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Japan commits to promoting economic governance through anti-corruption policy support in SL

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Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki and Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka – Ms. Azusa Kubota marked the launch of the new project titled ‘The Project for Promoting Economic Governance through Anti-corruption Policy Support’ through an official signing that took place in Colombo today, with the participation of senior government officials.

 
Sri Lanka’s ongoing socio-economic crisis has reversed development gains achieved, with deep rooted transparency and accountability gaps identified as a key contributor to the economic crisis of the country. The new project will work towards strengthening the anti-corruption ecosystem in Sri Lanka, through time-bound, costed national policy reform, inter-stakeholder collaboration, and enhanced institutional capacity to deliver a necessary roadmap for the country to emerge from fragility towards a resilient economy and a trusted democracy.  

‘The Project for Promoting Economic Governance through Anti-Corruption Policy Support’ is supported by the Government of Japan through the Japanese Supplementary Budget (JSB) of 137 million JPY (approximately 931,000 USD) will be implemented by Government of Sri Lanka and UNDP in Sri Lanka. The proposed action seeks to (1) strengthen legal and policy frameworks; (2) improve coordination among key institutions combating financial and tax crimes; and (3) enhance strategic institutional and individual skills and capacities around combating anticorruption through strategic action under three main outcomes.  

Highlighting Japan’s commitment to support the people of Sri Lanka, mbassador of Japan to Sri Lanka – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki noted, “Anti-corruption measures are conducive for more business friendly environment for foreign investors. Japan would like to support improvement in this sense and expect to see expansion of our business relationship. I would like to affirm once again that the Government of Japan remains dedicated to supporting to promote Sri Lanka’s fairer economic governance and anti-corruption initiatives and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the tangible impact of our collective efforts.”

Targeted, time-bound, capacity development within the anti-corruption ecosystem will assist Sri Lanka to ensure a comprehensive approach to combatting corruption through prevention, investigation, and prosecution. This will contribute towards efficient and predictable public service delivery, upholding the rule of law that serves as a bulwark against corruption and encourage foreign direct investment which is critical to Sri Lanka’s recovery from the socio-economic crisis.  

Commenting on the role of UNDP, Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative for UNDP in Sri Lanka highlighted, “It’s become evident that for Sri Lanka to effectively implement required reforms and restore its economy, accountable and transparent systems and institutions are absolutely essential. This partnership with Japan complements our ongoing and planned activities in support of strengthening economic governance and will promote a holistic approach that empowers institutions to collaborate seamlessly. The JSB support will serve as a catalyst, enhancing not only their individual capacities but, most crucially, their collective ability to unite in the fight against corruption. We in UDNP are deeply grateful to the Government of Japan for this opportunity”.  

The interventions envisaged under the project will contribute significantly to the achievement of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG16), by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.  

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Shooting incident ‘targeting’ former MP Uddika was self-orchestrated : Police

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Sri Lanka Police says it has been uncovered that the incident where several gunshots had been fired at the vehicle belonging to former Anuradhapura District parliamentarian Uddika Premaratne, had been orchestrated by the actor-turned-politician himself with the assistance of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the area.

Speaking during a press conference held in Colombo today (13), the Police Media Spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa said that the suspects connected to the incident have been identified so far following investigations carried out by the CID.

On September 17, 2023, a group of unidentified gunmen had opened fire at Premaratne’s car soon after he returned to his residence in Anuradhapura at around 10:35 p.m. The parliamentarian had managed to escape unharmed.

The perpetrators, who had arrived in a car, were said to have targeted the parliamentarian who was walking towards the house after parking his vehicle. The left rear door glass of Premaratne’s car was damaged in the shooting incident for which the gunmen were believed to have used a pistol.

Anuradhapura police initiated investigations soon after the incident was reported and Special Task Force (STF) personnel were deployed to beef up the security near the MP’s house. Later, investigations into the matter were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

However, the former MP claimed that the existing system within the country was the reason behind the recent shooting incident targeting him.

Speaking in Parliament in this regard, MP Premaratne said that while he believed the system was the cause behind the recent shooting outside his residence, it is also the reason why the country is in the state it is today.

Later on 27 February 2024, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP resigned as a Member of Parliament, following which S.C. Muthukumarana of SLPP was appointed to fill the vacant MP seat.

However, Premaratne was later reported to have flown to Canada, seeking political asylum, which he refuted, and claimed that he was expecting a work visa in Canada.

In 2020, the popular actor was announced as a candidate for the 2020 parliamentary election from the Anuradhapura District as a member of the Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance, a political alliance led by the SLPP formed in 2019. 

He obtained 133,550 votes and won a seat in the 16th Parliament of Sri Lanka.

(adaderana.lk)

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

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Apple is the world’s first $1 trillion brand: Kantar

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Kantar BrandZ’s Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2024 has named Apple as the world’s first trillion-dollar brand, holding onto pole position for the third consecutive year. 

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon join Apple atop the rankings, with McDonald’s rounding up the top 5.

Demonstrating how effective AI has become for driving brand value, NVIDIA has lept 18 places to crack the top 10 for the first time, holding sixth position with a 178% year-on-year brand value increase. 

Facebook rejoined the Top 10 after a one-year absence, while Oracle joined the Top 10 for the first time. 

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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