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President’s House to be shifted to Sandun Uyana

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The government has decided to construct a new President’s Official Residence and the Presidential Secretariat on the site of the National ‘Sandun Uyana’ (Sandalwood Garden) built at a cost of Rs.300 million.

Since it has been decided to use the President’s House premises in Colombo Fort for a development project under the Colombo Port City Project, it has been decided to build a new President’s House and the Secretariat at the Sandun Uyana.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana Wickramaratne has also recommended that the Sandun Uyana prepared in nine acres near the Parliament premises is suitable for that purpose.

Accordingly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to prepare future plans and submit a report.

The President’s Office said that it has also been decided to relocate the Prime Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s official residence on another plot of land located near the Sandun Uyana.

The President has informed the UDA to look into the possibility of moving the Cabinet office to another plot of land nearby, and the President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake to study the space required for this construction and submit a report.

The Sandun Uyana project was built and opened during the tenure of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

A total of 300 red sandalwood plants and 900 white sandalwood plants were planted in the garden at a cost of Rs.300 million by the UDA.

Although this garden was planned to be opened by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on July 20, 2021, it was opened by Minister Namal Rajapaksa.

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Man arrested over selling overpriced Vadai to tourist

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The Tourist Police in Moragolla has arrested a man over selling an overpriced Vadai and tea to a foreign  tourist in Kalutara.

Footage of the incident had sparked public ire after going viral online.

It has been revealed that the suspect is a 60 year old residing in Kalutara and is usually seen loitering near the eatery.

Police say that investigtations have revealed that he had duped foreigners visiting the eatery many times.

He is to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrate Court tomorrow (April 19).

It is also reported that officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Moragolla Tourist police have also arrived at the eatery, and sternly advised the owner after questioning him.

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NPP’s 7-point statement on Easter attacks, presented to the Cardinal

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The National People’s Power (NPP) today (April 18) presented to Archbishop of Colombo – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, their 7-point statement pledging to mete out justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

The statement included key points such as implementing law against those responsible for the attacks so as to mete out justice to those who lost lives in the attacks and family members of the victims and to take action against those who were directly or indirectly involved in the attacks.

NPP members Professor Krishantha Abeysinghe, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Rohan Fernando and Aruna Shantha Nonis participated in the occasion.

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IMF ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stands ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with international bondholders and will provide a formal assessment after the parties reach a tentative agreement-in-principle, an IMF spokesperson said on Thursday.

“We hope an agreement consistent with the parameters of the IMF-supported program and official creditors’ Comparability of Treatment requirements can be reached soon, ahead of completing the second review under the program,” the spokesperson said.

Sri Lanka said it failed to reach an agreement with bondholders to restructure about $12 billion debt earlier this week, raising concerns there could be a delay in the island nation receiving a third tranche of its $2.9 billion IMF program in June.

The government said one of the main stumbling blocks had been that the “baseline parameters” of the bondholders’ plan had not matched those embedded in its IMF program.

“We encourage both parties to continue their discussions swiftly,” the IMF statement added.

Sri Lanka will consult with the IMF to assess if the latest proposals discussed with bondholders were within the parameters of its bailout program.
The island nation defaulted on its foreign debt in May 2022 and kicked off negotiations with bilateral creditors several months later, eventually securing an agreement in principle with China, India and the Paris Club last November.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst financial crisis since independence from the British in 1948 after its foreign exchange reserves fell to record lows in early 2022, leaving it unable to pay for essentials including fuel, cooking gas, and medicine.

(Reuters) 

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