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The Premier says, another 4 Free Trade Zones and three tourism zones will be established.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe says, 4 free trade zones and 3 tourism zones will be established within the next year. Speaking at a ceremony held at Temple Trees today the Premier said, the free trade zones will be in Weligama, Kaluthara, Bingiriya, and would include one of the three zones in Hambantota. The ceremony was organized to offer letters of appointment for 4,511 new recruits to the Public Management Service. The Premier further stated that the public service exists to serve the citizens and not for mere administrative purposes.

One million Asthma patients identified island-wide.

 

Consultant Chest Specialist: Dr Keerthi Gunasekera says, around one million Asthma patients have been identified islandwide. He disclosed this, participating at a media briefing held at the the Government Information Centre to mart World Asthma Day which fell on the 1st of May. He added, asthmatic conditions have been reported in 25 percent of schoolchildren. He pointed out, around 1,000 Asthma-related deaths are reported annually. He observes, therefore, it is necessary to create awareness among the public regarding asthmatic conditions.

Also joining in the briefing, Secretary to the College of Pulmonologists of Sri Lanka Dr. Buddhika Samarasekara announced, parallel to World Environment Day that falls in the 1st of next month, a walk will be held in the Kandy City. Alongside with the walk, a free asthma clinic will be conducted at the Kandy City Center.

Sufficient stocks of dates to be made available during the Ramazan Fasting Period.


Upon a request made by Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs: M H A Haleem and State Minister of National Unity and Reconciliation: A H M Fowzie, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasignhe has instructed for dates to be made sufficiently available during the Ramazan Fasting Period.

Dates are distributed at mosques during the Ramazan season. Last year steps were taken to distribute 150 tonnes of dates gifted by Saudi Arabia, while Sathosa distributed another 150 tonnes. Since the dates harvest in Saudi Arabia is less this year, instructions have been given to the chairman of Sathosa and to officials of the Finance Ministry to get down sufficient stocks of dates from the Middle East. The premier has invited Cargills and other private sector distribution lines to support in the distribution of dates.

Clashes erupt along Gaza-Israel border, ahead of US embassy inauguration

Clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border today between Palestinians and Israeli forces, ahead of the controversial inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Thousands gathered near the border, while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians were approaching the fence and seeking to damage it. Larger crowds are expected to gather later in the day to protest against the shifting of the US embassy in Israel, from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem. The protestors are also calling for Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation, to be allowed to return to their homes which are now inside Israel.

Two Britons held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released unharmed

Two Britons held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released unharmed. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their "tireless help". The hostages are receiving "support and medical attention".

The leaders of Sri Lanka and Iran hold bilateral talks

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The government says no decision has been taken to raise electricity charges

Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says no decision has been taken to raise electricity charges following the increase in fuel prices. He assures that the government will continue to supply electricity to consumers at concessionary rates.

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Minister Mano Ganeshan says building national reconciliation could begin from schoolchildren

Minister Mano Ganeshan says building national reconciliation could begin from schoolchildren. He was participating in a uniform and educational equipment distribution at Deniyaya Central College yesterday. The Minister added that the foundation could be laid at school level for unity among the communities to take the country forward.

The Army agrees to release 522 acres of more land in the North and the East back to civilians.

The Army has agreed to release 522 acres of more land in the North and the East back to their civilian owners. These civilians, presently living in welfare camps or in the homes of relatives or friends, will be resettled in their own land. More than 4,900 acres of land have so far been returned to civilians following their acquisition by the military during the war.

Several bi-lateral agreements signed to enhance trade and economic relations between Iran and Sri Lanka

 

Several bi-lateral agreements to enhance trade and economic relations between Iran and Sri Lanka have been inked. President Maithripala Sirisena and his Iranian counterpart: Hassan Rouhani signed the agreements. President Sirisena, who is on an official tour of Iran, visited the President's House with his delegation, this morning.

President Sirisena is also due to participate in a special Business and Investment Summit organized by Iran's Chamber of Commerce

The Department of Education is focused on providing students sitting for the GCE A/Level Examination, with an additional time duration to read and understand the question paper

 

The Department of Education is focused on providing students sitting for the GCE A/Level Examination, with an additional time duration of 10 to 15 minutes to read and understand the question paper. This will be implemented from the next A/Level Examination that is to be held this August.

This additional time duration will be provided for the 3-hour question papers. Commissioner General of Examinations: B Sarath Pujitha says, this practice is seen in many countries. A special discussion was held at the Ministry of Education regarding this idea that was put forward by Minister of Education: Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. He added, this will be introduced for the O/Level Examination in future.

This year's A/Level Examination will be conducted from the 6th of August to the 1st of September.

The Poson Week is to be from the 24th to the 30th of June

The Poson Week will be from the 24th to the 30th of June. President of the Poson Committee, Anuradhapura District Secretary R M Wanninayaka says, many religious activities have been organized separately at the Jaya Srimaha Bodhiya, the Ruwanveli Seya, Mihinthale, Thanthirimale and Atamasthana.

It is anticipated, close upon one million devotees will converge to Anuradhapura this Poson season. The Poson Committee has taken all steps to provide basic facilities to all visitors

Another 400 families to be awarded dual citizenship this Wednesday

The Department of Immigration and Emigration says, another 400 families will be awarded dual citizenship this Wednesday. Controller of the Department of Immigration and Emigration: Chaminda Hettiarachchi says, of all the 210 countries, it is permitted to offer dual citizenship for 14 countries only. Since countries such as China, Japan and India do not permit the awarding of dual citizenship, Sri Lankans residing in those countries will not be able to enjoy this opportunity.  Mr. Hettiarachchi explained, the purpose of awarding dual citizenship is to encourage Sri Lankans residing overseas towards new investment opportunities, which add to enhancing Sri Lanka's reputation. So far, 30,000 individuals have been awarded dual citizenship.

A price control to take effect for Cancer Drugs, within the next few days

 

A price control is to take effect for Cancer drugs within the next few days. Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senarathna says, a price control will also be enforced on certain charges at private hospitals. Speaking to the Subharathi Discussion Programme aired over the SLBC he said, although the ceiling for cancer treatment per patient was 1.5 million rupees, now that limitation has been removed. He pointed out, cancer related deaths were mainly not due to the disease, but due to the unaffordability of drugs.

Also joining in the discussion, Director of the Apeksha Hospital: Dr Wilfred Kumarasiri said, although it was needed to bring many documents when cancer patients needed to obtain vaccines, now such requirements have been relaxed. He pointed out, now treatment is provided without any financial restrictions. He added, 1.6 billion rupees was spent for vaccines during the past few years. Last year the cost was 2.5 billion rupees

The President says if the war heroes are used to achieve the petty political goals by any political party, then it should not be allowed and cannot be considered as an ethical practice.

President Maithripala Sirisena says if the war heroes are used to achieve the petty political goals by any political party, then it should not be allowed and it cannot be an ethical practice. The President made these remarks at a ceremony to unveiled war heroes monument in the North-Western province yesterday. Addressing the gathering the President further said the present government never betrayed the war heroes during its tenure. The present government has provided all necessary facilities and relief assistance to the war heroes and their families. The government also has taken effective measures to provide the due privileges of the security forces.
The President vehemently rejects the allegations against the security forces. President Sirisena also said these allegations levelled against security forces have internal motives and conspiracies of certain external elements. The President also stated it is the previous regime which inflicted various inconveniences and harassments to the security forces.
The present government created a good image about the Sri Lankan security forces in the international arena. The present government also took effective measures to prevent the electric chair punishments against individuals and security forces. The government also successfully rejected the inclusion of foreign judges for the investigations about the last stages of the civil war in 2009.
The newly constructed war heroes monument was complete replacement of temporary removal of the old monument due to road construction work of Kurunegala - Dambulla main road

Many development projects in Galle district will be vested in the public under the patronage of Prime Minister.

Many development projects in Galle district will be vested in the public today under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. The projects include District Secretariat building complexes, renovated and modernized divisional secretariat buildings as well. The Premier will declare open the newly constructed building complexes attached to Akmeemana, Habaraduwa, Hikkaduwa, and Gonapinuwala Divisional Secretariat Offices. Minister Vajira Abeywardena said that these buildings were constructed within a short period of time.

The Central Bank has taken effective measures to make the rupee value stable in the world market.

The Central Bank has taken effective measures to make the rupee value stable in the world market. Assistant Director of Economic Research Department Dr. Anil Perera said the Central Bank has taken effective measures to keep the rupee value stable, so that it will help to reduce the gap of Balance of Payment and trade deficit. He made these comments at a media conference held in Colombo yesterday.

It is reported the financial institutions are planing to waive off the interest of the loans less than 150,000 taken by the small scale entrepreneurs from micro finance institutions.


It is reported the financial institutions are planning to waive off the interest of the loans less than 150,000 taken by the small scale entrepreneurs from micro finance institutions. Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera says this decision will promote the small scale entrepreneurs. This will also help to create more entrepreneurs in future. The Minister made these remarks at a function held in Southern Province to establish 2,000 export entrepreneurs.

A special cabinet paper will be submitted to absorb 980 SAITM students into KDU.

Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa says a cabinet paper will be submitted to absorb 980 qualified SAITM students into the medical faculty of Kotalawela Defense University. The minister revealed this information at a media conference held in Colombo yesterday. Addressing the gathering, the Minister further said the decision was taken in order to ease the tensed situation of the SAITM issue.  This step could be considered as a promotive action to solve this problem.

Sri Lanka is considered as the first country in the South Asian region to eliminate the child labour menace.

Minister of Labour and Labour relations Ravindra Samaraweera says people have forgotten that present government was able to increase the salaries of the government servants by 10,000 rupees and the employees of the private sector by 2,500 rupees. The minister also said there are about 1.4 million government servants working in different government sectors. He further said Sri Lanka was the first country in the South Asian region to eliminate the child labour menace. The Ambassador of ILO has informed the Minister the Sri Lanka's achievement recently during a meeting.

Iran nuclear deal: Europe strives to keep agreement

A flurry of diplomatic activity is under way to rescue the Iran nuclear deal after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from it and bring back sanctions against Tehran. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with President Putin of Russia, and UK PM Theresa May has talked to Mr Trump.
French ministers have been loudest in their complaints that major European businesses will be hit hard as US sanctions are re-imposed. Mr Trump says the deal is "horrible".

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