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CAS of Indian Air Force visits SL

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air Force arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport today (May 01) on a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force. 

Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Air Force and Deputy High Commissioner of India, Mr. Vinod K. Jacob warmly welcomed Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on his arrival.

During the visit, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari is scheduled to make courtesy calls on President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and have meetings with the Minister of State for Defence, Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and Service Commanders.

The visit symbolises strong relations and close cooperation between the two friendly neighbours, with Sri Lanka being accorded the status of ‘Priority One’ partner by India. Underlining the strong bonds of friendship between the two services,  Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari would be laying the foundation stone for India- Sri Lanka Friendship Auditorium at Sri Lanka Air Force Academy, Trincomalee under 250 Million LKR Grant assistance by Government of India (GOI), in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

As part of GOI’s commitment towards capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces, Chief of Air Staff of Indian Air Force would be presenting AN-32 propellers to ensure high operational readiness of the aircraft held with Sri Lanka Air Force. He would also be interacting with students at the prestigious National Defence College, Sri Lanka and the Air Force Academy, China Bay, wherein training aids for the students would be gifted.

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SL gets new Chief of Staff

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Ranil Wickremesinghe, the President and Commander – in – Chief of the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka appointed Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake as the Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Navy effective from 16th January 2024. Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera formally handed over the letter of appointment in this regard to Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake at the Navy Headquarters today (Feb. 21) and expressed his best wishes

Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake is a distinguished past pupil of St. Thomas’ College, Matale. He joined the Sri Lanka Navy in 1987 as an Officer Cadet of 17th intake, in the Executive branch. On successful completion of his basic training from the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee, he was commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant in 1989. The senior officer completed his Sub Lieutenant Technical Course at the Naval and Maritime Academy in 1992 and specialized in Marine Navigation from the Indian Navy in 1997. Advancing steadily in his professional journey, the senior officer reached the rank of Rear Admiral on 01st July 2021.

He followed his Staff Course at the prestigious US Naval War College in 2005 and obtained his Master’s Degree in Maritime Policy from the University of Wollongong, Australia in 2017. In addition, he followed the National Defence Course (NDC) in Military Science and Security Studies at the National Defence University of China and was conferred an MSc. Further, he followed the Regional Maritime Security Course at the Naval War College Goa, India in 2016.

In recognition of his noble service rendered to the motherland, Rear Admiral Rathnayake has been awarded Rana Wickrama Padakkama as well as Rana Sura Padakkama twice for his gallantry. Moreover, he has also been awarded the Uththama Sewa Padakkama (USP), for his unblemished character and devotion to the duty. Rear Admiral Rathnayake has been issued 04 Letters of Commendation by Commanders of the Navy for outstanding performance of the duty and exceptional contributions to the naval service.

Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake has had the privilege of commanding various Fast Attack Craft, Ships and Establishments in the Sri Lanka Navy. Among some of the other appointments he held; Commodore Sea Training and Principal Merchant Marine Training School, Director Naval Policy and Plan, Commander Southeastern Naval Area, Commander North Central Naval Area and Director General Operations stood prominent.

Prior to being appointed as Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, he was discharging duties as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Navy Headquarters. Further, the senior officer is a talented sportsman in Squash and a level 1 coach and an international referee in Squash as well.

(Source: Sri Lanka Navy)

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SL to stop sending women overseas as housemaids

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The Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara has urged the management of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies to submit a set of proposals to completely stop sending Sri Lankan women overseas to work as housemaids.

He has said this yesterday (Feb. 20).

The Minister has emphasized the importance of halting the usual practice of sending women for overseas employment as domestic workers and sending them for foreign jobs in high paying skilled categories instead.

The Minister has said that the proposals should include views and suggestions of all stakeholders in the sector.

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Special commodity levy on several items, upped

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A government notification has been issued, increasing the special commodity levy imposed on several items including black grams, green grams and cowpeas.

As such, the special commodity levy on black grams (skinned, either split or not) has been increased to Rs. 300 per kilogram. 

Meanwhile, the tax on green grams, cowpeas, Kurakkan (seeds), Kurakkan (other), millet (seeds) and millet (other) has been raised from Rs. 70 to Rs. 300.

In addition, a special commodity levy of Rs. 25 is in place on maize.

The communiqué, issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister, says the order is valid from February 20, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

It also notes that importation of maize, black grams, green grams, and Kurakkan is allowed on the recommendation of the Agriculture Ministry.

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