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 Applications are being called for the “Madya Aruna” – 2019, special loan scheme for journalists implemented by jointly Minisrty of Mass Media and Ministry of Finance in view of uplifting professionalism of Sri Lankan journalists.

Under this scheme, eligible journalists will be provided with an interest free loan up to a maximum of Rs. 300,000/- to purchase media equipment or a loan up to a maximum of Rs. 150,000/- with a 50% concession on the current interest rate to upgrade media equipment.

Journalists, freelance journalists, provincial journalists or web journalists below 60 years of age and have completed 3 years of service and currently serving full time or part time in a recognized electronic or print media institution may apply for this “Madya Aruna” special loan scheme.
Loans will be provided to purchase or upgrade computers (Laptop / Desktop / i-pad), camera, fax machines, digital recorders or any other media equipment recommended by the Ministry of Mass Media.
In the years 2017 and 2018, 823 and 554 journalists were selected respectively under the said loan scheme. All Journalists applied for and fulfilled the required qualifications have been selected for loan Scheme. People’s Bank and Rural Development Bank will be implementing loan scheme this year.
Perfected applications should be sent under registered post to reach Director (Media), Ministry of Mass Media, “Asidisi Medura”,No163,Kirulapone Avenue, Polhengoda, Colombo 05 on or before 30.04.2019.
Further information and the applications may be obtained by contacting Miss. Sanduni or Mr. Chandana via o11-2513645 / 011-22513459 / 011-22513460 or may be downloaded from the website www.media.gov.lk.

 The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Directors (CVCD) Excellence Awards was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo.

The CVCD Excellence Awards Ceremony organized by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Directors, held once in two years and it is significant that this time it was held at the President’s House.
The CVCD Excellence Awards are given to recognize and honour the outstanding contributions and accomplishments of the staff in the Sri! Lankan Universities. The President presented awards under six (06) disciplines of study.

 Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe adressing the gathering at the Mirijjawila Export Processing Zone in Hambantota after the inauguration of construction work of the US$ 3.85 billion oil refinery project and the cement manufacturing plant, said that the implementation of these two projects usher in a new dawn for Hambantota and the surrounding districts.

The Prime Minister said the Hambantota oil refinery will boost a barely operated port that has piled debt on the country.
He further said that an extent of 200 acres has been allocated for these projects at the Mirijjawila Export Processing Zone. The new oil refinery complex is the first to be set up after 1968 and is a one hundred percent foreign investment project from Singapore and the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas.
These USD 3.85 billion investmrents will create thousands of job opportunities in the Hambantota district and in surrounding districts.’
The Prime minster further said that these two projects are two mega investment projects that could be considered legacies and assets for the citizens of Hambantota. He said that we have a sea port without ships an air port without planes at Mattala, an international playground without cricket and an international convention hall without conventions.
“These are white elephants vested with us by the previous regime and we will make them tame elephants and money spinners,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minster said that this was the first time that an oil refinery will be set up in the country after the Sapugadskanda Oil Refinery in 1967.
He said that when they inaugarated the Mirijjawila Industrial Zone in Hambantota, they were pelted stones and protest campaigns were staged by the Rajapaksa clan. He said within another three months foreign investment will come to Hambantota in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority.When this happens,the stores complex at the Mattala Airport will no longer have to be used for paddy storage purposes.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said Hambantota will be converted to an international investment hub very soon with a host of investments flowing in. Tourism will be developed extensively with Minister John Amaratunga playing a key role. In addition, the fisheries industry will be given a boost.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that this was a land mark event parallel to the birthday of Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinhe.
Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan, Development Strategies, International Trade, Science, Technology and Research Malik Samarawickrama, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara, Housing Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa and a number of Ministers and Parliamentarians were present for the occasion.

 Legacy of protecting, nurturing of Tripitaka and to present it to the world in writing lies on us as Sri Lankans.

Maha Nayaka Theros commended the efforts taken by the President to declare Tripitaka as a World Heritage


The occasion of religious significance of presentation of the proposal to declare the Theravada Tripitaka, the sacred scripture of Buddhists, as a World Heritage as a Memory of the World to the UN Representative was held today (23) at the Maha Maluwa (Great Terrace) of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
President Maithripala Sirisena handed over the proposal officially to the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Ms. Hanaa Singer.
Recently, President Sirisena took steps to declare the Theravada Tripitaka as a National Heritage to ensure the sustainability of the pure Buddhism, and not limiting to this noble endeavor, he initiated the process to declare the Tripitaka as a World Heritage with the aim of preserving it for another thousands of years.
Addressing the ceremony the President said that the legacy of protecting, nurturing of the Tripitaka, which included the preaching of Gautama Buddha, and to present it to the world in writing, was lies on us as Sri Lankans. He also said that till the Tripitaka published it was preserved by the Maha Sangha of Sri Lanka and further said that this by declaring this noble inheritance as a world heritage, Sri Lanka will receive an opportunity to obtain the ownership and trusteeship of it.
Furthermore, the President said that despite the opposition by some people with vested interests and attempting to challenge and confront this endevour, the steps to take forward the objective to declare the Tripitaka as a World Heritage will move ahead successfully.
President Sirisena said that the Tripitaka is a vast knowledge resource apart from being a religious philosophy. He also said that he is pleased to see that all the Maha Nayaka Theros of all the Nikayas sitting together invoked blessings for this noble task.
President Sirisena recalled that former Burmese Prime Minister U Nu said in 1953 that Tripitaka was the most important historical heritage of Buddhism and described how it was first preserved by memory and then written on ola leaves in Sri Lanka and finally scripted in stone.
The President said even in non-Buddhist countries like Gemany there were laudable comments of Tripitaka in their ancient chronicles.
Delivering special sermon at the event the Maha Nayaka Theros pointed out that the initiative taken by the President to declare the Tripitaka as a World Heritage will be appreciated by all the Buddhist community in the world.

 The closing ceremony of “Ekata Sitimu” (Stand together for the country) will be held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Puttalam district Shakthi sports stadium tomorrow (22).

This will be the ulterior motive of “Stand together for the country” project is to make the special projects of the president and other national development projects conducted by different ministries and social welfare projects are to be conducted effectively and efficiently to reap more benefits to the rural people and at district level. The programs include, the drug prevention program conducted under the guidance of the President which is a national development project, the national program for protecting children, and national program for environmental conservation.
The first district project of the program started on last 18th from the Puttalam district and covering 16 divisional secretariats and all 332 Grama Nildhari domains of Puttalam district. Services were provided to give solutions to issues related to the education, health, and vocational issues by the different public services to the community.
Thus, drug prevention programs, kidney diseases prevention programs, environmental conservation programs, and other special programs are being conducted at different places in the district.
Providing solutions to long term issues faced by the public, the program, “Stand together for the country” will be carried out, covering all districts of the country.
Meanwhile simultaneously to the closing ceremony of the Puttalam district under the patronage of the President, opening the new urban council stadium of the district, opening the new municipal council, and opening the Smart Sri Lanka computer unit of the Puttalam district will be conducted by the President.

 The ‘Bhu Abhimani, Haritha Harasara Pranama Ulela’ organized by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) with the aim of creating eco-friendly country was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, yesterday (18).

During this event, the President presented felicitation awards to the officers in recognition of their great contribution for the protection of the environment.
The President also unveiled the flag which was created to represent the identity of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau.
State Minister of Environment Ajith Mannaperuma, Secretary to the President Udaya.R.Senevirathne, Secretary of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissnanayake,Chairmen of Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Asela Iddawela, Director- General Dr.C.H.E.R.Siriwardhana and others were present in this event.

 President Maithripala Sirisena says that the Singapore government should make a clear statement about its policy regarding the handing over the responsible person for the Central Bank bond issue to the Sri Lankan government.

Speaking at the launch of the National Action Plan for the eradicatinon of bribery and corruption today morning (18th) at Colombo, President Sirisena said he had discussed with the Singapore Prime Minister in this regard.
Speaking at the event, President Sirirsena said that the main theme in his election manifesto was the elimination of bribery and corruption as expected by the people who vote for him on the 8th of January, 2015. During the last four years, the President said that he took tough decisions that no any other government had taken before.
The Presidential Commission appointed to Investigate into the biggest robbery in the history of the Central Bank, has made the people aware and the public opinion was in support of this inquiry . The officials who were conducting these investigations had to face various challenges and problems, he said, I consider it a pathetic situation in the state administration.
Speaking at the event, President said that the biggest challenge for better governance in the country is the corruption in frauds, and all parties that love the country should be united. No one is interested in finding solutions to the realities of the country, but in the face of such a background, one does not speak openly, President said.
Thus the President further stated that, even though in order to eradicate bribery and corruption a clear program is being conducted in the country at present, there is a problematic situation in carrying out the legal process against the accusers. In a government service which is very methodical there should be a clear legal process against who have done wrong and the bribery and corruption should be properly punished in order to build an ethical country.
The five year national plan for eradicating bribery and corruption was presented to the President by the chairmen of the Commission for Bribery and corruption. The motive of drafting this active plan is to bring sustainable development with an economical, societal, cultural, and environmental stability. For over a year, the bribery, corruption, and punishments related to profits and losses and other punishments and weak laws and regulations that are related to them, and facts regarding the orders and acts are being recommended by the cabinet and the five year national action plan is being drafted including new rules and regulations. Restraining bribery and corruption, developing value systems of all the government institutes, amending punishments and legal policies, are the most important facts which have become the base in drafting this national program and there were 40 rounds of discussions, organized by the commission of bribery and corruption to discuss with all levels of experts, foreign specialists, and the public.
The most honorable Tri Nikaya Maha Sangha, and priests of other religions, Speaker Mr. Karu Jayasooriya, leader of the opposition Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, and ministers, Secretary to the President Udaya. R. Senevirathne, and government officers, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasooriya, and experts of the field of law, Ambassador for United States of America Alaina. B.Telpity, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka and other foreign representatives, and the chairmen of commission for bribery and corruption and directors and other officers were present in this event.

 ‘Tripitakabhivandana’ Week has been declared from tomorrow (March 16) to March 23rd, to mark the occasion of initiating the process in order to declare the Theravada Tripitaka, the sacred scripture of Buddhists, as a World Heritage.

The National ceremony to announce the proposal made by Sri Lanka to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare the Theravada Tripitaka as a World Heritage, with the assistance of all the Buddhist countries in the world, will be held under the patronage of Maha Sangha including the Maha Nayaka Theros of the Tri-Nikayas and with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Maha Maluwa (Great Terrace) of the premises of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic on March 23.
The Theravada Tripitaka was declared as a National Heritage of Sri Lanka by President Maithripala Sirisena on January 5, 2019 at the Aluviharaya Temple in Matale. The effort taken by the President Sirisena to declare the Theravada Tripitaka as a World Heritage has been appreciated by the Maha Sangha including all the Buddhists around the world.
The Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Ministry of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with other Ministries have organized many religious programmes to mark the ‘Tripitakabhivandana’ Week and a request has made to the public to hoist the Buddhist flags in all the state institutions, private institutions, houses, vehicles and roads.
‘Tripitakabhiwandana week’ program will be conducted a Sound Offerings from 6.00 pm to 6.15 pm in the week in Island wide. Meanwhile, the Tripitakabhiwandana, along with the Sacred Relics, was organized simultaneously in several Buddhist religious places throughout the country.
On the 16th of March, the Tripitakabhiwandana Week will be held at the police divisional level based on the Pindapatha Alms giving and the various religious programs based on Sri Lankan temples abroad.
On Sunday, March 17th, a program is to be implemented to construct Sunday Damma Schools building in 226 temples selected for the children studying Dhamma education under the trees. On March 18th, Island wide, religious programs will be held and various programs will be organized based on non-governmental organizations on Tuesday, 19th March.
On March 20th, the Poya Day, the ‘Janapathi Sadaham Yaththra’ program will be conducted and on the same day arrangements will be made to inform the public about the Tripitaka Dharma offering at Temples Island wide.
Thursday, March 21st, Presidential Secretariat and all Governor’s Offices jointly organise alms giving programs. Various religious programs including alms giving by all state institutions will be held on Friday, March 22nd. On the 23rd of March, the national festival will take place at the historical Dalada Maligawa, concluding the Tripitakabhiwandana week.

 President Maithripala Sirisena, who arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, yesterday (13)on a four-day Official Visit to Kenya to attend the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) held in Nairobi , received a grand welcome at the Airport.

The President including the Sri Lankan delegation was warmly received by a Kenyan special delegation.
The Chief Administrative Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, Ababu Namwamba, the Cabinet Secretary and the Kenyan Minister of Water & Sanitation Simon Kiprono Chelugui and the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kenya Sunil de Silva and others were participated on this occasion.
The President participates in this Assembly on an invitation extended by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.
High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kenya Sunil de Silva pointed out that as the Minister of Environment in Sri Lanka and as a leader who took many important decisions towards protecting the environment, the President’s participation in this conference is significant.
The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly will be held under the theme ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production’.
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron and other dignitaries will attend the Conference.

 President Maithripala Sirisena left Colombo today (13) for Nairobi to attend the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) held in Nairobi, Kenya as a Special Guest. 

The President participates in this Assembly on an invitation extended by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.
The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly, which commenced on March 11, will continue until March 15 in Nairobi under the theme ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production’.
President Sirisena is scheduled to address the Assembly tomorrow.
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron and other dignitaries will attend the Conference.
UNEA-4 will address: environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resources management, including sustainable food systems, food security and halting biodiversity loss, life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management; and innovative sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change.
During his four-day official visit to Kenya the President will meet the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.
Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Kenya dates back to the year 1970. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), IORA and G77.
At the political and diplomatic level, Sri Lanka and Kenya have been maintaining close and cordial links over the years. The two countries are rooted by shared values, aspirations, and common interest to overcome the challenges of development.
At present, Sri Lankans are working in Kenya mainly in the fields of clothing industry, horticulture, hydroelectricity and automotive industry.

 The launching of the official badge of the 100th Anniversary Jamboree of the Matara District Scout Association and pinning the first badge on the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena was held at the President’s Official Residence, today (12). 

The Advisor of the Matara District Scout Association, Deputy Minister Bhuddhika Pathirana pinned the badge on the President.
The celebration of the 100th Anniversary Jamboree will be held from 1st to 5th May 2019 and the website related to this event was launched by the President.
The Boy Scouts Commissioner for Matara district V.G. Indika Prasanna, Assistant Boy Scout Commissioner Sanjaya Kumara, Deputy President of the Celebrations Committee of the 100th Anniversary Jamboree, Padamakumara Dias Samaraweera, Secretary Thirunda Thushaka Liyanagunewardena, and other members were present in this event.

 minister lakehouse visit

Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene visited Lake House 8th of march for a discussion with the senior management and Trade Union representatives. Wijewardene viewing the portraits of his grandfather and Lake House founder late D.R. Wijewardene and his father, former Lake House Chairman Ranjith Wijewardene. Picture by Chinthana Kumarasinghe

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