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Monday April 15th, 2024

Sri Lanka police to investigate cops who stopped masked, armed riders at protest site

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s police chief has promised the commander of the army a probe into an incident involving police officers on duty at a protest site in Colombo who had reportedly questioned a group of masked and armed men that had arrived on unregistered motorbikes.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) C D Wickramaratne has informed Army Commander Shavendra Silva that an investigation will be held on the incident, the police media division said on Wednesday (06).

A video circulating on social media showed at least eight armed riders with their faces concealed riding four black motorbikes with no visible license plates to a protest near parliament Tuesday (5) afternoon.

Footage showed protestors react angrily to the arrival of the masked men, with some overheard jeering and hooting at them. The video also showed two police officers questioning the bikers.

The video further shows police officers trying to apprehend the suspicious biker squad. However, the masked group is seen fleeing the scene after the police officers attempted to question their identity.

A wave of protests have erupted in Sri Lanka since last Thursday (31) demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government for their handling of one of the worst economic crises in the country’s history. The first protest held last Thursday near Rajapaksa’s private residence turned violent leading to a confrontation between police and protestors. The government has blamed the isolated incidents of violence on radical “extremists” with affiliations to opposition parties who have infiltrated the otherwise peaceful public protests.

Related:

Sri Lanka defence establishment monitoring protests for acts of violence: official

Issuing a statement regarding the incident, Director of Media, Army, Brigadier Nilantha Premarathne said Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva has asked the IGP to take disciplinary action against the police officers who, according to the statement, had “interrupted” the duty of the Army bikes squad.

“When four motorcycles belonging to the Sri Lanka Army motorcycle team approached the roadblock near the parliament complex, two police officers on duty at the roadblock misbehaved with the members of the motorcycle crew,” Premarathne said.

“A request has been made to the IGP to conduct an immediate investigation and take disciplinary action.”

Premarathne said, responding to the incident, the IGP has informed the Army Commander that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

Defence Ministry Secretary Gen Kamal Gunarathne has also instructed the IGP and the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security to take immediate action regarding the incident. (Colombo/Apr06/2022)

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while 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 stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

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

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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