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Last updateThu, 13 Sep 2018 10am

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WB approves $75m to strengthen SL’s Social Safety Net Program

The World Bank Board has approved a 75 million dollar credit from the International Development Association to support Sri Lanka’s main welfare programs by developing an integrated system to better manage the selection, administration, and payments to beneficiaries of the programs. The project will contribute to improving the equity, efficiency and transparency of the social safety net.

The Social Safety Nets Project, to be implemented by the Ministry of Finance, will assist the government to develop a single registry of citizens containing information on family structure and economic characteristics. The Welfare Benefits Board, set up to manage the selection and payment of welfare beneficiaries, will develop and apply new selection criteria based on data in the registry. This will make the identification process fairer and more transparent, and ensure that the benefits reach the intended households. The project will also strengthen the government’s capacity to monitor and improve welfare programs.

Tender procedure of the government will be amended.

Minister Rajitha Senarathne said the current tender procedure of the Government will be changed from January 2017, in order to accelerate the process. Minister Senarathne added that it currently takes more than nine months to obtain equipment required by the Health Ministry when state health institutions are in need of the equipment sooner.

He pointed out that this issue was brought to the Cabinet Minister’s notice. The Minister made these comments at a ceremony at Castle Street Maternity Hospital, yesterday.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith requests to celebrate Christmas without giving priority to unwarranted decorations.

The President of Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops Chamber His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith says the Christmas will be meaningful when giving less priority to unwarranted decorations, ensuring energy saving, reducing food waste and protecting the environment. He highlighted that the church would not accept any activity that would result aforementioned bad consequences.

He also said that a wrong idea has been established that Christmas is an event where entertainment is given priority. It is not a wrong thing to entertain the Christmas. The Cardinal said that but the event should not be used to fulfill petty consumerist intentions. He was speaking at a media briefing held at the Arch Bishop House in Colombo yesterday. Meanwhile, the catholic people in the country are getting ready to celebrate Christmas islandwide.

The Arch Bishop said that the large sum of money that is used for unwarranted decorations can be diverted to the poor people who are living in dire conditions. He also highlighted that the catholic church is not connected to any big decorations is being done in the Colombo city. The Cardinal also said that no encouragement will be given to such activities.

The Prime Minister says although the previous government constructed a grand presidential palace in the North, the present government is seriously involved in establishing new industrial projects in the North and East to provide job opportunities to the y

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe says effective measures have been taken to rebuild the houses in the North and East according to the requirement of the people in those areas. The main objective of this programme is to fulfill the basic requirements of the affected people in the north and east. Mr. Wickremasinghe made these remarks while addressing the Parliament today.
He further said more funds have been allocated for the development of north and east. 80 percent of housing constructions have been completed in those areas. This showcases a remarkable improvement in the day to day life of northern people when compared to the year 2009.
Prime Minister also stated although the previous government constructed a grand presidential palace in the North, the present government is seriously involved in establishing new industrial projects in the North and East to provide job opportunities to the youth community. 
Mr. Wickremasinghe also stated that government is ready to discuss the resettlement programme in detail with the members provided if there are any shortcomings in the process. Meanwhile, a special housing scheme had already been commenced for the benefit of estate workers. 
Mr. Wickremasinghe also emphasized the importance of establishing new ventures and projects to provide many job opportunities to the youth community. 
Today is the 15th day of committee stage debate of the budget. Votes on Ministries of Fisheries, Aquatic Resource Development, Prisons Reform, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Cultural Affairs were passed in Parliament. 

SLFP Youth Front President says the joint opposition members are involved in mud slinging campaigns to gain petty political advantage.

SLFP Youth Front President Shantha Bandara says the joint opposition members are involved in mud slinging campaigns to gain petty political advantage. Mr. Bandara made these remarks at a media conference held at SLFP headquarters this morning. He further said SLFP is marching forward with confidence under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena.

He also said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and parliamentarian Chamal Rajapaksa are also contributing to the party at the advisory capacity. But the joint opposition members are resorting to some mud slinging campaigns to create problems in the country. The common public should not leave any room for these political opportunists.

The national anti corruption forum 2016 will be held on the 9th of this month in Colombo.

The national anti corruption forum 2016 will be held on the 9th of this month in Colombo. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe will participate as the chief guests at this function. This ceremony is organized to commemorate the international anti corruption day. The Ministry of Law and Order and Southern Development and Bribery Commission have jointly organized this event. The Presidential Secretary 
P.B. Abeykoon revealed this information at a media conference held in Colombo today. 

The President of Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops Chamber Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith emphasizes the importance building the family concept in the country.

The President of Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops Chamber Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith emphasizes the importance building the family concept in the country. His Eminence further said the country can be developed in real sense through strengthening the family values.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith made these remarks at the conference of Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops Chamber today. This conference is organized once in four years. Representatives from 27 countries participated at this conference. The conference focused on family issues and effective adaptations to solve family disputes.

President condoles over the demise of CM of Tamil Nadu

President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed his condolences over the demise of Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa Jayaram. In a twitter message he has pointed out that she was a leader, dearly loved by her people.

Final rites of Jayalalitha Jayaram to be held this evening

Jayalalitha Jayaram's body, draped in the Indian flag, is on display at the Rajaji hall in Chennai. The funeral scheduled to be held at Marnia beach in Tamil Nadu at 4:30 pm, is expected to be attended by several Chief Ministers and political leaders.

Meanwhile, thousands of mourners are flocking to pay their respects to former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Indian news reports say public vent their anger at police personnel as they are made to wait for longer time, while VIPs are allowed inside the Rajaji Hall premises to pay their respects. Some had even tried to break open the barricade and fences.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Chennai today to pay floral tributes to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. In a series of tweets last night, the Prime Minister, who enjoyed a good personal equation with the late leader, had said that he was "deeply saddened at the passing away of Selvi Jayalalithaa."

Meanwhile, the Indian government has declared one-day national mourning for Jayalalithaa's demise.
In a statement, the Centre said the National Flag will be flown in half mast and no ceremonial functions will be organized. The governments of Kerala and Bihar have also announced one-day State mourning as a mark of respect to the late Chief Minister. Tamil Nadu will be observing seven-day mourning.

Meanwhile, both the Houses of Indian Parliament have been adjourned till 11 a.m. tomorrow as a mark of respect for former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram.
The Centre has declared one-day national mourning for Jayalalithaa's demise.

Meanwhile, Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth has condoled
the death Jayalalithaa Jayaram, describing her as a
"brave daughter" whom the country had lost. Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan also expressed grief over the death of the late Chief Minister. In a twitter message Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan said he was sad to hear the passing away of Jayalalithaaji and added may her soul rest in peace.

Scores of Tamil cinema actors including Parthiban, Jeyam Ravi, Trisha Krishnan, Shruti Haasan and director Gautam Vasudev Menon condoled death of Jayalalithaa, who had her roots in the film industry as a famous yesteryear actor.

Meanwhile, Senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam has sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He has also been elected the leader of the Legislature Party. At a solemn ceremony in the Raj Bhavan, Panneerselvam was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vidyasagar Rao. This was his third swearing-in as Chief Minister. All 31 members of the outgoing Ministry were sworn in along with him.

As Jayalalithaa’s trusted man, Panneerselvam had stepped into her shoes for two brief periods, during 2001 to 2002 and 2014 to 2015,after she was unseated by the courts.

Electric trains to be introduced by year 2020

Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Services says plans are underway to introduce an electric train service by year 2020, marking another step forward in Sri Lankan railways. This was revealed at a special technical workshop held in Colombo today, between the relevant parties involved in the process. The Asian Development Board has agreed to release a grant under a concessionary basis for the project. It has been planned after considering the passenger requirements by year 2035.

Under the 1st phase an electric train service will be introduced from Veyangoda to Panadura, Veyangoda to Polgahawela and Ragama to Negombo. Attention has also been focused on commencing an electric train service along the Kelani Valley railway track from Maradana to Homagama.

The railway track will be renovated allowing the trains to travel at a speed of 100 kilo meters per hour. Establishing of signals posts, introducing an automated brake system for trains and building four new train stations will also be carried out. Furthermore 3 railway tracks will be built from Colombo Fort to Panadura while four railway tracks are to be built from Maradana to Ragama and two from Maradana to Homagama.

Planning and designing activities of the project will commence next year. The ministry of Transport hopes to commence construction by December next year. Director of the project Palitha Samarasinghe says the total estimated cost for the project is 625 million US dollars.