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Friday August 19th, 2022

Dinesh claims Global South sent important message over Sri Lanka resolution

Foriegn Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addressing the UNHRC sessions/MFA handout

ECONOMYNEXT- The member countries of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) from the Global South sent a message by voting against or abstaining from voting against a hostile resolution against Sri Lanka, the country’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the Resolution setting up a mechanism to track and trace alleged War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity by Sri Lanka passed at the Council 22 votes to 11 with 14 abstentions, Gunawardena claimed these countries had withstood pressure from the European countries not to back Sri Lanka.

“They did not say yes to the resolution. We thank all those countries who stood up for the defence not only of Sri Lanka but for the defence of all the other sovereign nations of the world because today it could have been Sri Lanka, tomorrow it could have been any other country,” the minister said.

“This was not the forecast of the European nations even before an hour to the vote, I must say their figures have gone wrong,” he added.

Gunawardena said that the call of Sri Lanka and other countries at today’s session was to defeat COVID-19 first and give vaccination to over 100 countries who asking for the vaccination and that it is not a time to bring a country-specific resolution.

However, he said that any of these resolutions cannot be implemented without the consent and the acceptance of the country concerned.

Further, speaking about the budgetary implication of USD 2.8 million in the resolution, the minister said that the amount which is close to Rs 400 million could have been used to provide housing facilities to every person in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Sri Lanka lost the vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council today as out of the 47 members 22 voted for and 11 voted against the impose the resolution that will empower the UN to collect and store information from Sri Lanka that could lead to international criminal proceedings. (Colombo/Mar23/2021)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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Sri Lanka schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

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Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

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Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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