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No political strings attached to Chinese assistance to SL – MFA spokesman

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China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman – Mr. Zhao Lijian has said that assistance to Sri Lanka is never attached with any political strings.

Responding to media during the regular press conference in Beijing yesterday (28), he said, “I would like to reiterate that China’s assistance to Sri Lanka is never attached with any political strings, and we never seek any selfish political gains in China’s investment and financing in Sri Lanka.”

He also commended the recent remarks made by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister- Ali Sabry.
Shenzhen TV: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said recently that China respected it when Sri Lanka went to China and sought funds and the Chinese never forced Sri Lanka to take money. He said that China also provided Sri Lanka with some financial facilities and credit lines and also some humanitarian assistance, and that the “debt trap” is a Western phrase. He also said that China has been Sri Lanka’s close friend, and this year the two countries celebrated 70 years of economic ties, beginning with the Rubber-Rice pact. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: We welcome Foreign Minister Ali Sabry’s remarks. This is a strong rebuttal to the narrative about the so-called Chinese “debt trap” in Sri Lanka. I would like to reiterate that China’s assistance to Sri Lanka is never attached with any political strings, and we never seek any selfish political gains in China’s investment and financing in Sri Lanka. China fully relates to the difficulties and challenges faced by Sri Lanka and supports relevant financial institutions in discussing with Sri Lanka and properly resolving them. We have all along provided support to Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development as long as our ability permits.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact. It is of great significance of building on past achievements and working for fresh progress. China will work with Sri Lanka to carry forward the traditional friendship, cement strategic mutual trust, deepen and expand practical cooperation, and consolidate and expand China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership to better deliver benefits to the two countries and the two peoples.

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Indian-owned ship held in Colombo after oil spill; travel ban imposed on captain

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The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has taken custody of a ship which had caused an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port.

A spokesperson of the MEPA stated that legal action has been initiated against the company that owns the ship and the relevant insurance company regarding the oil spill. Under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, the MEPA is seeking compensation for the incident, the authority revealed.

The ship, owned by an Indian company, had recently arrived at the Port of Colombo for maintenance activities. A special investigation conducted by MEPA had revealed a leak of hydraulic oil from the ship. The company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation, according to the MEPA.

Furthermore, the Colombo Magistrate Court has imposed a travel ban on the captain of the ship preventing him from leaving the country, as per a request made by the Colombo Port Police.

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

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5 companies fined Rs. 1,243 Mn. for illegal gold imports

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State Finance Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that five companies have been identified for illegally importing gold into Sri Lanka during the past few years, and fines of Rs.1,243 million have been imposed on those companies.

The Minister said that one of the related companies was ordered to pay Rs.179 million as fines.

Emphasising that from now on, all licensed institutions carrying out import of gold goods should avoid these illegal acts, the Minister said that the relevant institutions will also be charged fines for the gold purchased by even third parties considering the production reports.

He said the efforts to stabilise the state revenue of the country are currently being carried out by closing all the loopholes related to the loss of state revenue gradually.

Certain parties who import gold goods have turned this into a big racket and therefore there is a mafia around it.There were various challenges and threats when the government tried to curb this mafia initially.

The Minister further said that there were various levels of threats, pressure and intimidation, and the government did not waver in the face of all these challenges and moved to the second step.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Teachers & Principals launch TU action

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Teachers and principals in schools across the island will engage in trade union action today.

Convenor of the National Collective Against Teachers’ and Principals’ Salary Disparities Venerable Ulapane Sumangala Thero, says teachers and principals will report sick today.

The decision has been made due to the lack of solutions provided to issues related to salary anomalies.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will operate as usual today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, The strike initiated by non-academic employees of state universities continues for the 29th consecutive day.

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