The Sri Lankan courts in Jaffna and Vavunia today ordered the release of 69 Tamil Nadu fishermen lodged in prisons there, an official in the district courts said.
The fishermen, arrested on various occasions on charges of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by the Sri Lankan Navy, would be brought back here after completing necessary formalities, Manikandan, Assistant Director of Fisheries Department said.
A Sri Lankan court had yesterday (28) released 20 fishermen, arrested on January and February this year on charges of poaching into the island nation's waters, and they were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard at the IMBL by the Lankan authorities.
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya reiterated that foreign observers will not participate in monitoring activities at the upcoming local government polls to be held in February.
He further said that only the observers who have been recognised by the Election Commission will be permitted to monitor the election activities, and not to any other party.
Commissioner Deshapriya also said that there will be no separate announcement of postal vote result for each and every local authority and the results will be tallied together and released.
While former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Nimal Lanza extended his support to the Joint opposition today (28) during a press briefing two JO stalwarts have decided to support President Maithripala Sirisena.
According to sources Secretary of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Kaduwela organizer Somaweera Chandrasiri and Central Provincial Council Member of the National Freedom Front Nimal Premawansa have agreed to meet the President today and extend their support to him.
The Sri Lankan government plans to convert two large garbage dumps into urban parks next year as part of a city beautification programme, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Champika Ranawake announced on Tuesday.
The Minister addressing the Colombo City Beautification Awards Ceremony in Colombo stated that that garbage could no longer be dumped at the Meethotamulla or Bloemendhal garbage mountains and plans were afoot to construct a large scale national landfill site in Aruwakkaluwa in Puttalam, to address the government’s garbage disposal issue.
Ranawaka said that all steps would also be taken to ensure that no harm is caused to the environment when constructing the Aruwakkaluwa sanitary landfill.
With no proper garbage disposal in place, garbage from the capital was dumped at the Meethotamulla Garbage mountain for years with some environmentalists claiming that nearly 800 tons of solid waste was added daily.
The Special Task Force and the Police Narcotics Bureau and the Organised Crimes Division has seized heroin stocks valued over Rs. 130 million this year and going by this record, the eradication of drugs from Sri Lanka is imminent, Law and Order & Southern development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said.
The Minister said this achievement was made possible due to the systematic programme was undertaken to combat drugs and organised crime in recent times.
The STF alone had seized 5385.266 grams of heroin valued at nearly Rs.53,852.660 up to December 27 this year, while the Anti-Narcotics and Organised Crimes Division has seized 8226.659 grams of heroin valued at nearly Rs. 82,266,590 during the same period.
The STF had also arrested 303 suspects during 285 successful raids while the Anti-Narcotics and Organised Crimes Division has arrested 167 suspects during 160 raids.
The Minister said an operation was also underway to nab leading underworld characters conducting their drug cartels and other underworld activities from abroad.
Fulfilling a promise from the 2017 Budget, 18 trailer bikes and four beach rovers were handed over to the Sri Lanka Police by Minister of Law & Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake today (26). Addressing the gathering the Minister said that Sri Lanka is at the forefront in ensuring the security of foreign visitors to the country.
The Minister added the decision was made to provide these bikes to the division as the government is currently engaged in a large scale tourism promotion project for the country.
The trailer bikes and beach rovers were handed over to the Tourist Police Division, and the Police posts at Arugam Bay, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Narigama, Negombo, Moragalla, Polonnaruwa, Pasikuda and Kandy.
Marking over 45 years of development cooperation between Sri Lanka and France, The French government has agreed to extend development assistance to Sri Lanka to the tune of Euro 13.9 million (approximately LKR 2,514 million) via a concessional loan. The loan will be uitilised for the development of 'Six Mini Dairies' Project.
The Ministry of Finance in a statement further said that the proposed project will include complete modernization of the pre-selected sixmini dairy cooperative societies and organizations by establishing state of the art equipment chains to produce pasteurized milk and sterilized milk at a capacity of 4,500 liters per day.
Caption: Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga signed the relevant Protocol Agreement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and Mrs. Isabelle MISCOT, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka, signed the relevant agreement on behalf of the Government of French Republic.
The high quality equipment will allow stable, homogenized and high quality products with computerized monitoring. In addition, technical assistance will also be extended to dairy farmers in order to improve the breeding process by a French non-profitable entity and to carry-out a proper market survey on the dairy sector of Sri Lanka.
It is also expected that, this initiative will support the government’s ambitious target of achieving self-sufficiency in dairy production by 2020 and to contribute to closing the gap between demand for dairy and local supply.
Minister of Labour, Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development, W.D.J Seneviratne has said that the final decision regarding the SLFP National government will be taken after the upcoming local government elections.
According to the Minister once the mini polls are completed a meeting led by President SIrisena will be held to decide if the SLFP will continue to be part of the current National government.
While a decision was to be arrived at before December 31 however as the party is currently on the LG polls the meeting has been postponed he further added.
The President had earlier informed the SLFP MP’s and Ministers to continue working in the National government till December 31.
UNP government after LG polls!
Meanwhile, Minister Harin Fernando has announced that the United National party will form a government by itself next year.
The Minister had made the announcement at a rally held in Badulla.
In order to gain control of the parliament the Minister had claimed the UNP needs to make significant wins in the upcoming LG polls.
However, in a recent rally Minister Mahinda Amaraweera was quoted as saying that no one will be allowed to form governments as they wish.
Ex-minister Ravi Karunanayake claims he is a victim of media hype and says his innocence will be proven by the report into the Central Bank bond issue.
Truth will prevail when the commission hands over its report to the president before December 31, he says.
Answering questions put to him, Karunanayake said he wanted to create a new political culture and also to prove that he came to politics to serve the people, not to earn money.
He said other ministries should take him as an example and support any investigations.
Once the report is released, he said he would carry on with his active politics, honestly and speedily.
To serve the personal needs
Attempts were made to stop politicians like us, who press forward, to serve the personal needs of a few, he said.
Karunanayake said that at present, he was listening to the grievances of the grassroots level UNP supporters, after helping the party to prepare nominations for the LG polls.
He said the supporters placed trust in him and that he wanted to take that forward by creating a new political culture for the UNP.
UNP will win
Answering another question, the MP said the UNP would gain a grand victory at the upcoming election to allow ‘concentrate politics’ for all.
The country could achieve growth through a future vision by the president and the prime minister taking it forward together, he said.
Commenting on the economy, he said that the government was able to restore the economy and grant certain concessions to the public within a very short period, after the Rajapaksa regime caused the economy to go down on its knees.
The progress is slow but steady, with the 10.7 per cent revenue now raised to 15 pc, said Karunanayake.
People want work done
He remarked that incumbent minister Mangala Samaraweera needed to focus more on work rather than on talk, as the public wants the work done, not excuses, by taking firm decisions.
It appears the country is falling into an abyss, as those who do the work in the good governance regime are being looked at indifferently, said the MP.
He said that not everyone is needed, but that if the president and the PM got together and with the support of a handful, a programme should be prepared to push the country forward quickly.
After the LG polls are over, promises to the public should be fulfilled, he added.
A group of prominent UNP activists in the Kelaniya electorate met President Maithripala Sirisena today (26) at the President’s Official Residence and joined the SLFP, the President's Media division reported.
Former members of Kelaniya local government Mr. Kanishka Samarasinghe, Mr. Norbert Perera and a former member of the Peliyagoda Urban Council Mr. Lakshman Perera were among the group of activists who joined the SLFP today.
The fact that EAP businesses are being sold to a Malaysian company goes on to prove that the country is in a financial crisis says Parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardena.
“A newspaper has reported that EAP group of companies is now set to be sold to a Malaysian Company which proves my claim that the country is in a financial crisis” the MP said adding that the statements made by the UNP after the budget has caused these issues. The parliamentarian made these comments at a press briefing held in Punchi Borella by the Joint opposition Economic research unit yesterday (26).
Financial Market Crippled
The MP also claimed that due to the statement made by the Central Bank’s financial committee on December 5, investors of the financial markets have been scared off.
He said the announcement of abolition three licensed Sri Lankan financial institutions could even result in the collapse of the stock market.
“The Central Bank has announced that the licence of Central Finance and Investment will be cancelled while Standard Credit Ltd, and CIty Finance Corporation are on shaky ground” the MP said adding that around 12,000 depositors are now trying to take their money back thereby causing a crisis.
Depositors in trouble
“Seniors, Pensioners and normal depositors have put in their money to these institutions” he said pointing out that there is no system to help out the public when a private firm collapses.
According to the MP IMF criticized the move to use public tax money to bail of Golden Key depositors when the company collapsed so following the new methods to follow with regards to such companies introduced in 2011 therefore making the Central Bank responsible to ensure the depositors protection.
“No one wants to invest in the country now” the MP maintained adding that if depositors attempt to withdraw large amounts it will cause further issues.
Request from the President
He also mentioned that through spreading reports of financial misconducted of the former government the whole financial system has collapsed. He requested the President to look in to these allegations to ascertain their truth. “We request he look in to the troubles of the people without only focusing on the election” Gunawardena said.
The central committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has decided to hand over the power of taking action against anyone working against the constitution of the SLFP by promoting another political party and cancelling that individuals party membership to President Maithripala Sirisena.
According to section 26 - 1, 26 - 2 and 26 - 3 of the party constitution disciplinary inquiries can be held against members on information received regarding discipline related issues, for shirking party responsibilities.
The central committee has also decided to send reminders in this regard by registered post to all parliamentarians and Ministers of the party.
Meanwhile General Secretary of the party, Duminda Dissanayake said disciplinary action will be taken against any member promoting another political party in violation of the SLFP constitution.
Party principles are more important than the person…
When questioned if action will be taken against SLFP members taking part in the election campaigns of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna from January 2 led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, General Secretary of the party Duminda Dissanayake said party principles are more important no matter who the person is.
He stressed that action will be taken against anyone going against party principles and its constitution.
Ignores opposition : Mahinda takes the ‘flower bud in hand’
Meanwhile, despite the central committee meeting the JO has decided to commence its campaign led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Jo political campaign is set to commence on January 2 at the Sugathadasa indoor stadium.
According to MP of the JO, Dinesh Gunawardena it will be revealed as to why people should vote for the JO in the upcoming polls and all party leaders of the JO will attend the rally he said.
All those contesting is also set to take a special oath to protect the country on the day he further added.
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