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Tiran orders CID probe into threats reported by Harsha

Public security minister Tiran Alles said he has directed IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon to order the CID to commence investigations into the threats reported by CoPF chairman Harsha de Silva against him.

Alles said on X that “we are committed to maintaining safety and security for all.”

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President Presides Over Tribute to Ravi: “Ravi – Self-Reflection on Half-Century in Cinema”

In recognition of veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya’s outstanding contributions to Sri Lankan cinema over five decades, the ceremony, “Ravi – Self-Reflection on Half-Century in Cinema” took place yesterday (05) at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo, presided over by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Ravindra Randeniya, who entered the film industry with the 1974 movie ‘Taranga,’ has been celebrated for his exceptional acting skills, consistently delivering memorable performances that have left an indelible mark on Sri Lankan cinema audiences. Over the past five decades, he has starred in more than 100 films, including notable titles like Duhulu Malak, Podi Malli, Weerapuran Appu, Santhaya, Maya, Aradhana, Dadayama, Wedding Gift, Sagaraya, Selamuthu Pina, Sirimadura, Anantha Rathriya, and Kaludiya Dahara.

Randeniya has significantly contributed to elevating the local film industry and has been recognized with numerous accolades. These include the Swarna Sankha O.C.I.C. Best Actor award, which he has won more than fifteen times, seven Lifetime Achievement Awards, and various other honours. He also received the prestigious Darshan Suri Award from the University of Fine Arts for his services to cinema. His talents have extended to international films, with key roles in productions such as Street Child, Mother Teresa, Jungle Heat, Sandokan, and the upcoming Distant Teardrop.

During the event, two biographies of Ravindra Randeniya were launched: one in Sinhala by film critic Gamini Weragoda and another in English by Uditha Devapriya. Randeniya presented the first copies of these books to President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

President Wickremesinghe, in his remarks, praised Randeniya as a versatile actor with the ability to contribute to many fields. He also fondly remembered Randeniya’s close collaboration and support in his political endeavours.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said;

“I first saw Ravindra in the 1975 movie Kaludiya Dahara. I came to Kelaniya as the United National Party organizer in the same year. There I got to know Ravindra’s family from Dalugama. They were constantly giving support to our party. Accordingly, I did political work with him.

Also, with the open economy, there was a great development in the film industry in this country. We saw Mr. Ravindra Randeniya coming forward with it. He acted in many major films of that period. At the same time, he joined politics. He supported my political activities and finally, on my request, he was appointed as a Member of Parliament in 2001.

But his desire was not for politics, but for the field of art. He is a talented actor. We wish him long life. It should also be mentioned that he has the ability to contribute to many other fields.”

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, former President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, his contemporaries and many distinguished guests representing all sectors related to the film industry attended the event.

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Allowance of LKR 10,000 for Each Flood-Affected Household

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka said that an allowance of LKR 10,000 will be provided to every household affected by the flood.

He stated that this financial assistance is intended for cleaning the houses. Additionally, once the assessment reports on all partially and fully damaged houses and buildings are received, the subsequent steps will be implemented promptly.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka made these remarks while participating in an observation tour today (07) to assess the welfare of the residents in the Kolonnawa area impacted by adverse weather conditions.

During the tour, Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka inspected the houses affected by the floods and visited a medical clinic organized at the Kolonnawa Sri Sambuddharaja Purana Vihara to oversee the assistance provided to the affected individuals. Following this, he participated in a discussion at the Kolonnawa Divisional Secretariat to assess the current progress and future initiatives of the government’s relief program for the affected population.

Following the events, Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka addressed the media, stating,

After consulting with the Divisional Secretaries, it was decided to provide an immediate allowance of LKR 10,000 to each household affected by the floods. Additionally, plans are underway to assess the extent of damage to both partially and completely affected houses, with further compensation to be provided accordingly.

Previously, as per the 2019 circular, compensation was only allocated to individuals sheltering in relief camps during flood disasters. However, this protocol has been revised, and measures have been taken to offer a LKR 10,000 allowance to every household impacted by the floods. This adjustment aims to facilitate the return of affected individuals to their homes and enable them to resume their daily activities.

In accordance with the President’s directives, efforts are underway to reconstruct all houses completely devastated by the disaster, with the government bearing the costs and assistance from the army. Concurrently, a program has been devised to distribute essential medicines to those in need.

Following the abatement of the floodwaters, there is a heightened risk of disease outbreaks among the affected population, particularly among vulnerable groups such as young children and the elderly. Preventative measures are being implemented to mitigate these risks, including initiatives to address potential outbreaks of diseases such as dengue. Collaboration between the Navy, the Red Cross Society, and unaffected community members is facilitating the distribution of aid to affected individuals. Additionally, initiatives are underway to restore the functionality of wells for safe water access.

Medical clinics are being organized to address the healthcare needs of individuals in disaster-affected areas, with the support of foreign medical teams conducting clinic camps. Additionally, several medical clinics are being facilitated through Divisional Secretariats. The involvement of army medical teams is also poised to contribute to the improvement of the health conditions of those affected.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe remains vigilant regarding the well-being of individuals in disaster-stricken regions and has instructed officials to ensure the provision of necessary relief measures. Efforts are underway to devise an effective program aimed at preventing the recurrence of such devastating floods, with a focus on addressing issues such as unauthorized construction and land reclamation, which have been identified as contributing factors to these disasters. It is anticipated that a Cabinet order will be sought to curtail illegal construction and land reclamation activities to mitigate future flood risks.

In addition to these measures, plans are being formulated to establish a new city for residents residing along Kelani River bank. This city is envisioned to offer comprehensive facilities, including hospitals, schools and residential complexes. Given the presence of government institutions such as the IDH Hospital and Sri Lanka transport Board Depot in the area, discussions will be initiated with local residents to garner input and facilitate the implementation of future initiatives. The aim is to develop a comprehensive plan that receives consensus from all stakeholders and to realize the success of the program within the next decade.

The tour was attended by Member of Parliament Premanath C. Dolawatta, Director General of the Trade Union Saman Ratnapriya, along with former members of the Kolonnawa Pradeshiya sabha , political representatives and government officials.

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Fourteen New Envoys Present Credentials To Sri Lankan President

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe received the credentials of five newly appointed High Commissioners and nine Ambassadors to Sri Lanka at the Colombo Fort President’s House this morning (05).

The High Commissioners representing New Zealand, the Republic of Cyprus, the Maldives, the Republic of Sierra Leone, and the Republic of Mauritius were present. Additionally, Ambassadors from the Republic of Guatemala, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Estonia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Turkey, Ireland, the Hellenic Republic (Greece), and the Republic of Bulgaria also handed over their credentials.

A brief ceremony was organized at the Colombo Fort Presidential Palace to officially welcome the new High Commissioners and Ambassadors.

Below is the list of the new High Commissioners and Ambassadors who presented their credentials to President Wickremesinghe today:

  1. Mr. Omar Castañeda Solares – Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala based in New Delhi.

  2. Mr. Ali Achoui – Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in New Delhi.

  3. Ms. Marje Luup – Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia in New Delhi.

  4. Mr. Bounmy Vanmany – Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic based in New Delhi.

  5. Mr. Victor Hugo Echeverri – Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia based in New Delhi.

  6. Mr. David Gregory Pine – High Commissioner of the New Zealand based in Colombo.

  7. Mr. Semih Lütfü Turgut – Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye based in Colombo.

  8. Mr. Evagoras Vryonides – High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus based in New Delhi.

  9. Mr. Kevin Kelly – Ambassador of Ireland based in New Delhi.

  10. Mr. Masood Imad – High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives based in Colombo.

  11. Ms. Aliki Koutsomitopoulou – Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic based in New Delhi.

  12. Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim – High Commissioner of the Republic of Sierra Leone based in Beijing.

  13. Dr. Nikolay Yankov – Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria based in New Delhi.

  14. Mr. Haymandoyal Dillum – High Commissioner of the Republic of Mauritius based in New Delhi.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabri PC, along with President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, were also present at the occasion.

Following the acceptance of credentials, President Ranil Wickremesinghe engaged in friendly discussion with the new High Commissioners and Ambassadors.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aruni Wijewardena, and other officials also attended the event.

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Railway strike to continue

The Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union of Sri Lanka Railways says that the strike action launched from midnight yesterday (06) will continue further.

The trade union action is being carried out over delays in second-class promotions of locomotive drivers and several other issues, according to the Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union.

However, only locomotive drivers from two out of the 05 running sheds have joined the strike. As a result, the power set trains will not be in operation, the trade union said.

It further stated that even though the morning office trains would experience minimal impact from the strike, there is a possibility that all the trains scheduled for this evening might be cancelled.

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Prices of several food items reduced

The prices of several food items have been reduced in line with the recent reduction in gas prices.

According to the All Ceylon Canteen Owners Association, the prices of Koththu, fried rice, and rice packets have been revised.

The revised prices of some food items are as follows;

Rice packet – reduced by Rs. 25

Shorts eats – reduced by Rs. 10

Plain tea – reduced by between Rs. 5 to Rs. 10.

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Approval Granted for “Starlink” to Provide Satellite-Based Internet Services in Sri Lanka

State Minister of Technology, Kanaka Herath, announced that the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has granted preliminary approval for ‘Starlink’ to provide satellite-based internet services in Sri Lanka.

The State Minister emphasized that a two-week period has been allocated for a formal public consultation process regarding the approval of this internet service. Following this period, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission will take steps to implement the service in Sri Lanka.

State Minister Kanaka Herath shared these remarks during a special media briefing held today (06) at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).

The minister emphasized that this initiative will deliver a fast internet service as well as to the education, research, tourism, fisheries, and agriculture sectors, while also providing global access via this internet facility.

During his participation in the high-level session of the 10th World Water Conference in Indonesia, President Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with renowned businessman Mr. Elon Musk regarding expediting the application process to connect Sri Lanka with the “Starlink” network.

Consequently, “Starlink” has received approval to provide internet services via satellite technology.

Currently, approximately 2000 “Starlink” network centres are operational worldwide, providing high-speed internet access to 32 countries.

State Minister of Technology, Kanaka Herath, further said,

Starting today, we are collaborating with Starlink to provide internet facilities via satellite technology, marking a significant transformation in the technology sector. Unlike the limited internet facilities provided by towers, this satellite-based technology allows for internet connectivity from virtually anywhere. This represents a major advancement in the field of technology.

This internet facility offers significant benefits to education, research, tourism, agricultural and fisheries sectors by delivering the fastest internet service through this innovative technology. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka has approved Starlink to offer satellite-based internet services. A fourteen -day period has been allocated for public consultation, and action will be taken within two weeks following this consultation period.

Under Section 22 of the Telecommunications Act, internet services will be provided via satellite technology. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed that a relief package be made available to school children, fishermen, and researchers to ensure they can access this internet service. Plans for implementing this relief package are currently being prepared.

Director General of Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Madusanka Dissanayake,

“Starlink” is not yet established as a telephone network company in Sri Lanka. However, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has approved it under Sections 17 and 22 of the Telecommunications Regulatory Act, granting it a frequency license. The Act will be amended in the future to issue a Telecommunication Service provider license.

The initial setup or the registration cost, for this service ranges between US$ 400 and US$ 600, with a monthly fee of US$ 99. The satellite technology allows for internet access anywhere in the world and offers speeds several times faster than the existing fibre technology in Sri Lanka. This will significantly enhance the technology sector in the country. Secretary of the Ministry of Technology and Research Dr. Dharma Sri Kumaratunga also attended the event.

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Dr. Hemali Kothalawala appointed Vice President of WOAH Asia-Pacific Regional Commission

Sri Lanka’s Director General of the Department of Animal Production and Health, Dr. Hemali Kothalawala, has been appointed as the Vice President of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

She recently represented Sri Lanka in the 90th Annual General Session of the World Assembly of Delegates of the WOAH which recently took place in Paris, France.

A delegation led by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mahinda Amaraweera participated in the conference, during which the minister also delivered a speech at the general session on the work implemented related to animal products and health promotion in Sri Lanka.

The Department of Animal Production and Health comes under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries.

Dr. Kothalawala is a graduate of Veterinary Science at the University of Kelaniya and she has also obtained her bachelor’s degree from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute and her PhD from Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Japan.

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President inaugurates his political office

President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated his new political office in Colombo today (06) at an auspicious moment. The office, located on Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha, will serve as the center for future political operations.

The ceremony included religious rites and blessings performed by prominent religious leaders, including the Chief Sanghanayake of the Western Province, Venerable Dr. Murutthettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero, the Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Chief Sanghanayake of the Uva Province with Colombo District, Venerable Maharagama Nanda Nayaka Thero, and the head of five major temples including the Kollupitiya Valukarama Maha Viharaya.

The establishment of the office was initiated by United National Party Chairman and Member of Parliament, Mr. Wajira Abeywardena.

The event was attended by Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, other government ministers, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka and numerous UNP activists.

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Special programme to safeguard homes of flood victims - Sagala

National Security Advisor Sagala Ratnayaka emphasized the necessity of implementing a specialized program to safeguard the homes and property of individuals residing in shelters during the disaster.

During a discussion held at the Kolonnawa Divisional Secretary’s Office on Monday (03), Ratnayaka also highlighted the potential for implementing mobile patrols with the involvement of community police.

He advised the army to adhere to strict hygiene protocols while providing food to people in the disaster-stricken areas and instructed officers to ensure the provision of clean drinking water to the affected individuals.

He also directed the establishment of a temporary relief centre operated by the Tri-force officers to provide essential relief to the people until the disaster situation ends.

NSA Ratnayaka underscored the importance of initiating a special program immediately to control epidemic diseases such as dengue, rat fever (Leptospirosis) and diarrhoea that may arise after the flood situation recedes.

He added that the President has instructed to rebuild all the houses that were completely damaged due to the disaster situation, with government assistance and the involvement of the armed forces.UN0 4933 resize

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‘Sri Lanka Electricity Bill’ passed with amendments

The Speaker of the Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced to the House this evening (06) that the third reading of the ‘Sri Lanka Electricity Bill’ was passed in the Parliament with amendments.

Meanwhile, the second reading of the draft bill was also passed in the Parliament with a majority of 44 votes.

The ‘Sri Lanka Electricity Bill’, which incorporates the proposed reforms for the electricity sector, was presented to the parliament by Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera on April 25. It was published in the government gazette on 17 April.

The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the National Electricity Advisory Council and make the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) the regulator for the electricity industry in terms of the proposed legislation.

Further, it seeks to provide legislative measures applicable to the incorporation of corporate entities, in which all activities connected to the generation, transmission, distribution, trade, supply and procurement of electricity are vested.

In addition, the Bill also provides for the repealing of the Ceylon Electricity Board Act, No.17 of 1969 and the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, No.20 of 2009.

However, several parties challenged the proposed bill before the Supreme Court, following which the court informed the Parliament that several clauses of the proposed ‘Sri Lanka Electricity Bill’ are inconsistent with the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The Supreme Court determination stated that these clauses shall only be passed by a special majority of Parliament, and that one clause requires approval through a referendum, the Speaker informed the House. However, the country’s apex court has stated that these clauses could be passed with a simple majority if amended as specified in the Supreme Court’s determination.

On Wednesday (05), the government agreed to accept all the amendments proposed by the Supreme Court to the relevant draft bill.

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Sanath Jayasuriya’s mother passes away

The mother of consultant coach to the national cricket team, Sanath Jayasuriya, has passed away.

Breeda Jayasuriya died at a private hospital in Matara, aged 80.

Jayasuriya, presently with the team in USA for the T20 World Cup, is due to return home.

The funeral will take place in Matara on Wednesday.

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