Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 07/05

  1. The Cabinet decides to maintain the current $50 fee for a 30-day visa for foreign visitors to Sri Lanka: The visa waiver for citizens of seven countries remains unchanged: This decision, aimed at supporting the tourism sector’s growth, follows appeals from industry stakeholders and was finalised during the Cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
  2. A World Anti-War Alliance has been formed under the leadership of former Health Minister and current SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne: The inauguration ceremony was attended by representatives of political parties, religious leaders and representatives of civil organisations: MPs Duminda Dissanayake, Mano Ganesan, Rishard Bathiudeen attended the event, among others: Former UNP minister Ravi Karunanayake also attended.
  3. Ben Mellor, the Indo-Pacific Regional Director of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, met with NPP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake at the JVP Headquarters, along with other UK officials and MP Vijitha Herath: discuss Sri Lanka’s economic and political situation, regional geopolitical challenges, and cooperation between the UK and Sri Lanka.
  4. Tourism Minister Harin Fernando expresses readiness to resign over the new visa process during a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe: objects to the $18.5 service fee by VFS Global, advocating for a $50 all-inclusive 30-day single-entry visa: Following discussions, the Cabinet decides on a $50 flat rate for such visas starting May 7th: clarifies his stance on social media, denying a circulating resignation letter as false.
  5. The Road Development Authority is investigating the concrete beam collapse on the Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of the Central Expressway: The incident occurred on Sunday, prompting a halt to construction: A detailed report is forthcoming: Authorities are examining other structures along the route for safety: Suspicions of sabotage have arisen, but the cause remains undetermined.
  6. Approval has been granted for 484 megawatt wind power stations in Mannar and Pooneryn, following an MoU with Adani Green Energy Limited: A negotiation committee will assess the project proposal, endorsed by the Cabinet, which includes a final price of US$ 8.26 per kilowatt for electricity generated: Adani Green Energy SL Limited will be awarded the project tender for 20 years.
  7. Concerns mount as Sri Lanka transitions to a new regulatory body for its petroleum industry, particularly regarding unauthorised entrants in the lubricant sector: The former regulator’s functions have ceased, leading to worries about oversight: Chevron Lubricants Lanka voices apprehensions about potential risks to licenced players and consumers: The Energy Ministry’s directive to remit lubricant licence fees directly to them raises further concerns: Despite this, the industry welcomes the initiative to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework: The Cabinet has approved the formation of a panel to draft legislation for the petroleum regulator, covering various petroleum products.
  8. Public Security Minister Tiran Alles announces Singapore will send a five-member team to Sri Lanka on May 27 to assess and provide recommendations for improving the country’s airport and immigration systems: emphasises the need for Sri Lanka’s immigration services to upgrade to match Singapore’s standards: asserts while immediate implementation may be challenging due to economic constraints, the report will guide the adoption of feasible technologies.
  9. Underworld kingpin ‘Manna Ramesh’ was brought back to Sri Lanka by the CID after being arrested in Dubai in March: Suspected in multiple crimes, including murders and drug trafficking, he was repatriated following a request for extradition: Further investigations to be conducted by the CID.
  10. The Lanka Premier League 2024, set for July 1st to 21st, will host its player auction on May 21st at Hotel Shangi-La, Colombo: This year’s edition sees a shift from player drafts to auctions, with over 500 overseas players vying for selection: Key players like Tamim Iqbal and Tim Southee are among those registered: Each team can have 20 to 24 players, including six overseas, with one U23 Sri Lankan player mandatory in the playing XI.

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