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President meets 2 world leaders

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored the need to enhance the political, economic and cultural ties between Sri Lanka and Indonesia by reinforcing the Indian Ocean’s identity, during an official meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Beijing today (17). 

Both leaders are in China to participate in the Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation. During the meeting, the two leaders engaged in extensive discussions on further strengthening political, cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

Furthermore, they deliberated on the implications of the economic crisis and the palm oil ban on the trade activities connecting the two nations. President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted Sri Lanka’s ongoing efforts to establish free trade agreements with various Asian countries and to formalize the existing agreement with India. In response, the Indonesian President expressed the timeliness of working towards a free trade agreement between Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The leaders exchanged in-depth insights on global economic and political trends and how they address these challenges as small states in the Asian region. The event was attended by ministers and officials, with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ms. Retno Marsudi leading the delegation from Indonesia and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka representing Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the President also engaged in bilateral discussions in Beijing this afternoon (17) with Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

 This meeting took place on the side-lines of the ‘One Belt – One Road’ international conference in China.

During their meeting, both leaders emphasized the global imperative of cultivating a harmonious society free from animosity, prejudice and anger arising from racial, religious or ethnic differences. They stressed the paramount importance of addressing the challenge of fostering a unified society based on shared humanity, where divisions driven by race, religion or ethnicity give way to unity and mutual understanding.

Subsequently, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar engaged in an extensive discourse concerning the economic crises that affected both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with a particular focus on strategies for recovery.

Moreover, the leaders deliberated on the critical developments unfolding in the Gaza Strip. In this regard, a consensus was reached to issue a joint statement, reflecting their common stance on the matter.

This pivotal meeting was further enriched by the presence of distinguished delegates, including Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Shamshad Akhtar and Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Ali Sabry.

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Four national sports federations temporarily suspended

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A Gazette notification has been issued by the Minister of Sports, Harin Fernando, announcing the suspension of the Sri Lanka Cycling Federation, the Sri Lanka Rugby Federation, the Sri Lanka Automobile Federation, and the Sri Lanka Netball Federation, effective from Wednesday, May 29.

The Extraordinary Gazette also appoints Professor (Rear Admiral) Shemal Fernando, the Director General of the Department of Sports Development, as the competent authority for the limited purpose of organizing the elections of office bearers for these national sports governing bodies.

In a post on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Sports Minister Harin Fernando clarified that the government will not appoint any interim committees for any sport federation.

The Gazette notification states that the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs has temporarily suspended the registration of the aforementioned federations, exercising the powers vested in him under Sections 32 and 33 of the Sports Law, No. 25 of 1973, and its amendments.

Additionally, Professor (Rear Admiral) Shemal Fernando has been appointed as the competent authority effective from May 29, 2024.

His role includes managing administrative and other necessary activities for the federations, organizing and conducting relevant elections, and performing duties appropriately until the elections are completed.

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MoD clearance needed when ex-servicemen seek Russian visit visa – Sabry

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Sri Lanka ex-servicemen applying for visit visas to Russia will now have to get Defence Ministry clearance, Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry said.

Sabry met the Russian Ambassador in Colombo Levan S Dzhagaryan today (May 29).

On a X post, the minister said, “We addressed the urgent situation of Sri Lankans being deployed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and agreed on immediate steps to resolve these issues.”

“Russia will now require Sri Lanka Defence Ministry clearance for visit visas of ex-servicemen,” he said, adding that the upcoming visit to Russia will enable further discussions to find a solution to this matter.

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Japan announces skills new test in Building Cleaning

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The Embassy of Japan has announced that a new skills test in the field of Building Cleaning will be newly introduced in July 2024 in Sri Lanka for those seeking jobs in Japan as specified skilled workers. 

Together with the existing skills tests in Nursing Care, Food Service and Agriculture that have been in place since 2022 as well as recently added Construction, Airport Ground Handling and Accommodation Industry, skills tests will be available in seven fields in Sri Lanka with the addition of Building Cleaning.
Building Cleaning is the work to eliminate environmental pollutants in the buildings, such as offices, shopping centres and hotels to maintain the hygiene conditions of the interior of buildings such as the entrance hall, the passage, the toilet, the floor and the bed making work at hotels. House cleaning work is not included in building cleaning work.

The Embassy of Japan sincerely hopes that many talented and aspiring Sri Lankans will take advantage of this new opportunity to work in Japan in the Building Cleaning sector, which is estimated to welcome up to 37,000 foreign workers over a five-year period starting in 2024. The Embassy of Japan will continue to provide the necessary support and cooperation for Sri Lanka’s development, further deepening our long-standing friendship with Sri Lanka.

For more information on the skills test, please visit the following website of Japan Building Maintenance Association. It contains an Introduction video of Building Cleaning (available in Sinhala, English and Japanese), the textbook (available in Sinhala, English and Japanese) and a practical exam preparation video.

https://www.j-bma.or.jp/examination/94334

– The application period for the skills test will be from 5th June (6:30am) – 12th June (1:30pm) 2024 (Sri Lankan time).
– The skills test will take place from 16th – 18 July 2024 at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI).
– The examination fee is Rs. 5,000.
– The skills test details: A judgement test (paper test) and a practical test on building cleaning will be implemented. The paper test is an examination that uses photographs and illustrations. The practical test
consists of three tasks (Task 1: Routine cleaning of floor surfaces, Task 2: Routine cleaning of glass surfaces, and Task 3: Routine cleaning of western style large urinals).

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