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National policy to ensure food security – President



President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that new laws are expected to be introduced in the future to ensure food security.

The President also said that plans are being made to present the related bills to parliament soon.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said this while joining the discussion held today (13) at Temple Trees to brief the representatives of the Joint Mechanism Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.

The President also emphasized the need to obtain accurate data in establishing food security and the nutritional status of the people and stressed that there have been disparities in the data available at the national level and at the regional level which should be rectified immediately.

In order to make this program a success, the President stressed that the contribution of everyone from the national level to the divisional secretary and Grama Seva Niladhari officer level is necessary and pointed out that not only the public sector but the private sector too has a great role to play.

President Wickremesinghe added that a long-term program is needed to promote agriculture in the country, and the government has already focused on the agricultural modernization program.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, expressing his views said that the program initiated by the President is very important for national food security. Pointing out that foreign exchange can also be saved by ensuring food security in the country, the Prime Minister said that he expects to produce all the food items needed by the people within the country and will work to provide government support for it.

The Prime Minister also said that due to certain decisions taken in the past, there was some setback in the country’s agriculture sector, but added that the background needed to face the upcoming monsoon season has currently been built in the country.

Agriculture Minister – Mahinda Amaraweera said that today’s farmers are strong enough to produce all the rice required for Sri Lanka’s consumption within the country, adding that they will provide all necessary facilities for it.

Minister of State for Media Shanta Bandara and Member of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa also expressed their views. Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Kanchana Wijesekera, Ali Sabri, Nasir Ahmed, Keheliya Rambukwella, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, Nalin Fernando, Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Sisira Jayakody, Sanath Nishantha, Mohan Silva, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, Jagath Pushpakumara, Anuradha Jayaratne, Kader Masthan, Janaka Wakkambura, Ashoka Priyantha, Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, Members of Parliament Duminda Dissanayake, S. M. Chandrasena, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Nimal Lanza, Vajira Abeywardena, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Jagath Kumara, Ranjith Bandara, M. A. Sumanthiran, Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Food Security Dr Suren Batagoda and a group of public officials attended the event.

President Media Division (PMD)


HNB chairperson resigns




In an unexpected development, Hatton National Bank Chairperson Ms. Aruni Goonetilleke submitted her resignation yesterday (Friday) at a special meeting of the board and a new chairperson was appointed.

The move surprised the stock market.

Following her resignation, the board decided to appoint Non-Executive/Non-Independent Director Nihal Jayawardene PC as the new Chairman of HNB, with effect from June 9, 2023.

HNB also announced the appointment of Non-Executive/Independent Director Parakrama Devaka Cooray as a Senior Independent Director of the board of HNB, with immediate effect.

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Boris Johnson resigns from UK parliament




Boris Johnson, Britain’s former prime minister and one of the most divisive leaders of his generation, has resigned as a member of Parliament after accusing a committee of attempting to “drive me out,” he said in a letter on Friday.

The former Conservative party leader said he was “bewildered and appalled” after receiving a letter from the from a House of Commons committee, which is investigating whether he lied to British lawmakers over lockdown-breaking parties during the pandemic, known as ‘Partygate.’

Johnson, one of the main architects of Brexit, said the letter made “it clear, much to my amazement, that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”

The former leader said the committee’s Partygate report, which has yet to be released publicly, “is riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice but under their absurd and unjust process I have no formal ability to challenge anything they say.”

“I have today written to my association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip to say that I am stepping down forthwith and triggering an immediate by-election,” he said.

Last year, the Metropolitan Police issued Johnson and then-finance minister Rishi Sunak – who is currently Prime Minister – with a fine for attending a gathering in Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdown, making Johnson the first sitting UK prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law.

This March, Johnson admitted to the committee that he misled Parliament about what happened, but claimed he did so unintentionally.

His resignation means Johnson gets to write the script to the end of his political career himself. Rather than face a by-election – should the investigation into his conduct during the pandemic demand it – or risk losing his seat at the next general election, he will avoid the indignity of public rejection.

The fact he won’t be booted out of parliament but leaves on his own terms will help Johnson and his supporters tell a story: That Johnson did great things in office, was betrayed and then forced from office by people like Sunak. If only he could have come back, the next general election and fate of the Conservative party would be saved, they’ll say.

Johnson’s current approval ratings suggest that might not have been true. But the point is that now we will never know. And that suits Johnson and his acolytes just fine.

In the lengthy statement on Friday, Johnson said he was a victim of “a witch hunt” that was taking revenge “for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result.”

Johnson also criticized Sunak’s government, saying that when he left office last year “the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls” but “that gap has now massively widened.”

“Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk. Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do,” he said.

Johnson’s entire political career was built on his personality. He was the jovial, optimistic Conservative that even a liberal city like London could tolerate as mayor.

His TV persona – part clown; part pseudo-intellectual; part loveable-but-out-of-touch-poshboy – won Johnson fans beyond the traditional Conservative base. He loved being loved, and his supporters in the Conservative party still believe he is a once-in-a-generation vote winner who would romp to victory at the next election if he were still in power.

But Johnson was also desperate to be taken seriously – and his time as prime minister offered him plenty of opportunities. Brexit, arguably his greatest victory, required diplomacy and statecraft that eluded his predecessor Theresa May.

The Covid-19 pandemic put matters of life and death in the hands of national leaders. Johnson was criticized for being slow to act at first. But the UK’s rapid vaccine rollout – made possible by a huge gamble Johnson took – boosted his popularity at a critical moment in his premiership.

Johnson has also played a leading role in supporting Ukraine. So popular is he that some streets in Kyiv have been renamed after him.

This Johnson – the one that wins elections, delivers on the biggest policy issues of a generation, stands tall on the world stage – is the one he will want to be remembered. Not the person who broke his own Covid rules and became a political irrelevance. (CNN)

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Flights between Jaffna and Chennai are going to start during the whole week




Discussions are underway to increase the number of flights between Jaffna and Chennai.

At present, only four flights are operated between India and Jaffna throughout the week.

The Ministry of Aviation has given the green light for the new arrangement to operate flights on all seven days throughout the week between India and Jaffna, and arrangements are underway to increase the frequency of flights between Jaffna and India in the near future.

These operations have been increased to cater to the growing demand from passengers travelling between Jaffna and Chennai and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation had stated that no sooner Sri Lanka gets the Government of India loan facility for the development of Jaffna International Airport, the existing facilities in the airport will be further enhanced.

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