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Thursday April 18th, 2024

Salman Rushdie recovering well after an assassination attempt: reports

ECONOMYNEXT – Indian-born author Salman Rushdie is recovering well after an assassination attempt when he was stabbed in the neck before addressing a gathering at a literary fair in New York, foreign media reports.

Rushdie was stabbed at least 10 times in the face, neck and abdomen on Friday (12) resulting in severed nerves in one arm and a damaged liver. He was until recently put onto a ventilator, but is now able to speak. Reports say he is likely to lose an eye.

The suspected attacker Hadi Matar, 24, has been in remand custody without bail after pleading not guilty to attempted murder, the BBC reported.

Rushdie, 75, shot to fame with his book “Midnight’s Children,” the film version of which was shot in Sri Lanka.

He was forced to go into hiding after his fourth book, the Satanic Verses sparked controversy among members of the Islamic community for containing “blasphemous” content and mocking the religion.

The novel was inspired by the life of Prophet Muhammed, and drew from Quranic verses and contemporary events, following Rushdie’s usual style of magical realism.

It sparked such deep outrage that in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah then leader of Iran issued a fatwa (religious ruling) calling for the Muslim community to kill the author.

Police found evidence linking Matar to Iranian extremist groups.

Rushdie spent nearly a decade in hiding, but continued writing and campaigning for freedom of speech. He appeared in public occasionally, but with a 3 million USD bounty on his head, his movements were under constant surveillance.

Just two weeks ago, Rushdie had confided that he felt life was “relatively normal” and the fatwa was “old,” in an interview with Germany’s Stern magazine.

The interview was due to be published on Wednesday (18) but was put out a day after the stabbing, BBC noted.

Though Iran has distanced itself from the fatwa somewhat, it has not been officially rescinded.

Iranian Conservatives have taken to social media to express happiness at the attempted assassination.

Many heads of state, activists and public figures and fans have shown an outpouring of support for Rushdie.

Meanwhile, J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series received death threats after she posted a tweet in solidarity with the recuperating author.

Rowling tweeted “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.”

Her tweet was met with a reply of “Don’t worry you’re next,” by a Twitter user who had called Matar a “revolutionary Shia fighter.”

Rowling stated that the police had been involved in the matter.

Rushdie’s condition is “heading in the right direction,” said his agent.

The author’s next work is due in 2023. (Colombo/Aug24/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent down from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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