Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 20/05

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe conveys Sri Lanka’s profound shock and sorrow over the tragic death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, and other senior Iranian officials: expresses his deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the bereaved families, the government, and the people of Iran: notes Sri Lanka’s thoughts and prayers are with the families of President Raisi and his entourage during this difficult time.
  2. Political sources indicate that the so called secretive meetings between SLPP’s Basil Rajapaksa and President Ranil Wickremesinghe about the upcoming presidential election ended in a deadlock: add Wickremesinghe had promised to bring 25 SJB members into the government, but this hasn’t happened: reveal Rajapaksa urged the President to fulfil this pledge by June 15: With the Election Commission expected to call the election by mid-July, SLPP insists on immediate preparations: If Wickremesinghe fails, SLPP will proceed with its own plans for the election, sources add.
  3. NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says his Party is ready to face any upcoming election, regardless of which one, the Presidential Election or the General Election, being held first: asserts according to the Constitution, the President can dissolve Parliament and hold a General Election, but the Presidential Election must be held on a date between September 17 and October 16: stresses both the SLPP and the SJB wish to hold the General Election first, in what he described as ‘the fate of both parties being already known’ in the event of a Presidential Election being held first.
  4. The Meteorology Department warns due to South-West monsoon conditions are gradually establishing across the island, prevailing showery and windy conditions will continue further: issues ‘Red Alert’ warning that very heavy showers above 100mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-Western provinces and in Galle, Matara, Kandy, Nuwara-Eliya and Mannar districts: urges the public to stay vigilant and take adequate measures to prevent any damages.
  5. HNB CEO Jonathan Alles predicts larger banks in Sri Lanka can secure long-term borrowing rates below 10% for unsecured instruments, with short-term rates closer to 11%: foresees a gradual decline in interest rates but no significant cuts in the near term: notes recent corporate debentures priced around 13.05% due to smaller issuing institutions and advised against locking in high rates: Treasury bond rates have recently dropped, and the next major issuance is on June 13: Analysts highlight an illiquidity premium on corporate debentures due to a lack of active market.
  6. The All-Ceylon Prison Officers’ Union commences a strike from May 20 to 22, demanding a Rs. 25,000 salary increase: This action underscores prison officers’ dissatisfaction with their pay: Meanwhile, the strike by non-academic university staff continues, causing major disruptions across the university system, according to T. A. D. Suranjeeva, General Secretary of the Peradeniya University Trade Union Federation.
  7. Reports emerge that over 600 employees at Sri Lanka’s Sapugaskanda Refinery face potential job losses as it transitions into an independent public enterprise: Only around 200 workers will be retained, with the rest being placed in a pool for potential selection: The Cabinet approved this change to modernise the refinery and extend its life by 25 years: GOSL seeks a strategic investment partner for upgrading the facility: Future plans include possibly relocating the refinery to Trincomalee with enhanced facilities.
  8. Renowned Sri Lankan Family Medicine Specialist Dr. Sanath Hettige has been awarded the WONCA South Asia Regional Five Star Doctor Award 2024 for his excellence as a team member, care provider, decision maker, communicator, and community leader in the field of Family Medicine in Sri Lanka: He has received national and international recognition for his contributions, including awards for medical inventions such as Papaya Leaf Capsule for Dengue Fever and the Corona Hat: also recognised for his research, teaching, and entrepreneurial ventures in medicine, cosmetics, tourism, and estates plantations.
  9. The Sri Lanka-China Friendship Association (SLCFA) launches the book “Sri Lanka Cheena Mithudama” at the National Library: The event featured speeches from former Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong: The book explores the historical, cultural, and economic ties between Sri Lanka and China.
  10. The Sri Lanka Para athletics team led by Paralympic gold medalist Dinesh Priyantha Herath departs for the World Para Athletic Championship in Kobe, Japan: The event is crucial for athletes seeking to qualify for the Paris Paralympics: While Herath and Samitha Dulan have already qualified, other team members, including Janani Dhananjana, aim to meet qualification standards: The Sports Development Department has provided financial support for this tour: Four athletes are competing, and the team is hopeful for strong performances, especially from Commonwealth bronze medalist Palith Bandara.

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