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No retirement parties for public-sector officials

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The Treasury has banned the conduct of parties and functions at state expenses to mark the retirement of public sector officials.

The move came after reports that some of the senior public sector employees including secretaries and heads of state-owned enterprises were planning to have functions, some of them at five-star hotels to mark their retirement at state expenses. 

Some of the functions are being organised in halls or workplaces with catering services providing the food. Arrangements also have been made to provide them with gift vouchers and expensive gifts such as television sets and electrical equipment using state money, a senior Treasury official said.

Some 18,000 public-sector employees are set to retire by the end of the year due to a government decision to revise the retirement age of public-sector employees to 60 years from 65 years.

Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena issued a circular on Friday, spelling out guidelines restricting the use of state money for opening ceremonies, functions for officials assuming duties, get-togethers and similar events.

The circular has been issued to ministry secretaries, chief secretaries of provincial councils, heads of departments, district secretaries, heads of state-owned enterprises and heads of state-run banks.

They have been advised to ensure that funds are not misused as they are responsible for the funds of the respective institutions.

The circular has noted that despite previous circulars regarding the suspension of the use of state money for non-important events, there were instances that the circulars were being violated.

“The restrictions have been issued in view of the current financial situation and unnecessary expenses would be an additional burden on the Treasury,” the official said.

source – sundaytimes.lk

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (01) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,828.

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‘They were plotting to kills us’ – Wasantha reveals it all (Video)

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The Convener of the Inter-University Students’ Federation Wasantha Mudalige attended a media briefing for the first in 167 days on Thursday (2).

At this media briefing, he made certain startling revelations about what he experienced during his detention.

According to Wasantha Mudalige he was arrested by a police officer identified as ASP Mahinda Wiloarachchi from the Peliyagoda Special Police Unit.

Mudalige said he was taken to the Peliyagoda Police and thereafter to an emptied out Enderamulla Police where ASP Mahinda Wiloarachchi from the Peliyagoda Special Police Unit had a pistol on the table pointed at him in a bid to instill fear.

“At the Enderamulla Police, the person identified as ASP Mahinda Wiloarachch placed a pistol on the table pointed towards me, and asked if I recall what happened to Wijeweera and Vijaya Kumaratunga. He said that is what I deserved, however given the situation I would not be killed. He hinted to return in a few years, by late post,” said Wasantha Mudalige.

Furthermore, he said that following his arrest he was moved to the basement room of the Foreshore Police Dorm and kept in the dark, and later moved to the car park close to the Nawagamuwa Devalaya.

“There is a 10 feet drop to the river. They took us there, handcuffed us, placed their weapons all around and started making phone calls. The officer said over the phone that we have arrived at the location. The vehicle was placed there, arousing suspicions, and a police officer assigned to the security of the Nawagamuwa Devalaya came and inquired over the suspicious vehicle. The police officers saw this, and wanted to chase away that inquiring police officer. That was how they acted,” he told the press.

He also added that one particular police officer revealed that this was the method used to kill the underworld members, including the one-time don Makandure Madush.

Wasantha Mudalige also revealed that the officer from the Terrorist Investigations Division ASP Ratnayake who took over the investigation is also the main accused in the case filed over the murder of a person called Army Suranga who was killed after being arrested.

“While there were officers like ASP Wiloarachchi from the Peliyagoda Police, and ASP Ratnayake from the TID many other police officers protected us. When we were taken away in secret to police stations, the police officers who were at those police stations protect us. That is why we are able to come forward and speak like this today,” he revealed.

(newsfirst.lk)

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Paris Club to give SL financing assurances amid IMF debt talks

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The Paris Club of creditor nations is ready to provide financing assurances to Sri Lanka, a key step needed to unlock a $2.9 billion bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The informal group of bilateral lenders is set to “soon” announce its support to the crisis-hit nation on a debt overhaul, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because talks are private.

The Asian island nation, which is grappling with soaring inflation, a recession and currency depreciation, entered into a staff level agreement with the IMF last Septemberග

But it needs financing assurances from key bilateral lenders before the fund’s executive board approves the programme.

Sri Lanka’s public debt stood at 122% of GDP, of which 70% is denominated in foreign currency, according to data in a country presentation to investors in November.

China and India, both non-Paris Club members, are the top bilateral lenders. “Paris Club assurance is not reliant on China,” said the source.

Another source said the informal group is currently reaching out to other non-Paris Club besides China on financing assurances, but did not provide any further details.

India previously committed to help ease the debt burden of neighbour Sri Lanka as part of the IMF programme, and China’s Eximbank offered a two-year moratorium in a letter sent to the island nation in January.

(Reuters)

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