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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.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his last respects to the remains of Ramanna Maha Nikaya Most Ven. Aggramaha Panditha Napane Premasiri Thera at the Hurikaduwa Vidyasagara Piriven Mula Viharaya yesterday.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his last respects to the remains of Ramanna Maha Nikaya Most Ven Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Thera yesterday.

The Prime Minister stated that the late Mahnayake Thera rendered an invaluable service for the uplift of the Buddha Sasana.

He also met the newly appointed Mahanayake of the Sri Lanka Ramannaya Maha Chapter and Chief Incumbent of Vidyawasa Pirivena, Minioluwa in Mirigama Most Venerable Makulawe Wimala Thera.


State Ministers Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Lohan Ratwatte, former Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Secretary to the Buddhasasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry Prof. Kapila Gunawardena and Buddhist Affairs Commissioner General Sunanda Kariyapperuma were also present.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella attending the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media on Saturday had stated that a proper mechanism for the regulation of local websites is needed and will be implemented within the next two weeks.

MP Dr. Suren Raghavan commenting on the matter stated that attempts to incite racism through social media should be curbed. Adding to his remarks, Education Minister Prof. G.L Peiris said that a new law has been passed in Singapore to control such matters and having studied such laws, the formulation of a new mechanism should be made.

Minister Rambukwella stressed that the Press Council Act should be amended in a way that would protect the dignity of the citizens. He also said that the rights of all citizens should be protected by the media.

The Minister also pointed out that defamation which is unjust should have some control and that media regulation is required.

Speaking at the event, MP Prof. Charitha Herath, said that having discussed the amendments to the Press Council Act at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media would make its progress more convenient. He also said that a proper mechanism should be formulated to regulate television and radio broadcasts as well.

Minister of Education Prof. G. L. Peiris stated that it is convenient to refer the relevant amendments to the legal Drafting Committee after having it referred by the Ministerial Consultative Committee.

Minister Prof. Peiris highlighted the importance of referring a Bill to a Technical Committee.

SJB Parliamentarian Manusha Nanayakkara emphasized the need to reactivate the self-regulatory system for media institutions, which was discussed in 2015. He further emphasized that the damage done to civilians by the media was immense.

Discussions were also held regarding resuming the telecast of Parliamentary sessions through Channel Eye of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). The Committee also focused on the recognition of media persons as professionals, the establishment of a minimum wage scheme for journalists, allocation of graduates in Mass Communication to related vacancies, and the appointment of teachers to schools for teaching Mass Media as a subject.


Parliamentarian Shantha Bandara drew the attention of the Committee towards the standardization of State-owned channels. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella pointed out that six chairmen’s have been appointed to the Independent Television Network (ITN) during the last four years and by 2014 the channel was number one according to survey reports.

In addition, the Minister stated that State media institutions were running at a loss during the previous regime and that they will be restored to profitability within two years.

The Minister said that providing educational scholarships to journalists and media equipment at a concessionary rate along with multiple welfare activities will be implemented. He further said that the committee will not facilitate political decisions and will take common decisions having consulted all parties.

Parliamentarian Uddika Premarathna said that the standards of the language used for news should belooked into whilst pointing out that a mechanism should be implemented in that regard.

Media Ministry Secretary Jagath P. Wijeweera informed the Committee that an insurance scheme for journalists is scheduled to be introduced along with the establishment of a journalism college in the coming year paving way for education in ethical journalism.

MP Selvarajah Kajendran, highlighting threats faced by journalists in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, requested the Chairperson to intervene in controlling such situations.

The minister directed that the Ministry and the IGP should be informed of such situations with immediate effect.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa going on an inspection tour of the relocated and newly constructed Peliyagoda Market yesterday. Pictures courtesy Prime Minister’s Media Unit

The Government will give priority to remove the inconveniences faced by the public despite the obstacles coming its way, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the newly constructed Peliyagoda Market. The Pettah Manning Market that was relocated in Peliyagoda was opened for business activities by Prime Minister Rajapaksa yesterday.

Addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister said the re-location of the market in Peliyagoda was aimed at providing solutions for the prevailing daily traffic congestion in the City of Colombo.

“In addition, as its new location is a hub connecting the country’s Expressway network, the transportation of vegetables and fruits to and from the Manning Market would be easy for the vendors and the suppliers,” he said. The Prime Minister said the dry food wholesale market and the building material warehouses located within Pettah would also be shifted to Peliyagoda in the future for the convenience of the public.

“We are happy that the important decisions taken during our Government prior to 2015 have now become a reality. We developed the country after ending the war, but the Government that came to power in 2015 harassed us and imprisoned Government officials.

Senior public officials Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Pelpita were recently acquitted of all charges. There is judicial independence today,” he remarked.

The new market has been set up in a 13.5-acre land as a state-of-art complex at a cost of Rs.6.5 billion.

It comprises 1,192 stalls, parking facilities for 600 vehicles at one time, cool rooms, cafeterias, medical centers for vendors and employees, banks and many other facilities.


The four-storied building complex provides facilities for the vegetable transporting vehicles to reach every stall situated up to the third floor.

The Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) has provided the engineering services for the construction of the new market complex. Preliminary plans to relocate the Pettah Manning Market in Peliyagoda were drafted in 2011 under the guidance of then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Although the constructions were to be finished in 2017 according to such plans, the project was delayed under the previous government.

The Prime Minister recently instructed the UDA officials to expedite the construction activities of the market complex.

The two-acre land in the heart of Colombo where the Manning Market was located earlier will be used effectively for development projects after the new market is opened.

The ‘Husma Dena Thuru’ (Trees Giving Life) tree planting programme, aimed at planting 2 million saplings within the next 5 years, was inaugurated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday. The President took part in the programme by planting a ‘Sandun’ tree in front of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) premises in Battaramulla. Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 outbreak Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and Environmental Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe also participated. The programme aims at expanding the forest cover in the country to 30 percent of the land as envisaged in the ‘Saubhagyaye Dekma’ manifesto. It is carried out as a joint programme by the Environment Ministry, CEA, Army and the Defence Headquarters. Picture courtesy President’s Media Unit

                                                                                     Condolence Message

I was deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayaka Thero of the Ramanna Nikaya. The passing away of the Mahanayaka Thera is not only a loss to the nation, but to all the Buddhists all over the world.

Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayaka Thero had been a patriarch of the Maha Sangha and a symbol of the meaningful depiction of the teachings of the Buddha. He spent the entire life as a monk to provide a most compassionate service to the people. The Maha Nayaka Thero, during his visits to villages preaching Dhamma, not only strived to spiritually awaken the laymen, but also inquired into their social issues and dedicated himself to address them as well.

Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayaka thero’s service to prosper and propagate Buddha Sasana received both local and global recognition and he was accorded with the title of ‘Aggamaha Pandit’, the supreme accolade presented for reputed Theros across the globe by the government of Myanmar. The Mahanayaka Thero, who accepted all these accolades and honours with a heart full of “Metta” as professed in Buddhist philosophy and continued to maintain a simple lifestyle.

I wish to gratefully recall that the advice given to me by the Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayaka Thero was of immense value in successful formulation of state policies regarding religious matters.

The service, Most Venerable, Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Mahanayaka Thero rendered for his country, nation and religion is unparalleled.

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

November 19th, 2020

Issuing a condolence message on the passing away of the Mahanayake of the Ramanna Chapter Most. Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said his demise would be an irreparable loss to the Buddha Sasana.

The Prime Minister stated: “Ven. Pemasiri Thera was an erudite monk who rendered a yeoman service to the Buddha Sasana and the country. He was a true disciple of the Buddha who followed in the footsteps of his Bhikku teachers and dedicated his entire ordained life to disseminate the Buddha Dhamma here and abroad.

His life was the very epitome of compassion and he inspired many other Bhikkus to engage fully in the service of the Buddha Dhamma. Having held various responsibilities in the Ramanna Nikaya, the Ven. Thera ultimately became its Mahanayake in 2012, guiding the Nikaya on the timeless tenets of the Buddha. The Ven. Thera earned various honorary titles for his service to the Buddha Sasana, including Agga Maha Panditha from Myanmar.

The Ven. Thera never wavered from Buddhist principles amidst various challenges and gave valuable insights and advice to the Bhikku and lay leaders on matters of crucial importance to the country. I have been fortunate to seek and get such advice from the erudite Maha Nayake Thera on many occasions.


The Ven. Thera lived an exemplary life and engaged in serving the Sasana despite his advancing years. The Ven. Thera was a true believer in the words of the Buddha and helped countless others to traverse the path trod by the Buddha. May the Ven. Thera attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana !”

The newly appointed Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong presented his credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House yesterday (19).

During the brief cordial discussion with the Chinese Ambassador following the ceremony President Rajapaksa expressed his satisfaction over the long standing and lasting cooperation and friendship with mutual benefits between Sri Lanka and China.

“China extended its support towards Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development, especially after winning the war against separatism.Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, Southern Expressway are some of such initiatives. Some segments of society criticised this cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. Their argument was that these projects would not bear fruits. But the truth is the opposite.

“Projects started with the assistance of China have high income generation and employment creation potential. My expectation is to see the full completion of these projects before the end of my tenure,” the President said.

The President stated that Sri Lanka has made it a priority to attract investments instead of further foreign borrowings in its development drive. “There are vast investment opportunities available in our country. Agricultural sector, Communication Technology and education are special among them.

Livelihood of around 30% of the population of Sri Lanka depends on rural agriculture. Achieving the kind of rural development that China has reached over the past two or three decades and to improve the living standards of the rural population in Sri Lanka is one of my prime objectives. We seek your assistance in this regard,” the President told the new Ambassador.

Ambassador Zhenhong said his government is ready to make the maximum


possible contribution to the success of Sri Lanka’s economic and social development endeavours.

Extending President Xi Jinping’s good wishes to President Rajapaksa, the Chinese envoy said he aims to further enhance long-standing friendship between the two countries and to strengthen

development and strategic cooperation. “After assuming office, you united the people of Sri Lanka. You guided the country on the path of economic growth while improving the living standards of the people. We witnessed how the government and the people of Sri Lanka stood together in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the new Ambassador said. He also said that China wishes to see Sri Lanka emerge as a prosperous nation.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Foreign

Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy Hu Wei and the Head of the Political Division Luo Chong were also present.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday initiated “The Siyapatha Housing Programme” to construct 16,000 new houses in all electorates of the country.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the programme while laying the foundation stone of the Maradagahamula ‘Siyapatha Niwasa’ project, the Prime Minister’s media division said.

Under this housing programme, which is being implemented under the concept of providing a house for each family, a 100 housing unit apartment complex will be constructed at each electorate.

Accordingly, it is proposed to construct 16,000 houses island wide covering the 160 electorates.

The housing project which commenced yesterday is being constructed in the Maradagahamula area in the Divulapitiya electorate.

Page 7 of 57

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