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His message is as follows:

“May this year’s Christmas be our promise of hope renewed. It is a time to spread joy and goodwill, while appreciating our blessings in the presence of our loved ones.

“As we commemorate this joyous occasion, I want to say thank you to all those in service; doctors, nurses, volunteers, the military, police officers, and everyone in service—who tirelessly contributed to our community’s welfare and safety during these perilous times.

“This pandemic has brought upon a barrier from reuniting with our loved ones, but we must all unite in spirit to overcome its challenges. The greatest gift we can give each other this Christmas is assuring the shared safety of ourselves and our loved ones by adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.

 
 

“In the midst of all the challenges of 2020, I hope the Christmas spirit fills all your hearts with positivity, courage, and hope for the new year ahead.

“May you all have a peaceful, safe and merry Christmas!”

Another made locally made drug under the “New Medicines for a New Country” programme was launched by the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) yesterday. The first batch of the new product, Flucloxacillin was handed over to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was also present. Picture courtesy Prime Minister’s Media Division

Another drug made locally under the “New Drugs for a New Country” programme to produce 50 percent of Sri Lanka’s total pharmaceuticals requirement locally was launched yesterday by the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC).

The launching ceremony of the new drug and the opening of the new Manufacturing Facility (G Zone) of the SPMC was held yesterday at the SPMC premises in Ratmalana under the patronage of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In line with the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ National Policy Framework,the SPMC running under the purview of the State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals yesterday launched its another product, Flucloxacillin 500mg Capsules BP to the local market.

The first batch of drugs was handed over to the Chief Guest Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana.

Flucloxacillin is a narrow-spectrum antibiotic of the group of isoxazolyl penicillins for treating infections.

 
 

The State Pharmaceutical Corporation produces about three million tablets and capsules a year, and the production of Flucloxacillin Capsules BP 500 mg (Flucloxacillin) will save the country about Rs.70 million a year.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, the Prime Minister said that it is the policy of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to produce items that can be produced in this country locally.

“We will implement this policy for the greater good of the country.Rs.470 billion has been allocated for the production of drugs. It means that we are self-sufficient in all areas where our country needs to be self-sufficient,” the Prime Minister said.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Ministry Secretary K.R.Uduwawala, SPMC Chairman Dr. Uthpala Indrawansa also participated in this event.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the new Sangamittarama Silmatha training institute in Arippuwa, Anuradhapura yesterday. Here, Ven. Kadawala Nandarathana Thera and Ven. Kotmale Kumara Kassapa Thera handing over a Tab containing electronic Tripitaka and Tripitaka handbooks to the Prime Minister for the use of trainee Sil Mathas. (Picture courtesy Prime Minister’s Media Division)

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the new Sangamittarama Silmatha Training Institute in Arippuwa, Anuradhapura yesterday.

This facility designed to accommodate around 30 Sil Mathas over a seven day training period was set up with the aim of developing the knowledge of the Sil Mathas on the Tripitaka Dhamma.

All lectures, supervision of the course and operations would be conducted by the Bhikku lecturers of the Anuradhapura Bhikku University. All other facilities for this programme would be provided by the Buddhist Affairs Department.

During this programme, Ven. Kadawala Nandarathana Thera and Kotmale Kumara Kassapa Thera handed over 30 Tabs containing electronic Tripitaka and Tripitaka handbooks to the Prime Minister to be used by the trainee Sil Mathas.

 
 

Members of the Maha Sangha and Bhikkunis’ were present on this occasion. Minister S.M. Chandrasena, State Ministers Duminda Dissanayake, Shehan Semasinghe and Channa Jayasumana were also present.

The Publications Office in Kandy of the Government Information Department being declared open by Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and and Central Province Governor Lalith U Gamage.
 

Government Information Department Publications Offices will be established in five districts and will be extended to all districts in the future, said Minister of Mass Media and Information, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella.

"Government Publication Offices will be opened in the Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts in the future," he said.

He was speaking at the opening of the Government Information Department Publication Office at the Kandy District Secretariat.

He said that although there was a Government publishing office in Kandy, it was later closed down. The new office would enable anyone to obtain important publications related to various fields including Government Ordinances.

He said the Government Information Department has a history of 72 years since Independence in 1948 and has played a pivotal role in providing responsible and reliable information to the public. In addition, the people will have the opportunity to obtain ordinances passed by Parliament through this office as soon as they are passed, said Minister Rambukwella.

He added that this will be of great benefit to lawyers and school children.

The Minister said that the Ministry of Mass Media and Information has made big plans for the field of education and under this initiative, 25 selected schools from 25 districts will be identified as media schools and children who are interested in the media sector will be directed to them.

He said that in the developed countries, changes in the field of education are made not in the Ordinary Level or Advanced Level but in the lower classes.

He said that he preferred not to use the word 'failure' and that some people behave as if the world would end if they failed the GCE Ordinary Level.

 
 

He said that not only children but also parents need to understand that most of the people who have risen to the top in the business world are not necessarily those with a university education and that failing an exam does not ruin their lives.

Minister Rambukwella stated that the Foundation has a large number of resources and will create a unique educational institution centred on it.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Government Information Nalaka Kaluwewa said that the Department of Government Information has a legitimate responsibility to provide information to the public and that the Department uses all means to carry out information in a more reliable and responsible manner amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the Information Department has district offices and with the recent opening of new offices in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts, the establishment of district offices covering all 25 districts of the country has been completed.

Kaluwewa said that this has enabled the public to communicate that information by closely studying the development processes taking place at the district level.

During this ceremony, a computer was donated to the Kandy District Unit by the Government Information Department which was handed over to District Information Officer Thanuja Abeysekera by Minister Rambukwella.

Central Province Governor Lalith U Gamage, Kandy District Coordinating Committee Chairman Wasantha Yapa Bandara, Attorney-at-Law Gunathilake Rajapaksa, Attorney-at-Law Udayana Kirindigoda, Attorney-at-Law Jagath P. Wijeweerawere also present.

The “Asidisi” Scholarship Programme organized annually by the Ministry of Mass Media with the objective of equipping all journalists with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to establish the art of professional journalism, would have its symbolic Scholarship Awards Ceremony this time on Tuesday, December 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the auditorium of the Ministry of Mass Media.

The purpose of this project is to create an environment for journalists to improve their skills via training courses and encouraging them.

Journalists, Freelance Journalists, Provincial Journalists and Web Journalists who have obtained the Identity Card issued by the Department of Government Information, between the ages of 18-55 and have completed three years of full time or part time service in recognized electronic and print media institutions in the island would be awarded with this scholarship on non-refundable basis.

A maximum amount of Two hundred thousand rupees (Rs.200,000.00) for undergraduate and postgraduate courses or One hundred thousand rupees (Rs. 100,000.00) for short or long term certificate courses, diplomas and advanced diploma courses would be offered under this scholarship program. Scholarship recipients can take media related courses conducted by recognized universities and higher educational training institutions.

Under this scheme of scholarship, the journalists have the opportunity to reap its benefits twice without paying any amount of money and the journalists who have successfully completed the course can apply for the second chance in five years after being qualified for the 1 st time.

Journalists who are eligible for the scholarship will be paid 50% of the course fee at the beginning of the course as the first installment, 25% of the remaining 50% as the second installment and the remaining 25% at the submission of the certificate after the successful completion of the course.

The beneficiaries were selected after interviewing the applicants by a committee elected by the secretary of the Mass Media Ministry. Among the journalists who had applied for the scholarship this time, the Ministry of Mass Media has taken steps to offer this scholarship to everyone who has fulfilled the qualifications. Accordingly, 85 journalists are eligible for these scholarships.

‘Prof. Senaka Bandaranayake Archaeological Field School’ constructed by the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) was opened by Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sigiriya yesterday. The Field School was built utilizing Rs. 50 million from CCF funds. It provides residential training facilities for budding scientists.

Eminent Archaeologist Prof. Senaka Bandaranayake is the first Archaeological Director of the Sigiriya Project of the Cultural Triangle.Minister Janaka Bandara Thennakoon and State Minister Vidura Wickramanayake also attended the event.

The Central Expressway will be extended to Dambulla, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

He made this observation participating in the National Programme to award one million ‘Ranbima’ deeds islandwide in line with the ‘Prosperity and Splendour’ National Policy.

The event was held at the Ransara Festival Hall, Kurunegala and the land deeds were presented to 400 beneficiaries in the North Western Province.

The programme is implemented by the Land Reforms Commission.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that the Opposition, while criticizing the negative aspects of the Government, should also have the courtesy to appreciate the good deeds.

The Premier observed that the expressway to Dambulla would have been built a long time ago, had not the Government changed in 2015.

“Steps have been taken to start the expressway from Kurunegala to Kandy. Minister S.M. Chandrasena is requesting to extend that expressway to Dambulla.We will definitely do that,” he added.

 
 

“As a government we will do everything we can.The President has taken steps to look into village level issues too by meeting villagers. This will encourage the officers to complete the work expeditiously,” he noted.

“When the Land Reforms Commission was set up in 1970, the Government took over some lands. The Commission continues to hand over those lands to landless people. People who were residing in those lands for a long period have faced problems when they apply for a bank loan as they do not have a valid deed,” the Premier pointed out.

The Prime Minister also handed over a PCR machine worth Rs.5.4 million to the Kurunegala Hospital from the decentralized fund of Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa.

Ministers S.M Chandrasena, Johnston Fernando, State Ministers Arundika Fernando, Lohan Ratwatte, D.B. Herath, Priyankara Jayaratne, MPs Asanga Navaratne, Manjula Dissanayake, Sumith Udukumbura, Charitha Herath, Gunapala Ratnasekera, Jayaratne Herath, Shantha Bandara, Secretary to the Ministry of Lands R. A. A. K. Ranawaka and Land Commission Chairman Nilantha Wijesinghe were present.

The Dr Roland Silva Mural Preservation and Research Centre’ was opened by Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Dambulla yesterday.

It was built near the ‘Rangiri Dambulu Raja Maha Viharaya’ as a tribute to Dr. Roland Silva, who was the Founder of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF).This is the first state-of-the-art mural preservation and information centre in Sri Lanka. Rs. 100 million of the CCF was utilised for the purpose.

The Centre will copy historical drawings of murals and scientifically preserve and protect them.

The Centre consists of lecture halls, auditorium, digital room, 2D and 3D facilities, residential facilities for researchers and facilities to repair damaged historical drawings.

 
 

Rangiri-Dambulu Vihara Chief Incumbent Ven. Udugama Mangala Nayaka Thera, Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and State Minister Vidura Wickramanayake were present.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed officials not to hinder the activities and traditional ways of life of villagers who enter forests for legitimate purposes such as tapping Kithul trees.

President Rajapaksa gave this directive during a visit to the Ravanakanda village in the Imbulpe Divisional Secretariat Division in Balangoda under the “Conversation with the Village” programme (Gama Samaga Pilisandarak).

The President was responding to villages who drew his attention the problems faced by Kithul tappers. The President gave specific instructions to the Police and Wildlife and Forest Conservation Department officials to ensure that these Kithul tappers can carry out their livelihood without any obstruction.

He also gave instructions to the officials concerned not to institute legal action in an arbitrary manner against villages who enter the lands belonging to Forest Conservation and Wildlife Departments to carry out their livelihood such as tapping Kithul and plucking tea leaves.

His visit to this remote village in the extreme corner of the Ratnapura district bordering the Nuwara Eliya district is the third such programme implemented on the instructions of the President.

The first programme was conducted in the Haldummulla Divisional Secretariat Division in the Badulla district and the second was held in the Wilgamuwa DS division in the Matale district in September and October this year.

The President embarked on this programme “Conversation with the Village” to identify the problems faced by the people in underprivileged villages by himself and provide lasting solutions for them. The issues faced by the people in this village were discussed at a meeting held at the Thorawelkanda Vidyalaya grounds.

People residing in adjoining villages such as Kattadikande, Gallenakanda and Thorawelkande turned up at the school grounds to air their grievances to the President.

The President on seeing the poor condition of the roads, gave instructions to the Highways Ministry for the development of Walegoda road from Pudukaduwa junction, Gallenkanda - Ravanakanda road, Thorawelkanda – Wathukarakanda and Egodawaleboda – Wathukarakanda roads.

He also ordered the officials to construct bridges across Ura Oya and Imo Oya enabling the tea smallholders in the area to transport their produce to the factories. “Their traditional way of living has had no impact on the environment,” the President observed.

 
 

The President also focused on the construction of a tea processing centre which is a long felt need in the area. He also instructed the people’s representatives in the area to directly intervene to minimize any unnecessary delays in transporting tea leaves.

The officials were also ordered to resolve the land issues faced by the villages at this meeting.

It was decided to launch an infrastructure development programme targeting schools in the area. Many schools in the area including Karagasthalawa Vidyalaya, Suumana Vidyalaya, Balangoda Kanaganayagam Tamil School, Waleboda Tamil School, Udagama Vidyalaya and Pinnawela Tamil School will benefit by this programme.

It was also decided to address the teacher shortage in these schools especially the shortage of Tamil medium teachers. The President also gave specific instructions to the officials concerned to recruit the Tamil medium teachers for Advanced Level classes soon.

A vocational training institute for the youth in the area will also be set up on the instructions of the President. Infrastructure facilities in several rural hospitals in the regions will also be uplifted.

The President opened a smart classroom with Internet facilities provided by Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel at the Thorawelkanda Vidyalaya.

The President also commended the efforts of Grade 09 student of Ananda Maithree Vidyalaya in Balangoda Dinurudh Fernando for inventing a machine to monitor body temperature, that could save foreign exchange by being manufactured locally.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday evening called on Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Fr. Dushantha Lakshman Rodrigo at the Bishop's office. Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris was also present.

The first investment within the Colombo Port City will commence with the one billion dollar Colombo International Finance Centre (CIFC) Mixed Development Project.

The agreement between Browns Investments, the strategic investment arm of the LOLC Group, and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) was signed under the witness of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chaina’s Ambassador Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong.

“Attracting Foreign Direct Investment is a key priority for our Government, and this landmark project is a strong indicator that Sri Lanka is now back in business,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

“We invite investors from around the world to explore the multitude of investment opportunities that Sri Lanka presents with its strategic location and human resource capabilities.”

The Colombo Port City brainchild of Prime Minister Rajapaksa, was launched during his Presidency together with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to Sri Lanka in 2014.

With an initial investment of US$ 1.4 billion and an expected overall investment of US$ 15 billion when completed, the Port City is set to be the leading business, retail, residential and tourist destination in South Asia.

“At this crucial moment, China once again demonstrates its confidence in Sri Lanka and commitment to help Sri Lanka’s economic and social development,” Ambassador Zhenhong said.

 
 

“It’s believed that the International Financial Centre Project will not only effectively boost the vigorous growth of Sri Lanka’s finance and other industries, but also create more high-quality job opportunities, benefiting the public and society.”

The project comprises a total land area of 6.8 hectares, implemented under two phases.

The first phase of the CIFC Mixed Development Project, with an investment of US$ 450 million and comprising a land area of 3.06 hectares, will consist of the incorporation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company, jointly managed by Browns Investment and CHEC.

The overall project, which will be implemented in a sustainable and socially-responsible manner, expects to create significant quality employment opportunities across a variety of sectors.

The 111th anniversary of our sister paper Dinamina was marked yesterday with a simple ceremony at the Dinamina Editorial in the presence of ANCL Chairman W. Dayaratne, PC, Acting General Manager Sumith Kotelawala, Deputy General Manager Chandana Bandara, Dinamina Editor Gamini Jayalath and staffers. Picture by Wasitha Patabendige

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