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Sunday July 14th, 2024

Sri Lanka police arrests 12 protestors outside parliament; opposition demands release

The sun sets over the Parliament at Shri Jayewardenepura

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka police arrested 12 people near the parliament complex on Wednesday (04) allegedly for obstructing the vehicles of MPs.

Police Media told EconomyNext that the group were arrested by officers on duty near the parliament, but was unable to confirm what police station the protestors had been taken to.

Footage aired on the privately owned NewsFirst network showed protestors being forced into a police bus, even as protestors shouted angrily that they had a right to protest. A police officer at the site was heard shouting back that hooting at MPs was a violation of their parliamentary privileges.

Main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Patali Champika Ranawaka told parliament that the arrested people had arrived at the parliament gate to hand over a letter to the Speaker.

“After this was communicated to parliamentary officials, the Speaker’s media secretary to went to the gate and accepted the letter on the Speaker’s behalf,” said Ranawaka.

According to Ranawaka, the group were taken to the Maharagama police station.

“I asked the speaker to intervene in this matter and find out on what basis these people were arrested after the letter was accepted by his media secretary,” the MP said.

Commenting on the arrests, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called on the government, the police and the armed forces to act with restraint.

“It should be noted that those engaged in lawful exercise of their right to protest cannot be arrested. We reiterate that the right of the public to protest in a peaceful manner must be respected and upheld. We also stress that such protests must be peaceful at all times,” the BASL said in a statement.

SJB and opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, meanwhile, said freedom of expression must be upheld in Sri Lanka as a priority.

“This is a democratic country. Do these protesters lose their freedom after giving a letter to the speaker?” Premadasa asked parliament.

“I request the speaker to call the police station and ask them to release these people. Expressing their opinions is a fundamental right of the people. If they lose that freedom, they will go for other actions,” he said.

Protests have erupted across Sri Lanka against the government over its handling of Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis. Finance Minister Ali Sabry told parliament on Wednesday that Sri Lanka’s usable foreign reserves were down to 50 million US dollars and it may take six months to wrap up a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Colombo/May04/2022)

 

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Ex-US President Trump shot at in campaign rally

ECONOMYNEXT- Republican nominee to the upcoming polls and former US President Donald Trump has been shot during a campaign rally, media reports said.

The bullet grazed the ear of Trump, who is reported to be doing well.

The gunman was shot and killed by secret service snipers within second of firing the shots at Trump.

At least one civilian was killed reports said.

Television footage showed blood in Trumps ear.

As he was hustled out of the venue by Secret Service officials Trump was seen shaking his fist in the air. (Colombo/July14/2024)

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UNESCO DG to discuss archaeological endeavours in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president has said that he will discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city with visiting UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

Azoulay will visit Sri Lanka from July 16-19 and take part at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s membership of UNESCO at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo.

She will also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“I have invited the Director General of UNESCO to visit Sri Lanka and discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city. Several universities overseas have shown interest in supporting us for these activities, and we are moving forward with their collaboration,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Anuradhapura boasts a rich history spanning over a millennium, once renowned as a hub of trade and economics. Preserving and exploring this ancient city’s archaeological treasures remains a significant endeavour.”

“New archaeological efforts in the Anuradhapura district are now imperative,” Wickremesinghe said during a ceremony to inaugurate a 150-kilowatt solar power system installed by the LTL Group at the Sri Maha Bodhiya premises in Anuradhapura on Saturday (13).

Wickremesinghe pointed out that UNESCO has undertaken extensive archaeological projects in Angkor Thom in Cambodia, and Luang Prabang in Laos.

“However, we have not taken the necessary steps to implement these activities in Anuradhapura city. Therefore, I have advised both the Department of Archaeology and the Cultural Triangle to undertake these initiatives.”

These efforts are part of a comprehensive program aimed at establishing Anuradhapura as a globally renowned city, Wickremesinghe said.

While Sigiriya has gained international fame, Sri Lanka has not adequately highlighted Anuradhapura’s historical significance as a major trade and economic center in the past, the president pointed out.

“Cities like Tanjore (Thanjavur), Madurai, and Sanchipuram are often discussed, yet Anuradhapura, the fourth city, has been overlooked. Therefore, it is crucial to develop Anuradhapura city.”

As part of these initiatives, preparations are underway to establish new hotels in Anuradhapura, which will contribute significantly to its development, Wickremesinghe said. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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Government committed to improving living conditions in Jaffna: Sri Lanka PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s prime minister, who is in Jaffna “to monitor the progress” and “get a little feedback” has said the government is committed to improving living conditions of the people in the northern peninsula.

“This government is dedicated to improving the living conditions of the Jaffna Peninsula,” Dinesh Gunawardena told a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting on Friday, according to a statement by his media division.

“In order to increase the living conditions, we have embarked on an increase in most of the expenditure needed by the departments, and also special allocations for rural and urban development in the local government area.”

Nationalist Gunawardena met with Tamil politicians at the Jaffna Divisional Secretariat Office and participated in the distribution of rice and egg incubators for low income families.

“A special privilege to be with you all, in order to monitor the progress made by all of you, as well as to get a little feedback where we stand today in relation to the reports given.”

Gunawardena joins a string of leading political figures who have visited the north ahead of upcoming polls.

The government was, he said, “committed to improve the services and living conditions, therefore, to provide the necessary infrastructure for developments, which means much to your area.”

The prime minister said he appreciated the efforts of farmers because “farmers are all private sector, I would say. Let us not forget, farmers are all in the private sector, either in the ownership or in the tenancy. They are private contributors to the national development of the economy.”

The poverty numbers are “fairly managed” in the country. Gunawardena said, pointing out that poverty was a key problems in any economy. “Any country, you would agree with me, the richest country, in the United States even, food stamps have been given. So all economies the world are going through difficult situations in relation to the poor.

“We have to look after the poor especially in these remote villages of the Northern Province…”

Minister Douglas Devanada, MPs M A Sumanthiran, Angajan Ramanathan, C Vigneshwaran, Dharmalingam Siddharthan, and other officials participated in the meeting. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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