News

New Consignment of China’s Medicine Donation to Arrive

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A new consignment of medicine worth 12.5 million RMB (650 million LKR) donated by China under its 500 million RMB emergency humanitarian assistance has departed Chengdu, China and is scheduled to arrive at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport on Friday (23rd) evening via a charter flight of Sichuan Airlines.

With a total volume of 60.04 cubic meters and weight of 14.62 metric tons, the consignment consists of:

1) 100,800 PF.Syrs of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Alpha Injection 4000IU

2) 270,000 doses of Rabies Vaccine for Human Use (Vero Cell) Freeze-dried

3) 4,500 bottles of Fat Emulsion Injection (C14-24)

4) 2,400 vials of Pemetrexed Disodium for Injection-100mg

5) 1,520 vials of Pemetrexed Disodium for Injection-500mg

In the coming months, more medicines and medical supplies with a total value of 5 billion rupees will be handed over to Sri Lanka and delivered to hospitals and patients across the island. The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka will continue working closely with the Sri Lankan authorities to provide more assistance to the Sri Lankan people who are affected by the ongoing difficulties.

China axes Sri Lanka from its Global Development Project

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The ministerial meeting of the China-led global initiative for livelihood development, the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) was held under the theme “Deepen GDI Cooperation for Accelerated Implementation of the 2030 Agenda” in New York on 20 September 2022.

The meeting was chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China and attended by high-level representatives of 60 countries, including 4 Deputy Prime Ministers and more than 30 Foreign Ministers as well as principals of about ten international organizations and UN entities.

According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry also joined the meeting on behalf of Sri Lanka, a founding member of the group. During the meeting, the list of the first batch projects in the GDI Project Pool was issued. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka was not selected for any project in the first phase of this global project, whereas Pakistan and Nepal were selected for a few projects to implement.

Click here to see the list of First-batch Projects of the GDI Project Pool

Sri Lanka: Ranil to Release Some of Long-term Prisoners

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While meeting a group of overseas Sri Lankans in London President Ranil Wickremesinghe told that he intends to release some of the long-term prisoners on his return to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Guardian has reliably learnt.

The meeting was initiated by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Saroja Sirisena and held at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.

“He wanted Presidency to do things that he could not do as Prime Minister. He got it now without people’s direct mandate. How far he can go under his calamitous holding of office is something we need to wait and see,” a Sri Lankan-born senior financial analyst residing in London who joined the meeting on an invitation told the Sri Lanka Guardian.

Exclusive: Russia Rebuffs Ukraine’s Claim over 7 Sri Lankans

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently in a video address claimed that seven Sri Lankan citizens who had been held by the Russian forces since March were rescued.

However, when Sri Lanka Guardian contacted a top-ranking officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) in Moscow, has vehemently refused the Ukrainian claim by saying that was a “cooked up story” by the Ukrainian authority.

“Russia did all it could to ensure the safe return of foreign students. In total, hundreds were assisted in returning to their home countries even in absence of Russian visas,” the official told the Sri Lanka Guardian.

“Why on earth would 7 poor students be ‘held in a basement?’ Question to Sri Lanka Embassy and Ukrainian regime which is desperately seeking international attention to keep the war going,” the official questioned.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Guardian tried to get a detailed account of the incident from Mohamed Rizvi Hassen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Resident) at the Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Ankara, Turkey, which oversees Ukraine too but was unsuccessful.

Sri Lanka wins Asia Cup, Beats Pakistan by 23 runs in Dubai

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Yes, it was another chasing side winning in Dubai, the venue now having seen 17 victories for chasing sides in the last 20 T20Is. But this time, Sri Lanka’s bowlers had arguably put the legwork in for the victory, before the second innings could even begin.

Pakistan’s innings could never quite achieve lift-off, and when the middle overs came, Wanindu Hasaranga put in his first big performance of the tournament, taking 3 for 21. After his strikes, Pakistan’s horizons contracted substantially, despite the best efforts of Mohammad Nawaz, who seemed to be striking well in the 26 he made off 18, before he was run out. Eventually, Pakistan succumbed to 121.

Sri Lanka were rattled by Pakistan’s pace in the powerplay, slipping to 29 for 3 at one stage. But so modest was the target, they could afford to take it slow. Pathum Nissanka anchored the chase, hitting an unbeaten 55 off 48. Thanks to less substantial but more aggressive innings from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka ambled home with 18 balls and five wickets to spare.

Click here to read the original news

Bankrupt Sri Lanka: Newly Chosen State Ministers Demand More Perks  

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Thirty-seven newly installed state ministers to run bankrupt Sri Lanka have urged to allocate 296 government vehicles, fuel and drivers to serve the vehicles, according to highly placed government sources.

Sources confirmed that arrangements are currently being made to allocate 8 vehicles to each state minister from their respective ministries.

“Several state ministers who were appointed yesterday have already requested vehicles from their respective ministries and they have emphasized to the authorities about their vehicle rights and their need by showing the circulars that have been issued so far,” reliable sources say.

Accordingly, they have said to provide two vehicles to the Minister of State, one vehicle to the Private Secretary, personal coordination secretaries, personal assistants and media secretary to be given respective vehicles and prescribed fuel allowances.

Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96

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Queen Elizabeth II has died, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch passed away at the age of 96, after 70 years on the throne.

She is succeeded by her eldest son and heir, the Prince of Wales, who becomes King Charles III.

Her Majesty’s death comes after one of the most significant periods of her reign, in which she rallied the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, and felt the affection of her people as she returned to public life after the death of her beloved Prince Philip and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee year.

The Queen was last pictured in public formally appointing the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral on Tuesday. She postponed a virtual Privy Council meeting the following day after being advised by doctors to rest.

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced that she was under medical supervision at Balmoral after her doctors became “concerned” about her health.

The Queen had enjoyed remarkably good health until her mid-90s, where she scaled back her public appearances after suffering mobility problems and illness that required her to rest.

As she increasingly suffered from what Buckingham Palace described as “episodic mobility problems”, she was compelled to miss events, including the State Opening of Parliament, service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph and the Commonwealth Day service. In February, she contracted Covid-19 amid an outbreak at Windsor Castle.

Through it all, she maintained her devotion to her constitutional duties and was regularly photographed holding meetings in person and via videolink from Windsor.

The announcement of her death marks the start of national mourning, with the Royal court to spend one month officially honouring her memory.

Across the country, union flags will be lowered, church services held, and condolence books offered for members of the public to pay their respects during the most seismic institutional change of most of their lifetimes.

Her Majesty’s many admirers are expected to be welcomed to commemorate her life over the coming 10 days, during a lying in state at Westminster Hall, a funeral at Westminster Abbey and a spectacular ceremonial procession to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Buckingham Palace will release official arrangements for the funeral in the coming days, after they have been signed off by the new King.

New era begins under King Charles

While the nation mourns the Queen, it will also mark the beginning of a new reign as a new era of monarchy begins under King Charles.

The Accession Council will now meet in St James’s Palace to agree the formal proclamation of the new King, which will be announced to the public from a balcony in the Palace’s Colour Court.

Charles is expected to be present at the meeting to take a religious oath, in what is expected to be the first time the historic ceremony has been televised live.

With inputs from Telegraph UK ( Click here to read the original)

Myanmar donates 1000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka

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The ceremony to donate 1000 tons of rice from Myanmar to Sri Lanka was held at the Asia World Port Terminal on September 2 morning, local media in Naypyidaw has reported.

At the ceremony, Union Minister U Aung Naing Oo of the Ministry of Commerce said that this donation represents the compassion of Myanmar government and the public towards Sri Lankan people. He added that bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries will be enhanced in the future. He later handed over the documents concerning rice donation.

Afterwards, Sri Lankan ambassador handed over the letter of thanks to president of the Myanmar rice federation for organizing export of rice. He then expressed thanks to government and officials of Myanmar. He said, Sri Lanka is facing economic crisis at present and this kind of donation is of great assistance.

He also thanked Myanmar Prime Minister Senior-General Min Aung Haling for arranging this kind of donation.

Sri Lanka: Gota Returns After Moonlight Flit

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Ousted former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa returned to the country Friday, an airport official said, seven weeks after he fled amid the island’s worst-ever economic crisis. Cabinet ministers and politicians have arrived at the airport to welcome former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa was festooned with flowers by a welcoming party of ministers and politicians as he disembarked at the main international airport, the official added — in a sign of his enduring influence in the Indian Ocean nation critics say he led to ruin.

“There was a rush of government politicians to garland him as he came out of the aircraft,” the official told AFP.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka under military escort in mid-July after unarmed crowds stormed his official residence, following months of angry demonstrations blaming him for the nation’s unprecedented economic crisis. He sent in his resignation from Singapore before flying on to Thailand, from where he had petitioned his successor Ranil Wickremesinghe to facilitate his return.

The 73-year-old leader arrived from Bangkok via Singapore on a commercial flight, ending his 52-day self-imposed exile.

“He has been living in a Thai hotel as a virtual prisoner and was keen to return,” a defence official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Grand welcome by colleagues at the Airport [ Photo: Sri Lanka Guardian]

“We have just created a new security division to protect him after his return,” the official added.
“The unit comprises elements from the army and police commandos.”

Opposition politicians have accused Wickremesinghe of shielding the once-powerful Rajapaksa family.
Sri Lanka’s constitution guarantees bodyguards, a vehicle and housing for former presidents, including Gotabaya and his elder brother and fellow ex-president Mahinda.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation ended his presidential immunity, and rights activists said they would press for his arrest on multiple charges, including his alleged role in the 2009 assassination of prominent newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.

“We welcome his decision to return so that we can bring him to justice for the crimes he has committed,” said Tharindu Jayawardhana, a spokesman for the Sri Lanka Young Journalists’ Association. Rajapaksa also faces charges in a court in the US state of California over Wickrematunge’s murder and the torture of Tamil prisoners at the end of the island’s traumatic civil war in 2009.

Tight security

Singapore declined to extend Rajapaksa’s short-term visa and he travelled to Thailand in August, but authorities in Bangkok instructed him not to step out of his hotel for his own safety.

Rajapaksa’s youngest brother, Basil, the former finance minister, met with Wickremesinghe last month and requested protection to allow the deposed leader to return. On Friday police deployed plainclothes officers and armed guards outside a government residence allocated to Rajapaksa in Colombo ahead of his arrival.

Security at his private home was also stepped up, officials said, adding that he was expected to first visit the family residence.

Sri Lanka has endured months of shortages of crucial goods including food, fuel and medicines, along with lengthy electricity blackouts and skyrocketing inflation after running out of foreign currency to finance essential imports.

New place in Colombo [ Photo: Sri Lanka Guardian]

The coronavirus pandemic dealt a hammer blow to the island’s tourism industry and dried up remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad — both key foreign exchange earners. Rajapaksa, who was elected in 2019 promising “vistas of prosperity and splendour”, saw his popularity nosedive as hardships multiplied for the country’s 22 million people.

His government was accused of introducing unsustainable tax cuts that drove up government debt and exacerbated the crisis. Wickremesinghe was elected by parliament to see out the remainder of Rajapaksa’s term. He has since cracked down on street protests and arrested leading activists.

The government defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and the central bank forecasts a record eight percent GDP contraction this year.

After months of negotiations, the International Monetary Fund agreed on Thursday to a conditional $2.9 billion bailout package to repair Sri Lanka’s battered finances.

(With inputs from AFP)

China welcomes IMF’s positive role in supporting Sri Lanka

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As a traditional friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka and a major shareholder of the International Monetary Fund, China has always been encouraging the IMF and other international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka’s response to current difficulties and efforts to ease debt burden and realize sustainable development. As to the bilateral financial cooperation, shortly after the Sri Lankan government announced to suspend international debt payments in April 2022, Chinese financial institutions reached out to the Sri Lankan side and expressed their readiness to find a proper way to handle the matured debts related to China and help Sri Lanka to overcome the current difficulties. We hope Sri Lanka will work actively with China in a similar spirit and work out a feasible solution expeditiously.

Meanwhile, on August 30, 2022, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong met with the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China Dr Palitha Kohona. The two sides had a cordial and friendly exchange of views on China-Sri Lanka relations and international and regional issues of common concern.

“What lies behind Sri Lanka’s current economic and financial crisis are not only structural problems of its economy and unexpected factors such as the pandemic but also adverse spillover effects brought by the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy,” said Liu.