Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 01/03

1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has assured the prompt delivery of “Aswasuma” benefits to eligible recipients and highlighted the vital role of government officials in the effective distribution of “Aswasuma” and “Urumaya” benefits. He praised the dedication of Grama Niladhari Officers for their commitment to the successful implementation of these programs despite challenges. 

2. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa stated that it is time to decide whether to continue being part of an assembly where its leader consistently violates the Constitution. Premadasa made this statement during a meeting held at Saranakara Maha Vidyalaya in Bingiriya. The comment suggests a critical assessment of the assembly’s leadership and its adherence to constitutional principles. 

3. In a major development surrounding the supply of substandard human immuniglobulin, a RED NOTICE was issued for the arrest of Jayanath Buthpitiya, a member of the Evaluation Committee For Emergency Procurement, who also faces allegations over the medicine procurement scandal.

4. The newly appointed Inspector General of Police, Mr. T. M. W. Deshabandu Tennakoon, met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat. In his capacity as the 36th Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka, Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon assumed his duties and had discussions with President Wickremesinghe.

5. The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, revealed plans for the introduction of the National Cyber Security Act this year, along with the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority. Furthermore, he emphasized the preparations for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka by the end of July. 

6. Purchasing Managers’ Index for Construction (PMI – Construction) showed an expansion in construction activities in January 2024, with a Total Activity Index recording a value of 52.9. This marks the first time since January 2022 that the index has surpassed the neutral threshold, indicating positive growth. Respondents noted the availability of new construction work, and some previously suspended projects resumed on a limited scale during the month.

7. The overall rate of inflation as measured by the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) on a Year-on-Year (Y-on-Y) basis, has further decreased to 5.9% in February, compared to the previous month. The CCPI-based inflation was calculated as 6.4% for the month of January 2024.

8. The Supreme Court quashed the Cabinet decision allowing former President Maithripala Sirisena to occupy his official residence at Paget Road in Colombo 07 even after he left office. Accordingly, the court stated that an order will be issued invalidating the Cabinet decision taken on 15 October 2019 in this regard.

9. Sri Lanka has entered into a nuclear security agreement with the United States aimed at detecting and preventing illicit trafficking of special nuclear and radioactive materials, addressing global security concerns. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Sri Lankan Navy and the US National Nuclear Security Administration at the Navy headquarters, witnessed by US Ambassador Julie Chung and Sri Lanka Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera. 

10. An Age Group Artistic Swimming team will represent the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) at the 11th Asian Age Group Championships to be held from March 2 to 6 in New Clarke City, Philippines. The participation is part of the larger contingent of a little over 100 athletes representing the national federation in swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming.

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