Monday, June 17, 2024
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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 30/05

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe says none of the current presidential candidates plan to abolish executive powers: emphasises the importance of these powers in economic development and conflict resolution: discusses the disconnect between the Executive President and the government during his tenure: stresses the need to strengthen parliament’s role while reaffirming the commitment to holding the presidential election.
  2. Sources suggest seven opposition members would join the government on May 31, but recent developments indicate the defections may occur during a parliamentary session: Two scenarios are proposed: either three MPs will defect on June 4 or individually on June 3, 4, and 5: A senior politician is expected to switch allegiance: Given past shifts, certainty is elusive until the last moment: Nonetheless, government sources express confidence in the impending defections, leaving the media to observe the situation unfold.
  3. The Appeal Court issues a notice against former President Maithripala Sirisena over contempt of court allegations: The notice follows a petition by an SLFP member claiming Sirisena violated a court order by acting as SLFP Chairman: The court ordered the petitioner to serve notice to Sirisena to confirm the facts.
  4. Finance State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya discloses five companies illegally imported gold into Sri Lanka this year, resulting in fines totaling Rs. 1,243 mn: One company faces a penalty of Rs. 179 mn: warns licenced importers to cease such activities immediately: Efforts to stabilise state income are ongoing, addressing revenue loss loopholes: The government remains resolute despite mafia pressure, progressing to the second phase of combating illegal imports, following a special gazette notification issued in March last year.
  5. Sri Lanka’s Trade Minister and the Iraqi envoy met to plan the upcoming economic forum: discuss enhancing bilateral ties, Sri Lanka’s economic situation, and potential business opportunities in Iraq: Talks also included reopening a Sri Lankan Embassy in Iraq and improving trade routes.
  6. Thailand’s cabinet approves visa-free entry for Sri Lankan tourists for up to 60 days starting June 1, 2024: The move aims to boost tourism and was proposed by the Foreign Ministry to attract more international visitors.
  7. A Kotelawala Defence University lecturer, Dr. Punsara Amarasinghe, was arrested by the TID for allegedly making irresponsible statements about national security and community issues: He claimed in a televised interview that four Sri Lankans arrested in India for ISIS links were on a list of extremists from the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, criticised law enforcement for inadequate monitoring, and made several inaccurate statements about religious extremists and legal cases: He was later granted bail by the Fort Magistrate’s Court.
  8. A group of Presidents’ Counsels and members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka demand accountability for alleged misconduct related to a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project: insist on suspending implicated individuals pending inquiry by a five-member committee: The letter stresses impartial investigation and adherence to professional ethics to maintain credibility and trust.
  9. Sri Lankan filmmaker Isuru Gunathilake has been honoured with the award for ‘Best Dance Film’ at the World Film Festival in Cannes for his film “Sheysha“: The film, directed by Gunathilake and written by Samantha Kumara Gamage, explores Sri Lanka’s traditional dance and the intricate relationship between a father and son.
  10. Sports Minister Harin Fernando suspends several national sports federations – Sri Lanka Cycling Federation, the Sri Lanka Rugby Federation, the Sri Lanka Automobile Federation, and the Sri Lanka Netball Federation – and appointed Professor (Rear Admiral) Shemal Fernando to oversee their elections: The Gazette notification cites Sections 32 and 33 of the Sports Law for the temporary suspension: No interim committees will be appointed, ensuring proper governance until new office bearers are elected.

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