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USAID-funded SLEP wins at 2024 SID-US annual conference

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The U.S. Embassy announces that Sri Lanka’s USAID-funded Sri Lanka Energy Project (SLEP) has received top honors at the 2024 annual conference for the Society for International Development, the premier U.S. event for international development professionals.

The award was given in recognition of the innovative solar-powered electric vehicle battery swapping stations owned and operated by Sri Lanka’s Sling Mobility (Pvt.) Ltd., particularly highlighting the station located at the Center for Women’s Research in Colombo, which generates income to support the center’s activities.

In a ceremony held June 13 at the Center for Women’s Research, U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung and Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera presented the Innovation Competition Award to representatives from SLEP and Sling Mobility. “It is inspiring to see this international honor come to Sri Lanka, especially since this is such a great example of innovation, renewable energy, private sector development, and women’s empowerment,” Ambassador Chung said, noting the project’s solar-powered battery swapping station at the women’s center contributes to the center’s income and supports sustainable urban mobility. “The United States is committed to our partnership with Sri Lanka to develop solutions that secure the country’s energy future, drive economic development, and lift all segments of society.”

This year’s conference “World in Crisis: Sparks of Hope” saw over 1,500 in-person and virtual attendees voting for innovative approaches to sustainable development. The USAID-supported SLING “360° Sustainable Mobility” project emerged as a standout, providing cost-effective and efficient solutions to the retail logistics sector through a smart electric vehicle ecosystem. This initiative significantly reduces the high initial costs of buying batteries and e-bikes by offering a battery subscription service. Collaborating with Uber for food delivery services, Sling Mobility has demonstrated the model’s effectiveness in reducing downtime for riders, thus saving both money and time.     

“SLING Mobility’s collaboration with USAID marks a significant step towards a sustainable and green future for urban mobility in Sri Lanka,” said Sling Chief Executive Officer Love Yadav. “The “360° Sustainable Mobility” solar powered battery swapping project is not just a technological innovation but a testament to the transformative power of partnerships driving positive change and has a potential of sustained innovation in the energy sector beyond electric mobility.”

Additionally, USAID SLEP’s assistance also focuses on economically disadvantaged and marginalized populations, promoting their involvement in the retail logistics sector through electric vehicle use. In its first phase, the initiative trained 18 drivers, assisted 10 individuals in obtaining driver’s licenses, and conducted four outreach activities reaching over 100 participants.

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Trump nominated Republican presidential candidate

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Donald Trump won formal nomination Monday as the Republican presidential candidate and picked a right-wing loyalist for running mate, kicking off a triumphalist party convention in the wake of last weekend’s failed assassination attempt.

Trump announced 39-year-old Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his vice presidential pick, rewarding a one-time harsh critic who became one of his most reliable — and uncompromising — supporters in Congress.

Trump, 78, is guaranteed a hero’s welcome at the convention in Milwaukee, where delegates delivered their formal nomination two days after the scandal-plagued former president survived an assassination attempt at a rally.

“As Vice President, J.D. will continue to fight for our Constitution, stand with our Troops, and will do everything he can to help me MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

While Trump is increasingly confident of a shock return to the White House — despite multiple legal problems and two impeachments during his first term — President Joe Biden is reeling from weak polls and Democratic concerns over his health.

In the delegates count in Milwaukee, Eric Trump put his father over the threshold on behalf of the Florida delegation, calling him “the greatest president that ever lived.”

Vance had been widely expected as Trump’s pick. He will bolster the ticket on the right wing, but with less chance of expanding appeal to more moderate voters and women.

The standard-bearer for a new kind of populism that has come to the fore under Trump, Vance is also one of the least experienced VP picks in modern history.

But he embraces the ex-president’s isolationist, anti-immigration America First movement. Vance is further to the right than his new boss on many issues including abortion, where he embraces calls for federal legislation.

He initially made his name with the 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” a best-selling account of his Appalachian family and modest Rust Belt upbringing, which gave a voice to rural, working-class resentment in left-behind America.

Turning his back on previous opposition to Trump, whom he once said might be “America’s Hitler,” Vance reinvented himself and ultimately won the ex-president’s key endorsement in the 2022 Ohio Senate race, launching his meteoric rise.

Trump’s convention comes as the country is still reeling from a botched attempt by a gunman to kill Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday.

Some 50,000 Republicans descended on the shores of Lake Michigan for the four-day gathering, four months before election day.

The attempted assassination — in which one bystander was killed, two more wounded and Trump received a light wound in his ear — was expected to dominate proceedings.

The Secret Service, which is battling criticism it failed to protect Trump from the shooter, said it was “fully prepared” to ensure security at the convention.

Leading in multiple polls, despite being convicted at his hush-money criminal case in New York, Trump is exuding confidence.

At 81, Biden is facing calls from his own side to quit the race over concerns around his age.

His campaign released a statement saying the Trump-Vance agenda would “take away Americans’ rights, hurt the middle class, and make life more expensive — all while benefiting the ultra-rich and greedy corporations.”

Trump scored another victory Monday as a judge dismissed the criminal case against him over accusations he endangered national security by holding on to top secret documents after leaving the White House.

He immediately took to Truth Social to call for the dismissal of all legal cases against him, insisting again that he was being targeted for political reasons.

Trump told the New York Post he had “prepared an extremely tough speech” about Biden’s “horrible administration” to deliver at the convention.

As some Republicans — including Vance — sought to blame Democrats’ anti-Trump rhetoric for the attack, Trump also said he hopes to “unite our country.”

Still, that would see him have to rein in the instinct to settle scores — demonstrated by his cry for supporters to “fight” in the seconds after Saturday’s attack.

The Milwaukee gathering is largely designed in Trump’s image, with digital banners beaming out a message in the cavernous convention arena: “Make America Great Once Again.”

The branding reflects his takeover of the party.

A diminished figure after his 2020 election loss and a subsequent riot at the Capitol by his supporters, Trump has spent much of the last four years reshaping Republican politics.

Installing loyalists including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump atop the Republican National Committee, the billionaire has effectively crushed dissent.

Source: Agencies

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Ceylon tea exports offset $60M of Sri Lanka’s fuel debt to Iran

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The Sri Lanka Tea Board announced yesterday that exports of Ceylon Tea have successfully offset a substantial portion of the country’s fuel bill owed to Iran, amounting to US $ 60 million.

Since 2011, Sri Lanka has accumulated an arrears of US $ 251 million for fuel imports from Iran.

Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Niraj De Mel said that the settlement was achieved, as exports of tea to Iran tripled during this period.

Facing financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic economic downturn, Sri Lanka struggled to meet its financial obligations to Iran, due to the foreign exchange shortages.

To resolve this issue, an agreement was reached between the two nations, focusing on settling outstanding debts through tea exports.

De Mel reported that tea exports to Iran from January to May 2024 totalled 4.98 million kilogrammes, a significant increase compared to 1.85 million kilogrammes exported during the same period in 2023.

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

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Sri Lanka to Host ICC Annual General Meeting, July 19-22

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In a statement, SLC mentioned that the mega cricket conference will bring together over 220 delegates from 108 ICC member countries from across the world, covering regions such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia Pacific, and Europe.

The pinnacle gathering of cricket administrators and stakeholders from around the globe, the ICC Annual Conference provides the platform for discussions on the strategic direction of the sport, governance, and the development of cricket worldwide, it added.

This year’s conference, themed “Capitalizing on the Olympic Opportunity,’ will discuss topics such as ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ ‘environmental sustainability and the sport,’ and ‘Cricket’s triumphant return at LA28.

“This is a significant occasion for Sri Lanka, and we wish to warmly welcome the delegates from around the world to our beautiful island. We intend to use this conference to contribute to the future of cricket and showcase the beauty and heritage of our country to the world,” said Mr. Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

The annual conference will consist of a series of key meetings, workshops, and networking sessions, and key decisions will be taken for the benefit of the future of the game.

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