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President announces upcoming revolution for people’s relief, Invites SJB members to join true UNP

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the government has launched a revolution with relief for the people and these efforts will be intensified in the future despite challenges.

The President emphasized that the current era and challenges faced by the country demands everyone to work in unity to rebuild the country sans narrow politics.

Speaking at the inaugural public rally of the United National Party at the Kuliyapitiya Municipal Council Stadium yesterday (10), the President emphasized the importance of collective action for national progress.

Themed “Reality,” the series of public gatherings drew a substantial crowd for its debut event in Kuliyapitiya.

Marking his first public address at a UNP rally since assuming office, President Wickremesinghe received a warm reception from the large gathering.

The President asserting that the foundational principles of the United National Party are absent in the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, appealed to former United National Party members who joined the SJB to unite back with UNP for safeguarding the nation from indebtedness and contribute to constructing a secure future for generations to come.

Expressing gratitude to supporters across party lines since assuming the presidency, President Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the necessity of collaborative efforts for national development, transcending narrow political interests.

Highlighting the government’s efforts to provide relief amidst challenging circumstances, the President underscored the United National Party’s commitment to truth and progress, asserting its unparalleled vision for nation-building.Recalling the United National Party’s policy statement during the 2020 elections, which addressed the country’s economic challenges, President Ranil Wickremesinghe reaffirmed the party’s dedication to addressing critical issues and presented a video outlining key points.

He went on to say “We are poised to emerge from the brink of bankruptcy sooner than anticipated. Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and other official creditors are underway, with the aim of finalizing agreements by May or June.This milestone will usher in a new era of opportunities as we transition to a solvent nation.

Throughout this journey, we have prioritized alleviating the burdens of our people. Government employees will receive a substantial salary increase, with additional benefits slated for the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Senasuma programme aim to provide economic security to millions.

Land rights are being granted to those holding permits, while permanent rights are secured for residents of 50,000 flats in Colombo. Despite challenges, we remain steadfast in our resolve to provide relief.The modernization of agriculture is paramount to our economic agenda, with plans to transform the sector over the next decade. Additionally, measures to combat corruption have been instituted, underscoring our dedication to accountability.

Legislative reforms, including the Women’s Empowerment Bill and the Gender Equality Bill, are underway to promote gender equity. Amendments to laws addressing fiscal responsibility and violence against women reflect our commitment to progress. Furthermore, the establishment of dedicated units for women and children in every police station underscores our commitment to safeguarding vulnerable populations. These efforts are integral to the advancement of our nation’s citizens.Our politics must not be confined by narrow interests; rather, we must unite in our efforts to advance our nation.

Despite divisions during the 2020 parliamentary elections, I remained steadfast in our commitment to truth and progress as the United National Party. Despite opposition and skepticism, I maintained that with a strategic approach, we could swiftly form a government. Today, I reiterate that there is only one party—the United National Party—united in its pursuit of economic advancement, as envisioned by D.S. Senanayake and J.R.Jayawardene.

I recall the manifesto’s declaration, highlighting the stark economic challenges we face, including significant loss of foreign income and mounting debt obligations. In confronting these realities, we must seek international support to rejuvenate our economy, a path I am committed to despite its challenges.

(dailynews.lk)

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Japanese grant to strengthen facilities at BIA & Colombo Port

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With almost 1.5 million visitor arrivals and 7.5 million passenger turnovers recorded in 2023, Sri Lanka is on its way to recovery, stability, and growth after the Easter Sunday attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastating economic crisis in 2022. 

As cross-border travel is expected to rise rapidly in the coming months, preparedness of Points of Entry (PoE) to Sri Lanka to operate without any closure has become a national priority than ever before.  

In this hopeful setting, the Government of Japan, a longstanding development partner to the people of Sri Lanka, has provided a grant of USD 8.4 million through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to strengthen PoE facilities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The grant component for Sri Lanka aims to strengthen capacities at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and the Colombo Port – vital gateways to Sri Lanka, to be future-ready for responding to any public health emergencies such as pandemics and infectious diseases. The event for handing over the first part of the donation took place on 10th April 2024 at Bandaranaike International Airport. (BIA)

Under this initiative, BIA and Colombo Port are set to receive cutting-edge equipment and facilities, including advanced baggage scanners, full body scanners, Automated Border Control (ABC) gates equipped with a Face Recognition System (AFRS), full-page e-passport scanners, and biometric-based access control systems. Additionally, the project renovates approximately 150 washrooms at BIA with sensor-operated, touchless equipment providing hygienic benefits for passengers, crew, and staff.  

At the event, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki stated “I am proud to reaffirm Japan’s unwavering commitment to the recovery, growth, and development of Sri Lanka. Our support extends particularly to the enhancement of PoE, with a special focus on BIA and Colombo Port. Through this initiative, Japan aims to fortify PoE capabilities, ensuring seamless management of future emergencies, especially during pandemics.”

In addition, the project will provide much-needed medical equipment, and renovate and equip the isolation room at BIA in line with International Health Regulations (IHR), alongside enhancements to both BIA and Colombo Port waste disposal capabilities.

A four-story office building will be constructed for the Port Health Service at Colombo Port and 25 Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions will receive biometric enrollment workstations enabling linking up with the Department of Immigration and Emigration to speed up passport issuance for Sri Lankans living overseas. For a greater outcome, the project will provide comprehensive training and staff capacity building to strengthen border health compliance in line with international standards enabling swift response to public health emergencies.  

Commenting on the timely initiative, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Nimal Siripala De Silva,  at the ceremony  stated  “I am immensely grateful for the generous financial support given by the Government of Japan and IOM Sri Lanka for this important initiative which will significantly bolster health preparedness at Sri Lanka’s main Airport and the Colombo Port, in consonance with International Health Regulations, and in turn garner public confidence for uninterrupted, safe, and secure cross-border operations benefitting passengers, crew, and staff.”

This project is implemented by IOM under the guidance of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation in close coordination with the Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka Limited (AASL), Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Department of Immigration and Emigration, and the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs. 

Commenting on the occasion, the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration for Sri Lanka & the Maldives, Mr. Sarat Dash stated that “IOM strongly believes that strengthening the PoE is an investment for the future. The focus of the project extends beyond physical infrastructure and encompasses efforts for the economy, security, and digital landscape. IOM feels privileged to be a part of this project of national significance and is grateful for the support extended by all stakeholders for its successful implementation.”

The project intervention will reduce physical contact points, waiting time and congestion at points of entry for efficient, secure, and safe operations at BIA and Colombo Port. It will further improve traveller confidence, driving the potential for a boost in tourism and business travel offering an opportunity for mobility to return to pre-pandemic levels and adapt to the post-pandemic reality.

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Boy’s play with giraffe statue ends in death

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An eight-year-old boy, the only son of a millionaire businessman in Hettipola, died on Sunday after a statue of a giraffe made of cement, placed in front of the house of the businessman, fell on him while he was playing with it.

Police investigations have revealed that the boy had climbed onto the eight-foot-tall statue.

While on top, the child fell with the statue and the neck of the giraffe broke into two and a part of it hit the child’s chest.

However, the boy had gone to the kitchen and had told his mother about the incident and she had promptly informed her husband.

(dailynews.lk)

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

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Chamara Sampath’s vehicle catches fire

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The vehicle of State Minister Chamara Sampath Dissanayake has suddenly caught fire in the early hours of today, reports say.

According to reports, the State Minister was travelling from Mahiyanganaya to Ella when the vehicle caught fire at around 12.45am in Halpe, Bandarawela.

The State minister and the driver had escaped unscathed while the Fire Brigade of the Bandarawela Municipal Council residents had doused the fire.

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