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Zahran’s wife granted bail after four years

Fathima Hadiya, wife of Easter Sunday attack mastermind Zahran Hashim, has been released on conditional bail bu Kalmunai High Court.

Abdul Cader Fathima Hadiya has been released after being in remand custody for a period of four years since the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

Hadiya was arrested after the blast that took place in Saindamarudu days after the Easter Sunday terror attacks in April 2019.

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Sagala's mechanized beach cleanup initiative begins at Crow Island beach

The President's Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser on National Security officially launched a program today (12) aimed at reducing the environmental damage caused to the coast of Sri Lanka by the distressed X-Press Pearl vessel which caught fire.

The program also involves using machinery to remove garbage from the affected coast and the launch took place at the Crow Island beach in Mattakkuliya.

The program is jointly implemented by the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Department of Coast Conservation, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Central Environmental Authority, Environmental Police, Sri Lanka Navy, and Tudawe Brothers Private Limited.

Expressing his views on this occasion, Ratnayaka said that Sri Lanka attracts tourists because of its beautiful beaches, environment, and cultural heritage. Therefore, he emphasized that it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to the tourism industry by protecting the coast as well as protecting the environment for the next generation.

Ratnayaka added that he intends to continue implementing this coastal conservation program in a sustainable manner and that he anticipates receiving support from non-governmental organizations and resource persons in doing so.

The event was attended by Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Authority Asela B. Rekawa, Chairman of the Clean Ocean Force Organization Jerome Fernando and other officials.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Malaysia agrees to provide jobs for 100,000 Sri Lankans

The Malaysian government has agreed to provide employment for around 100,000 Sri Lankans, said foreign employment promotion state minister Jagath Pushpakumara.

The state minister was in Malaysia at the invitation of the home affairs minister of that country Saifudeen Ismail last week.

During the talks, minister Ismail has promised to grant opportunities to Sri Lanka as well on security services which are given exclusively to Nepal at present.

Pushpakumara said he also had discussions with Malaysian parliament speaker Johari Bin Abdul on bilateral economic partnership and foreign employment matters.

Job opportunities for Sri Lankans also came up during his talks with human resources minister Tuan Sivakumar.

Sri Lankan high commissioner Sumangala Dias also participated in these talks.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Special gazettes issued on Local Govt election date

The Returning Officers have issued new special gazette notifications, dated 08 March 2023, announcing a fresh date for the Local Government polls.

In a press release, the Election Commission mentioned that the Returning Officers have declared April 25, 2023 as the new date to hold the polls.


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Case against Ravi K. cannot proceed; High Court orders AG to decide

The Colombo High Court today (15) ordered the attorney general to decide the course of action against former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake with regard to the Central Bank bond issue.

A HC panel comprising judges Damith Totawatte, Manjula Tilakaratne and Mohamed Irshadeen instructed the AG to inform the court of his decision at the next hearing on April 27.

Panel chairman Totawatte noted the charges against Karunanayake cannot proceed in view of a previous ruling by the Court of Appeal, which was brought to the court’s notice by Karunanayake’s lawyer Shavindra Fernando.

President’s counsel Fernando submitted a copy of the appellate court’s verdict, which was examined by judges Totawatte and Tilakaratne, with both deciding the matter was up to the AG to decide.

Additional solicitor general Priyantha Nawana, who represents the AG, told the court that no decision has been taken yet to appeal that ruling.

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Sri Lanka to announce debt restructuring strategy in April - Reuters

Sri Lanka aims to announce a debt-restructuring strategy in April and step up talks with commercial creditors ahead of an International Monetary Fund review of a bailout package in six months, the nation's central bank governor told Reuters.

The crisis-hit island has secured financing assurances from all its major bilateral creditors, including India and China, and so has set the stage for the IMF to give its final approval for a $2.9 billion, four-year bailout package on March 20, the multilateral lender said on Tuesday.

The bailout is the culmination of months of negotiations as Sri Lanka looks to emerge from its worst economic crisis in more than seven decades.

"When you see the staff level agreement published - that will contain our commitment to debt restructuring and that will also reveal medium-term debt targets for us to restore debt sustainability on a long-term basis," central bank Governor P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said on Thursday.

"So somewhere in April we will announce ... how we are going to meet those medium-to-long-term (debt) targets. That is the next step."

Weerasinghe said the country would expedite negotiations with commercial creditors and announce the debt restructuring strategy in consultation with them, before finalising the debt restructuring terms.

"We are trying to finalise this in about the next six months' time, so before the next (IMF) review will be completed," he said.

Sri Lanka would need to restore debt sustainability over a ten-year period as per the agreement with the IMF and the latter will provide a roadmap to bring down debt levels over that period, Weerasinghe said.

Currently, Sri Lanka has to repay about $6 billion annually until 2029, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament on Tuesday, but Weerasinghe said this amount will be reduced post-debt restructuring.

The central bank has also been gradually topping up reserves, with useable dollars reaching about $600 million at the end of last month - the highest in a year. Sri Lanka also has a $1.5 billion swap arrangement with China but that can only be used if domestic reserves support three months of imports.

"If we build up reserves we may be able to access the (China) swap, until then we don't mind keeping it in our books. If we meet the conditions of three months of reserves, we can use it."

Weerasinghe also said that inflation is likely to come down faster than earlier forecast, even by the central bank. Rising prices have been a key concern with the latest print in February showing inflation had eased, but remained above 50%.

"Earlier my expectation was for 4% to 6% inflation somewhere in December. I would now expect it in early Q4 rather than the end, the process will move faster, from about end October," he said.

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NO leave for railways workers

Leave of all employees of Sri Lanka Railways cancelled with immediate effect, said the Superintendent of Sri Lanka Railway on Tuesday (14) afternoon.

The announcement came after the Locomotive Operating Engineers' Association of Sri Lanka Railways declared a 24-hour strike.

The strike will come into effect at midnight on Tuesday (14).

The Locomotive Operating Engineers' Association decided to go on strike in support of the mass strike that will launched by multiple trade unions on Wednesday (15), against the governments unjust tax policy, and several other social issues.

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Sathosa reduces prices of seven grocery items

Lanka Sathosa has reduced the prices of seven grocery items with effect from Thursday (9).

One kilogram of Dried Chili has been reduced by Rs. 75/- to Rs. 1,500/-.

One kilogram of Dhal will now be sold for Rs. 339/-, a reduction of Rs. 19/-.

One kilogram of Wheat Flour was reduced by Rs. 15/- to Rs. 230/-.

One kilogram of White Sugar was reduced by Rs. 11/- to Rs. 218/-.

One kilogram of Local Red Kekulu Rice will be sold for Rs. 155/-, a reduction of Rs. 9/-.

One kilogram of Local White Nadu Rice will be sold for Rs. 188/-, a reduction of Rs. 7/-.

One kilogram of Big Onions will now be sold for Rs. 129/-, a drop of Rs. 6/- from the previous price.

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Election Commission sends written request to Finance Minister on funds for polls

The Election Commission of Sri Lanka has made a written request to the Minister of Finance that the funds required to hold the 2023 Local Government (LG) election be released.

Accordingly, the relevant request was sent to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies, Chairman of the Election Commission Attorney-at-Law Nimal G Punchihewa confirmed.

This move comes shortly after the Commission was informed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance that no direct decisions pertaining to the release of funds can be made without the approval of the Minister.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Ministry also informed the Commission yesterday (11 March) that their request pertaining to the funds has been forwarded to the Finance Minister.

However, the Government Printer Gangani Liyanage has claimed that the Department of Government Printing is unable to commence the printing of ballot papers for the upcoming election, as they are yet to receive the required funds.

Thus, she noted that they are unable to hand over the postal ballot papers to the relevant post offices before 20 March owing to the current situation.

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Sri Lankan rupee continues to appreciate against USD

The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) appreciated further against the US dollar (USD) today (March 08).

Accordingly, the buying rate of the US Dollar has reached Rs.313.77 while the selling rate was recorded at Rs.331.05.

At the same time, the Middle Rate of the USD/ LKR SPOT Exchange Rate was recorded at Rs. 326.63.

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HQI, media criticized over ‘infant abandoned in train’ questioning

The IGP has ordered an inquiry against the Bandarawela HQI for allowing the media to record the questioning of a young woman suspected of having abandoned her infant in a train lavatory.

Action against the chief inspector and the female officers present at the interrogation is to be based on a report expected within three days.

The HQI questioned the woman in the presence of three female officers, with the proceedings videoed with their knowledge and released to the media later.

Three months ago, the police chief instructed that investigations on women and children should ensure safeguarding their identities and interests.

Police intelligence launched a probe into the infant that was left abandoned in a train lavatory at Colombo Fort railway station on Friday (10).

The culprits were identified within half an hour and the woman was traced from Bandarawela on the following day.

Meanwhile, the media is coming under heavy criticism over the manner of its reporting of the incident.

A social media activist, Manohari Hewawasam took to facebook and shamed the media for destroying the future of two young people.


Another activist Wasantha Manthilaka blamed the HQI as the main culprit.


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Bread price reduced

The Bakery Owners’ Association has decided to reduce the price of a loaf of bread weighing 450 grams.

Thereby, the price of a 450g loaf of bread will be slashed by Rs. 10 with effect from today (March 08).

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