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Japan to organize Sri Lanka creditors’ meeting over debt crisis

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Japan is working to organize a meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors by the end of this year in hopes of solving that country’s debt crisis, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The meeting, which will discuss such issues as finding ways to reduce debt payments, aims to curb China’s influence by helping Sri Lanka cope with its so-called debt traps, which arose after China provided huge loans to the country to fund infrastructure developments and other projects.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe asked Japan for help during talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other people during a visit to Japan at the end of September to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Japanese government sources.

The meeting is expected to focus on measures to reduce debt payments and postpone repayment deadlines, among other related steps. Japan continues to urge other creditor countries to play a proactive role in dealing with the issue.

Sri Lanka’s economy has suffered due to sluggish tourism during the novel coronavirus pandemic and soaring food and resource prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In April, the Sri Lankan government introduced an emergency measure to suspend its repayment of external debts.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the nation’s external debt at the end of June stood at $46.6 billion (¥6.93 trillion), accounting for about 70% of its gross domestic product.

Sri Lanka has more than 20 creditors, with China topping the list at $7.3 billion (about ¥1.086 trillion), followed by Japan at $2.7 billion (about ¥402 billion) and India at $1.7 billion (about ¥253 billion).

While struggling to repay its debts, Sri Lanka in 2017 effectively transferred to China the operating rights of one of its ports.

China – which has come under criticism from the international community for causing Sri Lanka’s economic collapse – will not play a leading role in restructuring Sri Lanka’s debts, and the Japanese government will have to tread carefully in its efforts to reach agreement among creditors in a manner acceptable to Beijing.

(yomiuri.co.jp)

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Health Ministry’s Additional Secretary Dr. Saman Ratnayake arrested

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The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry Dr. Saman Ratnayake over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin injections.

The arrest was made after Dr. Saman Ratnayake arrived at the CID to provide a statement.

Several key individuals including former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Former Health Secretary, the Medical Supplies Division Director are currently in remand custody over the Immunoglobulin scandal.

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Dickwella replaces Kusal in SL T20 Squad

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The Cricket Selection Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket has announced Niroshan Dickwella as the replacement for Kusal Janith Perera in the upcoming Twenty20 International (T20I) Series against Bangladesh.

The series is scheduled to commence on Monday in Sylhet.

Kusal Janith Perera, originally included in the T20I squad, will miss the series due to a respiratory infection.

Perera did not join the team on their departure to Bangladesh on Thursday. 

In light of his absence, Niroshan Dickwella has been named as the replacement and is expected to join the team ahead of the first T20I match at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet.

The T20I series against Bangladesh consists of three matches, with the second and third T20Is scheduled for March 6 and 9, respectively, at the same venue.

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Scholarship exam, GCE O/L, A/L dates released

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The Examination Department has announced the schedule for several key examinations for the year 2024.

Accordingly, the GCE (O/L) Examinations 2023 is scheduled to take place from May 6th to May 15th while Grade 5 Scholarship Examinations 2024 is set for September 15th, 2024.

In addition, the GCE (A/L) Examinations 2024 will run from November 25th to December 20th, 2024.

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