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🔴 LIVE – Sri Lanka marks 76th independence Day with grand celebrations

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Sri Lanka celebrates its 76th Independence Day at the Galle Face Green in Colombo from 8 a.m. today. President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will jointly preside over the celebrations on the theme “Let’s Build a New Country.”

Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin arrived in the country yesterday afternoon to participate in the national Independence Day celebrations as the Guest of Honour on the invitation of President Wickremesinghe.

The historic Thailand-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) was signed yesterday in the presence of President Wickremesinghe and Thai Prime Minister Thavisin, who is accompanied by a 39-member delegation.

The delegation comprises Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee and a high-profile business team.

At the Independence Day celebrations, the national anthem and Jaya Mangala Gatha will be sung by a choir of 100 students.

This year’s celebrations will prioritise the Tri-Services Guard of Honour segments, according to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government.

The War Heroes commemorative parade will be held with the participation of 3,042 members from the Army, 917 members from the Navy, 605 members from the Air Force, 299 members from the Police, 209 members from the Police Special Task Force (STF), 379 members from the Civil Defence Force (CDF), 500 members from the National Cadet Corps (NCC), 22 retired officers and 29 differently-abled officers. The parade will display over 100 armoured vehicles, some of which have been locally fabricated and manufactured.

The Police launched a special traffic plan from January 30 for the Independence Day parade rehearsals. Effective from 2 pm yesterday, it covers the environs of the Galle Face Green.

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Additional Health Secy. to Court

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Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. Saman Rathnayake who was arrested and remanded over the medicine procurement scandal was escorted to the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court, to provide a confidential or In Camera statement.

Saman Ratnayake, who was interrogated for over seven hours, was arrested at the Criminal Investigation Department last Friday.

He was presented before the Maligakanda court last Saturday.

When the case was called, the magistrate remanded the suspect until March 14, considering the facts presented by the Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Girihagama.

The suspect thereafter informed court via counsel of his willingness to provide a statement In Camera.

Therefore, the magistrate ordered the suspect to appear before the court on March 4, today, to deliver the confidential statement.

(News 1st)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by News 1st has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Electricity, petroleum supply, declared essential services

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An Extraordinary Gazette has been issued declaring all activities related to the supply of electricity and petroleum products as essential services.

The relevant gazette has been issued by the Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake on Sunday (03) by order of the President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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Fuel price revision likely tonight?

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A fuel price revision is likely to take place tonight (04), as per sources.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) stated that although the fuel price was slated to be revised at the end of February, the price revision will possibly take place today.

The CPC amends the fuel prices monthly as per the pricing formula. Accordingly, the prices were last revised on January 31, where the prices of octane 92 petrol, octane 95 petrol, super diesel and kerosene were increased.

Against this backdrop, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an Extraordinary Gazette declaring all services connected to the supply of electricity and the supply or distribution of petroleum products and fuel as essential services with effect from 03 March 2024. 

Accordingly, the proclamation states that the services specified have been declared as Essential Public Service considering it necessary that the services provided by any Public Corporation or Government Department or Local Authority or Co-operative Society or any branch thereof being a Department or Corporation or Local Authority or Co-operative Society, which is engaged in provision of the services specified, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted.

In the meantime, the Fuel Distributors’ Association alleges that the CPC has taken steps to incur a usage fee of 35% of the monthly rebate amount received by the fuel distributors. President of the association Shelton Fernando claimed that through this action, it will not be possible for them to even meet the daily expenses for the distribution activities.(adaderana.lk)

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