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Send-off reception held for 17 JDS fellows

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Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka  – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki yesterday (08) held the reception to send-off JDS (the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship) scholarship fellows and extended his heartfelt congratulations on new 17 JDS fellows, who are heading to Japan as scholarship students this month.

In a media release the Japanese embassy in Sri Lanka states :

The JDS program is one of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs to promote high-quality growth of a country through human resource development. One of its main purposes is to accept young promising administrative officers, who are expected to be in leadership positions in the future, as international students in Japanese graduate schools so that they can utilize the expertise they gain in Japan in formulating and implementing social and economic policies after they return to their home country.

JDS fellows are also expected to solidify foundations for further bilateral relations with Japan and succeed as a bridge between both countries by utilizing their human network developed through academic and social activities while in Japan.

Under the project, 17 public sector officials will be sent to pursue a 2 – 3 year Master or PhD degree from this year. Areas of their degrees cover Public Policy, Macroeconomics, Public Finance and Investment Management, Industry Development Policy and Investment Promotion, and Urban and Regional Development.

Since its inception in 2009, JDS project has supported 205 public sector officials in Sri Lanka. The project will contribute not only to enhancing individual capacities but also to improving institutional capacity of the public sector in Sri Lanka, which helps Sri Lanka to overcome various difficulties related to the current economic hardships and to achieve prosperity further in the future.

The reception was held as a pre-alumni reunion as well, with the enthusiastic participation of 22 returned JDS fellows who are willing to establish the JDS alumni association. Stressing the essentiality for relevant ministries to cooperate so that they could overcome current complex and difficult problems, Ambassador Mizukoshi expressed his sincere beliefs that arranging alumni gatherings by JDS fellows themselves and sharing the knowledge gained in Japan would be highly conducive to accelerating Sri Lanka’s development.

In line with the IMF program, various endeavors such as reforms on revenue and expenditure, state-owned enterprises as well as the eradication of corruption are being carried out. Also, on the occasion of our Foreign Minister Hayashi’s courtesy call to Prime Minister Gunawardena, the signing ceremony of Exchange of Notes for next year’s JDS program was conducted in the esteemed presence of the Prime Minister and our Foreign Minister at the Temple Trees on 29th July, which highlights the importance of the JDS program. In this regard, the year 2023 would mark a milestone in kicking off the rebirth of Sri Lankan economy along with the JDS program.

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SL gets new Chief of Staff

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Ranil Wickremesinghe, the President and Commander – in – Chief of the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka appointed Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake as the Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Navy effective from 16th January 2024. Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera formally handed over the letter of appointment in this regard to Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake at the Navy Headquarters today (Feb. 21) and expressed his best wishes

Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake is a distinguished past pupil of St. Thomas’ College, Matale. He joined the Sri Lanka Navy in 1987 as an Officer Cadet of 17th intake, in the Executive branch. On successful completion of his basic training from the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee, he was commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant in 1989. The senior officer completed his Sub Lieutenant Technical Course at the Naval and Maritime Academy in 1992 and specialized in Marine Navigation from the Indian Navy in 1997. Advancing steadily in his professional journey, the senior officer reached the rank of Rear Admiral on 01st July 2021.

He followed his Staff Course at the prestigious US Naval War College in 2005 and obtained his Master’s Degree in Maritime Policy from the University of Wollongong, Australia in 2017. In addition, he followed the National Defence Course (NDC) in Military Science and Security Studies at the National Defence University of China and was conferred an MSc. Further, he followed the Regional Maritime Security Course at the Naval War College Goa, India in 2016.

In recognition of his noble service rendered to the motherland, Rear Admiral Rathnayake has been awarded Rana Wickrama Padakkama as well as Rana Sura Padakkama twice for his gallantry. Moreover, he has also been awarded the Uththama Sewa Padakkama (USP), for his unblemished character and devotion to the duty. Rear Admiral Rathnayake has been issued 04 Letters of Commendation by Commanders of the Navy for outstanding performance of the duty and exceptional contributions to the naval service.

Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake has had the privilege of commanding various Fast Attack Craft, Ships and Establishments in the Sri Lanka Navy. Among some of the other appointments he held; Commodore Sea Training and Principal Merchant Marine Training School, Director Naval Policy and Plan, Commander Southeastern Naval Area, Commander North Central Naval Area and Director General Operations stood prominent.

Prior to being appointed as Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, he was discharging duties as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Navy Headquarters. Further, the senior officer is a talented sportsman in Squash and a level 1 coach and an international referee in Squash as well.

(Source: Sri Lanka Navy)

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SL to stop sending women overseas as housemaids

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The Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara has urged the management of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies to submit a set of proposals to completely stop sending Sri Lankan women overseas to work as housemaids.

He has said this yesterday (Feb. 20).

The Minister has emphasized the importance of halting the usual practice of sending women for overseas employment as domestic workers and sending them for foreign jobs in high paying skilled categories instead.

The Minister has said that the proposals should include views and suggestions of all stakeholders in the sector.

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Special commodity levy on several items, upped

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A government notification has been issued, increasing the special commodity levy imposed on several items including black grams, green grams and cowpeas.

As such, the special commodity levy on black grams (skinned, either split or not) has been increased to Rs. 300 per kilogram. 

Meanwhile, the tax on green grams, cowpeas, Kurakkan (seeds), Kurakkan (other), millet (seeds) and millet (other) has been raised from Rs. 70 to Rs. 300.

In addition, a special commodity levy of Rs. 25 is in place on maize.

The communiqué, issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister, says the order is valid from February 20, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

It also notes that importation of maize, black grams, green grams, and Kurakkan is allowed on the recommendation of the Agriculture Ministry.

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