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Debt-restructuring talks, two MoUs during Jaishankar’s visit

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The government is to hold debt restructuring talks with India, one  of the key creditors, during a scheduled visit by India’s External  Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar who is due here next Thursday, President  Ranil Wickremesinghe told trade union leaders yesterday.

“We discussed China’s Exim Bank earlier this week and by now we have  started exchanging views on it. India’s External Affairs Minister is  scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on January 19 to discuss the debt  restructuring process. We are proceeding with these activities  gradually,” President Wickremesinghe said.

During Mr Jaishankar’s visits, two memorandums of understanding are  likely to be signed. 

One of the MoUs is for the Trincomalee development project  and the other for a power grid connectivity project with India, the  Sunday Times learns.

Meanwhile, a high-level Chinese delegation led by Chen Zhou, Vice  Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party, arrived  here yesterday for bilateral talks.

Mr. Chen met President  Wickremesinghe last evening and delivered a letter from Chinese President  Xi Jinping.

The Chinese Embassy in a twitter message said, “They had  friendly and fruitful dialogue on how to enhance bilateral pragmatic  cooperation and party-to-party exchanges”.

Earlier this week, China’s Exim Bank Chairman Wu Fulin held  a virtual meeting with President Wickremesinghe on the debt  restructuring process and cooperation between the two countries.

Commenting on the status of the ongoing debt restructuring  programme, President Wickremesinghe said the government had completed  talks with Japan — one of the three main creditors to Sri Lanka, besides China and India.

Following these talks, the President stressed that the country would  be able to secure USD 2.7 billion Extended Fund Facility from the  International Monetary Fund (IMF) in three or four instalments.

“In addition, we have the capacity to get USD 5 billion from the  World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and others. By the end of the  year, a number of different programmes are scheduled to resume with  Japan,” the President said, explaining the path to recovery from the  economic crisis the country currently undergoes.

(sundaytimes)

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Indian-owned ship held in Colombo after oil spill; travel ban imposed on captain

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The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has taken custody of a ship which had caused an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port.

A spokesperson of the MEPA stated that legal action has been initiated against the company that owns the ship and the relevant insurance company regarding the oil spill. Under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, the MEPA is seeking compensation for the incident, the authority revealed.

The ship, owned by an Indian company, had recently arrived at the Port of Colombo for maintenance activities. A special investigation conducted by MEPA had revealed a leak of hydraulic oil from the ship. The company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation, according to the MEPA.

Furthermore, the Colombo Magistrate Court has imposed a travel ban on the captain of the ship preventing him from leaving the country, as per a request made by the Colombo Port Police.

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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5 companies fined Rs. 1,243 Mn. for illegal gold imports

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State Finance Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that five companies have been identified for illegally importing gold into Sri Lanka during the past few years, and fines of Rs.1,243 million have been imposed on those companies.

The Minister said that one of the related companies was ordered to pay Rs.179 million as fines.

Emphasising that from now on, all licensed institutions carrying out import of gold goods should avoid these illegal acts, the Minister said that the relevant institutions will also be charged fines for the gold purchased by even third parties considering the production reports.

He said the efforts to stabilise the state revenue of the country are currently being carried out by closing all the loopholes related to the loss of state revenue gradually.

Certain parties who import gold goods have turned this into a big racket and therefore there is a mafia around it.There were various challenges and threats when the government tried to curb this mafia initially.

The Minister further said that there were various levels of threats, pressure and intimidation, and the government did not waver in the face of all these challenges and moved to the second step.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Teachers & Principals launch TU action

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Teachers and principals in schools across the island will engage in trade union action today.

Convenor of the National Collective Against Teachers’ and Principals’ Salary Disparities Venerable Ulapane Sumangala Thero, says teachers and principals will report sick today.

The decision has been made due to the lack of solutions provided to issues related to salary anomalies.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will operate as usual today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, The strike initiated by non-academic employees of state universities continues for the 29th consecutive day.

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