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Many tsunami warning towers inoperative as SL marks Boxing Day Tsunami

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A two minutes’ silence will be observed island-wide today (26 December) on National Safety Day from 9.25 a.m. to 9.27 a.m. in memory of all who lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami and other natural disasters in Sri Lanka, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said. 

Meanwhile the DMC says a new programme to raise awareness about tsunami dangers will commence from today in view of the National Safety Day.

The Director General of Disaster Management Centre, Major General (Retd) Sudantha Ranasinghe said the relevant awareness programme will be carried out by using a caller tune ringtone for mobile phones.

Exactly 19 years ago on Dec. 26, 2004, a massive tsunami wreaked havoc after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia. The disaster, later known as the Boxing Day Tsunami, has since been written down in history as one of the world’s deadliest and most destructive natural disasters in recent times, impacting over 10 countries.

In Sri Lanka, tens of thousands lost their lives while thousands more were left homeless after the debris and waves reduced their homes to mere rubble.

57 of 77 tsunami warning towers in SL, inoperative!

Meanwhile, the state owned ‘Daily News’ reports that according to the Disaster Management Centre, 57 of the 77 tsunami warning towers built in the coastal areas are currently inoperative.

After the 2004 tsunami, two towers were built in the Colombo district, five towers in the Gampaha, six towers in the Kalutara, eight towers in the Galle, seven towers in the Matara, nine towers in the Hambantota, four towers in the Puttalam, eight towers in the Ampara seven towers in the Batticaloa seven towers in the Trincomalee, three towers in Mannar six towers in the Mullaitivu and five towers in the Jaffna district.

Eleven towers can be operated from the Disaster Management Centre and another nine towers are at the level where they can be operated manually after going to the relevant location.

However, the number of towers that cannot be operated is close to 57. The technology for this has been provided by the American Signal Corporation, the report adds.

The news report further notes :

After the construction, steps have been taken to upgrade the towers on several occasions, but it has been revealed according to the information obtained through the Right to Information Act that the technology of the towers are now outdated.

During an inquiry in this regard, an officer of the Disaster Management Center said that non-operational tsunami warning towers using satellite technology have been handed over to the Military, Police and Civil Defence Department for operationalization if necessary.

He also said that the coordination activities will be done by the Disaster Management Centre.

The official said that the satellite technology is not available for the tsunami warning towers as the relevant satellite has been removed from use. He also said that tsunami warnings can be relayed faster with modern communication methods.

(Excerpts : Daily News)

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EU refutes claims of conducting election polls survey in SL

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The European Union mission in Sri Lanka has refuted claims stating that they had conducted an election poll survey in Sri Lanka.

The diplomatic mission had stated this on a X post.

Social media posts based on such a report had claimed that the National People’s Power (NPP) was leading the polls.

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Have no any fear about the constitutional amendment – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged that there should be no fear regarding the constitutional amendment.

He emphasized that when making constitutional amendments, he entrusts the responsibility to experienced professionals. He mentioned that in the past, lawyers like K. N. Choksi were involved in such matters.

However, since Mr. Choksi had passed away by the time of the new constitutional amendment in 2015, the task was assigned to lawyer Jayampathi Wickramaratne.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged that the current issues have resulted from an oversight on his part and expressed his apology to the public for it. 

He made this statement today (19) during the opening of the new court complex in Beligaha, Galle.

To enhance the efficiency of justice administration for the people of Galle, a new court complex was constructed at a cost of LKR 1600 million. The complex houses a Civil Appeal High Court, two High Courts, three District Courts, two Magistrate Courts, a Legal Aid Centre, a Community Corrections Office, a Probation Office, and a Debt Relief Board. It is fully equipped with necessary facilities for court proceedings, including administrative offices.

After unveiling the plaque and officially opening the new court complex, the President took an observation tour of the premises. 

The Galle Bar Association also presented a commemorative gift to the President.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further stated:“I would like to extend my gratitude to Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe for overseeing the completion of this Judicial Complex. With plans to develop the area as a tourist destination, it was crucial to relocate the existing Court Complex, and I am pleased to say that this has been accomplished.

As we work to transform the Galle area into a tourist hub, we have identified locations outside the province for large hotel developments. Additionally, there are plans to move the Transport Board, Timber Corporation, Mahamodara Hospital, Nursing College, Prison and Post Office to the city centre. We also plan to build a similar court complex in the Hikkaduwa area.

The Galle District Court Complex holds historical significance. After Dutch rule, the Batavian Statutes introduced Roman-Dutch law to Ceylon, making Galle a jurisdictional centre with a judicial board, a civil board, and a land board. This marked the beginning of our judicial system. While the Galle judicial area was originally divided into the Matara and Galle districts, only the Galle district continues to operate as a judicial region.

During the Dutch period, the majority of the Land Board members were Dutch, while the minority were Sri Lankans from Ruhuna. The Sri Lankans learned the law from the Dutch and later emerged as lawyers during the English colonial period.

Over time, many Sri Lankans pursued careers in law and entered the Legislative Assembly. Lawyers became a cornerstone of the legislative system. Under the Donoughmore Constitution, they served in the State Council with significant voting power. The English system of governance was established through the Soulbury Constitution, and when India adopted a republican constitution, Sri Lanka followed suit with the English system. 

Colvin R. de Silva introduced the first Republican Constitution, while J.R. Jayewardene presented the Second Republican Constitution. Sri Lanka has a rich constitutional history and a strong commitment to the rule of law.

In 1931, Sri Lanka became the first country in Asia and Africa to grant universal suffrage. Unlike in the United States, where some states did not extend voting rights to Black people, Sri Lanka is unique for maintaining democracy continuously since then. We should take pride in this achievement. Despite facing wars and rebellions, Sri Lanka has preserved its democratic system, and democracy has remained intact despite numerous challenges.

In Sri Lanka, power transitions smoothly and without conflict after elections, a testament to the strength of our democratic process. Despite various debates and issues, democracy has never been compromised.

Some critics argue that democracy is at risk during certain crises. However, our constitution, judiciary, and political system have worked to advance and protect it. The most significant threat to our democracy occurred in 2022, yet we have continued to progress through consensus.

While Parliament remains a venue for debate, protecting democracy is crucial. The upcoming election is on schedule, with the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court confirming that it should be held within the specified timeframe, and we support this directive.

In 2015, we proposed a new constitutional amendment. Typically, I would have assigned this task to K. N. Choksi, a lawyer. However, since he had passed away, the responsibility fell to lawyer Jayampathi Wickramaratne. He was unable to make the necessary revisions. This oversight is regrettable, and I apologize to the nation for it. There is no need for further discussion on this matter; our country has upheld democracy since 1931.

Additionally, the government will fund the compilation of a book on the heritage of Galle’s history”.

Mr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reform;

As a citizen of Ruhuna, I am very pleased to celebrate the opening of the new modern court complex in the southern province. The lawyers in the Galle area have faced many challenges, and it took approximately 12 years to complete this project due to various obstacles. Thanks to the President’s intervention, we have successfully built this impressive facility.

Despite the national crisis over the past two years, the President ensured that the judicial process continued smoothly. The new court complex has faced some political accusations, but it is important to clarify that this facility was not constructed for political purposes. Our goal is to provide better access to justice and relief to the people, as we view the court as a temple of the people.

Minister of Health and Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirana;
Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this court complex a reality. During the country’s economic crisis, continuing the construction was challenging, but President Ranil Wickremesinghe provided the necessary financial support to complete the project. Without his assistance, this achievement would not have been possible.

State Ministers Anuradha Jayaratne, Geetha Kumarasinghe, and Mohan Priyadarshana Silva, along with Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena and Sampath Athukorala, attended the event. Also present were Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Attorney General Parinda Ranasinghe, Galle District Secretary W. Dharmasiri, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Justice R. S. Hapugaswatta, High Court Judges, District Judges, Magistrates, Galle Bar Association President Ruwan Asiri De Silva, and other lawyers and government officials.

(President’s Media Division)

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Lanka Sathosa reduces prices of six essentials

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The prices of some essential consumer goods sold by Lanka Sathosa have been reduced.

Lanka Sathosa, the only state owned supermarket chain in the country, has reduced prices of six essential food items effective 19 July in order to provide relief to the public on the directives by the Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Food Security.

Accordingly, 1 Kg of Undu (bulk) which was sold at Rs. 1,500 has been brought down to Rs. 1,400 with a saving of Rs. 100. The new price of Sathosa milk powder 400 gram pack has been reduced to Rs. 910 from its previous price of Rs. 950 providing a saving of Rs. 40.

Wheat flour 1 Kg (bulk) is now sold at Rs. 180 with a price reduction of Rs. 10 from its previous price of Rs. 190. Price of White Sugar (bulk) 1 Kg has been reduced by Rs. 5 from its previous price of Rs. 265 and is now sold at Rs. 260.

The new price of 1 Kg of White Kekulu Rice (bulk) is Rs. 200 reduced from its previous price of Rs. 204 with a saving of Rs. 4. Keeri Samba Rice (bulk) 1 Kg which was sold at Rs. 260 has been reduced by Rs. 2 and now sold at Rs. 258.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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