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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka, Maldives youth to get new skills to counter hate speech in social media

ECONOMYNEXT – Social media influencers in Sri Lanka and the Maldives who are countering online hate could sharpen their skills in a program launched by the United Nations Development Program and the European Union.

“COVID-19 has heightened concerns around the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and negativity online,” Robert Juhkam, Resident Representative for UNDP in Sri Lanka said in a statement.

“However, young people in Sri Lanka have shown a desire and ability to drive positive change for themselves and their communities, particularly on social media to overcome this.”

The UNDP skill development programme aims to boost positive co-creation by aspiring youth to counter the growing online hate speech, misinformation and division in the region.

United Creatives will support the youth to build digital campaigns that offer alternatives to hate speech, both online and on-the-ground. Applications will be open till January 18, 2021, at

‘United Creatives’ is implemented by the social change agency Love Frankie.

Participants will gain access to training, mentorship, and tools to build creative online campaigns over ten weeks through UN specialists, Facebook masterclasses, social leaders, and a range of thematic and creative experts.

Only top 40 applications between the ages 18-30 will be selected for the training program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made us realize the power of social media – both positively and negatively,” Akiko Fujii, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives said.

“It is critical that the young generation is empowered with the skills to effectively use social media for creating a cohesive and just world.

Participants will also take part in a range of sessions including building emotional intelligence, creating empathic and engaging narratives, using ‘art-ivism’ (art activism) and new creative mediums for engagement, as well as understanding and calling for positive policy action, the UNDP said.

“We need to make better use of social networks, to attenuate their role in disinformation,” Denis Chaibi, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

“The European Union is therefore proud to support digital peace initiatives such as the one promoted by UNDP in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

“In COVID times, it is crucial that we encourage young people to counter prejudice and polarization through courage and veracity, and to equip them with the digital skills required to do so.” (Colombo/Jan13/2020)

Reported by Mahadiya Hamza

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Sri Lanka finding ways to clear 1.1mn pending cases: Justice Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is taking a series of steps to speed up 1.1 million pending court cases and encourage alternative dispute solving mechanisms, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said.

“The delay in court cases is a serious problem,” Minister Rajapakshe told a briefing at the President’s Media Centre.

“We have already taken several steps to expedite cases.”

There were 5,680 cases in Supreme Court, 4,054 in the Court of Appeal, 6,168 in the High Court of Civil Appeal, 8,363 in the Commercial High Court, 28,000 in the High Court, 254,000 in District Courts and 791,000 in Magistrates Courts.

In 2015, only 49 percent of complaints to mediation boards were resolved. Following reforms, the ratio has been increased to 70 percent.

The value of disputes going to mediation board has been raised to one million rupees from 500,000 rupees.

To solve land problems in the post-war period, special mediation boards on property was set up in the North and the East.

Mediation boards on property will be set up in another 16 districts.

Commercial High Courts were increased to four from three.

Another Commercial High Court will be set up in the future. The consideration of cases that can go to a High Court was raised from 4 million rupees to 10 million rupees.

A commercial dispute resolution law will be introduced next January.

A small claims court has been established.

Case involving disputes below 2 million rupees can be directed to small claims court.

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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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