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Easter attacks: Time given to Maithripala to pay compensation ends next week

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The time period given to former President Maithripala Sirisena and other accused to pay compensation to the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks expires on July 12.

On January 12 this year, the Supreme Court found that former President Sirisena, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, former National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis and former Chief of State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena have violated the fundamental rights of the people by failing to take action to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings despite receiving sufficient intelligence information.

The order was delivered by a seven-member Supreme Court Judge bench, with regard to 12 petitions filed by various parties stating that their fundamental rights were violated by negligence and failure to prevent the coordinated terrorist attacks on April 21, 2019.

The 12 petitions were filed by a group of individuals including Nandana Sirimanna, whose two children were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks, tourism entrepreneur Janath Vidanage, three Catholic Fathers including Rev. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda, Attorney-at-Law Moditha Ekanayake, who was injured in the bombings at the Shangri-La Hotel.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court bench had ordered Sirisena to pay Rs. 100 million in compensation to the petitioners, while Pujith Jayasundara and Nilantha Jayawardena were each ordered to pay Rs. 75 million, Hemasiri Fernando was ordered to pay Rs. 50 million and Sisira Mendis was ordered to pay Rs. 10 million from their personal money.

However, according to reports, none of the accused has credited the amount to the bank account specifically set up for this purpose.

In the event they fail to comply with the Supreme Court’s order and to deposit the money before the deadline, it would be deemed a contempt of court.

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President pays final respects to late Dr. Ariyaratne & Palitha Thewarapperuma (Pics)

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe today (April 19) paid his final respects to the late social activist and founder of the Sarvodaya movement, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne as well as to former UNP Member of Parliament and former Deputy Minister, Palitha Thevarapperuma.Visiting the Moratuwa Sarvodaya Headquarters where Mr. Ariyaratne was laid to rest, the President offered his final respects and left a condolence note. He also shared condolences with the grieving family members. 

The President also paid his last respects and extended condolences to the grieving family and local community at the residence Palitha Thewarapperuma, in Yatadolawatte, Matugama.

UNP Chairman MP Wajira Abeywardena and several others attended the event.

(Pics : PMD)


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Flu & diarrhea cases among children on the rise

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Health Authorities have warned of a rise of diarrhea and flu cases among children after the New Year period.
Consultant paediatrician Dr. Deepal Perera advised parents to immediately seek medical attention if their children have been suffering from fever continuously for 3-4 days.

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Fortified rice distribution initiative commences

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The distribution of fortified rice, provided by the World Food Program (WFP) on behalf of the program initiated under the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, to provide a nutritious meal for school students, commenced today, (19) at the Veyangoda warehouse complex.

In an effort to reduce iron deficiency among school children, fortified rice is provided for school meals. This distribution will be conducted under the supervision of Mr. M.H.A.M. Riflan, Director General for the Partnership Secretariat for World Food Programme Co-operation (PSWFPC), which operates under the purview of the Presidential Secretariat.

As planned, the distribution of 735 metric tons of rice to provincial-level schools commenced today as part of the first phase and will continue tomorrow (20). This rice stock is being delivered to schools under the supervision of officials from the respective Provincial Departments of Education and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs).

Meanwhile, Director General for the PSWFPC, Mr. M.H.A.M. Riflan stated that 378.835 metric tons of dhal, 412.08 metric tons of sunflower cooking oil, and 300 metric tons of dates will be distributed to schools following the start of the new school term on May 19.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Education has implemented measures to provide a main meal at school for all students in grades 1-5 across the country. Following nutritionists’ recommendations, students receive breakfast between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. daily before engaging in educational activities.

Under the theme of ‘Healthy Active Generation,’ the 2024 school meal program aims to reduce nutritional problems among students, increase daily school attendance, foster good eating and health habits, contribute to the improvement of educational achievement levels, and fulfil the fundamental objectives of promoting local food culture.The school feeding program for this year extends its benefits to 1.6 million students, including primary students from 9,134 government schools, as well as smaller schools with fewer than 100 students. A budget of Rs. 16.6 billion has been allocated to the nine provincial councils by the government, supplemented by sponsorship from entities such as the World Food Program (WFP) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

(President’s Media Division) 

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