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President invited to attend World Climate Action Summit

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President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended a gracious invitation to President Ranil Wickremesinghe to participate in the World Climate Action Summit, a key event that will inaugurate the Emirates Climate Conference.

 The invitation was sent as a letter to President Wickremesinghe, expressing warm greetings and well wishes for the progress and prosperity of Sri Lanka and its people.

The invitation letter sent by the President of the United Arab Emirates were officially handed over to President Wickremesinghe yesterday (22) by the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka Mr. Khaled Nasser AlAmeri.

The World Climate Action Summit leaders’ event is scheduled to take place on December 1 and 2, and will coincide with the UAE’s 52nd National Day celebrations. The summit will mark the launch of the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28 UAE) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, which will be presided over by the United Arab Emirates.

COP28 UAE holds immense significance as it will witness the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement. This milestone assessment will evaluate global progress in addressing climate change and identify areas for further action on a global scale.

The Emirates Climate Conference serves as a prominent international platform for climate dialogues and plays a vital role in steering climate negotiations among UNFCCC member parties. The conference aims to foster equal opportunities for all stakeholders to engage in transformative partnerships and contribute to ground-breaking, equitable solutions. It will emphasize the importance of countries uniting to address the impacts of climate change while promoting sustainable economic and social development worldwide.

President Al Nahyan expressed his deep honour and pleasure in extending this invitation to President Wickremesinghe, emphasizing the UAE’s commitment to tackling climate change and welcoming President Wickremesinghe to the United Arab Emirates.

This invitation not only underscores the UAE’s dedication to climate action but also highlights the significance of international cooperation and participation in addressing the pressing challenges of climate change.

President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayan, who expressed his gratitude at receiving this invitation for President Ranil Wickremesinghe, commended the government’s commitment on the program for the advancement and prosperity of the people of Sri Lanka.

(President’s Media Division)

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Lanka to take up bottom trawling

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When Indian Foreign Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visits Colombo next week, the government is to take up the issue of Indian fishermen entering Sri Lanka’s northern territorial waters three days a week and engaging in illegal bottom trawling, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said.

The Indian fishermen are expected to be back in Sri Lankan waters after a two-month-long annual breeding ban was lifted on Friday.

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi last Sunday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the matter was raised at a meeting with Minister Dr. Jaishnakar.

“As a nation, we have to protect our resources, interests, and the livelihood of our fisherfolks. I hope to raise the issue in the next Cabinet meeting (June 19) as well,” Minister Devananda said.

Days before the Indian authorities lifted the annual breeding ban, a group of fishermen’s unions based in the North handed over a petition on Tuesday to officials at the Indian consulate office in Jaffna requesting India to take immediate steps to prevent Indian fishermen from coming into Sri Lankan waters at the expense of their livelihood.

The fishermen’s unions, which formed a collective called the Northern Fishermen’s Alliance, requested President Wickremesinghe

in a petition to urge Indian authorities to “expedite their maximum efforts to monitoring and preventing the daily incursion of thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings.”

The two-month-long ban, which came into effect on April 14 and was lifted on Friday, is enforced to facilitate the breeding of fish banks in the ocean and maintain the equilibrium of marine sources for sustainability.

Currently, Indian fishermen who engage in fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters are arrested by the Navy and Coast Guard and subjected to legal action after their trawlers are seized.

Following the legal action in which the magistrate courts hand in a suspended sentence of eighteen months for engaging in fishing without a licence, fishermen are released and repatriated with the assistance of Indian diplomatic missions.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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

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Sri Lankan Youth to Be Freed from Cyber Camps in Myanmar

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasooriya said on his visit to Myanmar, he came to know that more than 100,000 youth from different countries are forcibly housed in the cyber camps in Myanmar, and 53,000 of them are Chinese nationals.

He was speaking to reporters at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday after completing an official visit to Myanmar and Thailand.

State Minister Balasooriya said, “We are confident that the 49 Sri Lankans who are forcibly held in cyber camps in Myanmar will be freed in the near future.” In addition to his visit to Myanmar, the State Minister also visited Thailand and discussed bilateral issues with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, as well as several Non-Governmental Organisations. They also discussed the forcible holding of youth from different countries in the cyber camps in Myanmar. They agreed that regional Governments should work together to secure their release.

(sundayobserver.lk)

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

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IMF proposes new imputed rental income tax for Sri Lanka

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has proposed the introduction of an imputed rental income tax on owner-occupied and vacant residential properties in Sri Lanka, to be implemented by April 1, 2025. 

This recommendation comes as part of the IMF’s latest report on Sri Lanka, highlighting the need for sustained revenue mobilization efforts amid institutional challenges that hindered the initially planned property tax for 2025.

The IMF report emphasizes the importance of establishing a comprehensive property valuation database by August 2024, which will include assessed values, the latest assessment dates, and property types for all municipal councils. 

This database is a crucial step towards the effective implementation of the new tax.

Additionally, the report calls for the full operationalization of a nationwide digital Sales Price and Rents Register (SPRR) by the end of March 2025. 

This register will be accessible by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the valuation department, the land registry, and the public, serving as a key resource for assessing property values and the imputed rental income tax.

The IMF recognizes ongoing vulnerabilities and uncertainties in Sri Lanka, particularly concerning debt restructuring and the upcoming elections. 

The IMF directors have urged Sri Lankan authorities to continue strengthening macroeconomic policies to restore economic stability and debt sustainability while maintaining the momentum of reforms to promote long-term inclusive growth.

In support of Sri Lanka’s economic policies and reforms, the IMF Executive Board has completed the 2024 Article IV Consultation and Second Review under the 48-month Extended Fund Facility. 

This completion provides Sri Lanka with immediate access to SDR 254 million (approximately USD 336 million).

Moreover, the IMF has highlighted the importance of enacting the Asset Recovery Bill, following necessary public consultations, by November 2024. This bill is expected to play a significant role in enhancing fiscal responsibility and transparency within the country.

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