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Environmentalists against sending Toque macaques to China! (Video)

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Animal welfare organizations have protested against sending Sri Lankan animals to other countries either for meat or scientific research purposes.

They said this in response to a discussion held yesterday (11) regarding the sending of Sri Lankan Toque macaques (known as ‘Rilau’ in Sinhala), to China.

Environmentalist Dr. Jagath Gunawardena said that Sri Lankan animals can be sent to foreign countries only for conservation programmes or animal exchange programmes.

Environmentalists also said that a proper survey must be conducted before sending Sri Lankan Toque macaques to China.

Discussion held with Minister of Agriculture

Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera has proposed to send 100,000 Toque macaques to China as a method to minimise the crop damage caused by these animals and to control their population.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that the minister has taken this decision following a request made by China to provide these animals to China.

A delegation from China met with the minister yesterday (11) to discuss the matter.

The ministry said that the Chinese authorities have made this request to display these Toque macaques in their zoos.

A group of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Zoological Gardens Department and the Wildlife Department also joined the discussion held between the Chinese delegation and the Minister of Agriculture.

Under the first phase, it has been discussed to send 100,000,000 Toque macaques to China.

Committee to be appointed

It is planned to appoint a committee consisting of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Department of Zoological Gardens, Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Attorney General’s Department to prepare the required legal proceedings in this regard.

It has also been decided to immediately prepare the Cabinet paper needed to set up this committee which will be appointed to study the legal background to send Toque macaques to a foreign country.

According to a study conducted by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute in 2022, it has been revealed that in the first six months of the year from January to June, 93 million coconuts have been destroyed by monkeys, Toque macaques and giant squirrels.

The farmers alleged that although various solutions have been proposed in the past regarding the alternative measures that can be taken to avoid the crop damage caused by animals, none of them have been implemented in a positive manner.

At present, the population of Toque macaques in Sri Lanka is close to 3 million, and the Ministry of Agriculture said that all the efforts made by the government to reduce this population have failed.

Meanwhile, a group of farmers have requested the Minister of Agriculture to give them firearms to kill the animals that damage crops.

(Video: Hiru)

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Draft constitution for Sri Lanka cricket board presented to president

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The draft constitution for the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, prepared by the Judge Chitrasiri Committee, was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat today (15). 

The draft was handed over by Committee Chairman, retired Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chitrasiri, alongside other committee members.

The initiative to address challenges faced by Sri Lanka Cricket and provide suitable recommendations led to the appointment of a Cabinet Sub-Committee on November 6, 2023. 

Chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs and President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, the sub-committee included Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara, and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles.

After extensive discussions with stakeholders involved in cricket, the sub-committee presented its report to the Cabinet on January 8, 2024. 

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Possible extension of president’s term by one year discussed

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The “Maubima” newspaper has reported ongoing discussions about the possibility of extending the term of office of the President by one year through a two-thirds majority in Parliament, without the need for a referendum.

According to the report, parties loyal to the President have consulted legal experts, who believe there is a legal pathway to extend the presidential tenure from five to six years. 

This mirrors the constitutional change made by the 19th Amendment in 2015, which reduced the presidential term from six to five years without a referendum.

Pratibha Mahanama (lawyer), a former professor at the University of Technology Jamaica, has been cited in the news paper report, stating that just as the term was reduced without a referendum in the past, it can now be extended with a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

However, Article 83(b) of the Constitution stipulates that any bill extending the term of office of the President or Parliament beyond six years must be passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament and be subjected to a referendum.

The newspaper further mentions that if the President fails to secure a two-thirds majority, the extension could still be put to a national referendum as a matter of significant national importance.

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IMF acknowledges progress in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that there is sufficient progress for Sri Lanka’s Debt Restructuring process to move forward.

However, the IMF further said Sri Lanka’s economy is still vulnerable and the path to debt sustainability remains knife- edged hence the country need to sustain the reform momentum.

Meanwhile, joining the IMF press briefing on Sri Lanka’s second review of EFF program held virtually this morning (14), IMF Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Peter Breuer stated that the IMF fully respect the democratic process for elections to take place in any country and they adapt to the relevant process.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the elections may affect the timing of IMF’s missions they conduct in order to discuss compliance with the programme and reforms going forward.

“We of course fully respect the democratic process for elections to take place in any country and we adapt to that process. So, this may affect a little bit the timing of our missions that we conduct in order to discuss compliance with the programme and reforms going forward”, he said.

“The elections have not been called yet. We will await that and discuss with the authorities how we can adapt our schedule to that of the elections”, Mr. Breuer added.

In response to a question raised by a journalist whether there is scope to adjust the programme and reduce taxes by a newly appointed government following the elections, the IMF Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka expressed that it is significant how the reduction in government revenues had contributed to this very severe crisis in Sri Lanka.

He further said: “I just pointed you to these two charts [in the IMF report] to tell the story how the reduction in government revenues had contributed to this very severe crisis to this very severe crisis in Sri Lanka. Re-building these revenues is an important objective of the programme in order to allow Sri Lanka to emerge from the crisis.”

“Of course here we should bring revenue closer to the expenditures that the government is facing to reduce the gap between expenditure and revenue, and that will help to make the debt sustainable again and force Sri Lanka to be able to finance itself at interest rates it can afford and the debt are sustainable.”

“More broadly speaking, we are willing to listen to different views of how the programme objectives can be reached. These need to be realistic and achievable within the time frame of the programme”, he added.

Moreover, the IMF representative also stated that the ‘Public Financial Management’ law has now been sent to Parliament, which will help to strengthen the fiscal framework and enhance fiscal responsibility.

Mr. Breuer highlighted that the law will help to ensure that the funds are being spent by the government as intended.

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

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