Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 08/07

  1. Starting from 12th July 2024, the President’s Fund launches a new scholarship initiative to aid students from low-income families in grades 1 to 11 and G.C.E. (A/L): Managed by district secretaries with zonal education offices and school principals, the program will award 6,000 scholarships across educational zones: Each recipient will receive Rs. 6,000 per month for 24 months, with initial grants of Rs. 30,000 and ongoing support until G.C.E. (A/L) exams.
  2. SLPP Secretary General Sagara Kariyawasam says the SLPP ‘does not agree’ with the economic policy of President Ranil Wickremesinghe whatsoever: asserts there is no discussion within the party about Wickremesinghe’s name being nominated for the upcoming presidential election: reiterates Wickremesinghe never informed the SLPP, nor any other political party, that he will contest the polls, despite comments backing Wickremesinghe being made by certain Ministers of the SLPP: Previously, SLPP Founder and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa asserted that Wickremesinghe will have the support of the SLPP for the election.
  3. NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake criticises government for burdening citizens whilst implementing IMF programs and restructuring debt: acknowledges debt postponement but accuses the administration of celebrating temporary fixes to ‘self-inflicted’ issues: questions the government’s debt management strategies, emphasising the need for sustainable fiscal policies amid economic challenges.
  4. Sri Lanka progresses in debt restructuring with key steps completed, including agreements with creditors and bondholders: Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe aims for a potential rating upgrade, emphasising the need to create a conducive environment for rating agencies: Despite challenges, including current default statuses, efforts continue to resolve these issues and achieve improved credit ratings.
  5. Over 200 public sector trade unions, including Grama Niladhari officers and surveyors, are commencing a two-day strike starting today, citing demands for a salary increase: The strike, supported by postal workers since yesterday, aims to protest government policies: Healthcare services remain unaffected as medical unions have chosen not to participate, though public service disruptions are expected.
  6. Sri Lanka’s construction industry anticipates a robust recovery with the restructuring of external debt, according to Access Engineering PLC’s C. Joshua: Debt restructuring, particularly with bilateral partners, is set to inject $2.5 bn, potentially boosting GDP by 3%: The sector expects revived infrastructure projects, including successful condominium ventures in Colombo: Challenges like skilled labour shortages and election impacts remain pivotal for sustained growth.
  7. Sri Lanka’s bid to extend its continental shelf beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone faces hurdles from overlapping claims by India: Talks between both nations aim to resolve the issue, sparked by Sri Lanka’s 2009 submission to the UN on its continental shelf limits: Despite progress in delineation, final approval is pending: India’s interest in a cobalt-rich seabed area further complicates matters amid global energy transition concerns.
  8. Lionel Fernando, former Chairman of ANCL and distinguished public servant, passes away: His career spanned roles including Government Agent for Jaffna, Governor of North Eastern Provinces, and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Malaysia: He also served as Ambassador to the Netherlands and France, Foreign Secretary, and held key corporate positions: Funeral arrangements include respects at Jayaratne Respect Home and burial at Borella Cemetery today.
  9. A shooting incident in Oruwala, Athurugiriya, has resulted in the death of one person and injuries to at least three others: Police confirm that the injured individuals, including popular singer K. Sujeewa, have been admitted to Homagama Hospital for treatment: The deceased has been identified as Surendra Wasantha Perera alias ‘Club Wasantha‘.
  10. Sri Lanka faces challenges in extending its continental shelf due to overlapping claims with India, prompting bilateral talks: Despite delineating its shelf edge to UN satisfaction, final approval is pending: India’s actions, including seeking seabed exploration approval, complicate matters: Both nations aim to resolve disputes over the cobalt-rich Afanasy Nikitin Seamount through bilateral dialogue amid global green energy interests.

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