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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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President pays final respects to late Dr. Ariyaratne & Palitha Thewarapperuma (Pics)

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe today (April 19) paid his final respects to the late social activist and founder of the Sarvodaya movement, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne as well as to former UNP Member of Parliament and former Deputy Minister, Palitha Thevarapperuma.Visiting the Moratuwa Sarvodaya Headquarters where Mr. Ariyaratne was laid to rest, the President offered his final respects and left a condolence note. He also shared condolences with the grieving family members. 

The President also paid his last respects and extended condolences to the grieving family and local community at the residence Palitha Thewarapperuma, in Yatadolawatte, Matugama.

UNP Chairman MP Wajira Abeywardena and several others attended the event.

(Pics : PMD)


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Flu & diarrhea cases among children on the rise

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Health Authorities have warned of a rise of diarrhea and flu cases among children after the New Year period.
Consultant paediatrician Dr. Deepal Perera advised parents to immediately seek medical attention if their children have been suffering from fever continuously for 3-4 days.

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Fortified rice distribution initiative commences

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The distribution of fortified rice, provided by the World Food Program (WFP) on behalf of the program initiated under the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, to provide a nutritious meal for school students, commenced today, (19) at the Veyangoda warehouse complex.

In an effort to reduce iron deficiency among school children, fortified rice is provided for school meals. This distribution will be conducted under the supervision of Mr. M.H.A.M. Riflan, Director General for the Partnership Secretariat for World Food Programme Co-operation (PSWFPC), which operates under the purview of the Presidential Secretariat.

As planned, the distribution of 735 metric tons of rice to provincial-level schools commenced today as part of the first phase and will continue tomorrow (20). This rice stock is being delivered to schools under the supervision of officials from the respective Provincial Departments of Education and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs).

Meanwhile, Director General for the PSWFPC, Mr. M.H.A.M. Riflan stated that 378.835 metric tons of dhal, 412.08 metric tons of sunflower cooking oil, and 300 metric tons of dates will be distributed to schools following the start of the new school term on May 19.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Education has implemented measures to provide a main meal at school for all students in grades 1-5 across the country. Following nutritionists’ recommendations, students receive breakfast between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. daily before engaging in educational activities.

Under the theme of ‘Healthy Active Generation,’ the 2024 school meal program aims to reduce nutritional problems among students, increase daily school attendance, foster good eating and health habits, contribute to the improvement of educational achievement levels, and fulfil the fundamental objectives of promoting local food culture.The school feeding program for this year extends its benefits to 1.6 million students, including primary students from 9,134 government schools, as well as smaller schools with fewer than 100 students. A budget of Rs. 16.6 billion has been allocated to the nine provincial councils by the government, supplemented by sponsorship from entities such as the World Food Program (WFP) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

(President’s Media Division) 

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