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Parinda Ranasinghe (Jnr.) To Become Acting AG

Senior Additional Solicitor General Parinda Ranasinghe (Junior) said that he will be sworn in as Acting Attorney General on Monday(01).

Parinda Ranasinghe is the son of former Chief Justice Parinda Ranasinghe.

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Keheliya and seven others further remanded

Former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has been further remanded over the purported importation of inferior Immune Globulin vaccines.

Keheliya Rambukwella was further remanded until 12 July 2024 by the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today, along with a few other suspects implicated in the case.

The suspects were arrested and remanded after the Criminal Investigations Department launched an investigation into allegations that a pharmaceutical company had imported 22,500 vials of substandard Immune Globulin vaccines by creating forged documents with the assistance of the two senior state officials.

Investigations revealed that financial fraud of Rs. 130 million had occurred via the imports of the said substandard medicine, under the tenure of Keheliya Rambukwella as Health Minister.

Based on the investigations, several Health Ministry officials, including Keheliya Rambukwella, were arrested and remanded.

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17 B USD gain from debt repayment plan, says Ali Sabry

Sri Lanka benefits from a debt repayment sustainability plan, gaining an advantage of USD 17 billion- Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry Minister of Foreign Affairs and President’s Counsel Ali Sabri, stated that the successful debt sustainability process with bilateral creditors will provide Sri Lanka with an advantage of approximately US $ 17 billion.

The minister also stated that this situation will facilitate successful negotiations regarding international sovereign debts.

He was speaking to the media yesterday (28) at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) under the theme “Collective Path to a Stable Country.”

The Minister further commented,

“On April 12, 2022, Sri Lanka decided to temporarily suspend the payment of a portion of its foreign debt. At that time, some parties predicted that the value of the rupee would surge to 600, 700, or even 1000 against the dollar. However, we managed to control the situation.

Following an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we were instructed to restructure the debt. Lazard was appointed as our financial advisor, and Clifford Chance as our legal advisor for this process.

Initially, we focused on restructuring domestic debt while continuing to meet our obligations to multilateral organizations.

We have now successfully completed debt restructuring with bilateral creditor countries. India, Japan, and France formed an Official Creditor Committee (OCC) for managing bilateral debt and we also held talks with China. As a result of these efforts, Sri Lanka has achieved a sustainable debt repayment situation, gaining an advantage of approximately US $ 17 billion and numerous other benefits.

Furthermore, this achievement is expected to facilitate successful negotiations with international sovereign bond holders. Discussions on this matter are currently on-going.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the comprehensive debt restructuring must adhere to a specific timeline set by the International Monetary Fund. The total debt burden should be reduced to 95% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the current interest payments on foreign loans should be limited to 4.5% of the GDP.

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Hirunika Premachandra Sentenced to 3 Years of Rigorous Imprisonment

Former MP Hirunika Premachandra was sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment on Friday (28).

Colombo High Court Judge Amal Ranaraja issued the order over a case filed against Hirunika Premachandra, who was found guilty of 18 charges including aiding and abetting the kidnapping of a young man who was working in a store in Dematagoda in 2015.

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Sri Lanka’s Economy Without Development Resembles Kenya’s Current Situation

President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted Kenya’s current struggle with a severe economic crisis and incidents of violence, emphasizing the crucial need for economic preparedness in all nations. Speaking at the Presidential Environment Awards ceremony at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo today (28), he underscored that Sri Lanka’s economic stability has effectively prevented comparable challenges within the country.

Addressing the gathering, President Wickremesinghe elaborated on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy stance to advocate globally for the complete cancellation of debts owed by African countries lacking economic resilience to confront climate change. He emphasized that while Sri Lanka does not anticipate such debt relief for itself, the country is capable of managing its debts effectively and progressing forward.

Additionally, the President expressed Sri Lanka’s readiness to assume regional leadership in addressing climate change and highlighted the nation’s significant role within the international community.

The Presidential Environment Awards, organized annually by the Central Environment Authority, honours industries, business institutions, and individuals for their outstanding contributions to environmental conservation. This year, 124 recipients received gold, silver, bronze medals and special awards across various sectors including industries, businesses, project organizations, media organizations, and society.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe participated in presenting the gold awards, accompanied by the Chairman of Central Environment Authority (CEA) Venura Fernando and Director General Hemantha Jayasinghe, who presented a special souvenir to the President. Following the award ceremony, President Wickremesinghe also posed for a group photo with the awardees.

The President further elaborated,

I commend the Central Environment Authority for organizing another successful ceremony for Presidential Environment Awards this year. Today, we celebrate individuals who have made significant contributions to environmental conservation over the past year.

Established in 1981 under the leadership of Mr. Wijedasa, then Secretary to Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa, the Central Environment Authority originally focused solely on environmental concerns. Prior to its establishment, environmental issues had been largely neglected in the previous decade. It was Prime Minister Premadasa’s initiative that garnered cabinet support for the creation of this authority, which initially concentrated on addressing environmental threats.

Today, the environmental discourse has evolved beyond traditional concerns to encompass climate change, which has now become a pressing global issue with significant economic implications. This broader scope means that environmental and climate issues now impact every facet of society.

Given these developments, it is imperative to revisit the 1981 environmental law. I have instructed the secretary to propose amendments to align with global standards, as environmental authorities worldwide have updated their laws accordingly. Sri Lanka is also advancing towards enacting a dedicated climate change law, alongside the establishment of a Climate Change Centre and the appointment of a consultant to spearhead these efforts.

Additionally, we have undertaken significant international efforts to combat climate change. This includes initiating the International University on Climate Change and preparing related legislation. Our activities are not confined to these actions; we have advanced further. Achieving net zero carbon emissions has been integrated into the national economic policy.

We are dedicated to fostering a digital and green economy. In line with this, we have launched an agricultural modernization program, aiming to reach our objectives by 2048. While the global community has generally set 2050 as the target year for these goals, we are determined to achieve them earlier.

To support this initiative, green financing and green bonds have been incorporated into our economic program. We are committed to meeting these objectives, and our efforts are focused on addressing the global climate challenges.

Addressing climate changes requires a collaborative effort from all countries; no single nation can tackle it alone. However, despite initiating this program, some Western countries have distanced themselves from it. For example, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Boris Johnson, announced the Glasgow Declaration, but now the British government is attempting to withdraw from it. The United States’ stance on this issue will become clearer after the November elections.

Our focus should be on advancing towards this goal, which demands substantial funding. Many countries in Africa and Asia are heavily indebted and have requested debt relief. While I did not support the call for debt relief in Asia, emphasizing that Sri Lanka’s debt issues can be managed independently, there has been a call for the complete abolition of debt relief for low-income countries in Africa.

Sri Lanka has taken the first step toward debt restructuring, moving us out of bankruptcy. Our next step is to implement the Economic Transformation Law to continue this progress. However, this process is challenging for countries like those in Africa, which require relief. At the Climate Change Conference, Sri Lanka proposed the complete cancellation of debts for African countries.

Adequate funding is crucial to address climate change, but necessary funds have yet to be secured. Meanwhile, Western countries have spent approximately USD100 billion on the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, with additional unknown expenditures from Russia. If this money had been allocated to African and other countries, it could have significantly transformed their situations.

War is futile. We call for an end to the conflict in Ukraine and the fighting in Gaza. Establish a Palestinian state within five years and ensure Israel’s security.

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy emphasizes advocating for the Global South. We urge an end to this war and assistance for African countries. Recent riots in Kenya, where around 20 people have been shot dead, highlight the consequences of economic instability. If we do not establish economic stability in Sri Lanka, we could face similar unrest.

Therefore, funds should be allocated to these countries, and Sri Lanka fully supports this initiative. However, Sri Lanka does not seek such aid for itself; we are managing our debt independently, utilizing our energy and knowledge. We must continue this path, transforming into a competitive, digital, and green economy. Let us advance on this journey with our own strength.

Minister of State for Provincial Councils, Local Government, and Environment Janaka Wakkumbura,

This award ceremony is organized annually to recognize the contributions of government institutions and citizens in protecting the environment of our country. Your efforts to reduce the environmental impact of industries are being acknowledged here, serving as an inspiration to others.

As the Minister of Environment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe is committed to creating a healthy ecosystem for future generations. With a goal to increase forest density by 2032, we launched a program to plant one million trees in conjunction with the last Environment Day.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has made significant efforts to revive industries that were on the brink of collapse, even amidst numerous challenges. His leadership has restored our country’s reputation on the global stage. It is now our collective responsibility to ensure that industrial development minimizes environmental damage.

Therefore, we anticipate that the number of applications for the Presidential Environment Awards in 2025 will surpass this year’s entries. This will allow us to recognize your efforts not only in building industries that strengthen our economy but also in protecting the environment.

State Minister for Trade and Environment Sathasivam Viyalendiran, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment B.K. Prabhath Chandrakeerthi, along with ambassadors, environmental scholars, government officials, and journalists, were present at the event.

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Chinese, Japanese, US ambassadors congratulate Sri Lanka

The ambassadors of China, Japan and the United States have congratulated Sri Lanka for having reached final agreement with main official bilateral creditors, making the end of debt restructuring negotiations.

Chinese ambassador Qi Zhenhong, who signed the government concessional loan agreement for Exim Bank, said on X that it is a great contribution to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring and congratulated the Sri Lankan people.

xiIn a tweet, US ambassador Julie J. Chung said, "We welcome the news of a final agreement on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and creditor nations, reached today on the sidelines of the Paris Forum 2024. This is a positive step forward in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and resilience, helping build more confidence. in Sri Lanka’s fiscal environment."

"The U.S. encourages Sri Lanka to continue the reform process, adopting transparent and sustainable changes that foster long-term prosperity and growth," Chung added. Japanese ambassador Katsuki Kotaro described this as a good opportunity for Sri Lanka to progress economically.julie34

The agreements reached are valued at a combined USD 10 billion.

Each creditor, including the OCC and China Exim Bank, agreed to extend maturity periods, initiate capital grace periods, and reduce interest rates significantly.

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Bus fares to reduce from July

Bus fares will be reduced by 5% from 01 July 2024, the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has announced.

President of the Association, Gemunu Wijeratne said that this will result in a Rs. 2 reduction in the minimum bus fare.

Addressing the media, he said, accordingly, the minimum bus fare will be reduced from Rs. 30 to Rs. 28.

The decision was taken during a meeting between the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association and Transport Ministry officials today.

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The President pays homage to the historic Dalada Maligawa and receives blessings

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of teachers being present in schools during school hours for the education of the nation’s children. He warned that if this commitment is not upheld in the future and school children are deprived of their education as a result, necessary measures will be taken to designate the teaching profession as an essential service.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned this during his visit to the Asgiri Maha Viharaya. The President received blessings from the Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayake Thero, the Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter. President Wickremesinghe also participated in a cordial conversation with the Maha Nayaka Thera.

The President emphasized that teachers and principals should be role models for children and prioritize their future. He highlighted the need to consider the impact on children when teachers participate in protests and strikes, stressing the importance of their ability to provide guidance and advice to students.

The President clarified that this crisis does not affect the entire teaching profession. He noted that information received indicates only certain politically aligned teachers are involved, attributing the damage to the entire profession to the actions of this specific group.

Highlighting that this situation is confined to Sinhalese schools, the President commended Tamil, Muslim, and private schools for ensuring uninterrupted education for children.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also mentioned that reports have indicated school guards are sending the children home, and he has directed the Inspector General of Police to enforce the law in response to these incidents.

This morning (27), President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the historic Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. During his visit, the President paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic and received blessings. Upon his arrival, he was warmly welcomed by the Chief Custodian, Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela.

The Maha Sangha recited Seth Pirith and blessed the President as he participated in religious ceremonies at the Dalada Maligawa. During his visit, the President inspected statues of a king and a queen crafted by artist Atula Herath using Artificial Intelligence technology at the Dalada Maligawa premises.

While at the historic Sri Dalada Maligawa premises, the President engaged in cordial conversation with the people present, inquiring about their well-being.

The President’s first stop in Kandy was at the Malwatu Maha Vihara, where he received blessings from the Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter, Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera. The President inquired about the Chief Prelate’s well-being and held a brief discussion.

This is President Wickremesinghe’s first visit to the Chief Prelates following his special statement yesterday. During this visit, he also presented the Mahanayakas with the Greater Kandy Urban Development Plan. In response to the Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera’s request to address the demands of protesting groups, the President assured that a formal system will be established to increase the salaries of government officials, ensuring no salary disparities prevail, starting in 2025.

The President highlighted that the Cabinet has focused on increasing the salaries of government officials and announced that a committee has been appointed to address this matter. He further commented:

“Upon assuming office as President, my priority was to visit here first. Following your guidance, we have stabilized the country and averted bankruptcy. Today, my foremost objective is to update you on these developments. We have successfully concluded two agreements and will proceed with foreign debt restructuring until 2032.

Teachers will be provided with the necessary means to increase their salaries again next year, and we have already communicated this to them. Before proceeding with the salary increments for teachers, we must also consider adjusting the salaries of other government officials. In 2022, teachers experienced salary increases ranging from LKR 3,000 to 17,000. On average, this equates to about six to seven thousand rupees. Additionally, this year they received an additional LKR 10,000 increase, resulting in total raises ranging from LKR 13,000 to 27,000 for teachers. Hence, the salaries of other government officials need to be deliberated upon accordingly.

Currently, Tamil and Muslim schools are operational, whereas only Sinhala schools engage in such trade union actions. This matter has garnered the Cabinet’s attention, leading to plans to implement a unified approach to increase government officials’ salaries starting from 2025. A committee has been tasked with studying and recommending appropriate measures in this regard.

Furthermore, under the Kandy city development plan, the administrative city is slated for relocation to Kundasale. Discussions are underway regarding the establishment of an Indian IIT University in Kandy, along with plans for a new building complex at Peradeniya University. Concurrently, initiatives such as the Aswasuma and Urumaya programs have been undertaken to provide relief to the population.”

Following this, the President proceeded to the Asgiri Maha Vihara and received blessings from the Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayaka Thera, the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter. President Wickremesinghe also engaged in a cordial conversation with the Chief Prelate.

President Wickremesinghe further added:

“The reconstruction of this nation cannot proceed solely through traditional political divisions. If we continue to operate along these lines, economic recovery within two years will remain unattainable. Various factions from all parliamentary parties have supported us in bringing the country to its current state, while segments of each party have also moved into opposition. Had the entire parliament collaborated with the government, our nation could have achieved far better outcomes.

I have extended an invitation to all parliamentarians to join the government’s economic revitalization program. Globally, political landscapes are evolving; major parties in nations like England, America, and France are fragmenting. Hence, the fragmentation of Sri Lanka’s main parties comes as no surprise.

We have successfully negotiated foreign debt restructuring agreements. Furthermore, the government has prioritized salary increases for teachers and other government officials.

Despite the presence of more than four government officials in villages, their economic impact remains limited. Despite the existence of institutions related to coconut production, Sri Lanka’s coconut yield has been declining. In contrast, Kerala has seen an increase in coconut production and is rapidly transitioning to an export-oriented economy. Despite the operation of Mahaweli zone offices and the Irrigation Department, the yield from the Mahaweli zone is only around three metric tons per hectare.

Over the past 50 years, countries like India and China have significantly benefited economically from the plantation industry. Historically, Sri Lanka had an economy based on tea, coconut, and rubber during colonial times. Following the introduction of an open economy in 1977, the garment industry became crucial in preventing further economic decline.

Efforts are underway to develop Gadaladenia, Lankatilakaya, and Ambakke into a tourism zone, with infrastructure development initiatives in progress. Plans include establishing a Buddhist cultural centre to attract a large number of tourists to the Kandy area. Tourists visiting the historic Dalada Maligawa, Udawatta Kale, and Victoria Dam will often spend several days in the Kandy area.

Under the Greater Kandy Urban Development Plan, efforts are underway to transform the Bogambara Prison area into a hotel complex. Additionally, plans include relocating the city’s administrative functions to Kundasale and establishing a technology zone in Digana to foster advanced technological development.

Discussions have been initiated to complete the Colombo-Mirigama section of the Kandy-Colombo Expressway with assistance from China, and the Kurunegala-Kandy section with assistance from Japan. We seek the support of the Mahanayaka Theras to ensure the success of our initiative to modernize agriculture in rural areas.”

The Anunayake Thera of Asgiri Chapter and the Chief Incumbent of the Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya, Venerable Murundeniye Dhammarathana Nayaka Thera, stated:

“We reflect on the events of the past two years. Before assuming office as President, you sought blessings from the Maha Sangha. At that time, our country faced significant challenges. Amid attempts to besiege and breach Parliament, you made decisive decisions that have led the country to its current state of stability.

Sri Lanka cannot thrive in isolation; collaboration with the international community is essential. You have a good understanding of that. Your adept negotiation with the International Monetary Fund to stabilize the country’s economy underscores this understanding. Your recent statement inspires hope for our nation’s future, and we offer our blessings. This is a pivotal moment that demands leadership, not testing.

The protests, driven by political motives ahead of upcoming elections, disregard the economic and financial realities of the country. In this context, the involvement of teachers undermines the dignity of the teaching profession and sets a negative example for children.

In a village, several government officials are present, such as those involved in coconut cultivation, where about four officers are assigned per village. However, their impact on both the village and the local economy warrants reassessment.”

Subsequently, President Wickremesinghe visited the Selvam Vinayagar Hindu Kovil in Katukele, Kandy, where Hindu Priest S. Krishnamurthy conducted religious ceremonies and blessed the President. Following this, the President proceeded to the Meera Makam Mosque, where he received blessings and held a brief discussion with Maulavi Dasheem Mohammad.

The event was attended by Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, State Ministers Lohan Ratwatte and Dilum Amunugama, Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena and Mahindananda Aluthgamage, as well as Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, among others.

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The President presided over the book launch by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

President Ranil Wickremesinghe presided over the launch of the book “The Army Commander’s Promise to the Nation – I will not leave this war to the next Army Commander,” authored by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, former Army Commander, Member of Parliament, renowned for his exceptional leadership in ending the thirty-year war. The event took place today (28) at Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Colombo.

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka presented the first copy of his book to the President. Additionally, a commemorative gift was given on behalf of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Acknowledging Sarath Fonseka’s service as a former Army Commander, the President highlighted his capability to continue contributing significantly to the country’s future, despite overcoming the challenges of war and politics.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his additional remarks, highlighted:

“Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka holds a unique position as the only Field Marshal in the Sri Lankan Army. Beyond triumphing in military challenges, he has also navigated political challenges beyond the battlefield.

I first became familiar with him through General Cecil Vaidyaratne during the previous conflict. I developed a close friendship with General Cecil Vaidyaratne, who recommended that Sarath Fonseka had a promising future and should be given opportunities. As the conflict commenced and even before, during my tenure in government, I closely observed the participation of various officers. Among them, Sarath Fonseka stood out significantly for his exceptional leadership qualities.

Especially following the failure of the Jaffna Jaya Sikuru operation, the army lost all its gains. During that period, I served as Prime Minister and faced the critical decision of who should oversee Jaffna’s transfer. By then, casualties had significantly depleted our forces. Some suggested that Jaffna required a division. At that juncture, I directed the army commander to entrust Jaffna to Sarath Fonseka. He took charge and persevered until stability was restored.

Starting from a setback, he led the war effort to eventual victory, making tough decisions along the way. War is not a game; it entails loss of human lives and destruction of property. His leadership was instrumental in guiding the army through those challenging times.

We confronted one of the most challenging wars globally, on-going in other nations. Afghanistan had initiated its conflict before ours. Mr. Sarath Fonseka fulfilled his responsibilities diligently.

He also encountered numerous challenges in civilian life. His character grew stronger during solitary moments and even imprisonment. Subsequently, during the Good Governance administration, we deliberated with President Maithripala Sirisena and decided to confer upon him the prestigious title of Field Marshal, which he deemed worthy and accepted.

As a government, we had the privilege to harness Mr. Sarath Fonseka’s expertise and capabilities. He embodies resilience, whether on the battlefield or in politics, never backing down from a challenge. His dedication to serving the country remains steadfast. As the saying goes, ‘Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away. In this instance he won’t fade away either, so he is still there. Therefore, I anticipate that the country will have the opportunity to benefit from his services in the future.

Mr. Sarath Fonseka once remarked in Jaffna, “Now that the war is over, peace must be established in the country.” I am committed to advancing these efforts and urge everyone to unite in nation-building. Our army is seasoned and skilled, and with the collective support of all, we can rebuild our nation and foster lasting peace.

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,

“The victory in the war was made possible by the immense dedication of our war heroes, many of whom sacrificed their lives for our country. Countless others were left disabled. I extend my utmost respect to all the families of these war heroes, who made such sacrifices for the future of our children and for peace in our nation.

During my tenure as Army Commander, there was widespread belief that a political solution was necessary to end the war. Initially, security personnel were disheartened, but we ultimately achieved victory in the thirty-year conflict. This victory could not have been attained without the blood, sweat, and unwavering dedication of our soldiers. After the war, I have doubts whether the former rulers truly appreciated the sacrifices made by our war heroes and the people of this country.

The event was attended by various religious leaders led by the Maha Sangha, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Member of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, a group of ministers, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, government officials, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, former Army Chiefs, Mrs. Anoma Fonseka and family members, and invited guests.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://english.newstube.lk/news?start=48#sigProId2885f86e7a

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Sri Lanka debt deal key to restoring debt sustainability – IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Sri Lanka’s agreements with China and other creditor nations to restructure about $10 billion in bilateral debt brought it a step closer towards restoring debt sustainability.

According to Reuters, IMF’s senior mission chief for Sri Lanka, Peter Breuer said on Thursday “We hope that there will be swift progress on reaching agreements with external private creditors in the near future”.

Sri Lanka signed deals with China and other creditor nations to restructure about $10 billion in bilateral debt on Wednesday, helping it approach the end of a restructuring process that began in September 2022 after its reserves hit record lows and forced it to default on foreign debt for the first time.

Sri Lankan officials in Paris inked the agreement with the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) co-chaired by Japan, India and France which have lent a combined $5.8 billion.

The committee is now awaiting details of a separate agreement that was signed with China EXIM Bank to rework $4.2 billion to be shared with them to ensure comparability of treatment, OCC said in a statement.

Sri Lanka, however, still needs to convince bondholders to restructure about $12.5 billion in international bonds.

Bilateral lenders said they hoped an agreement with bondholders would be “on terms at least as favourable as the terms offered by the OCC.”

The restructuring of bilateral debt agreements was one of the key conditions set by the IMF under a $2.9 billion bailout programme that helped Sri Lanka tame inflation, stabilise its currency, and improve government finances.

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Sanjaya Mahawatte arrested

Sanjaya Mahawatte, the secretary of ‘Magen Ratata’ organization, was arrested by the TID last night (27).

His arrest is said to be over allegedly having levelled false accusations against senior police officers.

It was Mahawatte who lodged a complaint to the CID recently in which he requested an investigation into the wealth acquired by model Piumi Hansamali.

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Divisional Secretaries of Colombo District Directed to Submit Flood Situation Reports within Two Weeks

Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, has been directed to investigate the causes of the recent flooding in the Colombo district. He has also instructed that reports be collected from all Grama Niladhari Divisions in the Colombo district and directed the Divisional Secretaries to prepare a preliminary report based on these findings and submit it to the Presidential Secretariat within two weeks.

He also announced plans to consult with the heads of relevant institutions to develop immediate strategies to address the identified issues.

These announcements were made during a meeting held yesterday (26) at the Presidential Secretariat. The meeting, attended by the heads of various line agencies, aimed to identify the causes of the recent flooding in the Colombo district due to adverse weather conditions and to formulate appropriate solutions.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with political representatives from the affected areas, surveyed the flood-damaged areas in the Colombo district. It was determined that both natural causes and irregular human activities caused to the flooding.

Consequently, President Wickremesinghe has instructed the preparation of short-term, medium-term, and long-term programs to prevent future floods, he added.

Member of Parliament Premanath C. Dolawatta, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Supply A.C.M. Nafeel, heads of relevant institutions, and a group of residents from the areas affected by the floods in the Colombo district also participated in this event.

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