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China not against debt restructuring: President

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The Chinese Government expects Sri Lanka to commence negotiations with China’s Exim Bank on debt restructuring, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

The President said this while addressing the 2022 Economic Summit organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce at Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo yesterday (05).

The President said that the talks with China were delayed due to the Chinese Communist Party’s Conference and added that the talks will be expedited as the Conference has ended.

He also said that China has not objected to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring.

Meanwhile, the President said Sri Lanka should pay more attention to green hydrogen for a sustainable future.

He said the private sector should focus more on this sector, which has greater potential than the solar energy industry.

The President pointed out that land laws should also be reconsidered and changes should be made to make them more accessible to investors, adding that what Sri Lanka urgently needs is a new economy and not reforms.

The President said that Sri Lanka can easily be transformed into a major supply center and that visionary steps are being taken to achieve this goal.

President Wickremesinghe said that Colombo Port is planned to be extended up to Ja-Ela and more than 30 acres of Colombo has been allocated for the development of the port.

The President said the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) should be given for development, and that Japan was the first to get involved in this.

He emphasized that maintaining a small port will not do much service to the economy, and that the port should be promoted aggressively and Sri Lanka should be made a major supply centre.

The President said that the Trincomalee Port is being developed and the Hambantota Port has had a great positive impact on the local maritime sector.

The President also said that the agricultural sector should be developed by using new technology.

Apart from this, he said that education can make a large contribution to Sri Lanka’s economy.

Parameswaran Iyer, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog (National Institute for the Transformation of India), who delivered the keynote speech at the Economic Summit, said that India will invest in Sri Lanka and support Sri Lanka in the energy sector, telecom, solar and wind power and port sectors.

He said that India’s Adani company is investing more than 650 million USDs mainly in the port sector.

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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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