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GL calls for enhancement of bilateral relations with South Korea, Kuwait

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Having succeeded Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena recently, Prof. G.L. Peiris has met top envoys of several major countries over the past few days. On Tuesday (24), Prof. Peiris met South Korean Ambassador Santhush Woonjin Jeong and Kuwaiti Ambassador Khalaf Bu Dhhair to discuss a range of bilateral matters. Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and senior officials of the Ministry participated in the meetings.

 The Foreign Ministry said the discussions with Ambassador Jeong centered on a wide range of areas of existing and potential cooperation including education, science, information technology, digitalisation, pharmaceutical production, labor migration, people-to-people exchanges and partnership in multilateral engagements. A particular emphasis was placed on the importance of development of Korean language education in Sri Lanka, enabling direct and effective exchanges between citizens, businesses and institutions between the two countries.

During the meeting, Foreign Minister Peiris reiterated the significance of Sri Lanka-Korea bilateral relations which continue to be mutually beneficial with potential for further expansion and expressed appreciation for Ambassador Woonjin’s sentiments towards Sri Lanka and its people.

They agreed to explore further avenues for expanding trade and economic relations between the two countries which can be diversified into new development projects and investments.

The following is the text of statement on the Foreign Minister’s meet with Ambassador Khalaf Bu Dhhair: In his opening remarks, Ambassador Dhhair extended greetings from the Foreign Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and expressed the Government of Kuwait’s willingness to enhance bilateral trade and economic relations with the Government of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Ambassador Dhhair said that the Government of Kuwait was looking forward to employing skilled workers from Sri Lanka in the health and energy sectors.

Responding to the remarks made by the Ambassador Dhhair, Foreign Minister Peiris expressed that the Government of Sri Lanka and the State of Kuwait enjoy extremely cordial relations and during his tenure, was looking forward to strengthening Sri Lanka’s relations with the Gulf countries. Minister Peiris also conveyed the Sri Lankan Government’s appreciation to the Emir of Kuwait for the donation granted by the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society for the Covid– 19 emergency health sector requirements. The Minister Peiris also noted the valuable support extended by Kuwait to the Government to Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council and other multilateral forums.

Foreign Minister Peiris and Ambassador Dhhair discussed the possibilities of further expanding the Trade and Investment ties between both countries into new areas such as energy, hotel and tourism and urban housing projects through a partnership between public and private sector institutions. They also noted that there were new areas of bilateral cooperation that are yet to be explored such as Tourism, Health and Energy sectors which would be mutually beneficial in strengthening the already existing cordial relations between the two countries.”



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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