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COPA instructs police to dispose all expired tear gas

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Chair of the Committee on Public Accounts – Lasantha Alagiyawanna informed the Department of Police to provide the next proposed program of the police department within a month yesterday (26).

The chair of the Committee stated the aforesaid yesterday (26) when Sri Lanka Police was summoned before the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) to examine the Auditor General’s report and current performance for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, the Inspector General of Police and many senior police officials were invited to this event.

It was questioned as to why when the department of police was called before COPA in 2016, a recommendation had been given in this regard, but it had not yet been implemented. The Inspector General of Police said that since it is difficult to set up a single information technology system for the Sri Lanka Police, steps will be taken to introduce information technology systems in segments.

Accordingly, the Inspector General of Police said that a new pilot project is currently being implemented in Hatton and Nuwara Eliya Police Stations where details can be obtained from the filing of a complaint to the status of its court proceedings.

The Committee Chair emphasized that it is essential to establish an information technology system in the police department where relevant information can be obtained immediately by integrating the motor transport department and other institutions. Accordingly, he instructed to give a report on the current program and the proposed plan to the Committee within a month.

Lack of female police officers

Issues such as the lack of female police officers in the Sri Lanka Police were also addressed. It was disclosed that there are 2419 female police constable vacancies and it was proposed to complete the said vacancies in the year 2023. However, it could not be done due to the current economic situation.

The Inspector General of Police said that the conventional context within the police force has been changed and the necessary reform program has been initiated to provide opportunities for women to higher positions including the post of Inspector General of Police in the future. He said that as a result, an opportunity will be provided for the emergence of a future female Inspector General of Police.

Dispose expired tear gas

Attention was also drawn to the expired tear gas belonging to the police. Senior police officers informed that the process of disposal of expired tear gas has started and they will never be used. The Committee instructed to dispose of the expired tear gas existing in all police stations across all of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, according to international conventions, the Chair of the Committee informed that a report should be prepared and submitted to the COPA on the measures taken in controlling the public riots including tear gas.

Language skills

Special attention was also paid to the need to improve the language skills of police officers. Senior police officers pointed out that many programs have been started to impart Tamil and English language skills to police officers. The Committee emphasized the need to streamline those activities.

Issues related to police promotions, police reward fund management, road accident control, crime control and other problems and their solutions were also discussed here.

State Ministers Kader Mastan, Prasanna Ranaweera, Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, Diana Gamage and Members of Parliament Tissa Attanayake, A. L. M. Athaullah, J. C. Alawathuwala, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, (Ms.) Manjula Dissanayake, (Ms.) Mudita Prashanthi, D. Weerasingha, (Dr.) Major Pradeep Undugoda, Ashok Abeysinghe, (Dr.) (Ms.) Harini Amarasuriya were present at the Committee meeting held. 

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New SL ambassador to China assumes duties

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The Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to the People’s Republic of China – Majintha Jayesinghe had assumed duties yesterday (May 20).

The post of the Sri Lankan ambassador to China was vacant for several months after the tenure of Dr. Palitha Kohona ended.

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Heavy showers today as well

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The Department of Meteorology says the Southwest monsoon conditions are gradually establishing over the island and hence, the prevailing showery and windy conditions will continue. 

Cloudy skies can be expected over most parts of the island.

Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and North-western provinces and in Galle and Matara districts.

Heavy showers above 100mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-western provinces and in Galle, Matara, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya districts.

Several spells of showers will also occur in the Northern and North-central provinces, it said.

Strong winds of about 40-50 kmph can be expected at times over the island.

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by temporary localized strong winds and lightning during thundershowers.

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SL – Indonesia pledge stronger bilateral ties

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In a significant bilateral meeting during the 10th World Water Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the longstanding relationship between their nations. The discussions, which covered a wide range of regional and international issues, underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing global challenges.

President Wickremesinghe, in his opening remarks, highlighted the historical ties between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, dating back to their joint participation in the 1956 Bandung Conference. He expressed appreciation for President Widodo’s leadership in regional, international, and bilateral matters, noting the importance of such summits in fostering global cooperation.

A major topic of discussion was the critical issue of water management. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of the World Water Summit and expressed Sri Lanka’s willingness to participate in the Global Blended Financial Alliance, an initiative aimed at addressing common financial challenges faced by countries in managing water resources. He commended Indonesia for establishing a Secretariat for the Alliance, recognizing its significance for Sri Lanka.

President Widodo, in his remarks, focused on the economic cooperation between the two countries. He stressed the need to finalize the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by the first quarter of 2025 to enhance economic ties. Additionally, he highlighted Indonesia’s interest in entering the Sri Lankan vaccine market through Indonesian pharmaceutical companies, and called for the lifting of import restrictions on Indonesian palm oil and related products.

The Indonesian President also showcased Indonesia’s advancements in renewable energy, specifically the country’s largest floating solar power project. He emphasized the importance of hydro diplomacy and political leadership in achieving sustainable water management and development goals. Furthermore, he welcomed Sri Lanka’s leadership in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and its aspirations to become a sectoral dialogue partner.

President Wickremesinghe reiterated the importance of completing the PTA by early 2025, noting Sri Lanka’s existing free trade agreements with India, Singapore, and ongoing negotiations with Thailand, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. He emphasized the potential benefits of joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), suggesting that Sri Lanka’s inclusion could encourage other South Asian countries to follow suit. 

He also mentioned the ongoing removal of import restrictions and assured that Sri Lankan health authorities would address the entry of Indonesian pharmaceuticals into the market.

The discussion also touched upon regional security and economic cooperation in the Indian Ocean. President Wickremesinghe supported ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific outlook and stressed the need for closer bilateral and regional cooperation regarding Indian Ocean affairs. He proposed more frequent meetings between heads of government and a specific bilateral agreement with Indonesia to enhance commercial collaboration in the region.

President Widodo thanked Sri Lanka for co-sponsoring the Global Blended Financial Alliance, emphasizing its role in achieving sustainable development goals. He called for continued collaboration between relevant ministries from both countries to support this initiative. Looking ahead, President Widodo mentioned the upcoming presidential transition in Indonesia and expressed hope that the new administration would continue to strengthen ties with Sri Lanka.

In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe expressed his eagerness to work with Indonesia’s new leadership and extended a personal invitation to President Widodo to visit Sri Lanka after his term ends in October. Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing bilateral relations and addressing shared global challenges through continued cooperation.

(President’s Media Division)

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