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President instructs to set up Agriculture Modernization Secretariat



President Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed the immediate establishment of an Agricultural Modernization Secretariat to address the issues arising in the Agricultural Modernization Program. This directive was given during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (19) to formulate a policy framework for modernizing the agriculture sector.

President Wickremesinghe instructed the President’s Secretary to appoint additional secretaries from the President’s Office, Ministry of Agriculture, and other line ministries, along with officials of equivalent ranks, to serve in the Agricultural Modernization Secretariat. He emphasized the importance of involving the private sector in these activities.

The President highlighted that the armed forces are also contributing to the agricultural modernization program. He instructed officials to publicize the activities of the Agricultural Modernization Secretariat, which should include collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. These activities will be based on research conducted in key areas such as tea, coconut, rubber, paddy, cinnamon, and fisheries.

President Wickremesinghe suggested implementing pilot projects in the respective fields, involving officials from local government institutions and the private sector, with the guidance and technical support of the public sector.

The President requested a progress report from the officials of the Agricultural Modernization Secretariat by July. Additionally, he advised submitting requests for required land to the Secretariat and proposed appropriate solutions.

President Wickremesinghe was briefed on the decisions made by the Agriculture Modernization Committee, led by Senior Professor Gamini Senanayake, on agricultural innovation projects. He emphasized the involvement of private sector academics, researchers, experienced officials, and the youth community in implementing these projects.

The President stressed the need to modernize all sectors, including plantation industries, fishing, fish production, ornamental flower cultivation, vegetable and fruit production, grain production, milk, and egg production.

Officials were instructed to keep the President informed about decisions made by sub-committees, chaired by Ministry Secretaries, involving the business community in relevant fields, as part of the agriculture sector modernization program, aimed at building a developed Sri Lanka by 2048.

The discussion was attended by Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, heads of government and private institutions related to the agriculture sector, and secretaries of relevant ministries.

(President’s Media Division)


MP Ali Sabri Raheem released on bail (Update)




Puttalam District MP Ali Sabry Raheem has been granted bail after being produced before the Puttalam Magistrate’s Court today (July 20).

The Puttalam Acting Magistrate has ordered the MP to be released on a surety bail of Rs. 200,000 and also to appear before court on 22 July.

(Previous News on 20th July, 2024 at 11:51am)

MP Ali Sabri arrested

Puttalam District MP Ali Sabri Raheem was arrested by Kalpitiya police earlier today (20). 

The parliamentarian, against whom a warrant had been issued recently, had appeared before the Kalpitiya Police this morning (20), after which he was arrested, police said.

Police said that he will be produced before the court today.

In March, the Puttalam District MP was suspended from Parliament for a period of one month, after a resolution proposing the suspension of Raheem from parliamentary proceedings was approved in the Parliament.

Raheem was embroiled in controversy last year after he was detained at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo along with a stock of undeclared gold and mobile phones.

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Teachers and principals to work to rule for two weeks starting Monday




The Teacher-Principal Trade Union Alliance has announced that the work-to-rule campaign will begin for two weeks starting Monday, as previously decided.

The Alliance stated that this action is due to the failure of negotiations held yesterday (19), which included Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Treasury officials, Public Service Commission officials, and others.

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105 killed in Bangladesh protests; nationwide curfew imposed




At least 105 people have been killed in Bangladesh as police cracked down on unrelenting student-led protests against govt job quotas despite a ban on public gatherings.

The govt has decided to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy the army.

Earlier in the day, telecommunications were disrupted and television news channels went off the air.

Authorities had cut some mobile telephone services the previous day to try to quell the unrest. 

According to reports, police and security officials fired bullets and tear gas at protesters and banned all gatherings in the capital Dhaka. 

The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply this week, represent the biggest challenge to PM Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after the January polls.

The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces across the capital to lock down campuses and break up protests. 

On Wednesday, universities including the country’s largest suspended classes and closed dormitories, and on Friday police in Dhaka said they were banning all gatherings and demonstrations in the capital. 

According to foreign media, border guard officials fired at a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters who had gathered outside the head office of state-run Bangladesh Television, which was attacked on Thursday. 

The border guards shot at the crowd with rifles and sound grenades, while police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Bullets littered the streets, which were also marked by smears of blood. 

Internet services and mobile data were widely disrupted on Thursday night and remained down on Friday in the capital, Dhaka. 

Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp were also not loading. A statement from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said they were unable to ensure service after their data center was attacked by demonstrators, who set fire to equipment. 

Student protesters said they will extend their calls to impose a shutdown on Friday, and urged mosques to hold funeral prayers for those who have been killed.

Source: Times Of India

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