Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 29/02

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasises Sri Lanka’s commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and stability in the Indian Ocean: addresses emerging security concerns, highlighted Sri Lanka’s role in the Indo-Pacific, and advocates for cooperation among major powers: stresses the need for nuanced diplomacy amid complex geopolitical dynamics and outlined Sri Lanka’s vision for the region as a hub for economic growth and cooperation.
  2. SLPP MP Namal Rajapaksa says only a handful of members in his party who are holding positions in the government including ministries are of the view that the SLPP should back President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the next presidential polls: adds everyone else in the party is of the view that a decision in this regard should be taken by the party itself.
  3. MP Dullas Alahapperuma warns President Ranil Wickremesinghe of legal action over potential violations of the Constitution, particularly regarding the postponement of elections: emphasises that even the President is not above the law and suggests that legal recourse via the Supreme Court may be pursued if constitutional breaches persist.
  4. IMF team to conduct second review of Sri Lanka’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program starting March 7: The government expects a smoother review than the first, lasting about two weeks: Assessment will focus on meeting key commitments and economic health, including debt restructuring and revenue targets: First review cleared in December, providing $337 million amid the country’s financial crisis.
  5. CEB proposes a 14% reduction in electricity tariffs, contrasting with the Energy Minister’s earlier 18% reduction claim: The reduction aims to benefit all customer categories and is made possible by measures to control the Central Bank: Adjustments in operational expenses, including personnel and material costs, are outlined: Dry season demand surge necessitates hydro machinery maintenance for optimal performance: Delays in maintenance projects require adjustments in disbursements for 2024: Discussions are ongoing at PUCSL regarding the proposed tariff revision.
  6. Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe announces the completion of the verification process for the “Aswasuma” programme’s second phase, extending benefits to 2.4 million family units starting June 2024: Applications for the second phase close on March 15, with strict adherence to the deadline: Approximately 7,000 individuals receiving benefits based on false information were removed: Out of 3.4 million families certified in the first phase, 1.9 million are eligible for benefits: Payments for selected beneficiaries begin in July 2024 after resolving appeals and objections: Over 1.19 million appeals have been resolved, and efforts to raise awareness online have resulted in 200,000 to 250,000 applications: Applications will cease after March 15. Rs. 205 billion is allocated for compensation payments in 2024: Fraudulent beneficiaries will face legal action.
  7. Sri Lanka imposes one-year ban on Chinese research vessels in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) starting January 3, 2024, following concerns over activities of Chinese vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 in the south Indian Ocean: The ban, prompted by Indian security concerns, drew praise from Indian media but sparked Chinese discontent, with authorities criticising external influence on Sri Lanka’s decision.
  8. The Education Ministry directs schools to suspend outdoor activities and sports for the next three days due to high temperatures, effective immediately: The directive aims to protect students from the heat, with temperatures reaching ‘Caution’ levels in various parts of the island: The Department of Meteorology highlighted areas, including the North-western, Western, and Southern provinces, along with Ratnapura District, where caution is advised due to the high temperature: Foreign tourists have also been affected by the extreme heat.
  9. Sri Lanka’s Elephant House, a subsidiary of Ceylon Cold Stores PLC, partners with India’s Reliance Consumer Products Limited (RCPL) to introduce its beverages in the Indian market: RCPL, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, aims to enrich its beverage portfolio with Elephant House’s iconic brands like Necto and Cream Soda: The collaboration aligns with RCPL’s vision to offer quality products to Indian consumers.
  10. The Sri Lankan cricket team is set to tour Bangladesh for a series comprising three T20 matches, three ODIs, and two Test matches, starting March 4: With a focus on the upcoming T20 World Cup, the return of skipper Wanindu Hasaranga boosts SL’s confidence after recent victories against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan: Senior players like Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka strengthen the team’s resolve: Despite injuries sidelining players like Pathum Nissanka, the team remains optimistic: Bangladesh, under coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, is prepared for a competitive series: SL’s T20 squad, led by Hasaranga and vice-captain Charith Asalanka, includes key players like Kusal Mendis and Akila Dananjaya.

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