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COPE urges UGC to collect Rs.2bn from lecturers who didn’t return to SL

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Rs. 2 billion should be obtained from lecturers who went abroad for study purposes and have not returned, it was revealed during a Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) meeting held recently.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) was summoned before the COPE which met on April 28 under the Chairmanship of MP Ranjith Bandara to discuss many issues related to the university system and higher education in Sri Lanka.

The discussion took place on the basis of 10 points which were brought to the attention of COPE and the COPE made several recommendations to the UGC regarding reforms in the higher education sector.

During the discussion held regarding the lecturers who did not return after leaving the country to pursue further education abroad, the Committee members said that they should take action to recover this amount from the relevant guarantors.

It was revealed that only 84 of the 617 lecturers who went abroad have made the relevant payments so far. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that COPE be informed about the measures taken in this regard within a month.

It was also disclosed that a software engineering degree course has been introduced by the Open University at a cost of Rs.90,000 per year. While stating that usually in a private university such a degree costs Rs. 2-3 million, the UGC Chairman pointed out that this degree can be completed for less than Rs.300,000.

Accordingly, the Committee members advised the Commission to take steps to inform the people about this through the district coordination committees.

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Man arrested over selling overpriced Vadai to tourist

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The Tourist Police in Moragolla has arrested a man over selling an overpriced Vadai and tea to a foreign  tourist in Kalutara.

Footage of the incident had sparked public ire after going viral online.

It has been revealed that the suspect is a 60 year old residing in Kalutara and is usually seen loitering near the eatery.

Police say that investigtations have revealed that he had duped foreigners visiting the eatery many times.

He is to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrate Court tomorrow (April 19).

It is also reported that officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Moragolla Tourist police have also arrived at the eatery, and sternly advised the owner after questioning him.

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NPP’s 7-point statement on Easter attacks, presented to the Cardinal

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The National People’s Power (NPP) today (April 18) presented to Archbishop of Colombo – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, their 7-point statement pledging to mete out justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

The statement included key points such as implementing law against those responsible for the attacks so as to mete out justice to those who lost lives in the attacks and family members of the victims and to take action against those who were directly or indirectly involved in the attacks.

NPP members Professor Krishantha Abeysinghe, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Rohan Fernando and Aruna Shantha Nonis participated in the occasion.

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IMF ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stands ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with international bondholders and will provide a formal assessment after the parties reach a tentative agreement-in-principle, an IMF spokesperson said on Thursday.

“We hope an agreement consistent with the parameters of the IMF-supported program and official creditors’ Comparability of Treatment requirements can be reached soon, ahead of completing the second review under the program,” the spokesperson said.

Sri Lanka said it failed to reach an agreement with bondholders to restructure about $12 billion debt earlier this week, raising concerns there could be a delay in the island nation receiving a third tranche of its $2.9 billion IMF program in June.

The government said one of the main stumbling blocks had been that the “baseline parameters” of the bondholders’ plan had not matched those embedded in its IMF program.

“We encourage both parties to continue their discussions swiftly,” the IMF statement added.

Sri Lanka will consult with the IMF to assess if the latest proposals discussed with bondholders were within the parameters of its bailout program.
The island nation defaulted on its foreign debt in May 2022 and kicked off negotiations with bilateral creditors several months later, eventually securing an agreement in principle with China, India and the Paris Club last November.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst financial crisis since independence from the British in 1948 after its foreign exchange reserves fell to record lows in early 2022, leaving it unable to pay for essentials including fuel, cooking gas, and medicine.

(Reuters) 

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