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The National Security Advisor (NSA) of India Ajit Doval called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat on Saturday evening.

President Rajapaksa and the Indian Security Advisor engaged in a highly fruitful discussion aimed at further strengthening all forms of bilateral relations.

Indo-Lanka security cooperation, maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean region and infrastructure development in Sri Lanka were among the major topics discussed.

Both sides agreed that infrastructure development projects initiated with the assistance of India should be completed expeditiously.

Doval expressed India’s willingness to identify and invest in new fields that can contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic growth.

President Rajapaksa and Indian NSA Doval stressed the need to further consolidate mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation which is already at a very satisfactory level.

Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday.

Defence Minister Didi arrived in Sri Lanka for the 4th Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation Dialogue in Colombo.

The meeting took place on yesterday, with the participation of Vice Chief of Defence Force of the Maldives Brigadier General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef, Maldivian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak, Defence Attaché for the Maldives in Sri Lanka Lieutenant Colonel Ismail Naseer, State Minister Ajith Nivard Kabraal and Secretary to Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, stated the Prime Minister’s office in a statement.

The World Bank’s new Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka Faris Hadad-Zervos paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The World Bank’s new Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, completed his first visit to Sri Lanka yesterday. The purpose of his visit was to meet key policymakers and understand the country’s development priorities.

Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, this was the Country Director’s first visit to Sri Lanka in his new role. Hadad-Zervos was joined by Chiyo Kanda, the new Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, based in Colombo.

“We appreciate the frank and productive conversations we had with government officials, members of the private sector and civil society and all those whom we met during our visits in Colombo and the Provinces. These gave us a growing understanding of the Sri Lankan sustainable development storyline and aspirations,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “The World Bank is a long-term partner for the people of Sri Lanka and is committed to help the country reach its full potential for the benefit of all its people.”

The new World Bank management team paid courtesy calls on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Cabinet and State Ministers, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Secretaries and senior officials associated with the current World Bank programme in Sri Lanka.

They also met with members of civil society from across the spectrum, private sector representatives, development partners as well as thought leaders to better understand Sri Lanka’s vast potential for sustainable growth.

The visits included the port and other facilities in the Hambantota district to observe infrastructure development in the south. At the government hospital-Halthota in Kalutara district, they learned about the government effort to improve primary health care, integrating screening and management of non-communicable diseases, and strengthening promotive and outreach services.

 
 

“The World Bank is mindful of the challenges the country is facing in this COVID-19 era but will also keep our eye on the opportunities for sustainable recovery. We will leverage our knowledge, technical and financial resources to support Sri Lanka to build back better in the post-COVID era for inclusive and resilient growth,” said Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka. “We are in the process of updating our Systematic Country Diagnostic to deepen our understanding and inform our next Country Partnership Framework that will define the World Bank Group’s engagements with Sri Lanka for the next 4-5 years.”

The Systematic Country Diagnostic is a thorough analysis, informed by consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, of the key challenges and opportunities in reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.

In response to the COVID pandemic, the World Bank leveraged the existing portfolio and repurposed a significant portion to support the Government’s effort to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Providing urgently needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), supporting vulnerable groups with temporary cash support, improving COVID-19 protection measures on public transport, facilitating tele-education for school children, and providing digital solutions to improve delivery of public services are among the emergency response activities already completed or ongoing. Discussions are under way to further adjust the programme to adapt to government’s priorities and emerging development needs.

The current World Bank portfolio in Sri Lanka consists of 19 ongoing projects, with a total commitment value of US$3.65 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, agriculture, water, education and health.

The newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) C.D. Wickramaratne called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, today (27).

Mr. Wickramaratne assumed duties as the 35th Inspector General of Police.

Joining the service as an apprentice Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1986, he is a graduate from the University of Colombo and General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

In addition, he holds a Post-Graduate Diploma from the University of Bradford, and a Diploma from Harvard University.

President Rajapaksa congratulated the new IGP and presented a memento to him.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called on the newly appointed Chief Prelate of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Makulewe Wimala Nayaka Thera.

The President who visited the Vidyawasa Pirivena in Minioluwa, Mirigama where the Nayaka Thera resides, today (27) extended his best wishes to the newly appointed Prelate.

Appreciating the unparalleled service rendered by the Ramanna Maha Nikaya for the Sambuddha Sasanay and to the nation, President Rajapaksa said that he and the Government would extend their fullest support to continue this endevour.

The President also wished the prelate good health and a long life and signed the guest book with a special note. The Nayake Thero chanting Seth Pirith invoked blessings on President Rajapaksa.

The Anu Nayake of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Most Venerable Nedagamuwe Vijaya Maithri Thero, and several other members of the Maha Sangha and Member of Parliament Kokila Gunawardena were present at the occasion.

Indian National Security Adviser Ajith Doval called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa this afternoon.

Sri Lanka is to host the 4th National Security Adviser (NSA) Level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation between India, and the Maldives.

E

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday stated that the government is committed to continue education even during the pandemic since it is a basic right of the children.

“There is uncertainty surrounding almost every aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. But taking it as a challenge, the Education Ministry in collaboration with relevant other authorities including health and transport has taken measures to ensure a safe education background for the children,” he said.

The Minister made this observation at a special media briefing held online at the Government Information Department.

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Consultant Community Physician Dr.Susie Perera yesterday stated that the preparations made to follow the health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus in schools are at a very satisfactory level.

 
 

Dr. Perera further stated that the risk of developing COVID clusters linked to schools is very low. She also said that and that there is a system in place at the school level to monitor the health facilities installed at schools.

She said parents should act responsibly in not sending a quarantined child to school and also desist from sending children to school if they have symptoms like flu, the common cold or a cough. She stressed the strong need to continue education and urged everyone to extend their support to control the COVID situation of the country.

A new Cabinet Minister and State Minister were sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the presidential secretariat today. Accordingly the President’s Media Division stated Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara was sworn in as the Cabinet Minister for Public Security, in addition to his
current portfolio as State Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Government.
Meanwhile Chamal Rajapaksa was sworn in as State Minister of Defence, Home Affairs & Disaster Management, in addition to his Cabinet Ministry Portfolios.

Secretary to the media ministry Jagath P Wijeweera says that the necessary measures have been taken to prepare policies to create better culture in the media field in accordance to the government Saubagye Dekma programme. He said that the digitalize method will be introduced to the media sector with the support of Japan in future.

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella charged that some trade unions in the education sector were engaged in scare mongering and were fishing in troubled waters.

He said the people should condemn attempts made by such trade unions to scuttle the move to re-open schools for those from Grade 6 to 13. He was speaking at the special media conference held online yesterday at the Government Information Department.

He said the decision taken by the Government to re-open schools islandwide apart from those in the Western Province and isolated areas, was to assist students to continue learning providing solutions for all the issues that have arisen due to the pandemic situation.

Education Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said that according to Education Ministry statistics, 35% of the students and 85% of the teachers in the North Western Province had attended school on Monday (23).

Around 15% of the students and 80 percent of the teachers in the Southern Province, around 55% of the students and 86% of teachers in Sabaragamuwa Province had attended school.

When only 305 students from the North Central Province came to school, 80 percent of the teachers had attended school. Around 40 percent of students and 80 percent of teachers in the Central Province, 47 percent of students and 75 percent of teachers in the Northern Province and 28 percent of students and 80 percent of teachers in the Eastern Province, 30 percent of students and 80 percent of teachers in the Uva Province had attended school.

Accordingly, 96 percent was the highest and 80 percent was the lowest participation.

Following all the health guidelines that these schools commenced.We hope to rectify all the shortcomings and move forward Rs. 480 million was allocated by the government to 10,165 schools during the first wave to equip the schools with necessary healthcare facilities and this time the government has also allocated Rs. 105 million for 5,233 schools just to upgrade those facilities.

 
 

All healthcare facilities including sickrooms and hand washing equipment have already been installed in the schools.

“Our objective was to give equal rights to children who do not have access to the internet or television. Due to the Easter attacks, we only held schools for 90 days last year. This time the school has been held for only 80 days. Education has been provided online.We will work in a manner that does not cause injustice to scholarship, GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level students. If there is risk of creating a COVID cluster in the vicinity of a school or a village, the principal and parents can make immediate decisions. Therefore, at this juncture, I urge everyone to work together responsibly and dedicate themselves to the education of their children.” he added.

University Grant Commision Chairman Dr. Sampath Amaratunga said the university system is not closed and since the initial wave of the pandemic, the university system continued to provide online education. Therefore, we had been able to hold examinations by June and July.

“When the second wave came, we started online education again. We now carry out online education in all areas of the field of higher education. Online education was zero in our country. But now more and more students are turning to online education. 3.6 million children are accessing higher education online. By now, universities have delivered nearly 70,000 lectures online.Therefore, universities are not closed. Today we are on a successful journey by providing all internet facilities for free.” he said.

This time we have taken measures to make the highest of university admissions in the post independence Sri Lanka. Accordingly measures have been taken to recruit 41,500 students from today onwards.

The government has decided to set up two new ministries by issuing a special gazette notification by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

According to government sources, the two new ministries are named as the Ministry of Technology and the Ministry of Public Security.

According to the Extraordinary Gazette Notification, the Ministry of Defence has the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff, the Armed Forces, the State Intelligence Service, the Coast Guard of Sri Lanka, the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, and the Defence Services Command College.

Rear Admiral Dr Sarath Weeraskera, State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, is tipped to be sworn in as a Cabinet Minister for this Public Security Ministry post, sources said.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and its affiliates under the Ministry of Technology, Information and Communication Technology Agency, Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Forum, Sri Lanka Telecom and its subsidiaries, Industrial Technology Lanka,

 Sri Lanka Standards Institution, and Department of Registration of Persons, to name a few.

 
 

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Police, the National Police Training Institute, the Department of Civil Defence, and the Department of Multi-Purpose Development Task Force have been transferred to the Ministry of Public Security.

According to this special gazette notification, the Sri Lanka Police has been removed from the State Ministry of Defence, Home Affairs and Disaster Management under Chamal Rajapaksa and has been transferred to the new Ministry of Public Security.

The funeral of the Mahanayake Thera of the Ramannaya  Maha Nikaya Most Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera took place yesterday afternoon at the SWRD Bandaranaike National College grounds with state honours. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa paying his last respects to the late Mahanayake Thera.    

The wisdom, virtues and humane qualities of the former Chief Prelate of Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya Aggamaha Panditha Most Ven.Napane Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera were a great blessing and example to society, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday.

President Rajapaksa said that the demise of the Most Ven. Thera is a great loss to the Buddha Sasana, to the nation as well as to Buddhists all over the world and personally an unbearable loss for him too.

The President was speaking at the cremation ceremony of the Aggamaha Panditha Most Ven. Napane Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera which was held at the Bandaranaike National School Grounds in Warapitiya, Kundasale with full State honours.

The President appreciated the service rendered by the Most Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera and other members of the Maha Sangha in propagating the profound philosophy of Buddhism and being the backbone in cultivating a cultured, pious society.

“The immense dedication and contribution offered by the Maha Sangha to maintain co-existence among ethnicities and preserve and propagate Buddhism as well as culture is highly admirable,” he added.

The President noted that Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera had mastered Sinhala, Pali and Sanskrit languages that enabled him to disseminate Buddhism internationally.

 

The President arrived at the cremation grounds and paid his last respects to Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera. He added a special note expressing his heartfelt sentiments about the Most Ven. Maha Nayake Thera in the special condolence book.

The Most Ven.Thera was born on November 30,1922 and passed away at the age of 98. The Most Ven. Thera entered ordained life in 1943.

Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera was accorded with the title ‘Agga Maha Panditha’, the supreme accolade presented to reputed Theras across the globe by the Government of Myanmar.

Maha Nayake Theras, Anu Nayake Theras, Maha Sangha and other religious leaders, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, Chief Patron of the Ramanna Nikaya Sabha and former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Ministers and Deputy Ministers were present at the cremation ceremony.

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