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Largest ever China Aid project handed over to SL

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The Out-Patient Department (OPD) building of the Sri Lankan National Hospital has been handed over to Sri Lankan authorities yesterday (25).

The 08 storey building with 50,000 sq. metres, is the largest ever China-Aid project in Sri Lanka, is expected to be open to the public soon and would help the hospital’s daily handling capacity to 6,000 patients.

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka – Mr. Qi Zhenhong and Sri Lankan Minister of Health – Keheliya Rambukwella, representing the two sides, signed the handover documents and attended a ceremony in Colombo to celebrate the event.

Noting that the Chinese government has prioritized the health sector in the development of bilateral relations, ambassador Qi said China has provided medical supplies and vaccines to Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting the opening of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital in Polonnaruwa, the largest specialized hospital on kidney diseases in South Asia, Qi said eight mobile labs gifted by China have been deployed last year to help detect chronic kidney disease in rural areas.

The ambassador also added that China has also provided emergency medicine supply to Sri Lanka, hoping China’s efforts could bring tangible benefits to front-line medical workers and patients.

Appreciating China’s long-term support, Rambukwella said that the outpatient building is a considerable and really needed project for the country’s health sector, and he is sure that medical professionals in the country will make the best use of it for the people, who will benefit immensely.

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5 years marked since the Easter Sunday bombings

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Today (April 21) marks 05 years since the brutal Easter Sunday bombings in 2019.

All churches across Sri Lanka will observe 02 minutes of silence at 8:45 am today (21) to remember those lost in the attacks.

Several memorial events centering the St. Anthony’s church in Kochchikade and the St. Sebastian’s church in Katuwapitiya will be held.

Police spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa says that security has been beefed up to areas where memorial services are being held.

In 2019, a spate of bombings that took place across the country claimed 273 lives while injuring hundreds.

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Govt to give preference for green vehicles

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Sri Lanka may consider lifting the import ban of motor vehicles next year as the country’s economic situation is improving with foreign reserves almost reaching USD 5 billion, said Chief of Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayake.

“As the country’s economic landscape has improved, the ‘would be’ import bill for motor vehicles is not a big amount that the country should worry about. “But our concern is the protection of the local motor industry which is now making great progress.”

He told a press conference on Wednesday, that the Government may give preference towards the import of Green vehicles. “However, the local infrastructure should be developed first, as one doesn’t see many charging stations in and outside Colombo.”

He said that in Singapore there is a permit system and when a vehicle is over ten years old it is re-exported which ensures that a new vehicle fleet remains in the country. “Sri Lanka too has to follow a similar model for the motor industry.”

Ratnayake said that the high earning tourism industry is given all the assistance as it is being identified as an industry that could take the country to the next level.

The Government has already given permission to import 750 vans and 250 buses to be used for the tourism industry.

Similarly, the maritime sector too has been identified as a key area and this is the reason the Government is investing millions of dollars to upgrade and expand them. “The current geo-politics involving the Red Sea has already given the Port more business and revenue.”

He said that the proposed bridge between India and Sri Lanka too would be a major game changer for Sri Lanka’s economy as it will create more commodities to flow between the two countries.

“This will certainly help reduce some of the food prices in Sri Lanka and create more employment opportunities.”

Ratnayake said that the tax revenue collection is on track and the Government may soon explore the possibility of increasing the Rs. 100,000 tax threshold to a higher level.

(sundayobserver.lk)

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Easter Sunday bombings : Rs. 295 mn. paid as compensation

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The annual reports of the Office of Reparations have revealed that over Rs. 295 million (295,499,069) have been paid as compensation to victims and property damage of the Sunday Easter bombings.

Under this, Rs. 273,747,000  have been paid as compensation for 719 victims while Rs. 21,752,069 have been paid as compensation for property damages.

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