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Railway strike postponed

Convenor of the Railway Operations and Monitoring Officer's Union: Lal Ariyarathne says, the Railway Strike that was due to be launched from midnight yesterday, has been postponed to 12:00 Noon today.

This decision was taken upon the promise given by Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama that the cabinet paper pertaining to settling their salary anomalies, will be tabled at today's cabinet meeting.

The Second Session of the Eighth Parliament was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena, today.

The Second Session of the Eighth Parliament was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena, today. The President then commenced the inaugural speech of the new session. He said, the government within the past three years, fulfilled the task bestowed upon it by the citizens to bring about democracy and create a humane society of responsibility in Sri Lanka. We need to recognize the political pulse of the people. The President pointed out the many progressive steps taken by the government for the betterment of its people. Among these; the 19th amendment to the constitution and the National Pharmaceuticals Act are prominent. The pruning of powers vested in the Executive Presidency without the need for a referendum, is a true victory of the Consensus Government. The Right to Information Act has been defined as the most effective piece of legislation in Asia. 18 Acts significant to the economy were passed in the 8th Parliament. The country was able to regain the GSP Plus concession. Housing projects in the island have expanded rapidly. 300 thousand families were provided houses since 2015. A mixed power generation plan was introduced. 275 thousand families were provided electricity upon the government's budget.

Specifically in the Health Sector, the prices of 48 pharmaceuticals were reduced. Stents for heart patients were provided free and the cost concerning cancer patients was addressed. A wide spread national programme was implemented to curb renal disease.

Vocational and Technical educational opportunities were provided free. The Samurdhi benefits were doubled. The allowance for elders was increased, while the allowance for pregnant mothers was increased up to 2000 rupees. The Mahapola allowance was also raised.

The runway of the Katunayake airport was renovated within a short period. The tourism industry has been boosted to a major source of foreign revenue.

Stringent laws were enforced on banned polythene ad plastic products. A permanent programme has been implemented for waste management.

However, the challenges faced by the country have not ceased. The President pointed out, the development of the country needs to be expedited. Debt needs to be managed and poverty needs to be alleviated. A public service free of corruption and malpractice needs to be established. He pointed out, the transitional period will be difficult.

Any country has its targets. The present government was created with the intention of achieving many necessary objectives. President Sirisena pointed out, we are not in an era where we can test political power. Contentious issues within the consensus government need to cease, since it is the people of the country that suffer. The President pointed out the necessity for the people's representatives to implement a collective agenda.

The Judicature Amended Bill, to be presented in Parliament.

The Judicature Amended Bill which is formulated with regard to establishing 'special high courts', will be presented in Parliament tomorrow. Speaking at a media briefing held at the Government Information Centre today Minister Dr. Rajitha Senarathne said, the citizens of the country voice their displeasure at the government for the delay in taking legislative action against political killings and mammoth financial fraud committed during the previous regime. He pointed out, it is this the citizens signalled to the government at the Local Government Elections.

Once the proposed legislation is passed the special courts to be established will function under the Chief Justice. Cases that are presently heard at High Courts can also be directed to these new courts. The number of high court judges will also be increased from 75 to 110.

Railway strike postponed, but likely to be cancelled

Convenor of the Railway Operations and Monitoring Union: Lal Ariyarathne says, the Railway Strike that was due to be launched from midnight today, has been postponed to 12:00 noon tomorrow.
Discussions were held between the government and the Railway Operations and Monitoring Union this morning. The government requested for a period of two weeks for solutions to be given to the demands put forward by the Union. The Convenor of the Union said, there is a possibility to abandon the proposed trade union action, should the government arrive at an agreement regarding their demands.

UN Food Agency aims to boost aid to North Korea

The United Nations Food Agency says, its chief would visit North Korea to look into boosting food distributions. The four-day trip comes amid a warming of relations between North and South Korea. According to the World Food Programme, about 70 percent of North Korea’s population of 25 million is “food insecure”, meaning they struggle to avoid hunger, and one in four children under the age of five is stunted from chronic mal-nutrition.
The agency aims to assist 650,000 women and children each month by providing fortified cereals and biscuits.

Italy faces fresh elections as coalition talks fail

Italy's coalition-building talks have failed, leaving the country facing fresh elections or a neutral caretaker government until the end of the year.President Sergio Mattarella said on Monday that those were the only two options left after a third round of negotiations were unsuccessful.No single party or alliance won a majority in the March general election.The most influential parties, Five Star and The League, favour a new vote in July. Mr Mattarella has the final say

The President expressed his desire to continue in politics beyond 2020 at a May Day rally in Batticaloa yesterday

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday expressed his desire to continue in politics beyond 2020. The President emphasized that he will not retire from politics in 2020. The President made these remarks addressing a mammoth May Day rally organized by the SLFP led UPFA at Chenkaladi in the Batticaloa district yesterday.

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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the unemployment crisis has gone up under the rule of present government

Former President and Kurunegala district Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa says the people are suffering a lot under the rule of the present government. Mr. Rajapaksa made these remarks at a May Day rally of Sri Lanka Padujana Peramuna held in Samanala Grounds, Galle yesterday afternoon. Addressing the gathering the former President said the unemployment percentage has also gone up in the recent past

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asserts that the Executive Presidency is detrimental to democracy

Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna: Anura Kumara Dissanayake asserts that the Executive Presidency is detrimental to democracy. The 20th amendment to the constitution focussing on the abolition of the Executive Presidency will be presented in Parliament in the 3rd week of this month.

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The new General Secretary of the UNP: Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam assumed duties at Sirikotha yesterday

The new General Secretary of the UNP: Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam assumed duties at Sirikotha yesterday. Mr. Kariyawasam also participated in religious observances while receiving duties at Sirikotha. The Minister also paid floral tribute to the former leaders of UNP.

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The suspects taken into custody in connection with the theft of the medal of the golden peacock award bestowed upon Dr. Lester James Peiris by India, have been remanded until the 21st of this month

The six suspects taken into custody in connection with the theft of a mobile phone and the medal of the golden peacock award bestowed upon Dr. Lester James Peiris by India, have been remanded until the 21st of this month. This order was given when they were produced before the Colombo Additional Magistrate yesterday.

Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratna says, before lenses were provided free, many patients who could not afford the price of a lens, suffered blindness

 

Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratna says, before lenses were provided free, many patients who could not afford the price of a lens suffered blindness. In the year 2017, 10,661 lenses were provided free-of-charge at a cost of 86 million rupees. Speaking to the Subharathi Discussion Programme aired over the SLBC Dr. Senaratna said, special discussions are underway with specialists to obtain their services after regular working hours, since although health workers work to their fullest capacity, there is a difficulty in meeting with the requests from patients for eye surgeries.

Joining in the discussion, Director General of the National Eye Hospital: Dr. Lionel Muhandiram said, a new building complex for the National Eye Hospital comprising 15 stories is being constructed at a cost of 3.3 billion rupees. He pointed out, close upon 2,000 patients obtain treatment from the National Eye Hospital on a daily basis, and therefore, steps will be taken to conduct eye surgeries at other hospitals in addition to the National Eye Hospital

The Asian Development Bank agrees to accelerate ongoing bi-lateral projects, which currently surpass 3.6 billion US dollars

 

Minister Mangala Samaraweera while attending the 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila had discussions with In-Chang Song, who is an Executive Director of the ADB.
The ADB has worked closely with Sri Lanka since 1966, signing loans, grants, and technical assistance totalling 9.1 billion US dollars as of 31st December 2017.
Over the next 5 years, the ADB will contribute to Sri Lanka’s key development goals of Job Creation, Income Enhancement, Rural Economic Development, Knowledge Formation, and Economic Diversification.
Both sides have agreed at the meeting to accelerate ongoing bilateral projects, which currently surpass 3.6 billion US dollars.

Minister Samaraweera also pointed out, Sri Lanka achieved the highest ever Foreign Direct Investment and highest ever Exports in the history of the country, in 2017, while unemployment was at 4.2 percent.
In 2017 Sri Lanka's Foreign Direct Investments hit 1.9 billion US dollars. Exports grew to 11.3 billion dollars from 10.3 billion dollars.
The Minister told the annual sessions of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, the government expects the economy to accelerate growth, driven by private enterprise and exports
He noted, the country is at the doorstep of becoming an upper-middle income country

The period given for re-registration for the Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme, extended by 3 months

The period given for re-registration for the Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme has been extended by 3 months.  Director General of Pensions: Jagath Dias says, more than 300,000 individuals have registered under this scheme so far.  Another 800,000 are yet to be registered. He added, those who have not registered have the opportunity to register on-line

World War One soldiers remembered in leaflets in Cambridgeshire

 

Eight men who lost their lives in World War One in Cambridgeshire are being remembered in their home village, on "commemoration leaflets" posted through the doors of houses.
The leaflet creator, a keen local historian who wants to remain anonymous says, he began thinking several years ago about how he might commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.
He decided to mark the death of each soldier in the village, with a short 'tribute page', which he posts through the door of every home in the village.
The leaflets arrive the day before the 100th anniversary of each soldier's death.

World War One ended in 1918.

The World Rubber Summit to be held in Colombo

 

The World Rubber Summit 2018 organized by the International Rubber Study Group will be held in Colombo on the 7th and the 8th of May, with Minister of Plantation Industries: Navin Dissanayaka as the Chief Guest.

The theme for World Rubber Summit 2018 will be 'Breaking Barriers towards Sustainable Growth'.

Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Industries J A Ranjith says, The World Rubber Summit is an unique and exclusive opportunity for the global rubber industry to discuss the current challenges that the industry is facing, and also the future opportunities that might arise from the trends that are transforming the industry by the use of innovative solutions to improve rubber quality and productivity.

The legendary 'Boney M', live in Sri Lanka

 

Come hear your favourite songs from the past, as 'Boney M' performs in Sri Lanka this June. 'Boney M', featuring Liz Mitchell – the original lead vocalist - accompanied by the full 8-piece live band - will be performing in Sri Lanka on June 16th at the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre.
For more details see http://www.avpr.lk/boneym/

Golden Peacock Medal found

The Golden Peacock Medal bestowed by India to veteran film producer: Dr Lester James Peiris, that went missing during his funeral, has been recovered. Police spokesman: SP Ruwan Gunasekera said, it was found in Kollupitiya this morning, abandoned in a 177-Kaduwala-Kollupitiya bus. The Police were notified of the find, by the driver and the conductor of the bus.

Dr. Lester James Peiris had received this medal when “Gamperaliya” won the Golden Peacock Award for the Best Feature Film at the 3rd New Delhi Film Festival in 1965.

Chief of President's staff and the chairman of the state timber corporation who were arrested on bribery charges have been remanded until the 9th of this month.

President’s Chief of Staff Dr I.H.K. Mahanama and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayake, who were arrested yesterday for accepting a bribe of 20 million rupees, were remanded until 9th of this month. Colombo chief magistrate has ordered them to be remanded when they were produced before the court this morning. The suspects were arrested by Bribery Commission officers yesterday evening while accepting a bribe of 20 million rupees from an Indian businessman. This is with regard to a deal in the shares of the Kantale sugar factory. A Bribery Commission official said the suspects had solicited a bribe of 560 million rupees from the businessman but had later agreed to reduce it to 100 million rupees.
The duo had been arrested in the car park of a five star hotel in Colombo while accepting 20 million rupees as an advance payment.

The Asian development Bank has expedited its development programmes in Sri Lanka.

Asia and the Pacific has made important progress in expanding and deepening its financial systems, but must make further progress to improve financial inclusion using new financial technology , according to participants at a high-level Asian Development Bank (ADB) seminar during its 51st Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines. This seminar was co-hosted by ADB, the International Monetary Fund , and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“Governments in the region can improve financial inclusion by broadening access to basic digital infrastructure and providing an enabling environment for innovators and entrepreneurs,” ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao said. “Policymakers should also consider ways to improve regulations, including protecting consumers against cybercrimes and fraud, while striking the right balance between innovation and financial stability.”

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