Friday, March 1, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 09/12

  1. President’s Media Division announces that the Global Tamil Forum & “prominent Buddhist Monastics” had met President Ranil Wickremesinghe & presented a “Joint Himalayan Declaration promoting a pluralistic Sri Lanka that prioritizes community well-being, learning from historical mistakes, stressing the importance of accountability measures”.
  2. President Ranil Wickremesinghe says his idea is to hold the Presidential election next year followed by Parliamentary elections and then the PC elections; also says these elections will enable the people to look at amending or drafting a new constitution.
  3. Asian Development Bank approves a USD 200 mn loan to SL “to help stabilize the country’s finance sector”: analysts point out that recent loans by the World Bank and ADB are merely for budget support (meaning consumption), and not for any capital project as done previously.
  4. Former Public Utilities Commission Chairman Janaka Ratnayake (“JR”) announces his Presidential candidature for 2024: emphasises the necessity for a systemic change grounded in a paradigm shift to rebuild SL: reveals his current efforts in establishing the foundation to guide SL onto a positive trajectory and reconstruct it in the days ahead: asserts that one must assume the role of the 1st citizen to transform & revive the nation.
  5. CID informs Fort Magistrate’s Court that the Defence Ministry has extended the detention orders issued under the PTA for notorious drug dealers Nadun Chinthaka alias ‘Harak Kata’ and Salindu Malshika alias ‘Kudu Salindu,’ for another 90 days.
  6. Ministry of Finance revises the opening & closing times of liquor shops and bars: Foreign liquor wine shops (FL4) – 8am to 10pm: Tourist board-approved hotels with FL7 and FL8 licenses (Hotels with 3 stars and above) – 10am to 2am: all other hotels – 10am to 12am.
  7. Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena says relevant departments have been provided instructions for collecting taxes & tax file increases: asserts it’s a combination of policy & administration that would generate the expected revenue & it’s not a single effort: now concedes that issues can’t be resolved overnight.
  8. Attorney General informs Supreme Court that the Constitutional Council headed by the Speaker has decided not to proceed with its earlier decision to call for a report from the Chief Justice seeking information about the “performance of a judge” nominated for promotion to the Supreme Court: the AG’s remarks were in response to a Fundamental Rights petition seeking the suspension of a decision taken by the Constitutional Council.
  9. Govt initiates the establishment of an Interim “Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism”: the move said to be a “step towards transitional justice and post-conflict reconciliation”: the proposed Commission is expected to be established through an Act of Parliament.
  10. SL expected to lose an estimated USD 22mn (approximately Rs.7bn) in direct & indirect income following the International Cricket Council’s decision to shift the Under-19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa: the 16-team tournament was originally scheduled from Jan 13 to Feb 4 across 5 venues in Colombo but the turmoil in SL Cricket had apparently led to this ICC decision.

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