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Speaker expresses gratitude to Japan for timely assistance

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for providing a Rs. 1,360 million grant for the provisioning of necessary medical equipment such as MRI Scanner, CT scanner, bed-side X-Ray systems and central monitors to strengthen the COVID-19 preventing activities in Sri Lanka, Parliament media division said yesterday.

The Speaker also thanked the government of Japan for providing USD 3 million through UNICEF to support the cold chain system in Sri Lanka and strengthen delivery of Immunisation services in response to the COVID -19 pandemic.

Speaker Abeywardena said this while making the welcome speech at the revival meeting of the Japan-Sri Lankan Parliamentary Friendship Association for the ninth Parliament held recently in Parliament. The meeting was held under the patronage of Speaker Abeywardena, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake and was attended by Ministers, State Ministers and Members of Parliament.

The Speaker further said that “the Bilateral relations between the two countries in the early days have mainly been in the religious and cultural spheres. These traditional bonds were developed into more valued political and economic ties in the latter half of the last century.”

“Sri Lanka was one of the nine Asian countries that participated in the San Francisco Peace Conference in Japan which was held in September 1951. Then Finance Minister, J R Jayewardene’s speech on behalf of the GOSL at the conference urging the participating countries to accept Japan into the comity of nations without any reparation in the spirit of the Buddha’s teaching continues to be deeply appreciated by Japan.”

“As we all are well aware that, Sri Lanka and Japan established Diplomatic Relations shortly after the signing of the Peace Treaty in April 1952. A Japanese mission was set up in Colombo in February 1952 and in May 1953 Sri Lanka established a Legation in Tokyo. This month (April, 2021) marks the 69th anniversary of celebration diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Since 1993, delegations from both the Parliamentary Friendship Associations paid reciprocal visits. Apart from the visits of the Members of the Parliamentary Friendship Associations there were many high-profile bilateral visits that were undertaken by the Leaders of both the countries and Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister’s visit in September 2014 to Sri Lanka is a significant milestone in this context.”

“Excellency and dear Members, I strongly believe that we Parliamentarians, representatives of the people have the ability to promote our interests through the interaction of the Parliamentary Friendship Groups. Thus hope this meeting will also contribute to further strengthen the relations between the two countries and the Legislatures.”

At this meeting, Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, was elected as the new President of the Sri Lanka-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association.

MP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, was elected as the new Secretary and MPs Selvarajah Gajendren, J. C. Alawathuwala, and Premnath C. Dolawatte, were elected as the Vice Presidents.

MP Ajith Rajapakse was elected the Treasurer and MPs Sivagnanam Shritharan and Major Sudarshana Denipitiya, as Assistant Secretaries.

 

 



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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice

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 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB

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Protests against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are being used to arouse communal feelings among people ahead of an election, says the main Opposition SJB.

Addressing the media on Saturday, at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip, SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said:

“This country has witnessed many instances in the past. This time, too, the same old slogan of the country being divided is heard again.

“The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution. All parties have contested elections under the 13th Amendment. The UNP, SLFP, SLPP and JVP have contested provincial council elections. It shows that they have accepted the 13th Amendment. Those in such parties now opposing the 13th Amendment must first explain how they oppose it directly while accepting the same indirectly by sending their members to the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment,” Kiriella said.

“The claim of the country being divided by the 13th amendment is made to arouse the communal feelings.

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