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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Mahinda predicts Sri Lanka would emerge from COVID “shortly” if we follow guidelines

POSON CELEBRATIONS – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Ministers worshipping at Mihintale on June 4/Prime Minister’s Media Division photo

ECONOMYNEXT – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says that Sri Lanka’s famed hydrological civilization owes its growth to the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
He also predicted that Sri Lanka would emerge shortly from the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Premier was speaking at the first-ever State Poson Festival at Mihintale held last night.
“Because of the COVID 19 threat we have had to observe Health Department guidelines, otherwise Mihintale would have looked very different to what it is now,” Rajapaksa observed.
He asked Buddhists throughout the country to stay at home and make offerings and follow practices with their family members at home.
The Prime Minister thanked the Health Workers and the Members of the Security Forces and police who are at the frontlines of the fight against COVID 19.
“We must honour these people and value their sacrifices,” he said.
“If we follow the guidelines given by the Health Officials for some time we will be able to emerge from this serious situation,” Rajapaksa predicted.
The government declared a two-day island-wide curfew preventing large numbers of people congregating in temples and other places of worship on this second holiest day for Sri Lankan Buddhists.
It is the anniversary of the conversion of the then King of Lanka, Kavantissa, by Arahant Mahinda Thero a Buddhist missionary sent to Sri Lanka by Emperor Dharmasoka the Great of India.
Poson in particular is a time when hundreds of thousands of Buddhists from across the country make a trip to Mihintale and Anuradhapura to participate in two to three days of religious observances.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by several hundred people including many members of the Caretaker Cabinet, former Members of Parliament from the Anuradhapura district, government officials and heads of Media Institutions.
The President also inaugurated the annual Mihintale Annual Aloka Pooja, where the rock from which Mahinda Thero is believed to have addressed King Kavantissa, the stupa and the temple are lit up with thousands of electric lights for a week.
It is a tradition that began in 1962 by D R Wiejwardene the former Chairman of Lake House.
This year too Lake House and the Ceylon Electricity Board sponsored the multi-million rupee event. Both are loss-making state-run institutions. (Colombo, June 5, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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