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DFC commits USD 0.5 bn to Colombo Port infrastructure

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The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today (Nov. 08) announced it has committed more than half a billion dollars to support the development of a deepwater shipping container terminal in the Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, that will provide critical infrastructure for the South Asian region.

The new terminal reflects DFC’s commitment to financing high-quality infrastructure that supports its partner’s development needs, invests in local communities, and is respectful of local financial conditions. The investment further demonstrates the United States’ enduring commitment to Sri Lanka’s economic growth and its regional economic integration, including with India, a statement issued by the US embassy in Colombo states.

The embassy further notes :

DFC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott Nathan traveled to Sri Lanka to launch $553 million in financing to Colombo West International Terminal Private Limited to support the development of the deepwater West Container Terminal located within the Port of Colombo. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, Chief of Staff to the President and National Security Advisor (NSA) Sagala Ratnayaka and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung joined CEO Nathan for the ceremonial launch of the new terminal.

“DFC works to drive private-sector investments that advance development and economic growth while strengthening the strategic positions of our partners. That’s what we’re delivering with this infrastructure investment in the Port of Colombo,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “Sri Lanka is one of the world’s key transit hubs, with half of all container ships transiting through its waters. DFC’s commitment of $553 million in private-sector loans for the West Container Terminal will expand its shipping capacity, creating greater prosperity for Sri Lanka – without adding to sovereign debt – while at the same time strengthening the position of our allies across the region.”

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said, “The $553 million investment by DFC for the long-term development of the Port of Colombo’s West Container Terminal will facilitate private- sector-led growth in Sri Lanka and attract crucial foreign exchange inflows during its economic recovery. This financing is symbolic of the United States’ long-standing commitment to the development and well-being of the people of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka regaining its economic footing will further our shared vision for a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

This investment models how DFC operates, supporting projects that are strategic, economically sound, and led by the private sector. DFC is working with world-class sponsors John Keells Holdings and Adani Ports & Special Economic Zones Limited (APSEZ). These companies’ local experience and high-quality standards will help support local jobs and make this project a long-term, sustained success for the Indo-Pacific.

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Retired Major and Agent Arrested for Recruiting Sri Lankan Mercenaries for Russian Army

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The Human Trafficking, Human Smuggling and Maritime Crime Investigation Division (CID) arrested a retired major and an employment agent, identified as leaders of an organized scheme that recruited retired military personnel as mercenaries for the Russian army.

These two suspects were remanded till May 2 upon being produced before Negombo Magistate’s Court yesterday evening.

Investigations have revealed that the agency was promoted by young women, including popular actresses currently featured in well-known television dramas.

It is alleged that they deceived these individuals, promising them employment in Europe with work visas, ultimately defrauding them of significant sums of money.

The arrests occurred at the residences of the suspects in Wariyapola and Digana, respectively.

The arrested Major, previously a member of the Army Special Forces, is identified as Wijebandara and the agent is named Bandula.

According to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), these arrests are part of a broader operation, with additional suspects expected to be detained.

The CID has also uncovered that Chathuranga, who operated a large-scale agency on Katugastota Road in Kandy, is a key figure in this racket. He has reportedly fled to Russia and is currently in hiding.

Further revelations indicate that the recruited ex-military personnel were sent to Russia under the guise of performing maintenance work at military camps, but were instead employed as frontline mercenaries. A retired corporal, who managed to escape from the Russian mercenary force, disclosed that around 500 Sri Lankans are engaged in military activities within the Russian forces. This information led to the arrests of Wijebandara and Bandula.

The investigation has also highlighted that many of those recruited into the Russian mercenary forces from Sri Lanka, particularly from commando and special forces backgrounds, were ostensibly hired for non-combatant roles but were ultimately used in active military operations. According to the escaped corporal, those attempting to flee were either shot or captured and imprisoned.

This same corporal disclosed that his deployment was orchestrated by the retired Major from Wariyapola and that the logistics for his travel to Russia was arranged by Bandula and Chathuranga. The group of 37, including the corporal, departed for Russia from Katunayake International Airport on February 24. They have all retired from military service. The return of the corporal to Sri Lanka on March 1 was facilitated by the Red Cross and the Russian Embassy. He also revealed that two of his companions, who fled with him, have been captured by Russian forces and are currently detained in a military facility.

It has been reported that two Sri Lankans were killed in a drone attack by the Russian army in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on March 8 of the previous year, following the deaths of two others in Russia from an attack by Ukraine.

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

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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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