Tamil Nadu CM urges to Indian PM Modi seeking release of arrested fishermen & their boats

Expressing “deep concern” over a Sri Lankan court imposing a fine on eight Tamil Nadu fishermen for fishing in the Gulf of Mannar, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the external affairs ministry to register India’s strong protest and take steps to secure the release of all the 16 arrested fishermen.

The Lankan court had imposed fine of SLR 60 lakh (INR 26 lakhs) each on eight fishermen from Thoothukudi district in the state who were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy, while “eking out their livelihood” in the Gulf of Mannar.

They were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on August 21 along with their boat and convicted under the provisions of Fisheries (Regulation of Foreign Fishing Boats) Act, purportedly for illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters, the Chief Minister explained. The Court ordered that the fishermen will have to serve a term of 3 months in jail if the fine is not paid.     

The CM had, in his letter dated July 7, 2017 and subsequent letters, brought to the PM's notice the amendments made in the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, 1996 and Fisheries (Regulation of Foreign Fishing Boats) Act by the Government of Sri Lanka and its impact on our Indian fishermen, especially from Tamil Nadu.

"The latest move by the Government of Sri Lanka to enforce the amendments made in their Act against the Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu at this crucial juncture when the government of Tamil Nadu, ably supported by government of India, has taken proactive steps for transition towards a permanent solution, is nothing but a mockery of the diplomatic efforts being undertaken by the government of India to sort out the sensitive issue," Mr Palaniswami said.

This has created a sense of panic in the minds of Tamil Nadu fishermen. Hence he urged Mr. Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to register "our strong protest" at the highest level in Sri Lanka and organise an effective defence in the Sri Lankan courts and to secure the release of the fishermen without paying the fine or serving the jail term.

The CM further requested Mr Modi to ensure that immediate action is taken to secure the release of the all 16 Indian fishermen who are languishing in Lankan jails. ( Deccan Chronicle) 

Cabinet approves 28,000 houses for resettled families in N&E

The Cabinet of Ministers yesterday approved a proposal submitted by Minister of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M.Swaminathan to build 28,000 houses for resettled families in Northern and Eastern Provinces, Cabinet Office said.

The proposal of constructing 28,000 housing units at a cost of Rs 1,280,000/- per each in Northern and Eastern Province also approved three companies for the implementation. ND Enterproses (India) , Yapka Development (Pvt.) Ltd (Sri Lanka) and Arohedium (Pvt) Ltd (Sri Lanka) are the three companies selected by the ministry.

PM in India for three day official visit

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe left for India today on a three-day official visit, Prime Minister's Office said. During his visit, Premier Wickremesinghe is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Ministers of BJP government in New Delhi.

Sources said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is also expected to brief Indian Defence authorities over recent media reports that suggested an Indian intelligence agency is behind an assassination plot against President Maithripala Sirisena. Both countries have denied such reports.

French Agency for Development (AFD) provides Euro 30 million for electricity improvement projects

The French Agency for Development (AFD) came forward to provide Euro 30 million for the Implementation of Green Power Development and Energy Efficiency Improvement Investment Program – Tranche 2, a statement from Department of External Resources said.  

It is expected to implement the tranche 2 of the Green Power Development and Energy Efficiency Improvement Investment Program which will include three major components; i.e. (i) Transmission infrastructure enhancement; (ii) Efficiency improvement of medium voltage network and (iii) demand side management improvement for energy efficiency through development of a smart grid and metering pilot subproject. AFD has already provided financing of Euro 22 million for the implementation of Tranche 1 of the Programme.

Total cost of this project is estimated at US$ 260 million. Asian Development Bank has already provided USD 150 million loan to finance a part of the project. French Agency for Development (AFD) will provide Euro 30 million loan to finance a part of the total project cost and the balance will be borne by the Ceylon Electricity Board.

Dr. R H S Samaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and Mr Martin Parent, Country Director of AFD Sri Lanka Resident Mission on behalf of AFD, signed a Credit Facility Agreement relevant to the above loan yesterday at the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.


Colombo Air Symposium commenced

The Colombo Air Symposium (CAS), a forum that provides an even ground for the stakeholders to blueprint pragmatic air power solutions for the issues emerging in the global, regional and national levels, was commenced under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Eagles’ Lakeside Banquet & Convention Hall in Attidiya, today.

The CAS 2018 is themed as “Air Strategy in Substantiating the Geo-strategic Importance of Sri Lanka”, highlighting the unique geographical location and the historical role the island has played throughout a history that shaped the world we see today, and this was organized for the fourth consecutive time as one of the most prominent forums of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The foreign and local military experts, diplomats, intellectuals and air power experts will share the knowledge and experiences throughout the two day long sessions. The Colombo Air Symposium 2018 has a wider international participation of 25 countries and presents twelve researches comprising of six international representations from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, USA, five local researches including four representations from the tri-forces of Sri Lanka and two research papers from local think tanks, confirming the fulfillment of greater objectives in the time to come.

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, State Minister Ruwan Wijeywardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne, and the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, and other sectional heads of Security Forces were gathered in the inaugural ceremony of the event.

Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference – 2018 to begin on Oct 22 in Colombo

Galle Dialogue 2018; the International Maritime Conference organized by the Sri Lanka Navy under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, is all set to begin in Colombo on October 22, Navy announced. This International Maritime Conference is sequentially the 9th edition of this mega event which is scheduled to be held over two days (22nd and 23rd October) at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, under the theme ‘Synergizing for Collaborative Maritime Management’.

World-wide maritime partners from 50 countries and 17 international organizations are expected to make their presence in this year’s event at the invitation of the Sri Lanka Navy. The President, His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena who is the Chief Guest of the conference will also deliver the opening address. Galle Dialogue 2018 expects to attract an audience of 140 foreign participants, including 03 navy chiefs. Apart from that, some of the local and foreign distinguished scholars will present their papers in line with the conference theme.

The ocean has an abundance of resources which could offer a wide range of opportunities for prosperity. As such, an international maritime conference of this magnitude would provide a general forum for discussion of proper utilization of aforementioned resources, exploitation of them in the best interest of every nation, abundance of resources and their impact on regional security, resources for the economic sustainability, its contribution to the world peace and the significance of strengthening bilateral and multilateral partnerships among countries.

Further, this unique dialogue organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Defence will be an ideal platform to discuss common issues pertinent to the navies around the world and share their hard-earned experience among each other. Sri Lanka Navy has given a top priority to the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference as it has become a forum for discourses of intellectual, regional and global significance over the years.

Under the visionary leadership of President an added impetus and confidence have received to conduct this conference for the 9th consecutive year and Sri Lanka Navy under the able guidance of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe cruise full steam ahead whilst underlining the importance of addressing the contemporary issues mushroomed in the maritime fraternity.

World’s second largest airplane leaves for Indonesia after Mattala touchdown

The world's second largest airplane AN 124 which touched down at the Mattala airport at 12:20 yesterday (Oct 17) left for Indonesia at 3:30 pm today.

The plane which was heading towards Indonesia after having commenced its journey from the Prince Sultan airport in Saudi Arabia stopped at the Mattala airport to refill its fuel tank.

Johnston Fernando lashes out at FCID and prisons officials

Former Minister Johnston Fernando addressing a media briefing that was attended by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has alleged that he was harassed by prison officials during imprisonment. 

He also added that the other two individuals including former Sathosa chairman, Nalin Fernando, who were arrested in the case were stripped naked during a search in front of 140 inmates in prison. He further alleged that the prison officials who carried out the search were handpicked by Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale.

Mr  Fernando said he would  file a case against the FCID officials for accusing him of false charges which led to his imprisonment for over 74 days.

The press briefing was also attended by MP Wimal Weeranwansa, Former Minister Mahindanda Aluthgamage, and Namal Rajapaksa.

47-year old man arrested over illegal possession of firearms

Police have arrested a 47-year old man today (Oct 18) over the possession of firearms without a valid license in Kegalle.

The arrest was made following a tip off received by IGP Pujith Jaysaundara.

The suspect has been identified as Mohamed Imtiyas Cader and a resident of Kegalle. 

The Organized Crimes Division is conducting further investigations into this regard. 



Minister Samaraweera reveals oil pricing formula

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera revealed the oil pricing formula at a press briefing held today.

The break down of the formula is as follows :

The price of oil, acording to the minister, is obtained by a formula  V i + Vii + V iii + V iv

V i  = Cost incurred in Singaporean Platt's price when purchasing a barrel of oil and the exchange rate of the rupee

V ii = Production cost

V iii = Adminsitrative expenses

V iv = Cost incurred as taxes