Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 24/03

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe extends the deadline for the nine-member Commission of Inquiry, chaired by former Chief Justice Priyasad Dep, to submit its final report on electoral reforms: The Commission, established to propose amendments aligning with contemporary needs, aims to enhance trust and accountability in the electoral process: Originally due by April 15, 2024, the deadline has been extended by two months to June 15, allowing more time for the Commission to formulate recommendations.
  2. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa responds to criticism that he ‘talks too much’ in Parliament, asserting that his remarks do not stand for personal benefit but for the rights of 22 million people of Sri Lanka: criticises the government’s attempt of relegating girls’ age of consent for sexual behaviour from 16 to 14, and the attempt of easing punishment for men under the age of 22 convicted for sexual assault.
  3. JVP Chief Secretary Tilvyn Silva expresses the NPP’s goal of forming a more robust government, stating that a simple majority is insufficient for social change and economic recovery: emphasises the need for stronger power to achieve their objectives, aiming to establish the first People’s Government in Sri Lanka with substantial public support to overcome potential sabotage by rivals.
  4. Public Security Minister Tiran Alles instructs IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon to launch an immediate probe into ex-President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statements about the Easter Sunday bombings: Sirisena claimed to possess information on the attacks’ ‘true mastermind’ and expressed readiness to disclose it to the judiciary if requested: The remarks raise questions about Sirisena’s prior knowledge of the bombings, amidst ongoing discussions about alleged political motives behind the attacks: The CID, meanwhile, will record a statement tomorrow (25) from the ex-President over the comments.
  5. Finance State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya announces a new strategy to stabilise prices and address currency depreciation concerns: Starting Monday, daily price disclosures for imported goods and VAT will be provided by the Consumer Affairs Authority: This aims to empower consumers with real-time pricing information: Measures are also in place to ensure a smooth supply chain during the upcoming festive season.
  6. The Central Bank addresses controversy over salary revisions for its senior management and professionals, stating that the adjustment for 2024-2026 resulted from a collective agreement between CB’s Governing Board and employee representatives, made independently before any input from the COPF: In response, the COPF chairman suggested an independent committee review the agreement: CB reaffirmed its autonomous role in financial matters, emphasising its commitment to maintaining price stability and a stable financial system.
  7. Health Minister Ramesh Pathirana highlights a surge in non-communicable diseases while launching the “Suva Udana” mobile health clinic program in Yakkalamulla, Galle: The initiative, the 14th of its kind this year, aims to provide vital healthcare services to rural areas: The mobile clinic offers various services, including dental care, laboratory tests, eye care, and screenings for blood sugar and blood pressure: Specialised clinics for kidney disorders, Ayurvedic medicine, and acupuncture are also available, focusing on early detection and referral of cases to government hospitals for further treatment.
  8. Approximately 1,000 workers from Sri Lanka are set to arrive in Israel in March for agricultural work, particularly in harvesting citrus fruits: This follows efforts to address labour shortages in the agricultural sector, which were exacerbated by challenges after the October 7 Hamas incident: The arrival of Sri Lankan workers is expected to immediately alleviate labour demands in the agricultural industry and contribute to Israel’s food security.
  9. Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe emphasises the ongoing economic challenges and the necessity for focusing on economic recovery in the upcoming election: stresses the importance of electing individuals with the capability to manage the economy effectively and provide clear vision, highlighting that the country’s economic situation remains precarious.
  10. The Sri Lankan women’s cricket team, led by Chamari Athapatthu, departs for South Africa to participate in three one-day and three T20 matches: Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan under-19 women’s team is set to compete against England and Australia in Sri Lanka: Despite only one under-19 player, Vishmi Gunaratne, joining the national team for the South Africa tour, expectations are high for their performance against Australia and England in the upcoming tournament.

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