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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 04/07

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe supports a five-year presidential term and backs the Election Commission’s 2024 election decision: An entrepreneur filed a fundamental rights petition to delay the Presidential Election date pending a Supreme Court interpretation: Wickremesinghe expresses surprise, stating he and his legal team were unaware of the petition before its submission.
  2. TPA Leader MP Mano Ganeshan alleges that the government postponed a parliamentary debate on recent debt agreements due to issues with private bondholders, not because of the demise of R. Sampanthan: cites difficulties in providing Memorandum of Understanding copies to Parliament: criticises pressures on the opposition, highlighting efforts to signal support for debt restructuring to bilateral creditors.
  3. NPP MP Vijitha Herath says the late TNA former Leader R. Sampanthan was a “fearless leader” who spent his entire life raising voice for the rights of the people of the North and East: asserts Sampanthan valued democracy in his fight for justice for the people of the North and East, both on and off Parliament: adds he set a precedent for the people of Sri Lanka in reclaiming rights in a democratic manner, and his departure is a great loss to the nation.
  4. Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera introduces a revised payment system for new rooftop solar panels and other renewable energy projects starting from July 1: Projects initiated before this date retain their current payment methods: The updated tariff offers Rs.27.06 per unit for rooftop solar installations up to 500 kW and Rs.23.18 for larger ones, with ground-mounted solar panels at Rs.25.48 per unit over 20 years: Small hydro, wind, and biomass projects receive Rs.30.53, Rs.29.86, and Rs.52.77 per unit respectively: The changes reflect adjustments based on economic conditions and stakeholder input from the CEB.
  5. Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva confirms SriLankan Airlines will undergo restructuring, not sale, citing regulations allowing up to 49% share transfer without a suitable investor: says President Wickremesinghe’s address on debt restructuring was hailed despite opposition scepticism, aiming for national recovery: adds IMF involvement ensures adherence to legal frameworks: Budget provisions include social benefits, independent of elections: reiterates focus on restructuring SriLankan Airlines amidst limited international interest, highlighting ongoing developments in infrastructure projects with Japan and India.
  6. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) encourages Sri Lanka to ramp up growth efforts amidst climate change challenges, highlighting green bonds as a crucial tool to meet financial needs: ADB Country Director Takafumi Kadono stresses the importance of private finance mobilisation through sustainable bonds, underscoring their potential to attract investment in climate mitigation and adaptation: praises Sri Lanka’s initiatives but urged further development of the sustainable capital market, asserting that green bonds can drive economic recovery, resilience, and inclusive growth.
  7. The Police announce the ongoing ‘Yukthiya’ nationwide operation to eradicate illegal activities will be reinvigorated from today (07): Spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa announces the operation will also enlist the support of the Sri Lanka Army: further indicates that the operation, already active in several regions around Colombo, will soon be extended to cover the entire island.
  8. Sri Lankan health officials express alarm over a surge in kidney disease cases linked to the widespread use of skin whitening creams, surpassing cancer rates: Dr. Indira Kahawita, a Consultant Dermatologist, highlighted the issue during a Health Promotion Bureau briefing, citing mercury in these creams as a major concern: notes immediate health impacts like kidney failure and observed rising cases of skin discolouration and other symptoms among patients, underscoring urgent health risks associated with these products.
  9. Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Ministry reports Rs. 700 mn in damages to local fishing gear caused by Indian bottom trawlers, escalating bilateral tensions: Indian trawlers illegally fish in biodiverse areas like the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar, affecting marine species crucial to Sri Lanka’s economy: Over 1,000 trawlers from Tamil Nadu frequently cross into Sri Lankan waters, using heavy metal panels that damage seabeds and discourage local fishermen: Sri Lanka seeks dialogue to resolve ongoing fishing disputes.
  10. In a thrilling LPL cricket match, Jaffna Kings secures a dramatic last-ball victory over Dambulla Sixes, chasing down 192 runs with Skipper Charith Asalanka (50) and Avishka Fernando (80) leading the charge with a crucial 134-run partnership: Despite Kusal Janith Perera’s impressive century for Dambulla, Jaffna’s strong batting display stood out, with Fernando awarded Man of the Match for his explosive innings.

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