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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 09/05

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe says he has started to formally implement economic stabilisation and recovery programmes for the reconstruction of the fallen country and as a result of this, the journey of economic growth has started from mid-2023: asserts economic growth is expected to be around 3% this year, and various domestic and foreign financial institutions have also made similar predictions: adds at present, the country’s inflation has dropped to 1.5% and the balance of the primary account, which was a deficit for many years, has been able to be converted into a surplus of 0.6% as a percentage of the GDP in 2023: emphasises the interest rate has fallen to the level of 10%-13% during the year.
  2. The Election Commission has been informed of a parliamentary seat vacancy after State Minister Diana Gamage’s seat was revoked due to her British citizenship: The Supreme Court declared she didn’t meet legal requirements for an MP: Mujibur Rahman from SJB is set to fill the void: The situation sparks debate in Parliament about SJB’s legitimacy due to the Party being handed over to former members of the UNP by Gamage, but ex-EC Chief Mahinda Deshapriya clarifies there’s no issue with non-citizens forming a party.
  3. The Colombo District Court extends the interim injunction against Maithripala Sirisena serving as SLFP Chairman until May 29, as per a plaint from Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga: The extension highlights ongoing internal strife within the SLFP: Details of the complaint remain undisclosed: Political analysts warn the outcome of the case may shape SLFP’s leadership and political influence.
  4. Police bust a human trafficking ring aiming to deploy ex-servicemen as mercenaries in the Russia-Ukraine conflict: Two suspects, including a former Army Major General, were arrested: Earlier arrests were made in a similar case: The Defence Ministry warns veterans against illegal schemes after verifying reports of Sri Lankan casualties in the conflict.
  5. A circular has been issued for government officials who couldn’t return to work due to COVID-19 travel restrictions: It outlines procedures for granting leave and mandates resignation procedures for those who didn’t follow protocol.
  6. The Election Commission addresses concerns raised by PAFFREL regarding political involvement in government-led development projects ahead of the presidential polls: instructs the Secretary to the President to prevent politicians from participating in these initiatives: While the local authorities’ election has been declared, polling is postponed indefinitely: emphasises the need for non-political involvement in development projects to prevent politicisation: also starts logistical preparations for the upcoming presidential polls, expected after July 15 and concluding in early October.
  7. Browns Investments acquire Liptons East African Tea Plantations, spanning Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, marking a significant milestone and solidifying its position as a top tea producer: In a meeting with the Kenyan President, Browns receives praise for its investments in Kenya, highlighting its commitment to fostering growth in Africa: This achievement reflects Sri Lanka’s leadership in the global tea industry.
  8. A top scientist warns elevated marine heat levels in SL waters risk causing mass die-offs of coral reefs: Severe coral bleaching has been observed in the Lakshadweep Sea and the Gulf of Mannar: Dr. Arulananthan from NARA highlights the danger as temperatures reach 31 degrees Celsius, stressing that prolonged exposure could lead to significant coral mortality within a month: stresses urgent action is needed to protect coral reef ecosystems from the threat of marine heat waves.
  9. The CoPF calls upon the Public Security Ministry and the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration to address concerns about the VFS Global deal for the new visa issuance process: The move stems from criticism of the arrangement, with opposition members labelling it as a ‘monopoly’: CoPF Chief Harsha de Silva stresses the need for a thorough probe into the visa controversy: highlights the irregularity of bypassing CoPF in financial matters: The controversy arose after a passenger complained about delays and additional fees allegedly imposed by Indian companies overseeing visa processing at the BIA Airport: The Indian High Commission denied the claims: Public Security Minister Tiran Alles admits that the decision to engage VFS Global for visa processing did not undergo parliamentary scrutiny but had Cabinet approval.
  10. Four Sri Lankan table tennis players, Chameera Ginige, Prasad Silva, Ishara Madurangi, and Bimandee Bandara, are aiming to secure spots in the Paris 2024 Olympics at the upcoming qualifying tournament in Nepal on May 12: Among them, Ginige and Bandara are the current National Champions: The anticipation in the Sri Lankan sports community is high as these athletes prepare to compete for Olympic qualification, with support from the Table Tennis Association of Sri Lanka (TTASL) and financial assistance from the Sports Ministry.

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