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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 12/03

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe convenes a meeting with party leaders to discuss IMF proposals: Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena provides update, aiming to conclude negotiations by June: TNA MP Sumanthiran raises concerns about missing IMF reports for parliamentary discussions: The President assures transparency and offers to share reports with Parliament: The Central Bank Governor stressed adherence to IMF recommendations: The President Wickremesinghe invites opposition members to engage directly with the IMF: Sumanthiran expresses readiness for constructive dialogue.
  2. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa says the policies of this country so far were organised with the knowledge of the ministers, organisers and elites: adds these policies from top-to-bottom were made in air-conditioned palaces of the capital for the people of the villages: asserts the SJB organises its policies at the ground, rural level, from bottom-to-top, being fed by the opinions of the general public.
  3. NPP MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya leaves for England to attend the ‘Gehenu Api Eka Mitata’ summit organised by the party in London: The summit is set to be held on March 16.
  4. The government is pushing for amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act ahead of the national elections: Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe proposes a mixed electoral system, combining First Past the Post (FPTP) and proportional representation (PR): The plan allocates 160 seats via FPTP and 65 seats via PR: While some parties support the proposal, others oppose it, citing past electoral irregularities with PR: The timing of the initiative raises speculation as elections approach.
  5. The Ministry of Agriculture suspends a recent gazette permitting the import and re-export of spices like pepper: Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera raises concerns about its impact on local farmers and the quality of Sri Lankan spices: Following Cabinet discussions, the notification was suspended to safeguard local spice cultivation and maintain quality standards.
  6. Sri Lanka’s health authorities dispute The Lancet study’s portrayal of child malnutrition and underweight girls, citing inaccuracies: The study alleges a high prevalence of underweight girls in Sri Lanka, ranking it second globally after India: However, health officials contest these findings, asserting inconsistencies with the country’s actual situation: cite recent data showing a decrease in severe acute malnutrition cases: This dispute follows the rejection of a previous UNICEF report on child malnutrition in Sri Lanka.
  7. The Sri Lanka Banks’ Association (SLBA) emphasises that suspending parate execution would not protect mortgaged assets of defaulters, as banks would pursue legal action instead: Parate execution is a last resort for debt recovery, used when borrowers fail to cooperate: The SLBA warned of increased borrowing costs and project disruptions if parate action is suspended, urging policymakers to consider national economic interests over lobbying efforts.
  8. Finance State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says 92% of the sanitary towels required in Sri Lanka are domestically manufactured, with no tax imposed: The remaining 8% are imported by a single company as finished products, subject to a 22.5% tax aimed at protecting local producers.
  9. Healthcare workers plan protests today outside certain hospitals due to delayed salary increments and administrative obstacles: The demonstrations, led by Ravi Kumudesh of the Health Service Trade Unions, aim to address these issues and will begin at noon.
  10. The Police Sports Club won the prestigious Clifford Cup by defeating Havelock SC 19-12 in the final at Colombo’s Racecourse grounds: Coached by Nilfer Ibrahim, the team displayed remarkable strength throughout the tournament: Sergeant Akash Madushanka named the Best Player: Minister Harin Fernando attended the final and awarded the team one million rupees: The team will also tour Australia, and all members will receive cash prizes and promotions promised by the IGP: This victory marks the Police Sports Club’s return to past glory after 33 years, with support from officials like Senior DIG Ranmal Kodithuwakku and SSP Nizam Jamaldeen.

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