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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 21/05

  1. During the 10th World Water Summit, Presidents Ranil Wickremesinghe and Widodo reaffirm Sri Lanka-Indonesia ties: Discussions covered water management, economic cooperation, and regional security: Wickremesinghe praises Indonesia’s hydro diplomacy, while Widodo emphasises economic collaboration and vaccine market entry. discuss the Preferential Trade Agreement and Sri Lanka’s potential RCEP inclusion: express commitment to enhancing bilateral relations and global cooperation.
  2. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa says corruption must be eradicated from society, with a system eliminating corruption being fostered by the government: adds the SJB is the only party which unmasked thieves without gaining power: stresses anti-corruption programmes should not be limited to ordinances but should be included in the Constitution, with an immutable mechanism being implemented.
  3. The National People’s Power (NPP) and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa express condolences for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials in a helicopter crash: They praise Raisi’s contributions to international relations, including his recent visits to Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan for hydropower projects: highlight Raisi’s commitment to fostering cooperation and development, and extend their thoughts and prayers to the families and the nation of Iran during this difficult time.
  4. The State Intelligence Service is investigating four Sri Lankans arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad at Ahmedabad Airport, suspected of ISIS links: SL intelligence is coordinating with Indian authorities to verify the suspects’ backgrounds and connections to ISIS: The suspects had travelled from Colombo to Chennai and then to Ahmedabad, where they were allegedly waiting for instructions from their handler: Security at the airport was heightened following their arrest, and encrypted messages were found on their phones: SL officials are closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with Indian counterparts.
  5. Former Chairman of the Weligama Urban Council Rehan Jayawickrema files a contempt of court lawsuit against ex-State Minister Diana Gamage, accusing her of undermining the Supreme Court’s authority with statements made on 9 May: alleges Gamage’s remarks aimed to discredit the Court following its ruling on 8 May, which disqualified her from Parliament for not being a Sri Lankan citizen: Gamage is accused of portraying herself as a victim of injustice and depicting the Court’s decision as politically motivated, intending to undermine public perception of the judgment.
  6. Acting Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe announces two key bills, the “Economic Transformation Bill” and the “Public Financial Management Bill,” will be introduced in Parliament to bolster Sri Lanka’s economy: These bills aim to improve public financial management and prevent future economic crises, stemming from President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vision rather than the IMF: The Economic Transformation Bill focuses on economic growth, international trade, and climate change, while the Public Financial Management Bill enhances accountability: also target reducing public debt and improving debt servicing to ensure economic stability and sustainable growth.
  7. In response to the rainy season, the government instructs officials to take immediate actions to mitigate dengue risk in Colombo: President’s Senior Advisor Sagala Ratnayaka recommends an awareness programme for schoolchildren and parents, to be implemented during ‘Dengue Prevention Week’ from May 26 to June 1 by the Ministry of Education: emphasises reducing dengue risks around public institutions and construction sites, and enforcing regulations against non-compliance.
  8. Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of human rights watchdog Amnesty International, concludes a five-day visit to Sri Lanka, addressing human rights issues: highlights ongoing challenges 15 years post-civil war, emphasising the need to tackle impunity, discrimination, and suppression of freedoms: expresses concerns about new laws threatening civil society, arbitrary arrests, and lack of accountability for past violations: urges political leaders to foster reconciliation and justice, particularly with the upcoming elections and proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Her visit included meetings with President Wickremesinghe, families of the disappeared, and various community representatives.
  9. Central Bank data shows Sri Lanka’s credit card industry is set to gain momentum as ceiling rates are revised downward alongside falling lending rates: Despite a decline in new card issuance, transaction volume and value have slightly increased: Credit card activity, which had been stagnant, is now increasing due to consumer spending on festivities, leisure, and travel: However, excessive spending may lead to higher outstanding balances and interest payments: The outstanding credit card balance rose modestly in March, indicating growing consumer optimism: The CB is expected to lower credit card interest rates, currently at 28%, to align with falling loan rates.
  10. Indika Gamage wins a bronze medal in the T-44 100 metres at the World Para Athletic Championship in Kobe, Japan, with a time of 11.83 seconds, qualifying for the Paris Paralympics: South African Mpumelelo Mhlongo won gold, and Malaysian Eddy Bernard took silver. Gamage, coached by Y. K. Kularatne, achieved his best time despite a poor start: He is set to compete in the T-44 long jump next: Additionally, Samitha Dulan will compete in the men’s Javelin Throw F-44 final, having already qualified for the Paris Paralympics.

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