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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka Freedom Party anti-Sirisena faction, New Alliance meet for talks

ECONOMYNEXT — The faction of crisis-hit Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has held a round of talks with members of MP Nimal Lanza’s ‘New Alliance’ on joining forces.

The meeting took place in Madiwela on Tuesday May 14.

Chairman of the Lanza’s New Alliance MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told reporters after the meeting that he expects some 70 MPs to join the new political formation.

“Today, the voter is disillusioned with the parties they had voted for.  We’re all part of the same political stream. We have a duty to create a refuge for them,” he said.

“Next month, we intend to form a new political alliance,” he added.

Asked if this brand new alliance will back the candidacy of President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the upcoming presidential election, the MP said that it’s still early days.

“To make that decision, the election date has to be announced and candidates have to come forward. We’ll leave that aside for now; the plan is to bring most people who are of the same political views to one side,” he said.

No name has been proposed for the new formation yet, said Yapa.

Asked about leadership, he said “There is no need to discuss that yet. We’re are all here with common purpose. We will reveal who is what in due course.”

SLFP stalwart Duminda Dissanayake who is with the Nimal Siripala faction of the party and is opposed to the chairmanship of former president Maithriapala Sirsiena said the SLFP has always said it plans to bring together all independent groups in parliament under one alliance.

“We held the first discussion today on that with independent MPs and party representatives. To take the country forward at this juncture, we must unite irrespective of party differences and think about the country,” he said.

“I think all parties are of that same view, but some leaders may not be,” he added.

Dissanayake said that neither the SLFP or any party who entered discussions with them has decided on a presidential candidate yet.

“But we have one message: Whoever the next president is, this group will be at the forefront of creating that president,” he said.

Among others who attended Tuesday’s meeting were MP Nimal Lanza, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Trade Minister Nalin Fernando,  Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, State Minister Suren Raghavan and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. (Colombo/May15/2024)

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Sri Lanka plans to expand Bingiriya export zone to 1,100 acres

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expanding an export processing zone in Bingiriya in Kurunegala and plans to link the area with Puttalam with roads and other infrastructure, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

A task force of ministerial secretaries will be appointed to carry out the tasks speedily, following a cabinet paper submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

The Bingiriya zone already has 157 acres and another 282 acres is being developed by the Board of Investment, he said.

Steps would also be taken to acquire 666 acres.

There was no information whose lands would be acquired. (Colombo/May23/2024)

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Sri Lanka has power breakdowns amidst extreme weather

ECONOMYNEXT – The state-owned power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last three days due to inclement weather in the island, the power minister said.

“Additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers,” Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform X (twitter).

Wijesekera said consumers could report power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, via SMS to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, or use the CEB Care app, or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk.

The South-East monsoon has seen floods, landslides and strong winds do damage to the utility provider’s infrastructure in the last week. (Colombo/May23?2024)

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Sri Lanka President calls for unity, sacrificing for a better tomorrow on Vesak day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recalled a sermon from the Buddha about sacrificing for a better tomorrow, and called for unity to heal and rebuild the country, as Buddhists celebrate Vesak.

Buddhists celebrate Vesak as commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha.

“At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow,” President Wickremesinghe said in his Vesak day message.

“We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day.

“Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. ”

The full statement is reproduced below:

The Vesak festival is a profoundly sacred day for Buddhists worldwide, commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, along with their brethren around the globe, celebrate Vesak with deep devotion. They spend this period engaging in religious observances and venerating the Buddha with fervent devotion.

At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day. Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. The principles of Lichchavi Raja Dharmaya will guide us in this endeavour.

Let us keep in mind that the primary aim of the Vesak festival is to foster spiritual growth and character development in a world rapidly advancing physically. I wish everyone a blessed Vesak festival.

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