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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 03/06

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe invites King Charles III to visit Sri Lanka during the presentation of credentials by High Commissioner Rohitha Bogollagama at Buckingham Palace: The invitation included warm felicitations and highlighted Sri Lanka’s role in the Commonwealth: A special gift of James Taylor Premium Ceylon Tea was presented: The ceremony was attended by Sir Philip Barton from the FCDO: Later, a pirith chanting ceremony and a Vin D’Honneur were held at the Sri Lanka House in the UK, with High Commissioner Bogollagama expressing gratitude for UK’s support and emphasising the importance of bilateral relations: Bogollagama, a former Member of Parliament, is the first Sri Lankan envoy to present credentials to King Charles III.
  2. MP Thilak Rajapakshe from SLPP joins SJB: Rajapakshe is physician with military background and Viyathmaga member: Also, former SLFP Medawachchiya Constituency Organiser Tissa Karalliyadde switches to SJB, a seasoned politician and former Cabinet Minister, now co-organiser of SJB’s Medawachchiya Constituency.
  3. The Colombo District Court extends the interim order preventing Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from serving as SLFP Chairman: The decision was made during today’s session, with a follow-up scheduled for July 13 to allow time for objections: The injunction stays in force until the hearing date.
  4. Defence State Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennnakoon says the toll of casualties due to adverse weather has reached 12: Additionally, five individuals are reported missing: Moreover, 23,707 people from 2,313 families have sought shelter in relief centres nationwide.
  5. The Education Ministry declares the closure of schools in several districts across the Western, Southern, and Sabaragamuwa provinces for Tuesday (04) due to the current adverse weather conditions: Affected districts include Ratnapura and Kegalle in the Sabaragamuwa Province, Galle and Matara in the Southern Province, and Kalutara in the Western Province: Additionally, all schools within the Homagama Education Zone in the Colombo District will also be closed: However, the Ministry confirms schools outside of these districts will operate as usual on Tuesday.
  6. Sri Lanka Police establishes emergency hotlines to aid those affected by adverse weather: Hotlines include 0112421820 for emergencies, and additional lines: 0112439212, 0112013036, & 0112013039: The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) also offers support through their hotline at 117.
  7. In April, Colombo Port saw slower transshipment growth due to Red Sea disruptions: Transshipment volumes rose by 8.1%, lowest since November, reaching 525,936 TEUs: Overall container throughput grew by 10.2%, hitting 626,926 TEUs driven by rising imports: Import container volumes surged by 22.7%, while export volumes rose by 6.6%: Restowing volumes spiked by 60.9% to 19,957 TEUs: Colombo International Container Terminal handled 268,513 TEUs, up 7.8%: Jaya Container Terminal and East Container Terminal managed 184,286 TEUs, a 3% growth: South Asia Gateway Terminal processed 174,130 TEUs, up 23.5%: April saw 312 vessel calls at Colombo Port compared to 345 last year.
  8. Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe says the IMF’s Executive Board meeting on June 12 will review Sri Lanka’s Article IV Consultation and second EFF review: adds the session will evaluate economic policies and reforms: Sri Lanka seeks support for a successful review to unlock the third tranche, aiming to enhance economic stability and growth: Julie Kozack, IMF Communications Director, mentioned a staff-level agreement on economic policies, indicating progress towards completing the review: Approval by IMF Management could grant Sri Lanka access to approximately US$337 million in financing.
  9. A new loan relief package worth Rs 5 bn will assist Sri Lanka’s MSMEs affected by the pandemic and economic downturn: Managed by the finance and industries ministries, the scheme will offer Rs 5 mn to 1000 MSMEs at a concessional interest rate of 7%, regardless of CRIB blacklist status: Loans can be repaid over five years, with a grace period of six months, and require personal guarantees for amounts up to Rs 200,000: Larger loans necessitate property collateral: Implemented through ten banks, the scheme also offers loans up to Rs 15 mn for investment, with a ten-year repayment period: An additional Rs 3 bn scheme, supported by the ADB, will complement the 2024 budgetary support: Measures to upgrade the Sri Lanka Savings Bank and enhance digital literacy aim to strengthen MSMEs, which contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
  10. Breeda Jayasuriya, mother of Sri Lankan Cricket star Sanath Jayasuriya, has passed away aged 80 in Matara: Sanath, in the USA as a consultant coach, will return home upon hearing the news: Sri Lanka Cricket affirmed his return to support the family: The funeral is set for Wednesday in Matara: Breeda was celebrated for her steadfast support of her son’s cricket journey.

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