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Lanka receives ‘Safe Travels Stamp’ from WTTC

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Sri Lanka has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp, which recognises the safety protocols introduced by the government of Sri Lanka along with standards mandated by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to ensure the safety of domestic and international travellers.

Whilst establishing confidence among tourists looking at the island paradise as a preferred destination to travel amidst the pandemic, the Safe Travels stamp will also allow them to recognise properties and businesses that diligently follow globally streamed health and hygiene protocols aligned with the WTTC’s Safe Travels Protocols, Sri Lanka Tourism said in a media release. 

“Having one of the world’s highest success rates in combatting Covid-19, positions Sri Lanka as an exemplary destination for safe travels,” says Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, highlighting that the stringent safety standards imposed coupled with the country’s laudable healthcare system has highlighted the island as a travel destination that can offer unique experiences to tourists, whilst prioritising their health and sanitation”. 

She added that Sri Lanka is now geared to welcome international leisure travellers with all aspects of a traveller’s visit been thoroughly evaluated and necessary safety protocols put in place. “Restarting operations of the tourism and hospitality sector for international visitors after the Covid-19 lockdown is a strategic one for the country, and we extend our gratitude to Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts for initiating the process that led to Sri Lanka being stamped safe by WTTC,” she added. 

The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is the first of its kind, specifically designed to combat the ramifications of COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. Recognised and embraced by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the stamp allows travellers to trot the globe whilst ensuring their safety. 

Envisioning a future of travel that is safe, secure, seamless and authentic, whilst supporting the livelihood of millions thus sustaining economic growth of countries, the new global Safe Travel protocols issued by the WTTC is helping the sector restart and speed up recovery post Covid-19. The four-pillared protocols, namely Operational and Staff Preparedness, Ensuring a Safe Experience, Rebuilding Trust and Confidence and Implementing Enabling Policies, are built to reinstate confidence among travellers and initiate a consistent approach to health and hygiene.

Sri Lanka joins the ranks of leading destinations including Indonesia, Dubai, Tanzania, Portugal, Mexico, the Caribbean, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda and counting to be stamped safe, having had its protocols validated by WTTC to be in line with those devised by the global organisation.

 

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EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A

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Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

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Senasinghe announces quitting politics

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By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

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Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

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