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Saturday May 18th, 2024

World leaders condemn ‘assault on democracy’ at US Capitol

AFP – World leaders and governments on Wednesday expressed shock and outrage at the storming of the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump.

– Britain –

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter condemned the “disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power”.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added in his own tweet: “The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power.”

– European Union –

The EU’s foreign policy chief condemned an “assault on US democracy”.

http://anycast-iris-p-sco-http.afp.com/components/501998e50c6e5da42d5a116b4b4f3eecea8aa059″In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege,” Josep Borrell tweeted.

Calling the action an “assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law”, he added: “This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected.”

– France –

French leader Emmanuel Macron said: “We will not give in to the violence of a few who want to question” democracy.

In a video posted on his official Twitter account, he added: “What happened today in Washington is not American”.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also condemned “a serious attack on democracy”.

– Germany –

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Trump supporters to “stop trampling on democracy”.

http://anycast-iris-p-sco-http.afp.com/components/179efe0f1c8a241c746f1725e483f40659462d5c”Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” Maas tweeted.

“The enemies of democracy will be pleased to see these incredible images from Washington DC,” he added. “Inflammatory words turn into violent actions.”

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is also the vice chancellor, likewise condemned the “disturbing images” from Washington.

– Canada –

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that the scenes at the US Capitol were an “attack on democracy.”

“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour,” he said.

– Australia –

Australian PM Scott Morrison condemned the “very distressing scenes” in the US.

“We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” he tweeted.

– New Zealand –

Jacinda Ardern tweeted: “Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob.”

The PM added her country’s thoughts were with everyone “devastated” by today’s events, adding: “what is happening is wrong.”

– NATO –

“Shocking scenes in Washington, DC,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg tweeted. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”

– The Netherlands –

“Horrible images from Washington D.C. Dear @realDonaldTrump, recognise @JoeBiden as the next president today,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter.

The plain-speaking Rutte once during a visit to the White House in 2018 interrupted Trump with a loud “no” when Trump made an assertion about EU-US trade.

– Ireland –

Irish premier Micheal Martin, who has invited the Irish-American Biden to visit his ancestral homeland early in his presidency, tweeted his condemnation.

“The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay,” Martin said.

– India –

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Trump ally who has heaped praise on the outgoing US president in the past, said he was “distressed to see news about rioting and violence” in Washington.

“Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests,” the Hindu nationalist leader tweeted.

– Greece –

“Extremely troubled by the violence and horrible events taking place in Washington D.C. American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a tweet.

– Turkey –

“We are following with concern the internal developments happening in the US,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We call on all parties in the US to maintain restrain and prudence. We believe the US will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner.”

– Austria –

“This is an unacceptable assault on democracy. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power must be ensured,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Twitter.

– Czech Republic –

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said in a tweet: “The looting and violence at the US Senate are not a good example for countries where democracy is fighting hard for a place in the sun. Given the emotions sparked by the US presidential election, we could expect today’s session to be far from ordinary. Where were the police and the Senate bodyguards…?”

– Denmark –

“Extremism, violence, polarization and violence is never the way forward. Terrible pictures from Washington. May democracy be brought back to working again,” Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Facebook

– Spain –

Spanish president Pedro Sanchez tweeted he was following events in Washington with “concern”.

“I trust in the strength of America’s democracy. The new Presidency of @JoeBiden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.”

– Slovenia –

Slovenia’s right-wing Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who backed Trump and who has yet to congratulate Biden on his victory, tweeted: “All should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington D.C.”

“We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats —from Left or Right— are ALWAYS wrong.”

– Fiji –

The prime minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama — who lead a coup in 2006 and was accused of assaulting an opposition lawmaker in 2019 — added his condemnation.

“The violent scenes we saw in Washington today are an affront to democracies around the globe. True and genuine democracy is a precious treasure that no nation should ever take for granted,” he tweeted.

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Sri Lanka suffers over $138mn foreign outflow from govt bonds in 2024 after rate cuts

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign investors have dumped 41.6 billion-rupee ($138.6 million) worth of Sri Lanka government securities in the first 20 weeks of 2024, the central bank data showed, after reduction in the key policy interest rates.

The foreign holding in Sri Lanka’s treasury bills and treasury bonds fell to 75.9 billion rupees on the week ended on Friday (17), May 2024, from 117.4 billion rupees on the week ended on December 29.

The central bank rate has reduced the key policy rates by 50 basis points so far in 2024, extending the rates cut by 700 basis points since June last year.

The rupee appreciated 9.1 percent in the first four months, but the gain failed to attract foreign investors amid a dragged debt restructuring negotiation with external private creditors.

Currency dealers said lackluster demand for dollars due to dampened imports with heavy controls, boom in both tourism revenue and remittances have helped to increase the dollar liquidity in the market, leading to the appreciation of the local currency.

The dealers said foreign investors can earn capital gain if they had bought government securities before the appreciation and now the offshore investors might be selling their bonds.

“They are also discouraged by policy rate cut because that will reduce their returns from the rupee bond investments,” a currency dealer said.

The yield in 12-month T-bills has fallen 336 basis points in the first four months of this year, the central bank data showed.

The central bank also reduced the Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR) of commercial banks by 200 basis points in August last year to boost liquidity in the market with an aim to reduce market interest rates.

Under tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions for its $3 billion loan program, the central bank raised key monetary policy rates in 2022 and last year to bring down inflation which hit over 70 percent in 2022. The inflation has fallen to the lower single digit now.

The rupee has appreciated to around 300 against the US dollar this week from around 330 level early in November. The local currency was at 365 rupees against the US dollar in early 2022. Depreciation causes capital loss for foreign investors. (Colombo/May 18/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourist fair seeks to involve universities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourism fair kicked off this week to promote interaction between industry stakeholders and relevant Government bodies, including the Tourist Police, and also universities.

“Several universities, including Colombo, Uva Wellasa, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa and Rajarata were given free stalls to facilitate student interaction with industry professionals,” Chairman of the Sancharaka Udawa Organising Committee, Charith De De Alwis said in a statement.

The event takes place today (18) at the BMICH and houses stalls for hoteliers, tour and transport services, with a goal of attracting 10,000 visitors.

Organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the 11th edition of Sancharaka Udawa offers a platform for both B2B and B2C sectors.

“Sancharaka Udawa houses over 170 exhibitors and a footfall of more than 10,000 visitors,” De Alwis said.

This year’s edition will include participants from outbound tourism sectors to facilitate capacity building. The event provides networking opportunities for industry newcomers and veterans.

“The networking platform offers opportunity for small and medium-sized service providers integrating them into the broader tourism landscape. The anticipated outcome is a substantial increase in bookings particularly for regional small-scale tourism service providers.” (Colombo/May18/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s CEB sells LTL shares to West Coast IPP for Rs26bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has sold shares of an affiliate to West Coast Power Company Limited, an independent power producer giving profits of 25.9 billion rupees in the March 2024 quarter, interim accounts showed.

The sale has been carried out as a transfer.

“Twenty-eight percent (28-pct) of share ownership of CEB within LTL Holding’s equity capital has been transferred to West Coast Power Company Ltd for a total consideration of Rs 26 billion as part of a partial settlement of outstanding dues…” the March interim accounts said.

“This transaction resulted in a net gain of Rs25.9 billion rupees which has been recognized and reflected in the ‘Gain from Share Disposal’ in the individual financial statement in CEB.”

LTL Holdings is a former transformer making unit of the CEB set up with ABB where the foreign holding was sold to its management.

The firm has since set up several IPPs.

West Coast Power operates a 300MW combined cycle IPP in Kerawalapitiya promoted by LTL group liked firms in which both the Treasury and Employees Provident Fund also have shares.

Its operational and maintenance contract is with Lakdhanavi, another private IPP. The firm has been paying dividends.

The capital gain from the transfer of shares helped the CEB post profits to 84 billion rupees for the March 2024 quarter.

CEB reported gross profits of 62.7 billion rupees from energy sales and 30.6 billion rupees in other income and gains in the March 2024 quarter. Other income was only 3.1 billion rupees in last year. (Colombo/May18/2024)

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