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IMF Executive Board decision on US$ 2.9 b package tomorrow



Sri Lanka is on the verge of getting the first tranche of the crucial International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF), a four-year US$ 2.9 billion program after an IMF Board Meeting on March 20.

IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva who recently held an extensive Zoom discussion with President Ranil Wickremesinghe on this issue, is due to present the bailout program for the country to the IMF Executive Board on March 20. The IMF Executive Board members will meet in person at the IMF Headquarters to discuss Sri Lanka’s request for the EFF, IMF sources said.

The IMF officials are due to brief the international media on their decision regarding Sri Lanka’s request for the EFF the following morning (March 21) around 8 a.m. (US Eastern Time Zone). IMF’s Head of the Debt Capital Market Division for Asia Pacific Peter Breuer and senior IMF official Masahiro Nozaki who led several rounds of discussions with Sri Lankan officials will also participate in the media briefing.

State Ministers of Finance Shehan Semasinghe and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the Sunday Observer that they expect positive news from the IMF. The agreement is likely to be tabled in Parliament next week.

Last month, the IMF confirmed that Sri Lanka had received assurances from all its major bilateral creditors, including India and China, whose support for debt restructuring has been crucial to unlocking the IMF support.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said the IMF-backed program would restore the country’s macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. It will also encourage other multilateral and bilateral donors to extend further loans for projects, some of which have been put on hold.

He said it would be necessary to safeguard financial stability, protect the vulnerable, and accelerate the structural reforms to unlock Sri Lanka’s growth potential in the long term.

President Wickremesinghe said recently that Sri Lanka has fulfilled all the 15 conditions put forward by the IMF to gain the EFF. Sri Lanka has sought IMF assistance on 16 previous occasions under different Governments.



Russian Embassy issues statement on controversial night event in Unawatuna




The Russian Embassy in Colombo has issued a statement condemning all forms of racial discrimination and nationalism in response to the recent controversy surrounding a planned night event in Unawatuna.

The statement clarified that the event, organized with a “dress-code: white” theme, was planned by a group of entrepreneurs.

The Embassy acknowledged that, according to unconfirmed data, the main promoter and the bar owners who agreed to host the party have been identified as Russian citizens.

However, amidst confusion and concerns over entry conditions, the organizers issued apologies, clarifying that their intentions were not to cause harm, and subsequently called off the event.

The Russian Embassy emphasized Russia’s firm stance against such injustices and expressed a commitment to combating them.

Additionally, the embassy urged all Russian citizens visiting or residing in Sri Lanka to strictly adhere to the country’s laws and respect local customs.

The statement aimed to address the controversy and reinforce the importance of promoting inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

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TM Dilshan granted Australian citizenship




Former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan has been granted Australian citizenship, confirmed by Australian MP Jason Wood in a social media post.

Dilshan, renowned for his explosive batting style, played a pivotal role in numerous victories for the Sri Lankan cricket team throughout his career. 

The 47-year-old’s acquisition of Australian citizenship marks a new chapter in his life post-retirement from professional cricket.

“Today’s citizenship ceremony was made even more special with the attendance of Tillakaratne Dilshan, a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team.

“Dilshan is regarded as the best Sri Lankan player in run-chases in ODI history. 

He also holds the record for being the top run-scorer in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup with 500 runs and scored a century against England in the semi-final. 

Additionally, he was part of the Sri Lankan team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20,” posted MP Jason Wood on social media.

MP Jason Wood, welcoming Dilshan as a new Australian citizen and local resident, expressed hope that the veteran would consider joining a local team.

“It was great to hear that his daughter Resandi is following in her father’s footsteps,” he added.

Tillakaratne Dilshan amassed over 10,000 runs from 330 ODIs since his one-day international debut in 1999 against Zimbabwe. 

His Test career spanned 87 matches, during which he accumulated 5492 runs, including a high-score of 193. 

In 80 T20I matches, Dilshan made 1889 runs, featuring one century and 13 half-centuries.

Renowned for his unorthodox style, including the innovative scoop shot, Dilshan proved to be an extremely effective and versatile batsman across formats throughout his career.

Source: ABP News Bureau

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Chinese woman arrested for Financial Fraud




A 52-year-old Chinese women has been arrested by the police for her alleged involvement in financial fraud amounting to nearly Rs. 8.4 million.

The female suspect was apprehended in the Kollupitiya police division on Saturday, following investigations initiated based on a complaint received by the Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau on January 31.

According to the police, the arrested individual had reportedly obtained Rs. 8.4 million in total from multiple persons. 

She allegedly claimed that the funds were for a business venture and assured the amount would be returned.

The Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau is conducting further investigations into the case to gather more details about the nature of the fraud and the individuals affected by it. 

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