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Fmr. female MPs felicitated in Parliament (Pics)

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Former female Parliamentarians were felicitated during a special felicitation Programme organized by Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus, held today (07) in Parliament in line with the International Women’s Day 2024.

The event was held under the patronage of Speaker – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and several dignitaries including Prime Minister – Dinesh Gunawardena, Leader of the Opposition – Sajith Premadasa, Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle and Acting Secretary General of Parliament – Mr. Chaminda Kularatne participated in this event.

The program was organized under the theme “Equity and equality for her”.

At the outset of the programme one minute of silence was observed in memory of all the former female MPs who are no longer alive. After that, the official badge of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus was launched and the members of the caucus explained the meaning of the official badge.

After that, former and present female Members of Parliament were felicitated including late Sirima R. D Bandaranaike, the first female Prime Minister of the world, and the first female President of Sri Lanka – Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The official badge of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus was pinned and the official membership card of the caucus was also presented to the former female Parliamentarians who were present in the event.

Following the programme, a special photo wall created in the Parliament complex, with the photographs of all the women MPs since 1931, was unveiled by the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The programme was organized with the support and cooperation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Members of Parliament, relatives of former female Members of Parliament, and parliamentary staff members were present on this occasion.

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Seminar on India – Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation held (Pics)

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The High Commission of India in Colombo organised a Seminar on Defence Cooperation with the theme “Identifying New Opportunities and Forging New Bonds” to promote Indian Made Defence equipment and explore avenues for collaboration in defence production today (April 10) in Colombo.

State Minister of Defence – Premitha Bandara Tennakoon was the Chief Guest. High Commissioner of India – Santosh Jha participated in the event with the Indian delegation led by Shri Anurag Bajpai, Additional Secretary (Defence Production), Ministry of Defence, Government of India. 

The delegation comprised representatives from Indian Defence companies including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Zen Technologies, SSS Defence, Bharat Forge, Big Bang Boom Solutions, AWEL, AVNL, Mahindra Defence, Sager Defence and TATA Advances System Ltd. 

From the Sri Lankan side, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy, Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force and other senior officers from Sri Lankan Armed Forces, Police and Special Task Force graced the event, as also representatives of leading Sri Lankan business conglomerates.
High Commissioner Jha underlined the increasing diversification of India-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation across domains, including in security and defence matters. He emphasised that because of geography, the security of India and Sri Lanka is interlinked and intertwined. India’s defence exports today stand at nearly 2.6 billion US Dollars, a ten-fold increase over the past five years. The High Commissioner stated that the seminar was another platform to explore ways of extending India’s increasing capabilities in the defence sector to Sri Lanka.

The State Minister of Defence lauded the growth of the Indian defence industry, and said that the seminar would facilitate collaboration between two countries contributing to a stable Indian Ocean Region. The Minister stated that the procurement of cost effective and tailor made products from India in the last decade had helped protect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty & territorial integrity. He emphasized that collaboration and joint R&D with Indian defence industries would also lead to the country’s economic revival. The Minister also thanked the Government of India for standing by Sri Lanka in the times of crisis.

Addressing the gathering Additional Secretary (DP), Shri Anurag Bajpai described Sri Lanka as India’s priority partner and reassured that India stands committed towards ensuring capacity & capability building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces as part of PM Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security & And Growth for All in the Region). He highlighted the common security challenges faced in the Indian Ocean Region and called for enhanced collaboration to create a safer environment. He shared Atma Nirbhar Bharat’s, self-reliant India’s upward trajectory in establishing robust R&D and indigenous manufacturing ecosystems, while fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

It may be recalled that a similar Defence Seminar cum Exhibition was previously conducted on 07 June 2023 at Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Armed forces have been successfully operating a range of Indian defence equipment like L-70 guns, Indra Radar, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Army training simulators. More recently the GoI has committed supply of Floating Dock, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Dornier aircraft which would ensure capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces. The Seminar was yet another reaffirmation of India’s commitment to building capacities for Sri Lanka, in line with the Neighbourhood First Policy.

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‘Nekath Seettuwa’ presented to the President (Pics)

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Following customs and traditions, the ‘Nekath Seettuwa’, the table of auspicious times for this year’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year, was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat today (10).

The table of auspicious times, duly prepared by the State Astrologers’ Committee of the Department of Cultural Affairs, was then presented to the President.

Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickremanayake presented the ‘Nekath Seettuwa’ to the President in accordance with traditional customs. 
Auspicious periods comprise of various timings such as the New Year’s Eve, Punya Kaalaya or inauspicious time, timings for cooking, working, eating, anointing, setting off for work and more.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Shasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Mr. Somaratne Vidanapathirana and several others attended this event.

(President’s Media Division)

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Slave island flyover inaugurated (Pics)

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has inaugurated the flyover spanning the railway line linking Slave Island with Justice Akbar Mawatha and Uttarankanda Mawatha earlier today (April 08)

The rest of the construction work of this project is planned to be completed by the month of September, and the estimated amount for the entire project is Rs. 5,278,081,272.43.

It has been observed that nearly 3 hours of time is wasted daily due to the railway crossing located in Kompanna Veediya area, which is a very busy commercial city with various institutions including government offices, hospitals, religious places, restaurants and movie theatres.

In order to avoid the delay, the construction work of this project, which is implemented by the Road Development Authority, is being carried out by Maga Engineering Company.

Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, United National Party (UNP) Chairman, MP Wajira Abeywardena, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Transport and Highways Ministry Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri, Road Development Authority Chairman C.P. Athuluwage, Road Development Authority Director General Priyantha Suriyabandara and number of officials attended the event.

(President’s Media Division)

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