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Social activist ‘Ratta’ granted bail

Social activist and YouTuber Rathindu Senaratne, popularly known as ‘Ratta’, has been granted bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

He was arrested by officers of the Colombo Crimes Division - Colombo Central on Monday (Aug 01), for allegedly violating a court order during a protest at Bank of Ceylon Mawatha in Colombo on 21 May.

Senaratne had arrived at the CCD, earlier on Monday, to record a statement regarding the protest staged near the Polduwa Junction on July 13.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Fort Magistrate has also issued an order barring three persons including social activist Rathindu Senaratne from traveling overseas.

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President visits Kandy

President Ranil Wickramasinghe visited the historic Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy this morning (30) and engaged in several religious activities.

This marks the first time that the President visited the Dalada Maligawa after assuming Presidency.

President also took steps to visit the Chief Prelates of the Malwathu-Asgiri Sects today.

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President calls on public to obtain COVID vaccine

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has requested citizens to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine in the face of rising cases.

Issuing a special statement, the President pointed out that the Ministry of Health has issued health guidelines with regard to COVID-19, and requested the public to follow the health regulations properly, emphasizing that the spread of COVID-19 in the country should not be allowed again.

He further stated that 1,731 COVID-19 patients were reported in April, with 26 COVID-19 deaths. This situation decreased to 472 patients in May, with 13 deaths, and decreased further in June, with 283 patients and 3 deaths.

However, in July, President says that the number of COVID-19 patients has increased to 1,616 with 35 deaths, and 28 of these 35 deaths occurred after July 18th.

While 17 million were vaccinated in the first round, it was reduced to 14 million in the second round and in the third round it was reduced to 8 million people.

The President said that only 22,623 people have been vaccinated in the 4th round, adding that people should be redirected for proper vaccination, with emphasis on Western Province.

"There are currently 8 million vaccines in Sri Lanka. This stock can be used till October. Those 8 million vaccines cannot be completed after October, and therefore, a part of the stock has to be given to another country. The vaccine was brought for you. Therefore, I request all those who have not received the vaccine to obtain the vaccine as soon as possible," he said.

President has also mentioned that the Ministry of Health has given its attention to the "Monkeypox" epidemic, which has not arrived in Sri Lanka as of yet.

However, President said that the first step has been taken to prevent the disease from coming to Sri Lanka and plans are being made to provide treatment if necessary.

"We all should think of public health and act accordingly. I request all parties not to give another chance to the COVID-19 pandemic in this country," he added.

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Man arrested for stealing President’s flag remanded

The man who stole the President’s official flag and used it as a bedsheet has been remanded until the 05th of August.

The suspect was produced before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court earlier today.

He was taken into custody after he surrendered to the Wellaweediya Police last morning.

On the 09th of July, people in large numbers thronged Colombo to take part in the mass demonstrations against the government over economic mismanagement and corruption.

As the demonstrations made strides, the protesters stormed the President’s House in Colombo among several other state buildings and continued to occupy the premises for several days.

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Saman Ratnapriya appointed DG Trade Unions to President

Trade union leader Saman Ratnapriya has been appointed as the Director General of Trade Unions to President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The President’s Media Division stated that the President has appointed him to this position under Article 41 (1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The relevant letter has been issued by the Secretary to the President, Saman Ekanayake.

Ratnapriya is the President of Government Nursing Officer’s Association.

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Sri Lanka’s economic crisis hinders World Bank funding

The World Bank Group is deeply concerned about the dire economic situation and its impact on the people of Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement, the World Bank noted that to date, nearly USD 160 million has been disbursed to meet urgent needs, while other ongoing projects also continue to support basic services, the delivery of medicine and medical supplies, school meals and tuition waivers.

“To help alleviate severe shortages of essential items such as medicines, cooking gas, fertilizer, meals for school children and cash transfers for poor and vulnerable households, we are repurposing resources under existing loans in our portfolio.

We are working closely with implementing agencies to establish robust controls and fiduciary oversight to ensure these resources reach the poorest and most vulnerable. We will continue to monitor this closely. We are also coordinating closely with other development partners to maximize the impact of our support for the people of Sri Lanka”, the statement read.

However, they noted that until an adequate macroeconomic policy framework is in place, the World Bank does not plan to offer new financing to Sri Lanka.

“This requires deep structural reforms that focus on economic stabilization, and also on addressing the root structural causes that created this crisis to ensure that Sri Lanka’s future recovery and development is resilient and inclusive”, they said in this regard.

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CPC lowers Lanka Auto Diesel by Rs.10 from today

After amending the fuel prices, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has taken measures to reduce the price of a litre of Lanka Auto Diesel by Rs. 10 with effect from 10.00 pm today.

Accordingly, the new retail price of a litre of Lanka Auto Diesel will be Rs. 430.

Meanwhile, there will be no changes in the prices of petrol, kerosene and other diesel varieties.

The retail price of a litre of Lanka Petrol 92 Octane is Rs.450, Lanka Petrol 95 Octane Euro 4 is Rs.540, Lanka Super Diesel 4 Star Euro 4 is Rs.510 and Lanka Kerosene is sold Rs.87.

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Pathum Kerner arrested by CCD

Social media activist Pathum Kerner has been arrested in connection with the unruly incidents reported at the entry road to the parliament near Polduwa Junction earlier this month.

Kerner was taken into custody by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD).

According to the police, he had been summoned by the CCD on the 18th of July, however, he had informed via his attorney that he is unable to appear before the CCD citing ill-health.

Reporterly, Kerner had assembled people to the Polduwa Junction on the 13th of July and breached the barricades set up for the security of the parliament.

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Litro Gas price to be reduced

Chairman of Litro Gas informs that the price of domestic gas will be reduced from 5 August.

Speaking to the media today (1), he said that the gas price in the global market is expected to be reduced by 5 August. In line with this, the prices of Litro domestic gas cylinders will also be reduced.

He hinted that gas prices will be reduced by more than the recent increase.

“We will reduce the price by more than the last increase. We increased it by around Rs. 50. But we will definitely reduce it by a lot more.”

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US – SL relations can flourish in a Sri Lanka that respects Human Rights – US Ambassador

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie J. Chung called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe today (27), at the President's Office.

In a tweet, the Ambassador said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe takes office at a time when Sri Lanka stands at a crossroads.

She said they discussed how Sri Lanka arrived at this point of economic & political crisis, and how both sides can work together to navigate toward a brighter future for all.

She further tweeted "Our countries and our people have been friends and partners for more than 70 years, relationships that will flourish in a Sri Lanka that embraces good governance, respects human rights, and listens to the aspirations of its people.".

The President's Media Division in a statement said that the discussions were centered around strengthening ties between the country and taking forward relations, and the US Ambassador had assured support for the government's future endeavors.

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Patali Champika says no invitation to form all-party govt

MP Patali Champika Ranawaka says that they have not received an invitation to join an all-party government.

The former minister stated this while speaking to the media after attending an event held at the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo.

Asked why they are still holding back despite being invited to join an all-party government, he said that in the letter sent by the President, he has not invited to join an all-party government.

“In this letter, he has asked for our opinion on a constitutional amendment based on the 19th amendment and the oversight committee to be created before the parliament. We will provide answers to that,” he said.

“He has not invited to form an all-party government,” Ranawaka said, referring to the President’s letter.

He said the President has sought their opinion on the aforementioned two matters for a common programme.

The parliamentarian said they hope that President will present the Throne Speech and present his views on the economic and political program and the democratic programme that he is going to implement.

Trust in the government will not build under the ongoing programme, he said.

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Former President Rajapaksa’s Singapore visit pass extended by 14 Days

The Singapore government has issued a new visa to former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, allowing him to stay in the country for another 14 days till August 14, a media report said on Wednesday.

The report on the extension of Rajapaksa’s visit pass came a day after Sri Lanka’s Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said that the ex-president was not hiding and is expected to return to the island nation from Singapore.

Rajapaksa arrived in Singapore on July 14 on a private visit from the Maldives after he fled his country to escape a popular uprising against his government’s economic mismanagement. He first fled to the Maldives on July 13 and from there he proceeded to Singapore the next day.

Rajapaksa has been issued a new visa, extending his stay here till August 11. His visit pass has been extended by 14 days, The Straits Times reported.

After Rajapaksa landed in Singapore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here confirmed that he had been allowed entry on a private visit. The ministry stressed that the ex-president had not asked for asylum.

Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum, the spokesman had said.

The former President was issued a 14-day visit pass when he arrived at Changi Airport on a Saudia flight from the Maldives on July 14.

He initially stayed at a hotel in the city centre, but is believed to have moved to a private residence, according to the report. He has not been seen in public in Singapore.

When asked about Rajapaksa at a weekly Cabinet media briefing, Cabinet Spokesman Gunawardena told reporters on Tuesday that the former president was not in hiding and he is expected to return from Singapore.

Gunawardena, who is also the Minister for Transport and Highways and Mass Media, said he does not believe the former president fled the country, and is in hiding.

He, however, did not offer any other details of Rajapaksa’s possible return.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Wednesday elected Ranil Wickremesinghe, an ally of Rajapaksa, as the successor to Rajapaksa, who resigned after reaching Singapore. It was the first time in 44 years that Sri Lanka’s Parliament directly elected a president.

Rajapaksa, 73, fled Sri Lanka after the July 9 uprising when people broke into the President’s House after months of public protests against him for mishandling the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948.

A massive protest on July 13 attempted to break into the parliamentary complex in continuation with the July 9 popular uprising, forcing then-president Rajapaksa to leave the country to the Maldives and then to Singapore.

On July 9, anti-government protesters occupied the official residence of Rajapaksa and the private home of Wickremesinghe. The mob also torched the private residence of Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over the worst economic crisis and many blame the former government led by Rajapaksa and his family for mishandling the island nation’s economy. The government declared bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honour its international debt.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.

Source: NDTV

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