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Aragalaya activist found dead!

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Buddhi Prabodha Karunaratne, an active member of the Aragalaya, has died mysteriously after sending a text message to his friends indicating that he would end his life, the Mulleriyawa Police said.

The 28-year-old deceased who was originally from Natthandiya had been living in Himbutana, Mulleriyawa temporarily.

It was reported that he was the first person to set up a tent in Galle Face Green during the Aragalaya.

He had sent text messages to several of friends saying that he would take his life.

Upon seeing the message, a doctor from the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama had arrived at his room in Himbutana along with his brother to find the door closed.

The two had broken down the door with the permission of the landlord and found the deceased lying unconscious on the bed.

He had been rushed to the Mulleriyawa Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police found two types of painkillers and sleeping pills, a pack of cigarettes and a lighter on the bed, believed to have been used by the deceased.

The post-mortem examination of the deceased has been carried out by Judicial Medical Officer Kularatne at the IDH Hospital on the instructions of Kolonnawa Coroner Kanchana Wijenayake.

An open verdict was given on the cause of death based on medical reports and evidence.

Police said the government analyst will conduct further investigation into the death.

Further investigations are being conducted under the instructions of Mulleriyawa Police OIC Chief Inspector A. G. S. Susantha. 

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Rs. 20 Bn loan lifeline for SMEs

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The government has taken measures to implement a Rs.20 billion credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector in Sri Lanka.  

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted its consent to the proposal forwarded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister to implement a credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Cabinet Spokesman, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said the proposed Rs.20 billion will be spent on the entire project which has two components.

“Out of this, Rs.15 billion will be used to strengthen existing and new enterprises and the remaining amount of Rs.five billion will be used to support enterprises under the non-performing loan category.

A significant number of small and medium scale entrepreneurs involved in manufacturing, import, export, tourism, apparel and various other commercial operations have found it very difficult to continue running their enterprises as a result of the economic downturn and the impact of external factors beyond their control.

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide working capital support for the Small and Medium Enterprise sector as a relief. The proposed programme is intended to provide credit facilities to existing micro, small and medium scale enterprises for further expansion and recovery of their businesses through licensed commercial banks and licensed specialised banks at concessional interest rates.

(dailynews.lk)

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Bakery industry in crisis as bread and bun sales decline

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The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) has reported a significant drop of around 50% in the sales of cakes, bread, and buns in the local market. The association attributes this decline to the high manufacturing costs currently faced by the bakery industry.

According to the ACBOA, the costs of margarine and butter have surged to Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000 per kilogram, respectively. Additionally, the association cited challenges in obtaining imported eggs from India, forcing them to purchase locally produced eggs at Rs. 60 each.

The chairman of the association expressed concerns about the impact these rising costs have on the bakery industry. In light of these challenges, the ACBOA is urging the government to provide concessions and work towards reducing the prices of essential ingredients before the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year.

The association’s plea emphasizes the need for government support to help stabilize the bakery industry and ensure its sustainability amid the current economic challenges. Further updates on the situation and any government response will be monitored closely.

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Former Minister Ronnie de Mel no more

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Former Minister – Ronnie de Mel has passed away today (27) while being treated at a private hospital, reports say.

He was aged 99 years old.A former civil servant, he was the Minister of Finance from 1977 – 1988 under the United National Party government and holds the record for the largest number of budgets presented by a finance minister.

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