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Last updateTue, 13 Nov 2018 8pm

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Sri Lanka seeks assistance from all quarters for the total eradication of tobacco by 2020.

The Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention states that it intends to totally eradicate tobacco cultivations by 2020. At a media briefing held in Colombo today, assistance was sought from all quarters for this purpose. Representatives of the Study Circle at the University of Colombo that conducted studies into the societal effect of tobacco, were also present. Director of the Circle Dr Mahesh Rajasooriya and Director of the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention Samantha Kumara Kithalawarachchi also took part in the study. They point out that even those who engage in tobacco cultivation are faced with health risks.  Agriculture Director Hemantha Amarawickrema joining in the media briefing emphasized that the Department of Agriculture will provide  no assistance for tobacco cultivators.

A reshuffling of the ministries held by the UPFA is expected within the next two weeks


The second cabinet reshuffle of the present government took place this afternoon. Six cabinet ministers, three state ministers and a deputy minister took their oaths before President Maithripala Sirisena.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold the Law and Order ministry for a brief period. Harin Fernando is the Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment. Kabir Hashim took oaths as the Minister of Higher Education and Highways. Sagala Ratnayake will function as the Youth Affairs and Southern Development minister. The new State Enterprise and Kandy area Development Minister is Lakshman Kiriella. Ravindra Samaraweera was sworn-in as the Minister of Wild Life and Sustainable Development.

Piyasena Gamage is the State Minister of Youth Affairs and Southern Development. The State Minister of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation is Ajith P. Perera. Dr. Harsha De Silva is the new minister of National policies and Economic Affairs, while J.C. Alawathuwala is the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said the subjects of certain ministries would be reorganized appropriately. He said changes would also be effected to make state corporations and statutory boards more efficient. A reshuffling of the ministries held by the UPFA is expected within the next two weeks.

Newly appointed Ministers sworn in before the President


Issuing applications for the Korean Language exam will commence on Monday


Sri Lanka foreign employment bureau says that issuing applications for the Korean Language exam will commence on Monday. It will be issued until the 2nd of next month from the training centers throughout the island of Sri Lanka foreign employment bureaus . This year's exam will be conducted in the fields of production and construction with the help of computers.
The exam on construction field will be held from 19th of next month to the 4th of May. The exam for the production will be held from the 25th of May to the 5th of October. Sri Lankans under the age between 18 and 39 could apply for this exam. They should forward passport and three photos to obtain the application. The application will be issued free of charge. 3772 rupees should be paid for the exam fees.
Minister Thalatha Athukorala said that according to the MOU signed by the Ministry of labour and Korean employment and the ministry of Sri Lanka foreign employment, to provide job opportunities for Sri Lankans in Korea

Anunayaka of the Sri Lanka Ramanya sect Ven. Girambe Ananda Thera bids farewell to the nation today.

The final rites of the late Chief Incumbent of the Sri Saarananda Pirivena in Anuradhapura and Anunayaka of the Sri Lanka Ramanya sect Ven. Girambe Ananda Thera, will be conducted with full state patronage, at the Walisinghe Harischandra grounds in Anuradhapura this evening. The Thera was 80 years of age at the time of demise. He entered the saasana in 1949. Around 33 pirivenas and viharayas were under the administration of the Thera. Amongst his contributions, the creation of the Anuradhapura Maha Pirivena and the construction of a rest house for pilgrims visiting Anuradhapura are highly appreciated.

Issuing a condolence message President Maithripala Sirisena the country is indebted to the immense contribution the Thera has made the Buddha sasana. Notably 250 student monks were absorbed to the sasana under the Thera. The president highlighted the tasks conducted by the Thera, such as Giving shelters for the homeless and fulfilling the educational needs of the underprivileged children. The Thera fulfilled a service in silence to the society. The President added that the Thera passed away in an era where such great followers of The Buddha is a must to the country.

The popular underworld leader drug pin, Dadallage Manju was shot dead during a STF raid operation

The popular underworld leader drug pin, Dadallage Manju was shot dead during a raid operation carried out by Police Special Task Force. Based on a tip off, the STF carried out a surprise attack on the hideout of the drug-pin at Hekiththa, Wattala. When the drug pin tried to retaliate the attack, Dadallage Manju was killed during a STF fire on this occasion.

The Police Headquarters says, Udayanga Weeratunga has the opportunity to return to Sri Lanka and present himself in court, in order to prove his innocence

The Police Headquarters says, former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga has the opportunity to return to Sri Lanka and present himself in court, in order to prove his innocence, instead of making statements through social media websites. Police Spokesman, SP Ruwan Gunasekara said, “Udayanga Weeratunga is a citizen of Sri Lanka and has to adhere to the existing laws in the country. He added that the opportunity for Weeratunga to return to Sri Lanka, produce himself before court and prove his innocence, has not been obstructed by the Police.

The Police Spokesman issued a statement yesterday regarding the Red Notice issued by Interpol for the arrested of Mr Weeratunga and the recent statements made by him through social media.

Mr Weeratunga had been evading a warrant of arrest issued on the 20th of October 2016, by the Colombo Magistrate, in relation to investigations pertaining to alleged embezzlement of public funds to the tune of 7.833 million US dollars in connection with the procurement of MiG aircraft and money laundering.

Colombo Fort Magistrate orders the Former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Arjuna Mahendran to appear before Criminal Investigations Department on or before March 08.

Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered Former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Arjun Mahendran to appear before Criminal Investigations Department on or before March 08. The time period given to Arjun Mahendran to appear CID to make a statement terminated yesterday.


Seven died in a building collapsed in Grandpass

At least 7 persons were killed while another two were wounded after a building collapsed in Grandpass, a short while ago.
Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that a building used for storing tea leaves has collapsed at Dr Britto Babapulle Place in Grandpass, Colombo. The Fire Brigade said that rescue operations are currently being carried out at the scene as more people are suspected to be trapped under the rubble.

Special express train for the convenience of Sri Pada pilgrims.

Additional General Manger of Railway Department Wijaya Samarasinghe says new express train will be arranged from Colombo Fort to Hatton for the convenience of the Sri Pada pilgrims. This special train leaves Colombo Fort at 7.30 PM and reach Hatton at 12.45 dawn.


A National Inquiry Center to investigate complaints on election irregularities is functioning now.

Chairman of the Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya said that a National Inquiry Center to investigate complaints on election irregularities is functioning now. The public can make their complaints to the center, which is in operation from 6 a.m., through telephone and fax numbers.

Area Telephone Fax

Western Province 011-2866448 011-2866387
Eastern Province 011-2866470 011-2866396
Central Province 011-2866478 011-2866401
Northern Province 011-2866492 011-2866408
Southern Province 011-2866493 011-2866410
North – Central Province 011-2866495 011-2866421
North – Western Province 011-2866496 011-2866423
Sabaragamuwa Province 011-2866498 011-2866428
Uva Province 011-2866504 011-2866434

All schools island-wide will be closed on the 9th of this month, in view of the Local Government Polls.

All schools island-wide will be closed on the 9th of this month, in view of the Local Government Polls. Meanwhile, 19 schools and 2 National Colleges of Education that will be used for the issuance and collecting of ballot boxes, will be closed from tomorrow, until the 9th. All schools and National Colleges of Education will recommence academic activities on the 12th.
The two National Colleges of Education that will be closed are the Paththalagedera National College of Education in Veyangoda and the Pulathisipura National College of Education in Polonnaruwa.
The schools that will be closed for 3 days are
D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo 07
Royal College Colombo
Gnanodaya Maha Vidyalaya Kalutara
St John's Maha Vidyalaya Kalutara
Ranabima Royal College Kandy
Sri Sangamitta Balika National School Matale
Gamini Central College Nuwara Eliya
Southlands College Galle
Suchi National School Hambantota
Central College Jaffna
Hindu College Batticaloa
Vipulananda Tamil Maha Vidyalaya Trincomalee
Maliyadeva Girls' College Kurunegala
Sir John Kothalawala College Kurunegala
Hindu Central College Puttalam
Central College Anuradhapura
Viharamahadevi Girls School Badulla
Royal College Moneragala
Swarna Jayanthi Maha Vidyalaya Kegalle

Owner and the chief executive officer of the Perpetual Treasuries Limited have been re-remanded until the 16th of this month

The owner of Perpetual Treasuries Limited Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena were re-remanded till February 16 by the Fort Magistrate a short while ago. Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena were produced again before Fort Magistrate earlier today. Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena were arrested by the CID yesterday morning.


Independence Day Messages


President Maithripala Sirisena in his Independence Day message said that if one is to truly fathom the value of independence, it is essential to understand the pain being oppressed and subservient in the face of a foreign power. This is why we are grateful to all our heroes who sacrificed their lives in order to restore and sustain our nation’s independence. On a day like today, when the value of freedom is commemorated, the nation pays tribute to its true patriots whose contribution to our motherland was invaluable. He adds that as Sri Lanka celebrates seven decades of independence, it is appropriate to reflect on how far we have come as a nation. In terms of achieving human development, and various social, economic, and political challenges we were faced with, the progress we have ahieved over this period is laudable.

In the Independence Day Message Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasingeh said that this year, we celebrate 70 years of independence from colonial rule. It is an occasion for us to remember that we were only able to achieve independence with the participation of all communities coming together towards a common goal. It is our responsibility to keep in mind that true independence is only possible when we can unite as one nation, rising above political, religious and ethnic differences. Only then is independence truly significant and meaningful to all. Freedom is fulfilled when human dignity and spiritual liberty is attained - in addition to social, political and economic freedom.

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in his Independence Day message said that with gratitude to our forefathers who fought for independence. We are at a crucial juncture of our history as we celebrate seventy years of Independence. As a country, we have not been able to enjoy the true benefits of the independence in the past.

Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangalabhidhana Mahanayake Thero, Malwatte Chapter said that Sri Lanka lost its independence when it became a British Colony in 1815 following the Kandyan Convention. It is time for us today to reexamine whether we have been able to make the hard-won national independence more meaningful.

Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Kotugoda Dhammawasa Mahanayake Thera, Chief Prelate of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya said that today we are celebrating the 70th Independence Day. It is time for us, the government as well as the people to charter the future course for development, above all resolving the economic problems, while casting aside all religions and racial differences.

Most Ven. Napana Pemasiri Maha Nayake Thero, Chief Prelate of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya in the Independence Day message said that we are fortunate to mark the 70th Independence Day to coincide with the commissioning of Moragahakanda Kalu/Ganga massive development project spearheaded by President Maithripala Sirisena.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith Archbishop of Colombo issuing a message for the Independence Day said that today we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of our national independence. When we look back as to how our ancestors and politicians of the early periods fought for national independence with tooth and nail, today we see corruption, theft and fraud eating into the national fabric like a cancer.

Al Sheikh M.M. A Mubarak, General Secretary, All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama said that we have faced a series of challenges when we are marking the 70th anniversary of national independence today. We would emphasise that we need to live in peace and solidarity bestowed on us by the Yahapalana Government.

Swami Rupananda, President, Ramakrishna Mission issuing a message for the Independence day said that at this 70th anniversary of national independence, our thoughts go deep into the need for peaceful co-existence. “It is incumbent on man himself to pave the path for universal peace and the initial step in this context is for us to empathise with the grief-stricken.

Venerable Bellanvila Wimalarathana thera has demised.

The Venerable Bellanvila Wimalarathana Thera who had been admitted to the Colombo south Teaching Hospital Kalubowila and subsequently transferred to a private hospital in Colombo following an accident, has passed away. He was the chancellor of the Sri Jayawardhanapura Universtiy.

Complaints regarding the forthcoming Local Government Polls, to be received via SMS

The citizenry will be provided with the opportunity of forwarding complaints regarding the forthcoming Local Government Polls, via SMS. The launch of this new mode will take place at the Elections Secretariat, tomorrow.


Prince Edward of England has arrived in the country to participate at the 70th Independence Day celebrations.

Prince Edward of England arrived in the island today to take part in the 70th Independence Day celebration in Sri Lanka as the special guest representing the Royal family. The prince was accompanied by the princes and seven other envoys. They will visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy tomorrow and will engage in several social welfare activities in several areas in the island. The 70th independence day celebration will be held in Galle Face Green on Sunday under the patronage of the President Maithripala Sirisena. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, ministers and parliamentarians and large number of foreign dignitaries will also participate in this event.
The religious programme prior to the independent day will begin on Friday. An all night pirith chanting ceremony will be held at the Independence Square. An alms giving will be offered to Maha Sangha at the Sri Lanka Vidyala Temple in Maradana on the following day. The Hindu religious observances have been organized at the Ponnambalamn Varneshwaran temple in Colombo on Sunday. The Islam Prayers will be held at Aqbar Jumma Masjid in Colombo. The catholic mass will be conducted at the Pathima church in Colombo 10. The Christian mass will be held at the Methodist church in Dam street.

The parliamentary debate on the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC reports, to take place on the 6th of next month

The parliamentary debate on the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC reports, will take place on the 6th of next month, at 10.30am. The date was fixed upon a request made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.
At the party leaders meeting that was presided over by speaker Karu Jayasooriya this afternoon, the premier requested for parliament to be convened on the 6th, in accordance with Standing Order 14.

Postal voting will be held today and tomorrow.

Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya says, two additional dates have been allocated days to mark postal votes of the LG polls. Marking of postal votes for the officials of the police and election departments was held on Monday. Marking of postal votes of the second stage will commence today and tomorrow.
The officials who missed the first day and the officials who will miss today and tomorrow as well will be able to mark their votes on the first and 2nd of February at the election secretariat and at the relevant district election offices.
Meanwhile, Post Master General Rohana Abeyratne says that majority of official polls cards have been distributed to the voters at present. They will be delivered on next Sunday as a special date of delivery. Distribution of poll cards will be completed on the 3rd of next month. In case of non-delivery, the voters can obtain from the relevant post offices by proving their identity.

Indonesian President Yoko Vidodo will arrive in the island today for two day official visit.

Indonesian President Yoko Vidodo will arrive in the island today for two day official visit. He will be officially welcomed at the presidential secretariat this evening with a guard of honour and a gun salute by the Sri Lanka army.  The two leaders are to sign several memorandums of understandings in this tour.


The Investigation Team of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, carries out raids to nab offenders mixing kerosene with petrol.

The Investigation Team of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has sealed the fuel pumps and the underground petrol storage tank at the Gamsabha Junction Filling Station, in Nugegoda. The raid was carried out last night, upon a tip received that the Filling Station was selling petrol mixed with Kerosene oil. Petrol samples collected from the raided shed have been sent for laboratory test.

Meanwhile, the team also inspected a fuel bowser transporting furnace oil from Kolonnawa to Colombo Galadari Hotel. Upon testing the fuel samples it was determined that the furnace oil transported was of low quality. It is suspected that during transportation the furnace oil may have been mixed with a low grade oil, as the relevant bowser had not travelled on the assigned route.

Further investigations are being carried out by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation's Investigation Team.

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