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Japanese Finance Minister notes significant improvements in SL economy

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During a discussion with President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (11), Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki Shunichi, expressed profound admiration for President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He specifically mentioned positive trends in GDP and inflation indicators, attributing the progress to the President’s strong leadership. The minister conveyed deep respect for President Wickremesinghe’s demonstrated leadership in achieving these economic improvements.

Shunichi highlighted substantial improvements in the country’s economy, particularly emphasizing positive trends in GDP and inflation indicators. He credited these advancements to President Wickremesinghe’s strong leadership, expressing deep respect for the demonstrated qualities that contributed to significant economic progress in Sri Lanka.

Japan’s Finance Minister, Suzuki Shunichi, arrived in Sri Lanka on a two-day official visit (11-12) aimed at deepening economic relations with the Sri Lankan Government. This visit is particularly significant amidst the economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka, prompting the implementation of comprehensive reform measures focusing on macro stability and debt sustainability.

The President expressed profound appreciation for Japan’s lead role in addressing Sri Lanka’s debt issues. The talks encompassed future collaborations, emphasizing areas such as information-technological cooperation, maritime-security collaboration, resumption of stalled projects, long-term bilateral cooperation, finalization of debt restructuring agreements and pipeline projects.

Both leaders expressed mutual appreciation for the ongoing support and cooperation between their nations.

President Wickremesinghe conveyed his gratitude, emphasizing Japan’s crucial role in Sri Lanka’s current standing. Acknowledging the swift resolution of recent challenges, he expressed confidence in the deepening ties between the two nations.

Reflecting on the cooperation, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the need for further collaboration, particularly in the realms of a competitive green economy and a digital economy. Stressing the importance of focusing on exports to enhance the trade balance, he expressed optimism for the realization of a new economic model in Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe concluded by affirming his commitment to fostering closer ties between the two countries, laying the groundwork for future cooperation.

In response, the Japanese Finance Minister expressed gratitude for President Wickremesinghe’s update and emphasized the value of transparent and comparable debt restructuring. 

Addressing the recent suspension of yen loans due to a debt crisis, Minister Suzuki Shunichi outlined the potential resumption of yen loans pending the conclusion of a MoU at the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and continued debt sustainability monitored by the IMF.

The discussions between the two leaders aim to fortify ties and lay the groundwork for a more robust and cooperative economic relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka.

(President’s Media Division)

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School outdoor activities suspended over soaring temperatures

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The Education Ministry has instructed all respective school authorities to refrain from making students participate in strenuous outdoor activities until Friday (March 01) at schools as temperatures are expected to rise further.

Accordingly, Sports Day events, sports practices or any other scheduled outdoor activities are urged to be suspended for the time being.

Provincial and zonal authorities of education have been instructed to brief school principals about the matter, the ministry said in a press release.

In addition, school administrations are required to comply with the health guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry.

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Court suspends divestiture process of SLT & Lanka Hospitals

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The Court of Appeal yesterday (27) issued an interim order preventing authorities from proceeding with the divestiture process of Sri Lanka Telecom and Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC, until March 12.

Three Petitions were filed for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC including by Lyca Mobiles, and S.M.R. M company, while two petitions were filed for Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC including by Lyca Leasing Holdings.

Upon the oral submissions made by President’s Counsel Kuvera De Zoysa, Court of Appeal Justice D.N. Samarakoon issued notices on respondents, returnable for March 12.

The petitioners named Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremesinghe, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, the members of the special Cabinet-appointed negotiating committee for the purpose of selecting pre-qualified bidders for the strategic divestiture pertaining to 51.34% shares of Lanka Hospitals PLC and several others as respondents.

Kuvera De Zoysa, PC with Raslka Dissanayake, Sajana de Zoysa, Dinusha Pathirana and Shablr Huzalr instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioners.

The petitioners had informed the court that they had submitted bids per the required criteria for the divestiture of the Sri Lankan Government’s shares of 50.23% in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and 51.34% in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC.

The petitioners alleged that, however, the Cabinet of Ministers had rejected the bids without providing any clear explanations, adding that the decision was against the law.

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Lankan convict in Gandhi assassination case passes away

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Santhan alias T Suthendiraraja, a Sri Lankan national who was one of the six convicts released in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, died on Wednesday morning at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital (RGGH) in Chennai.

Santhan, who was released by the Indian Supreme Court in November 2022, was kept at the special camp near the Tiruchirapalli Central Prison.

Last week, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Chennai issued an order to deport Santhan to Sri Lanka, however, he was admitted to the RGGH for treatment for a kidney-related ailment.

Addressing the reports, E Thenirajan, Dean, RGGH, said that based on the directions of the Tiruchirapalli district collector, Santhan was admitted to the hospital on January 27.

Thenirajan said a team of doctors were treating him at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and constantly monitoring him. He said Santhan was diagnosed with cryptogenic cirrhosis or a liver disease.

“He suffered a setback to his health yesterday (Tuesday) night. He had lost consciousness and we were providing treatment. Around 4.30 am today (Wednesday), he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was revived following a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) procedure and was on ventilator support. However, he failed to respond to further treatment and passed away at 7.50 am,” he said.

Thenirajan said they would carry out the post-mortem procedures now and take further measures to send his body to Sri Lanka.

According to court documents, Santhan is believed to have fled then strife-torn Sri Lanka in 1991 and reached India by boat, along with Sivarasan, who led the assassination team and was never caught alive, and a few others. According to the Supreme Court order, Santhan’s role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was direct and active.

Santhan was initially sentenced to death for his involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, however, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in November 2022, along with five other convicts, after spending over three decades in prison.

(The Indian Express)

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