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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka says foreign research ships allowed to replenish after Chinese protest

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will allow offshore research ships for replenishments at the island nation ports despite a one-year ban on such vessels, Foreign Ministry Spokesman said amid strong protest by China over the island nation allowing a German research vessel.

This is the first time Sri Lanka has officially admitted that foreign research vessels will be allowed for replenishments since President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government imposed a one year ban on offshore research vessels in December last year.

“The ban on foreign ships is for research purposes, not on replenishment”, Niluka Kadurugamuwa, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman told EconomyNext.

“There was a German research vessel recently for replenishment and Sri Lanka allowed it.”

Chinese Embassy in Colombo has raised strong protest against the move to allow a German research vessel early this month following the island nation’s authorities turned down a Beijing request for a research vessel in February.

President Wickremesinghe’s government has temporarily halted foreign research ships after strong security concerns raised by neighbour India and the United States following the visit of two Chinese research vessels in 14 months.

Diplomats have told EconomyNext that the strong Chinese protest was also due to Sri Lanka’s ban was implemented after Indian pressure.

When the ban was announced, the government failed to specifically reveal its stance on requests for replenishment or crew change for foreign research vessels.

Sri Lanka is in the process of introducing a SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) for handling foreign research vessels.

Two Chinese research ships were allowed to dock in Sri Lanka ports within 14 months through November with one called for replenishment and the other for research.

Chinese research ship Shi Yan 6 arrived in Sri Lanka in October 2023 and docked in Colombo port, for what Beijing citing was for “geophysical scientific research” in collaboration with the island nation’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).

In August 2022, Chinese navy vessel Yuan Wang 5 docked at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka for replenishment.

Both drew strong Indian protests citing security concerns in the Indian Ocean.

India uses the Colombo port as its main transshipment hub and accounts for around 70 percent of the total transshipment volume of the port. (Colombo/ March 20/2024

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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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Sri Lanka to host foreign artistes, Sigiriya fashion show to promote tourism

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka plans to bring down international artistes, and hold water festivals to boost tourists, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu said.

“We will be hosting a few international artists in September to December,” Gajabahu told EconomyNext.

“We would also be having a fashion show in Sigiriya.”

Sri Lanka is targeting 2.3 million tourists in the year 2024 with expectations that it may go up to 2.5 million Gajabahu said.

Sri Lanka is also planning on having a water festival in coastal towns such as Trincomalee, Arugambay  and Kalpitiya in order to showcase Sri Lanka’s capacity for watersports, Gajabahu said. (Colombo/May22/2024)

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