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2022 O/L results to be released within next few days – Edu. Minister

Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha states that the results of the 2022 G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination will be released within the next few days.

Commenting on this during today’s parliamentary session, the Minister emphasized that the release of the results was delayed owing to the delay in the commencement of paper-marking activities for around three months.

“Now the children are getting older due to the examinations being postponed”, he said.

“We released the Grade 05 Scholarship Examination results within a month. Never in history have the results been released within a month”, Premajayantha added.

Meanwhile, the Education Minister also expressed that all necessary arrangements have been made to hold the G.C.E. Advanced Level examination as scheduled.

“Actually, the A/L examination would have been held in November as previously planned, however, the release of results was delayed”, he said.

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COPE Committee meetings cancelled until further notice

All meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) have been cancelled until further notice, the Parliament was informed today (Nov 17).

The announcement was made by the Speaker of the House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The Speaker further said that the COPE Committee will not be convened until issues concerning its Chairman are resolved.

He added that the final decision on the COPE Committee will be taken by its members who are vested with the necessary powers and as per Parliament protocol.

The decision was announced after Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa had alleged that the COPE Committee had convened a meeting at 01.00 pm today, knowing that it was a time at which two of its Muslim members S.M. Marikkar and Rauf Hakeem could not attend.

MP Premadasa accused the COPE Chairman of having purposefully called for the COPE members meeting knowing that these two members cannot attend due to Friday prayers.

Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella also requested the Speaker to provide a proper solution to the issues concerning the COPE Committee, urging not to make it political.

Responding to the claims, the Speaker announced that all meetings of the COPE Committee have been cancelled until further notice.

Concerns have been raised in the recent past on the actions of the COPE Committee Chairman Prof. Ranjith Bandara, especially concerning Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

He was accused of signalling SLC representatives to allegedly refrain from disclosing information during a recent COPE Committee meeting, while it was also revealed that a private firm headed by him had offered its services to the SLC between 2017 and 2018.

Prof. Ranjith Bandara’s son Kanishka Bandara was also found to have attended the recent COPE meeting with the SLC resulting in the Opposition raising serious concerns over the matter and a violation of their Parliamentary privileges.

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Budget aims at preventing recurrence of an economic crisis – Govt

The current budget, characterized by formal economic management, has been unveiled to proactively avert the recurrence of severe economic crises within Sri Lanka, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.

State Minister Semasinghe emphasized the dedicated focus within this year’s budget to extend relief to those significantly impacted by the economic downturn.

“There is a deliberate commitment to fostering the establishment and support of small and medium-scale businesses as part of the comprehensive economic strategy,” he pointed out.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe expressed these views during a discussion held on Monday (Nov 20) at the Ministry of Finance on the budget 2024.

The State Minister further said “The budget presented this year has laid the groundwork for growth across various sectors of the economy. To foster economic growth, it is imperative to restore the country to the pre-crisis economic levels. The groundwork for this resurgence was established in the previous budget. The current year’s budget is designed to further fortify economic stability and the progress in achieving this stability can be verified by scrutinizing data provided by the Central Bank.

“During the presentation of the 2023 budget, the nation found itself in a precarious situation, unable to produce a comprehensive budget document. At that critical juncture, the country grappled with profound economic downturn and political-social turbulence, marking a significant crossroads in its history.

“It is noteworthy to acknowledge that the attained economic stability is a direct outcome of the 2023 budget document. Additionally, the government anticipates a 1.8% economic growth for the upcoming year, with aspirations to surpass that target and achieve a growth rate of 2% or more. The formulation of this year’s budget took into account agreements established with the International Monetary Fund and the nation’s creditors. Of particular significance is the commitment to achieving debt sustainability, thereby emphasizing meticulous attention to debt restructuring and various other considerations in the preparation of the budget proposals.

“The government has prioritized addressing the challenges faced by population groups severely affected by the ongoing economic crisis. Special consideration has been given to public servants, who have not seen a salary increase in many years. Consequently, the government has taken the initiative to grant an additional allowance of Rs. 10,000,” he said.

Stating that focused attention has been extended to various vulnerable groups, including low-income earners, kidney patients, individuals receiving disability allowances and those receiving elderly allowances, he said this comprehensive approach is expected to benefit approximately 3 million families.

“As per the economic crisis, small and medium-sized businesses, which faced significant challenges, have been a focal point. The current budget allocates over Rs. 30 billion for their rehabilitation. A structured system has been devised to facilitate their access to credit facilities, offering subsidized interest rates in the single-digit range. Furthermore, the government has lifted restrictions on imports, excluding personal-use vehicles, in a move aimed at fostering greater economic flexibility and adaptability,” he added.

Also addressing the meeting, the Director General of the President’s Trade Union, Saman Ratnapriya, commended President Ranil Wickremesinghe for steering the country from a challenging state, marked by fuel and gas queues, to a more stable condition.

Attributing this progress to the foundation laid by the previous budget, extending into the 2024 budget, Ratnapriya highlighted a proposal to increase government employee salaries by Rs. 10,000, acknowledging the existing pressures on the public.

“Acknowledging the current challenges faced by the populace, including the burden of elevated service charges, it is imperative to recognize the potential positive outcomes of advancing the President’s economic program. Despite the existing pressures, the belief is firm that adhering to this economic strategy will pave the way for the construction of a robust and sustainable economy,” he said.

On the fiscal front, W. M. G. Kumaratunga, Director of the Economic Stabilization Unit at the President’s Office, provided insights into revenue collection. Noting the significant milestone, he projected estimated state revenue of Rs. 3,101 billion by December 31, surpassing the Rs.3 trillion mark for the first time in history.

“Comparatively, the revenue as of last 17 stood at Rs. 2,394 billion, with contributions from the Inland Revenue Department Rs. 1,415 billion, Sri Lanka Customs Rs.832 billion, and the Excise Department Rs.147 billion.

“As the year draws to a close, an estimated income of Rs.3,101 billion is anticipated from the combined efforts of the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Excise Department. Additionally, a further Rs.369 billion is expected to be generated in the coming days. This additional revenue comprises Rs.154 billion from the Inland Revenue Department, Rs. 136 billion from Sri Lanka Customs and the remaining Rs. 33 billion from the Excise Department.

“Consequently, by December 31 of this year, a total state revenue of Rs.2,719 billion is anticipated. However, if efforts align with the estimated target for 2023, this figure would represent the highest state revenue ever recorded in the country’s history,” he said.

Kumaratunga further said, that in addition to the ongoing efforts, the President’s Office has initiated special programs aimed at further augmenting state revenue.

“Notably, the daily income of Sri Lanka Customs has currently reached an impressive Rs. 5 billion. The aspiration is to achieve a revenue target of Rs. 3 trillion, a milestone that could significantly boost the country’s economy, leading to the creation of a surplus in the primary account,” he added.

This discussion involved the participation of key stakeholders, including Dr. P. K. G. Harishchandra, Director of the Economic Research Department at the Central Bank, Chairman of the National Youth Service Council, Pasindu Gunaratne and representatives from trade unions, the Youth Corps and the Youth Service Council.

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President Ranil leaves for Maldives

President Ranil Wickremesinghe left the island a short while ago, the President’s Media Division (PMD) .

President left to Maldives to attend the inauguration ceremony of Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, president-elect of the Republic of Maldives.

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Special envoy of the Chinese President meets President Ranil

The Special envoy of the Chinese President, state councillor Mrs. Shen Yiqin, and the delegation paid a courtesy call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (20) at the Presidential Secretariat. The primary focus of the meeting was to enhance tourism and trade relations between the two countries.

The President expressed gratitude for China’s support to Sri Lanka, notably acknowledging their assistance in the country’s debt restructuring program. He extended sincere thanks to the Chinese President and the government for their invaluable support in this regard.

Additionally, President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed Sri Lanka’s desire to augment cooperation between the two countries in the fields of tourism, sports and agriculture also highlighted that both the Hambantota Port and Port City are currently prepared for investment opportunities.

The President also noted that countries such as Sri Lanka, participants in the Belt & Road initiative, are prepared to embark on the second phase of the initiative, which is expected to make a more substantial economic contribution.

The President outlined the measures taken by Sri Lanka to access the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP, while further affirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to preserving the Indian Ocean as a free zone for navigation and ensuring it remains a peaceful region, free from global geopolitical rivalries.

The Chinese Special Envoy stated that China is also prioritizing the extension of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor to Sri Lanka. Additionally, both parties agreed to expedite the implementation of the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.

Mrs. Shen Yikn reaffirmed China’s enduring support to Sri Lanka and emphasized her commitment to strengthening the relations between the two countries.

The President was accompanied by President’s Senior Adviser on National Security & Chief-of-Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, and Director of International Affairs Dinouk Colombage. (PMD)

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74 schools with dangerous buildings identified

At least 74 schools, including Thurstan College in Colombo and Tangalle Balika Vidyalaya, are found to be with dangerous buildings, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha said.

Addressing the Parliament today (Nov 16), the Education Minister said instructions have been issued for the school authorities to evacuate children from such dilapidated buildings.

He further said the school authorities have been advised to find alternative solutions for the children until the buildings are renovated.

Funds had not been allocated for schools in 2021 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis, the minister revealed in Parliament.

Minister Premajayantha added that school principals have been advised to identify dilapidated buildings and ensure the safety of the students.

He made the remarks while delivering a special statement on the death of a 06-year-old female student caused due to the collapse of a wall in a school in Wellampitiya this week.

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‘Nas Daily’ signs agreement with Sri Lanka Tourism

Popular international vlogger ‘Nas Daily’ signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka’s Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) today (Nov 20).

International vlogger ‘Nas Daily’ is currently in Sri Lanka on an invitation extended by the SLTPB.

Issuing a statement, the Tourism Ministry said the agreement signed with ‘Nas Daily’ is aimed at helping promote Sri Lanka Tourism.

Meanwhile, taking to ‘X’, Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando announced an agreement has been signed with ‘Nas Daily’ to produce three special videos promoting Sri Lanka Tourism.

Nuseir Yassin is an Israeli-Palestinian-Kittitian vlogger, known as ‘Nas Daily’, from the name used on his Facebook, TikTok and Instagram pages for his over 1,000 daily, one-minute-long videos.

He has previously produced three videos on Sri Lanka titled ‘This is Made of Poop’, ‘My Biggest Money Mistake’, and ‘The Key Board Warrior’.

In 2020, ‘Nas Daily’ named Sri Lanka as ‘The Most Generous Country During Covid’, via a video produced of the same name.

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President says 2024 Budget is just one part of broader economic plan

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the Budget 2024 Forum under the theme A Tightrope Walk organised by the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association stressed the importance of Sri Lankan universities being world-class and acknowledged the challenge of balancing financial considerations with the goal of providing quality education. He presented a broader perspective on the budget, drawing inspiration from President Roosevelt’s New Deal approach, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive strategy beyond a traditional budget.

The President in his capacity as the Finance Minister highlighted efforts to stabilize and reconstruct the economy, including negotiations with the IMF and bilateral discussions, aiming for positive results in December.

Delivering the keynote address at this event held at the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo, the President defended the budget as more focused on building a new economy that benefits the people rather than being labelled as an election budget. He discussed pay increases for government servants, adjustments in the private sector and increased expenditure on social programs like Samurdhi and support for SMEs. He underscored the importance of paying for quality government services while ensuring assistance for those who cannot afford it.

President Wickremesinghe revealed a significant three-fold increase in Aswesuma benefits in the budget as part of a new social construct. He also acknowledged the extensive nature of the country’s current crisis, adding that it surpasses the government’s capacity to address it within a single budget. He stressed the importance of adaptation, highlighting the necessity for embracing change and emphasized that this commitment to change is the direction the government is currently heading.

In this comprehensive address, the President outlined key initiatives, including the largest privatization in Sri Lanka, granting 2 million acres to the people and converting permit holders into land owners. The President emphasized the dispersal of ownership and wealth among the population, aligning with constitutional principles. Additionally, plans for partial privatization of banks was also discussed, with a focus on employee and depositor participation. President Wickremesinghe highlighted the importance of a highly competitive and digitized economy, urging private sector involvement. He outlined goals for digitalization and discussed the privatization of Sri Lanka Telecom.

Energy transformation was also emphasized, with a focus on green energy, setting the stage for Sri Lanka to lead in this area. The address also covered plans for agriculture modernization, particularly in the dry zone and the expansion of fisheries. Tourism was identified as a potential growth sector, with an aim to attract 5 million tourists at a targeted rate.

President Wickremesinghe also outlines diverse areas of focus for economic development. Acknowledging the need for competitiveness in manufacturing, he discusses engagements with India, RCEP, ASEAN countries and the EU. Recognizing challenges in competing with mass-producing countries like Bangladesh and emerging economies, the President advocated for a leapfrog approach and emphasized the importance of education reform to support economic shifts.

A comprehensive change in the education system was revealed, with a 10-year timeline and a focus on opening new universities, including collaboration with India for an IIT campus in Kandy. The President highlighted the potential for regional logistics by developing Sri Lanka as a hub, particularly focusing on the main port and potential developments in Trincomalee. He noted that the goal is to reorient the economy to achieve a modern economy by 2030-2035.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that the budget is just one part of the broader economic plan, discussing the need for periodic statements and new laws to address the evolving economic landscape. Stressing the importance of change, the Minister encouraged collaboration with the private sector, foreign assistance and retired professionals to overcome implementation challenges and mobilize the country for economic progress. The President also placed the onus on the collective willingness to move forward, acknowledging that without such commitment, the government’s role is limited.

The members of the panel at this forum were Mahinda Siriwardana – Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Ms Chiyo Kanda – Country Manager World Bank Sri Lanka and Maldives, W.A. Wijewardena – Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Kulendran Sivaram – President of the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association, Bingumal Thewarathanthri – CEO Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka, Krishan Balendra – Chairperson John Keels Holdings PLC, Channa Manoharan – Country Managing Partner, Deloitte, Sri Lanka and Maldives, the Moderator, Nisthar Cassim – Editor/CEO, Daily FT and several other dignitaries.


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President addresses second Voice of Global South Summit

In a virtual address during the Leader’s Session of the Second Voice of Global South Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the invitation, acknowledging India’s pivotal role in organizing the event.

The summit was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi and attended by distinguished leaders from various developing countries, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.

Reflecting on the significance of the first Voice of Global South Summit, President Wickremesinghe commended India’s leadership and the positive impact it had on drawing international attention to the priorities of the developing world. He noted the successful outcomes of the G20 Summit under India’s presidency, which identified key priorities and diverse issues relevant to developing nations.

During his address at the First Summit, President Wickremesinghe highlighted common challenges faced by the Global South, particularly economic issues such as debt settlement difficulties and limited accessibility to international financial markets. He underscored the need for external assistance from multilateral institutions and developed economies, with India positioned as a bridge between developing economies and G20 countries to address these challenges, it said.

Updating on Sri Lanka’s economic progress, President Wickremesinghe mentioned the receipt of the first tranche of the IMF’s loan and progress in the Official Creditors’ Committee on Sri Lanka’s bilateral official debt. He emphasized the complexity of the issue of indebtedness, calling for collaboration between creditors and international financial institutions to find sustainable solutions.

Addressing the economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe presented the budget for the next year to the Sri Lankan Parliament, focusing on ameliorating the condition of the people, especially the vulnerable, amid the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.

Looking ahead, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the importance of attracting foreign investment and developing connectivity for long-term growth. The Vision Statement issued with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India this year focuses on promoting connectivity between the two economies across all sectors and between the people of both countries for mutual benefit.

President Wickremesinghe suggested a special focus on cooperation in digitalization, recognizing India’s leadership in this sphere. He expressed eagerness for advancements in digitalization to contribute to both growth and entrepreneurship, as well as more effective governance. The President concluded by wishing the summit success in its deliberations on these crucial matters, according to the PMD.

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Presidential Film Awards returns after 03 years

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has underscored the imperative for Sri Lankan cinema to attain global acclaim.

The President said in dedicated pursuit of this objective, the government is proactively engaged in the comprehensive restructuring of the National Film Corporation and all its affiliated institutions to seamlessly integrate with cutting-edge technologies.

President Wickremesinghe also articulated plans to institute a Public Entertainment Diversification Board in lieu of the Public Performance Board and underscored the importance of eliminating the term ‘censorship’ from artistic creation.

He highlighted the current challenge faced by artists, as artistic creations fall under various criminal laws. To address this issue, he proposed a program wherein films and television productions would be submitted to the Classification Board before enforcement.

The President expressed the government’s expectation to implement these measures starting next year.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made the statement during his attendance at the Presidential Film Awards 2023, held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo on Tuesday (Nov 14).

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), this year’s Presidential Film Awards ceremony holds special importance as it marks a return after a 3 year hiatus.

Out of 42 films screened in 2019 and 2020, a total of 44 awards were bestowed upon actors and technicians. These awards were traditionally bestowed upon individuals meticulously selected by a jury comprising expert film critics and seven honorary doctors and professors. Furthermore, nine additional awards were presented during the ceremony, adding to the prestige of the occasion.

During the event, Dr. Nanda Malani was honoured as the Best Playback Singer of 2020. Marking a distinctive moment when President Ranil Wickremesinghe went to the audience where Dr. Nanda Malani was seated to present her with the award for Best Playback Singer of 2020. This gesture added a special touch to the event, highlighting the President’s direct involvement in recognizing and honouring outstanding contributions to the field of cinema.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the audience, acknowledged Dr. Nanda Malani’s significant achievement of receiving an award for her background singing in Sri Lankan cinema at the Sarasavi Film Award in 1963. The President also shared that he had the privilege of participating in that event.

Emphasizing Dr. Nanda Malani’s noteworthy contributions, the President conveyed that she rightfully deserves the respect and gratitude of the entire nation for her valuable contributions to both the Sri Lankan cinema and music industry.

In recognition of exceptional contributions to cinema, a “Yuga Abhimani” special award was conferred upon Mr. K. Gunaratnam. President Ranil Wickremesinghe commemorated Mr. Gunaratnam during the ceremony. Additionally, the President presented “Swarnasingha” awards to distinguished individuals, namely Mr. Chandran Ratnam, Suvineetha Weerasinghe, and Cyril Wickramage, further adding to the prestige of the occasion.

The President conferred prestigious awards on notable individuals in the cinematic realm. In recognition of their outstanding performances, Mr. Kamal Addararachchi was honoured as the Best Actor of 2019, and Mr. Kumara Thirimadura received the Best Actor award for 2020. Likewise, Ms. Samadhi Laksiri was recognized as the Best Actress of 2019 and Ms. Neeta Fernando received the Best Actress award for 2020, both presented by the President.

Acknowledging excellence in direction, Mr. Anuruddha Jayasinghe was awarded the Best Director for the year 2019, while Mr. Vishakesa Chandrasekharam received the Best Director award for 2020, both bestowed upon them by the President.

The film industry also celebrated outstanding cinematic creations, with the Best Film of 2019 titled “Ginnen Upan Seethala” and the Best Film of 2020 titled “The Newspaper,” both receiving accolades from the President.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s full statement :

“In my youth, as a student aged 12-13, I had the privilege of participating in the inaugural Sarasavi Film Awards ceremony. Similarly, I had the honour of attending the inaugural Presidential Film Awards ceremony. The disparity between those times and the contemporary era is substantial, marked notably by a significant technological revolution.

Presently, the landscape includes both cinema and television, formerly distinct entities that have seamlessly converged. The advent of mobile technology has further transformed how we consume content, with the ability to watch movies on portable devices. This connectivity has fostered a global cohesion in the realm of international cinema, turning it into a thriving industry. It is imperative that we progress harmoniously with this evolving industry. I hold a firm belief in the prowess of our film makers to navigate and excel in the competitive arena. Consequently, we must reconsider our perspectives and diligently prepare the nation’s cinema for a transformative journey ahead.

In our focus on the reorganization of the National Film Corporation, it is essential to recognize the film industry and television media as integral components of a unified industry. Concurrently, comprehensive development initiatives are imperative for all cinema halls and film production locations.

To streamline and provide efficient support, the government is actively consolidating these activities under a singular board. Beyond financial backing, a strategic program is in progress to bring globally renowned individuals to Sri Lanka, offering invaluable opportunities for artists, directors, and technicians to acquire international expertise.

Furthermore, proactive measures are anticipated Performance Board control. The existing Public Performance Board Act, with over a century in force, will be replaced by the establishment of a distinguished Entertainment Classification Board, marking a pivotal step towards modernization and efficiency in this sector.

The elimination of the term “censorship” from artworks is imperative. Presently, artworks are subjected to diverse criminal laws, causing challenges for artists. It is crucial to reassess and adapt to contemporary needs, acknowledging that adhering strictly to out-dated regulations is untenable. To address this, a comprehensive program is underway, envisioning the submission of films and television products to the classification board as a preliminary step. These proposed regulations are anticipated to be presented next year. The collective support of all, irrespective of political affiliations, is sought, emphasizing the program’s significance for the future prosperity of the film industry”.

The event was graced by the presence of distinguished guests, including Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Ministers Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Mahinda Amaraweera, President’s Counsel Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Keheliya Rambukwella, State Ministers Shantha Bandara, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Members of Parliament Wajira Abeywardena, Gayantha Karunathilaka, and Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (Retired). Notable figures involved in parliamentary affairs, such as Presidential Adviser Ashu Marasinghe and Defence Ministry Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired), were also present, Media Ministry Secretary Anusha Palpita, National Film Corporation Chairman Deepal Chandraratne, Army Commander Major General Vikum Liyanage, several other heads of security departments, government officials, veteran film actors and esteemed film directors.

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Dr. Palitha Mahipala appointed as health secretary

Former director general of health services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala, has been appointed as the secretary to the ministry of health.

He is due to assume duties on 20 November, after Janaka Sri Chandragupta retires in the position today (18).

Dr. Anil Jasinghe, presently secretary to the environment ministry, too, was spoken as a possibility for the health secretary position.

But, minister Keheliya Rambukwella has refused to release him, noting that he is presently involved in several important projects.

Chandragupta had asked for one year extension, but it had been rejected on the ground that his name is mentioned with the substandard immunoglobulin scam.

Courts have ordered a foreign travel ban on Chandragupta and eight others.

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Committee’s report on Diana Gamage incident in Parliament handed over to Speaker

The report of the committee appointed to look into the recent incident involving State Minister Diana Gamage and SJB MPs Sujith Sanjaya Perera and Rohana Bandara within the parliamentary premises, has been handed over to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The relevant report was handed over to the Speaker by the chairman of the committee, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakse today (Nov. 14).

The committee appointed by the Speaker to probe the incident also includes MPs Chamal Rajapakse, Ramesh Pathirana, Gayantha Karunathilake, Imthiaz Bakeer Markar, Thalatha Athukorala and Seetha Arambepola.

During the parliamentary session on October 20, Gamage had accused Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Sujith Sanjaya Perera of assaulting her outside the Chamber and called for a comprehensive investigation into the matter. This had prompted the temporary adjournment of the session by Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakse, at the request of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

After the session resumed, Chief Opposition Whip SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella said the opposition MPs had met up with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and showed him video footage of Diana Gamage using foul language at an opposition MP and behaving in an unruly manner.

Defending his actions, MP Sujith Perera has said that he had witnessed Diana Gamage becoming embroiled in a heated argument with his fellow MP Rohana Bandara, and when he had attempted to intervene, the state minister had attacked him. The SJB parliamentarian said he only acted in self-defence. MP Perera also urged the Deputy Speaker to conduct an impartial investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, MP Rohana Bandara has accused the State Minister of following him and verbally abusing him near the elevator.

Following the conclusion of the parliamentary session, the three parliamentarians were once again involved in a heated argument, which was captured by MP Perera on his mobile phone.

In the aftermath of the aforesaid unruly events which unfolded in Parliament, the Cabinet of Ministers on Oct. 23 gave the nod to establish an independent body to oversee the conduct of lawmakers. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe had tabled a joint proposal in this regard.


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