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Chinese cruise ships to visit SL after travel restrictions are relaxed

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The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing, with a view to attracting more Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka, is also actively exploring the possibility of Chinese cruise ships and yachts visiting Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador, Dr. Palitha Kohona had a very successful online meeting with the Vice President of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA) Zheng Weihang, on 23 November 2022.

Vice President Zheng said that Sri Lanka will be promoted as a new market for Chinese cruise ships. On 15 November, he had attended a conference of Chinese cruise ship operators, where he formally proposed that Sri Lanka be designated as a destination for cruise ships after the travel restrictions are relaxed. He had proposed creating four/five Sri Lankan cruise itineraries. Ships will dock in Sri Lankas’ ports for a day and give the passengers the option of taking tours in the region close to the port thus engaging land operators as well. He specified that the CCYIA will work with the Embassy to promote Sri Lanka at cruise-related conferences.

Ambassador Dr. Kohona responded that the Embassy will also assist with these goals actively. Sri Lanka has three well-established ports for cruise ships: Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee. He stated that there were many cruise visitors from Europe before the pandemic, and recently welcomed the Cruise ship VIKING MARS with 900 tourists on board. He highlighted that other European cruise ships are scheduled to call at Sri Lanka ports in the coming weeks. The Ambassador suggested that tourists could experience not only the coastal cities but also the Buddhist sites of the island, like the Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, or the lush green forests, home to the biggest concentrations of wild elephants and leopards in Asia.

Vice President Zheng added that CCYIA plans to organize exhibitions of Sri Lankan products in Shanghai (Nov 2023), Shenzhen (Nov 2023), and Haikou (Apr 2023) and the association will also organize exhibitions and sales outlets on Chinese cruise ships to promote Sri Lankan gems, tea, artifacts and other products.

Ambassador Dr. Kohona said that the Embassy successfully participated in the last CIIE, with two National Pavilions (Food and Beverages, Gem and Jewelry). He opined that a collaboration with CCYIA will benefit both Sri Lanka and the cruise industry. The Ambassador extended an invitation to Vice President Zheng and the team of CCYIA to participate in the upcoming Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Event which is to take place in mid-December at the Embassy.

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New Army Chief of Staff appointed

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Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu, the present Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Army.

Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu this afternoon (29) received the letter of appointment as 61st Chief of Staff of the Army from Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Army at the Commander’s office.

He, who has served as the Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force before he took office as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army on 16 June 2022, has also held many key appointments in the Army. He is also the Colonel of the Regiment, Sri Lanka Light Infantry and Mechanized Infantry Regiment.

Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu was born in 15 July 1968 in Colombo and had his education at Mahanama College, Kollupitiya where he excelled in sports and various scopes. He joined the Army as an Officer Cadet in 27 October 1986 to the Intake 26 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into one of the most respected Infantry Regiments in the Sri Lanka Army, the 1st Battalion of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry on 23 July 1987. He has counted over 36 years of reckonable service in the military career.

Besides the regimental appointments in every sphere, Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu has held numerous important appointments in Command and Staff capacities. He commanded one of the reputed Infantry Battalions, 4th Battalion of Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment during the era of very high intensity counter insurgency operations.

Having completed the tenure as the Battalion Commander, he held Staff appointments in various formations as General Staff Officer 1 (Coordinating) at 23 Division, Colonel General Staff at 58 Division, Chief of Staff at Regimental Headquarters of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Centre Commandant of Regimental Headquarters of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Brigadier General Staff at the Security Force Headquarters – Kilinochchi and Director at Directorate of Recruiting – Army Headquarters.

Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu has served in many command appointments including Commander 512, 523 and 663 Infantry Brigades, Commander Air Mobile Brigade and Commander 22 Division in Trincomalee, and Commander Security Force (East), Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force. Prior to taking over duties as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army.

The senior officer has been decorated with the ‘Rana Wickrama Paddakkama’ and ‘Rana Sura Paddakkama’ in recognition of the gallantry, invaluable and selfless dedication, excelled in the face of enemy in the battlefield.

In addition to the local courses he followed, Major General C.D Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu has attended Young Officers’ Course in Pakistan, Mortar Course in India, Junior Command Course in Bangladesh, United Nations Staff Officers’ Course in Bangladesh and Senior Command Course in India. He has obtained the Master’s Degree in Public Management at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura and has attended seminars on ‘Conflict Resolution by Military Means’ held in California, USA and ‘Security of the Countries of South Asia and North Eastern Asia’ held in Mongolia. Major General Channa Weerasuriya has obtained the graduation on the National Security and War Course at the National Defence University of Pakistan.

He is married to Mrs. Danusha Weerasuriya and blessed with a daughter.

(army,lk)

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Many monks entering universities exit as laymen – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament on Tuesday (29) that a large number of people enter universities as monks, end up as laymen.

The President made these comments during the budget debate in parliament today (29).

“Today, a large number of people enter universities as monks but end up as laymen. Initially, we must decide that if we enter the university as monks, we will be awarded the degree as monks, and it will not be transferable. If they need to de robe they should discuss it with their Mahanayake Theros. The behaviour of the monks in universities should also be linked to these discourses. If the existing method continues, our order will be lost,” he said.

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (28) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,802.

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