, who was born in Nawagaththegama of Kurunegala District, studied at Ibbagamuwa Central College. He began his career as a teacher after graduating in Arts, at Peradeniya University.

He had done a yeoman service to the Sri Lankan stage drama industry as a playwriter, producer and screenwriter.

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Maithripala says he will contest next presidential election

Former President Maithripala Sirisena says he expects to contest the next presidential election with the support of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Joining a media briefing today (Jan 31), the SLFP leader expressed confidence about winning the election race.

“I am not the type of person to move backward. I am not scared of the conspiracies [against me]... Despite being harassed, I will contest the next presidential election with the support of my party. No matter how many votes I receive, I am confident that I can win the election.”

Sirisena went on to apologize for the coordinated suicide bomb attacks that devastated the country on Easter Sunday in 2019 while he was in office as the Head of State.

The former president stated that the Catholic community does not harbour any feelings of hatred towards him over this tragic incident.

Speaking on the sum of Rs. 100 million that the Supreme Court ordered him to pay in compensation to the victims of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings for violating human rights, Sirisena pointed out that according to the top court’s judgment, he was held responsible for the mistakes committed by the officials appointed by him as the Head of State.

Sirisena said, as a person who respects the country’s judiciary and the law, he accepted the judgment of the Supreme Court.

On January 12, the Supreme Court found the former President, along with former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, former National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis and former Chief of State Intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena in violation of the Fundamental Rights of petitioners, by failing to take action to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks despite receiving sufficient intelligence information.

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Implementing 13th Amendment: President reveals next step

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed the All Party Leaders' Conference on Reconciliation that the Cabinet was agreeable to fully implementing 13th Amendment, until the Party Leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.

This was reported by the President's Media Division on Friday (27).

President Ranil Wickremesinghe had said that he is bound to implement the existing law in accordance with the executive powers of the President.

He had said further that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is being implemented accordingly or the Parliament should abolish the 13th amendment.

The President Wickremesinghe also pointed out that any parliamentarian could move a private member’s bill to abolish the 13th Amendment to the constitution and the same amendment would have to be implemented provided that the bill was voted against by the majority of the House.

The President stressed that he was not ready to divide the country.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks at the All-Party Conference, which was held at the President's Office on Thursday (26) evening.

The statement made by the President is as follows:

It is my responsibility as the Executive to carry out the current law. For approximately 37 years, the 13th Amendment has been a part of the constitution. I must implement or someone has to abolish it by way of a 22nd amendment to the constitution by moving a private member’s bill. If the bill was voted against by the majority in the House, then the 13th amendment would have to be implemented.

“We can’t remain in a middle position saying that either we don’t implement the 13th amendment or abolish it,” President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

I’m acting in accordance with the decision delivered by the Supreme Court Bench regarding the 13th Amendment, in particular, Chief Justice Palinda Ranasinghe’s ruling. If we stick to that, we might say that we are in a ‘united’ state. I oppose a federal state but devolution of power. The provincial Councils in Sri Lanka have no at least the powers that are vested in the London City Council. Hence we can’t define this as a federal state.

The late President J. R. Jayawardena introduced many clauses along with the attorneys-at-law not to make Sri Lanka a federal State. So far, every President has decided to put this into action. So either we ought to get rid of the 13th amendment or should implement it.

A massive extension of land was under the government by the time the conflict came to an end in 2009 and thereafter most of those lands were released to the public under the reigns of former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mithripala Sirisena. The largest extension of lands in Jaffna was issued under the reign of former President Mithripala Sirisena. There is only a land extension of 3000 acres under the government as of now.

The release of that extension land too should be entrusted with the security forces to be done without causing interruption to the security activities. We discuss the release of those lands with the Defence Secretary, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Commanders of Tri Forces and acted upon their views.

The Land Commission needs to be established immediately. The draft bill in that regard could be moved by March. The Constitution has it that nine representatives from each province should be included while 12 are appointed by the President. Then a national land policy should be formulated. Thereafter the National Land Policy could be put into action by the Land Commission.

Thirty per cent (30%) or more of the country is covered in forest. Here the lands have been allocated suddenly for forests in an unorganized manner. However, we have deforested up-country as well as the areas where the Mahaweli, Kelani and Kalu rivers commence. Somehow, the forest cover should be increased. We should allow the Land Commission to decide on the extension of land required to enhance the forest cover in accordance with the government’s policy up to 30%. I am dedicated in that endeavour too.

If establishment of the National Police Commission instead of a Provincial Police Commission is objected, an amendment should be made. However either should be done.

The measures that would be taken in this regard would be presented to the Parliament on February 08. And if there are any suggestions, they could be made so before February 04th that they may be considered and submitted on February 8th.

Neither any of here nor I am ready to divide our country. We are all Sinhalese who are seating here. These individuals will not betray the Sinhalese. If there are Sinhalese, they should coexist with other ethnic groups such as Tamils, Muslims, and Burghers. I have no doubt that if we protect the notion in the line ‘Children of one mother’ in our national anthem, we could go forward united.

We shall work toward a consensus-based solution for the political and economic issues one step at a time. Let’s solve our political and economic issues step by step in a manner that could be accepted by all.

Let’s act as we agreed earlier without being stuck in this problem. We neither betray any nor divide the country and the country is united today.

Source: PMD

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://english.newstube.lk/news#sigProIdc0408aa6c1

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Wasantha Mudalige released from one case filed under PTA

IUSF convener Wasantha Mudalige has been released from one case filed against him under the PTA.

The order for his release was given by Colombo chief magistrate Prasanna Alwis today (31).

Delivering the verdict, magistrate Alwis said the accused was not found to have committed any offence under the PTA.

He further said the prosecution has created evidence to misuse the provisions of the PTA.

Mudalige has been in remand custody for more than 150 days now.

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Parliament to be prorogued

Parliament will be prorogued with effect from midnight today (27 Jan.), Ada Derana learns.

Accordingly, a Gazette in this regard is due to be published by the Presidential Secretariat shortly.

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Karu Jayasuriya be to conferred with ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ title

Former speaker Karu Jayasuriya is to be conferred with the honorary title ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ in recognition of his services to the country.

The Cabinet approved a proposal in this regard made by president Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The president will confer the highest civilian honour on Jayasuriya on February 03 to coincide with the 75th Independence Day celebrations.

Jayasuriya, a former cabinet minister, was the speaker of parliament between 2015 and 2020.

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President reveals why Sri Lanka has to celebrate Independence day

Instructions from the President celebrate the 75th Independence celebration with pride, at minimal cost

• while estimating the required expenditure attention should be paid to the current financial position of the country

A pre-discussion was held this morning (26) at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the Independence Day celebration being held in a grand and proud manner, but maintaining minimum cost.

Accordingly, in conjunction with the 75th Independence Day celebration, many special programs are scheduled to be implemented from February 2nd to the 19th. The special Dalada Pooja and Pirith chanting, religious ceremonies of all faiths, cultural show held at the Independence Square, the traditional Independence celebration main event held at Galle Face Green, the national parks and Zoo will be open to the public free of charge, the opening of the Jaffna Cultural Centre, the Kandy republic parade, the cycle race from Dondra Point to Point Pedro etc. have also been planned.

The President advised the officials that it is their responsibility as well as that of the political authority, to pay attention to the current financial situation of the country while estimating the expenses required for these activities and in spending in a practical manner and reducing expenses.

While pointing out that there is huge opposition among the people regarding the allocation of funds for the 75th Independence Day celebration, the President emphasized that efforts should be made to minimize the related expenses.

Expressing his views further, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said,

“We must celebrate the 75th Independence Anniversary, otherwise, the world will say that we are not capable of celebrating even our independence. Similarly, we need to attract tourists and investors to our country. We need to build a positive image of our country. Therefore, let us minimize our expenditure and celebrate our Day of Independence.

It has been planned to initiate a project to create urban forests in conjunction with the Independence Day celebrations. We expect to start the activities prior to attending the Climate Summit (COP28) in Dubai. In addition, we also expect to initiate several new institutions.

By the time the relevant laws would be passed and work could commence, it could be around August. Further, we have planned to establish the University on Climate Change, which will bring long-term benefits to the country.

However, the Treasury does not have enough funds to bear the full cost of these activities. Therefore, we will have to focus on other acivities only afer allocating funds for the main activities.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Secretaries of Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Education, Cultural and Buddhist Affairs, Media, Finance and the officials of the Treasury and the line Ministries participated at this discussion.

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TNA decides to boycott Independence Day celebrations

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided to boycott the 75th Independence Day celebrations, as the Tamil people are yet to gain true independence, said its spokesperson MP M.A. Sumanthiran.

Speaking to the media, he said since independence, majoritarianism has become the rule in the guise of democracy, with not even the Sinhala Buddhists now feeling they are denied freedom.

A black day will be declared and a campaign launched to gain true independence to the country, he added.

Several southern political groups too, have similarly declared a black day on February 04.

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P.S.M. Charles resigns from Election Commission

P.S.M. Charles has resigned as a member of the Election Commission.

She has tendered her resignation to the president, said sources at the Presidential Secretariat.

When contacted, the Election Commission said it was yet to be informed about the development.

The Constitutional Council that met yesterday (25) decided to call for membership applications for all the independent commissions.

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