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China gives Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium

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China yesterday responded to Sri Lanka’s long-standing request for a commitment on rescheduling its debts as a prelude to a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with an offer for a two-year moratorium, the media has reported.

In a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Finance Minister, the Exim Bank of China responsible for much of the loans given to Sri Lanka said the two-year moratorium would be a short-term suspension of the debts owed to China while asking all parties, i.e. Sri Lanka’s creditors to get together to work out medium-term and long-term commitments.

It is learned that the letter also extends China’s support to the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and requests the IMF to go ahead with the discussions on debt restructuring that will lead to an IMF program.

The letter giving China’s assurances arrived on the eve of a Paris Club meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors scheduled for next week where Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring measures are to be discussed as a prelude to a US dollars 2.9 million IMF program to bail out Sri Lanka from its current economic crisis.

Sri Lanka’s efforts to get China’s support along with India’s support for rescheduling its loans were being negotiated for several months.

It comes shortly after India announced that it had written to the IMF extending its assurances in writing that it would support an IMF program for an Extended Fund Facility for Sri Lanka. China, India and Japan are Sri Lanka’s largest bilateral creditors.

Soon after the Indian assurances were given to the IMF, its External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called upon other countries to be “proactive” in supporting Sri Lanka. Dr. Jaishankar who was in Sri Lanka on a 24-hour visit on Thursday and Friday said India was willing to support Sri Lanka “fully” in its efforts to come out of its current financial crisis.

China’s International Department Vice Minister Chen Zhou who was in Sri Lanka earlier in the week, also announced that China was about to announce some “good news” on Sri Lanka’s request to consider rescheduling its debts.

The letter from the Chinese Exim (Export-Import) Bank, the state-run institution responsible for foreign loans, arrived in Colombo on the eve of the Chinese lunar New Year which begins today.

It was not immediately known if the Chinese assurances contained in the letter would meet the requirements of the Paris Club and the IMF.

Participation at the Paris Club by India and China was also not immediately known, but the Sunday Times learns that the Sri Lankan Finance Ministry was confident it was sufficient consent for the IMF to go ahead with discussions on its debt restructuring schedule leading to its bailout program. for Sri Lanka.

(Sunday Times)

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (29) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,828.

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Racecourse murder : Boyfriend further remanded

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The university student who was held in remand custody for allegedly murdering his girlfriend with a sharp weapon at Race Course grounds in Colombo has been remanded further.

Taking up the case today (30) Colombo Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis ordered him to be further remanded till February 13.

The magisterial inquest into the death was held today before Colombo Chief Magistrate and

A testimony of the deceased’s father was recorded before Chief Magistrate and further magisterial inquiry was fixed for February 13.

The suspect was not produced before Court by prison authorities since he is currently receiving treatment at the Mental Health Unit of prison hospital.

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Constitutional Council approves several judicial appointments

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The Constitutional Council met today (30) in Parliament presided by Speaker and the Chairman of the Constitutional Council – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, other council members Dr. Prathap Ramanujam, Dr. (Mrs) Dilkushi Anula Wijesundere, Dr. (Mrs) Dinesha Samararatne were present at the Council meeting held.

MP Kabir Hashim, had informed his inability to attend this meeting due to unavoidable circumstances.

The Constitutional Council considered the recommendation of the President to appoint K.P. Fernando, President of the Court of Appeal as a Judge of the Supreme Court, to the post which fell vacant with the retirement of L.T.B. Dehideniya, Judge of the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Council unanimously approved the above recommendation.

Further the Constitutional Council unanimously approved the nomination of N.B.P.D.S. Karunarathna, Judge of the Court of Appeal to be appointed as the President of the Court of Appeal, and the nomination of Mr M.A.R. Marikkar, High Court Judge to be appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal to the resultant vacancies.  

The Constitutional Council further decided to publish the advertisement on newspapers of 1st February 2023, calling for applications for the appointment as Members of the Commissions specified in Schedule to Article 41B of the Constitution. Draft format of the application would be published on the Official Parliament website. The deadline to submit applications is 15th February 2023.

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