Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 11/06

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe meets India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in New Delhi: Discussions centred on resuming stalled projects and bilateral relations: Jaishankar pledges support for Sri Lanka’s economic reforms and announced plans for an industrial zone: Wickremesinghe outlines decentralisation measures and a forthcoming reconciliation bill: They also address agricultural modernisation and fishermen issues: Wickremesinghe extends an invitation to the Indian Prime Minister.
  2. The SJB lodges a complaint with the CID concerning a ‘fabricated letter’ claiming that party leader Sajith Premadasa agreed to participate in a debate hosted by ITN: The SJB’s legal counsel emphasises the need for a fair investigation, noting a similar complaint filed on April 26: The ‘fraudulent document’ circulated on social media purported Premadasa’s involvement in a debate with NPP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, despite only Dissanayake participating in the broadcast, as the SJB clarified that Premadasa never accepted an invitation for the programme.
  3. A group comprised of both local and foreign economic experts holds a meeting with the NPP at the JVP HQ in Pelawatta: Argentina’s former Finance Minister and Columbia University Professor Martin Guzman, Massachusetts University’s former Regional Director Professor Jayati Gosh, senior lecturer of the UN’s Millennium Project Charles Abugre, and senior lecturer of Jaffna University Dr. Ahilan Kadiragamar attended the meeting: The meeting involved a lengthy discussion about the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the barriers imposed by the IMF and the government’s economic policies.
  4. The Constitutional Council delays extending Attorney General Rajaratnam’s tenure, awaiting further discussion: The President proposed a six-month extension, but approval is pending: The Council plans to reconvene on the 18th to reach a decision.
  5. As floodwaters recede, a surge in fly numbers raises concerns for health authorities, posing risks of diarrhoea outbreaks and viral fevers: Dr. Deepal Perera warns flooded areas accelerate fly breeding, leading to contamination of food and water sources: Flies carry pathogens causing diseases like diarrhoea and fevers: Urgent measures include sealing garbage and ensuring clean water sources.
  6. The upcoming IMF Board meeting on June 12 will evaluate Sri Lanka’s economic policies and reform progress, focusing on the Article IV consultation and second review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF): Following a recent second review by the IMF team, the Executive Board will discuss releasing the third tranche of the approximately US$ 3 bn facility for Sri Lanka: Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe emphasises Sri Lanka’s need for continued international support to unlock the third tranche, which is anticipated to enhance economic stability, growth, and reform efforts in the country.
  7. Census and Statistics Department reveals computer literacy in Sri Lanka surged to 39% in 2023, with digital literacy slightly higher at 63.5%: Urban areas show better proficiency: Household computer ownership is at 20.2%, with 34% in urban, 18.1% in rural, and 4.6% in estate areas: The Western Province has the highest computer availability at 33.5%: Computer literacy rose by 4.7 percentage points since 2021: Males (40.9%) show higher computer literacy than females (37.2%): Education and English proficiency positively correlate with computer literacy: Digital literacy is higher at 63.5%, with internet usage highest among 20-24-year-olds.
  8. The Urban Development and Housing Ministry takes immediate steps to dismantle unauthorised constructions aggravating flooding in Colombo: plans to issue directives to all government bodies within two weeks to address the issue: Preserving Colombo’s wetlands is crucial, as obstruction of water channels worsens floods: Collaborating with various agencies, including the UDA and Irrigation Department, initiatives for flood mitigation are underway: The strategy involves short, medium, and long-term projects like water supply enhancements, landscaping, pumping stations, and drainage improvements.
  9. The Sri Lanka Navy, with DFCC Bank, plants mangroves in Waikkala Lagoon, coinciding with World Environment Day, as part of its conservation efforts: These projects sustain biodiversity, prevent coastal erosion, and mitigate global warming: The initiative involves planting 400 mangrove saplings and included officials from various organisations.
  10. The Boxing Association of Sri Lanka chooses four senior and two junior boxers to compete in the Seychelles Constitution Day Boxing Tournament on June 21-22: Selected from the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force, and Police, the boxers earned their spots after a selection tournament on June 8: Among the senior team are HWGP Rathnasiri (Police), KG Pathmasiri (Army), DG Udayakumara (Air Force), and PSSP Fernando (Army): The junior team comprises JMT Deshan and Malith Bandara. Pathmasiri and Fernando secured their places with victories over Navy boxers, while Udayakumara reversed last year’s result against Chandrabandara.

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