'SLINEX-2018', the joint naval exercise of the Sri Lankan and Indian Navies began in Trincomalee, on Friday (07 September). According to Navy media, the seven day Exercise is scheduled to be held off the coast of Trincomalee in the Eastern region till Thursday (13).
The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has recommended amending the Enforced Disappearances Act to expressly recognize the full scope of command responsibility, including the ordering of enforced disappearances.
The OMP, in its first interim report submitted to the President on Thursday, has also recommended the Government to publish a full list of all detention centres as well as detainees, and ensure that persons are not detained in any unauthorised detention centre.
The OMP in its report has also undertaken the task of creating a list of the missing and the disappeared. “At present there is no single accepted statistic for the total number of the missing and the disappeared in Sri Lanka. The Office thus will take on the critical role of compiling these records and developing a centralized list for its work and the interventions of other agencies and institutions,” it added.
It recommends investigating all incidents of arbitrary arrest, torture and deaths in custody.The OMP proposes the implementation of a financial aid programme to provide a monthly living allowance of Rs. 6,000 to the surviving spouse, children and/or surviving parents of a missing or disappeared person, who have no permanent income.
“The current socio-economic situation of many families of the missing and the disappeared is dire and cannot wait until a final reparation scheme is devised,” the report observed. As interim relief measures, the OMP proposes a debt-relief programme, Housing development programme, Educational support programme and Vocational training and livelihood development programmes to the family members of the missing/disappeared. It proposes to introduce an employment quota of 1 percent to family members of the missing/disappeared when vacancies in the public and semi-governmental sectors are filled.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Sri Lanka as a Rubella-free-country, the Health Ministry said.Health Ministry's Media Secretary Nipun Ekanayake said the WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh awarded the certificate declaring Sri Lanka as a Rubella-free-country to Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne at the WHO South-East Asia Regional Conference in New Delhi, India Wednesday.
Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said that today’s JO protest is a Bili Poojawa (Sacrifice) in the name of MP Namal Rajapaksa to cover up their past wrongdoings. “This protest is aimed at influencing the judiciary and not forming a government,” he said.
Addressing the media at the Finance Ministry yesterday, Minister Samaraweera said that “Namal is attempting to sacrifice the lives of his father’s supporters in order to escape from the alleged fraud and corruption charges. If you are expecting that the government will fulfill your wish, Namal Baby you will be disappointed,” the Minister said.
A paper is to be submitted to the Cabinet soon to set up a Police and Crimes University, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.The Prime Minister revealed this at the 152nd police day celebrations held at the Field Force Head Quarters grounds in Bambalapitiya last evening.
“It is essential to tackle drug trafficking. An Emergency response team has been established for this purpose. We hope to present to cabinet a paper to set up a police and Crimes University shortly. IGP has told me that this information is not reported in the media. I have to tell him that police and the politicians are ones who are criticized heavily in this country. Police are not praised no matter how hard they work,” the Prime Minister said.
The government has now created economic stability in the country disproving the predictions made by opponents and pessimists that it was heading for bankruptcy. The people are aware that the country is able to service the enormous debts bequeathed by the previous regime, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
He was speaking at a meeting in Padiyatalawa on Sunday after launching development work on the Badulla - Chenkaladi road from Bibile to Chenkaladi.The Prime Minister said the government was able to establish economic stability as a matter of priority, due to the difficult and unpopular decisions taken during the last three years. As a result, there were now sufficient funds to administer the country while servicing debts.
“Usually a government elected to power wished to start development work from Day One. But the yahapalana government could not do so due to the enormous debt burden left over by the previous regime. At first, the government had two options. It had to decide whether to increase VAT facing public opposition or to refrain from it to steer the country to bankruptcy. It bravely took the first option of increasing VAT and enabled the country to gain economic stability,” the Prime Minister said.
The Premier said the previous regime went for early elections before schedule because the country was in dire straits economically without sufficient funds to carry out the government’s daily operations. The country’s total income in 2013 was Rs. 1,137 billion, while Rs.1,162 billion was needed to pay premium and interest on foreign debt.
“Today, the government was moving forward by granting all forms of relief needed by the people notwithstanding their criticism.” He had instructed all ministers to go all out to cater to the needs of the people and their development needs.
The Prime Minister said despite various difficulties, the government had accomplished a great amount of work during the last three years. Steps had been taken to fill 4,000 vacancies for principals in the education sector, 854 vacancies in the Education Administrative Service and 1,700 vacancies in the teacher service. Measures had also been taken to cater to sanitation needs in schools by building 26,000 toilets.
“Steps were taken to provide stents free of charge to heart patients,” the Prime Minister said. “A range of medicines had been subjected to price control and cancer patients had been given a lifetime medical allowance of Rs.1.5 million. Under the ‘Nearest school is the best school’ programme, new school buildings have been provided to 3,000 primary schools and 1,000 secondary schools. All schoolchildren have been given medical insurance cover under the Suraksha programme.”
“The Mahapola allowance has been increased from Rs.2,500 to Rs.5,000. A Rs.20,000 allowance has been offered to expectant mothers,” the Premier said. “Work has been started on 1,100 reawakened villages and 10,000 plantation sector houses. Nearly 1,000 land deeds have been awarded up to the end of August. Jobs have been given to a batch of 5,000 unemployed graduates.”“The country has regained the GSP facility and this would help increase export income. The Hambantota Port would start operations soon,” he said.
The Department of Government Information announced that the “Mahajan Manthrana Sabha” Peoples discussion forum on current affairs will be held at 4.00 p.m tomorrow, 04th September (Tuesday) in the Kumaranathunga Studio of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
Over 150,000 new voters have been registered in 2018 and will be eligible to vote for the Provincial Council elections, Additional Commissioner of Elections (Legal and Investigation) M. M. Mohamed said yesterday. “Accordingly, the total number of registered voters will reach 16 million,” he added.
The 15-member special salaries commission appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, to study discrepancies of public sector wages and to formulate a national policy to rectify salary anomalies in the public service is due to commence its duty today (03).The Commission will commence its work at the Sri Lanka Administrative Service building located at Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo.
“Japan would like to achieve a free, open and prosperous Indian Ocean, and to achieve that goal we have promoted cooperation with Sri Lanka in the area of maritime security,” the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs said addressing a vessel commissioning ceremony at the Colombo Port.
The statement comes against the backdrop of unprecedented development in the defence and security relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan. The Japanese Minister of Defence, Itsunori Onodera visited Sri Lanka (the first visit by a Japanese Defence Minister) on August 20. Onodera visited the Colombo, Hambanthota and Trincomalee ports and pledged to help Sri Lanka strengthen her maritime security. The visits come on the heels of the US State Department announcement of $39 million to strengthen the island’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) and maritime security capabilities.
The Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) commissioned two Japanese-built Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) on August 29. The FPVs were custom-made for SLCG at Sumidagawa Shipyard in Japan and are equipped to perform maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and marine pollution and oil spill control. They are 30 metres in length, have an endurance of 750 nautical miles and a displacement of 123 tons each. The vessels, SLCG Samudra Raksha (501) and SLCG Samaraksha (502) were commissioned by State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene.
The Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kazuyuki Nakane attended the ceremony as a special guest. The Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne PC, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy, Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva, Director General of the Coast Guard Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge and members of the diplomatic corps were present at the occasion. The two vessels bolster the SLCG’s ‘white hulls’ fleet which recently saw the addition of an Indian-built offshore patrol vessel (OPV).