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Swiss Govt. to support needs of kids in Sri Lanka though UNICEF

The Government of Switzerland has contributed Swiss Francs (CHF) 500,000 through UNICEF to meet the urgent needs of children impacted by the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.With this funding, UNICEF will procure essential medical supplies, including medicines for treatment of illnesses and complications among children and women.In education, the funds will help children in disadvantaged schools continue learning and support catch-up classes to recover learning loss, including by providing transport allowance to teachers and daily snacks to students.UNICEF will also support case management for children facing violence, neglect and family separation, including children with a disability.“UNICEF and partners swiftly responded to the needs of the most vulnerable children from the outset of the economic crisis last year, with thanks to the support of donors. This contribution from the Swiss government and people is crucial in sustaining the response and protecting children from the effects of the crisis as it continues”, said Christian Skoog, Representative, UNICEF Sri LankaThe Swiss contribution will also be used to support data collection and analysis to assess the impact of the on-going crisis on households’ social and economic well-being and vulnerabilities, to help national and development partners put in place effective response strategies.“Switzerland has worked closely with many partners, including UNICEF in addressing the needs of communities during crises such as the one that Sri Lanka faces now.

This support demonstrates our long-standing cooperation with the people of Sri Lanka”, said Dr. Dominik Furgler, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.UNICEF has issued an appeal for resources in 2023 to help

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Sri Lankans - Ali Sabry - Sri Lanka ready to support Search and Rescue in Turkiye - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka ready to support Search and Rescue in Turkiye
COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC said that the country is ready to deploy a contingent of 300 military personnel for relief efforts in Turkiye.The contingent will include personnel from the Sri Lanka Engineers Corps and the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps.Minister Ali Sabry said that on the instructions of the President he contacted the Foreign Minister of Turkiye and offered assistance for search & rescue"We recall when the Tsunami struck us in 2004,Türkiye provided immediate humanitarian assistance & built a housing complex for those who lost their houses," tweeted the Minister.The Sri Lankan Embassy in Turkiye said that it has not been able to access information with regard to the Sri Lankan woman who was reported missing following the devastating earthquakes.A Senior Officer attached to the mission said that the mobile device of the Sri Lankan woman was traced.The Officer also noted that earlier it was reported that the building in which was living had collapsed, however, reports later suggested that she had vacated the premises before the earthquakes.Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC said that a contingent of 300 military personnel are ready to be deployed to Turkiye, as soon as a request for help is made.The contingent will include Sri Lanka Army Engineers and personnel from the Medical Corps.On Monday (6)  Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said 9 Sri Lankans were residing in the region. 8 people have been contacted.
CEB takes back assurance on suspending power cuts - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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CEB takes back assurance on suspending power cuts
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Ceylon Electricity Board informed the Supreme Court on Friday (3) that it would be withdrawing the assurance that it gave to refrain from imposing power cuts until the Contempt of Court application filed by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is taken up for consideration, and the matter is concluded.President's Counsel Romesh De Silva appearing for the CEB made the announcement to the court.The matter was taken up in the presence of Justices Gamini Amarasekera, Kumuduni Wickremesinghe, and Shiran Gunaratne for consideration.Thereafter, the President's Counsel noted that the assurance will be withdrawn with effect from Friday (3).President's Counsel Upul Jayasuriya appearing for the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka requested for an interim order to prevent the CEB from imposing Power Cuts during the period of the Advanced Level Examination is over, if the respondent is withdrawing the assurance that it gave to the Supreme Court on Thursday (2).However, the Supreme Court rejected the request and fixed the matter to be taken up again on the 7th of February at 1:30 PM.The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had moved to the Supreme Court against the Ceylon Electricity Board for failing to follow the directive to provide an uninterrupted supply of electricity until the end of the G. C.
Bondholders Group prepared to engage with Sri Lanka on Debt Restructuring - newsfirst.lk - India - Sri Lanka - state Indiana
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Bondholders Group prepared to engage with Sri Lanka on Debt Restructuring
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the "Bondholder Group") in a letter to the IMF Managing Director has confirmed it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the "IMF Programme Targets").The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the "Bondholder Group") has acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities' engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.The Bondholder Group further acknowledged that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the "India Letter")) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the "IMF Programme") and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.The Bondholder Group understands that the IMF Programme's debt sustainability targets are identified as (i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,  (ii) limiting the central government's annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and
Paris Club to give Sri Lanka financing assurances amid IMF debt talks - newsfirst.lk - China - city Beijing - India - Sri Lanka
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Paris Club to give Sri Lanka financing assurances amid IMF debt talks
(Reuters) – The Paris Club of creditor nations is ready to provide financing assurances to Sri Lanka, a key step needed to unlock a $2.9 billion bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.The informal group of bilateral lenders is set to "soon" announce its support to the crisis-hit nation on a debt overhaul, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because talks are private.The Asian island nation, which is grappling with soaring inflation, a recession and currency depreciation, entered into a staff level agreement with the IMF last September.But it needs financing assurances from key bilateral lenders before the fund's executive board approves the programme.Sri Lanka's public debt stood at 122% of GDP, of which 70% is denominated in foreign currency, according to data in a country presentation to investors in November.China and India, both non-Paris Club members, are the top bilateral lenders. "Paris Club assurance is not reliant on China," said the source.Another source said the informal group is currently reaching out to other non-Paris Club besides China on financing assurances, but did not provide any further details.India previously committed to help ease the debt burden of neighbour Sri Lanka as part of the IMF programme, and China's Eximbank offered a two-year moratorium in a letter sent to the island nation in January.While the IMF has not yet provided any guidance on where the lender stands regarding China's assurances to Sri Lanka, a U.S.
Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID - newsfirst.lk - city Dubai
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Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The National Election Commission said that it cannot be satisfied with the status of investigations taking place with regard to the death threats made to three members of the NEC.A senior official at the National Election Commission speaking to News 1st said that various factions are continuing to make undue influence on the NEC in order to delay the Local Government Elections.He added that certain state officials, attached to several State Institutions that should be involved in ensuring a Free & Fair election takes place, are neglecting their duties.The Senior Official said that those who appointed the state officials who are neglecting their duties must be held accountable for the dereliction of duty.The Chairman of the National Election Commission, Attorney Nimal Punshihewa has requested the President to intervene over the death threats made to the members of the National Election Commission.The NEC Chairman in a letter to the President requested that an environment favourable to conduct a free and fair election be created.News 1st also inquired from the Criminal Investigations Department on the progress made with regard to the investigations on the death threats made to members of the National Election Commission.A Senior Official at the CID said that investigations revealed that the threatening phone calls were made from Dubai.He said that a telecommunication analysis reports has been called for from the service providers.
Sri Lanka Government threatens legal action against the state’s own Human Rights Commission - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka Government threatens legal action against the state’s own Human Rights Commission
Colombo (News 1st) – Sri Lanka’s Government has taken the extraordinary decision to ‘definitely prosecute’ members of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the state’s own human rights protection body, a key government minister announced Sunday (29th).In addition, on the same matter, the government is preparing charges to remove the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the controlling body for electricity distribution, a decision that ruling party MPs have approved, the minister said.The dispute swirls around an order by the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) that the state-owned power company, Ceylon Electricity Board, which has a monopoly on power supply nationwide, should not impose power cuts during a 2-week period in January when high school senior students are sitting their main exams, the GCE Advanced Level, as it infringes upon the children’s right to education.The Advanced Level exams are crucial in that they determine entrance into the state university system. Entry into Sri Lanka’s state universities is fiercely competitive, with only about 25,000 students gaining admission annually although over 300,000 sit the exams.Last week the HRCSL acted upon a large number of complaints from parents of students and summoned the Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy, the members of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), both of which are governing bodies of the power company, and several other related bodies, and obtained a promise that there would be no power cuts.However, the Ceylon Electricity Board flouted the order of the HRCSL and the PUCSL and went ahead with the power cuts.
Kanchana Wijesekera - ‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said that the officials from the Ministry of Power and Energy who attended a recent meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had disclosed that they were pressurized to sign two documents that they did not agree do.The Minister tweeted on Friday (27) that the officials were pressurized by two members of the Human Rights Commission, and that they were threatened with jail sentences.On Wednesday (25), the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka revealed that all the  necessary stakeholders including Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) agreed to provide uninterrupted power supply during the advanced level examination period until February 17th.However, despite the statement from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, power outages were experienced on Wednesday (25) and Thursday (26).The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on Friday (27) said it will elaborate facts to the Supreme Court against officials including the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy for breaching an agreement by suspending the supply of power. Speaking further, an official from the HRCS said it has been observed that the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Energy are operating arbitrarily, going against the laws of the land. Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka directing a letter to the Chairman of the HRCSL said that it will not approve power outages occurring during the period between the 26th of January and 17th of February. The Human Rights Commission emphasized that if the CEB does not act according to the directive, the HRCSL has the ability to act according to Section 21 of the Sri
CPC warns of financial issues as fuel is supplied on credit to CEB - newsfirst.lk - China - Sri Lanka
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CPC warns of financial issues as fuel is supplied on credit to CEB
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission has received a letter bearing the signature of the Managing Director of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation stating that the present financial situation at the CPC could lead to a disruption of operations at the country's oil refinery.The letter noted that the CPC is heading towards a situation where future fuel imports will be in jeopardy as fuel is continuously provided on credit.The letter from the CPC Managing Director warns that this could lead to another fuel crisis in the country.The letter bearing the signature of the Managing Director of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation states that it is paramount to ensure the continuous operation of the country's oil refinery when providing a continuous supply of fuel.It noted that though the CPC can provide furnace oil and naphtha to the Ceylon Electricity Board at a cost that is less than what is incurred when importing fuel, an issue is likely to arise in importing new stocks of crude oil and refined petroleum products as the existing stocks are provided on credit, despite the CEB still not settling its dues. The Managing Director of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation states that several rounds of discussions revealed that the Ceylon Electricity Board does not have the funds to procure the fuel.It notes that despite the difficulties experienced, as the supply of electricity is a national requirement, fuel worth Rs.
Kristalina Georgieva - India tells IMF it ‘strongly supports’ Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plan - newsfirst.lk - China - India - Sri Lanka
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India tells IMF it ‘strongly supports’ Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plan
COLOMBO (News 1st) – India has told the International Monetary Fund that it confirms its strong support for Sri Lanka's prospective EFF-supported program.According to a letter seen by News 1st from Indian authorities to IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva, India had noted it will commit to supporting Sri Lanka with financing/ debt relief consistent with restoring Sri Lanka's public debt sustainability under the IMF -supported program and ensuring that the program is fully financed as projected by IMF staff."In this context, we commit to continuing negotiations with the Sri Lankan government along with the Paris Club on a medium-to-long term debt treatment through maturity extension and interest rate reduction or any other financial operations that would deliver similar financing/ debt relief," noted the letter.According to this letter seen by News 1st, India says that the financing/ debt relief provided by Export-Import Bank of India will be consistent with restoring debt sustainability under the IMF-supported program."We look forward to continuing cordial and in-depth discussions with the Sri Lankan authorities, IMF and the Paris Club with a view to finalizing the specifics of this financingj debt relief in the coming weeks," the letter added. However, it had noted that the Sri Lankan authorities are expected to seek equitable debt treatments from all commercial creditors and other official bilateral creditors, as well as adequate financing contributions from the multilateral development banks. Sri Lanka requires the backing of China and India – its biggest bilateral lenders – to reach a final agreement with the IMF on the $2.9 billion loan that is essential to help the country emerge from its worst financial crisis in seven
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