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Foreign Ministers to gather in Colombo next week

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A number of Foreign Ministers are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka next week to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) hosted by Sri Lanka.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the IORA as well as other senior Ministers of IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners will arrive in Sri Lanka next week for the 23rd IORA Council of Ministers which Sri Lanka is hosting on October 11 in Colombo.

The Council of Ministers meeting in Colombo will see the participation of 16 Ministers including the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, India, Iran, Mauritius, Malaysia and South Africa.

Meanwhile, other ministers and senior level delegates will participate from Australia, Comoros, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (member countries) and from China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States of America (dialogue partners).

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will chair the Council when the current Chair, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh will hand over the chairmanship to the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka.

The Council of Ministers is the highest decision making body of IORA.

The Council will be preceded by the 25th meeting of the Committee of IORA Senior Officials (October 9-10) which will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane.

Today, IORA’s membership has expanded to 23 Member States and 11 Dialogue Partners. Sri Lanka will assume the chairmanship of IORA for the period 2023 to 2025 at the 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meeting.

The Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Dr. Salman Al Farisi and the directors of the IORA Secretariat in Mauritius will also participate in the meeting.

The visiting Ministers will also make a collective call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and hold bilateral discussions with their Sri Lankan counterpart Foreign Minister Ali Sabry as well as with other Ministers, during their stay in Sri Lanka.

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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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